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The University of Toronto 


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18 7 0. 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1S70, by 

In tlie Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington. 


Beethoven's FMiiior Sonata (translation) A. E. Kroeger 274 

Bettine (Poetry) John Albce 192 

Book Classification Editor 114 

Book of Job considered as a Work of Art (translation) A. E. Kroeger 284 

Cherubinlc Wanderer (translation) A. E. Kroeger 31 

Composition of Goethe's Social Romances (translation) D. J. Snider 268 

Contributions to Philosophy Editor 279 

Frat^iaents of Parmenides Thomas Davidson 1 

Freedom of the Will .".\ Editor 94 

Goethe's Wilhelm Meister (translation) Thomas Davidson 145 

Hegel on the Philosophy of Plato (translation) Editor 225, 320 

Hegel's Science of Eights, Morals and Religion (translat'n)..J5rfj^o?- 38, 155 

Inuuortality of the Soul Editor 97 

Meditations of Descartes (translation) Wm. R. Walker.... IG, 129, 210, 304 

Philosophemes Editor 153 

Philosophy of the Unconscious Ernst Kapp 84 

Settlement for all possible Philosophical Disputes E. Kroeger Ill 

The Finite and the Infinite F. A. Henry^ldS, 289 

Trentowski's Introduction to Logic (translation) /. Podbielski 62 




Vol. IV. 18 70. No. 1. 


By Thos. Davidson. 


The Eleatic school of Philosophy is mainly represented by four 
names : XenophaneS; Parmenides, Melissos, and Zeno. Though the 
first of these is universally regarded as the founder of the school, Par- 
menides is the most important figure in it, the Eleatic par excellence. 
His father's name was Pyrrhes. He himself was a native of Elea or 
Velia. This city, which was of small importance politically, was- 
founded about B. C. 540 by a colony of Phokceans. It lay on the west- 
ern shore of Lucania. 

The date of Parmenides' birth is uncertain; but we shall hardly 
be wrong in placing it in the last quarter of the sixth century B. C. 
Diogenes Laertius says he flourished about the sixty-ninth Olj^mpiad 
(B. C. 504-501); but this can hardly be true, if any confidence is to 
be placed in the statements of Plato. In the dialogue entitled Par- 
menides we read: "Antiphon stated on the authority of Pythodoros 
that Zeno and Parmenides once came to the greater Panathensea, 
Parmenides being at that time quite an old man with grey hair and a 
handsome and noble countenance, and certainly not over sixty-five- 
years of age; Zeno about forty years old, tall and elegant, said to 
have been the favorite of Parmenides. He mentioned also that they 
put up at the house of Pythodoros in the Kerameikos, outside the city 
walls, and that Sokrates and many other persons visited them there> 
desiring to hear Zeno read his productions, which had then been 
brought by them for the first time, and that Sokrates was then a very 
young man." In the Sophist, Sokrates is made to say : ''I was present 
"when Parmenides uttered and discussed words of exceeding beautv, I 
being then a young man, and he already far advanced in years." 

2 Parmenides. 

Again, in the Theajtetos, he says : "For I was personally acquainted 
with the man, I being very j^oung, and he very old." Supposing Sok- 
rates, who was born about B. C. 469, to have been fifteen years old 
when he conversed with Parmenides, this would place this meeting in 
454 B. C, and the birth of Parmenides in 519. This tallies exactly 
with the statement of Diogenes that Zeno, who, according to Plato, 
was twenty-five years younger than Parmenides, flourished about the 
seventy-ninth Olympiad, 454-451 B. C. Mr. Grote's opinion, which 
is not much at variance with this, is worth quoting in his own words : 

"It will hardly be proper to place the conversation between Par- 
menides and Sokratcs — as Mr. Clinton places it, Fast, H. vol. ii. App. 
c. 21, p. 364 — at a time when Sokrates was only fifteen years of age. 
The ideas which the ancients had about youthful propriety would not 
permit him to take part in conversation with an eminent philosopher 
at so early an age as fifteen, when he would not yet be entered on the 
roll of citizens, or be qualified for the smallest function, military or 
civil. I cannot but think that Sokrates must have been more than 
twenty years of age when he thus conversed with Parmenides. 

"Sokrates was born in 469 (perhaps 468) B. C. ; he would therefore 
be twenty years of age in 449 ; assuming the visit of Parmenides to 
Athens to have been in 448 B. C, since he was then sixty-five years of 
age, he would be born in 513 B. C. It is objected that, if this date be 
admitted, Parmenides could not have been a pupil of Xenophanes : wo 
should thus be compelled to admit, which perhaps is the truth, that he 
learned the doctrine of Xenophanes at second-hand." 

Theophrastos informs us that Parmenides was a pupil of Anaximan- 
der; but this can hardly be true, if as Diogenes asserts, on the author- 
ity of ApoUodoros, Anaximander died in the fifty-eighth Olympiad 
(548-545 B. C), several years before the founding of Elea. That 
Parmenides may have been acquainted with some of the teachings of 
Anaximander seems not unlikely. The latter had declared the Infinite 
to be the first principle of all things, a doctrine which it seems to be 
the intention of Parmenides pointedly to refute and disclaim when he 
Bays : 

"Wherefore that that which is should be infinite, is not permitted." 

It was currently reported in Aristotle's time that Parmenides was a 
pupil of Xenophanes, and we have every reason to believe that he was. 
We learn also that he was intimate with several Pythagoreans, two of 
whom, Ameinias and Diochffites, are mentioned. He is said to have 
admired them greatly, to have adopted to a considerable extent their 
mode of life, and to have erected a Heroon to the memory of Dio- 

Parmenides. 3 

Parmenides was no mere dreamer. Like Empedokles and others, 
he took an active part in the public affairs of his native city, and drew 
up a code of laws, to which the Eleans every year swore to conform. 
He was the friend of Bmpedokles and Leukippos, and the teacher of 
Melissos and Zeno. He disseminated his philosophy not only by his 
writings, but also, as we have seen, by public lectures and discussions. 
He employed in his discussions the Dialectic method of reasoning, 
which had been invented by Xenophanes, and was afterwards so much 
improved and used by Zeno as to be considered his invention. We are 
not aware that Parmenides left any prose writings. Like most of the 
contemporary philosophers, he committed his teachings to verse, and 
indeed, if we may believe Proklos and Cicero, was not very successful 
in so doing. The former says his diction was more like prose than 
poetry, and the latter that his verses were inferior, but the matter of 
them sometimes pretty forcible ; which we can believe. 

The only work of Parmenides known to the ancients, and probably 
the only one he ever composed, was the poem entitled On Nature, 
whereof considerable fragments have come down to us — preserved 
mainly in the works of Plato, Sextus Empeiricus, Proklos, and Simpli- 
cius. The ancients regarded the poem as divided into two parts, the 
one On Truth or On the Intelligible^ the other On Opinion or On the 
Perceptible. The latter is called by Plutarch a Cosmogony, and not 
without reason, for in it Parmenides seems to have attempted, without 
denying the existence of the gods, to explain them upon physical prin- 
ciples. In what esteem this poem was held by the ancients we may 
learn from the writings of Plato and Aristotle, as well as from many 
later productions. Much that is put into the mouth of Parmenides in 
the Platonic dialogue which bears his name, we must ascribe to Plato 
himself, or to whoever was the author. This dialogue, which accord- 
ing to Hegel contains '' the sublimest dialectic that ever was," is held 
by some critics not to be from the pen of Plato. 

The following translation is made from the Fragments as they stand 
in Mullach's Fragmenta Philosophorum Grmcorum, Paris, Didot. 
Though I have adopted his ai'rangeraent, I have not in all cases adopted 
his readings, which are, in one or two instances, I think, veiy inconsid- 
erate. 1 have used every effort to make the translation literal, and I 
think it will be found to be so. As to my verses, I may plead that, if 
Parmenides was unable to write his Philosophy in good Greek hexam- 
eters, I may be excused for not being able to translate them into good 
English ones. In the notes, I have brought together all the valuable 
information I have been able to find regarding the different parts of 
the work of Parmenides. 

4 Parmenides. 

I. Introduction.! 

Soon as the coursers 2 that bear me and drew me as far as extendetb 

Impulse, guided me and threw me aloft in the glorious pathway, 

Up to the Goddess 3 that guideth through all things man that is conscious, 

There was I carried along, for there did the coursers sagacious, 

Drawing the chariot, bear me, and virgins preceded to guide them— 

Daughters of Helios ■* leaving behind them the mansions of darkness — 

Into the light, with their strong hands forcing asunder the night-shrouds, 

While in its sockets the axle 5 emitted the sound of a syrinx. 

Glowing, for stiU it was urged by a couple of wheels well-rounded. 

One ujion this side, one upon that, when it hastened its motion. 

There were the gates of the paths of the Night and the paths of the Day-time. 

Under the gates is a threshhold of stone and above is a lintel. 

Tliese too are closed in the ether with great doors guarded by Justice 6 — 

Justice the miglity avenger, that keepeth the keys of requital. 

Her did the virgins address, and with soft words deftly persuaded. 

Swiftly for them to withdraw from the gates the bolt and its fastener. 

Opening wide, they uncovered the yawning expanse of the portal. 

Backward rolling successive the hinges of brass in their sockets, — 

Hinges constructed with nails and with clasps; then onward the virgins 

Straightway guided their steeds and their chariot over the higliway. 

Tlien did the goddess 7 receive me with gladness, and taking my right hand 

Into her own, thus uttered a word and kindly bespake me : 

" Youth that art mated with charioteers and companions immortal, 
Coming to us on the coursers that bear thoe, to visit oiu- mansion. 
Hail ! for it is not an evil Award that hath guided thee hither. 
Into this path— for, I ween, it is far from the pathway of mortals — 
Nay, it is Justice and Eight. Thou needs must liave knowledge of all things, 
Firsts of the Truth's unwavering heart that is fraught with conviction, 
Then of the notions of mortals, where no true conviction abideth, 
But thou Shalt surely be taught this too, that every opinion 
Needs must pass throughs the All, and vanquish the test with approval. 1 

II. On Truth. 11 

•'Listen, and I will instruct thee— and thou, when thou hearest, shalt ponder- 
What are the sole two paths of research that are open to tliinking. 
One path is: That Being doth be, and Non-Being is not: 
This is the way of Conviction, for Truth follows hard in her footsteps, 
Th' other path is: That Being is not, and Non-Being must be; 


This one, I tell thee in truth, is an all-incredible pathway. 

For thou never canst know what is not (for none can conceive it), 

Nor canst thou give it expression, for one thing are Thinking and Being. 

*** * * *** 

" And to me 'tis indifferent 

Whence 1 begin, for thither again thou shalt find me returning. 1 2 

Speaking and thinking must needs be existent, for is is of Being. 
Nothing must needs not be; these things I enjoin thee to ponder. 
Foremost of all withdraw thy mind from this path of inquiry. 
Then likewise from that other, wherein men, empty of knowledge, 
Wander forever uncertain, while Doubt and Perplexity guide them— 
Guide in their bosoms the wandering mind ; and onward they hurry, 
Deaf and dumb and blind and stupid, unreasoning cattle — 
Herds that are wont to think Being and Non-Being one and the self-same, 1 3 
Yet not one aaid the same; and that all things move in a circle. 

* * * * * * ** 

Never I ween shalt thou learn that Being can be of what is not; 
Wherefore do thou withdraw thy mind from this path of inquiry, 
Neither let habit compel thee, while treading this pathway of knowledge. 
Still to employ a visionless eye or an ear full of ringing. 
Yea, or a clamorous tongue ; but prove this vext demonstration 
Uttered by me, by reason. And now there remains for discussion 
One path only : That Being doth be— and on it there are tokens. 
Many and many to show that what is is birthless and deathless, »^ 
Whole and only-begotten, and moveless and ever-enduring: 
Never it was or shall be; but the all simultaneously now is,J * 
One continuous one; for of it what birth shalt thou search for? 
How and whence it hath sprung? I shall not permit thee to tell me, 
Neither to think: ' Of what is not,' for none can say or imagine • 
How Not-Is becomes Is ; or else what need should have stirred it. 
After or yet before its beginning, to issue from nothing? 
Thus either wholly Being must be or wholly must not be. 
Never from that which is will the force of Intelligence suffer 
Aught to become beyond being itself. Thence neither production 
Neither destruction doth Justice permit, ne'er slackening her fetters ; 
But she forbids. And herein is contained the decision of these things; 
Either there is or is not; but Judgment declares, as it needs must, 
One of these paths to be uncomprehended and utterly nameless. 
No true pathway at all, but the other to be and be real. 
How can that which is now be hereafter, or how can it have been? 
For if it hath been before, or shall be hereafter, it is not: 

6 Parmenides. 

Tlius generation is quenched and decay surpassetli believinor,' 
Nor is there aught of distinct; for the All is self-similar ahvay. 
Nor is there anywhere more to debar it from being unbroken : 
Nor is there anywhere less, for the All is sated with Being; 
Wherefore the All is unbroken, and Being approacheth to Being. 
Moveless, moreover, and bounded by great chains' limits it heth, 
Void of beginning, without any ceasing, since birth and destruction 
Both have wandered afar, driven forth by the truth of conviction. 
Same in the same and abiding, and self through itself it reposes. 
Steadfast thus it endureth, for mighty Necessity holds it- 
Holds it within the chains of her bounds and round doth secure it. 
Wherefore that that which is should be infinite is not permitted;! 5 
For it is lacking in naught, or else it were lacking in all things. 

****** ** 

Steadfastly yet in thy spirit regard things absent as present ; 
Surely thou shalt not separate Being from clinging to Being, 
Nor shalt thou find it scattered at all through the All of the Cosmos,' 
Nor j^et gathered together. 


One and the same are thought and that whereby there is thinking ;' 6 
Never apart from existence, wherein it receiveth expression, 
Shalt thou discover the action of thinking; for naught is or shall be 
Other besides or beyond the Existent; for Fate hath determined 
That to be lonely and moveless, which all things are but a name for— 
Tilings that men have set up for themselves, believing as real 
Birth and decay, becoming and ceasing, to be and to not-be. 
Movement from place to place, and change from color to color. 
But since the uttermost limit of Being is ended and perfect, 
Tlien it is like to the bulk of a sphere well-rounded on all sides, i 7 
Everywhere distant alike from the centre; for never there can be 
Anything greater or anything less, on this side or that side ; 
Yea, there is neither a non-existent to bar it from coming 
Into equality, neither can Being be different from Being. 
More of it here, less there, for the All is inviolate ever. 
Therefore, I ween, it lies equally stretched in its limits on all sides. 
And with this will I finish the faithful discourse and the thinking 
Toucliing the truth, and now thou shalt learn the notions of mortals. 
Learn and list to the treach'rous array of the words I shall utter. 

in. On Opinion. 1 8 

" Men have set up for themselves twin shapes to be named by Opinion, 
(One they cannot set up, and herein do thej^ wander in eiTor,) 
And they have made them distinct in their nature, and marked them with tokens, 

Parmenides. ' 

Opposite each unto each — the one, flame's fire of the ether, 
Gentle, exceedingly thin, and everywhere one and the self-same. 
But not the same with the other; the other, self-similar likewise, 
Standing opposed by itself, brute might, dense nature and heavy. 
All tlie apparent system of these will I open before thee, 
So that not any opinion of mortals shall ever elude thee. 

All things now being marked with the names of light and of darkness, 
Yea, set apart by the various powers of the one or the otlier, 
Siu-ely the All is at once full of light and invisible darkness, 
Both being equal, and naught being common to one with the other. 

For out of formless fire are woven the narrower circlets, i 9 
Those over these out of night; but a portion of flame shooteth through them. 
And in the centre of all is the Goddess that governeth all things : 
She unto all is the author of loathsome birth and coition. 
Causing the female to mix with the male, and by mutual impulse 
Likewise the male with the female. 

*** * * *** 

Foremost of gods, she gave birth unto Love; yea, foremost of aU gods. 2 o 

Then thou shalt know the ethereal nature and each of its tokens — 
Each of the signs in the ether, and all the invisible workings 
Wrought by tlie blemishless sun's pure lamp, and whence they have risen. 
Then thou shalt hear of the orb-eyed moon's circumambient workings, 
And of her nature, and Ukcwise discern the heaven that sm-rounds them, 
Whence it arose, and how by her sway Necessity bound it, 
Firm, to encircle the bounds of the stars. 

*** * * *** 

" How the earth and the sun, and the moon, and the ether 
Common to all, and the milk of the sky, and the peak of Olympus, 
Yea, and the fervent might of the stars, were impelled into being. 

*** * * *** 

Circling the earth, with its wanderings, a borrowed, a night-gleaming splendor. 

**** * **^ 

Wistfully watching forever, with gaze turned towards the sun-light. 

** * * * * * • 

Even as in each one of men is a unioii of limbs many-jointed. 
So there is also in each one a mind; for one and the same are 
That which is wise and the nature generic of members in mortals. 
Yea, unto each and to all; for that which prevaileth is thinking. 2 1 

*** * * *** 

8 Parmenides. 

Here on the right hand the youths, and there on the left hand the maidens. 2 2 
*** * * *** 

Thus by the strength of opinion were these created and now are, 
Yea, and will perish hereafter, as soon as they grow unto ripeness; 
Men have imposed upon each one of these a name as a token." 


1. This introduction has generally been looked upon as allegorical. 
In one sense it is so ; at the same time we must not forget that what 
in its own day was the soberest statement of facts that could be made, 
frequently appears to succi^eding ages as allegorical. Primitive peo- 
ples found it far easier to embody new thoughts and feelings in the 
concrete forms of their mythology, with which they were familiar, 
than to describe them in abstract terms. If we find Parmenides say- 
ing that he was borne aloft by horses to the presence of the Goddess 
who governs all things, we must not forget that our own language is 
not altogether free from allegory, when we say that he "rose to higher 
regions of thought." Parmenides did not mean to make an allegoryj 
he simply gave an account of his mental progress in the ordinary my- 
thological dialect of his time, and that, from our point of view, seems 

2. If we compare the opening of this with a passage in the fifth book 
of the Iliad, where Here and Athene visit Zeus in their chariot, we 
cannot fail to be struck with the similarity of the two. "And Here 
touched the steeds sharply with the whip, and, of their own accord, 
the gates of the sky, kept by the Horm, to whom are entrusted the 
wide sky, and Olympus, to fold back the dense cloud, and to replace it, 
burst open. And through these they guided their goaded steeds, and 
found the son of Kronos sitting afar from the other gods on the sum- 
mit of many-peaked Olympus." We need not be veiy anxious to de- 
termine precisely what Parmenides meant by coursers or by chariot. 
Imaginations capable of furnishing the sun with a chariot for his daily 
course might surely be pardoned for giving the soul one, when it 
ascends into the pure ether of thought, without our supposing that it 
must represent the appetites or anything else in particular. A chariot 
was the recognized means of rising aloft, not only among the Greeks 
but also among the ancient Indians, the Hebrews (witness the story 
of Elijah), and other nations. That Parmenides, when his mind was 
expanding, and, as it were, grasping the whole Universe in one 
thought, should have felt that he was coming into the region of the 
gods, and pictured himself as furnished with their means of locomo- 
tion, one can readily believe. If this is once admitted, we need not 
spend much labor in attempting to interpret minute points about the 

Parmenides. 9 

chariot or its axles. Sextus Empeiricus, in whose work Adversus Ma- 
thematicos this introduction is for the most part preserved, makes a 
comment upon it, which we must take for what it is worth. Sextus 
lived at a time when philosophers were finding allegories in everything 
ancient ; witness his contemporary Porphyry's Cave of the Nymphs. 
His views of what Parmenides may have thought, and his ideas con- 
cerning the imagery likely to have suggested itself to Parmenides, can 
have no authority whatever. He says : "In these lines, Parmenides 
says he is borne by coursers — that is, the irrational impulses and appe- 
tites of the soul — along the noble and glorious pathway of a goddess — 
that is, the path of contemplation based on philosophic reason. For 
reason, like a guiding deity, conducts to the knowledge of all things. 
And her daughters go before — namely, the senses. He refers to the 
ears when he says : 'It was urged by a couple of wheels well-rounded' 
by the wheels (circles), that is, of the ears, through which they receive 
sound. Intuitions he calls ' daughters of the Sun,' who leave the 
'mansions of darkness,' and move [their veils] toward the light, be- 
cause without light there would be no use for them. He says he came 
to Bike or avenging Justice, 'who keepeth the kej's of requital,' that 
is, to thought, which has the sure and steadfast comprehensions of 
things. She, having received him, promises to teach him two things, 

' First of the Truth's unwaveriug heart that is fraught with persuasion,' 

that is, the unswerving step of science j 

' Then of the notions of mortals, where no true conviction abideth,' 

that is, whatever is matter of opinion, as being, for that reason, uncer- 
tain. In the end she makes the clear declaration, that the senses are 
not to be trusted, but only the reason. She says: 

' Neither let habit compel thee, while treading this pathway of knowledge, 
Still to employ a visionless eye, or an ear full of ringing, 
Yea, or a clamorous tongue; but try this vext demonstration 
Uttered by me, by Eeasou.' 

From this it is plain that he (Parmenides) also, in pronouncing the 
scientific reason to be the canon of truth in regard to the things that 
are (in matters of ontology), revolted against the authority of the 

S. (See note 7.) 

4. The daughters of the Sun, in the mythological account, were 
-^gle, Lampetie, and Phaethousa — Eadiance, Sheen, and Gleam. The 
allegory here is very simple. Pindar calls the sun's ray the "Far- 
seeing mother of the eyes," and the sun himself the "Birth-giving 
father of the sharp rays," and the "Loi'd of the fire-breathing steeds." 
Preller, in his Griechische Mythologie, says: ''From his radiant light 

10 Parmenides. 

Helios is called Phaethon, and also the glittering eye of Heaven or of 
Zeus ; because the aja is the light of the body, and has therefore, in 
all times, been used as an expression for all the radiant and gleaming 
phenomena of the sky. For the same reason Helios is the all-seeing 
{izavonryjqjt all-observing, all-investigating, the general spy of gods and 
men, to whom nothing is hidden or secret. * * * jje ig likewise 
a god of the truth of all that is concealed, a god who was wont to be 
invoked in oaths and by oppressed innocence. From this, the further 
transition to the principle of wisdom and cognition was easy ; and, in 
this sense, Parmenides, in the opening of his philosophico-didactic 
poem, tells us that he rose to the heights of knowledge riding in the 
chariot of the sun, and guided by the daughters of Helios; while 
Pindar, in a very beautiful poem, composed on the occasion of a solar 
eclipse, had called the ray of the sun the "mother of the eyes, and the 
fountain of wisdom." Passages might be quoted from the tragedians 
to show that the sun was considered the source of sight and blindness, 
e.g. Eurip. Hekabe, 1066-8; Soph. O. C. 869. 

5. The chariot of the sun is not mentioned in Homer. It is first 
noticed in the so-called Homeric Hymn to Helios. No particular 
meaning is to be attached to the axles or wheels ; they are mentioned 
simply to show the ease and rapidity of the motion. 

6. In the passage quoted from Homer in note 2, we learn that the 
gates of the sky were kept by the Horce. The names of these, accord- 
ing to Hesiod, are Eunomia, Dike^ and Eirene — Order, Justice, and 
Peace. Thus Parmenides, in making Justice the guardian of the gates 
of the sky, adheres to the ordinary mythology. We learn also from 
Hesiod — Works and Days^ 254 sq. — that Justice was greatly revered 
by the Olympian gods, standing in very close relation to Zeus, and 
keeping watch for him over the transgressions of men. The Horse, it 
must be remembered, are the daughters of Zeus and Themis (Eight). 
We need not be astonished at the materials of which the gates are said 
to be made. Even Homer speaks of the heaven as " brazen," " all- 
brazen," and "iron." 

7. The Goddess {Bza) here meant is evidently the same as the one 
referred to in line 3, and there called Jai'/^cyy. Ritter, in his History of 
Philosophy, va]8\ed. perhaps by Sextus Empeiricus, supposes Dike to be 
meant. But this is evidently wrong; for Dike is merely the gate- 
keeper in the mansion of a higher power. Mullach sees this and cor- 
rects Ritter, but is nearly as far wrong himself when he affirms that 
the goddess meant is Wisdom. There are two things particularly to 
be remarked in regard to the personages mentioned in this poem ; — 
first, their names are always significant; second, not one of them is a 
personification made by the poet himself, but all are taken from the 

Parmenides. 11 

already existing mythology. There is no mention of Zeus, or Athen6, 
or Apollo, or any of the Olympians, neither do we meet with any mere 
abstract term personified. I cannot find any proof that the Greeks 
ever personified Wisdom. Pindar, indeed, in his poem On a Solar 
Eclipse^ speaks of " the path of Wisdom," and 1 doubt not but similar 
expressions might be found elsewhere; still this does not amount to 
a personification of Wisdom. If we observe carefully, we shall, I 
think, bo able to discover the name of the goddess meant. In lines 
26, 27, we are informed that it was not an evil fate {}Unpa) that had 
brought the philosopher to the goddess, but that it was Justice and 
Right (Themis). Now we know already what part Justice (Dike) 
has taken in bringing him thither; but, so far as we know, Themis 
has done nothing towards it. Now we know in regaid to Themis 
that she stood in very close relation to Zeus (Odyssey II. 68); that she 
was by some held to be the eldest of the gods ; that iEschylus consid- 
ered her identical with Gaia (Earth) ; that she was the goddess of law 
and order; that she was endowed with knowledge of the future, and that 
the Delphic oracle belonged to her before it passed over to Apollo. 
Pindar tells us, that "First the Fates bore the well-counselled, celes- 
tial Themis in their golden chariot from the springs of Ocean to the 
awful slope of Olympus, along the shining path, to be the time-honored 
spouse of Zeus the Saviour." The Fates, who led Themis to Olym- 
pus, are daughters of Night, whereas the guides of Parmenides are the 
daughters of the Sun ; this fact would almost seem to throw light upon 
line 7. However this may be, if we consider all the attributes and the 
lofty position of Themis, we shall probably be convinced that she is 
the goddess referred to by Parmenides. If this be true, Parmenides 
may be supposed to have meant that insight led him to justice or right 
action, from which he passed to the mother or source of justice, which 
explained everything to him. 

8. The goddess here mentions two paths, and, a few lines farther on, 
adds that they are the only ones open to thinking. In line 45, she 
mentions another path, which however is not open to thinking, being 
trod only by "unreasoning cattle." 

9. This line I have translated in a manner entirely different from 
that of any of the editoi^s of the Fragments. In doing- so, I have re- 
jected Mullach's entirely unauthorized reading, and retained that of one 
of the best MSS. I understand the line to mean, that every concept 
which sets itself up as the first principle must be tested by being made 
universal. If it can stand without any presuppositions, then it is the 
"True First Principle"; if it does not, it must be rejected. (See Jour, 
of Spec. Phil., Yol. III., No. 3, p. 288.) 

10. Some space has been devoted to elucidating this Introduction, 

12 Parmenides. 

because the interpretation put upon it by Sextus Empeiricus has gene- 
rally been accepted as the true one, 

11. The goddess now begins her discourse on Truth, the burden of 
which is that is is the universal predicate, and that there is no not-is. 
She warns her hearer to avoid believing the opposite doctrine. She 
sustains the true one b}^ the argument that nothing can be thought or 
affirmed of that which has no being, and thence arrives at the famous 
conclusion that being and thinking are identical. Plotinus remarks 
upon this passage : "Previously (to Plato) Parmenides likewise touched 
upon this view, inasmuch as he reduced Being and mind to the same 
thing, and affirmed that mind did not lie in the objects of sensation. 
For when he says that to think and to be are the same thing, he says 
that this is immovable, and, although he attributes to it the power of 
thinking, he deprives it of all corporeal movement in order that it may 
remain unchanged, and likens it to the bulk of a sphere because it holds 
and comprehends everything, and because thinking is not outside but 
inside of itself." (Enneads, V. 1, 8.) 

12. Proklos's interpretation of these lines runs thus: "For Parmeni- 
des saw Being itself (as has been said before), that which is abstracted 
from all things, and the highest of things that are, that wherein the 
existent was primarily manifested : not that he ignored the multipli- 
city of objects of intelligence ; for it was he who said, 'For Being ap- 
proaches to Being'; and again, 

' To me 'tis intliflferent ■ 
Whence I begin, for thither again thou shalt find me returning;' 

and elsewhere, 

' Everywhere distant alike from the centre' (line 103). 

By all these expressions he shows that he considers that the objects of 
intelligence are many, and that there is a hierarchy among them of 
first, and middle, and second, and an ineffable union ; thus not ignoring 
the multiplicity of the things that are, but seeing that the whole of this 
multiplicity has proceeded from the one Being. For there is the foun- 
tain of Being, and the home thereof, and the hidden Being from which 
the things that are draw their unity." 

13. Plato, in a connection similar to this, says : "For these things 
are mere word-puzzles, and it is impossible to affirm in thought 
whether Being, or Non-Being, or both, or neither, belongs to any one 
of them." (Rep. V. 479, C.) Neither Parmenides nor Plato had an 
opportunity of reading Hegel's Logic, in which it is expressly affirmed 
that pure Being and pure Nothing are the same. 

14. Plato says : "For the was and the shall be are g-enerated forms 
of time, although we inadvertently and wrongly apply them to the 

Parmenides. 18 

eternal essence. For we say that it was, is, and shall be ; yet the is 
only belongs to it truly, whereas was and shall be are properly predi- 
cated of that generation which goes forward in time." (Tim. 37, E.) 
Compare The Sentences of Porphyry, Jour, of Spec. Phil., Vol. III., 
No. 1. The whole of this fragment bears a striking resemblance to 
one of the hymns in the tenth book of the Eig-Yeda. The following 
translation of it is taken from Max Miiller's History of Ancient San- 
skrit Literature^ p. 546 : 

' " Nor aught nor naught existed ; yon bright sky- 

Was not, nor heaven's broad woof outstretched above. 
What covered all? what sheltered? what concealed? 
Was it the water's fathomless abyss? 
There was not death — hence was there naught immortal, 
There was no confine betwixt day and night; 
The only One breathed breathless in itself, 
Other than it there nothing since has been. 
Darkness there was, and all at first was veiled 
In gloom profound — an ocean without light. 
The germ that still lay covered in the husk 

Burst forth, one nature, from the fervent heat. ' 

Then first came Love upon it, the new spring 
Of mind; yea, poets in their hearts discerned, 
Pondering, this bond between created things 
And uncreated. Comes this spark from earth. 
Piercing and all-pervading, or from heaven? 
Then seeds were sown and mighty power arose — 
Nature below, and Power and Will above. 
Who knows the secret? who proclaimed it here, 
Whence, whence this manifold creation sprang? — 
The gods themselves came later into being. — 
Who knows from whence this great creation sprang? — 
He from whom all this great creation came, 
Whether his will created or was mute, 
The Most High Seer that is in highest heaven, 
He knows it— or, perchance, e'en he knows not." 

15. Aristotle seems to have this passage in view, when he says : 
<* Parmenides seems to hold to the One of reason, and Melissos to the 
One of matter. Accordingly the former affirms that the One is finite, 
the latter that it is infinite." Simplicius put the argument of Par- 
menides in a syllogistic form, "If Being is, and not Non-Being, it 
must be free from deficiency : but, being free from deficiency, it is per- 
fect ; and being perfect, it must have an end, and is therefore not end* 
less. Having an end, it has a limit and a boundary." It is impos- 
sible to render into English the word-quibble on riXoq and xiXtiov to 
which Simplicius here condescends. 

16. This is a very clear statement of the doctrine promulgated by 
Spinoza — the Parmenides of modern philosophy. Hegel (History of 

14 Parmenides. 

Philosophy, Vol. III., p. 372) says : " The simple thought of the ideal- 
ism of Spinoza is : what is true is simply and solely the one substance 
whose attributes are thinking and extension (Nature) : and this abso- 
lute unity alone is actual, is the actuality — it alone is God" (p. 376). 
"This, in general terms, is the Spinozan idea. It is the same as the 
ov of the Eleatics. It is the oriental view, which Spinoza was the first 
to utter in the West. In general, we may remark that thought had of 
necessity to occupy the standpoint of Spinozism; that is the true 
beginning of all philosophy. If one begins to philosophize, ho must 
begin by being a Spinozist. The soul must bathe in this ether of the 
one substance, wherein all that was held to be true has vanished. It 
is to this negation of all particularity that every philosopher must 
come: it is the freeing of the spirit, and forms its absolute basis. The 
diiference between the latter and the Eleatic philosophy is simply this, 
that, owing to the influence of Chi'istianity in the modern world, there 
is present in the mind generally'- a more concrete individuality. Not- 
withstanding this infinite demand for the wholly concrete, however, 
substance is not defined as concrete in itself. Inasmuch, therefore, as 
the concrete does not lie in the content of substance, it must fall back 
upon the reflective thinking, and then it is only from the infinite 
antitheses of the latter that the unity results. Of substance as such 
nothing more can be predicated; we can speak only of philosophizing 
concerning it, and of the antitheses cancelled in it. All distinction 
depends simply upon the nature of the antitheses that are cancelled in 
it. Spinoza has been very far from demonstrating this as clearly as 
the ancients took the trouble to do." The two following propositions 
from Spinoza's Ethics will illustrate this : 

Book I. Prop. XIY. Besides God no substance can be or be conceived. 
Demonstration, Since God is an absolutely infinite Being, of which 
no attribute expressing the essence of substance can be denied, and he 
exists of necessity ; if there were any substance besides God, it would 
have to be explained by some attribute of God, and thus two substan- 
ces having the same attribute would exist, which is absurd. Where- 
fore there can be no substance besides God, and hence none such can 
be conceived. For if it could be conceived, it would necessarilj- be 
conceived as existing, and this, according to the former part of this 
demonstration, is absurd. Wherefore, besides God, &c. Q. E. D. 

Book II. Prop. I. I^hought is an attribute of God, or God is a 
thinhing thing. 

17. Simplicius, in commenting upon this passage, says : " We need not 
wonder if he says that the one Being is 'like to the bulk of a well- 
rounded sphere'; for by this figure he merely aims at a sort of mytho- 
logical image." 

Parmenides. 15 

18. Aristotle, Metaph. I. 5, says : " Parmenides seems to speak more 
circumspectly. For laying down Being, and considering Not-Being to 
be nothing, he of necessity thinks Being to be one, and nothing else. 
* * * But being compelled to follow the phenomena, and assuming 
that the One is according to reason, and plurality according to sense, 
he again lays down the two causes and two first principles, hot and 
cold — meaning, for example, fire and earth. The former of these, the 
hot, he arranges on the side of Being, the other on that of Non-Being." 
In the extant fragments of Parmenides there is no mention of heat or 
cold, but only of light and darkness. 

19. The word for circlets does not occur in the original, but Cicero 
{De Natxird Deorum I. 11) tells us : " Parmenides makes a sort of fic- 
tion in the likeness of a crown. He gives it the name of arefdv-q, as 
encircling with a glow of light the sphere which surrounds the heav- 
en, and which he calls God, wherein no one can perceive either divine 
figure or sense." One is almost tempted, in reading this fragment, to 
believe that, according to the view of Parmenides, the sun occupied the 
centre of the material universe, and that the Anima llundi, or Power 
that governed all things, was situated in the centre of the sun. There 
is extant a hymn of Proklos To the /Sun, of which the opening lines 
may be translated thus : 

" Give ear, O king of intellectual light; 
Gold-reined Titan, light's Dispenser, hear! 
O king, that hoklest in thy hands the key 
Of hfe's sustaining fount, and from above 
Dost lead throughout the wide material worlds, 
In streams, the brimming fount of harmony, 
Give ear; for, seated on the central throne 
Above the ether, in the fulgent orb, 
The Universe's heart, thou hllest all 
With thine own spirit-waking forward thought. 
The planets, life-lit at thy fadeless torch. 
Forever In their ceaseless and unwearied rounds 
Send life-engendering beams to all on earth, 
While underneath thine ever-circling car. 
By firm decree, the sister seasons spring. 
The din of clashing elements was staid 
When thou appeard'st, sprung from a nameless sire. 
To thee the Fates' unvanquished band gave way, 
And backward twist the thread of destiny 
At thy behest; for thou art mightier far, 
And rulest mightily with royal power." 

There are many points of resemblance between this poem and the 
fragments of Parmenides, and, as Proklos was well acquainted with 
the work of the latter, we may with some probability suppose that he 
adopted his cosmological views. Erdmann, in his Grundriss der Ge- 

16 Descartes^ Meditations. 

schichte der Philosophie,. says : " Parraenides' ideas of the construction 
of the Universe ai'e cither incorrectly handed down, or are unintelli- 
gible from their peculiarity of expression. They did not prevent him 
from having, for his time, important astronomical information." This 
is clear from lines 143-4, which evidently refer to the moon. 

20. This agrees somewhat with Hesiod's statement that Eros (Love) 
was the child of Chaos and Earth. (Theogony, 121.) Compare also 
note 14, and Preller's Gi'iechische Mythologie, Vol. I., p. 393. We 
know also from Aristotle that Parmenides made Love one of the prime 
movers. The other of the two pi'iraal causes (ahtai), mentioned by 
Ai'istotle, was doubtless Hate, as indeed we are told by Cicero. This, 
again, brings us very close to the doctrine of Empedokles, whose two 
great physical principles are Friendship (<pduT7]<;) and Strife (>eIxoq), 
or, as we should say in modern times, attraction and repulsion. 

21. Theophrastos's note on this passage is: ''Since there are two 
elements, the cognition is according to the one that prevails ; for, ac- 
cording as the hot or the cold has the upper hand, the thought will 

22. The following Latin version of a passage of Parmenides, proba- 
bl}' connected with this, but no longer extant^ occurs in Coelius Aure- 
lianus De 31orb. Chron. IV. 9 : 

"Feraina virque siinul veneris qvium semina miscent 
Venis, informans diverso ex sanguine virtus, 
Temperiem servans, bene condita corpora fingit; 
At si vlrtutes permixto semine pugnent 
Nee faciant unam, permixto in corpore diras 
Nasceutem gemino vexabuut semine sexum." 



In wlilcli are clearly proved the Existence of God, and the 
real distinction hetioeen the Soul and Body of Man. 

Translated from the French of Descartes, by Wm. R. Waikeb. 



It is not now that I have discovered that, from my earliest 
years, I have received many false opinions as true, and that 
what I have since built on foundations so insecure can be 
but very doubtful and uncertain ; and from that time I have 

Descartes'* Meditations, 17 

judged it well that I should seriously undertake, once in my 
life, to rid myself of all the opinions I have hitherto received 
into my belief, and to begin anew from the foundations if I 
would establish anything firm and constant in the sciences. 
But, this undertaking appearing to me to be very great, I 
waited until I should attain an age so mature that I could not 
hope for another after it in which I should be more fit to carry 
out the undertaking ; which has made me defer so long that I 
should henceforth believe myself blameworthy if I longer 
employed in deliberation the time which remains to me for 
action. Having therefore, this day, in accordance with this 
design, freed my mind from all manner of cares, and happily 
feeling myself agitated by no passion, and having gained for 
myself an assured repose in a peaceful solitude, I shall apply 
myself seriously and freely to destroy generally all my old 
opinions. But, for this purpose, it will be unnecessary for 
me to show that they are all false, a process of which per- 
haps I might never see the end ; but since reason already 
persuades me that I ought not less carefully to guard against 
giving credence to things which are not entirely certain and 
indubitable than to those which manifestly appear to me to 
be false, it will be suflacient for me, in order to reject them all, 
if I can find in each some reason for doubt. And to that end 
it will be unnecessary for me to examine each one in par- 
ticular, which would be an endless labor ; but, because the 
destruction of the foundations necessarily draws Avith it all 
the rest of the edifice, I shall first attack the principles on 
which my old opinions were based. 

All that I have hitherto received as true and assured I have- 
learned of the senses or by the senses ; but I have sometimes- 
experienced that the senses are deceptive ; and it is prudent 
never to trust ourselves entirely to what has once deceived us. 

But perhaps, although the senses sometimes deceive us. 
concerning things that are in a very small measure percepti- 
ble and things that are very remote, there are nevertheless 
many others of which we cannot reasonably doubt, notwith- 
standing that we have known them through the medium of 
the senses : for example, that I am here, seated by the fire, in 
my dressing-gown, with this paper in my hand, and so forth. 
And how is it that I cannot deny that these hands and this- 

18 Descartes' Meditations. 

body are mine, unless I would compare myself to certain mad- 
men whose brains are so confused and darkened by atrabili- 
ous vapors, that they constantly affirm that they are kings, 
when in fact they are very poor ; that they are clothed in gold 
and purple, when in fact they are entirely naked ; or who 
imagine themselves to be pitchers, or to have a glass body ? 
But, what! these are fools, and I should not be less extrava- 
gant were I to be guided by their example. 

However, I have here to consider that I am a man, and con- 
sequently that I am accustomed to sleep, and to represent to 
myself in my dreams the same things, or sometimes things 
less probable than these madmen do in their waking hours. 
How often has it happened to me to dream by night that I 
was in this place, that I was dressed, that I was near the fire, 
although I was quite naked in bed ! It certainly seems to me 
at present that it is not with sleeping eyes that I look at this 
paper ; that this head which I shake is not slumbering ; that 
it is with design and deliberate i)urj)ose that I extend this 
hand and that I feel it : what happens in sleep does not seem 
so clear or distinct as all this. But, in considering this matter 
carefully, I call to mind that I have often been deceived in my 
sleep by similar illusions, and, in halting at this thought, I 
see so manifestly that there are not here any certain marks 
by which waking can be clearly distinguished from sleep, 
that I am fairly astonished ; and my astonishment is such that 
I might almost be persuaded that I am asleep. 

Let us suppose, then, that we are asleep, and that all these 
particulars — namely, that we open our eyes, shake our heads, 
stretch out our hands, and similar things — are but false illu- 
sions ; and let us think that neither our hands nor our whole 
body are such as we see them. Yet it is necessary, at least, 
to avow that the things which are represented to us in sleep 
are like pictures and paintings, which can be formed only 
from resemblance to something real and veritable, and that 
therefore, at least, these general things — namely, eyes, a head, 
hands, and a whole body — are not imaginary things, but 
things real and existing. For painters, even when they en- 
deavor with the greatest skill to represent sirens and satyrs 
by fantastic and extraordinary figures, cannot however give 
them forms and natures entirely new, but make only a certain 

Descartes^ Meditations. 19 

mixture and composition of the members of divers animals ; 
or if, perhaps, their imagination is extravagant enough to 
invent something so new that nothing has ever been seen 
resembling it — and that therefore their work represents a 
thing purely fictitious and absolutely false — the colors, at all 
events, in which they paint them must be actual. 

And, for the same reason, while these general things — 
namely, a body, eyes, a head, hands, and other such things — 
may be imaginary, yet we must necessarily allow that there 
are at least some other things yet more simple and more uni- 
versal which are true and existing, from the mixture of which, 
precisely as from that of certain actual colors, all these ima- 
ges of things which reside in our thought, be they true and 
real, or fictitious and fantastic, are formed. 

Of this kind of things is corporeal nature in general and its 
extension ; together with the figure of things extended, their 
quantity or size, and their number, as also the place where 
they are, the time which measures their duration, and so forth. 
Hence we might perhaps not conclude amiss if we say that 
physics, astronomy, medicine, and all the other sciences which 
depend on the consideration of compound things, are very 
doubtful and uncertain ; but that arithmetic, geometry, and 
the other sciences of that nature which treat only of things 
very simple and general, without much reference to whether 
they are in nature or not, contain something certain and indu- 
bitable : for, whether I wake or sleep, two and three added 
together always make five, and the square will never have 
more than four sides; and it does not seem possible that 
truths so clear and apj)arent can be suspected of any falsity 
or uncertainty. 

Yet I have long had in my mind a certain opinion that there 
is a God who can do everj^thing, and by whom I have been 
made and created what I am. Now, how do I know but that 
he has ordained that there should be no earth, no heaven, no 
extended body, no magnitude, no place, and that nevertheless 
I should have the feeling of all these things, and that all these 
should not seem to me to exist otherwise than as I see them ? 
And, verily, as I sometimes judge that others are deceived in 
the things which they think they best know, how do I know 
but that he has ordained that I should be deceived every time 

20 Descartes^ Meditations. 

I make the addition of two and three, or count the sides of a 
square, or judge, of something still more easy, if anything 
more easy than that can be imagined? But it may be that 
God has not willed that I should be thus deceived, for he is 
called supremely good. Yet if it was contrary to his good- 
ness to have so made me that I should always be deceived, it 
would also seem contrary to his goodness to permit me some- 
times to be deceived, and yet I cannot question but that he 
does permit it. There are, perhaps, persons here who would 
rather deny the existence of a God so powerful than believe 
that all other things are uncertain. But let us not oppose 
them for the present, and let us admit in their favor that all 
that is said here of a God is a fable : still, in whatever fashion 
they suppose I attained to the state and being which I pos- 
sess, whether they attribute it to some destiny or fatality, or 
refer it to chance, or will have it to be by a continual sequence 
and connection of things, or, finally, in any other manner ; 
since to fail and be deceived is an imperfection, the less pow- 
erful the author is to whom they assign my origin, the more 
probable will it be that I am so imperfect as always to deceive 
myself. To which reasons I have certainly nothing to answer ; 
but after all I am constrained to acknowledge that there is 
nothing in all that I formerly believed to be true of which I 
cannot in some fashion doubt; and that not through rashness 
or levity, but for very strong and maturely considered rea- 
sons; so that henceforth I must not less carefully guard my- 
self against giving credence thereto than to what is manifestly 
false, if I wish to find anything certain and assui'ed in the 

But it is not enough to have made these remarks, I must be 
careful to bear them in mind ; for these old and customary 
opinions still often recur to my mind, the long and familiar 
intimacy they have had with me giving them a right to 
occupy my mind against my will and to make themselvea 
almost masters of my belief; and I shall never lose the habit 
of deferring to them and of having confidence in them so long 
as I shall consider them such as they really are, namely, in 
some fashion doubtful, as I shall presently show, and yet very 
probable, so that we have more reason to believe than to deny 
them. This is why I think I shall not do amiss, if, deliber- 

Descartes^ Meditations. 21 

ately assuming a contrary proposition, / deceive myself, and 
if I feign for some time that all these opinions are false and 
imaginary ; nntil at last having so balanced my old and my 
new prejudices that they cannot weigh down my opinion 
more to one side than to another, my judgment will be hence- 
forth no more mastered by bad habits and turned from the right 
road which can conduct it to the knowledge of truth. For 
I am assured that, nevertheless, there is neither danger nor 
error in this way, and that I cannot to-day too much indulge 
my distrust, since it is not now a question of acting, but only 
of meditating and knowing. 

I shall suppose, then, not that God, who is very good and 
the sovereign source of truth, but that a certain evil spirit, not 
less cunning and deceitful than powerful, has employed all 
his industry to deceive me ; I shall think that sky, air, earth, 
colors, figures, sounds, and all other external things, are noth- 
ing but illusions and idle fancies, of which he makes use to 
. lay snares for my credulity ; I shall consider myself as not 
having hands, or eyes, or flesh, or blood — as not having any 
senses, but falsely believing myself to have all these things ; 
I shall remain obstinately attached to this thought ; and if, 
by these means, it is not in my power to come to the knowl- 
edge of any truth, at least it is in my power to suspend my 
judgment. For this reason I shall guard carefully against 
receiving into my belief any falsity, and shall prepare my 
mind so well against all the wiles of this great deceiver, that, 
however powerful and cunning he is, he will never be able in 
any degree to impose uj)on me. 

But this design is painful and laborious, and a kind of idle- 
ness draws me insensibly into the train of my ordinary life ; 
and just as a slave, who has been enjoying in his sleep an 
imaginary liberty, when he begins to suspect that his liberty 
is but a dream, fears to awake, and conspires with these 
agreeable illusions in order to be a long time deceived by 
them, even so do I fall back, insensibly to myself, into my old 
opinions, and I fear to awake from this slumbering condition 
lest the laborious watchings which would have to succeed the 
tranquillity of this repose, in place of bringing me some light 
and some knowledge in the understanding of the truth, should 
not be sufiicient to clear away all the darkness of the diflo-cul- 
ties which have just been stirred. 

22 Descartes^ Meditations. 




My yesterday's meditation lias filled my mind witli so many 
doubts that henceforth it is no more in my power to forget 
them. And, nevertheless, I do not see in what way I can re- 
solve them; and as if I were suddenly thrown into very deep 
water, I am so surprised that I can neither secure a footing in 
the bottom, nor swim, in order to keep myself above water. 
I shall make the effort, however, and again follow the same 
path which I yesterday entered on when I withdrew from 
everything concerning which I could imagine the smallest 
doubt, just as if I knew that it was absolutely false; and I 
shall still continue in this path until I have encountered some- 
thing certain, or at least, if I can do nothing else, until I have 
learned for certain that there is nothing certain in the world. 
Archimedes, in order to draw the terrestrial globe from its 
position and to transport it to another place, asked for noth- 
ing but for a point which should be firm and immovable ; so 
I should have a right to entertain high hopes if I am happy 
enough to find only one thing which is certain and indu- 

I suppose, then, that all the things I see are false ; I per 
suade myself that all that my memory, filled Avith illusions, 
represents to me, has never existed ; I think that I have no 
senses; I believe that body, figure, extension, motion, and 
place, are but fictions of my. mind. What, then, can be 
esteemed real? Perhaps nothing besides this, that there is 
nothing certain in the world. 

But how do I know whether there is not some other thing 
different from those which I have just judged as uncertain, 
and of which we cannot have the least doubt ? Is there not 
some God or other power which puts these thoughts into my 
mind? That is not necessary, for perhaps I am of myself 
capable of producing them. I then, at least, am something, 
am I not ? But I have already denied that I had any senses 
or any body: I nevertheless hesitate, for wiiat follows from 
that? Am I so dependent on the body and the senses that I 
cannot exist without them? But I am persuaded that there is 
nothing whatever in the world, no sky, no earth, no minds, no 

Descartes^ Meditations. 23 

bodies; have I not, then, persuaded myself that I am not? 
Far from it; without doubt I am, whether I persuade myself, 
or if I have merely thought something. But there is a kind 
of deceiver, very powerful and very cunning, who uses all his 
industry always to deceive me. There is not, then, any doubt 
but that I am, if he deceives me ; and, deceive me as much as 
he will, he can never bring it about that I should be nothing 
so long as I shall think I am something. So that, after much 
reflection and after having carefully examined all things, we 
must at last conclude and hold as constant, that this proposi- 
tion, 7 am, I exist., is necessarily true every time I pronounce 
it or conceive it in my mind. 

But I do not yet know with sufficient clearness what I am, I 
who am certain that I am ; so that henceforth it will be neces- 
sary for me to guard carefully against imprudently taking 
anything else for me, and thus not to be mistaken in this 
knowledge which I assert to be more certain and more evident 
than all that I have hitherto had. For this reason I shall now 
consider anew what I believed to exist before entering into 
these last thoughts ; and from my old opinions I shall cut off 
all that more or less can be combatted by the reasons which I 
have just advanced, so that there shall only remain precisely 
what is entirely certain and indubitable. What, then, did I 
heretofore believe myself to be ? Manifestly, I thought I was 
a man. But what is a man ? Shall I say he is a reasonable 
animal? Certainly not; for it would be necessary for me 
afterwards to discover what an animal is and what reasonable 
is, and thus from a single question I should insensibly fall 
into an infinity of others more difhcult and more complicated ; 
and I would not waste the little time and leisure which remain 
to me in unravelling such difficulties. But I shall rather stop 
here and consider the thoughts which heretofore sprung up of 
themselves in my mind, and which were prompted by my own 
nature alone when I applied myself to the consideration of 
my being. I considered myself first as having a face, hands, 
arms, and all that machine composed of bone and flesh such 
as we see in a corpse, which machine I designated by the 
name of body. I considered besides that I fed, that I walked, 
that I felt, and that I thought, and I referred all these actions 
to the soul ; but I did not stop to consider what this soul was ; 

24 Descartes^ Meditations, 

or else, if I did stop, I imagined it was something extremely- 
rare and subtile, like a wind, or a flame, or a very thin air, 
which was insinuated into and spread through my grosser 
parts. As to the body, I nowise doubted of its nature ; but 
thought I knew it very distinctly, and if I had wished to 
ex]Dlain it according to the notions I then had of it, I should 
have described it thus : By the body, I understand all that 
can be limited by any form ; which can be contained in any 
place, and fill a space in such sort that every other body shall 
be excluded from it ; which can be felt either by touch, or by 
sight, or by hearing, or by taste, or by smell ; which can be 
moved in several ways, not in truth of itself, but by some- 
thing extraneous to it by which it is touched and from which 
it receives the impulse : for to have the power of self-motion, 
as also of feeling or thinking, was something I did not at all 
believe to belong to the nature of the body ; on the contrary, 
I was rather astonished to see that such faculties should meet 
in any. 

But who am I, now that I suppose there is a certain spirit 
extremely ingenious, and, if I may venture to say so, mali- 
cious and cunning, who employs all his power and industry 
to deceive me ? Can I affirm that I have the least of all those 
things which I have just said pertain to the nature of the 
body ? I stop to consider the matter attentively, I turn all 
these things over and over in my mind, and I cannot discover 
any that I can say is in me. There is no need for my stop- 
ping to enumerate them. Let us pass, then, to the attributes 
of the soul, and see whether there be any one of them in me. 
The first are feeding and walking ; but if it be true that I have 
no body, it is also true that I cannot walk or feed myself. 
Another is feeling ; but one cannot feel without a body ; — 
although, indeed, I have imagined that formerly I felt many 
things during sleep which I knew on awaking I had not really 
felt. Another is thinking, and I find here that thought is an 
attribute which belongs to me : it alone cannot be detached 
from me. I am, I exist ; that is certain : but how long ? As 
long as I think ; for perhaps it would even hapi^en, if I should 
totally cease to think, that I should at the same time entirely 
cease to be. I am now admitting nothing which is not neces- 
sarily true ; I am, then, speaking in precise terms, only a thing 

Descartes^ Meditations. 25 

which thinks— that is to say, a mind, an nnderstanding, or a 
reason, terms whose signification was to me formerly un- 
known. Now, I am a real thing and really existing ; but what 
thing? As I have already said : a thing which thinks. And 
what more ? I will stir up my imagination in order to see 
whether I am not something more. I am not that assemblage 
of members Avhich we call the human body ; I am not a thin 
and penetrating air spread through all its members ; I am not 
a wind, a breath, a vapor, or anj^hing at all which I can feign 
or imagine, since I have supposed that all that was nothing, 
and since, without changing this supposition, I find that I 
never fail to be certain that I am something. 

But perhaps it is true that these very things which I sup- 
pose not to be because they are unknown to me, are not really 
different from me, whom I do know. I cannot say ; I do not 
now dispute concerning that, I can give my judgment only on 
things known to me : I know that I exist and I am trying to 
find what I am, I whom I know to be. Now it is very certain 
that the knowledge of my being, thus precisely understood, 
does not depend on things whose existence is yet unknown to 
me ; consequently, it does not depend on any of those which 
I can by my imagination feign. And even these terms feign 
and imagine warn me of my error; for I should really 
feign if I imagined myself to be something, since to imagine 
is nothing else than to contemplate the figure or image of a 
corporeal thing : but I already know for certain that I am, 
and that, in a word, it may be that all these images, and gen- 
erally all that pertains to the nature of the body, are but 
dreams or chimeras. Hence I see clearly that there was as lit- 
tle reason in my saying I will stir up my imagination in order 
more distinctly to know what I am, as if I said : I am now 
awake, and I perceive something real and veritable ; but, be- 
cause I do not yet perceive it with sufficient clearness, I shall 
go to sleep on purpose, that my dreams may represent to me 
this matter with more truth and clearness. And yet I mani- 
festly know that nothing of all that I can comprehend by 
means of the imagination pertains to this knowledge wh ich 
have of myself, and that it is necessary to recall and turn 
away one's mind from this mode of conceiving in order that 
it may know more distinctly its nature. 

26 Descartes^ Meditations. 

But what am I tlien? A thing that thinks. What is a 
thing that thinks? It is a tiling tliat doubts, that under- 
stands, that conceives, that affirms, that denies, that wills, 
that wills not, that also imagines and feels. Certainly, these 
are not a few if they all pertain to my nature. But why 
should not they pertain to it ? Am I not that very person who 
now doubts almost everything, who nevertheless understands 
and conceives certain things, who asserts and affirms these 
alone to be true, who denies all others, who wishes and de- 
sires to know more, who wishes not to be deceived, who imag- 
ines many things, even sometimes in spite of himself, and who 
also feels many things, as by the mediation of the organs of 
the body ? Is there anything of all that which is not as real 
as the certitude that I am, and that I exist even though I 
should always be asleep, and though he who has given me 
my existence should use all his industry to mislead me ? Is 
there, therefore, any one of these attributes which can be dis- 
tinguished from my thought, or which can be said to be sepa- 
rate from myself? For it is of itself so evident that it is I 
who doubt, who understand and desire, that there is no need 
that I should here add anything by way of explanation. And 
I have certainly also the power to imagine; for though it 
might happen (as I have before supposed) that the things 
which I imagine may not be true, yet this power of imagina- 
tion does not cease to be really in me, but forms part of my 
thought. In short, I am the very thing which thinks — that is, 
which perceives certain things as by the organs of the senses, 
since in fact I see light, hear sound, feel heat. But it may be 
said that these appearances are false, and that I am asleep. 
Be it so : yet, at least, it is certain that it appears to me that 
I see light, hear sound, and feel heat ; that cannot be false, 
and this is properly what in me is called feeling, which again 
is precisely thinking. From this I begin to know what I am 
a little more clearly and distinctly than before. 

But notwithstanding it still seems to me, and I cannot divest 
myself of the belief, that the corporeal things whose images 
are formed by thinking, which fall under the senses, and which 
the senses themselves examine, are not more distinctly known 
than this unknown part of me which does not fall under the 
imagination ; although, in truth, it is very strange to say that 

Descartes^ Meditations. 27 

I should know and comprehend more distinctly things whose 
existence appears to me doubtful, which are unknown to me, 
and which do not pertain to me, than those of whose truth I 
am persuaded, which are known to me, and which pertain to 
my proper nature, and, in one word, than myself. But I see 
clearly that this is the explanation : my mind is a vagabond 
who delights to straj^, and who cannot yet brook being kept 
within the just limits of truth. Let us, then, once more loosen 
the bridle, and giving the mind' every manner of liberty, j)er- 
mit it to examine the objects which appear to it outside, in 
order that, happening hereafter to withdraw it gently and 
opportunely, and to steadily fix it on the consideration of its 
being and the things which it finds within it, it may after that 
be more easily regulated and conducted. 

Let us then now consider the things which are commonly 
esteemed to be the most easily known of all, and which are 
also believed to be the most distinctly known, namely, the 
bodies which we touch and which we see : not, indeed, bodies 
in general, for these general notions are ordinarily a little 
more confused ; but let us consider one in particular. Let us 
take, for example, this piece of wax: it has just been taken 
fresh from the hive, it has not yet lost the sweetness of the 
honey which it contained, it yet retains something of the 
odor of the flowers from which it was gathered; its color, 
its shape, its size, are apparent; it is hard, cold, pliable, 
and if you strike it, it will emit a sound. In a word, all things 
which can distinctly cause a body to be known are found in it. 
But while I am speaking it is brought to the fire : what re- 
mained in it of flavor is exhaled, the odor evaporates, its color 
changes, its shape is lost, its size enlarged, it becomes liquid, 
it is warm, one can scarcely touch it, and although it is struck 
it no more emits any sound. Does the same wax still remain 
after this change ? We must admit that it does ; no one doubts 
of it or judges otherwise. What is it, then, which we knew 
in this piece of wax with so much distinctness? It certainly 
cannot be anything of all that I observed by the mediation of 
the senses, since all the things which fell under taste, smell, 
sight, touch, and hearing, are changed, and still the same wax 
remains. Perhaps it was what I now think, namely, that this 
wax was not this sweetness of honey, or this agreeable odor 

28 Descartes'* Meditations. 

of flowers, or this whiteness, or this shape, or this sound ; Ibut 
only a body which a little before appeared to me sensible un- 
der these forms, and which now makes itself felt under others. 
But what is it, s^jeaking precisely, that I imagine when I con- 
ceive it in this way? Let us consider it attentively, and, cut- 
ting off all the things which do not pertain to the wax, let us 
see what remains. There certainly only remains something 
extended, flexible, and changeable. But what is it to be flex- 
ible and changeable ? Is it not that I imagine that this wax, 
being round, is capable of becoming square, and of passing 
from the square into a triangular shape ? Certainly not ; it 
is not that, since I conceive it capable of receiving an infini- 
tude of such changes; and yet I cannot run through this 
infinitude by my imagination, and consequently this concep- 
tion that I have of the wax has not its source in the faculty of 
imagination. "What, now, is this extension? Is it not also 
unknown? for it becomes larger when the wax is melting, 
larger when it boils, and still larger when the heat increases ; 
and I should not conceive clearly and according to truth what 
wax is, if I did not think that this wax which we are consider- 
ing is capable of receiving more varieties in the way of exten- 
sion than I ever imagined. It is necessary, therefore, to ad- 
mit that I cannot even comprehend by the imagination what 
this piece of wax is, and that it is my understanding alone that 
comprehends it. I say this piece of wax in particular ; for as 
regards wax in general the thing is still more evident. But 
what is this piece of wax which can be comprehended only 
by the understanding or the mind ? Certainly it is the same 
object which I see, which I touch, which I imagine, and, in a 
word, what I have always from the beginning believed it to 
be. But what is here particularly to be remarked, is that my 
perception is not a vision, or a touch, or an imagination, and 
never has been, although it formerly seemed so, but only an 
examination by the mind, an examination which may be im- 
perfect and confused as it was before, or else clear and distinct 
as it now is, according as my attention is more or less directed 
to the things which are in it and of which it is composed. 

Yet I cannot express my astonishment when I consider how 
much weakness and tendency towards being insensibly car- 
ried into error there are in my mind. For while without 

Descartes'* Meditations. 29 

speaking I consider all this witliin myself, yet the words 
make me pause, and I am nearly deceived by the terms of 
common language ; for we say that we see the same wax if it 
is before us, and not that we judge it to be the same from its 
having the same color and the same shape : from which I 
should almost conclude that we know the wax by the sight of 
the eyes, and not by the sole examination of the mind ; if by 
chance I observed from a window some men passing in the 
street, I should, so viewing them, at once say that I see men, 
just as I say that I see the wax ; and yet what do I see from 
this window but some hats and cloaks, which might cover arti- 
ficial machines moved merely by springs? But I judge that 
they are men, and thus I comprehend by the sole power of 
judgment which resides in my mind what I believed I saw 
with my eyes. 

A man who seeks to raise his knowledge above the common 
ought to be ashamed to draw occasions of doubt from the forms 
of speech invented by the vulgar : I prefer to go further, and 
to consider if I conceived with more evidence and perfection 
what this wax was when I first perceived it and when I believed 
I knew it by means of the external senses, or at least by com- 
mon sense, as it is called — that is to say, by the imaginative 
faculty — than I now conceive it after having carefully exam- 
ined what it is and in what fashion it can be known. It would 
certainly be ridiculous to call this in question. For what was 
there in this first perception that was distinct? what was there 
which did not appear capable of falling in the same way un- 
der the senses of the smallest of animals ? But when I dis- 
tinguish between the wax and its external forms, and when, 
just as if I had removed from it its dress, I consider it in its 
entire nakedness, it is certain, although there may yet be 
some error found in my judgment, that I cannot conceive it in 
this way without a human mind. 

But after all, what shall I say of this mind, that is to say, 
of myself? for hitherto I have not admitted anything in me 
but mind. What then? I who appear to conceive with so 
much clearness and distinctness this piece of wax, do I not 
know myself, not only with much more verity and certainty, 
but also with much more distinctness and clearness? for if I 
judge that the wax is or exists from the fact that I see it, it 

30 Descartes^ Meditations. 

certainly follows more evidently that I am, or that I myself 
exist from the same fact that I see it : for it may turn out that 
what I see is not really wax ; it may also turn out that I 
have not even eyes to see anything : but it cannot be that 
when I see, or (I do not distinguish between the two) when I 
think I see, I who think am not something. In the same way, 
if I judge that the wax exists from the fact that I touch it, the 
same thing will again follow, namely, that I am ; and if I 
judge it from the fact that my imagination, or whatever other 
cause it may be, persuades me of it, I shall always come to 
the same conclusion. And what I have here remarked of the 
wax may be applied to all other things which are external to 
me and which are to be found outside of me. And, moreover, 
if the notion or perception of the wax seemed to me clearer 
and more distinct after not only sight or touch, but also many 
other causes rendered it more manifest to me, with how much 
more evidence, distinctness and clearness must I admit that I 
now know myself, since all the reasons which enable me to 
know and conceive the nature of wax, or whatever other body 
it may be, prove much better the nature of my mind ; and 
there are to be found, besides, so many other things in the 
mind itself which can contribute to the elucidation of its na- 
ture, that those which depend on the body, as these do, are 
scarcely worthy of being taken into account ! 

But at last I have insensibly arrived at my destination ; for 
since there is one thing which is now manifest to me, that 
bodies themselves are not properly known by the senses or 
by the faculty of imagination, but by the understanding 
alone, and that they are not known from the fact that they 
are seen or touched, but only from the fact that they are un- 
derstood, or else comprehended by the thought, I see clearly 
that there is nothing which it is easier for me to know than 
the nature of my own mind. But because it is difficult to get 
rid thus readily of an opinion to which one has long been 
habituated, it will be well for me to stop for a little at this 
place, in order that by prolonging my meditation I may im- 
press more deeply in my memory this new knowledge. 

The Clieruhinic Wanderer. 31 


Translated from the Qennan of Johann Scheffler, otherwise called Angelus Silesius, a Poet of the seTen- 

teenth century, by A. E. Kroeoer. 

That which is fine, remaineth. 

Hard as a precious stone, clear as the purest gold, 
And as a crj'stal pure thy soul thou oughtest to hold. 

We know not luhat we are. 

I know not what I am ; I am not what I know; 
A thing and not a thing, a point and circle's flow. 

lam as God, and God is as I. 

I am as great as God, as I so small is He ; 
He cannot over me, I not below Him, be. 

God lives not without me. 

I know without me God cannot a moment live; 

If I to naught should turn, He too would death receive. 

A Christian as rich as God. 

I am as rich as God; there can no dust-speck be 
Which I hold not with Him in common ]3roperty. 

The Overgodhead. 

What has been said of God sufflceth me not yet; 
The ovei'godhead is my life, mj'^ light, my mate. 

Eternal Death. 

That death from which again doth not a new life soar, 
Is that death which my soul of all deaths doth abhor. 

We must be quite godly. 

Lord, it suffices not angel-like to adore Thee, 

And in the full perfection of gods to bloom before Thee; 

'Tis far too small for me, for my soul much too low; 

Who wants to servo Thee right must more than godlike grow. 

No death is without a life. 

I say, naught dieth e'er; 'tis but another life. 

Though 't be a painful one, which rises from death's strife. 

God knows no beginning for Himself. 

Thou ask'st me to report how long since God has been; 
Be still! it is so long, himself knows not it e'eu. 

IIow do we become like God? 

Who wants to be like God, must unlike all else grow, 
Get rid of his own self and of all selfish woe. 

The Rose. 

The rose, which here thine eye externally doth see, 
Hath bloomed thus in God from all eternity. 

32 Tlie Cheruhinic Wanderer. 

The Godhead is a Naught. 

The tender Godhead is a naught and over-naught : 
Who seeth naught in all, seeth alone, I wot. 

The S2nrii remains at all times free. 

Bind me close as thou wilt in thousand irons fast, 
I yet shall be unchained and free unto the last. 

How doth God rest in 7ne ? 

Thou must be and remain quite pure in mind and breast 
If God in thee Himself shall see and gently rest. 

In truth all is one. 

They speak of time and space, now and eternity, 
What then is time and space, now and eternity? 

Man maketh time. 

Thyself maketh the time, its works thj^ senses be ; 

But check'st thou their unrest, then thou from time art free. 


I know not what to do; all things in me do chime- 
Space, unspace. joy and pain, eternity and time. 

God external to all creatures. 

Go where thou canst not go, see where thou seest not, 

Hear where naught rings or sounds; then art thou near God brought. 

Always the same. 

What I was I became, what I've been I endure, 
Antl evermore shall be when soul and flesh find cure. 


God is my soul, my flesh, my sinews, and my blood: 
How, then, should I not now throughout be god-imbued? 


Yea, beauty is a light: the more thou lack'st of light. 
More horrible thou'lt be in flesh and soul, poor wight! 

Calm Beauty. 

Ah me! why scorn to learn from the flowrets of the plain 
How to please God and yet be beautiful, O men 1 

Without a why. 

The rose ne'er had a why; she blooms because she does; 
Worshippetli not herself; cares not whether she shows. 

To stand still is to go back. 

Who in the ways of God should venture to stand still. 
Would go back in his ways and into lasting ill. 

Love is better than Fear. 

To fear God is good, yet better love, I think; 

And best, through boundless love, your soul in Him to sink. 

TTie CheruMnic Wanderer. 33 

God loves himself alone. 

It is not surely true, God loves himself alone, 
And v/ho His other He can be in His beloved Son. 

God is, He docs not live. 

God only IS, my friend; He does not love 
As we to thee and me those words applied receive. 

The essential man. 

Faith ! an essential man is like eternity. 

Which all externalness keeps from all changes free. 

The best is to be still. 

To be employed is good, yet better 'tis to pray; 
Still better dumb and still before the Lord to stay. 


Secludedness is good; keep from the common free, 
And thou canst everywhere in lonely desert be. 

The eternal selection of Grace. 

O doubt not; if thy soul but out of God is born, 
Thou art selected then th' eternal hfe f adorn. 

Five tablets are in God. 

Five tablets are in God — friend, servant, son, bride, spouse; 
Who further goes, confuses and no more number knows. 


If longer seems to thee eternity than time, 

Then speakest thou of pain and not of bliss sublime. 

To the Virgin Mary. 

Tell me, O worthy lady, was humbleness most rare , 

Not the sole cause that thou wast chosen God to bear? 
Tell me if 'tis not so, that also I, on earth. 
May be His maid and bride, and unto God give birth. 

God-consecrated Hutnility. 

Think what 'tis to be humble, see what simplicity does: 
The shepherds were the first ones on whose sight God arose. 
He sees God nevermore, nor here on earth nor there, 
Whose only wish is not that he a shepherd were. 

Desire to Kiss. 

my sweet child, my God! let me here at Thy feet 
The smallest nail with kiss but one small moment greet. 

1 know that if I be but merely touched by Thee, 
Quickly will vanish all mine and Thine agony. 

The Greatest Wonder. 

O wonder, that God's Son has been for e'er and aye. 
And yet his mother first has brought him forth to day. 

34 The Cher lib Inic Wanderer. 

The Secret Rose. 

The rose, friend, is my soul; the thorn, my body's lust; 
The spring-time God's sweet grace, His anger cold and frost: 
Her bloom is to do good — not mind her thorn, the llesh — 
T 'adorn the soul with good and keep for heaven fresh. 
If she guards well her time and in the spring-time blows, 
She'll be for e'er and aye God's own selected rose. 

The Greatest Sanctuary. 

No greater sanctuary on earth has ever been 
Than a chaste body and a soul devoid of sin. 

To the Sinner. 

The richest devil has not e'en a pebble; see! 

Thou'rt slave of the most poor: can aught yet poorer be? 

The Way to Holiyiess. 

To holiness the road that is most near and sure 
Is humbleness, upon the ijatli of all that's pure. 

The Dawn and the Soul. 

Beautiful is the dawn, still more so is the soul 
Which God's beams light up in its body's lowest goal. 

Conceiving Si. Ignatius. 

You ask why those wild beasts St. Ignace did devour? 
He was a grain of wheat, God ground him into flour. 

The Godhead. 

The Godhead is a well, from it all things e'er flow. 
And yet again return : hence is 't a sea also. 

The Birth of the Pearl. 

The pearl is by the dew engendered, born, and loved, 
In the cavern of a shell; and this is quickly proved, 
If thou believ'st it not: the dew God's spirit is. 
The pearl is Jesus Christ, the shell my soul's abyss. 

The End of the Year. 

The old year, which now closes, in drawing to its end, 
Is held as if 'twere past; and this is true, my friend, 
Provided thou in God a new man didst luifold : 
K not, then triTly dost thou still live in the old. 

Thy body thou in spirit, thj^ spirit in God place. 
Then canst thou, as thou lik'st, live in full bliss and grace. 

The Paradise on Earth. 

Tiiou seek'st the paradise, and wishcst to get there, 
Where thou may'st be relieved from all unpeace and care; 
Then do content thy heart, and make it pure and wise: 
Thus Shalt thou be e'en here that self-same paradise. 

TTie CheruMnic Wanderer. 35 


Sin is no other thing than that a man from God 
Turneth his face away and seeketh death's abode. 


Yea, still the greatest wonder is man alone; for he 
Can e'en, as are his works, or god or devil be. 

The best Friend and Enemy. 

My body, my best friend, is my worst enemy; 
He ties and checks me ever, tliough good his meaning be. 
I hate and love him too, and when we two shall part 
I'll leave him with a glad and yet a woeful heart. 

Concerning the Lilies. 

As oft as T see lilies I feel within me pain. 
And yet am filled with joy immediately again. 
The pain cometh because I've lost that beauty rare, 
"Which I from the beginning in paradise did wear; 
The joy cometh because Jesus is born to me, 
And now anew stirs up my soul with heavenly glee. 


Yea, even death is good; if a hell-hound Death could have, 
He'd wish this very moment to be put into the grave. 

The Mirror. 

The mirror showeth thee but thine external face ; 
Ah, if it could reveal thee thine internal grace I 

The Sea in a droplet. 

Tell me, how happens it that in a droplet — yea. 
In me — the whole sea (God) flows wholly, utterly. 

God still ci'eates the World. 

God still creates the world; does this to thee seem strange? 
Know, then, with Him is no after, before, or change. 

What poorness of spirit is. 

Tlie poorness of spirit lies in intensity. 

Wherein from outside things and e'en self to get free. 

The poorest is the freest. 

The property of poorness is freedom, chief of all, 
Hence no man is so free as he in spirit small. 

Poorness is the essence of all virtues. 

Vice is chained all round, the Virtues all pass free; 
Say, then, if poorness not their common essence be? 

Whoever serves God is highly noble. 

Me serves the whole world. But I the majesty 
Of God on high alone. How noble I must be ! 

36 TJie Cherubinic Wanderer. 

All must return into One. 

All Cometh from the one and in the one must be, 
Or 'twill be dualized and multiplicity. 

Sin alone is Evil. 

No evil is but sin; and if no sin there were 
In all eternity, you'd find no evil e'er. 

Many gods and only One. (1 Cor. 8: 5.) 

A single God and many, hovi^ does this chime, my son? 
Right well, because they all in one exist as one. 

One cannot without the other. 

Two must be to achieve 't: T cannot without God, 
And God not without me, keep me from death's abode. 

The noblest Wisdotn. 

Imagine not too much, and never too high rise; 
The highest wisdom is to be not overwise. 

We serve ourselves, not God. 

Thou dost not serve thy God when thou dost fast, pray, wake; 
Thou rather serv'st thyself for thee 'twill holy make. 

As his associates, so the man. 

Whoe'er thou livest with makes thy essence, good or evil; 
With God thou wilt be god, and with the devil, devil. 

Thou must acquire it here. 

'Tis here it must be done; I never shall believe 
That wiio no empire wins, shall there a realm receive. 

Christ did not die on the cross for the first time. 

Not for the first time has God on the cross been nailed; 
For, look, in Abel he was murd'rously assailed. 

Christ was hefoi'C he was. 

That Christ had lived long ere he ever was is sure, 
Because men ate and drank Him for their inner ciure. 

Heaven can be stolen. 

' Who secretly does good, and all his money shares. 

Hath stolen the heavenly kingdom masterly unawares. 

Not every good is good. 

Not every good is good; oh, be convinced, poor wight, 
What in love-oil not burneth is but a cheating light. 

Simile of the Holy Trinity, 

God Father is the well, the spring is His own Son, 
The Holy Ghost the river that from the well hath run. 

The CheruMniG Wanderer. 37 

The WorWs doing is a Tragedy. 

Friend, envy not the world; true, she has her own way, 
And yet her dohig is nauglit but a tragic play. 

The nch man is truly poor. 

When the rich man speaks much about his poverty, 
Believe him readily; he lies not, suredly. 

All virtues are one virtue. 

Look! all the virtues are, without distinction, one. 

You wish to know the name? Justice 'tis called, my son. 

Conscience is a sign-board. 

If e'er thou goest astray, quick ask thy conscience, man, 
And thou wilt recognize at once the pathway then. 

The new and old Love. 

Love when it is quite new doth like to young wine foam ; 
The more 't grows old and clear, the quieter 'twill become. 

Seraphic Love. 

That love which seraphic we oft are wont to name 
Can scarce externally be known, it is so tame. 

Everything is subjected to Love. 

Love governs everything; even the Trinity 
Has been subject to it from all eternity. 

The nearest road to God. 

The nearest road to God is through the door of love; 
The way which Science takes, a tedious one will prove. 

Wherein the Peace of the Soul consists. 

The quiet of the soul consists in this alone, 
That it is perfectly with God as one with one. 

The Mask-Man. 

That man who, like the beasts, in lust doth Kve and rot, 
Is but a human mask; he seems, and yet Is not. 

By avoiding we overco7ne. 

Avoid, friend, what thou lov^st, and what thou long'st for, flee. 
Else wilt thou nevermore content and sated be. 
Many ere now had reached eternal happiness. 
Had they not temporal enticements sought amiss. 

The World must be laughed at and wept over. 
Truly, who of this world would take a view aright 
Must now Democritus and now be Heraclite. 


Friend, it is now enough. If more thou fain wouldst read. 
Go and become these rhymes, and what they mean in deed. 

)8 HegeVs Science of RigMs. 


Translated from the "Philosophische Propa3cleutik" of G. W. F. Heozl. 
[The notes in small type are by the translator.] 


§ 1. The object of this science is the human Will in its 
relations as particular will to the universal will [to the will 
v/hich is right and just, or in accordance with Reason]. As 
Will, the spirit stands in a practical relation to itself. The 
practical procedure through which it brings determination into 
its indeterminateness, or posits other determinations of its own 
in the place of those already existing in it without its coopera- 
tion, is to be distinguished from its tlieoretical j)rocedure. 

"Determinations"=moclifications, changes, characteristics, &c. To determine 
=to give characteristics to anything. It is a verj^ imi^ortaut technical expression 
in Hegel: ^^BesUmmen''' is the German. " Indeternnnateness"=lack of character- 
istics. "Determination" is what distinguishes one thing from another — that by 
which one somewhat differs from another — that by which it is what it is. 

"Posits"^"sets np" or "establishes"; "jjlaces." 

§ 2. Consciousness as such is the relation of the Ego to an 
object; this object may be internal or external. Our Know- 
ing contains objects, some of which we obtain a knowledge of 
through sensuous perception — others, however, which have 
their origin in the mind itself. The former, taken together, 
constitute the sensuous world ; the latter, the intelUgihle 
world. Judicial \recMUc7ien=\Qg?i\\ ethical and religious con- 
ceptions belong to the latter. 

^- Ecchtlichen,'''' here translated "judicial" and "legal," is a difficult word to 
translate exactly into English. One is tempted to render '•'■Rechts'''' by "Jurispru- 
dence" instead of " Eights." Bvit "i^ecAi's" seems to have a wider meaning. In 
English we have two sets of words: one, the common, colloquial, social words, 
derived from the Saxon; the other, the technical, scientific, precise vocabulary 
derived from Latin. In Germany, the former vocabulary has been elevated also 
into the latter, and is hence more comprehensible to the individual not classically 

§ 3. In the relation of the Ego and object to each other, the 
Ego is (1) passive, in which case the object is regarded as the 
cause of the determinations in the Ego, and the j)articular 
ideas [ Vorstellungen'] which the Ego has, are attributed to the 
impression made upon it by the immediate objects before it. 
This "is the theoeetical consciousness. Whether it be in 

Morals, and Religion. 89 

the form of 'perception, or of iniaginaUon, or of the thinliing 
activity, its content is always a given and extant somewhat — 
a content having existence independent of the Ego. (2) On 
the contrary, the Ego manifests itself as peactical con- 
sciousness when its determinations are not mere "ideas" and 
thoughts, "but issue forth into external existence. In this pro- 
cess the Ego determines the given things [or objects, so that 
the former is active and the latter passive] ; i. e. the Ego is 
the cause of changes in the given objects. 

'■'•Vorstellungeny The common expression for this word in Eno^lish is "ideas." 
"Representations in the mind" is tlie exact signification. In using the term "idea" 
to render Vorstelluiig^ I have borrowed a term which stands for the highest in He- 
gel's Philosophy. It will not, however, produce confusion here as I have always 
taken care to use it in the plural, or else to modify it by some appellation in such 
a way as to leave no doubt what is meant. (See Hegel's First Principle, Jour. 
Sp. Phil. Vol. in. pp. 350 & 3G9.) 

§ 4, The practical power, as such, determines itself from 
within, i. e. through itself. The content of its determinations 
. belongs to it and it recognizes that content for its own. These 
determinations, however, are at first only internal, and for this 
reason separated from the external reality, but they are 
to become external and be realized ; this is done through the 
[conscious] act. By such act, internal practical determina- 
tions receive externality, i. e. external Being. Conversely, 
this process may be regarded as the cancelling of an extant 
externality and the bringing of the same into harmony with 
the internal determination. 

"Content"="that which is contained"; nearly the same use of the word that was 
somewhat in vogue in King James' time. It saves a troublesome circumlocution. 

"Conscious Act"="jf?a7icZe^«" or '■'Handlung'''' : an act that contains exactly 
what was intended by the person vviio willed it. In § 9 the distinction is drawn 
between "That" {fi-om''T/um^to do) or "Deed" and ''IIandhmg'"=m\.eut[onsLl 
or voluntary act. 

§ 5. The internal determination of the practical conscious- 
ness is either impulse or will proper. Impulse is a natural 
self-determination which rests upon circumscribed feelings, 
and has a limited finite end in view which it cannot transcend ; 
in other words, it is the not-free, immediately determined, 
lower Appetite, according to which man ranks as a creature 
of nature. Through Rejlection he transcends Impulse and its 
limitations, and compares it not only with the means of its 

40 HegeVs Science of Riglits, 

gratification, but he also compares these means one with 
anotlier and the imjjulses one with another, and both of these 
with the object and end of his own existence. He then yields 
to the decision of Reflection and gratifies the impulse, or else 
represses it and renounces it. 

A very important distinction drawn between man as ruled by Impulse or Appe- 
tite and the same as possessed of the power of Kellection. In the former case he 
acts through immediate constraint, i.e. he is tixed or determined — controlled— by 
his nature or constitution. In the latter case he exercises the power to arrest these 
glib impulses and summon them into court, and weigh them (1) one with another; 
(2) each of them with the means of its gratification; (3) both of these — impulse and 
means — with what he considers the object and end of his existence independent of 
all these inipidses. Thus it happens that by Reflection man exercises "free moral 
agency" and becomes in this exercise a truly free being when he learns how to act 
so as not to contradict by one act the next one ; i. e. how to act consistently or uni- 

§ 6. The real will, or the Mglier faculty of ajjx^etite, is (1) 
pure indeterminateness of the Ego, which as such has no lim- 
itation nor a content which is immediately extant through 
nature, but it is indifi'erent toward any and every determin- 
ateness ; (2) the' Ego can at the same time pass over to a de- 
terminateness and make choice of some one or other, and then 
actualize it. 

The "pure indeterminateness" here spoken of is the existence of the Ego as the 
possibility of resolution, the possibilitj^ of annulling any given state or activity and 
assuming another. It has no "fixed constitution or nature." 


§ 7. The abstract freedom of the Will consists in this very 
indeterminateness or identity of the Ego with itself, wherein 
a determination occurs only in so far as the Ego makes it its 
own [assimilates it] or posits it within itself; and yet in this 
act remains self-identical and retains the power to abstract 
again from each and every determination. There may be pre- 
sented to the Will, from without, a great variety of incite- 
ments, motives, and laws ; but man, in following the same, 
does this only in so far as the Will itself makes these its own 
determinations, and resolves to actualize them. This, too, is 
the case with the determinations of the lower appetites, or 
with what proceeds from natural impulses and inclinations. 

"Abstract freedom of the Will" — "abstract" because this is freedom only of form. 
The freedom to do as one pleases, — such freedom is caprice or arbitrariness, and 
quickly gets entangled by its own inconsistent acts. The content of its doing and 
acting is not self-consistent, i. e. universal, and hence its freedom is only turned 
against itself— a freedom that enslaves itself. (See I 11.) 

Morals, and Religion. 41 

Yet even in following' impulses, or motives, there is formal freedom; there is 
self-determination. For the external determination is never aw internal one except 
through tlie activity Avithin. If the Ego does not determine liimself, the viotive can 
never exist, even, for him; still less can it do anything in him. The Ego must actu- 
alize the motive or else it remains forever a mere potentiality. 

This is a very important consideration: Motives are mere potentialities seen by 
the Mind. If the thing is already done, it excites no impulse to do it again. It is 
not done and yet ought to be done: the Mind alone can see an "ought" — and how? 
Manifestly by annulling th^ limits of the thing actually before it and thus creating 
an abstraction=a possibility, — a new synthesis. The new synthesis hovers before 
it and interprets its impulse. No impulse can express itself to the Will directly. 
The Will must by abstraction and synthesis discover what change will relieve its 
blind, painful feeling which the mere impulse by itself is— and nothing more. 

To say that a "motive constrains the Will" is to say that an abstraction — a pro- 
duet of the Will— constrains that which creates it; in other words, that something- 
acts before it exists. 

§ 8. The Will has moral responsibility in so far as (1) its 
determination is made its own solely hy its own act, or by its 
resolve : i. e. the Ego wills it ; (2) in so far as a will is con- 
scious of the determinations which are produced through its 
act as they lie in its resolve, or are necessarily and imme- 
diately involved in its consequences. 

§ 9. A Deed Q'-ThaV^ is, as such, the produced change 
and determination of a Being. To an act {^''■Handlung''^), 
however, belongs only what lay in the resolve or was in the 
consciousness — hence what the will acknowledges as its own. 

§ 10. The free Will, as free, is moreover not limited to the 
determinateness and individuality through which one indi- 
vidual is distinguished from another ; but it is universal will, 
and the individual is, as regards his pure will, a universal 

"Universal will" is the pure will — "pure" because self-related. "Self-related" 
is a term of great significance in Hegel's Philosophy. Nothing seems more absurd 
to the noviciate than the idea of a self- relation ; and yet all strict philosophical 
thought leads in a few steps to self-relation as the basis of all. Anything related 
to another — for that reason belongs to a whole of which it forms only an element, 
and of which the "other" is likewise an element. The "whole" is, however, self- 
related, and upon careful consideration so too are the parts, considered truly; for 
their relation is only through and by means of the ^vhole which dwells in them ; 
hence the relation of each is to its true Self, though not to its phenomenal Self. 
The phenomenal Self is a part seized by itself and not in the whole as it really and 
truly exists. (See I 12.) 

§ 11. The Will can in various ways take up into itself ex- 
ternal content — i. e. content which does not proceed from its 
own (the will's) nature — and make this content its own. In 
this kind of activity the Will remains self-identical only in 

42 HegeVs Science of Rights, 

form j namely, it is conscious of its power to abstract from 
each and every content and recover its pure form, but it does 
not remain self-identical as regards its content and essence. 
It is, in so far as it is sucli a will, mere capeice (arbitrariness). 
§ 12. But that the Will may be tnily and absolutely free, 
it is requisite that what it wills — or its content — be naught 
else than the will itself [i. e. the pure self-determination or 
the act that is in harmony with itself]. It is requisite that it 
will only in itself and have itself for its object. The pure 
Will, therefore, does not will some special content or other on 
account of its specialty, but in order that the will as such may 
he free in its deed and freely actualized ; in other words, that 
the universal Will may be done. 

That caprice is not true freedom lias been stated, and the reasons wliy tliis is so. 
Tliat "the Will must be its own content" in order to be free — what is stated in 
this paragraph may become clearer from the following' considei-ations: If the Will 
have any other content than itself, it is determined from without; it conditions 
itself; limits or restrains, — negates itself. It opposes to itself something alien, and 
thus in so far annihilates itself, or at least paralyzes itself. But if the Will have 
for its content that whicli is in the form of self-determination, it then affirms itself 
by realizing it. To act for the i^urpose of realizing the possibility of the Eational 
is the highest activity, for it creates itself by its own act. 

AVhat this "Rational content" is, which is said to be a content of itself, is to be 
seen in this science of Eights which we are now to enter upon. Those deeds of 
the Will that reeuforce it and affirm it, rather than paralyze it and annul it, are 
universal, and, as forms, are called habits, usages, conventionalities, moral laws, 
ethical observances, and, finally, civil laws or POSITIVE EIGHTS set up and 
preserved by the STATE. 

The more detailed statement and development of these gen- 
eral principles concerning the Will, belong to the Science of 
"Rights, Duties, and Religion." 



[The following explanatorj' remarks by Hegel were intended by him to initiate 
his pupils into the meaning of his various technical expressions. Thej^ are familiar 
in style and lead gradually up to the ideas undei-lying the Philosopliy of Eights. 
In many places the reader will notice tliat they take the form of mere notes or 
heads of discourse, which were to be expanded orally in the presence of his class. 
— Translator.] 

§ 1.* Objects are ^9ar^ec?t?ar somewhats through their de- 
termination: a sensuous object, for example, through its 

* These paragraphs are numbered without reference to the numbers of the pre- 
ceding paragraphs. 

Morals^ and Religion, 43 

sliape, size, weight, color — through the more or less firm com- 
bination of its parts — through the purpose for which it is 
used, &c., &c. If one takes away determinations of an object 
in his conception of it, this process is called abstraction. 
There remains after the process a less determined object, i. e. 
an abstract object. If, however, I conceive only one of these 
determinations, this is called an abstract conception [or idea]. 
The object left in its completeness of determination is called 
a concrete object. When I abstract all the determinations, 
I have left only the conception of the absolutely abstract 
object. When one says " thing," though he ma}^ mean some- 
thing quite definite, he says only something quite indefinite, 
since our thought reduces an actual somewhat to this abstrac- 
tion of mere " thing." 

Sensuous perception is in part external, in part internal. 
Through external perception we perceive things which are 
outside us in time and space — things which we distinguish 
from ourselves. Through the internal sensuous perception 
we take note of the states and conditions which belong in 
part to our bodies and in part to our souls. One part of the 
sensuous world contains such objects and their determina- 
tions, as, e.g., colors — objects that have a sensuous basis and 
have received a mental form. If I say, " This table is black," 
I speak in the first place of this single concrete object; but, 
secondly, the predicate blade which I afiirm of it is a general 
[quality] which belongs not merely to this single object but 
to several objects. Blade is a simple idea. We cognize a 
real concrete object immediately. This act of immediate ap- 
prehension is called intuition. A general abstract idea is 
therefore a mediated idea, for the reason that I know it by 
means of another, i. e. by means of abstraction, or the omis- 
sion of other determinations which are found united in the 
concrete object. A concrete idea is said to be analyzed when 
the determinations which are united in it as concrete are 
separated. The intelligible world receives its content from 
Spirit [i. e. from the activity of the Mind], and this content 
consists of pure general ideas — such, for example, as Being, 
Naught, Attribute, Essence, &c. 

§ 2. The first source of our knowledge is called Experience. 
To experience belongs this important feature : that we our- 

44 , HegeVs Science of JiigMs, 

selves have perceived it. A distinction must, however, be 
drawn between Perception and Experience. Perception, 
namely, has for its object only a single somewhat, which is 
determined in one way this moment and in Another way the 
next moment. Now if I repeat the perception, and in the re- 
peated percej^tions take note of what remains the same and 
hold it fast, this operation is properly termed Experience. 
Experience contains, for the most part, laws, i. e. such a con- 
nection of two phenomena, that, if one is extant, the other one 
must result from it in all cases. But Experience contains 
only the mere generality of such a phenomenon, and not the 
necessity of the connection. Experience teaches only that 
things are or hapjoen thus and so, but not the reasons — the 
"why" thereof. 

Since there are a multitude of objects, concerning which we 
can have no experience (such, for example, as the past), we 
are obliged to have recourse to the autliority of others. More- 
over, those objects which we hold for true upon the testimony 
of others are objects of Experience (i.e. empirical objects). 
We believe that upon the authority of others which is proba- 
ble. We often hold for probable that which is really improb- 
able, and what is improbable often turns out to be the truth. 
(An event receives its confirmation chiefly through its results 
and through the manifold circumstances connected with our 
experience of it. Those who narrate to us an event must be 
trustworthy ; that is, they must have been in a position where 
it was possible for them to have knowledge of it. "^e draw 
conclusions from the tone and manner in which they relate 
the event, in regard to their degree of earnestness or the self- 
ish purpose subserved by it. When writers under the reign 
of a tyrant are lavish in his praises, we at once pronounce 
them to be flatterers. But if one makes special mention of a 
good quality or deed of his enemy, we are the more ready to 
believe his statements.) 

Experience, therefore, teaches only how objects are consti- 
tuted, and not how they must be, nor how they ought to be. 
This latter knowledge comes only from a comprehension of 
the essence or ideal of the object [a knowledge of it as a whole]. 
But the latter knowledge alone is true knowledge. Since we 
must learn the grounds of an object from its comprehension 

Morals^ and Religion. 45 

[a knowledge of it in its entire compass], so too if we would 
learn the character of the Lawful, Moral, and Eeligious, we 
must have recourse to the concepts or comprehensions thereof. 

In considering the determinations of the Good and Right, 
we may at first hold to experience, and that too of the most 
external kind, namely, the way of the world. "We can see 
what passes for right and good, or what proves itself to be 
right and good. Upon this phase it is to be remarked : (1) 
that in order to know what deeds are right or good, and what 
are wrong or wicked, on-e presupposes himself to he in posses- 
sion of the concept of the Right and Good ; (2) if any one 
chose to hold to that which the way of the world showed to 
be current as right and good, he would not arrive at anything 
definite. All would depend upon the view with which he un- 
dertook the investigation. In the course of the world wherein 
there occurs such a variety of events, each one can find his 
own particular view justified be it ever so peculiar. 

But there is, secondly, an internal experience concerning 
the Right, Good, and Religious. We decide through our dis- 
position or feeling that a deed of this or that character is 
good or bad ; moreover, we have a feeling of Religion ; we are 
affected religiously. What feeling says of the deed by way 
of approval or disapproval, contains merely the immediate 
expression, or the mere assurance that something is so or is 
not so. Feeling gives no reasons for its decision, nor does it 
decide with reference to reasons. What kind of feeling we 
have, whether of approval or of disapproval, we learn through 
a simple act of experience ; we have the disposition, that is 
all. Feeling is, however, inconstant and changeable. It is at 
one time in one state and at another in a dififerent one. Feel- 
ing is, in short, something subjective. An object of feeling is 
my object as a particular individual. If I say: "I feel thus 
about it," or " It is my disposition toward it," I then say only 
what belongs to me as an individual. I leave undecided 
whether it is also the same in other persons. When I, upon 
any occasion, appeal simply to my feeling, I do not desire to 
enter upon the reasons, consequently not upon general rela- 
tions. I withdraw myself within myself, and express only 
what concerns me, and not what is in and for itself objective 
and general. The objecti'de or the general is the Intelligible 
or the Comprehension. 

46 IlegeVs Science of RigMs. 

If one wishes to know, in truth, what a rose, or a pink, or 
an oak, is — i. e. if he wishes to know it in its Comprehension 
(or idea), he must in the hrst place seize the liigher concept 
which lies at its basis, namely, that of Plant in general ; and 
again, in order to comprehend the Plant, he must ascend to 
the idea upon which that of Plant depends, and this is the 
idea of an organic body. In order to have the conception of 
bodies, surfaces, lines, and points, one must have recourse to 
the notion of space, since space is the Greneric thereof; hence 
bodies, surfaces, &c., are only particular determinations of 
space. In the same manner, the present, past, and future, 
presuppose Time as their generic ground. And so it is with 
Rights, Duties, and Religion; they are merely particular de- 
terminations of Consciousness, which is their generic ground. 

§ 3. In the stage of consciousness we commonly have the 
object before us, i. e. we know only the object, and not our- 
selves. But in these things the Ego is essentially present. 
In so far as we form a notion of an object alone, we are con- 
scious, of course, of an object; but in so far as we form a no- 
tion of consciousness we are conscious of our consciousness 
[i. e. Ave are 5eZ/-conscious.] In our ordinary life we liatie a 
consciousness, but we are not conscious that we are conscious- 
ness ; we have much also that is devoid of consciousness, the 
corporeal, for example ; the vital functions which minister to 
our self-preservation, we 2^ossess without having a definite con- 
sciousness of their structure ; this latter we learn through sci- 
ence. Moreover, in a spiritual way we are much which we do 
not Tcnoio. The external objects of our consciousness are such 
as we distinguish from ourselves and to which we ascribe an 
independent existence. Internal objects, therefore, are de- 
terminations or faculties — powers of the Ego, They do not 
subsist apart from, but only in the Ego. Consciousness ap- 
pears either in a theoretical or in a practical function. 

§ 4. Theoretical consciousness considers that which is, and 
leaves it as it is. Practical consciousness, on the contrary, is 
the active consciousness which does not leave what is as it is, 
but produces changes therein, and begets from itself determ- 
inations and objects. In consciousness, therefore, there is a 
twofold determination extant — that of the Ego through the 
object, and that of the object through the Ego. In the former 
kind, the Ego is theoretical ; it takes up the determinations 

Morals, and Religion. 47 

of the object as tliey are. The Ego leaves the object as it is, 
and seeks to mal^e its notions of it conform to it. The Ego 
has determinations in itself, and the object has likewise de- 
terminations witliin itself. The content of the ideas of the Ego 
ought to be determined so as to correspond to the object. The 
determinations of the object in itself are rules for the Ego. 
The truth of the ideas of the Ego consists in this, that they 
harmonize with the constitution and the determinations of the 
object. The law for our consciousness, in so far as the latter 
is theoretical, is — not that it must be perfectly passive but — 
that all its activity be directed to the reception of the object. 
A thing can be an object for our perception without on this 
account, our being conscious of it, i. e. in the case where we 
do not direct our activity to it. This activity in reception is 
called Attention. 

§ 5. The ideas whicli we gain through attention we excite 
in ourselves through the power of Imagination (phantasy), 
whose activity consists in this, that it calls up in connection 
with the intuition of one object the image of another in some 
way connected with the former. It is not necessary that the 
object to which the imagination connects the image of another 
be present — it may be present only in idea. The most exten- 
sive work of the imagination (phantasy) is Language. Lan- 
guage consists in external signs and tones, through which one 
makes known what he thinks, feels, or has a sensation of. 
Language consists in words, which are nothing else than signs 
of thoughts. For these signs there are again found in the art 
of Writing other signs called letters. They make known our 
thoughts without our having to speak them. The hiero- 
glyphic style is distinguished from the alphabetic by its pre- 
senting entire thoughts immediately [by each character]. In 
speech tones are used, and these tones are the directly per- 
ceived objects. But we do not stop at the mere sound which 
makes an impression on our sense of hearing, but our imagin- 
ation (phantasy) connects with it the idea of an absent object. 
There is thus here present a twofold object — a sensuous im- 
pression and an idea joined to it by imagination. The idea 
passes solely for the essence, and as the signification of that 
which is sensuously present (the tones), and the latter conse- 
quently becomes a mere sign. The given content thus stands 
opposed to a content which is produced by us. 

48 HegeVs Science of RigMs, 

% 6. In common life, tlie expressions "to think" and "to have 
an idea " [Germ, Vorstellen as oj^posed to Deriken] are nsed 
interchangeably, and we thus dignify with the name of tliought 
what is only an image of the phantasy. In "ideas" of this sort 
[ Vorstellungeri] we have an object before ns in its external and 
unessential existence. In Thinking, on the contrary, we sepa- 
rate from the object its external, merely unessential side, and 
consider the object merely in its essence. Thinking penetrates 
through the external phenomenon to the internal nature of the 
thing and makes it its object. It leaves the contingent side 
of the thing out of consideration. It takes up a subject not 
as it is as immediate appearance, but it severs the unessential 
from the essential and thus abstracts from it. In intuition we 
have individual objects before us. Thinking brings the same 
into relation with each other, or compares them. In the com- 
parison it singles out what they have in common with each 
other and omits that by which they diifer, and thus it retains 
only general ideas. The general idea contains less determin- 
ateness than the individual object which belongs under this 
general idea — since one arrives at the general idea only by 
leaving out something from the individual thing ; on the other 
hand, the General includes more under it, or it has a greater 
extension. In so far as Thinking produces a general object, 
the activit}^ of abstracting belongs to it, and hence it has the 
form of the Generic (as, for example, in the general object 
"Man"). But the content of the general object does not belong 
to it as an activity of abstracting, but is given to the Thinking 
and is independent of it and extant by itself. 

To the Thinking there belong manifold determinations 
which express a connection between the manifold j)henomena 
that is universal and necessary. The connection as it exists 
in the sensuous intuition is merely an external or contingent 
one, which may be or also may not be in any particular form. 
A stone, for example, makes by its fall an impression upon a 
yielding mass. In the sensuous intuition is contained the 
fact of the falling of the stone, and the fact of an impression 
made in the yielding mass where the stone touched it. These 
two phenomena — the falling of the stone and the impression 
on the yielding mass — have a succession in time. But this 
connection contains as yet no necessity : on the contrary, it is 
possible — for all that is therein stated — that the one might 

Morals, and Religion. 49 

have happened under the same conditions without the other's 
following it. When, on the contrary, the relation of these two 
phenomena to each other is determined as cause and effect, or 
as the relation of Causality, then this connection is a neces- 
sary one or a connection of the Understanding. This involves 
that, under the same conditions, if one happens, the other is 
contained in it. 

These determinations are the forms of Thinking. The Mind 
posits them solely through its own activity, but they are at 
the same time determinations of existing things. We come 
first through reflection to distinguish what is Ground and 
Sequence, Internal and External, Essential and Unessential.. 
The Mind is not at first conscious that it posits these determ- 
inations by its own free-will, but thinks that it expresses ini 
them something which is extant without its assistance. 

§ 7. Whenever we speak of the Ego or the Mind as receiv- 
ing determinations, we presuppose its previous indeterminate- 
ness. The determinations of the Mind always belong to the 
Mind even though it has received them from other objects. 
Although something may be in the Mind which came from 
without, as a content not dependent upon the Mind, yet the 
form always belongs to the latter ; e. g. in the imagination : 
although the material be derived from sensuous intuition, the 
form consists in the method in which this material is com- 
bined in a different manner from that present in the original 
intuition. In a pure concept, e. g. that of animal, the particu- 
lar content belongs to Experience, but the general element in 
it, is the form which comes from the Mind. 

This form is thus of the Mind's own determining. The es- 
sential difference between the theoretical and the practical 
functions of the Mind consists in this, that the form alone is 
determined by the Mind in the theoretical, while, on the other 
hand, in the practical function the content also proceeds from 
the mind. In Rights, for example, the content is personal 
freedom. This belongs to the Mind. The practical function 
recognizes determinations as its own in so far as it wills them. 
Even if they are alien determinations, or given from without^ 
they must cease to be alien in so far as the Ego wills them : 
I [the Ego] change the content into mine and posit it through 

50 HegeVs Science of RigMs, 

§ 8. The theoretic activity begins with a determinate Be- 
ing, an extant somewhat external to it, and makes of it a con- 
cept. The practical activity, on the contrary, begins with an 
internal determination ; and this is called resolution, inten- 
tion, direction, and makes the Internal actually external and 
gives to it existence. This transition" from an internal determ- 
ination to externality is called an act \_Handlung=Yo\vin.t^Mj 
act or dealing]. 

§ 9. The voluntary act is, in general terms, a union of the 
Internal and External. The internal determination with which 
it begins has to be cancelled and made external as far as its 
form is concerned, which is that of a mere Internal ; the con- 
tent of this determination is still to remain [after negation of 
the form] ; e. g. the intention to build a house is an internal 
determination whose form consists in this : that it is only an 
intention at first ; the content includes the plan of the house. 
If the form is here now cancelled, the content will still remain. 
The house which, according to the intention, is to be built, 
and that which is built according to the plan, are the same 

Conversely, the deed is likewise a cancelling of the Exter- 
nal as it is extant in its iramediateness ; e. g. the building 
of a house necessitates a change of the ground, the building- 
stone, the wood, and the other materials, in a variety of ways. 
The shape of the external is changed : it is brought into quite 
other combinations than existed before. These changes hap- 
pen in conformity to a purpose — to wit, the plan of the house, 
with which internal somewhat the external is to be made to 

§ 10. Animals, too, stand in a practical relation to that 
which is external to them. They act from instinct, with de- 
signs and purposes to realize, and thus rationally. Since they 
do this unconsciously, however, we cannot properly speak of 
them as authors of voluntary acts. They have desires and im- 
pulses, but no rational will. In speaking of man's impulses 
and desires, it is usual to include the will. But, more accu- 
rately speaking, the will is to be distinguished from the de- 
sires ; the will, in distinction from the real desire, is in that 
case called the " higher Appetite." With animals, instinct is 
also to be distinguished from their impulses and desires, for 

Morals^ and Religion. 51 

tliongli instinct is an acting from impulse and desire, it how- 
ever does not terminate witli its immediate externalization, 
but has a further (for the animal likewise necessary) result. 
It is an acting in which there is involved also a relation to 
something else ; e. g. the hoarding up of grain by many ani- 
mals. This act is not yet quite properly to be called a volun- 
tary one, but it contains a design in it, namely, provision for 
the future. 

Impulse is, in the first place, something internal, something 
which begins a movement from itself, or produces a change 
by its own power. Impulse proceeds from itself. Although 
it may be awakened by external circumstances, yet it existed 
already without regard to them ; it is not produced by them. 
Mechanical causes produce mere external or mechanical ef- 
fects, which are completely determined through their causes, 
in which therefore nothing is contained which is not already 
present in the cause ; e. g. if I give motion to a body, the mo- 
tion imparted to it is all that it has ; or if I paint a body, it 
has nothing else than the color imparted to it. On the con- 
trary, if I work upon a living creature, my influence upon it 
becomes something quite different from what it was in me. 
The activity of the living creature is aroused by my act, and 
it exhibits its own peculiarity in reacting against it. 

In the second place, impulse is (1) limited in respect to con- 
tent; (2) contingent as regards the side of its gratification 
since it is dependent iipon external circumstances. Impulse 
does not transcend the narrow sphere of its object and end, 
and is therefore spoken of as "blind." It gratifies itself, let 
the consequences be what they may. 

Man does not make his own impulses, he simply lias them ; 
in other words, they belong to his nature. Nature however is 
under the rule of necessity, because everything in Nature is 
limited, relative, or exists only in relation to something else. 
But what exists only in relation to something else, is not "for 
itself" but dependent upon others. It has its ground in that, 
and is a necessitated Being. In so far as man has immediate- 
ly determined impulses he is subjected to Nature, and con- 
ducts himself as a necessitated and not-free Being. 

§ 11. But man can as a thinking Being reflect upon his 
impulses which have in themselves necessity for him. Eeflec- 

52 HegeVs Science of Rights, 

tion signifies, in general, the cutting off from or reduction of 
the Immediate. Reflection (spoken of light) consists in this, 
that its beams which for themselves ray forth in straight lines 
are bent back from this direction. Mind has reflection. It is 
not confined to the Immediate, but may transcend it and pro- 
ceed to something else ; e. g. from the event before it, it may 
proceed to form an idea of its consequences, or of a similar 
event, or also of its causes. When the mind goes out from 
something immediate, it has removed the same from itself. 
It has reflected itself into itself — lias gone into itself. It has 
recognized the Immediate as a Conditioned or Limited inas- 
much as. it is opposed to it as another. It is, therefore a very 
great difference whether one is or has somewhat, and whether 
he Tcnoios that he is or has it ; e. g. ignorance or rudeness, of 
the sentiments or behavior, are limitations which one may 
have without knowing it. In so far as one reflects or knows 
of them, he must know of their opposite. Reflection upon 
them is already a first step beyond them. 

Impulses as natural determinations are limitations. Through 
reflection upon them man begins to transcend them. The flrst 
reflection concerns the means, whether they are commensu- 
rate with the impulse, whether the impulse will be gratified 
through the means ; whether, in the second place, the means 
are not too important to be sacrificed for this impulse. 

Reflection compares the different impulses and their objects 
with the fundamental object and purpose of Being. The ob- 
jects of the special impulses are limited, but they contribute 
each in its own way to the attainment of the fundamental pur- 
pose. Some, however, are better adapted for this than others 
are. Hence reflection has to compare impulses, and ascertain 
which are more closely allied to the fundamental purpose and 
are best adapted to aid its realization by their gratification. In 
reflection begins the transition from lower forms of appetite 
to the higher. Man is in Reflection no longer a mere natural 
Being, and stands no longer in the sphere of necessity. Some- 
thing is necessary when only this and not something else can 
happen. Before Reflection, however, there stands (for its 
choice) not only the one immediate object, but also another 
or its opposite. 

§ 12. This reflection just described is, however, a merely 

Morals^ and Religion. 53 

relatiTie affair. Although it transcends the Finite, yet it al- 
ways arrives again at the Finite ; e. g. when we exceed the lim- 
its of one place in space, there rises before us another portion 
of space greater than before, but it is always only a finite 
space that thus arises, ad infinituTn. Likewise when we go 
back in time beyond the present into the past, we can repre- 
sent to our minds a period of ten thousand or thirty thousand 
years. Though such reflection proceeds from one particular 
point in space or time to another, yet it never gets beyond 
space or time. Such is also the case in the practical relative- 
reflection. It leaves some one immediate inclination, desire 
or impulse, and proceeds to another one, and in the end aban- 
dons this one also. In so far as it is relative, it ever anew falls 
again into an impulse, moves round and round in a circle of 
appetites, and does not elevate itself above this sphere of im- 
pulses as a whole. 

The practical Absolute reflection, however, does elevate it- 
self above this entire sphere of the Finite ; in other words, it 
abandons the sphere of the lower appetites, in which man is 
determined through nature and dependent on the Without. 
Finitude consists, on the whole, in this, that somewhat has a 
limit, i. e. that here its non-being is posited, or that here it 
ceases, that it relates to another through this limit. Infinite 
reflection consists, however, in this, that the Ego is no longer 
related to another, but is related to itself; in other words, is 
its own object. This pure relation to itself is the Ego, the root 
of the infinite Essence itself. It is the perfect abstraction 
from all that is finite. The Ego as such has no content which 
is immediate, i. e. given to it by nature, but its sole content is 
itself. This pure form is, at the same time, its own content. 
(1) Every content given by nature is something limited : but 
the Ego is unlimited ; (2) the content given by nature is im- 
mediate : the pure Ego, however, has no immediate content 
for the reason that the pure Ego is^ only, by means of the com- 
plete abstraction from everything else. 

§ 13. In the first place, the Ego is the pure Undetermined. 
It is able however, by means of refiection, to pass over from 
indeterminateness to determinateness, e. g. to seeing, hear- 
ing, &c. In this state of determinateness it has become non- 
self-identical, but it has still retained its indeterminateness 

54 HegeVs Science of BlgJits. 

also; i.e. it is able at will, also, to withdraw into itself again. 
At this place enters the act of Resolving, for reflection pre- 
cedes it, and consists in this, that the Ego has before it several 
determinations indefinite as to number, and yet each of these 
must be in one of two predicaments : it necessarily is or is not 
a determination of the somewhat under consideration. The 
act of resolution cancels that of reflection — the process to and 
fro, from one to the other — and fixes one determinateness and 
makes it his own. The fundamental condition necessary to 
the act of resolving (volition), the possibility of making up 
one's mind to do something, or even of reflecting previous to 
an act, is the absolute indeterminateness of the Ego. 

§ 14. The freedom of the will is freedom in general, and all 
other freedoms are mere species thereof. When the expres- 
sion "freedom of the Will" is used, it is not meant that there 
is a force, or property, or faculty of the will which possesses 
freedom; just as when the omnipotence of God is spoken of, 
it is not understood that there are still other Beings besides 
Him who possess omnipotence. There is also civil freedom, 
freedom of the press, political and religious freedom. These 
species of freedom belong to the general concept of freedom 
in so far as it stands in relation to special objects. Religious 
freedom consists in this, that religious notions, religious 
deeds, be not forced upon any one, i. e. that there be in them 
only such determinations as he recognizes as his own, and 
makes his own. A religion which is forced upon one, or in 
relation to which he cannot act as a free Being, is not his own, 
but remains alien to him. The political freedom of a people 
consists in this, that they form for themselves their own state, 
and decide what is to be valid as the national will, and that 
this be done either through the whole people themselves, or 
through those who belong to the people, and who, since every 
other citizen has the same rights as themselves, can be ac- 
knowledged by the people as their own. 

§ 15. Such expressions as these are often used : " My will 
was determined by these motives, circumstances, incitements, 
or inducements.'''' This expression involves, first, that the Ego 
stood in a passive relation. In truth, however, the Ego did not 
stand in a merely passive relation, but was essentially active 
therein. The will, namely, took up these circumstances as 

Morals, and Religion. 55 

motives and allowed them validity as motives. The causal 
relation has here no force. The circumstances do not stand 
in the relation of cause nor the Will in that of effect. In the 
causal relation, the effect follows necessarily when the cause 
is given. As reflection, however, the Ego can transcend each 
and every determination which is posited through the circum- 
stances. In so far as a man pleads in his defence that he was 
led astray through circumstances, incitements, &c., wishing 
by this plea to rid himself of the consequences of his deed, he 
lowers himself in this plea to a not-free, natural Being, while, 
in truth, his deed is always his own and not that of another, 
not the effect of something outside himself. Circumstances 
or motives have only so much control over man as he himself 
gives to them. 

The determinations of the lower appetites are natural de- 
terminations. In so far, it seems to be neither necessary nor 
possible for man to make them his own (determinations). But 
as natural determinations, they do not belong to his will or to 
his freedom, for the essence of his will is that nothing be in it 
which it (the will) has not made its own. He may, therefore, 
regard what belongs to his nature as something alien, so that 
it consequently is only in him, only belongs to him in so far 
as he makes it his own, or follows with his volition his natu- 
ral impulses. 

§ 16. To hold a man responsible for a deed, this is to attri- 
bute or impute to him guilt or innocence. Children who are 
still in a state of nature are not held responsible for their 
deeds ; neither are crazy or idiotic people. 

§ 17. In the distinction of deed from act [^Tliat and Hand- 
lung'] lies the distinction between the ideas of moral responsi- 
bility as they come up in the tragedies of the ancients, and those 
current in our own time. In the former (among the ancients), 
"deed" {That) is applied in its entire extent to human actions. 
He had to do penance for the entire compass of his actions, 
and no distinction was made if he was conscious of only one 
side of his act and unconscious of the other. He (man) was 
•considered as having absolute knowledge, and not as a rela- 
tive and contingent subject, but whatever he did was consid- 
ered as Ms oion deed. There was no part of him referred to 
another Being ; e. g Ajax, when he slew the oxen and sheep 
of the Greeks, in a state of insanity and rage caused by his 

56 HegeVs Science of Riglits, 

not receiving tlie arms of Acliilles, did not attribute Ms crime 
to his madness — as though he were in another being while in- 
sane — but he took the whole deed upon himself as its author, 
and slew himself for shame. 

§ 18. If the will were not a Universal there could be, 
properly speaking, no laws, nothing which could be imj)osed 
as obligatory upon all. Each one might act according to his 
own pleasure, and would not respect the pleasure of others. 
That the will is universal. Hows from the idea of its freedom. 
Men, considered as they are in the world, show themselves 
very different in character, customs, inclinations, and particu- 
lar dispositions, i. e. they differ in their will. They are by 
this, different individuals, and differ by nature from each other. 
Each one has natural abilities and determinations which oth- 
ers lack. These differences between individuals do not con- 
cern the Will in itself, for it is free. Freedom consists pre- 
cisely in the indetei^minateness of the "Will, or in the fact that 
it has no determined nature in it. The Will by itself is thus 
a universal Will. The particularity or individuality of man 
does not stand in the way of the universality of the Will, but 
is subordinated to it. A deed which is good legally or mor- 
ally, although done by some one individual, is assented to by 
all others. They recognize thus themselves or their own wills 
in it. It is the same case here as with works of art. Even 
those who could never produce such a work, find expressed 
in it their own nature. Such a work shows itself, therefore, as 
truly universal. It receives the greater applause, the less it 
exhibits the idiosyncrasy of its author. 

It may happen that one is unconscious of his universal will. 
He may believe, indeed, that it is directly opposed to his will 
even though it is his [true] will. The criminal who is pun- 
ished, may wish, of course, that the punishment be warded off; 
but the universal will brings with it the decree that the crim- 
inal shall be punished. It must be assumed that the absolute 
will of the criminal demands that he shall be punished. In so 
far as he is punished, the demand is made that he shall see 
that he is justly punished; and if he sees this, although he 
may wish to be freed from the punishment as an external suf- 
fering, yet in so far as he concedes that he is justly punished, 
his Universal will approves of the punishment. 

§ 19. Arbitrariness (caprice) is freedom, but only formal 

Morals, and Religion. 57 

freedom, or freedom in so far as one's will relates to something 
limited. Two sides mnst liere be distinguished : (1) in how 
far the will does not remain identical with itself in it, and (2) 
in how far it does remain so. 

(1) In so far as the Will wills sometMng, it has a determined, 
limited content. It is in so far, non-identical with itself, because 
it is here actually determined, although in and for itself it is 
undetermined. The limited content which it has taken up is 
therefore something else than it itself; e. g. if I will to go or to 
see, I become a going or a seeing one. I thus enter a relation 
not identical to myself, since the going and seeing is some- 
thing limited and not identical with the Ego. 

(2) But in form I stand in identity with myself, or am free 
still, since I all the while distinguish this state of determina- 
tion from myself as something alien, for the acts of going and 
seeing are not posited in me by nature, but by myself in my 
own will. In so far as this is the case it is evidently no alien 
affair, because it is made my own and I have my own will 
in it. 

This freedom is a formal freedom because together with my 
self-identity there is present also at the same time non-iden- 
tity with myself; or, in other words, there is a limited content 
in the Ego. When we in common life speak of freedom, we 
ordinarily understand under the expression, caprice or relati'oe 
freedom : liberty to do, or to refrain from doing, something or 
other. In the limited will we can have formal freedom in so 
far as we distinguish the particular content of our will from 
ourselves, or reflect upon it, i. e. in so far as we are also beyond 
and above it. If we are in a passion, or if we act through a 
natural impulse, we have no formal freedom. Since our Ego, 
in this emotion, gives itself up wholly, it (the emotion) seems 
to us to be something nnlimited (or infinite). Our Ego is not 
out of it and does not separate itself from it. 

§ 20. The absolute free will distinguishes itself from the 
relatively free will or caprice (arbitrariness) through this: 
the absolute will has only itself for object, while the relative 
will has something limited. "With the relative will — with the 
appetite, for example — the object of that will [its content] is 
all that concerns it. But the absolute (will) must be carefully 
distinguished from wilfulness. The latter has this in common 
with the absolute will : that it does not merely concern itself 

58 HegeVs Science of RigJits, 

with the object but also with the will as will, insisting that its 
will as such shall be respected. A distinction is here to be 
made : the stubborn (wilful) man insists on his will simply 
because it is his will, without offering a rational ground for it, 
i. e. without showing his will to have general validity. While 
strength of will is necessary — such as holds unwaveringly by 
a rational purpose — on the other hand, mere stubbornness, 
such as arises from idiosyncrasy and is repulsive toward 
others, is to be detested. The true free will has no contingent 
content. It alone is not contingent. 

§ 21. The pure will has nothing to do with particularity. 
In so far as the latter comes into the Will, so far is it mere 
caprice, for caprice has a limited interest and takes its de- 
terminations from natural impulses and inclinations. Such a 
content is a given one and is not posited absolutely through 
the Will. The fundamental principle of the Will is therefore 
that its freedom be established and preserved. Besides this, 
it has indeed many different kinds of determinations : it has 
a variety of definite aims, regulations, conditions, &c., but 
these are not aims of the Will in and for itself; still they 
are aims, for the reason that they are means and conditions 
for the realization of the freedom of the Will, which demands 
regulations and laws for the purpose of restraining caprice 
and inclination or mere " good pleasure " — in a word, the im- 
pulses and appetites which relate to mere natural ends ; e. g. 
Education has for its end the elevation of man to an inde- 
pendent state of existence, i. e. to that existence wherein he 
is a free will. To this view many restraints are imposed upon 
the desires and likings of children. They must learn to obey, 
and consequently to annul their mere individual or particular 
will, and moreover their sensuous inclinations and appetites, 
to the end that by this means their will may become free. 

§ 22. First. Man is a free Being. This constitutes the fun- 
damental characteristic of Ms nature. Nevertheless, besides 
freedom he has other necessary wants, special aims, and im- 
pulses, e. g. the impulse for knowledge, for the preservation 
of his life, health, &c. In these special determinations, Jus- 
tice has not man as such for its object. It has not the design 
to further him in the pursuit of the same, or to afford him 
special help therein. 

Secondly. Justice and Right do not depend upon one's mo- 

Morals, and Religion. 59 

tives. One may do something with the best of intentions, and 
yet the deed be not right and just for all this, but wrong. On 
the other hand, an act — for example, the maintenance of my 
property — may be perfectly right, and yet I have a bad mo- 
tive; since I may have sought not what was just and right, 
but the injury of another. Upon the right as such, the inten- 
tion or motive has no influence. 

Thirdly. It is not a matter that depends upon conviction 
that what I perform is right or wrong. This holds in particu- 
lar with regard to punishment. Although an efi'ort is made 
to convince the criminal that he has violated what is right, 
yet his conviction or non-conviction has no influence on the 
justice that is meted out to him. 

Finally. Justice and Right pay no regard to the disposi- 
tion or sentiment under whose influence anything is done. It 
very often happens that one does what is right merely through 
fear of punishment or fear of unpleasant consequences — such, 
for instance, as the loss of reputation or credit. Or, it hap- 
pens that one does right from the conviction that he will be 
rewarded in another life. Right, however, as such is inde- 
pendent of these sentiments and convictions. 

§ 23. Justice and Right must be distinguished from Moral- 
ity. Something may be well enough from a legal point of 
view, which is not allowable from a moral point of view. The 
law grants me the disposition of my property without determ- 
ining how I shall dispose of it, but Morality contains determ- 
inations which restrain me in this respect. It may seem as 
though Morality permitted many things which the law does not; 
but Morality demands not merely the observance of justice 
towards others, but requires also that the disposition to do 
right shall be present, that the Right shall be respected as 
Right. Morality demands, first, that the legal Right shall be 
obeyed; and where it ceases, come in moral determinations. 

In order that a deed may have moral value, insight is neces- 
sary into its nature, vdiether it be right or wrong, good or evil. 
What one terms the innocence of children or of uncivilized 
nations is not yet Morality. Children or such uncivilized na- 
tions escape the commission of a multitude of bad acts be- 
cause they have no ideas of them, i. e. because the essential 
relations are not yet extant under which alone such deeds 
are possible ; such non-committal of evil deeds has no moral 

60 HegeVs Science of Riglits, 

value. But tliey do perform acts which are not in accordance 
with Morality, and yet for the reason that no insight exists 
into their nature (whether they are good or bad), they are not 
strictly moral acts. 

Private conviction stands opposed to the mere faith in the 
authority of another. If my deed is to have moral value, my 
conviction must enter into the act. The act must be mine in 
a whole sense. If I act on the authority of another, my act 
is not perfectly my own ; somebody else's conviction is doing 
the act. 

There are, however, relations in which the moral side con- 
sists precisely in being obedient and acting according to the 
authority of another. Originally, man followed his natural 
inclinations without reflection ; or else with reflections that 
were one-sided, wrong, unjust, and under the dominion of the 
senses. In this condition, the best thing for him was to learn 
to obey, for the reason that his will was not yet the rational 
one. Through this obedience the negative advantage is 
gained that he learns to renounce his sensuous appetites ; and 
only through such obedience can Man attain to independence 
and freedom. In this sphere he always follows another, 
whether it be his own will still immersed in the senses, or 
whether it be the will of another. As natural creature, he 
stands under the dominion of external things, and his incli- 
nations and appetites are something immediate — not free, or 
something alien to his true will. The one who is obedient to 
the law of Reason is obedient from the point of view of his 
unessential nature only, which stands under the dominion of 
that which is alien to him. But, on the other hand [i. e. essen- 
tially'], he is independent self-determination (when obedient 
to reason), for this law (of reason) has its root in his es- 

The disposition [the " animus "] is thus, in the moral realm, 
an essential element. It consists in this : that one does his 
duty for its own sake. It is, therefore, an immoral motive to 
do anything out of fear of punishment, or in order to pre- 
serve another's good opinion. This is a heterogeneous motive, 
for it is not from the nature of the thing itself ; in such a 
case one does not consider the Right as something in and for 
itself, but as dependent upon external determinations. 

Yet the consideration whether an action is to be punished 

Morals, and Religion. 61 

or rewarded (although the consequences do not constitute the 
value of a deed), is of importance. The consequences of a 
good act may sometimes involve much that is evil, and, on the 
contrary, an evil act involve much good. The thinking upon 
the consequences of a deed is important, for the reason that 
one does not remain standing by an immediate point of view, 
but proceeds beyond it. Through its manifold consideration, 
one is led to the nature of deeds. 

§ 24. According to the stand-point of Rights, man is his own 
object as an absolutely free existence; according to the moral 
stand-point, on the contrary, he is self-object, as an individ- 
ual in his special existence, as member of the family, as friend, 
as a particular character, &c. If the external circumstances 
in which one man stands with another are so situated that he 
fulfills his vocation [destination], that is his happiness. This 
well-being depends partly on his own will and partly upon ex- 
ternal circumstances and other men. Morality has, also, the 
particular existence or well-being of man for its object, and 
demands not only that man be left in his abstract freedom, 
but that his happiness be promoted. Well-being, as the 
adaptation of the External to our internal Being, we call com- 
fort and pleasure. Happiness is not a mere individual pleas- 
ure, but an enduring condition : in part of the actual pleasure 
itself ; in part, also, of the circumstances and means through 
which one always has the ability to create a state of com- 
fort and pleasure for himself at will. The latter form is the 
pleasure of the mind. In happiness, however, as in pleasure, 
there lies the idea of good fortune [good luck] : that it is an 
accidental matter whether or no the external circumstances 
agree with the internal determinations of the desires. Bless- 
edness, on the contrary, consists in this : that no fortune (luck) 
pertains to it, i. e. that in it the agreement of the external Be- 
ing with the internal desire is not accidental. Blessedness 
can be predicated only of God, in whom wish, and accomplish- 
ment of his absolute power is the same. For man, however, 
is the harmony of the External with his Internal limited and 
contingent. In this he is dependent. 

§ 25. The moral will, in regard to its disposition and con- 
viction, is imperfect. It is a will which aims at perfection, 
but : (1) is driven towards the attainment of the same through 

62 The Logic of TrentowsTci. 

the impulses of sensuousness and individuality; (2) it has 
not the adequate means in its power, and is, therefore, limited 
to bringing about the good of others. In Religion, on the 
contrary, the Divine essence is regarded in itself as the perfec- 
tion of the Will, according to its two sides, namely: (a) ac- 
cording to the perfection of the internal disposition [the 
"Heart"] which has no longer any alien impulses in itself, 
and {])') according to the perfection of power to attain the 
holy purposes. 




" Cognoscetis veritaiem, et Veritas liberos faciei vos." — Johann. viii. 32. 
Translated from the Polish by Professor Podbielski, (Havana College, Cuba). 

Any thinker among my countrymen meditating with an 
unprejudiced eye upon the wide fields of human cognition, 
and considering with any depth the present state of European 
philosophy — having pledged no fealty to any received system, 
even the all-pervading one of Hegel — must have arrived at the 
conviction that metaphysical science has hitherto been, and 
is still engaged in, examining and cultivating two worlds stand- 
ing in direct opposition to each other. These worlds are Ma- 
terialism and Spiritualism, Realism and Idealism, Empiri- 
cism and Speculation, Physics and Metaphysics, — in a word, 
the External and Internal of the Created. I call attention to 
the word Created, because their creative, transcendental or 
divine germ has been hitherto ignored and unknown. Under 
these two cardinal worlds all the smaller ones subordinated to 
them are ranged, for instance : Understanding and Reason, 
Rationalism and Mysticism, Naturalism and Supernaturalism, 
Practice and Theory — the Prose and Poetry in every doctrine. 

It may be remarked that, in general, the Indo-Romanic race 
pays homage to the first of these cardinal worlds. Realism or 
Materialism ; while the Indo-Teutonic inclines to the second. 
Idealism, Spiritualism, Theorj'-. There are, indeed. Empiricists 

TJie Logic of TrentowsM. 63 

ill every country wlio rely for knowledge only on actual expe- 
riment ; there are also Idealists, who regard thought alone as 
the Castalian Fount of truth and knowledge. Even where the 
general thought has not yet been developed to this point, yet 
the savants and practicians are preparing carefully for the 
coining comlDat. In all tuition we have real and ideal schools. 
This Dualism was and is everywhere. Forcing its way through 
the boundaries of science, it has entered the holy fields of Re- 
ligion, revealing itself in the adherents of the past — the church- 
men andtraditionists; or in the free-thinkers and skeptics of 
every possible shade. It is now taking its place in the arena 
of political life, where it may be studied as Conservatism, or 

The author, having long since devoted himself to the study of 
philosophy, and familiar with it in its multifarious forms, was 
struck with this scientific, all-pervading, and everywhere visi- 
ble Dualism. He thanks God that he was born a Polander, since 
had he been an Indo-Roman he would have seen truth only 
in the sphere of facts, empiricism, and regarded speculation 
and theory as vain illusions of the fancy ; or, had he been an 
Indo-Teuton, he would have looked for truth only in the world 
of pure ideas, and considered nature and the entire realm of 
the senses as mere phenomenal appearances, and thus not be- 
ing able to comprehend the Essence of this scientific Dualism 
he could never have arrived at its analysis. But by the grace 
of the Creator of nations, the intelligent Giver of various natu- 
ral abilities, he was born a Polander, and thus endowed in like 
proportion with the natural and spiritual eye — received the im- 
pression because it was jDossible for him so to do. He knows 
that the Frenchman, when he hears of our scientific Dualism, 
will shrug his shoulders, and call it the baseless production 
of the Sclavonic soul, fecundated into dreams by German 
Mysticism ; and the German, in the arrogance of his metaphy- 
sical pride, will say it is the system of a Sclave not yet free 
from sensuousness, and so perceiving in the phenomenal world 
of the senses knowledge capable of equilibrating itself with 
the reason a priori ; and my countrymen, as they may in 
spirit have become French or German, will range themselves 
with the accordant nationality. None of them will be able at 
first to perceive the Actuality of the new philosophy. Nor is 

64 Tlie Logic of Trentowslci. 

this to be wondered at. Not having lain in the grave of sufffer- 
ing, they have not the eye of the Polander, nor do they conceive 
that God created the Indo-Sclavonic race for important uses ; 
that he destined it to look into a new loorld unknown until 
now, thus rendering itself illustrious, and augmenting the 
accumulated stores of European wisdom with an original and 
extensive " Third Division." 

Investigating the nature of this everywhere predominating 
Dualism, the author found in it the most complete antinomy — 
faces and their reverses, polar oppositions. The antagonisms 
of this antinomy proved to him extremities and fractionalities, 
hence half truths and half falsehoods. Being convinced that 
the full essential truth cannot lie in polar extremities or mar- 
gins, not in the theses or antitheses, but in their reciprocal 
penetration — that is, in the synthesis — he endeavored to fuse 
these faces and reverses, these oppositions, into a scientific 
Totality. This is the first movement in, and the first key 
to, his philosophy. The experimentalist has been hitherto 
engaged in testing the realities offered him solely by chang- 
ing Phenomena, while the metaphysician spun ever new webs 
of ideality from the involutions of his own brain; neither tak- 
ing any true interest in the labor of the other, nor caring to 
inquire into anything foreign to his own sphere, nor deigning 
to examine the realm of opposite and almost despised sub- 
jects. The author was the first to prove that investigation 
(empiricism) is the one, and idealism (metaphysics) the other 
Axial Pole of Science ; that both are equally necessary to, 
and equally privileged by, Eternal Truth ; that both having 
thoroughly interpenetrated each other as soul and body, con- 
stitute the total, organic, living, equatorial science or philoso- 
phy. Thus hand in hand with phenomenal investigation or 
empiricism and metaphysics, stands Philosophy as the third 
science ; spontaneous, yet with its two old predecessors as its 
necessary workmen, presenting itself in an entirely new form, 
with inner powers and meanings never before divined. Real- 
ity fuses with Ideality, and glows into Actuality ; Practice 
unites with Theory, and grows green in the union. The Exter- 
nal and the Internal transmute themselves into the Totality ; 
Experience embraces pure Thought, and becomes true Cogni- 
tion ; A Posteriori and A Priori combine, and appear in A 

The Logic of TrentowslcL 65 

Totali. The two worlds of the Material and Ideal prove to be 
but abstractions of the human brain, bearing the real existence 
in neither, while united they stand as the third living world ; 
actual in all its categories, it absorbs them in its own life. 
Then universal Trinity takes the place of universal Duality, 
and an original, great and magnificent view opens upon us. 
The Universe looms upon us neither as solely an Empirical 
whole, nor only a Speculative Ideal Unity, but becomes the 
philosophical Totality of both, that is, organic Life. In this 
illimitable sphere, man is represented in potentia; in it Mat- 
ter weds Spirit, brings forth individualities, and multiplies into 
myriads. Each individuality, a single copy, although it is 
a totality in a single drop, appears and disappears, but the 
totality itself lasts eternally. Discovering this third worlds 
the world of Actuality, the author endeavored to describe it 
faithfully in his first work. He published it in German in- 
deed, but he wrote of a world, my countrymen, discovered by 
the eye of a Polander, of which neither Latin nor Teuton had 
as yet heard. 

While endeavoring to represent this third world in his 
work, the author became convinced that the Totality of the 
Actuality, fusing in itself the entirety of the Real and the 
unity of the Ideal, that is, the All-matter and all-pervading 
spirit, the sablime circle of the universe, overpowering, as it 
does, the most vigorous imagination with its immensity, living 
and illimitable as it is — could not be the Creator — but, with all 
its marvels, was only the creation : such a creation, with its 
entire majesty of Divinity, is but of a derivative nature ; it is 
the Tevealed eternity, but not the Eternity itself ; it is only 
time, without the beginning or the end, working itself out in 
immeasurable space, continually germing with new life. Its 
PRiKCiPLE IS A Creator. The question then arose : What is 
God ? If the Totality of the Actuality, filled with the all- 
matter and penetrated with the all-pervading spirit, in its de- 
rivative eternity, is not God, but only His matchless work, 
His wondrous universe, — if God is not, and cannot be it, then 
He must differ from it. To unite Him as one with it, Holo- 
theism, would be but Pantheism. Thus it was finally demon- 
strated that God is the principal, unconditional, holy, individ- 
ual Totality of the universe, who, having breathed existence 

66 TJte Logic of TrentowsM. 

from Himself, or spoken the Omnipotent Woed, surrounded 
Himself, tlie Sun of suns, with infinite radiant glory : that is, 
He created the Totality of the Actuality (all real existence), 
and at last created a Toeing in His own image, a relative total- 
ity, limited but individual, called man, upon this earth. As 
man is made in the image of God, so in God exists a likeness 
of man ; and thus the beginning and close (end) of the exist- 
ing universe is the Individual Totality. As is man, so is 
God,'a personal, individual Being ; but the first is relative and 
creative ; the second. Substantial, Self-existent, Creative. An 
Absolute is not a generality, as has been hitherto erroneously 
conceived, but the Great Individuality, creating all generali- 
ties and particularities, and finally that resembling Itself in 
its singleness, man. Thus, only at the beginning and at the 
end of the axis of the universe, stands the individual — God, 
the Creator, and man, the self-conscious created. Between 
ithese margins lie but marvellous fragments and pieces. 

A true Individual, Person, has consciousness of himself, 
reason and free will ; as a totalit}^, is centred in himself, is 
the focus and heart of his own entirety. In God, the universe 
reflects itself on the breast of Eternity ; in man, on the bosom 
of Time. The world is not conscious of itself, but God in 
Heaven knows it, and man on earth. Man is a transition, 
rather the returning of the world into God, a marvellous link 
between earth and Heaven. The essence of everything is the 
"Word of God ; the essence of man is the Breath of God : that 
is, the free, self-conscious,, derivative divinity, the selfhood, 
the personal I. This I-liood (so to name the self-conscious 
personality) is neither in nature nor in spirit ; it is only in 
God and man. The Word of God takes its place in nature 
and in spirit, lying there dead like the letter in the Book, 
until sounding on through time and becoming the word of 
man, it arrives at its heavenly conception, and presents itself 
as our true cognition in philosophy. Reality and Ideality are 
both in God, and constitute in Him the transcendental Iden- 
tit}'', the creative Actuality. Beyond the Essence of God, they 
interpenetrate recij)rocally and shine continually as the cre- 
ated Actuality. The difference between them exists only in 
the human brain, equally connected with the regions of tlie 
natural and spiritual. Their identity is found in the trans- 

TUe Logic of Trentowslci. 67 

cendental Word of God, which is the object of philosophy, 
and breathed through it in time. They are manifested in 
man as body and soul, and arrive at their identity in his trans- 
cendental I-liood. The human I-hood is neither the body nor 
the spirit, but something very different from either ; and yet 
again, it is both body and spirit, speaking transcendentally. 
It is the Real-Ideal, or the actual divinity, v^hich, having 
robed itself in worldly matter, becomes the body ; and having 
breathed with the worldly spirit, if I may so express myself, 
makes itself the soul. The I-hood constitutes in us the third 
divine world ; its manifestation is neither the physical spirit 
or force, nor the metaphysical movement or thought; it is the 
will, enterprise, moral action, energy of character, love of 
truth, beauty, virtue, holiness, religion ; it is capacity for gov- 
ernment, ability for sacrifice, self-abnegation for good. As 
the human I-hood differs both from the body and the soul, or 
from its own outward and inward world, so God differs from 
spirit and nature, or from the universe, which is His work. 
As the I-hood of man rules over his body and soul, so God, 
the cardinal, central I of the totality, the all, governs the uni- 

Thus, the third world, which is the totality of the actuality, 
perceives itself in its holy and eternal germ. Matter and 
spirit become but its temporal workmen, its subdivisions, its 
categories, while it reveals its own sempiternity, robing itself 
in transitory form. God in Heaven, the "Word of God on 
earth, and the I-hood in man, are the constituents of this third 
world. Realism and Spiritualism, Empiricism and Specula- 
tion, lose their rainbow but illusive glitter when it is discov- 
ered that they are only occupied with external and internal 
temporalities ; when philosophy is convinced that its proper 
object is the germing, living, fundamental Transcendentality, 
the eternal source of every temporality, or the third divine 
world. The individual Totality demonstrates itself to be the 
aljyha and omega of the universe — the entirety of creation. 
The Breath of the first individual Totality awakens, warms 
and glows in the flame of its consciousness thrown on the 
breast of Time, in the being of the last, created, individual 
totality. But between the individual Totality, God, and the 
individual totality, man, an infinite difference intervenes, not- 

68 The Logic of TrentowsTci. 

withstanding the reciprocal image. The first is without con- 
ditions, seated upon the throne of the Sempiternity ; the sec- 
ond is limited, lives, indeed, eternally, but in the eternity of 
time, that is, in the pre-existent, in the present, and in the fu- 
ture world. Between the marginal totality and the universal 
Whole a great difference also intervenes, but there is no anti- 
nomy, no polar opposition, because in all three, however differ- 
ent, the antinomical, polar, oppositional faces and reverses, 
Reality and Ideality, fuse and form the actuality. Thus is 
the third world transformed into the divine transcendental 
world. As matter and spirit are in the eternally temporal 
world a balloon in which to mount to Heaven — the spirit, like 
a buoyant gas, filling and floating the aerial vessel — so the 
Divine again becomes the eternal earth-bearing Atlas in the 
world. Neither the Roman nor the German races have ac- 
knowledged this world of God, because the Roman races have 
ever mingled and confused Divinity with Reality, and the 
German, confounded it with Ideality ; as Christianity itself in 
their hands becomes warped' and one-sided, seeing God only 
in the spirit ; the Latin finding spirituality only in the church, 
and the Teuton deeming that his own spirituality, his own 
idea, his human spirit is a true transcendentality ; — therefore 
as our third world in its purity, originality and spontaneity 
was known to neither Roman nor Teuton, we may believe that 
God reveals it to-day for the progress and consolation of the 
Sclaves ; among whom we do not class the Moscovites, nor 
aught that proceeds from the Golden Horde, the Mongols of 
Karan, Astracan, &c. This philosophy, therefore, showing for 
the first time the third world, and calling upon Theology no 
longer to conceive Christianity on its spiritual side alone, but 
to regard it from its transcendental stand-point, its individual, 
conscious, responsible I-hood, is necessarily Sclavonian and 
revealed for the enlightenment of Poland to- day. Thus Boh- 
wie calls our third world a revelation from God, and Wronski 
names it the Achromatla^ both acknowledging its essential 
truth, and declaring it capable of satisfying the religious as 
well as the philosophic. 

Religiosity is a characteristic and historic trait of the Polan- 
ders, differing both in degree and kind from that of any other 
Christian people. This peculiar religiosity of the past was 

The Logic of TrentoiOisJiL ■ 69 

the forefeeling and unconscious adoration of the divine world 
now coming to its own consciousness, capable of breathing 
new life, force and energy into my oppressed nation, and 
able to elevate the philosophical enlightenment of Europe 
into the highest, truly heavenly sphere. These reasons in- 
duce the author to call his philosophy, already developed in 
his work on education and in various other writings, the Na- 
tional Wisdom. 

That the third divine world is equally extensive and quite 
as capable of generating philosophical systems as the worlds 
of the Real and Ideal, that it is an important discovery, im- 
pressing new forms on the development of human knowledge 
and wisdom, that it leads Christianity to recognize in the 
Holy Spirit (which it carefully differentiates from the spirit 
of the world), Divinity or I-hood, to recognize itself in the 
germ of its own essence, and aid it to still further triumphs 
— it may be permitted us here to mention. Every man is 
great in so far as he can unite his will with the will of God, 
or in so much as he may become a worker of God's will ; as 
the Scripture says, " an instrument." Nor does our freedom 
suffer here, for it depends on ourselves to will to follow the 
divine will which we perceive, or not. 

Bohwie and Wronski, and in part, also, Cieskowski, sought 
the reconciliation of the antinomy, and looked for the eternal 
synthesis. The author can truly say that Poland is full of 
young life and healthful vigor ; that, in spite of long and cruel 
torture, a splendid future is still in store for her ; her knowl- 
edge of the divine world will enable her to surpass western 
Europe with the magnanimity of spirit therefrom resulting. 

The philosophy of the middle ages — the scholastic — placed 
God without or beyond the world. He reigned somewhere 
far off in Heaven, while the Pope, the Ruler in the Roman 
Church, whose wisdom in dogmas was to be considered infal- 
lible, governed the earth. Spinoza transferred God from His 
place without the world, into it, having made Him universal 
Extension, the union of thought and matter. This Extension 
revived in the Absolute of Schelling, and in the Idea of Hegel. 
God was the eternal existence of the world, the universe 
itself, and thus Pantheism again ruled in Philosophy. Feuer- 
bach transferred God from the universe into humanity, he saw 

70 TTie Logic of TrentowsM. 

Him in the human spirit — the most fasJiionable Absolute ! He 
set his foot upon the most cherished idea of his master, ex- 
claiming : " The unconditioned Spirit is still the spirit of the 
middle ages, the theological Spirit of the dead ; it knocks like 
a midnight spectre in the speculations of Hegel." 

There are, as demonstrated in this logic (Myslini), three lu- 
minaries of truth : God, the universe, and the humanity ; or 
to speak technically : the Essence, (Transcendentality, extra- 
mundanity) the Existence, and the Existing Essence. In the 
Christian world, God appeared as these three suns of truth, 
as the Essence, the Existence, and the Existing Essence. 

The author sees God himself without or beyond the world, 
or in the Essence ; in the Existence, he recognizes the Word ; 
and in the Existing Essence, the Breath of God. It is God 
Creator, and the two-fold unconscious, also conscious of 
itself created Divinity. God is the holy source of every 
Transcendentality ; the Word of God is the Transcendental- 
ity immersed in the universe and constituting its eternal germ 
of Actuality, and the Breath of God (the Holy Spirit) is the 
Transcendentality coming in the world to its own conscious- 
ness, and through that, becoming the image of the original 
Transcendentality. These three species of Transcendentality 
create the divine world, or the only eternal Actuality. 

Thus the national philosophy neither expels the Divinity 
from the bosom of humanity, nor from the spinal marrow 
of the universe ; it can discern the true in all religions, most 
fully in the God of the Christians ; and uniting the three old 
partialities, fractions, it obtains an impartiality, harmony. 
Modern philosophy has only been able to attain to created 
divinity, whether in the universe or in humanity. N^ot re- 
linquishing the splendid prize already won by the race, but 
restoring to it its true meaning, not returning into the Past 
of the middle ages, the national philosophy demonstrates, in 
accordance with the desire and need of every human heart, 
the non-created and creative Divinity, the true, individual^ 
self-conscious Deity — in a word, the Christian God. 

The author, an ardent adherent of spontaneous search, avers 
that none of the ancient philosophers, nor Leibnitz, nor Jacobi, 
have set forth principles or bases more thoroughly Christian 
than those lying in the depths of his doctrines. Even the scho- 

Tlie Logic of TrentowslcL 71 

lastic pliilosopliy was less Christian, since, notwithstanding its 
intuitive sense of the true God, it did not dream of the created 
divinity in tlie world and in humanity, which is indeed only 
coming to the full consciousness of its own greatness, and 
must yet battle long and bravely for its rights. Scholasticism 
never succeeded in probing the essential truths of Christian- 
ity, nor in bringing its marvels to the light ; it was but a sim- 
ple exegesis, in philosophical form, of the Church doctrines of 
the times. Having no conception of scientific spontaneity, she 
stands like a fair slave with her eyes closely bandaged, and 
does not deserve, in the bright blaze of the nineteenth century, 
the revered name of philosophy. In the "being for itself," the 
"being for other objects," the "in selfhood and for selfhood," 
"the idea in itself or in its other being, in the triumph over it 
and the return to itself," in fine, Hegel's Logic, philosophy 
of nature and philosophy of spirit are only the before-world, 
the world, and the after-world ; only the world in potentia, 
in actu, in ceterno ; only the existing future, present, and the 
past; consequently, we have in general nothing more than 
the temporality : of this there can be now no doubt. Hegel 
never knew the conscious of Himself, Individual, and true 
God ; he only knew the created divinity in the three divisions 
of temporality, only God's Word in its manifestation. His 
entire philosophy is but one division of our national philo- 
sophy, that is, the philosophy of the world. His logic is not 
Logic proper ; it is but the philosophy of the before-world, that 
is, pure ontology a priori. 

It is a very sad thing that Hegel, whose system has exer- 
cised so deep an influence over cultivated humanity, should 
have thus entirely lost the Transcendentality, because in him 
the far-famed German philosophy, having reached the apex of 
its development, tottered to its fall, having thus solemnly mani- 
fested and recorded that it had never been able to find, prove, 
or know the true God. This was unavoidable, for no simple 
Spiritualism, pure Idealism, however deep and genial it may be, 
as it is but the second subdivision of the transitory scientific 
antinomy, the equally privileged partial and fractional rival 
of materialism, and neither of them knowing anything of the 
third world, will ever be able to pass the limits of the tempo- 
rality, or be capable of seizing upon the sempiternity. The 

72 TTie Logic of TrentowsM. 

end of all its seeking must ever be the mere soul of humanity ; 
its highest word, " My spirit is God !" Such a shipwreck of 
the great German iiag of philosophy filled the friends of spon- 
taneous inquiry with grief, its enemies with joy. The scien- 
tific Philisters, or rather the mere parrots of predominating 
public opinion, triumphantly doubt the power of all philo- 
sophical thought ; and the reactionists and traditionalists, be- 
lieving that the greatest earthly goddess lies a putrid corpse 
before them, sing, in bitter irony over the prostrate form of 
Philosophy, a perpetual ^'' Requiescat in (Sterna pace.'''' 

Such results are truly disastrous. Men, in despair of the 
power of reason, throw themselves into the depths of mysti- 
cism, and only in the miraculous, perceive the redemption of 
the present world. Supernaturalism rears again its head ; its 
currents run in numberless directions. The great Schelling 
gives himself up to the sophistry of the Gnostics : the world 
rushes suddenly back through fifteen centuries of progress ! 
The clergy of the churches clap their hands, praise the scho- 
lastic as the only perfect philosophy, call Descartes, Bacon, 
and their followers, teachers of error and revivers of pagan- 
ism. More and more audacious, they at last deem it possible 
to restore entire the Middle Ages ! 

Nor is this philosophical earthquake confined to Germany. 
France declaims against philosophy, stamps it as materi- 
alism, and can see spirituality only in blind belief. Our 
own Witwicki having no understanding of philosophy, yet 
mounts it as if riding the little wooden horses of the Carrusel, 
and our gifted Mickiewicz, exalting feeling to the skies, 
preaches strange things of an unknown Messianism. Thus is 
our proverb verified : "Woe to him who stumbles, for even the 
goats mount the bent tree." 

The author here presents the third divine, transcendental 
world, permeating all with its own eternity, delivering phi- 
losoi)hy from its present perilous position, again restoring to 
it its old and hardly-won dignity, and laying once more at its 
feet its sceptre over the thought of humanity. By this means 
he tears asunder the finely spun webs of multifarious bats and 
owls, working to obstruct the light, striving to fetter human 
inquiry, endeavoring to seize the triumphal car of the world 
in the name of Hell, baptized by them Heaven, that they may 

The Logic of Trentowski. 73 

tlms again assume their Middle-Age importance. It is easy 
to conceive this has drawn thunderbolts of vengeance upon his 
head. He can endure the battle, and with heavenly Truth 
standing at his side, he smiles at all the enemies of human 
progress. He even hopes he may able to transfer spontaneous 
philosophy from Germany into Poland, and with this crown 
make her what she has long deserved to be, the actual queen 
of Slavonia. 

After the finding of the true God, immortality is the most 
precious thing to the human heart. With the sad fall of Ger- 
man philosophy, the certainty of eternal life seemed lost or 
dim. An erroneous belief was widely spread that the Spirit 
of Humanity constitutes the indimdual man, or that the Spirit 
of the Species is the substance and actuality of the individual. 
This doctrine is utterly debasing to our divine origin, to our 
derivative divinity, and has no meaning except in the king- 
dom of the brute creation, where it may, perchance, apply. In 
the sable, the turtle, the mole, the bird, the crab, the worm, 
&c,, &c., the species to which a certain creature belongs is its 
eternal axis, its fixed conception, its principle of motion, the 
model of its copy. But each man is Mmself^ to himself, and 
for himself; he is an independent, and, if I may so speak, an 
individual species. We have in all beavers the same manifes- 
tation, but the will of God is revealed quite differently through 
Paul and Peter. Every swallow cements its nest as all swal- 
lows have done for centuries, but every man may become 
creative and original, whether for good or evil. If man did 
not possess, even in this life, his own separate being, his own 
responsible, derivative and heavenly selfhood, and had only 
the common spirit of humanity, the light of generality for his 
existence, how could he hope for individual, personal, and true 
life, after death ? Springing forth from generality, he is prop- 
erly but a generality ; consequently he must return to the 
bosom of the generality. Thus they argue that indimdual 
existence is but the vain dream of the egotist ! Nay, so great 
is the scientific uncertainty of our eternal life, that Kerning* 
ventures publicly to say that our immortality has but two 
proofs, viz. : " intercourse with the dead, and the opening of 
the prophetic eye in our interior." 

* A noted Spiritualist of Paris. 

74 The Logic of TrentowsM. 

The author demonstrates that the I-hood of man is an eter- 
nal divinity living in the pre-existent world, before born npon 
earth, and in the after-w^orld after death, w^ith entire life as 
in this world ; that the before-world, the present world, and 
the after world, the past, present, and future, are only rela- 
tive subdivisions of one and the same unconditional life ; that 
individuality, personality and consciousness are eternally 
attached to every divinity made in the image and likeness of 
God, as they are to God Himself. Thus is preserved the old 
scientific certainty of man's immortality, while it is supported 
with new, undeniable, and immediate j)roof. What divinity, 
indeed, does not feel divinity directly in and through itself? 
that is, does not feel its eternal, immortal, imperishable being? 
Thus, the dubious intercourse with the dead, the opening of 
the miraculous prophetic eye, and all similar morbid and sicMy 
illusions become unnecessary, and demonstrated, scientific 
Truth seats herself upon her car of triumph. 

Kerning also teaches without evasion that not every man 
will rejoice in immortality, but only those who can work it 
out by their own strength ; that a certain supernatural power 
exists in us to see the dead, to prophesy, and work miracles, 
but we must gain the force necessary for spontaneous awak- 
ening from the sleep of material death by hard and protracted 
effort; that prayer and fasting kindle in us the flame of eter- 
nal life, which, when attained, permeates to the end of the fin- 
gers, and heals the sick through the power of Christ. 

Our own "Wronski also demands a reform in Christianity. 
He is opposed to its solemn promise of eternal life to all men, 
and advocates a dogma which shall make immortality conse- 
quent upon morality, as effect is upon cause. He says eternal 
life is the harvest, morality the seed ; and he only who has 
sowed the seed can reap the harvest. The author, however, 
recognizing in the human I-hood the eternal derivative divin- 
ity, in accordance with the teachings of Christ, acknowledges 
every man to be immortal. This divinity, however, exists long 
only in potentia. It comes from the before-world, that it may 
become a divinity in actu. Its duty during its presence here 
is to develope from itself the God's thought placed within it ; 
to work itself out from the state in potentia into that of in 
actu; to transform itself sj)ontaneously into the divinity it 

The Logic of TrentowsM. 75 

was intended to be. In exact proportion to the extent of this 
transformation, to the development of its holy selfhood, will 
be its state in sempiterno. So that every one is immortal, but 
the state of his eternal life is moulded by his own will, and is 
thus passed, in accordance with his merit, in Heaven or Hell. 
Not our immortality^ but our salvation or damnation^ is bound 
with our morality, as effect with cause. Christianity here 
needs no reform ; it has revealed to us the perfect truth. Wron- 
ski was in error, mistaking salvation or damnation for immor- 
tality itself. Kerning fell into a like error, and prowled through 
the pathways of the wolf. It is true that supernatural power 
is in every man, for he is a divinity in ]^otentia. It is true we 
can develope this power, only by our own force, for we are to 
transform ourselves spontaneously into the divinity m actii. 
But these things are entirely natural, and should never drown 
us in the depths of mysticism ; nor do they lead us to prophe- 
sy, to the working of miracles, or to dubious intercourse with 
the dead. Virtue is the highway tp eternal salvation; vice 
leads to eternal damnation. What is virtue ? The human 1 
must live and act worthily of itself, that is, as a divinity from 
Heaven. Live, O man, so that thou mayest never stain in 
aught that divinity which is the Breath of God within thy 
breast ! Act as the God-man ! Suffer thyself to be nailed to 
the cross for truth, beauty, holiness, freedom, virtue, religion, 
light, political progress, law, science, country, and humanity ! 
Sacrifice and self-devotion are thy duty ; but know well what 
it truly is for which thou art willing to give up life, lest thou 
shouldst become, not a God-man, but a madman — a fool, wor- 
thy only of pity ! Fear not death ; for the I within thee, the 
divinity from Heaven, can never die ! A thousand early deaths 
were better for thee than the eternal debasement of the divin- 
ity within thee by crime, unholiness, self-seeking, or volun- 
tary slavery! 

This doctrine is all-important for humanity, now so gravely 
sick, corrupted by gold, palsied by infernal egotism : may it 
bear consolation to my people who have so long and eagerly 
looked for a better future, to secure which, they may be called 
upon to face death, to offer up bitter sacrifice. 

God is the Central, Transcendental Heart in the universe ; 
the I-hood is a like transcendentality in man. As eternity is 


76 TTie Logic of TrentowsM. 

attached to God, so is immortality to the human I. Eternity, 
sempiternity and immortality belong also to the subdivisions, 
categories of the transcendentality, for they are its attributes. 
The third, then, all-important thing in philosophy is the dis- 
covery of the source of cognition for this transcendentality, or 
the demonstration that man has for it, the immediate eye. If 
philosoj)hy does not demonstrate it, sophists will declare all 
transcendentality to be but the skeleton spectre of a heated 
brain, and become impious or infidel, or finally throw them- 
selves into the arms of blind belief and grow mad with irra- 
tional bigotry. 

The Greek philosophers long sought the immediate eye for 
transcendentality, but without success. The Christian Church 
proclaimed its wisdom to men in rebellion against God's light 
and love, but announced as dogma that the transcendentality 
is only the object of faith. Such were the final results on the 
fields of the past. In the middle ages men persistently, hum- 
bly and blindly believed in the dogmas of the Church. But 
at last, doubt was awakened, and grew into utterance. Men 
said : " Christianity commands us to believe in the Transcen- 
dentality, but does not open in us the immediate eye for its 
perception. If it is impossible for man to perceive it, how can 
the Church know anything about it ? How can a rational man 
believe that which transcends the reason of humanity ? If our 
reason is not high enough to conceive or know essential truth, 
how can we possibly be certain that the doctrines of the 
Church are true ?" Thus doubt commenced to sit in judgment 
on the dogmas of faith ; change and transition began under 
the standard of the rebellious reason, and the middle ages 
passed away in universal struggle. Modern history began. 
Reason seized upon the sceptre of the world, and faith was 
trampled underfoot. It broke forth in the Roman races, espe- 
cially the French. Descartes was the patriarch of the present 
philosophy; Voltaire, Rousseau, and the Encyclopaedists of 
the last century, prepared the celebrated, terrible French 
revolution, pregnant with the future, and already rich in im- 
portant results. 

The Teutonic races, particularly the Germans, took a route 
directly opposite : they made the ideal reason {a priori) the 
monarch of modern humanity. This Reason {a priori) called 

Tlie Logic of TrentowsM. 77 

forth the Reformation, and finally developed itself in splendid 
metaphysical speculations, such as had never been on earth 

At the present hour, the Reason {a posteriori) of the Roman 
race has attained its full development ; its fruits are St. Simon- 
ism, Socialism, and Communism. The German Reason {a pri- 
ori) is also mature ; its fruits are the speculations of Hegel, 
the Critique of Christianity by Bruno Bauer, and the j)hiloso- 
phy of Feuerbach. The thinkers of the world have examined 
these results, and what do they find demonstrated ? The rea- 
son a posteriori has proved, through all its works, that it has 
only attained empirical nature. It has created Realism and 
Materialism. What is it in its primitive being? Nothing 
more than the highly cultivated and science-crowned Sense. 
Can the senses give us the immediate eye for the transcenden- 
tality, for the world of God ? Not in the least ; they only pos- 
sess the immediate eye for the visible exterior of nature. Thus 
the understanding, the reason a posteriori, has proved itself 
incapable in regard to the cognition of God, or the immor- 
tality of man. 

The reason a priori has, on the other hand, fully proved 
through all its creations, that it is only of a speculative nature. 
Its creations are Idealism and Spiritualism. What is the 
essence of these scientific forms ? The speculations of Hegel 
on Will and Knowledge convinced the world that Idealism 
and Spiritualism utterly fail to obtain the Transcendentality ; 
that they only arrive at the metaphysics of the soul of the 
finality, or the abstract spirit of nature ; that thus they, too, 
are only occupied with temporality, becoming quite invisible 
when they rise above that realm, bringing notliing to the man 
of experience, while they are to the people utter NUiilism. 
What is the ideal reason in its primeval being ? Nothing but 
poetical, radical license, supported by the judgment and sci- 
ence-crowned fancy, that is, fantasy. And is the faculty 
which sees Giants, Demigods, Sylphs, Gnomes, and Centaurs, 
the eye to see into the abyss of the divine world ? Not at all. 
It is only the immediate eye for the invisible inwardness of 
existence, for the Psyche of the great Isis. 

As the sense is the bodily eye for bodies in general, so is 
the reason a priori the incorporeal eye, or the eye of the mind 

78 The Logic of TrentowsTci. 

for spiritual ideas ; but neither the one nor the other is the 
eye of the I-hood, the eye of the created divinity for Gfod and 
the divine. Thus the reason a priori has also proved itself 
incapable of attaining to supernatural truth. The impotence 
of the reason a posteriori, and of the reason a priori, vrith 
regard to the cognition of the transcendentality, has de- 
stroyed all confidence in philosophy. Men, in despair of 
human inquiry, have returned and are still returning into 
the middle ages, exclaiming: "Faith is the only apostle 
from God ; from her alone can we learn of the divine, of 
immortality ; she is the highest, surest wisdom." To fall 
back into and to hide oneself amidst crumbling ruins is easy * 
enough, but brings no honor to the routed heroes. It is true, 
the Roman and German philosophies are both bankrupt; but 
it is certain that retrogression is and ever has been against the 
will of God, and as in the middle ages, so again will blind be- 
lief lead on to Revolution and Reformation. It is insufiicient 
as base for the universal satisfaction and repose of man ; it 
does not give the immediate eye for the transcendentality, 
but only a goodly trust in the tradition of what had once been 
seen by such an eye. As the present miserable and insup- 
portable state of skepticism seems to have grown out of Chris- 
tianity, we hear it asserted in almost every country that the 
Church is worn out ; that the world stands in need of a new 
revelation. Many desire decisive reforms in Christianity itself. 
Everywhere is sought the immediate eye for the transcenden- 
tality. It is remembered that in the primitive world men saw, 
talked with, and received orders, directly from God ; and it is 
asked, why is it not so also to-day? We are answered : be- 
cause man sinned and fell'; that, having stained his innocence 
with materialism, he is no longer worthy to hold converse with 
his Maker ; that he has become blind in his personality, and 
is no longer able to see miracles. Traditions are everywhere 
scattered that humanity met with some fearful loss, and for 
centuries past the world has been in search of some philoso- 
pher's Stone of Wisdom. What can have been this dread- 
ful loss? What is this unknown Stone of Wisdom? Noth- 
ing but the immediate eye for God! Of old, men were 
gifted with celestial power, such as Samson, David, Moses; 
and God gave to them a measure of His Omnipotence, and 

Tlie Logic of TrentowsM, 79 

they routed the hosts of their enemies with a handful of men. 
And of old were the prophets, holy men gifted hy God with 
supernatural wisdom and a certain measure of Omniscience ; 
but they are no more on earth. Men to-day call these things 
fables. We have the Holy Books proceeding from the men 
of God, containing for us the words of transcendental wisdom, 
but we cannot understand them. Original sin robbed us of 
the immediate cognition of all transcendental truth. "What is 
then our duty? To pray day and night until our very bones 
learn the Lord's prayer, and can recite it like our lips ; to fast 
and abstain from food, and strive in every way to obtain the 
pardon of God. When He shall find us pure. He will tear from 
our eyeballs the cataract woven of guilt, and we shall again see 
Him in His glory. And thus the old Thibetanic life of asceti- 
cism begins anew in the Christian world. Men are now heard 
proclaiming to the superstitious crowd, that the inner eye for 
God has been opened in them ; they present themselves with 
their assumed supernatural wisdom, and assail Christianity 
itself. What is this inner eye they claim, this wisdom ? In 
their language it is styled " Clairvoyance" ! They have given 
learned theories to the world by which such gifts may be ob- 
tained. From this source spring the numerous thaumaturgists 
now travelling through all countries, working miracles, con- 
versing with the dead, and uttering false prophecies. This 
pseudo-heaven proved favorable also to the Polanders ; did it 
not send them Towianski ? 

The author, looking into these foolish fancies, these con- 
scious or unconscious charlatanries, considered how the evil 
might be remedied. Without vain repetitions of prayers, with- 
out fastings or anchoretic ascetism, but having, by the grace 
of God, made an entirely natural step in advance in philoso- 
phy, he discovered in the very essence of man the everywhere 
looked for and expected power and vision, the immediate eye 
for the transcendentality. He has aimed in his works to make 
it clear to his countrymen. This is the old Polish eye, " o/to," 
now first coming to its own consciousness, conception, and 
name, having no apjDellation in any foreign language, "//i?/'^?,"* 
the reason a totally the eternal source and holy principle not 

* A word of varied meanings: thought, feeh'ng, resolve, &c. 


80 The Logic of TrentowsTci. 

only of the reason a posteriori^ but of the reason a priori. 
The empiric I-hood, seated in the body and transfusing itself 
through it, has the eye for its own, as well as for foreign 
bodily substance, for matter. The metaphysical I-hood, con- 
stituting the spirit, has the eye for its own, and for foreign 
spirituality, or for spirit. This eye sees immediately the 
inwardness of the world, and is called the reason a priori. 
Finally, the transcendental or proper I-hood, the root of the 
empirical and metaphysical I-hood, being itself in the image 
of God, a derivative divinity, has the eye for its own, for the 
foreign divinity, for God. This eye sees immediately the 
divinity of the world, that is, the "Word and the Breath of God 
(Holy Spirit). It sees the pre-eternal source of this Divinity, 
that is, God Himself; sees the Essence in the Existence, and 
beyond, without the existence, and its appellation, as we 
already know, is the reason a totali. As the sense has the 
immediate perception of matter (sensuousness), and as the rea- 
son a priori perceives immediately spirit (thought, or rational- 
ity), so in man, who is himself a derivative divinity, the reason 
a totali (soul) perceives immediately God and the entire di- 
vine world, or divinity. This divine I-hood signifies the power 
of seeing the transcendentality, as the Acromatia of Wron- 
ski. Thus the Polish reason a totali., though without the whip 
once wielded by Christ, can yet disperse the false prophets 
and miracle-workers. Coming to the aid of philosophy and 
true Christianity, it opens fertile fields for the Sclaves for fu- 
ture culture, rich in scientific glory and full of promise for the 
religious and political progress of all the nations of the earth. 
The author then gives to his countrymen the true, Christian 
God as a truth not based on religious faith alone, but proved 
by rational conviction, and demonstrated by exact science. 
These proofs lie within the reach of all minds, and are easily 
found. He ofl'ers to their contemplation that God who is mani- 
festing Himself more clearly from day to day in His own exis- 
tence, in His word, and in His Breath, or in the entire third 
divine world ; he gives them the individual I-hood and proof 
of immortality ; also, as an emanation from their divine na- 
ture, a new, heroic, and heavenly morality ; he gives them the 
reason a totali, or the immediate eye for the transcendental- 
ity, the eternal actual truth. 

Tlie Logic of Trentowslci. 81 

He has felt himself called upon to write tlius at length, in 
his Introduction, that he might elucidate his theme more fully 
for superficial critics, as well as for the Polish emigrants, who, 
robbed, banished, and sick at heart, are obsessed by the 
Satans of Towianski, and have fallen into the delusions of 
Messianism, among whom is to be reckoned our great poet 
Mickiewicz, worthy of a better fate ! 

That the discovery of this third divine world and the imme- 
diate eye for it, the reason a totali; the transformation from 
root to flower of the present Roman and Teuton systems into 
a Slavonian philosophy ; the raising of the seeds of transcen- 
dental truths which the Roman understanding a posteriori, 
and the Teuton reason a priori, mixing with temporary chaff, 
dropped into the abyss of nothingness, — that all these things 
should work great changes in the universally accepted Logic 
is natural and necessary. The old Logic was the product of 
the real and ideal thought ; the national Logic bases these 
two systems on transcendental reasoning. The two earthly 
systems are fused into truth and unity in the sphere of divine 
thinking, in that of the reason a totali. Dualism, Dichotomy, 
passes into Trinity, Trichotomy, increased through its various 
relative categories. The new Logic, based in the dej^ths of 
ontology, or in the philosophy of the Before-world — that is, in 
the region of the Fervers of Zoroaster, the primitive God-ideas 
of Plato — takes another form, another significance ; many 
original things are added, and the Whole becomes a limng 
Organism. The reader may readily convince himself of this 
by referring to the Dialectics and Methods, or to the second 
and third parts of the national Logic, in which the old Logic 
is transformed. This Logic was only the given -thing, the em- 
pirical facts which it was necessary to found on a true philo- 
sophical basis, worthy of our time and the Polish nationality. 
This necessity called forth Part I. of our Logic, the Analytic, 
containing the logical Analysis of Truth, Knowledge, and Con- 
viction. The substance of this first volume, the topics consid- 
ered in it, induced Kant of old to write his " Critique of Pure 
Reason," Fichte to publish his " Fundamental Principles of 
Scientific Doctrine," and Hegel to present the " Phenomeno- 
logy of the Mind." These are the most renowned creations of 

82 The Logic of TrentowsTci. 

German philosophy. Herein is found the scientific foundation 
of spontaneous cognition, therefore the corner-stone of all true 
philosophy. If this work, the Analysis, were found worthy to 
occupy the same place in Slavonian philosophy occupied by 
Kant's Critique in the German, the most ardent wish of the 
author would be satisfied. That the entire Polish system of 
the Sciences and Phenomenology of the Mind, original na- 
tional works developing the third or divine world, correspond- 
ing to the above-mentioned German works, may soon appear, 
is also greatly to be desired. 

The author has seen and read the most contradictory opin- 
ions with regard to his work on education, Howanna. Among 
other criticisms, he has seen that his style is too popular; that 
the philosopher has nothing to do with the people in general, 
but only with the more advanced thinkers. He hopes his pres- 
ent Logic will gratify such critics. It is destined for all who 
appreciate true science ; for the intellectual among the young 
men of our unhappy country, who, even in the midst of gloom 
and oppression, still seek mental progress and enlightenment ; 
yet it endeavors not to write above the People, the author con- 
sidering Clearness the natural quality of every true light. If 
the "too popular" work on Education was not understood by 
many noisy sophists, why should he have labored to make 
his Logic more unintelligible ? 

Perhaps this introduction may appear to some presump- 
tuous, or even full of egotistic vanity, yet the spirit in which 
it was written was one of modesty, nay, of deep humility. 
The author pretends to no prophetic powers, as Towianski ; 
brings no new Koran, appeals to no fanaticism, demands no 
blind belief, conquers not the free will without convincing the 
intellect, nor desires to entangle human spirits in skilfully dis- 
posed nets of logic. He offers his work to his country, only 
desirous of awakening the spirit of the Polish People, for 
whose ability, vigor, and originality, he entertains the highest 
esteem. He has not the least desire to be known as the crea- 
tor of a new school, a sect, a class of partisans ; his aim is only 
to cultivate the spontaneity and freedom of the national thought 
of Poland. This is the lirst wish of his heart. He asks not 
for disciples and confessors, but generous co-workers in the 
higher sciences, collaborators for the same holy end. He 

Tlie Logic of Trentowski. 83 

knows that witliout the hearty aid of his fellow-men, his eflforts 
will be of no avail. Should he fail in obtaining such assis- 
tance, he will be convinced that his nation is not yet suffi- 
ciently mature to welcome the philosophy of the third divine 

He affectionately entreats his countrymen to aid him to 
combat all obscurantism and ignorance, and solemnly makes 
his parting appeal to them : " Polish sages ! Seize the pen 
and work steadily for the beloved nation ; a fearful respon- 
sibility rests upon you. Open to her the great gates of 
the future ! Take the old bandage from her eyes, that she 
may perceive through the gloom so closely surrounding her, 
the resplendent sun of her future mission, her coming destiny. 
Enlighten her, that she may remember what she once was, 
what she now is, and what she is yet to be. Prepare her for 
sacrifice ; teach her that spiritual night is the only true death ! 
Tell her with every hour that the great, glorious, eternal divi- 
nity constitutes her I-hood ; that it will not and cannot die 5 
that there is no death possible for it unless it wills to destroy 
its own immortality through lack of reason, moral torpor, want 
of self-consciousness, cowardice, inability for Grod-like sacri- 
fice, groveling and base actions ! 

" Teach her, sages of Poland, the highest path of thought, that 
so the nightmare forced upon her by the damned, may cease 
to obsess her ; teach her to know herself that she may feel her 
own dignity, nor lay her noble brow in the dust before degra- 
ded splendor, haughty titles, human favor, or imperial despot- 
ism! Teach her to think justly, that she may feel nobly, for 
thought precedes effort, and glorious intellect will lead to 
magnanimous actions. Patriots, throng to the aid of the 
Sages of Poland ; never before was self-sacrificing wisdom so 
necessary for the redemptiom of our crushed Father-land. 
When light shall be diffused through all her borders, the great 
moral day of national salvation will dawn upon the earth. 
The genius of our country will feel her supernatural power, 
and God Himself will be with her !" 

Happy New Year, dear brethren and countrymen ! 


Freiburg in Brisgovia, January 1st, 1844. 

84 Philosopliy of the Unconscious. 


By Ernst Kapp. 

In the present work,* which very modestly calls itself " An 
Attempt at a Theory of the Universe" [ WeltansG7iauung\ a 
decided step has been taken towards an entirely new " Welt- 
anschauung'''' by the introduction of the Unconscious as a 
principle into philosophy. This "Unconscious" itself, how- 
ever, is not anything new ; rather is it the oldest, that which 
is more or less known and current throughout the world ; it 
is the primeval ground of all the change in the universe, the 
only possible and authentic beginning to a systematic philo- 
sophy. From the earliest times, in the scattered appearances 
of it, a subject of wonder, of observation, and, to some extent, 
of philosophical investigation, it had hitherto — notwithstand- 
ing that our knowledge of it was continually becoming more 
adequate — withdrawn, itself under numerous veils from 
thoughtful consideration, as a connected whole. The develop- 
ment of organic structures, the instinct of animals, the law 
that prevails in the formation of political communities, the 
spontaneous healing of social and physical crimes, the rise of 
languages, the native talent for art and science, the fixed rule 
governing the recurrence of crimes, births, deaths and suicides 
in human society ; these, and many other phenomena, have in 
all times occupied the attention of natural investigators, his- 
torians, philologists, educators, physiologists, statisticians, 
and philosophers. These, however, have placed the Uncon- 
scious which reveals itself in such phenomena, in opposition 
to a conscious as a Natural opposed to a Spiritual. At the 
same time there were not lacking monistic views of the sub- 
ject. For example, the Platonic philosophy had represented 
the acquiring of knowledge as a Reminiscence, having refer- 
ence to an unconscious and mysterious origin, and had point- 
ed to this as the ground from which knowledge springs. So 
also, in very recent times, a comprehensive work {^''Psyche — A 
Contribution to the History of the Development of the Soul)" 
has been devoted to the demonstration of the proposition, that 
the key to the knowledge of the essence of the conscious life of 

* Philosophie des Unbewussten: Versuch eiuer Weltanschauung, von E. v. 
Haxtmann. Berlin, 1868. 

PhilosopJiy of tlie Unconscious. 85 

the soul lies in the region of the Unconscious. This work can 
properly lay claim to have furnished a new basis for this spe- 
cial philosophic province, and to have elevated into promi- 
nence a new principle for philosophy in general. The non- 
exact sciences, as a rule, have all occupied themselves in 
manifold ways with the Unconscious, — indeed with strik- 
ing, and frequently with Tiostile, irrelevancy. The astonish- 
ment which Von Hartmann's work has caused them is all the 
greater, inasmuch as the process by which he brings th appa- 
rently Heterogeneous into unconstrained harmony is so sim- 
ple. He draws the Unconscious out of its hitherto isolated 
consideration — pulls it with one genial grasp (or, so to speak, 
with one stroke) at once into systematic order, and lights up 
the path upon which the edifice of a new philosophy of the 
Present (for which the inductive science of nature has pre- 
pared the material) is possible. A similar astonishment had 
been caused in the first half of the century in a much more 
tangible region — that, namely, of productive industry. "Was 
not steam as it was set free — sometimes by cosmical changes 
of temperature on the surface, sometimes by volcanic activity 
in the interior of the earth, sometimes simply by boilers in 
different forms — although it was known, and, so to speak, in- 
telligible to every body, uncomprehended for long centuries ? 
Suddenly, with the knowledge and the appliance of its elastic 
force, it comes forward as a mighty power into the region of 
human activity, to raise it to a new and higher plane. In this 
case, as in the other, the old — that which has been from the 
beginning and has been known by man — has become some- 
thing new. But this has happened not without a large num- 
ber of previous attemiDts, many of them very discouraging. 

Let us now attempt to give the readers of this journal an 
idea of the rich contents of the book itself. 

After an introduction, in which the author opens with gene- 
ral remarks in regard to his problem, method and predeces- 
sors, and answers the question how we come to the assumption 
of design in nature, the subject is discussed according to its 
internal self-divisions and genetic order, in three sections, as 
follows : r 

(1) The Unconscious in the physical organism. 

(2) The Unconscious in the mind. 

(3) The Metaphysics of the Unconscious. 

86 PMlosopliy of the Unconscious. 

The proposition of the Kantian Anthropology, that we have 
ideas without being conscious of them, forms the starting- 
point of the introduction. For the reason that it is otherwise 
impossible to explain certain phenomena in the region of 
spirit, it is necessary to go back to the existence of uncon- 
scious ideas as their cause. 

" To combine all these phenomena, and in each separate 
case to make probable the existence of unconscious ideas and 
unconscious will, and by their sum to raise the principle in 
which they all agree to a height bordering upon certainty, is 
the task of the first two divisions of this work." 

Thus the antitheses and contradictions of former systems 
are resolved in the principle of the Unconscious, which here 
becomes a united whole [All-Mmheit] and embraces the uni- 

''At last it reveals itself suddenly as that which has formed 
the kernel of all great philosophies — Spinoza's substance, 
Fichte's absolute Ego, Schelling's absolute subject-object, 
Plato's and Hegel's absolute Idea, Schopenhauer's Will, &c." 

With a view to a critical examination of the methods of sci- 
entific cognition, the author was obliged to decide in favor of 
Induction for his investigations. Setting aside altogether the 
dialectic method, he justifies the exclusion of it by reference 
to a particular work published by him ("On the Dialectic Me- 
thod," Berlin, 1868). According to our view, also, induction 
is in all cases a necessity where there is any question about 
the ascertainment and establishment of definite results, and 
their final unification into one general product. Whether it 
will suffice when it comes to be a question of working out in 
the form of an encyclopaedia, such a final result, as a new prin- 
ciple in all directions, will be seen in the near future. After 
this, the author brings forward his views on the relation and 
difference of the inductive and deductive methods, by the side 
of which we know of nothing that has equal worth, as far as 
clearness and depth are concerned. Free from all one-sided- 
ness, he gives full recognition to both methods, and as he de- 
mands that they shall mutually supplement each other, he 
considers every speculation false which contradicts the clear 
results of empirical investigation ; and, on the other hand, he 
designates every view and interpretation of empirical facts as 

PJiilosopliy of the Unconscious. 87 

false which contradicts the strict results of a purely logical 

Of his predecessors Von Hartmann gives prominence, in the 
region of modern philosophy, in the first place, to Leibnitz. 
To that philosopher he attributes the discovery of unconscious 
ideas, and he gladly confesses that by the study of his works 
he was first incited to his own investigations. Kant appears 
to him to have got a little way beyond the standpoint of Leib- 
nitz. On the other hand, he finds in Schelling the idea of the 
Unconscious in full purity, clearness, and depth. It appears 
less distinctly in Hegel. Schopenhauer's " Will " falls partly 
in the sphere of the Unconscious. From the more recent natu- 
ral science, in which the idea of the Unconscious has hitherto 
found little admission, he brings forward as praiseworthy 
exceptions, C. G. Carus's Psyche and Physis, with special 
recognition. Finally, the philosophy of Herbart passes under 
review with special reference to the ideas under the thresh- 
old of consciousness, which, however, do not stand on the 
ground of the truly Unconscious. At the end of his introduc- 
tion the author declares the hypothetical solution given by 
him of the question how we come to the admission of design 
in nature, not only to be new, but to be the only possible one. 
When, however, he expresses his opinion that the chapters 
of the first two divisions of the work, collectively and indi- 
vidually, prove the existence of the Unconscious, and that 
their intelligibility and power of carrying conviction mutually 
support and strengthen each other, he can scarcely have meant 
by this to ward ofl* the reproach that might be made, of Mosaic 
construction. For the manner and mode of the internal devel- 
opment of his investigations corresponds essentially with the 
inductive procedure, which his free movement cannot allow to 
be cramped by a strictly systematic handling of the subject. 
On the other hand, it is, in the highest degree, calculated per- 
manently to captivate a public which for a considerable time 
has been devoting itself to investigations in natural science, 
and, specially favoring these, has shrunk with distrust from 
philosophic works. It must immediately awaken in every one 
who takes up the book the agreeable conviction that it reads 
pleasantly ; that he (the reader) is equal to the task of under- 
standing it; nay, more, that philosophy is not, after all, such 

88 Pliilosopliy of the Unconscious. 

an abstract bugbear as people try to persuade eacli other ; it 
is, rather, attractive in the highest degree — a charming study. 
Alongside of the remarkable applause which the philosophy 
of the Unconscious has already won in public criticisms, the 
author may feel himself rewarded for the care spent upon a 
profound and elegant presentation of the subject, by the ap- 
plause which has been enthusiastically accorded to him in 
domestic circles by thoughtful women, to whom a theory of 
the universe which morally refreshes the whole of society, and 
glorifies life, is a desire and necessity. 

As to the chief subject of the book itself, its compass and 
wealth of matter admits only of limited notice. The first topic 
extends to the phenomena of the unconscious will, in the inde- 
pendent functions of the spinal marrow and ganglia, and, 
setting out from the assumption of a merely gradual and not 
essential difference between man and animals, shows that the 
same thing which we find in our consciousness as the cause of 
our actions, and call will, also lives in the consciousness of 
the animals as a causal moment of their action, and must be 
called also will ; that, moreover, for the presence of will there 
is absolutely no brain necessary ; that man therefore, as well 
as the brainless animal, has his ganglionic will. And that the 
will, whether it has gone through the cerebral consciousness 
and become volition, or not, remains in its essence unchanged. 
The unconscious idea in the production of 'voluntary moTie- 
ment leads to the consideration of the unconscious idea in in- 
stinct, which constitutes, both in form and matter, one of the 
brilliant passages of the book, and closes with these recapitu- 
latory words : 

"Instinct is not the result of conscious reflection, not 
the mere consequence of physical organization, not the result 
of a mechanism lying in the organization of a brain, not the 
result of a dead mechanism attached to the mind externally, 
and foreign to its inmost essence, but it is the peculiar self- 
production of the individual, springing from his inmost life 
and character." 

If the author is unable, in considering this instinctive action, 
to avoid the assumption of an (unconscious) clairvoyance, yet 
he has not by any means (as he has been reproached for do- 
ing) pat one enigma in place of another ; but facts of empiri- 

PMlosopliy of the Unconscious. 89 

cism have "been used solely in order to arrive at further mutual 
explanation and confirmation. The limit of the union between 
will and idea is carried far beyond the halfness of Schopen- 
hauer's philosophy, so that every unconscious will that really 
exists must be united with unconscious ideas. Moreover also 
the reflex actions are not to be considered as produced by the 
unconscious thinking of the nerve centres, but they are the 
instinctive actions of the subordinate nerve centres, it being 
demonstrated that instincts and reflex actions in individuals 
of the same species of animals, caused by similar excite- 
ments and motives, show essentially similar reaction. The 
whole doctrine of the Unconscious may be considered a refu- 
tation of the so-called "coarse" or radical materialism — in so 
far as it proves the existence of an immaterial principle stand- 
ing above the material controlling laws of the nerve-currents. 
In particular, however, the chapter on The Unconscious in the 
Healing Poioer of Nature contains an abundance of physio- 
logical proof so adapted to carry conviction in favor of the 
existence of an ideal moment in nature, that without it the 
striking phenomena of healing power would be altogether in- 
explicable. The dead causality of material events, the gene- 
ral physical and chemical laws come into effect according to 
those unconscious ideas which reveal themselves as the heal- 
ing power of nature, and are designated by the author as In- 
dividual Providence. Hereupon, after a preliminary consid- 
eration of the indirect influence of the conscious activity of the 
soul on organic functions, he closes this first division with an 
exposition of the unconscious inorganic structures, alluding 
first to the design apparent in organic structures, and then 
showing how by gradual succession it unites itself with the 
previously considered modes in which the Unconscious ex- 
presses itself. Schopenhauer's words : " Thus, empirically 
even, every being stands before us as its own work," form 
the transition to the following division. 

The content of it, namely : " The Unconscious in the mind," 
is by far more familiar to the present time than the region 
above traversed, which comprehends mainly the series of or- 
ganic formations below man. That region has only, in very 
recent times, been so far elaborated by natural science as to 
emit quite new flashes of light which illuminate important 

90 PMlosopliy of the Unconscious. 

subjects in human physiology. The merits of our author lie 
mainly in the independent philosophical elaboration of the 
appearance of the Unconscious in the physical system. For 
in the doctrine of the Unconscious in the mind, he might have 
moved upon beaten paths, where there was rich material 
awaiting him, more or less arranged, and accessible. In the 
first chapter, Instinct in the Human Mind, he treats of those 
human instincts which are more closely connected with the 
physical system, and to which, therefore, the name of instinct 
is usually more particularly given. The hollow conceit which 
prevails regarding human dignity, often refuses to admit 
the word instinct in the expressions of the Unconscious 
wliich are farther removed from the physical system although 
in other respects they are entirely similar. It refuses to ad- 
mit this word because there seems to adhere to it something 

After this he develops in the following chapters : The Un- 
conscious in Sexual Love, in Feeling, in Character and Bloral- 
ity, in the Msthetlc Judgment and the Productions of Art, in 
the Rise of Language, in Thinking, in the Rise of Sensuous 
Perception, in Mysticism, in History ; and, at the close, com- 
pares the Unconscious and the Conscious as regards their 
value for human life. 

The task which was here before the author — that, namely, of 
laying bare the roots of spiritual life — was, notwithstanding 
that much valuable preliminary work had been done, by no 
means an easy one. The principal difficulty lay, not so much 
in the sifting out of what he could render available for his 
purposes from the great mass of spiritual-philosophical ma- 
terial, as in fructifying with new germs a field that from time 
immemorial had been exhausted by the same uniform weari- 
some rotation of crops. A philosophy of spirit suitable for 
a soil reclaimed from empiricism by careful fostering, con- 
tains within it from the first the revolutionary forces of the 
Kantian philosophy, and is directly calculated to lead the 
individual sciences into new paths. The way, however, in 
which those branches of science that have hitherto been in- 
cluded in the spheres of the subjective, the objective, and the 
absolute spirit, may be rejuvenated, has been pointed out by 
the author in more than one place ; in this connection special 

Pliilosopliy of tlie Unconscious. 91 

attention is given to the state, art, religion, and history ; while, 
at the same time, medical science and social communism are 
not sent empty away. In this we may find indications of an 
encyclopaedic treatment, which must come sooner or later; 
that is, if the new theory of the universe is going to face, with 
worthy weapons, the inevitable combat against the attacks of 
partly obsolete, partly unripe knowledge, and of blind faith. 
For the fact that philosophy henceforth can victoriously pene- 
trate into all the spheres of life only in encyclopaedic com- 
pleteness and on a large scale, and not in the disconnected 
form of brilliant essays, is a point in regard to which all per- 
sons capable of forming a judgment are agreed. The author 
takes leave of this division with the confession : 

" Finally, we ought to keep continually before our own eyes 
and those of others, everything that we owe to the Uncon- 
scious as a counterpoise to the advantages possessed by con- 
scious reason, in order that the spring of all the true and 
beautiful, already half exhausted, may not entirely run dry, 
and humanity arrive at a premature old age. The idea of 
pointing to this need was one of the powerful motives impel- 
ling me to work out in a written form the thoughts laid down 
in this work." 

In the third and last division, the MetapTiyslcs of tlie Un- 
conscious., as is observed in the introduction : " The principle 
of the Unconscious extends itself unobserved beyond the 
physiological and physical spheres to questions, and solutions 
of questions, which in common language would be spoken of 
as belonging to the region of metaphysics ; and these results 
spin themselves out so simpl}^ and naturally from considera- 
tions of natural science and physiology, that one would not 
at all observe the transition to another sphere, if the subject 
of these questions were not otherwise known to him." 

Nevertheless, the different determinations of concepts be- 
longing to the conscious and unconscious action of Mind are 
taken up, their difference shown, and proof adduced to de- 
monstrate that every unconscious idea is connected with un- 
conscious will, and that both, therefore, existing in direct 
unity, form a common ground ; while, at the same time, a view 
is opened up to us at the close, how consciousness, which 
means the emancipation of the idea from the will (that is, 
from affection and interest) attains its gradual extension, un- 
til it is subjected to the SAvay of the conscious reason. At 

92 PJiilosopTiy of the Unconscious. 

tlie same time, tliroiigliout the wliole series of investigations 
extending from the beginning to the end of this division, 
proof is continually adduced to show that the conscious rea- 
son which displays such admirable administrative power, 
never shows itself creatively productive, and would, if al- 
lowed full sway, degenerate into the merest dry system of 
circles of universal and particular, inclosing each other and 
inclosed by each other, if man did not continually ' bathe 
afresh in the real scoring of his life, the Unconscious, and 
draw from it rejuvenated powers for new activity. Here, 
therefore, we are introduced to a series of most pregnant con- 
siderations, which develop themselves gradually, and pro- 
gressively. Among other things, the author takes into closer 
view the Brain and Ganglia as the Condition of Animal 
Consciousness, and gives a physiology of the brain and its 
functions ; the Origin of Consciousness affords him an oppor- 
tunity of examining the difference between consciousness and 
self-consciousness ; the Unconscious and Conscious in the 
Vegetable World leads him to disclose the relation existing 
between plants and animals, and, inasmuch as the plant, as 
well as the animal, is credited with a consciousness, to assume 
that the vegetable and animal kingdoms are on the whole less 
subordinate than we are in the habit of thinking them. In 
the chapter, Matter as Will and Idea, he devotes himself to 
considerations on the origin of matter, and tries his hand at 
the mystery of the atomic theory. He then crosses the bridge 
of the Idea of Individuality, and, after having established 
the relation between individual and genus, demands a sepa- 
ration between spiritual and material individuals, and that a 
distinction be made between consciously spiritual and uncon- 
sciously spiritual individuals, thus coming nearer to the All- 
Unity of the Unconscious. The Unconscious preserves its 
Monism by being the universal condition of the manifoldness 
of phenomena, without this Monism's interfering with the 
right of individual feeling of self. The question that con- 
nects itself with this, as to whence the manifoldness of phe- 
nomenal individuals comes, whence the individuality of each? 
why it exists, and how it is possible, touches the essence of 
Indimduation, which is afterwards discussed, and much light 
is thus thrown especially upon Schopenhauer's doctrine. 

Philosophy of the Unconscious. ■ 93 

From tlie stand-point of the All-Unity of the Unconscious, the 
author takes np the Nature of Production, and in this re- 
spect, likewise, occupies the ground of the latest natural sci- 
ence, which in this very direction has been enriched with so 
many new discoveries, and has been almost proved to a demon- 
stration. In his treatment of the Ascending Develoiwient of Or- 
ganic Life on the Earth, he occupies the scene of the clearing 
made by Darwin in the darkness of the primeval world, and 
shows himself very much at home in it, although by subject- 
ing the Darwinian doctrine to the test of the principle of the 
Unconscious, he does not hesitate to show its deficiencies. 
The closing considerations on the All- Wisdom of the Uncon- 
scious, and on The World as the Best Possible, as well as on 
the Unreason of Volition and the Misery of Existence, cover 
what we are accustomed to understand by the terms Optimism 
and Pessimism. Behind the former we find the unconscious, 
behind the latter, the conscious will, a diff'erence which can be 
reconciled only by the aims of the Unconscious becoming the 
aims of consciousness. This is the goal of the philosophy of 
the Unconscious. With this work in his hand, it well becomes 
the author to announce, as he has elsewhere done, that he is 
far from wishing to make mankind weary of the world, but 
that he believes he is setting forth more powerful motives 
than ever any one has done before him, to make them glad in 
the world. 

Wliat we have said in regard to Von Hartmann's work is 
intended less as a criticism than as a concise exposition, to 
gain readers for the work in circles where it may not yet be 
known. The majority of those who give it more than a pass- 
ing glance, will feel themselves constrained to submit it to a 
more serious study. Thorough-going criticisms will then be 
forthcoming in abundance. Like all books that mark an era, 
it will, no doubt, call into existence a number of defenses and 
attacks, and will have to brave the purgatory of criticism. 
The author may fairly desire the application of such a clear- 
ing-process to his views, as he will hardly for an}^ length of 
time be able to set aside the demand that will be made upon 
him to aid in drawing the consequences of his own scientific 
act. We speak of the development of these Prolegomena to 
a new comprehension of things, into the "imposing rotun- 
dity " of a system. It may be further remarked, that to the 

&4 The Freedom of the Will. 

author, Ms task and its position, considered with reference to 
the great philosophies of recent times, are perfectly transpa- 
rent. The consciousness of the genetic justiiication of his 
stand-point lends him everywhere coolness and certainty of 
judgment in general, but more particularly in his polemics, 
where these, as belonging to the subject, cannot be avoided: 
the same consciousness adorns his style with that dignity and 
gentlemanly deference whose absence is so much to be re- 
gretted in the author of " The World as Will and Idea," as 
well as in others. Von Hartmann, in his criticism of the dia- 
lectic method, closes the preface to his Monograph on that sub- 
ject with the noble words: "that we know no other duty to 
the heroes of science than that of examining their produc- 
tions with more care than those of other persons, and in these 
words we have the ground tone of his whole polemical career 
— and no less in the Philosophy of the Unconscious." 

Thus the public possesses in this book a thoughtful and 
vigorous account of the development of the Unconscious from 
its first presentiment up to the gorgeous edifice of human 
society under the sway of conscious reason, which continually 
seeks for self-invigoration and new birth in the Unconscious. 


"Although Philosophy can bake no bread, yet she can pro- 
cure for us Grod, Freedom, and Immortality." This often quoted 
saying of Novalis sounds strangely from the mouth of one living 
in the age immediately succeeding Kant's " Critique of Pure 
Reason," and reminds one of the " Naturam expellas^ etc^ 
Those three great ideas will never let man rest until he has 
found a tenable theory of them for himself. No philosophy, 
whether positive or negative, skeptical or dogmatic, can set the 
matter at rest so that speculation shall cease. For the essen- 
tial part of it is that each individual be clear in himself on 
these points ; he is therefore obliged to think out the solution 
for himself before it becomes Ms solution. 

Of these three gifts of philosophy, the second is of first in- 
terest to the Anglo-Saxon intellect. To speculate on the Free- 
dom of the Will is the most natural philosophic activity for 

* " Two Letters on Causation and Freedo^n in Willing, addressed to John Stuart 
Mill, with an Appendix on the Existence of Matter and our Notions of Infinite 
Space." By Rowland G. Hazard. Boston: Lee & Shepard. 1869. 

" Freedom of Mind in Willing, or Everything that Wills a Creative First Cause." 
By same author. New York : D. Appleton & Co. 1864. 

Tlie Freedom of the Will. 95 

a people whose national cliaracteristic is tlie practical will- 
power and its realization in forms of political freedom. The 
Anglo-Saxon does not create any great systems of Ontology, 
but he labors at empirical psychology. Empirical science of 
whatever kind arises solely from the substitution of the Will 
or practical faculty for the Reason or theoretic faculty : what 
objects my practical will finds, these shall be counted as 
Tcnown^ and not any others. 

I. The first step in a discussion of the Freedom of the Will, 
is to clear up the question of free or spontaneous activity in 
general. Until it is settled that free being is possible in idea, 
no subsumption can be made of the individual under it as 
predicate. From this cause arises the interminableness of 
the usual argumentation on the subject: One man tries to 
convince another that the Will is free — causa sui, self-determ- 
ined — when the other is utterly unable to grasp the idea of 
self-determined, or/ree, in itself. It is of no use to pursue a 
man with appeals to consciousness, when he conceives all Be- 
ing under the form of dependent or finite Being — the form of 
Being as determined or conditioned ab extra. 

Mr. Hazard, in the books before us, has taken the right 
course in first discussing at length the idea of causation. Effi- 
cient cause is causa sui, or primary source of motion, and one 
must grasp the whole of that thought before he can proceed 
to discuss the Will. 

The Kantian Critique has already been referred to. The 
Third Antinomy is supposed by Kant and the Kantians to 
prove that all attempts to comprehend Freedom are impossi- 
ble. It sets up a Thesis : " That a causality of freedom is 
necessary to account fully for the phenomena of the world," 
and after proving it, establishes by other arguments the 
antithesis : " There is no freedom, but everything in the 
world happens according to the laws of Nature." 

In these antithetic arguments Kant has well exhibited the 
Maya or delusion of untutored Reflection ; it moves round and 
round in a circle, because it thinks only one side at a time, 
and does not find itself strong enough to grasp both sides to- 
gether, and thus rise to a comprehension.* A brief consider- 
ation of the Antinomy may be pertinent in the present con- 

The chief point in the Thesis may be stated as follows : 1. 
If everything that happens presupposes a previous condition, 
(which the law of causalty states), 2. this previous condition 
cannot be a permanent (or have been always in existence); 
for, if so, its consequence, or the effect, would have always ex- 
isted. Thus the previous condition must be a thing which has 
happened. 3. With this the whole law of causality collapses ; 
for (a) since each cause is an effect, (&) its determining power 

* See Jour. Speculative Phil., Vol. I., pp. 18, 19; Vol. III., pp. 275, 276. 

96 The Freedom of the Will. 

escapes into a lii2\her memlber of the series, and, (c) unless the 
law changes, wli^My vanishes ; there results an indefinite series 
of effects with no cause ; each member of the series is a de- 
pendent, has its being in another, which again has its being in 
another and hence cannot support the subsequent term. 

Hence it is evident that this Antinomy consists, first : in the 
setting up of the law of causality as having absolute validity, 
which is the antithesis. Secondly, the experience is made 
that such absolute law of causality is a self-nugatory one, and 
thus it is to be inferred that causality, to be at all, presupposes 
an origination in a " self-moved," as Plato calls it. 

The Antinomy reduced to its simplest statement gives ; 

{a) Thesis : Self-determination must lie at the basis of all 
causality, otherwise causality cannot be at all. 

(J)) Antithesis : If there is self-determination, " the unity of 
experience (which leads us to look for a cause) is destroyed, 
and hence no such case could arise in experience." 

In comparing the two proofs it is at once seen that they are 
of different degrees of universality. The argument of the The- 
sis is based upon the nature of the thing itself, i. e. a pure 
thought ; while that of the Antithesis loses sight of the idea of 
"• efficient " cause, and seeks mere continuity in the sequence of 
time. The Thesis, properly stated, is a true universal, and ex- 
hibits its own truth, as that upon which the law of causality 
rests ; and hence the antithesis itself — less universal — resting 
upon the law of causality, is based upon the Thesis. Moreover, 
the Thesis does not deny an infinite succession in time and 
space ; it only states that there must be an efiicient cause — 
just what the law of causality states, but shows, in addition, 
that this efficient cause must be a " self-determined." 

A general investigation into the nature of the conditions, 
limits, or determinations of any being, considered as a whole, 
will result, if strictly pursued, in the conclusion that all deter- 
mination is self-determination, i. e. originates in a spontaneous 

II. After the first point has been cleared up, it still remains 
to show the relation of the human will to the free will which 
is shown to be the actual basis of existences. This involves 
a treatment of man psychologically as an individual, and eth- 
ically as existing substantially in the institutions which he 
creates, not as an individual but as a race : the Family, Soci- 
ety, and the State. The consideration of the latter or ethical 
phase falls in the Philosophy of Rights. The former phase 
involves the discussion of such subjects as motives, choice, ap- 
jyetites, foreknowledge, &c. 

Mr. Hazard has treated these themes with great acuteness, 
and has always kept iu view the great central light, the thought 
of CAUSA sui. 

* Jour. Sp. Phil., Vol. I., pp. 20, 119, and 187. 


O If 


Vol. IV. 18 70. No. 2. (2ded.) 


The question of Immortality involves the question of Sub- 
stance. What is Substantial ? If a being can be proved to 
be substance, it is of course permanent, and cannot be de- 
stroyed. Is the soul substance ? 

I. The substance of that which can be destroyed must ne- 
cessarily possess other potentialities than the one realized. 
The destructible thing is not substance, but a mere phase of 
it. Substance contains in itself the entire round of possibili- 
ties or potentialities ; its actuality and potentiality are one. 

Illusti'ations. — An. individual thing — a stone — may be 
crumbled to dust; the dust may be pulverized in water, or 
chemically changed, and its being mingled with a score of 
substances, in which all of its original identity is lost. 

A plant grows and possesses individuality ; it may be cut 
down and rot, and mingle with the atmosphere and soil, or 
be burnt up and its elements unite with others. 

A chemical element even, (e. g. a quantity of oxygen,) will, 
if set free, seek some other elements, with which it soon com- 
bines and loses all its former shape and properties, 

A piece of iron rusts or oxydizes until it is a piece of iron 
no longer. Water is potentially ice or vapor when it is liquid, 
or when it is ice it is potentially vapor or liquid. Any indi- 
vidual form of water may be destroyed at once, by realizing 
either of its potentialities. 

n. Thus so long as a being has potentialities which de- 
pend upon beings other than itself, it is destructible. Allow 

98 The Immortality of the Soul. 

a change in the totality of the conditions which surround it^ 
and you change it. 

III. A destructible being, therefore, is limited from without 
and finds itself conditioned by others. If there is an inde- 
structible being or a true Substance, it must be such a being 
as has its limits or determinations within and through its 
own act. 

IV. A self-determined being is therefore the only immortal 
being. It alone possesses individuality independent of other 
beings. Alteration is a process of "othering." If a self-deter- 
mined being alters, it must be through its own act. It is its- 
own other, its own limit, its own means, and its own end. All 
its activity moves in a circle, and has itself for a result. It i& 
thus a unity and a duality. 

V. It is therefore true that no substance can exist except a 
self-determined one. 

To define more clearly what a self-determined substance iSy 
we must consider it in each of its functions: — {a) It is .that 
which determines, and {h) that which is determined. 

{a) As the determiner, the pure active, it is not in anywise 
limited, and has no constitution or nature which characterizes 
it. It is pure potentiality, {h) But as determined it is the 
pure passive, the constituted, the nature, and is that which 

The determiner is not a being in time and space, but is the 
Ego of a conscious being. The act of this Ego results as "the 
determined'' in a " character." 

VI. The self-determined being is, as such, only in the form 
of Consciousness. 

Thus we have found the substantial, and can say that it is 
conscious being. 

Vn. Conscious Being, which is determiner and determined, 
active and passive, subject and object, is in the form of a pro- 
cess of self -identification ; this is an eternal process, for the 
reason that this activity creates its own object, a circle whose 
end is its beginning. 

It develops through the continual approximation of its pas- 
sivity to its activity, through its dissolving of its objectivity 
into subjectivity. This development therefore, instead of de- 
stroying individuality as change does, is a process of self- 

The Immortality of the 8oul. 99 

identification, the very essence of consciousness itself. It is 
World History. 


(.4 Fantasia on Hegel's Philosophy of History.) 

Human history divides into three great epochs, when con- 
sidered according to its theory of the nature of the soul. In 
the earliest stage — what may be called the foetal life and in- 
fancy thereof — we find no developed conceptions on this sub- 
ject. In the second epoch the soul is regarded as a product 
of Nature and subordinate thereto. In the third epoch man 
comes to assign to his soul the rank of self-existence, and 
accordingly he subordinates all else to himself. 

These three epochs may be again classified as the periods 
of dominion {a) of the senses — with fancy and imagination; 
{b) of the Understanding — with reflection and abstraction; 
(c) of the Reason — with insight and concreteness of compre- 

I. The simple sensuous knowing does not make distinction 
among the objects of time and space, separating the depend- 
ent from the independent. Everything to it is an immediate 
existence ; and since immediate existence must be causa sui 
or self-determined, the infant is prone to regard all immediate 
things as possessed of intelligence and will, so far as these 
attributes are implied in arhitrarmess. The South Sea sava- 
ges thought that fire (when Captain Cook first kindled it on 
their island) was a malignant demon that fed on dry wood, 
and bit any one that touched it. Like the South Sea Island- 
ers, almost the whole of Africa south of the Great Desert is 
peopled with human infants. The light of the sun of the phy- 
sical world glares upon them with unparalleled splendor; but 
the light of inner consciousness shines as yet only with feeble 
rays. They do not possess any knowledge of themselves as 
universal beings. Hence, the soul is to them a mere embodi- 
ment of caprice and arbitrariness. 

What we find existing in Africa at the present day, we find 
to have been the primeval condition of mankind in general if 
we correctly infer from such data as are given us. 

All historic certainty ceases when we trace back the annals 
of any nation for a comparatively short period. Beyond this 

100 The Immortality of the Soul. 

lies tlie realm of tradition and mythology, in which the typi- 
cal and historical are confounded. Back of this we are able 
to trace still a few steps further by means of the data derived 
from natural science. We can, for instance, in the Swiss lakes 
— in the cypress forests sunk below New Orleans — in the deep 
mud along the Nile — in the remains of human art there found 
— we can trace an approximate chronology that extends some 
thousands of years beyond the written records. The geologist 
— considering the rates of deposit of deltas and of the growth 
and decay of forests — affirms the existence of the human race 
in the Mississippi valley nearly 50,000 years before our time. 
Baron Bunsen finds the Egyptians advanced in civilization far 
enough to manufacture pottery, from seven to nine thousand 
years before our era. How ancient were the dwellers on the 
Swiss lakes, we shall not inquire. The pre-historic human 
being seems to have been substantially the same as the 
unhistoric human being of the present. Absorbed in the 
dreamy life of the senses, he lived, and died, and made no 
sign. The absence of objects upon which he has impressed 
his rational will is proof conclusive that he had not attained 
to that degree of self-knowledge which characterizes human- 
ity when advanced beyond sensuousness. 

Man as an individual, immediate existence — as a sensuous 
object — stands over against all that is in time and space as 
a pure other or opposite. The Reason within him which is 
as yet potential (undeveloped) can transcend all bounds in 
space. It can invent Mathematics, and thereby pronounce the 
necessary conditions of all immediate being in the universe, 
throughout all time. But when man is in the savage state, he 
has not yet gained possession of this universal attribute of 
his, and therefore is no master over Nature. Nature is to him 
an overpowering necessity and he yields to external circum- 
stances. Of course, his idea of immortality is very vague. He 
believes in spectres and ghosts, and tries by spells to raise or 
allay the demonic power of departed spirits. He is as yet 
unborn from the dominion of Nature into self-determination 
(the realm of Spirit), and may therefore be said to be e7i 
rapport with Nature. Somnambulists feel their separation 
as indlmduals from their bodies; the phenomena akin to 
animal magnetism are most frequent among the lowest ranks 

Tlie Immortality of the Soul. 101 

of humanity. Hence, although they hold to the separate ex- 
istence of the soul after death, yet as they merely exist under 
the control of natural powers in life, so in death the soul is 
not conceived as anything more than a natural existence — a 
ghost — a body which has lost some very important attributes 
and gained nothing of advantage thereby. Life's functions 
all gone, it can eat no more and drink no more — no more en- 
joy the delights of the body. 

II. In the second epoch of History man ascends into a con- 
scious separation of the individual from the generic entity. 
Man as universal is contrasted with man as individual. This 
epoch is transitional. Here belong China, India and the Bud- 
dhist civilizations, with the Persian, Pha^nician, and Egyp- 
tian, in which the principle is modified. In one simple word, 
we name this phase the Oriental. The Universal is distin- 
guished from the Particular; but the Universal is identilied 
as the negative might of Nature, and man is the Particular 
which is ever annulled by it. The Brahmin can only save 
himself from external annihilation and absorption into Brahm 
by performing the act of absorption himself, through abstrac- 
tion ; when he becomes giddy with self-contemplation, and 
loses all special consciousness like the dreamer and the mes- 
meric subject, then he is Brahm and superlatively blest. 
Holding as he does this absolute abstraction to be the High- 
est Truth, it is consistent that he should despise all that is 
distinctively human. He builds asylums for old cows and 
monkeys, but leaves sick humanity to perish miserably. 
The animal in general is the appearance of Brahm even more 
than the man, for the latter has consciousness, which diftracts 
prismatically into multiplicity of individuals, while the brute 
instinct remains still in implicit unity. 

This stage is properly to be called the Pantheistic stage. 
All is God and God is one. All multiplicity, therefore, is 
only 3£aya or delusion. There is and can be only One, the 
negative unity that absorbs all into it, the Saturn that de- 
vours all children of Time. The varieties of this fundamental 
doctrine of the Orient may be briefly characterized as follows: 
they are stages of ascent towards a recognition of the soul as 
independent of Nature. 

102 The Immortality of the Soul. 

{a) First, there is China with its one substance upon which 
all depends. The emperor is the visible embodiment of it — 
the patriarchal principle, in which the individual is the merest 
organ of the unity that articulates the whole as patriarch and 
monarch. Note, that in the savage races there was resem- 
blance to the vegetable organism — each part a separate indi- 
vidual, and no real individuality anywhere — all was particu- 
larity. In China there is one organism like that of the lowest 
animal — the polyp, which can feel only. Feeling is the refer- 
ence of the whole to a central point — the central self being 
at home in the members. The plant cannot feel, for each of 
its members is a separate individual, and thus there is no 
return into one centre. In China we have what corresponds 
to feeling. 

{b) India seizes this substantial ilnity as articulated into 
members (castes), and we thus attain one degree more of dis- 
tinctness. These articulations constitute the basis of Castes. 
The spiritual substance is rigid and allows no transitions : 
the chandalas are lowest, and cannot ascend to the next step • 
they must forever remain distinct, in their marriages and 
associations, from all others. So, too, the other castes, each 
exists in isolation from the rest. Thus, in recognizing the 
Brahmin as descended from the Head of Brahma, and as 
thereby possessing in himself the possibility of realizing 
Brahm in himself, the East Indian idea at the same time 
places the Universal as a rigid wall — a Jaw of Nature — around 
humanity, leaving the individual no freedom at all. 

(c) The next higher realization is the Buddhistic. In the 
Lama worship all are, or may become, priests — no rigid caste 
system restrains — and in each one of these priests is the 
possibility of becoming the Grand Lama. But when we come 
to the Persian and Zend ideas we note the advent of a new 
element of Consciousness. The extreme East — China, India, 
and Thibet — have seized true Being as one (as completely 
abstract) and have regarded this as positive, letting all mul- 
tiplicity stand as a mere delusion. They do not make any 
account of the negative by itself. But the Persian seizes the 
negative, and attributes validity to it as the opposite of the 
positive. He makes two principles : a positive and negative ; 

TTie Immortality of the Soul. 103 

and lias broken the abstract unity of the more eastern 
nations. He has in this seized the nature of spirit more 
profoundly, for he recognizes in it the importance of the 
negative, which is the source of all particular existence. Of 
course, the negative is as substantial as the positive — the 
Particular is as substantial as the Universal. 

(d) The Persian does not seize this thought in all its bear- 
ings, but lets it abide in its most obvious realization in na- 
ture — that of ligJd and darJcness. The substance of the 
remoter East is related to the particularity of man, as a neg- 
ative of it. The realization of the substance destroys man's 
consciousness, and he perishes as an individual. But Nature 
has a dualism and the Persian has discovered it. 

The light now comes in through openings at the top of this 
cave, and we are in a fair way to escape into the free air of 
spirit. With dualism arises the principle of activity, and the 
contrast of the negative with the positive leads to a unity 
quite concrete, as the substance of all. 

(e) This leads to the Phoenician conception, wherein the 
same idea is more developed. Pain is the chief element in 
this mode of worship). Pain is the feeling of subjectivity. 
The particularity or Finite is itself negative, and in pain 
feels itself negated. Of course, in pain there is a synthesis 
of the finite subject with what limits it, and hence where 
pain is, there is a transcending of mere finitude. To make 
this an object of consciousness in Religion shows the further 
elaboration of the new principle which came in with the 
Persians. The Negative as darkness is at first seized as 
coordinate with the Positive as light, and in this the Par- 
ticular is seized as an essential phase. The Phoenicians in 
their Adonis-worship seize the Negative as related to the 
Positive in the form of Pain, and thus develop a deeper in- 
sight into thfe nature of spirit. Hercules is the chief deity of 
the Phoenicians ; he ascends from the human by his own 
deeds and becomes divine, i. e. he negates his negativity, 
or cancels his finitude ; hy renouncing his ease and comfort 
— denying (negating) himself as a natural being — undergo- 
ing his "labors" (types of the labors of humanity) — he deter- 
mines himself. 

104 The Immortality of tlie Soul. 

Of this transitional phase presented in the Western-Orien- 
tal History, Egypt is the culmination. Hitherto the Natural 
has been the Substantial, and spirit, or the soul of Man — his 
consciousness — merely the product of Nature, a phase mere- 
ly, and no substantial mode. All the Orient, it is true, believes 
in the existence of the individual after death — the lowest sav- 
ages do that. But they believe it in the form of demonology 
and popular superstition, and all their thought upon the na- 
ture of the Substantial contradicts the popular belief. 

(/) In Egypt this contradiction culminates, and we have 
the perpetual recurrence of natural types with a half sym- 
bolic meaning peering through. This combination consti- 
tutes a riddle : a problem to be solved. Isis is Nature, and 
the Earth, and the remains of the Oriental unity. Osiris is 
the Nile, and the Sun, and Life. The Nile had its cycle of 
rise and fall, and of giving fertility to the land. The sun came 
and went in closest connection with it. The seed had a pe- 
riod of being buried in the mud and then of growth, and then 
appeared as seed again. Life seems a circle of birth, growth, 
decay, and death. All nature is this circle. It arises and 
departs — the Particular has no abiding, but the process itself 
seems to be eternal. 

This problem fashioned itself in sharpest outlines in the 
Sphinx : a rude rock beneath, a lion's body, a human head '- 
the whole range of nature from the lowest inorganic to the 
highest organic. It asked the question : what then ? What 
then? Does the circle close upon itself, or does it develop 
spirally ? How large a cycle does man embrace ? If man be- 
comes a fish and rock, in his transmigration he loses con- 
sciousness of personal identity, and his immortality does not 
mean anything ? If he is a mere wave of the universal sub- 
stance, he will undoubtedly be again swallowed up, and 
naught will remain of him. With the belief in Brahm, man 
in this life is swallowed up in Brahm, and has no separate 
determination. By death he cannot escape the same thing. 

The Egyptians made the soul's cycle complete itself in three 
thousand years and return to the human form again. But in 
its symbols it half expressed a profounder insight into the na- 
ture of spirit, and again was piqued by this very expression 

The Immortality of the Soul. 105 

to endeavor to seize the meaning. Thus it alternately repeated 
the symbol and strove to seize the truth symbolized ; and thus 
ends the Oriental or Pantheistic stage of the doctrines regard- 
ing the nature of the soul. 

III. When we find a theory that makes consciousness the 
permanent characteristic of the entire cycle of the Soul, we 
have ascended above the Orient and taken the true spiritual 
point of view — and this begins with Greece. 

It is the Greek who answers the Sphinx riddle — a riddle 
asking for the cycle that remains self-identical in all its pha- 
ses. Man is the "solvent word": "know thyself" the destiny, 
final aim, of spirit. The beginning of this (the final period 
of history) presents us with an undeveloped and incomjilete 
form. The Greek has found the human soul as a conscious 
being to be the substantial essence of the world. It places 
its ideals as fair divinities on Olympus, and its mythology 
tells us how Spirit in the form of self-determining individu- 
ality has overcome the forces of Nature and the primordial 
forms of the same — the Titans together with the elder 
dynasty of gods. In its assertion of the Substantial as a 
concrete individual it has neglected the depths of the human 
spirit ; we may say, therefore, that the Greek merely asserts 
in a general or vague manner the substantiality of the soul. 

It is the Roman who seizes more centrally the human spirit. 
He seizes the realised Will, wherein the character or ahicling 
indimduality is displayed. What I am through general hab- 
its, or through blindly following the conventionalities of soci- 
ety, is not my own individuality in so high a sense as what I 
am through strength of will long directed to the realization of 
rational deeds. The will, energizing, makes for itself certain 
forms, and these when stated are codes of laws. The Roman 
laws are the rational forms in which all modern peoples have 
secured at least the first stages of their freedom. 

But this development of spirit, although more central in its 
apprehension of the true essence, is still partial. The Will, 
although self-determination, is only an undeveloped form of 
it. It always presupposes something opposed to it which 
needs its action and modification. Thus its act extends be- 
37"ond itself, and does not strictly return into itself. Its cycle, 
therefore, is not perfect. It involves an uncancelled external- 

106 The Immortality of the Soul. 

ity. In the struggle of tlie Roman consciousness to complete 
tlie will to a pure self-determining Being, it widens its scope, 
and, tlirougli its external conquests becoming more and more 
a totality and a resistless miglit to the without-lying territo- 
ry, it dirempts itself and becomes despotic (i. e. not finding 
the external limit strong enough to try the strength of its po- 
litical will, it wreaks the surplus upon its own subjects). Its 
will reacts upon itself, and slavery and oppression follow. 
As soon as antithesis of this kind develops, the rational ba- 
sis of the will disappears and arbitrariness takes its place. 
For the opposing parties do not hnd their limits in the 
Reasonable — or the Universal — but each is restrained only 
through the opposing will of: the other party. 

IV. Under these circumstances, the entire civilized world of 
that time lets go its hold of the Substantial which has been em- 
bodied for it in the state. In this utter ruin of its temporal sub- 
stance, it turns within to lind the deepest of all reconciliations. 
At this point the Christian principle enters as the fulfilment of 
the desire of the world. Man as man (all men) are in essence 
, the same. The Internal, which is the True, can only be real- 
ized through the renunciation of all naturalness ; naturalness 
is the form of dependence, or of being determined from with- 
out. Hence in this new stand-point we have arrived at the 
complete annulment of Nature as the substantial. We are 
now to regard the soul as the final cause of the world, and as 
eternal through the fact that it i^roduces its own reconcilia- 
tion by voluntary renunciation of all that is alien to it. Only 
that which is able to pass through this infinite negation can 
be considered as abiding. Paradox as it may sound : the 
product of its own negation is the only product that can sur- 
vive the mutations of time. This is the relation of the Chris- 
tian idea to the world into which it came and took root. 

All institutions gradually took on a form in accordance 
with it. All conventionalities and laws and institutions of 
modern times are direct outgrowths of the doctrine regard- 
ing the soul which we have enunciated. Were we to set up 
as a principle the denial of man's immortality and draw 
logical results, we should annihilate all that is regarded as 
rational by the modern world, whether in society or the state, 
in Art, Religion or Philosophy. 

The Immortality of the Soul. 107 

To sum up this historic view : 

The first epoch, (the unhistorical period) of the race, while 
it holds to the existence of the soul after death, does not 
really grant any validity to the soul as a substantial exist- 
ence, but seizes only its idiosyncrasies. It believes in sorcery. 

The second epoch grants also the individual existence after 
death, but comes in conflict with its theoretic tenets concern- 
ing the nature of substantial existence. It holds conscious- 
ness to be incompatible with Absolute Being. This is the 
Pantheistic view, and the common form of statement is this : 
The soul is not an essence ; it is a product of Nature, and re- 
turns back at death or ultimatel}^ into Nature again. It is a 
wave in the ocean of Being, and ultimately is swallowed up, 
and never succeeds in attaining to true individuality. 

The third epoch, which culminates with Christianity, is that 
in which Nature is subordinated to spirit. The latter is seized 
as the true universal essence whose form is individuality; 
while Nature is, on the contrary, held to be the estrangement 
of spirit from itself, and thus a mere becoming of spirit, and 
consequently as without essence when regarded by itself. 

All Christian dogmas contain as innermost kernel the true 
speculative doctrine of the soul, no matter how unmeaning 
some of those doctrines are to the sensuous form of thinking. 
Take, for example, that of total depravity, a doctrine growing 
unpopular in some directions because of its too narrow inter- 
pretation : it states that man by nature is totally depraved ; 
that by nature there is no good thing in him. That this is the 
deepest truth with reference to spirit, all will bear witness 
who reflect that Nature is regarded as that which is made 
what it is by an external power ; that it is that which is ex- 
tended in Space and Time. Now every one considers that 
human being as the lowest who has not anything but natural 
or brute impulses, and who has not subdued them and re- 
formed his character. Everybody despises as idiotic him who 
has not thought out anything for himself, but who takes ev- 
erything from others through imitation. But even imitation 
is impossible without partial self-determination; without a 
partial cancelling of one's own naturalness, of course one could 
never put on the semblance of another. Spirit cannot grow 
by accretion. No man can give another one a truth except 

108 The Immortality of the Soul. 

on condition that the latter receive it by thinking it over, and 
thus being creatively active. Thus, in the doctrine of total 
depravity is stated the great principle that Spirit is a self- 
activity, and is nothing except through its own mediation. 

In conclusion, we may briefly state the grounds of the doc- 
trine of Immortality freed from historical wrappage. There 
are now, as in all times, three views extant : the view origin- 
ating from sensuous, thinking the view originating from the 
reflective intellect, and, thirdly, that taken by the Rational 
or Speculative intellect. 

To the senses, immortality cannot be much more than a 
mere fancy. To the reflective intellect, now very active in the 
direction of natural science, it must grow ever more uncertain 
the more it ponders the problem. But as doubt is diffused by 
natural science, a correction will always come in through the 
manifestations of the natural side of spirit as exhibited in 
the phenomena of instinct, somnambulism, &c. For the 
atomistic reflection, while demanding a substrate for its hy- 
pothetical faculties and forces, will become so completely 
abstract and mechanical that the magical side of spirit must 
reassert itself again and again. 

To the speculative insight, however, immortality is ever a 
clear result. 

The possibility of death can only belong to a being which 
is not self-limited. A being limited through another may 
perish through the removal of the limit. A body always 
has external limits, and the removal of these, causes the 
destruction of its individuality. The permanent abiding 
cannot And a lodgement in any particular body for the men- 
tioned reason. Wherever bodies are concerned, a process 
is the only permanent thing involved. The Permanent must 
have within itself its determining limits ; in other words, it 
must be that which forms or builds its own character. But to 
be this, it must exist as SL-pure Negative related to itself. To 
think this, requires the thought of an activity without a sub- 
strate, which is a difl[icult thought. But Schelling saj^s that 
whoever cannot think action or antithesis without a substrate 
cannot philosophize at all. This pure negative relation to 
itself is exactly what calls itself "I" — the Ego or subject of all 
consciousness. To be able to think itself under the form of 

Tlie Immortality of tlie Soul. 109 

*'I am," a being must be generic and individual at the same 
time. But a generic individual is not capable of being de- 
stroyed by change, for all change only affects it unessentially. 
It is the summum genus, and there is no transcending it. This 
constitutes what we call personal identity. In self-conscious- 
ness, subject and object are the same. In life simply — as it 
appears in animals — instinct takes the place of the Ego, and 
when this is the case the genus is sundered into male and fe- 
male individuals (sex = sect = sundered), so that neither is 
complete, and both are perishable in consequence. This was 
well understood even by Plato, who states the division of the 
individual into an antithesis as the characteristic of all the 
realms of I^ature. 

In the final epoch of History alone does man recognize fully 
his own essence. All the movements of civilization are the 
unfolding into actual realization of his infinite ideal. 

" Conclusion. 
The Speculative Insight into Immortality — Its Outline. 

1st Position. — All being is either dependent or independent ; 
if the former, then it is a part of the latter. 

2d Position. — Independent being is either determined (made 
what it is) by itself, or by somewhat else ; but since deter- 
mination by another would make it dependent, it follows 
that all Independent Being is self-determined. 

3d^ Position. — Self-determined Being is a subject and object 
in one — determiner and determined. It is Self-conscious 
Being. (See Jour. Sp. Phil., vol. I. p. 119.) Position.^Ov\g\n'ei\ or Independent Being — called God in 
Religion — is Pure Self-consciousness, and this is the Activ- 
ity which makes itself its own object. 

■5th Position. — But this implies the externality of Himself to 
Himself, and this is Space ; and since knowing is a reducing 
of externality to internality, time is present as the cancelling 
of space. Hence, too, arise the kingdoms of Nature — a se- 
ries of ascending degrees which reflect God more and more 
as they ascend in the series, by being more self-determined. 

Sth Position. — This series must end in a being which is God's 
image or self-object — his thought of himself — and this Being 
must realize in himself the complete ascent beyond Time 

110 Tlie Immortality of the Soul. 

and Space. And were this not so, there could be no Abso- 
lute self-determined Being and no God — no substance, and 
consequently no finite or changing being. 
7tJL Position. — Man is such a being as ends the series of Na- 
ture ; for if we suj)pose a higher than man created, were he 
a fixed being, man being a progressive being would tran- 
scend him ; or if that being were a progressive being, he 
would only be identical in nature with man after all. 

The demand that the reflection into Himself shall be com- 
plete — that God's Image shall actually exist — can only be 
fulfilled by a Being that can cut loose entirely from Nature 
or externality and still preserve individual characteristics — 
can be fulfilled, in short, only by immortal beings. The self- 
identity whose characteristics are through and by means of 
self-determination, is permanent self-identity, whereas that 
identity which consists in external marks — conferred by ex- 
istences alien to the subject marked — is perishable and is 
destroj^ed the moment the externalities are removed, like 
individual waves in the ocean. 

The necessity of the existence of immortal beings is not a 
constraint (or external limit) to the Absolute, but is only His 
logical necessity or self-determination. 

The doctrine of future existence may be held (as it is by 
Oriental peoples) independent of the doctrine of Immortality. 
All proofs of Immortality must ground ultimately in the one 
here given, namely : that the series of nature must end in 
a Being which has permanent identity, one in whom generic 
and individual are one, one whose character is self-made. 
Man claims the position, not as an animal, but only as a 
thinking being. 

Thus reversing the seven positions above stated : If there 
is no immortal individual being that ascends from Nature, 
then the Absolute which nature reflects is nowhere reflected 
as a Permanent, and hence his determination does not return 
to himself; hence He is finite and no Absolute, and thus He 
sinks into the rank of other natural beings. Thus there can 
be no self-determined beings and no totalities ; hence every- 
where only dependence and partialness ; and this dependence 
depends not on itself, for that would contradict its dependent 

Settlement for all possible PMlosopMcal Disputes. Ill 

nature; nor on the Independent, for that cannot exist un- 
der this hypothesis. Therefore, no determination, whether 
through itself or through others, can exist, but each is naught, 
all is naught. 

But if anything is, then there must exist the Absolute and 
its reflection ; and its reflection implies immortal beings. And 
man fulfils as subject-object (conscious Ego) the conditions, 
and is therefore immortal. 


B}- A, E. Kroeger. 

It certainly is not likely that two persons will ever fall into 
a dispute about any proposition, unless they either hold each 
a difl'erent interpretation of one of the words contained in that 
proposition, or unless that x^roposition is the assertion of some 
empirical fact. ' We, of course, can and will ever continue to 
dispute about the latter sort of assertions, as, for instance, by 
whom powder was first invented ; how far the sun is distant 
from the earth, &c.; or rather we will not dispute, but simply 
disagree on those matters, leaving, by mutual consent, the 
questions open to future empirical rectification. But that we 
can ever dispute about propositions of not an empirical char- 
acter, provided we have precisely the same definition of every 
word in a proposition, seems to be utterly impossible ; since 
ever}' such proposition ought apparent!}' to be reducible to 
A = A, or — A not = A. For a non-empirical proposition 
involves a conception, and the assertion of a predicate as 
belonging to it. Now, if I do not agree to the predicate as a 
component of the conception, then the difiiculty is simply that 
I have not defined that conception as my opponent wants it 
defined, and we are involved in a word dispute as to whether 
in ordinary language the conception named by him is used as 
involving such a component or not. One of us will then have 
to choose a difl'erent, or coin a new, word, and by so doing 
our whole dispute will have been settled. 

112 Settlement for all possible Philosophical Disputes. 

Hence real disputes would seem to be impossible, provided 
all propositions of a non-empirical character are in fact redu- 
cible to A = A, or are, as the technical phrase is, analytic 
judgments ; and the question remains simply whether an- 
other kind of judgments or propositions, that is to say, 
whether synthetic judgments are possible, and since all em- 
pirical propositions upon which, as before said, we may dis- 
agree but cannot dispute, are synthetic, — whether synthetic 
propositions a priori are possible ? 

This, it will be remembered, is the famous question which 
Kant put at the head of his Critic of Pure Reason. That they 
are possible is evident from the fact that every rational being 
makes use of them. Apart from the Science of Mathematics, the 
whole Science of Physics, in its fundamental principles, is 
nothing but a series of synthetical propositions. This is evi- 
dent, for no empirical observation can produce in me the con- 
ception of, for instance, Cause ; and yet it is said that every 
change must have a cause. I observe only the change ; and 
yet here arises the conception of Causality in my mind, and 
of itself joins that conception of change. How is this arising 
at all possible ? Hume's solution, that it is a matter of habit, 
solves nothing. Infinite repetition changes not a change into 
causality ; and thus Hume falls simply into the old sophisti- 
cal error of thinking he has solved something by squeezing in 
between the problem and the solution the infinite divisibility 
of time and space. At every moment and repetition the 
question still recurs : When does the conception of change 
turn into that of causality ; when does the judgment cease to 
be analytic and become synthetic ? To postpone the time does 
not make the matter easier. Now if synthetical judgments 
are possible, and if we can therefore utter of a subject more 
predicates than its own conception offers, the problem arises : 

Can we find a rule by which to go on thus adding predicates, 
or is that adding an arbitrary matter? If we can find a rule, 
then all disputes on this field, and with it all disputes what- 
ever, are forever cut off; if no such rule can be discovered, 
then propositions on any subject not empirical ought to be 
removed from all controversy, since they cannot be decided. 

The rule here demanded was first discovered by Kant; it is 
singular that it was never before thought of, and that indeed 

Settlement for all posslhle PhilosopMcal Disputes. 113 

the whole problem, the solution whereof settles all disputes, 
was never clearly conceived before him. This rule is : 

If in thinking a subject you cannot think it, or think at all, 
indeed, without thinking something else not contained in the 
subject, and in so far its opposite, then you can and must add 
this other additional predicate to the subject in a synthetic 

Now since the thinking of any particular subject is empiri- 
cal, as being this or that, the problem can be reduced to this : 
What must I think or add synthetically when I think a sub- 
ject generally ? Or, if I, as the thinking, think a subject gen- 
erally, what additional thoughts or predicates are involved in 
such thinking? The answer to this question gives rise to the 
Science of Knowledge, and settles all possible disputes. Dis- 
covered by Kant, this answer is framed by Fichte as follows : 

The thinking power. Ego, cannot think itself without a 
Non-Ego from which to distinguish itself, nor a Non-Ego 
without thinking itself as not the Non-Ego; hence, with the' 
conception of the one, that of the opposite thereof necessarily 
arises ; with the conception of both, that of their mutual rela- 
tion ; with the conception of their mutual relation, 1st, that of 
a relation wherein the Ego is dependent, (causality-relation) ; 
2d, that of a relation wherein the Non-Ego is dependent (sub- 
stantiality-relation), and thus of a conflict of opposite direc- 
tions in the Ego, which again cannot be thought without an 
infinite activity of the Ego checked and thus thrown back and 
again reproduced and cast out (space, matter, and time; pow- 
ers of contemplation and sensation) ; which infinite activity 
can again not be thought as thus checked unless it is also 
thought as actually infinite and not checked, as which, it is 
called Infinite tendency to determine, Moral Law, &c., wherein 
the whole problem of synthetical development comes to an 
end because the starting point has been returned to. 

Thus it appears that all disputes may be settled, namely : 

All empirical propositions are simply to be determined by 
empirical proof, and may therefore be disagreed about, but 
can never be truly disputed ; using the word "disputed" as 
implying a compulsion on the part of the disputant to agree. 

All analytic propositions are not disputable, since any dis- 
agreement upon them can arise only from a misunderstanding 
as to the words employed. 8 


114 Book Classification. 

No synthetical propositions a priori are disputable, since 
each such proposition must bring the proof that the mind 
cannot think anything at all without thinking it ; a proof 
that is complete and sufficient. 

Only so long as the latter fact is not recognized, as Kant 
or Fichte's Science of Reason is not accepted or a similar one 
made, will synthetical propositions be the cause of those 
endless, empty disputes that have disgraced theology and 
philosophy for so many ages, and ujion which mankind has 
wasted such vast energies. 

Is it so very difficult to understand this, so very difficult to 
put, once for all, a stop to the stale and unprofitable specula- 
tions that pass for philosophical or metaphysical, and are as 
much chimeras as the nonsense uttered about square circles 
and circular squares ? 


Whoever has had occasion to consult the classified cata- 
logues of Libraries in this country, or in Europe, has no 
doubt experienced the difficulty met with in determining what 
classes he shall search in order to find books treating on the 
topics of his investigation. The difficulty experienced by the 
investigator is still more troublesome to the corps of librari- 
ans. To determine the exact class to which the book belongs, 
to place it where it can be found again at once when inquired 
for, to open to the scholar seeking information the entire re- 
sources of the library on a special theme, — these are constant 
duties of the librarian that imply a good system of classifica- 
tion. Every scheme of classification rests upon some philo- 
sophical system as its basis. The writer of this article having 
had to devote considerable time to the subject with a view to 
the preparation of a library catalogue,^' has brought forward 
his results with the hope that they may prove useful not only 
to librarians, but especially to philosophical students who 
desire to look over the whole range of human intelligence as 

* That of the Public School Librar}' of St: Loui.s. The scheme here ^iven has 
been adopted in its substantial details for that institution, and the forthconiing 
catalogue will be based on it. 

Book Classification. 115 

realized in books. The scheme is given in detail at the close 
of this article. 


It uses Bacon's fundamental distinction (develo])ed in the 
De Augmentis Scientiarum, Book II. chap. I.) of the different 
faculties of the soul into Memory, Imagination, and Reason", 
from which proceed the three grand departments of human 
learning, to wit : History, Poetry, and Philosophy. Without 
particularly intending to classify hooks as such, Lord Bacon 
attempted rather to map out " human learning," as he called 
it, and show its unity and the principle of development in the 
same. But his deep glance seized the formative idea which 
distinguishes different species of books. 

The content — or what books treat of — is not a sufficient basis 
of distinction to ground a classification on. For any class of 
books may treat of two or more phases of the content at once. 
Since Nature and Mind never exist isolatedly, but always in 
some degree of synthesis, it follows that nearly all books 
treat of both, and hence will prove hybrids in such a classifi- 
cation. It may be here remarked that the chief reason for 
the signal failure of the attempts at classification made by 
distinguished philosophers and literary men is this: they 
have conceived that the classifications of science would an- 
swer equally well for the classification of the books of a libra- 
ry ; and whereas science has for its domain all existence, and 
to some degree can be classified by its object-matter, they 
have sought to divide books on the same plan. Notable 
among the impractical systems of this order is that of Am- 
pere,* which divides " Noologically " and " Cosmologically "■ 
according to a schematizing formalism as strict and stiff as 
mathematics. Coleridge, in the Encycloptedia Metropolitana, 
has given another example of the same error, though in a more 
genial shape. Coleridge w^as a poet, as well as philosopher 
strongly influenced by the ideas of Schelling. Inasmuch as 
Schelling philosophized with the " Ideal and the Real " and 
their "Union" — making the Ideal the "pole" of pure thought 
or Philosophy, and the Real the " pole " of Nature, and Art 
the union of the two, or the "Absolute Indifference " — Cole- 
ridge likewise set out with " Pure Sciences " as the first divi- 

* See Appendix to Devey's Logic, Bohn'a Library. 

116 Book Classification. 

sion, placed " History, Biography and Geography " as the 
third, and for the middle or connecting link " Mixed and Ap- 
plied Sciences." As results thereof we find the whole realm 
of Poetry crowded into a minute subdivision coordinate with 
"jS'umismatics"; it is the sixth section of the third class of the 
second division of the whole! Its subdivisions are entirely 
omitted, while minute subdivisions are given to "Astronomy" 
and to " Invertebrals " ! It is evident that Coleridge had in 
view only the requirements of a Cyclopaedia/^' 

* Edwards in his "Memoirs of Libraries" gives Coleridge's classiflcation different- 
ly. He has taken a modified form of it made for the purpose of adapting it to a library; 
hence he places "Literature and Philology" under a fourth general head. 

In the work of Edwards here cited, thirty-two celebrated schemes of classification 
are given, thirteen of which are designated as "more or less dependent on, or illustra- 
tive of, systems of Metaphysics"; the others are "directed more or less specifically to 
the practical arrangement of books." 

The most general divisions of some of the former schemes are as follows : that of 

Prosper Marchand (a. D. ITOi): Class I. Philosophy, II. Theology, III. History, 
IV. Appendix— 'Po\ygTViT^\\j . 

System of Girard (1748) : Class I. Theology, II. Nomology, III. Historiography, 
IV. Philosophy, V. Philology, A^I. Technology. 

System of Girault : Class I. Preliminary Instruction, II. Cosmography, III. His- 
tory, IV. Legislation, V. Is atural History, VI. Sciences and Arts. 

System of Bentham: Class I. Ontology, II. Pneumatoiogy (such subclasses are 
found in this system as "Idioscopic Ontology,"" "Poioscopic Somatics," "Nooscopic 
Pneumatoiogy/' "Polioscopic Ethics," &c.) 

System of M.Albert (1847): Class I. Polylogy, 11. Cosmology, III. Andrology, 
IV. Theology. 

Of the practical schemes mentioned, the following are notable : 

System of Aldus Manutius (U9S) : Class I. Grammar, II. Poetry, III. Logic, IV. 
Philosophy, V. Holy Scripture. 

System of Johannes Rhodius (1631): Class I. Theology, II. Jurisprudence, III. 
Medicine, IV. Philosophy, V. History, VI. Poetry, VII. Oratory, VIII. Rhetoric, 
IX. Logic, X. Philology, XI. Criticism, XII. Grammar. 

System of Bouillaud (1678) : called the "French System," and used with slight mod- 
ifications by Martin (1740), Debure (1768), and by Brunet in his well-known ''Manuel 
du Libraire": Class I. Theology, II. Jurisprudence, III. Sciences and Arts, IV. Po- 
lite Literature, V. History. 

System of Leibnitz (1700): Class I. Theology, II. Jurisprudence, III. Medicine, 
IV. Intellectual Philosophy, V. Mathematics, VI. Physics, VII. Civil History, VIII. 
.Literary History and Bibliography, IX. Polygraphy and Miscellanies. 

System of St. Petersburg Imperial Library (1808) : Class I. Sciences, II. Arts, III. 


System of Middleton (1775): Class I. Theology, II. Profane History, III. Civil 
Law, IV. Philosophy, V. Mathematics, VI. Natural History, VII. Medicine, VIII. 
Polite Literature. 

System of Schleiermacher (1847) : Class I. Encyclop:«dias, Literary History and 
Bibliography, II. Polygraphy, III. Philology, IV. Greek and Latin Literature, V. 
Modern Polite Literature, VI. Fine Arts, VII. Historical Sciences, VIII. Mathema- 
tical and Physical Sciences, IX. Natural History, X. Medicine, XL Industrial and 

Book Classification. 117 

Brunet's system is the most poj^^iilar of the unphilosophical 

order, and is somewhat practical after one has learned it ; 

for it requires the memory exclusively, no aid being given the 
librarian by any intimation of a scientific justification at its 
base. It is needless to say that it coordinates classes with 
subclasses and confounds genera with species, and yet has 
no practical reason therefor, inasmuch as some subdivisions 
have (in an ordinary library) ten times the number of books 
that may be found under some one general class ; take, for 
example, a subdivision of " Belles-Lettres " and compare it 
with the whole division of " Jurisprudence " or that of " The- 
ology." It is clear that Brunet's Catalogue was made rather 
for the bookseller in Paris than for the librarian. 

In the classification based on the three faculties — Memory, 
Imagination, Reason— whence we have History, Poetry, and 
Philosophy, the distinction, according to forin makes its ap- 
pearance, and is of some use in the classification of books. 
Lord Bacon, however, did not have in view any such use of 
his distinction, nor did he develop it in a proper shape to be 
of such use. ISTor, finally, was it possible for him at that time 
to do this work, had he contemplated it ; for the sciences had 
scarcely begun to unfold in his time sulficiently to give him 
a hint as to what form they would assume. He evidently 
thought that they would take a historical form, and therefore 
placed what has proved the most important branch under the 
division of "History." It is for this reason that he names his 
third division " Philosophy" — excluding its more obvious 
forms — the Sciences — from his mind in naming it. In his 
time, Prose Fiction had developed very little, and the novel- 
ists hitherto known had scarcely availed to advance any spe- 
cies of Prose to the dignity of Art ; hence Bacon chose the 
name "Poetry" for the whole domain. In our time, the realm 
of Reflection and Speculation (Understanding and Reason) is 
called Science, Philosophy being merely one of its forms, 
while the realm of Phantasy or Productive Imagination is 
called Art or iEsTHETics. The derivation of the word Poet- 

Economical Sciences, XII. Philosophy, XIII. Theology, XIY. Jurisprudence and 

There is a tendency to the use of new-coiued words in many of these schemes. It 
is of the utmost importance in a practical scheme to avoid pedantry of this sort. 

118 Book Classification. 

ry, Poieo {Ilodto, fvomnoi6^z=z quale; hence 7roie7p = to give de- 
terminations to something = to shape, i.e. to create by giving 
determination) containing creative significance, admirably 
adapted it to name the works of the Productive Imagination. 
An outline of Bacon's system, as further elaborated in the 
nine books of the Advancement of Learning {De Aug. Set), 
is as follows : 


A. Natural History. 

a. Generations [i.e. producing regularly]. 

1. Celestial bodies. 

2. Meteors and Comets. ['i] 

3. Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, or the Elements. 

4. Species of Bodies . [?] 
h. Prjeter-generations. 

c. Arts. 

B. Civil History. 

a. Civil History Proper. 

(unfinished) 1. Memoirs, (a) Commentaries, {h) Registers. (1) Calendars. (2) Jour- 

(defaced) 2. Antiquities {^owvces) . [nals. 

(finished) 3. Perfect History. (1) Chronicles. (2) Biographies. (3) Special Histories 

4. Cosmographical. [or Narratives. 

h. Ecclesiastical History. 

1. History of Church. 

2. History of Prophecy. 

3. History of Providence, 
c. Literary History. 

C. Appendix to History. 

a. Speeches. 
J. Letters. 
c. Apothegms. 

A. "Narrative or Heroic'* [Epic and Lyric]. 

B. Dramatic. 

C. Allegorical. Fables, Mythologies, &c. 

A. Theology or Divine Philosophy. 

B. Natural Philosophy. 

a. Speculative. 

1. Physics, (a) Principles of things, {h) Structure of things, (c) Varie- 

ties of things. (I) Concretes. Subdivided like Natural History into 
^* celestial, terrestrial,''^ «&c. (2j Abstract, a. Properties of matter. 
h. Motions. 

2. Metaphysics, (a) Essential forms. (6) Final causes. 

b. Practical. 

1. Mechanics. 

2. Magic [i.e. application of the discoveries of Science to practical uses— 

c. Appendix. Mathematics. [Telegraph]. 

1. Pare Mathematics, a. Geometry (continued Quantity). 

I. Arithmetic (discrete Quantity). 

2. Mixed Matheni'ttics. (*) Perspective, (h) Music, (c) A.stronomy. 

(d) Cosmography (Geography). 

(e) Architecture. (/) Mechanics. 

Book Classification. 119 

C. Philosophy of Max. 
a. Human Philosophy. 

1. TA* jBorfj' (Somatology?) («) Medicinal Art. (1) Hygienic. (2) Curative. 

(ii) To prolong life. 
(&) Cosmetic, (c^ Athletic. 
{d) Voluptuary (Liberal) Arts. (1) Painting. 

(2) Music. 

2. Sovl and Body related, (a) Indications. (1) Physiognomy. 

(2) Interpretation of dreams. 

(h) Impressions upon the soul through the body. 

o. Soul, (a) Rational soul. (1) Faculties, (a) Logic. Artsof— I. Invention; 

II. Judgment; III. Memory; 
^ IV. Tradition. 

(ft) Ethics. I. Models. II, Cul- 
ture of mind; &c. 

The general unfitness of this system for the classilication 
of boolis is apparent ; it was not intended for it. But its 
principle of division is of great value. To be applied to the 
use of a library, it is necessary to seize and not lose sight of 
its spirit, in the details which Bacon gives. It will be found 
that in minor divisions and sections the content exercises a 
predominating influence on the classification, while in the 
principal divisions the form is the guiding principle. 

Inverting the order in which Bacon considers the system, 
Science should come flrst on account of its furnishing the 
method and principles for what follows : 

I. Science gives the department of books in which con- 
scious system prevails. 
II. Akt (iEsthetics) gives the department in which " organic 

unity" or unconscious system prevails. 
III. History gives the department in which the system is de- 
termined by accidental relations, such as time and place. 

The distinction of form must not be allowed to prevail 
throughout, but must be met and modified by the principle 
of suhject-matter in all minor respects. It needs careful de- 
liberation to unite these two principles so as to retain the 
highest dt'gree of simplicity in arrangement; and this is the 
main point to be borne in mind : that the principle of classi- 
fication is not a simple one, like that used by the classifiers 
of sciences — Coleridge, Ampere, Comte, and Aristotle — but 
a compound one, in which form and content mutually limit 
each the other. 

This compound principle, which is a concrete and practical 
one, gives for our guidance a series of rules like the fol- 
lowing : 

120 Book Classification. 

I. Main Dimsions. — {a) Commence the system with the 
division that realizes in the highest degree the characteristic 
principle of the general class, and proceed from the fullest 
realization to the incomplete one which marks the transition 
to the following class ; {h) commence the folloiDlng class with 
those subjects most closely allied to what precedes, and then, 
secondly, take the type of the class, and proceed, thirdly, to 
the transition to the next. 

Illustration. — "Philosoi^hy" is the highest type of Science^ 
and hence begins the catalogue. 

Science ends with the Useful Arts, which form a transition 
to the division of Esthetic Art, and this should commence 
with the "Fine Arts" and be followed by Poetry. 

Geography and Travels are placed before History proper, 
because under this head are included works of a freer and 
more literary character than Civil History as such ; for the 
traveller is governed mainly by subjective caprice, and is 
not limited to a definite subject-matter like the historian or 

II. Sithdimsions. — {a) In the minor classifications, General 
Treatises should come first, and these should include Com- 

pends and so-called "Philosophies" of the subject (these 
being for the most part mere compends). Secondly should 
come the chief and important example of the general class, 
and then should follow its less important realizations, {h) 
But in science this principle is modified by that of the order 
of scientific development, giving the abstract first, and the 
complex and concrete later. 

Illustration. — 1. Compends, &c., of History. 2. Histories 
of Nations : this being the normal type of History. 3. His- 
torical Miscellany, including fragments of History. 

III. Aj)pendices. — Collections and miscellaneous works 
should be placed like compends under the general head. 
Complete works of individuals, and certain complete collec- 
tions which it is desirable to keep together, should be consid- 
ered in respect to the compass of the subjects treated of, and 
placed under the most special head that will contain them. 

Illustration. — Medical Encyclopcedias would fall under the 
class of Medicine and not under General Cyclopaedias (99) in 
the Appendix, nor among general works in Natural Science. 

IV. Hybrids. — Any work not exactly falling under any 

Book Classification. 121 

one section, or including two or more heterogeneous subjects 
which do not unite in some general head, must be classified 
according to the predominant one, or according to the obvi- 
ous purpose of the book, " cross-references " being made in 
the catalogue. 

Illustration. — 1. Books on Architecture may fall under 
Mechanic Arts, or under Fine Arts, according to the point of 
view taken by the author in composing the work. 2. The 
"Art of Literary Composition" may fall under "Rhetoric," or 
under " Philology," according as Grammar or Rhetoric pre- 
dominates therein. 3. "Engraving" may fall under "Me- 
chanic Art," or if a Treatise on Pictures produced by the 
engraver, under " Fine Arts." 4. Natural History : although 
some of its treatises are merely descriptive, yet, since their 
object is scientific, they all fall under Science. 5. Juvenile 
Literature treats of Science, Travels, History, Fiction, &c. ; 
yet, since the entire form of treatment is modified so as to 
interest and amuse youth while instructing them, all these 
books resemble novels and romances, which likewise may 
have scientific or historic content; they are, therefore, kept 
together and under the class of " Prose Fiction." 6. "Eccle- 
siastical History" (usually made a division under History) is 
so nearly allied to the treatment of Dogmatic Theology that 
it is important to keep the two together. The same principle 
applies to histories of other specialties. 7. "Theology" itself 
cannot be separated from " Religion," and hence the latter 
finds its works — Holy Scriptures, Liturgies, Church History, 
and other non-scientific works — under Science, for the reason 
that they are all tributary to Theology, which is a science ; 
with the development of humanity they become more and 
more taken up into scientific forms. 8. "Jurisprudence" like- 
wise is for the most part not a collection of scientific works 
at all, but the record of the realizations of the Practical Will 
in the shape of laws and usages. Its books, however, are used 
essentially for scientific and not for ?esthetical or historical 
purposes. 9. "Essays" and "Criticisms" are not works of Art 
according to form, but are, strictly speaking, scientific, and 
would fall under Philosophy, or some other department of 
Science. Since, however, their content is some form of Art or 
Literature, they are useful solely to sesthetic students, and 
are classified under Art. 

122 Book Classification. 

With these guiding principles before us, our system devel- 
ops as follows : 

Science unfolds into 

I. Philosoph}^, or the most general principles, the forms 
and archetypes of all the rest. It has the strictest, most 
systematic method, and is the source of all system to 
the other sciences. 

n. Theology — the science of the Absolute, just as Philoso- 
phy is the science of Science. 

in. Social and Political Sciences, including the treatises 
upon the institutions which relate man to his fellow- 
men in society and the state. His essential life as a 
spiritual being is conditioned upon his ascent above his 
merely natural, individual condition, by means of com- 
bination in the social organism. 
These are — 

1. Jurisprudence (in which the social organism appears 

as a constraining necessity acting upon the indivi- 
dual from without). 

2. Politics (in which the individual reacts against this 

constraint, and exhibits himself as the free producer 
of the Universal, which is placed over him in the 
shape of Law). 

3. Social science. (Social science as Political Economy, 

exhibits the principles of combination, by means 
of division of labor, and how this results in the con- 
quest of nature and the dedication of it to the service 
of man. As Education, it exhibits the process of 
initiating the individual into the conventionalities 
of the social organism — man's apprenticeship in ac- 
quiring the use of the tools of intelligence.) 

4. Philology. (Philology is placed in the division of the 

Social and Political Sciences, because, as Science of 
Language, it is the science of the instrument that lies 
at the basis of all combination or organization. Lan- 
guage (The Word) is the image of Reason, and is not 
a natural product, but the invention of self-conscious 
thought; it is not found, but made — partly by the 
poetic phantasy, and partly by the reflective under- 
standing. For the reason that Mind becomes, as it 

Boole Class IJiGation. 123 

were, crystallized or fixed in Language, we place 
Philology as a connecting link between the Spiritual 
and the Natural. The language of a people embalms 
all the achievements of that people acting as a social, 
political, or spiritual organization.) 

These latter four sciences treat of the means 
through which man arrives at a comprehension of 
the necessily of the social organism, and through 
which the constraint becomes internal, and hence 
becomes freedom. 

IV. Natural Sciences and Useful Arts : the former unfold the 
laws of Nature, the latter apply them to social uses. 
The transition is formed by Medicine, which is partly 
science, partly art. 

1. Mathematics is the science of the pure forms of Nature 

— time and space. 

2. Physics is Nature treated dynamically, and hence 

quantitatively or mathematically. 

3. Natural History is Nature organically considered, 

hence qualitatively and descriptively. Chemistry 
forms the transition from quantitative to qualitative ; 
it is the realm where quantity constitutes qualitative 
difference. Astronomy is a hybrid, belonging to 
Mathematics and Natural History. 

In Natural History we commence with the Mineral 
or Earth-organism, and ascend through the Plant 
and Animal to Man as a merely natural being (Eth- 

4. Medicine is closely allied to Natural History, and its 

subjects take up in a new form the same content. 

5. The Useful Arts and Trades start from Natural Sci- 

ence and proceed to unite with it a purely empirical 

Aet unfolds 

I. The Fine Arts. 

n. Poetry. 

in. Prose Fiction. 

IV. Literary Miscellany, comprising rhetorical works (ora- 
tions) and literary essays which have either an Art 

124 BooTc Classification. 

form more or less impure, or are so related to works of 
Art in their subject-matter as not to be separated from 
this class. 


I. Geography and Travels form the first or most external 

class under History, 
II, Civil History is the normal type of this division. 

III. Biography and Correspondence. Heraldry and Geneal- 
ogy also fall properly under this head. 

An Appendix is subjoined for certain works, or collections 
of works, which treat of topics belonging to each of the three 
general divisions. 

Minute Sii^b divisions. — Caution should be taken with re- 
gard to such works as do not fall readily into a special class 
under the general number of the section ; they should be left 
without s2Decial letters, until, by the addition of similar works, 
they become too numerous, when a special subclass may be 
made, giving it a letter. 

Niiinbering. — Instead of the inconvenient method of mark- 
ing the classilication of books by indicating all the grades 
(e. g. Hygiene = Sci. X. 5. c), it is better to have the classes 
numbered from 1 to 100, so as to have only two figures for 
most classes, and to add letters for subclasses as they arise. 
In this way the general numbering need not change, although 
new subclasses may be made frequently. The books on the 
shelves should be alphabetically arranged within the sub- 
classes (e.g. those of Hygiene numbered "57. c" should be 
alphabetically arranged) according to the name of the chief 
author (i, e, the most distinguished name, when there are sev- 
eral authors' or editors' names in the title). This name and 
the subclass number should be written plainly on the book- 
label, so that the dullest library-boy can put any book in its 
exact place on the shelves, or find it instantly when he has 
obtained its classification from the catalogue. This system 
of numbering is one of the most practical and valuable feat- 
ures of the system here described. 

Small Libraries. — Private libraries, which are usually spe- 
cial in their character, need only the XIX general divisions, 
and a few subdivisions under one or more heads. 

Book Classification. 



outlines of the classification. 





Social Science. 




Natural Histoey. 


Useful Aets. 

Social and 



AND Useful 


(B) I 
ART. f 


f Fine Aets. 


I Peose Fiction. 

[ LiTEEARY Miscellany. 

i Geogeaphy and Travels. XVI. 
< Civil Histoey. XVII. 

( Biogeaphy. XVIII. 














(D) APPENDIX Appendix— Miscellany. XIX. 


1.' (A) SCIENCE. 

2. I. 


/. Natural Theology. 


History of Philosophy and 

g. Keligious Fiction . 


Mental Philosophy. 

a. Anthropology (Animal 

Magnetism, «S;c.) 

b. Psychology. 


Ecclesiastical History — 

a. History of the Church. 

b. Acts of Councils and Sy- 



c. Logic. 

d. Metaphysics. 
Moral Philosophy. 

c. Missions. 

d. Biography ( Lives of 

Christ, Saints, Martyrs, 

6. II. 




Bible (Original and Transla- 


Special Systems — Christian 


and others. 



a. Swedenborgians. 


Liturgies (and Histories of 

b. Mystics. 

Prayer, &c.) 

c. Quakers. 


Christian Fathers. 

d. Spiritualists. 


Dogmatic Theology. 

e. Mormons. 

a. Doctrinal. 

/. Superstitions and Delu- 

b. Hortatory. 


c. Controversial. 



d. Sermons. 


Greek and Roman Mythol- 

e. Evidences. 



BooTc Classification. 

16. Oriental and Pagan Eeli- 


a. Mohammedanism. 

b. Buddhism. 

c. Brahminism. 

d. Fetichism. 

17. Social & Political Sciences. 


19. General Treatises. 

20. Natural and International 


21. Ancient Feudal and Civil 


22. (a) Common Law, (6) Canon Law, 

and (c) Eqiity. 

23. Organic and Statute Law. 

a. Federal Government. 

b. Particular States. 

c. Cities and Corporations. 

d. Foreign Countries. 

24. Reports of Judicial Pro- 


a. American. 

b. Foreign. 

c. Diofests. 

25. Special Treatises. 

a. Criminal Law. 
6. Martial Law. 

c. Commercial Law. 

d. Medical Jurisprudence. 


27. Legislative Annals. 

a. Federal Government. 

b. Particular States of the 


c. Foreign Countries. 

28. Political Controversy. 

a. Federal Government. 

b. Particular States of the 


c. Slavery Question. 

d. Foreign Countries. 


30. Political Economy. 

a. Statistics (Census, &c.) 

b. Commerce & Navigation. 

c. Population and Produc- 


d. Finance, Banking, &c. 

31. Education. 

a. Special Treatises. 

b. Educational Journals. 

c. School Reports. 

d. Reports of Special Educa- 

tional Institutions. 

e. Elementary Text Books. 

(1) Reading ^Writing, and 


(2) Aj-ithmetic. 

(3) Geography. 

(4) History. 

(5) Grammar. 

(6) Ancient and Modern 


32. VI. PHILOLOGY (General and 


33. Grammars. 

a. English. 

b. Latin. 

c. Greek. 

d. French. 

e. German. 

34. Dictionaries. 

a. English. 

b. Latin and Greek. 

c. French. 

d. German. 

35. Natural Sciences and Useful 



37. Arithmetic (and Numerical 


38. Geometry, Trigonometry 

(and Compends). 

a. Plane and Spherical Ge- 


b. Plane and Spherical Trig- 


c. Conic Sections. 


39. Algebra and Higher Anal- 

ysis (and Compends). 

a. Algebra. 

b. Analytical Geometry. 

c. Calculus. 

40. Engineering (General Trea- 

tises, Table Books, &c.) 

a. Civil (Public Works). 

b. Mechanical (Machinery & 

Mill Work). 

c. Topographical (Survey- 

ing, &c.) 

Book Classification. 




59. XI. 


d. Military (Fortifications & 


e. Naviocation. 


42. Natural Philosophy. 

a. Special Branches. 

43. Electricity and Magnetism 

a. Electricity. 
h. Maofnetism. 
c. Electro-Magnetisra . 

44. Chemistry. 

a. Inorjranic. 

b. Org'anip. 

45. Astronomy. 


a. Physical Geoo^rapliy. 

47. Meteorology, &c. 

48. Geology and Mineralogy. 

a. Geology. 

h. Geoloo-ical Surveys. 

c. Mineralogy. 

49. Botany. 

50. Zoology. 

51. Ethnology. 


53. Compends & General Trea- 

a. Histories of Medicine. 
h. Dictionaries and Cyclo- 
c. Medical Journals. 

54. Anatomy and Physiology. 

a. Physiology. 

b. Anatomy. 

55. Materia Medica and Phar- 


56. Surgery and Obstetrics. 

Dentistry, &c. 

64. (B) ART. 



Pathology and Therapeu- 

! Nosology. 

b. Particular and Local Dis- 

c. Hygiene. 

d. Recreative Arts. 

e. llonioeoi)athy. 
/. Veterinary Art. 

Empirical & Superstitious 


Military Art. 

a. Arms — Manufacture and 

b. Infantry. 

c. Artillery. 

d. Cavalry. 

e. Naval Warfare. 
Mechanical Arts & Trades. 

a. Machinery and Mill Work. 

b. Building and Furnishing 
(Houses, Ships, &c.) 

c. Manufactures (Hardware, 
Textile Fabrics, &c.) 

Commercial Arts. 

a. Book-keeping and Trade. 

b. Communicative Arts. 

c. Transportation. 

Productive Arts. 

a. Mining and Metallurgy. 

b. Agriculture. 

c. Horticulture. 

d. Stock-Raising. 

e. Preparation of Food. 


Hunting and Fishing. 

65. XII. 








English Collections. 


a. British Authors (coUec 

Drawing and Painting. 


Engraving and Lithogra- 

b. American Authors. 

phy, Photography, «fec. 

c. Ballads. 

Pictures (collections). 

d. Dramatists. 

/. Music. 


Book Classification. 

^8. Foreign and Oriental Po- 


a. German. 

b. Danish and Scandinavian. 

c. Sclavonic. 

d. Greek. 

e. Latin. 
/. Italian. 

g. Spanish and Portuguese. 
h. French. 
i. Oriental. 


a. Histories of Fiction. 
h. English Fiction & Trans- 

c. Foreign (untranslated). 

d. Ancient and Mediaeval 

70. Juvenile Literature. 

a. Travels and Adventures. 
h. Histories. 

c. Biographies. 

d. Scientific. 

e. Games and Sports. 

/. Fiction. 

g. Religious. 

h. Foreign (untranslated). 


72. (a) Anecdotes, (h) Faceti^. 
(c) Fables. {d) Apothegms. 

73. Rhetoric, Elocution, and 


74. Collections of Oratory and 


a. British. 

b. American. 

75. Essays and Criticisms. 

a. British. 

b. American. 

c. Foreign and Translations. 

76. Collected Literary Works 

OF Individuals (Prose and 

a. British. 

b. American. 

c. Foreign and Translations. 

77. Literary History. 

78. Bibliography. 

a. Catalogues of Libraries. 

b. Catalogues of Sale. 

c . General Catalogues. 

79. (C) HISTORY. 


%\. Geography. 

a. Ancient. 
6. Modern. 

82. Voyages. 

a. Circumnavigations. 
6. Collections of Voyages. 

83. Travels in America. 

a. North America. 

b. United States. 

c. British America. 

d. Mexico and Central Amer- 


e. West Indies. 

/. South America. 

84. Europe. 

a. British Islands. 

b. France and Netherlands. 

c. Switzerland (and Alps) 

and Italy. 

d. Germany. 



Denmark, Svi'eden, 
way, and Iceland. 
Russia and Poland. 
Turkey and Greece. 
Spain and Portugal. 

85. Asia. 

a. Turkey and Armenia. 
6. Syria and Arabia. 

c. Central & Northern Asia. 

d. Chinese Empire & Japan. 

e. India. 

86. Africa. 

a. Egypt, Nubia and Abys- 


b. Barbary States and Great 

Desert . 

c. Central Africa. 

d. Southern Africa. 

87. Travels in several Quar- 

ters OF the Globe. 

a. Eastern Hemisphere. 

b. Both Hemispheres. 

c. Oceanica. 

Descartes'' Meditations. 







a. France and Switzerland. 


b. Germany, Netherlands, & 

a. Chronoloo^j\ 


b. Philosophy of History. 

c. Sclavonic Nations. 


Ancient History. 

d. Southern Europe (Italy, 


History of United States. 

Spain, &c.) 

a. General. 

e. Turkey and Greece. 

b. Settlements and Colonial 


Asia at large. 


a. British India. 

c. Revolutionary Period. 

b. China and Japan. 

rf. Civil War. 


Historical Miscellany. 

e. Particular States, Terri- 

a. Costumes and Iconology. 

tories, and Cities. 

b. Crusades. 


America at Large. 

c. Wars and Campaigns. 

a. Aborigines. 

d. Secret Societies. 

b. Canadas. 

c. Spanish North America. 



d. South America. 

a. Collections and Diction- 


British History. 

aries of. 

a. England. 

b. Individual Biography. 

b. Scotland. 

c. Correspondence. 

c. Ireland. 

d. Genealogy and Heraldry. 

98. (D) APPENDIX.- 





Gbneral Cyclopedias. 

a. Magazines. / Quarterlies. 
^ \ Monthlies. 
6. Newspapers {^Ved.!,-. 



In wMcli are clearly promd the Existence of God, and the 
real distinction between the Soul and Body of Man. 

Translated from the French of Descartes, by Wm. R. Walker. 




I shall now close my eyes, stop my ears, divert all my 
senses, — I shall even efface from my thought all the images 
of corporeal things, or, at least, since one can scarcely do that, 
I shall reckon them as vain and false ; and thus holding con- 
verse only with myself, and examining my inner man, I shall 
attempt gradually to make myself more known and more 
familiar to myself. I am a thing that thinks — that is, that 
doubts, that affirms, that denies, that knows few things, that 
is ignorant of many things, that loves, that hates, that wills, 
that wills not, that imagines also, and that feels ; for, as I have 


130 Descartes' Meditations. 

formerly remarked, altlioiigh the things which I feel and ima- 
gine may perhaps be nothing at all outside of me and in them- 
selves, I am nevertheless assured that those forms of thought 
which I call feelings and imaginations, in so far only as they 
are forms of thought certainly reside and meet within me. 
And in the little that I have just said, I believe I have collect- 
■ed all that I really know, or, at least, all that till now I have 
observed that I knew. Now, that I may attempt to extend 
my knowledge further, I shall act circumspectly and consider 
with care whether I cannot yet discover in me any other 
things that I have not up to this time perceived. I am assured 
that I am a thing that thinks ; but do I not then also know 
what is requisite in order to make me certain of anything ? 
Indeed, in this iirst knowledge, there is nothing that assures 
me of the truth but the clear and distinct perception of what 
I say, which indeed would not be sufficient to assure me that 
what I say is true, if it could ever happen that a thing which 
I conceived thus clearly and distinctly should prove to be 
false : and therefore it seems to me, that already I can estab- 
lish as a general rule that all the things which we conceive 
very clearly and very distinctly are true. 

Yet I formerly received and admitted many things as verj- 
certain and very manifest, which nevertheless I afterwards 
discovered to be doubtful and uncertain. What, then, were 
those things ? They were the earth, the sky, the stars, and 
all the other things which I perceived by means of my senses. 
Now what is it that I conceived clearly and distinctly in 
them ? Nothing, in truth, but that the ideas of the thoughts 
of those things presented themselves to my mind. And yet 
at present I do not den}^ that these ideas meet within me. 
But there was yet another thing that I asserted, and which, 
by reason of the habit I had of believing it, I thought I could 
perceive very clearly, although in reality I did not perceive 
it at all, namely, that there were things outside of me from 
which these ideas proceeded, and which they entirely resem- 
bled, and it was in that that I deceived myself ; or if, per- 
haps, I did judge according to the truth, it was not any 
knowledge that I had that was the cause of the truth of my 

But when I considered something very simple and easy re- 
lating to arithmetic and geometry — for example, tl^at two and 

Descartes^ Meditations. 131 

three added together make five, and other things similar — did 
I not conceive them at least with sufficient clearness to assert 
that they were true ? If I have, indeed, since judged that one 
may doubt of these things, it has been for no other reason 
than that it occurred to me that perhaps some god might have 
given me such a nature that I should deceive myself as regards 
the things which seem to me the most manifest. Now every 
time that this previously conceived opinion of the sovereign 
power of a God presents itself to my thought, I am constrained 
to admit that it is easy for him, if he so wishes, to bring it 
about that I should be mistaken even in the things which I 
believe I know by the very strongest evidence ; and, on the 
other hand, every time that I turn toward the things which I 
think I conceive most clearly, lam so persuaded by them that 
I cannot avoid giving expression to these words : Deceive me 
who may, he can never bring it to pass that I should be noth- 
ing while I think myself to be something ; or that some day 
it should be true that I have never been, it being true that I 
now am ; or that two and three added together should make 
either more or less than five ; or similar things which I see 
clearly cannot be in another fashion than I conceive them. 

And, indeed, inasmuch as I have no reason for believing 
that there is a God who is a deceiver, and as I have not yet 
•considered the reasons which prove that there is a God, the 
grounds for doubting which depend only on this opinion, are 
very trivial, and, so to speak, metaphysical. But in order to 
be able altogether to remove this opinion, I ought to exam- 
ine whether there is a God since the occasion presents itself; 
and if I find that there is one, I ought also to examine whether 
he can be a deceiver : for without the knowledge of these two 
truths I do not see that I can ever be certain of anything. 
And in order that I may have the opportunity of examining 
this without interrupting the line of meditation which I have 
laid out, which is to pass by degrees from the notions which 
I shall find foremost in my mind to those which I may there- 
after find, 1 must here divide all my thoughts into certain 
classes, and consider in which of these classes there is prop- 
erly truth or error. 

Among my thoughts, some are like the images of things, 
and it is to these alone that the name idea properly belongs : 
as when 1 represent to myself a man or a chimera, or the sky, 

132 Descartes^ Meditations. 

or an angel, or God himself. The others, have, in addition, 
some other forms : as when I wish, fear, affirm or deny, I then, 
it is trne, conceive something as the subject of my mind's ac- 
tion, but I also add some other thing by this action to the idea 
I had of the thing ; and of this class of thoughts, some are 
called volitions or affections, and the others judgments. 

Now, as far as ideas are concerned, if we consider them only 
in themselves and not as derived from something else, they 
cannot, properly speaking, be false: for whether I imagine a 
goat or a chimera, it is not less true that I imagine the one 
than it is that I imagine the other. Nor need we be afraid of 
meeting falsity in the aflfections or volitions ; for althougli I 
can desire evil things, or even things which never were, still 
it is not on that account less true that I desire them. There 
thus remain only the judgments, in which I ought to guard 
carefully against being deceived. But the chief and most 
common error which can be here met with, consists in judg- 
ing that the ideas which are in me are similar or conformable 
to things which are without me : for certainly if I considered 
ideas only as certain modes or fashions of my thought, with- 
out wishing to derive them from any other external thing, 
they could scarcely cause me to err. 

Now among these ideas, some seem to me to have been born 
with me, others to be foreign and to come from without, and 
others to be made and invented by myself. For as I have the 
faculty of conceiving what is generally called a thing, or a 
truth, or a thought, it seems to me that I possess that not oth- 
erwise than of my own nature ; but if I now hear any sound, 
if I see the sun, if I feel heat, up to this time I have judged 
that these feelings proceeded from certain things which ex- 
isted outside of me, and, in short, it seems to me that the 
sirens, the hippogriffs, and all other similar chimeras, are 
fictions and inventions of my mind. But perhaps I can alsa 
persuade myself that all these ideas are of the class of those 
which I call foreign and which come from without, or else 
that they were all born with me, or that they have all been 
begotten by me : for I have not yet clearly discovered their 
true origin. And what I have chiefly to do in this place is to 
consider, concerning those which seem to me to come from 
certain objects outside of me, what are the reasons which 
compel me to believe them similar to these objects. 

Descartes'' Meditations. 133 

The first of these reasons is that it seems to me to be taught 
me by nature ; and, second, that I have an inward conscious- 
ness that these ideas do not depend on my will : for they often 
present themselves in spite of me, as at this moment, whether 
I will or not, I feel heat, and I am thereby persuaded that this 
feeling or rather this idea of heat is produced in me by a thing 
different from me, namely, by the heat of the fire by which I 
am seated. And I see nothing which apjDears to me more 
reasonable than to judge that this foreign thing emits and im- 
presses upon me its resemblance rather than anything else. 

Now it is necessary for me to see whether these reasons are 
sufficiently strong and convincing. When I say it seems to 
me that that is taught me by nature, I understand by the word 
-nature only a certain inclination which induces me to believe 
it, not a natural light which makes known to me that it is true. 
But these two forms of expression differ widely from each 
other: for I cannot call in question anything that this natu- 
ral light reveals to me as true, as, for example, it just now 
revealed to me that, from the fact that I doubted, I could 
conclude that I was : the rather that I have not in me any 
other faculty or power to distinguish the true from the false, 
which could teach me that what this light shows me as true 
is not, and on which I could so much rely. But as regards 
the inclinations which also seem to me to be natural, I have 
often remarked, when it has been a question of making choice 
between virtues and vices, that they have not carried me less 
to the evil than to the good ; and therefore I have not occasion 
to follow them any more as regards the true and the false. 
And for the other reason, that these ideas should come other- 
wise since they do not depend on my will, I do not find it 
more convincing. For in the same way that those inclinations 
of which I have just now spoken are found in me, notwith- 
standing that they do not always agree with my will, so per- 
haps there may be in me some faculty or power fit to produce 
those ideas without the aid of anything external, although it 
be not yet known to me ; as in fact it has always till now 
seemed to me that when I sleep, those ideas are thus formed in 
me without the aid of the objects which they represent. And, 
in short, although I might agree that they are caused by these 
objects, it is not a necessary consequence that they should be 
similar to these objects. On the contrary, I have often re- 

134 Descartes'' Meditations. 

marked in many instances that there was a great difference 
between the object and its idea : as, for example, I find in me 
two altogether diverse ideas of the snn ; the one derives its 
origin from the senses, and should be placed in the class of 
those which I have already said come from without, by which 
it appears to me extremel}^ small ; the other is derived from 
astronomical reasons, that is to say, from certain notions born 
with me ; or, finally, it is formed by myself in some way or 
another, by which it appears to me many times larger than 
the whole earth. Indeed, those two ideas which I conceive of 
the sun cannot both be similar to the same sun ; and reason 
compels me to believe that the one which comes immediately 
from its appearance, is the one which is most dissimilar to it. 
All this makes me sufficiently recognize the fact that till this 
hour it has not been by a certain and premeditated judgment, 
but only by a blind and rash impulse, that I believed that 
there were things outside of me, and diff'erent from my being, 
which, by the organs of my senses, or by some other means, 
whatever they were, conveyed into me their ideas or images, 
and there imprinted their resemblance. 

But still another way presents itself of investigating 
whether, among the things of which I have in me the ideas, 
there are au}^ which exist outside of me, namely : if these 
ideas are taken in so far only as they are certain modes of 
thinking, I do not recognize any diff"erence or inequality 
among them, and all seem to me to proceed from myself in 
the same fashion ; but considering them as images, of which 
some represent one thing and the others another, it is evident 
that they are very diff'erent from one another. For, in fact, 
those which represent to me substances are without doubt 
something besides, and contain in themselves, so to speak, 
more of objective reality, that is to say, participate by repre- 
sentation in more degrees of being or perfection than those 
which represent to me only modes or accidents. Besides, that 
idea by which I conceive a God, sovereign, eternal, infinite, 
unchangeable, all-knowing, all-powerful, and universal Cre- 
ator of all the tilings which are outside of himself ; that, I 
say, has certainly in itself more objective reality than those 
by which finite substances are represented to me. 

Now it is a thing manifest by the natural light that there 
should be at least as much reality in the efficient and total 

Descartes' Meditations. 135 

cause as in its effect : for whence can tlie effect derive its reality, 
if not from its cause ? and how can this cause communicate it, 
if it has it not in itself? And thence it follows, not only that 
nothing cannot produce anything, but also that what is more 
perfect, that is, which contains in itself more reality, cannot 
be a consequence of and depend upon the less perfect ; and 
this truth is not only clear and evident in the effects which 
have that realitj^ which philosophers call actual or formal,* 
but also in the ideas in which are considered only the reality 
which they call objective : for example, the stone which has 
not yet been, not only cannot now begin to be if it is not pro- 
duced by something possessing in itself formally and emi- 
nently all that enters into the composition of the stone, that is, 
containing in itself the very things, or others more excellent, 
which are in the stone ; and heat cannot be produced in a 
subject which was before devoid of it, except by something 
of an order, of a degree, or of a kind, at least, as perfect as 
heat ; and so of other things. But again, besides this, the idea 
of heat, or of the stone, cannot be in me, unless put there by 
some cause which contains in itself at least as much reality as 
I conceive in the heat or in the stone ; for although this cause 
does not transmit into my idea anything of its actual or for- 
mal reality, we ought not therefore to imagine that this cause 
should be less real ; but we should learn that every idea being 
a work of the mind, its nature is such that it does not demand 
of itself any other formal reality than that which it receives 
and borrows from the thought or the mind, of which it is only 
a mode, that is, a manner or fashion of thinking. But, in order 
that an idea should contain one such objective reality rather 
than another, it must unquestionably derive this from some 
cause in which there is at least as much formal reality as that 
idea contains of objective reality ; for if we suppose that there 
is in an idea anything that is not in its cause, it necessarily fol- 
lows that that is derived from nothingness. But however im- 

* The following passage from Royer CoIIard's CEurres Je R<>i<h illustrative of the sense 
in which Descartes uses the words formel, ^mi.nevt, and ohjectif, is given in Flemimfs 
Vocahul. of Phil, {sub voc. Virtual): — "A letter of credit docs not in rfnlity contain the 
sum which it represents : that sum is onl}' renlhi in the cotter of the l)anker. Yet the 
letter contains the sum in a certain sense, since it holds its phice. This sum is still in 
another sense contained; it is virtuaUy in the credit of the banker who subscribes the 
letter. To express these difl'erences in the languaL^e of Descartes, the sum is contained 
formally in the cotter of the banker; ohjedirely, in the letter which he suijscribed ; em- 
inently^m the credit which enabled him to suh.-cribe: and thus the cotter contains the 
reality formal of the sum, the letter the reality ohjeciive, and the credit of the banker 
the reality eminent." 

136 Descartes^ Meditations. 

perfect tliis mode of being may be by which a thing is objec- 
tively or by representation in the understanding by its idea, 
still one cannot say that this mode and manner of being is 
nothing, or consequently that this idea derives its origin from 
nothing. And I ought not, therefore, to imagine that because 
the reality which I consider in my ideas is only objective, it 
is not necessary that the same reality should be formally or 
actually in the causes of those ideas, but that it is enough 
that it should be also objectively in them: for, just as this 
manner of being objectively belongs to the ideas by their own 
nature, even so the manner or fashion of being formally be- 
longs to the causes of those ideas (at least to the first and 
principal) by their own nature. And although it may happen 
that one idea gives birth to another, yet that cannot go on 
infinitely ; but it must at last reach a primary idea, whose 
cause is, as it were, a pattern or original in which all the real- 
ity or perfection is contained formally and actually which 
occurs only objectively or representatively in those ideas. 
Hence the natural light makes evidently known to me that 
ideas are in me like pictures or images which can in truth 
easily fall from the perfection of the things from which they 
were drawn, but which can never contain anything greater or 
more perfect. 

And the longer and the more carefully I examine all these 
things, the more clearly and distinctly I know them to be true. 
But, after all, what conclusion shall I draw from all this? 
This, namely, that if the objective reality or perfection of any 
one of my ideas is such that I know clearly that this same 
reality or perfection is not in me, either formally or eminent- 
ly, and that, consequently, I cannot myself be the cause of it, 
it necessarily follows that I am not alone in the world, but 
that there is something else which exists and which is the 
cause of this idea ; whereas if there does not occur in me any 
such idea, I shall have no arguments sufiicient to convince me 
and to render me certain of the existence of anything but my- 
self; for I have carefully investigated them all, and I have 
not succeeded in finding another up to this time. 

Now, among all those ideas within me, besides that which 
represents me to m3^self, as to which there cannot here be any 
difficulty, there is another which represents to me a God ; oth- 
ers, things corporeal and inanimate ; others, angels ; others, 

Descartes'' Meditations. 137 

animals, and others, finally, which represent to me men like 
myself. But as regards the ideas which represent to me other 
men, or animals, or angels, I easily conceive that they might 
be formed by the mixture and composition of other ideas 
which I have of things corporeal and of God, although outside 
of me there should be no other men in the world, neither any 
animals, nor any angels. And as regards the ideas of things 
corporeal, I do not recognize in them anything so great or ex- 
cellent, that might not, as it seems to me, come from myself; 
•for if I consider them more closely and examine them in the 
same fashion in which I yesterday examined the idea of the 
wax, I find that there occur but very few things which I con- 
ceive clearly and distinctly — namely, magnitude, or rather ex- 
tension in length, breadth, and depth, the figure which results 
from the termination of this extension, the situation which 
variously shaped bodies maintain among themselves, and the 
movement or change of this situation, to which may be added 
substance, duration, and number. As to the other things, 
such as light, colors, sounds, smells, tastes, heat, cold, and 
the other qualities which fall under touch, they occur in my 
thought with so much obscurity and confusion, that I do not 
€ven know whether they are true or false ; that is to say, 
whether the ideas which I conceive of those qualities are in- 
deed the ideas of certain real things, or rather whether they 
represent to me only chimerical entities which can have no 
existence. For, although I have before remarked that it is 
only in judgments that true and formal falsity can occur, there 
may nevertheless be found in ideas a certain material falsity, 
namely, when they represent what is nothing as if it were 
something. For example, the ideas which I have of cold and 
of heat are so vague and indistinct, that they cannot teach me 
whether cold is only a privation of heat, or heat a privation of 
cold ; or whether or not they are both real qualities : and inas- 
much as, ideas being like images, there cannot be any of them 
w^hich does not seem to us to represent something; if it is 
proper to say that cold is nothing but a privation of heat, the 
idea which represents it to me as something real and positive 
will not inappropriately be called false, and so with others. 
But, truth to say, it is not necessary that I should attribute 
to them any other author than myself: for if they are false, 
that is, if they represent things which are not, the natural 

138 Descartes^ Meditations. 

light reveals to me that they proceed from nothing — that is,. 
that they are in me only because there is something wanting 
in my nature and because it is not wholly perfect; and if 
these ideas are true, nevertheless, because they disclose to 
me so little reality that I can not even distinguish the thing- 
represented from non-being, I do not see wherefore I might 
not be their author. 

As for the clear and distinct ideas which I have of corporeal 
things, there are some which seem to me might have been de- 
rived from the idea which I have of myself, like those which I 
have of substance, of duration, of number, and of other similar 
things, For when 1 think that stone is a substance, or rather 
a thing which of itself is capable of existing, and that I my- 
self am also a substance, although I indeed conceive that I am 
a thing that thinks and is not extended, and that the stone is, 
on the contrary, a thing extended and which does not think ;; 
and that there is thus between these two conceptions a notable 
difference : yet they seem to agree in this point, that they 
both represent substances. Similarly, when I think that I 
now am, and remember besides that I formerly was, and that 
I conceive many diverse thoughts whose number I know, then 
I acquire in me the ideas of duration and number, which there- 
after I can transfer to all other things as I wish. As regards 
the other qualities of which the ideas of corj)oreal things are 
composed, namely, extension, shape, situation and motion, it 
is true they are not formally in me, since I am only a thing 
that thinks ; but because these are only certain modes of sub- 
stance, and I myself am a substance, it seems to me that they 
might be contained in me eminently. 

Wherefore there remains only the idea of God, as to which 
it is necessary to consider whether there is anything in it 
which could come fiom myself. By the term " God," I under- 
stand a substance infinite^ eternal, immovable, independent, 
all-knowing, all-powerful, and b}^ which myself and all other 
things that are (if it be true that there are any that exist) 
were created and produced. But these prerogatives are sO' 
great and exalted, that the more attentively I consider them 
the less am I persuaded that the idea I have of them can de- 
rive its origin from myself alone. And, consequently, the 
necessary conclusion from all that I have before said is that 
God exists : for although the idea of substance is in me from 

Descartes' Meditations. ISO* 

the very fact that I am a substance, I, who am a finite being, 
should not, however, have the idea of an infinite substance, 
if it had not been put within me by some really infinite sub- 

And I ought not to imagine that I do not conceive the infi- 
nite by a real idea, but only by the negation of what is finite, 
just as I comprehend rest and darkness by the negation of 
motion and light ; since, on the contrary, I see manifestly that 
there is more reality in the infinite substance than in the finite, 
and consequently that I have in some fashion within me the 
notion of the infinite rather than of the finite, that is, of God 
rather than of myself; for how is it possible that I can know 
that I doubt and that I desire, that is, that something is want- 
ing to me, and that I am not altogether perfect, if I had not 
in me any idea of a being more perfect than my own, by the 
comparison with which I may know the defects of my nature ?' 

And it cannot be said that perhaps this idea of God is ma- 
terially false, and consequently that I could derive it from 
nothing; that is, that it might be in me by reason of my defect, 
as I have just said of the ideas of heat and cold and other 
like things ; for, on the contrary, this idea being very clear 
and distinct, and containing in itself more objective reality 
than any other, there is nothing which of itself is more true, 
or which can be less suspected of error and falsity. 

This idea, I say, of a Being sovereignly perfect and infinite 
is very true ; for although, perhaps, one might pretend that 
such a Being does not exist, it can not however be pretended 
that the idea of him does not represent something real, as I 
have just said of the idea of cold. It is also very clear and 
distinct, since all that my mind conceives clearly and distinctly 
as real and true, and which contains in itself any perfection, 
is entirely contained and included in this idea. And this 
remains none the less true because I do not comprehend the 
infinite, and there are in God an infinitude of things which I 
cannot comprehend, or j)erhaps even reach by any stretch of 
the mind ; for it is of the nature of the infinite that I, who am 
finite and limited, cannot comjDrehend it ; and it is enough 
that I understand this, and judge that all the things which I 
conceive clearly, and in which I know there is some perfection, 
and perhaps also an infinitude of others of which I am igno- 
rant, are in God formally or eminently, in order that the idea 

140 Descartes'' Meditations. 

which I have of them may be the most true, the most clear, 
a,nd the most distinct of all those that are in my mind. 

But it may also be that I am something more than I ima- 
gine, and that all the perfections I attribute to the nature of 
a God are in some fashion potentially in me, although they 
are not yet brought forth and are not made apparent by their 
actions. Indeed, I already experience that by degrees my 
knowledge is increasing and being perfected; and I see noth- 
ing which could prevent its being thus more and more in- 
creased to infinity ; or why, being thus increased and perfected, 
I should not be able to acquire in this way all the other per- 
fections of the divine nature ; or, finally, why the power which 
I have for the acquisition of these perfections, if it be true that 
this power is now in me, should not be sufiicient to produce 
the ideas of them. However, regarding the matter a little 
more closely, I discover that this cannot be ; for, in the first 
place, although it were true that my knowledge every day 
acquires new degrees of perfection, and that there were in my 
nature many things potentially which are not actually there, 
yet all these advantages do not belong to or approach in any 
sort the idea I have of the Divinity, in which there is nothing 
that is only potential, but everything is there actually and in 
reality. And indeed is it not an infallible and very certain 
argument for the imperfection of my knowledge, that it grows 
gradually and increases by degrees ? Moreover, although my 
knowledge should grow from more to more, yet I ought not 
therefore to conceive that it could be actually infinite, since it 
would never reach a point of perfection so high that it would 
not be still capable of acquiring a much larger increase. But 
I conceive God actually infinite in so high a degree, that noth- 
ing can be added to the sovereign perfection which he pos- 
sesses. And finally, I comprehend clearly that the objective 
being of an idea cannot be produced by a being which exists 
only potentially ; which, properly speaking, is nothing, but 
only by a formal or actual being. 

And, truly, I see nothing in what I have just said which, to 
.all who will consider it carefully, is not very easy to be known 
by the natural light ; but when I relax my attention somewhat, 
my mind, finding itself darkened and almost blinded by the 
images of sensible things, does not easily recall the reason 
why the idea I have of a being more perfect than my own 

Descartes- Meditations. 141 

must necessarily liave been put within me by a being really 
more perfect. I, therefore, wish to go further, and consider if 
I, who have this idea of God, could exist in case there were no 
God. And I ask, from whom shall I have my existence ? Per- 
haps from myself, or from my parents, or else from some other 
cause less perfect than God : for nothing more perfect can be 
imagined, or even equal to him. But, if I were independent 
of every other, and were myself the author of my being, I 
should not doubt anything. I should conceive no desires, and^ 
in short, no perfection would be wanting to me ; for I should 
have given myself all those of which I have in me any idea, 
and thus I should be God. And I ought not to imagine that 
the things which are wanting to me are perhaps more difficult 
to acquire than those of which I am already in possession ; 
for, on the contrary, it is very certain that it was much more 
difficult for me, a thing or substance that thinks, to have 
sprung from nothing, than it would be for me to acquire the 
insight into and cognizance of many things which I do not 
know, and which are only accidents of that substance ; and 
certainly if I had given myself these further attributes which 
I have just mentioned, that is, if I were the author of my own 
being, I should not at least have denied myself the things 
which could be had with most facility, as are an infinitude of 
cognitions of which my nature feels destitute : I should not 
even have denied myself any of the things which I see con- 
tained in the idea of God, because there are none which seem 
to me more difficult to get or acquire ; and if there were any 
one of these more difficult, it would certainly appear to me 
such (supposing I had with me all the other things I possess), 
because I should therein see in that my power limited. And 
although I might suppose that perhaps I have always been as 
I now am, I could not thereby evade the force of this reason- 
ing, or fail to recognize that God is necessarily the author of 
my existence. For my whole lifetime might be divided into 
an infinitude of parts, each of which depends in no way on the 
others ; and thus from the fact that a little while ago I was, it 
does not follow that I ought to be now, unless at this moment 
some cause produces me and creates me, so to speak, anew — 
that is, preserves me. Indeed, it is very clear and evident to 
all who will consider attentively the nature of time, that a 
substance, in order to be preserved each moment of its dura- 

142 Descartes^ Meditations. 

tion, requires the same power and the same action which would 
T3e necessary to create it anew if it did not yet exist; so that 
it is a thing which tlie natural light makes clearly apparent 
that preservation and creation are different only as regards 
our mode of thinking, and not in reality. It is only therefore 
necessary, in this place, that I should interrogate myself and 
consult with myself in order that I may see whether I have in 
me any power and any virtue by means of which I can bring 
it about that I, who now am, may a moment after still be ; for 
since I am only a thing that thinks (or, at least, since there 
has not been up to this time any rigorous question except as 
to that part of me) ; if such a power really resided in me, I 
ought at the very least to think it, and to have cognizance of 
it ; but I feel nothing of it in me, and therefore I know mani- 
festly that I depend on some being different from myself. 

But perhaps this being on whom I depend is not God, and 
I may have been produced either by my parents, or by some 
other cause less perfect than he. Far from it — that cannot 
be; for, as I have alreadj^ said, it is very evident that there 
should be at least as much reality in the cause as in the effect ; 
and consequently, since I am a thing that thinks and that has 
in itself some idea of God, whatever may be the cause, of my 
being, it must be admitted that this cause is also a thing that 
thinks and that it was in itself the idea of all the perfec- 
tions that I attribute to God. Then we may investigate anew 
whether this cause derives its origin and existence from itself 
or from anything. For if it derives its origin from itself, it • 
follows from the reasons I have before advanced, that this 
cause is God ; since, having the virtue of being and of existing 
by itself, it must unquestionably have the power of actually 
possessing all the perfections of which it has in itself the 
ideas, that is to say, all those that I conceive to be in God. 
Bat if it derives its existence from some other cause than it- 
self, it will be asked once more, for the same reason, as to this 
second cause, wliether it exists of itself or is from another 
cause, until step by step we arrive at length at a final cause, 
which will be found to be God. And it is very manifest that 
in this there cannot be progress to the infinite, since the ques- 
tion here is not so much as to the cause which before produ- 
ced me as to that which now preserves me. 

Farther, it must not be imagined that perhaps several causes 

Descartes^ Meditations. 143 

have concurred, each in part, in my production, and that from 
one I have received the idea of one of the perfections which I 
attribute to God, and from another the idea of another, in such 
a manner that all those perfections are to be found truly 
enough somewhere in the universe, but are not to be found all 
joined and assembled in one, who is God; for, on the contra- 
ry, the unity, the simplicity, or the inseparability of all the 
things which are in God is one of the principal perfections 
that I conceive to be in him : and indeed the idea of this unity 
of all the perfections of God could not have been put in me 
by any cause from which I had not also received the ideas of 
iiU the other j)erfections ; for it could not have made me com- 
prehend them all joined together and inseparable, without at 
the same time giving me to understand what they were, and 
to know them all in some fashion. 

Finally, as regards my parents, from whom it seems I de- 
rived my birth : although all that I have been able to believe 
concerning them were true, it would not however follow that 
it is they who preserve me, or even that they have made and 
produced me, in so far as I am a thing that thinks, there be- 
ing no relation between the corporeal action by which, as I 
have been accustomed to believe, they engendered me, and 
the production of such a substance ; but what at most the}^ 
have contributed to my birth is that they have put certain 
dispositions into this matter in which I have judged until now 
that I, that is, my mind, which alone I now take to be my- 
self, is enclosed ; and therefore, there is here, in this respect, 
no difficulty ; but I must conclude that, from the mere fact 
that I exist, an'd that the idea of a Being sovereignly perfect, 
that is to say, of God, is in me, the existence of God is very 
evidently demonstrated. 

It only remains for me to examine in what way I have ac- 
quired this idea : for I have not received it by the senses, and 
it is never presented to me unexpectedly, as is generally the 
case with the ideas of sensible things when these things are 
presented or seem to be presented to the external organs of 
sense ; neither is it a pure production or fiction of my mind, 
for it is not in my power to diminish it or to add anything to 
it ; and consequently nothing remains to be said but that this 
idea was born and produced in me from the time of my crea- 
tion, as was the idea of myself. And truly it need not be 

144 Descartes'' Meditations. 

deemed a strange thing that God, in creating me, should have 
put within me this idea as the mark of the workman imprinted 
on his work ; and it is not necessary that this mark should be 
something different from the work itself; but from the single 
fact that God created me, it is very credible that he produced 
me, in some fashion, in his own image and likeness, and that 
I conceive this resemblance, in which the idea of God is found 
contained, by the same faculty by which I conceive myself; 
that is to say, that, when I reflect on myself, I not only know 
that I am a thing imperfect, incomplete and dependent on oth- 
ers, that tends and aspires incessantly to something better and 
greater than I am ; but I know also at the same time, that he 
on whom I depend possesses in himself all the great things to 
which I aspire, and of which I And in me the ideas, not indefi- 
nitely and only potentially, but that he enjoys them in real- 
ity, actually and infinitely, and therefore that he is God. 
And the whole force of the argument which I have here used 
to prove the existence of God consists in this, that I recognize 
that it would be impossible for my nature to be such as it is, 
that is, for me to have in me the idea of a God, if God did not 
actually exist ; this same God, I say, of whom the idea is in 
me, that is to say, who possesses all those high perfections of 
which our minds can have but a faint idea, without however 
having the power of comprehending them — who is not sub- 
ject to any defects, and who has none of those things wiiich 
denote imperfection : whence it is evident enough that he 
cannot be a deceiver, since the natural light teaches us that 
deception necessarily arises from some defect. 

But, before examining this more carefully,' and passing to 
the consideration of other truths which may be collected, it 
seems to me approx)riate to stop some time for the contem- 
plation of this all-perfect God, to ponder at leisure his mar- 
vellous attributes ; to consider, to admire, and to adore, the 
incomparable beauty of this immense light, so far at least as 
the strength of my mind, that remains in some sort dazzled 
by it, will permit me. For as faith teaches us that the sover- 
eign felicity of the other life consists only in this contempla- 
tion of the divine majesty, so let us henceforth experience 
that a like meditation, though incomparably less perfect, 
makes us enjoy the greatest delight which we are capable of 
experiencing in this life. 

( 145 ) 


Tninslatcd from tlie Ocnnan of Karl Hosenkranz by Thos, Davidson." 


In the Elective Affinities^ everything warns us to give good 
heed to the smallest, as well as to the greatest matters in the 
domain of Ethics. A look, a pressure of the hand, a word, a 
kiss, a sigh, a yea, a nay, a remaining or going — everything, 
in short, is shown to be fraught with incalculable possible 
consequences. Everything warns us to give implicit obedi- 
ence to reason, freedom, God, unless we are willing by fasti- 
dious, eudemonic irrationality to involve ourselves in a fate, 
•and weave the fatalisti(; net, which shall at last completely 
and hopelessly entangle us. Altogether different is the Jour- 
neyinansTiip. It conducts us into the labyrinthine, wide, wide 
world, and lays bare to us the treasures which it conceals, to 
enable us to rise above our fate. Here we see things the most 
distant come together, things in closest proximity part asun- 
der, a way open out of the most desperate positions, and the 
power which the spirit has of maintaining itself in contradic- 
tion, work its unfathomable miracles. Tlie Journeymansliip, 
as Gothe himself has remarked, is not all of one piece, but is 
-certainly all of one purpose. It has neither the progressive 
gradation of the Ajyprentlcesliip^ nor the novel-like, rounded 
plan of the Elective Affinities. It is a real epic, unfolding 
before us the infinity of historic Becoming : making incident 
^row out of incident, and event cross event, breaking off the 
thread, taking it up again, bringing persons together with 
persons, and still combining into internal union the whole of 
this medley, through the higher intention which is ever di- 
rected to the conquest over Fate. No wonder if the author, 
in view of the superabundance of the multifarious, pressing 
matter which he has to handle, n^akes himself out as merely 
the editor of papers committed to his charge. "Editor" here 
means nothing more than Rhapsode. 

In the Journey mansliip we lind at once two distinct masses. 
The one is that of the novelettes, the other the pjedagogical. 
The former contains a series of etliical collisions, e.g. The 
foolish Pilgrim, The nut-brown Maid., Not too far, The dan- 
gerous Bet., Who is the Traitor? The Man of fifty years, &c. 


146 Gathers Social RoTnances. 

They bear, in general, tlie coloring of the Electwe Affinities^ 
only with this difference, that their termination does not fall 
into the tragic, but solves the collision serenely either by ab- 
negation or travel. The p?edagogical side of the romance has- 
been designated by Gothe himself as Utopian. It has given 
great offence to aesthetic exquisites, by affording almost no 
food for their romantic cravings and liabits, but i-ather setting 
them to reflect earnestly upon the most important of concerns. 
It is incredible how prone man is to recognize onh^ tliat which 
he already knows. One cannot, after all, but rejoici- that Clothe 
in his educational views departs from the ordinaiy gi'ounds 
taken; nevertheless, it is x^recisely his novelty that Las been 
taken most serious exception to. And inasmuch as he mod- 
estly presents his educational maxims and institutions simply 
as problems, this fact has been at once set down as a self- 
condemnation. But how far we have learnt in recent times 
to look upon works which were once decried as Utopias, as 
thoughtful anticipations of the future ; for examj)le, Plato's 
Repuhlic., Campanella's CtTiltas Solis, More's Utopia, Morel- 
ly's Basillade, Mercier's Year 221^0, and so forth! Gothe's 
Journey mansTiip has its place among Social Ronmnces. It 
sets aside the formalism of di2:)lomatic politics, which costs 
nations so much time and money, and tries to show how 
much individuals can do for the happiness and moral im- 
provement of men, in free association based upon the jDrinci- 
ple of individuality. All religions and forms of government 
are to be respected. People must not assume a revolutionary 
attitude towards tliem, but rather apply their powers to posi- 
tive improvements. Morality must be regarded with strict- 
ness, but without pedantry. 

The foundation of tlie social structure he considers to be the 
family organization ; tiie summit, the free world-association of 
ox^eratives. Carl Grun,in the work to which we have already 
several times referred, asserts that Gothe, in the Journey- 
rnansliip, considers the fail^ily to be a yoke of slavery which 
the progressive spirit must throw off. He, therefore, appeals 
to the old uncle who represents Americanism, and, with his 
peculiar humor, pictures the inconvenience of a distracted 
and, of course, sIoav family table, that inexorably collects 
around it always the same persons at the same hours. The 
uncle, for this reason, has introduced into his family the fash- 

Gotlie's Social Romances. 147 

ion of dining a la carte. Now, is it true that this manifestly 
one-sided view of the family table is necessarily such as 
would destroy family-life? This excellent old gentleman is 
also anxious that the women and children may enjoy every- 
where and at cheap rates the fruit of which they are so fond, 
and has therefore made arrangements with female carriers 
who bring cherries, aj)ples, plums and j)ears out into the small- 
est valleys among the mountains. He is also greatly inter- 
ested in the cultivation of turnips and cabbages, as an offset 
against the unhealthy use of potatoes. How practical this is 
has been shown of late years, since the failure of this one pro- 
duct has placed the subsistence of millions of human beings 
in a critical position — an unequivocal proof that we ought to 
cultivate a greater variety of fruits, and this altogether apart 
from the fact that man, being omnivorous, must, b}'' absolute 
uniformity of food, approximate to the lower animals, which 
are frequently incapable of eating more than one kind of food. 
But now, how absurd would be the conclusion that Gothe 
would not have potatoes cultivated at all 1 And so, within the 
family, he desires, it is true, in all indifferent things the great- 
est possible amount of liberty for the individual; but upon 
marriage and upon the family he does insist. How carefully, 
in the Journeyniansliip, are the preparations for a marriage 
contract carried on — how plainly do even Philina and Freder- 
ick, Lucy and Montan, and so on, everywhere do homage to the 
principle of the family — a principle which in Macaria assumes 
an almost sublime personal expression I It is particularly 
worthy of note that Clothe has placed at the very beginning 
the charming story of Joseph and Mary, that exquisite family 
idyl which reminds us that, throughout Christendom, the fam- 
ily, woman, and labor, are sacred — the Redeemer of the world 
himself having been born of a woman, having sprung from 
the bosom of a carpenter's family. Even in the Elective Affin- 
ities Gothe takes care to give prominence to building, as that 
which, more than anything else,*'distinguishes man from the 
lower animals, w^hich, at best, make themselves nests. 

Education must lead to thoughtfulness. Gothe presents 
this under the form of the closest attention paid to time, 
which, according to him, is far too little valued by most men, 
although it is our most precious possession. Each moment 
comes but once. If it is not bought u^), it is lost forever 

148 Oothe's Social Romances. 

Gotlie, therefore, insists upon the greatest possible multipli- 
cation of chronometric instruments, in order that the value of 
time may ever be present before our eyes. Then we must 
accustom ourselves to moderation in that which is arbitrary, 
and assiduity in that which is necessary. But the sine qua 
noil for labor is, that we bring ourselves to perfection in 
some branch of knowledge, and in some faculty, so that we 
may venture with conlidence to affirm that we understand 
something thoroughly. Such perfection in any one art or 
science is a guarantee of the possibility of arriving at per- 
fection in other branches also. In that one we learn to under- 
stand all; it becomes to us implicitly the likeness of the rest. 
Without this one-sidedness we cannot arrive at many-sided- 
ness, far less at harmony : inasmuch as without it we lack 
the consciousness of true solidity, of an objective faculty. 

All persons are brought up through three kinds of rever- 
ence to a fourth, viz., reverence for themselves. In the first 
place, the infant, with its hands clasped on its breast and 
eyes upturned to heaven, must learn reverence for that which 
is above us, for the Divine, which we must ever adore as the 
fountain of all good. Secondly, he has to learn, with his arms 
crossed on his back and with down- turned eyes, reverence for 
that which is under us. For the earth — Nature — albeit she 
affords us unspeakable pleasures, is nevertheless capable, if 
disregarded, of involving us, in an instant, in the most poi- 
gnant and enduring sufferings. From this stage, the man 
passes, with his arms stretched out straight sideways, to rev- 
erence for his fellow, to associate himself with his comrade ; 
for even the bravest cannot do much alone : he must join with 
his companions. These three kinds of reverence at last unite 
in reverence for ourselves, which is after all their source. 
This reverence, in which we become conscious of ourselves as 
the highest that God, Nature and History have been able to 
attain in the sphere of actuality, takes all darkness from us 
and fills lis with the purest earnestness. 

Every one is reared in accordance with his individuality in 
the paedagogic province, which is so arranged, that every one, 
although isolated for his peculiar activit3^ can easil}^ pass to 
other activities as soon as he is ripe for them. The order of 
Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master, is strictly observed. 
The arts are divided into strict and free, and the expression 

ObtTieh Social Romances. 149 

"■ handicraft" is set aside, "because it lias so often been con- 
nected with an unreasonable depreciation of the useful arts. 
The strictest of all the arts is architecture. In sculpture, 
painting, and music, a mistake is to be tolerated more readi- 
ly : form, color, sound, do however make an impression. But 
mistakes must not be built. Theatrical art is not cultivated. 
It presupposes a mean, snobbish public. A crowd fond of 
sight-seeing, trying to get rid of ennui. But such a crowd 
has no existence whatever in Gothe's active and highly 
educated social world. Moreover, such an art is not without 
danger for the development of the character, inasmuch as it 
inevitably leads to the simulation of pain and pleasure. It 
is also particularly injurious to the other arts, which it uses 
to add to its own glitter, and misleads into false tenden- 
cies. Gothe compares it to a light-headed brother or sis- 
ter, who wastes the property of the other brothers and sisters 
for the display of the moment. Should any one happen to 
show a decided talent for mimicry, manifesting itself at an 
early age in the imitation of other people, the heads of the 
j)sedagogic province would stand in connection with the direc- 
tors of the theatre, and would send the pupil to them in order 
that, like a duck in a pond, he might devote himself to his 
life-waddle and life-quack. To music, on the other hand, and 
particularly to vocal music, he assigns a very high position, 
and considers it capable of exercising the happiest inHuence 
in imparting moral elevation to the emotional nature. 

The Christian religion, in its general outlines, is the one sup- 
posed to prevail in this social world. At the same time there 
is the utmost freedom of worship, and the religious creed is 
accepted simply as an expression of the obligation of persons 
to belong to each other in life and in death. At the same time, 
Christianity is strongly em})hasized. Jews are excluded from 
the social state ; because, in his view, by adhering to an ex- 
clusive nationality, they do not recognize the principle of 
humanity. The Apostles' Creed is declared to be the most 
rational of all, inasmuch as it tinds, more or less, an echo in 
every other creed. According to Gothe, the lirst article is ethni- 
cal and belongs to all nations ; the second. Christian, intended 
for those who combat with suffering, and through suffering 
are perfected ; the third inculcates an enthusiastic communion 
of the saints, that is, of those who are supremely good and 

150 Oothe's Social Romances. 

wise. The three divine persons, in whose likeness and name 
such convictions and promises are uttered, are therefore with 
propriety considered as the highest unit. Gothe develops the 
concept of religion in analogy with the system of the three 
kinds of reverence. The religion which worships the divine 
above us, he calls the ethnical, and includes within it not only 
what are usually termed the Pagan religions, but also the 
Jewish religion. In opposition to these natural, child-like 
religions, he places the philosophic religion, which teaches 
men how to equalize themselves with the Universe, to seize 
everything foreign as if it were themselves, and which draws 
the higher down to them, and the lower up to them. Accord- 
ing to Gothe, Christ in his life was a true philosopher, inas- 
much as he annihilated the common by miracles, and by 
parables brought the uncommon more within the reach of or- 
dinary minds. Ba^ his death as a criminal, he became the 
Founder of the third religion — the Religion of Pain, which 
teaches us to embrace in the arms of love that which is under 
us— the low, the despised, the repulsive, the hostile, yea, even 
in sin and ignominy to behold not obstacles but advantages 
to our higher life. The only way, however, for man into this 
depth of pain is through the preparatory stages of those other 
religions. It is a x)iece of impudence, worthy of all reproba- 
tion, to profane the image of the Holy One in the act of dying 
out of love for love, by exposing it everywhere to viilgar gaze. 
In the temple of the pedagogic province, it is concealed in 
the shrine as the Holiest of Holies, rarel}" accessible, and onlj- 
to the assembled congregation. Round it there runs a galler}'- 
with symplironistic companion pictures taken from the ethnic 
religions, and representing the development of the same event 
in each; for example, the sacrifice of Iphigenia by Agamem- 
non, and of Isaac by Abraham. The true and absolute reli- 
gion is the union of these three — the worship of the Higher, 
conciliation with the world, and the consecration of evil, pain, 
and sin. It is devotion, reason, and self-conquest, in living 
unity. Worship, as we have seen, is left entirel}^ free. We 
hnd, however, a peculiar Sunday-celebration. As the termin- 
ation of the week, it is made to afford ever}^ person an oppor- 
tunity of turning over an entirely new leaf, and of beginning 
a fresh week with gladness. In cases of doubt with regard to 
justice or public economy, direct recourse is to be had to the 

Gothe's Social Romances. 151 

heads of the community. Economical questions have a deeper 
hold upon tlie moral life than might be at first supjjosed. 
Moral aberrations of a more delicate nature may be discussed 
by each individual with the person in whom he has most con- 
fidence. Only, every one must be made to consider it his duty 
to enter upon each new week with a cool, collected mind, a 
reinvigorated will, and an unburdened heart. The dull con- 
science must be excited, the excited conscience calmed down 
by force of reason. 

All goods are to be considered as possession and common 
jproperty. These two words are posted up and present them- 
selves most frequently to the eye, in order forcibly to remind 
every one that he must have as if he had not ; that he must 
consider all other persons as sharers in his property, and deal 
with his private property as if he were merely its manager. 
Gothe does not wish to see inequality of possession and en- 
joyment annihilated by any revolution like communism, but 
would have it removed by a change of feeling working from 
within outwards, and by a new mode of regarding the nature 
of property, viz., as possession and common property. With 
such a vieAv, and with the Sunday's property-confession, which 
puts everything to rights in the practical life, it is taken for 
granted that there will be no lawsuits, and hence that a judi- 
cial bench will be unnecessary. Justice is maintained by the 
clearness of the practical reason, working itself out with una- 
bating originality, from its abundant source. All difference 
in regard to the interpretation of the letter of the lavr disap- 
pears. On the other hand, great weight is laid upon an effec- 
tive police-system, whose duty it is to remove all troublesome 
things and persons. It is backed up by the regulation that 
every one who has reached the years of discretion shall have 
the right at once to rebuke wrong, inq^ropriety, and wicked- 
ness. The })ower of reprimanding and punishing, however, is 
to be invested in the Elders. Three police directors are to be 
on duty in every district, and to be changed every eight hours. 
Where they are unable to perform their duty successfully, 
where the complication is too great, they have the right to 
call for a jurj^ immediately to decide the case. The sale of 
si)irituous liquors, which leads to so much strife and misery, 
is to be prohibited. Circulating libraries, likewise, which de- 
prive reading (which is so powerful an agent in education) of 

152 Gothe'S Social Romances. 

its value, and offer so much of a premium for mediocre and 
common literature, are not permitted. Finally, tliere is no 
standing army, that being the source of such a host of immo- 
ralities, and being obliged, in times of peace, to occupy itself 
solely with vain and disgusting display on the parade ; on 
the contrary, all must learn to fence, shoot, march, and ma- 
noeuvre. Lothario is quite at home in this, and, in particular, 
exercises a kind of field-manoeuvre. 

Tliere are no bells or drums. All signals are given by means 
of wind-instruments. A capital will probably be formed in 
this social world ; indeed, one can see the point at which it 
might arise, but every effort will be made to retard, as long 
as possible, an institution which is so prejudicial to individu- 
ality. In this Gothe agrees entirely with modern socialism, 
which is strongly ojDposed to cities being too large or too 
small, the former on account of their corruption, the latter on 
account of their old-foginess. 

Those persons who are tem]Dorarily compelled to abnega- 
tion or to travel, not as a consequence of moral collisions, may 
connect themselves with the universal- league, which manages 
everything connected with emigration (which must be distin- 
guished from travel) — a point on which Odoardo's speech 
expatiates with the utmost perspicuity. Emigration is con- 
sidered unavoidable, when the competition between machi- 
nery and hand-labor brings about a dangerous crisis, and 
exhibits the difl'erence between movable and landed proj)erty 
in the most glaring light. Of those who, sooner or later, will 
from increase of pressure have to make up their minds to 
emigrate, Gothe takes particular notice of the weavers and 
spinners. They are treated of in Leonardo's diary, where 
the business of weaving in its fullest extent, and the circum- 
spect activity of Susanna, the /-a'Arj xal ayoPq^ are handled in 
charming detail. Those who cannot find llerrhhuth or Amer- 
ica everywhere in themselves, who find America only in 
America, sing to us : 

Keep not standing tixed and rooted, 

Briskly venture, briskly roam ! 
Head and liand, wliere'er tliou foot it, 

And stout heart are still at home; 
In each land the sun does visit. 

We are gay whate'er betide, 
To give space for wandering is it 

That the world was made so wide!* 

» Carlylfc's translation. 

( 153 ) 


I. Philosophy is the search for a distinction which will 
hold. Before its analysis, all other determinations fall away, 
one after another, as secondary and dependent, leaving only 
the distinction of individuality, which is thought or self- 
DisTiNCTioisr. The distinction of the self from the self is the 
distinction of self-determination, and is therefore indepen- 
dent and ultimate because it is a whole in itself. 

II. Certainty should be discriminated from Truth. * We are 
immediately certain of sensuous things, and likewise of the 
Ego — but not of the Truth. The problem of the science called 
"Phenomenology of Spirit" is to pass from certainty to Truth. 
What I am certain of is the Immediate, but the True is the 
Absolute Mediation. 

III. The introduction of Time into a Cosmogony destroys it. 
Thus the "Development Theory" is a innning down with no 
winding up. The crudest misapprehension of a system of 
Pure Science is that which looks upon the final, concrete cate- 
gories as chronologically later in realization than the abstract 
ones at the beginning. Such misapprehension always arrives 
at Pantheism, and sets up an abstract Universal in place of a 
concrete one. 

IV. Dogmatic vs. Speculative Philosophy. Ask, What is 
essence, active or rigid ? If the former, the system is specu- 
lative ; if the latter, dogmatic. 

V. Bravery is the ascent of the individual into the generic,. 
so that the particular self is ignored. The possibility of sui- 
cide rests on the same basis. Hence it is a proof of immor- 
tality ; for that the individual can consciously rise into the 
genus implies that there can be no death to it, since death 
occurs only when the individual cannot endure subsumption 
under the universal. 

VI. The Negative, traced out, arrives at the negation of 
negation as the total. Proof: The Negative is in opposition 
or relation — it is tlie negative of someiohat ; hence the some- 
what is also in opposition (or negative) to somewhat else (the 
Negative of it) ; hence the Negative was, in the first place, 
only the Negative of the Negative ; q. e. d. This thought is 
that of the Universal or Totality. 

154 Philosopliemes. 

VII. Not tlie Particular, but the Universal (or Generic) ex- 
ists. Proof: The Particular is always in transition ; its Iseing 
is a relation to what is beyond it; hence it (the Particular) is 
a part of a totality which transcends and includes it. Hence 
its exhaustive concept {Begriff or Comprehension), its Ideal, 
is that which includes itself and its othei'-being, and this is 
the Universal and the Constant under the Variable. 

YIII. Why must one begin with the Abstract in a system 
of Philosophy ? Because, in seeking the clear and simple, he 
must first rid himself of the given content in his mind; i.e. 
the opinions and prejudices and ready-made thoughts derived 
from external sources. He must lirst find himself before he 
can philosophize ; and he does this by divesting himself of 
the alien contents of his thought, and seizing his own nega- 
tive activity in the form of a universal abstraction. 

IX. Identity and Difference of Being and Thought. In 
imagination or fancy, or impure thinking in general, thought 
seizes only one side of the totality. But Pure Thinking takes 
the whole, and seizes the part as part. Thus, in the former 
thinking the thought is inadequate to being, while in the lat- 
ter the two are commensurate and identical. 

X. The object of Philosoj)hy is to clear the mind of spec- 
tres and abstractions. If metaphysics deals only with abstrac- 
tions, then metaphysics is only a partial (though necessary) 
phase of Philosophy, and as such should be surmounted as 
expeditiously as possible. Such abstract metaphysical cate- 
gories (as Philosophy should enable one to get rid of) are 
matter^ foi'ce, atoms, swiple substances, &c. 

XI. Part-ness or Partiality is the disease, and the cure is the 
Dialectic, which restores the wholeness or universality. The 
Dialectic is the soul of the whole, revealing itself in the part. 

XII. Experience is a process of correcting partial impres- 
sions, and hence it is an a posteriori dialectic. We transcend 
the Particular continually, and ascend to larger and larger 
syntheses in our search for the totality of conditions. 

XIII. The Correlationists have lost their senses. They an- 
nounce as supreme truth the utter negation of all the data 
derived from sensation. The abstract force which abides in 
the transition of one force to another is not a particular, real 
force, nor is any particular force identical with any object of 
the senses. The objects of the senses are transitory phases 

HegeVs Science of Rights, Morals, and lieligion. 155 

of particular forces, and these particular forces are vanishing 
forms of the one abiding abstract force. All trace of sensuous 
content is lost in passing to this idea of abstract force. 



Translated from tile " I'hilosophische Propivdentik " of G. W. F. Hegel. 

Part Fiist. 


§ 1. The Right or Just must be considered (1) in its essence; 
(2) in its actual existence in political society. 

Chaptek I. 

The Right {or Just). 

§ 2. According to the principle of Rights [or abstract Jus- 
tice] the iiniversal Will should have full sway without regard 
to what may be the motive or conviction of the individual. 
Rights, or Justice, have ap2:)lication to man, onh' in so far as 
he is a free being in general. 

Note hy Translator. — " Das Recht.^'' translated " Rights." is to be taken not SO 
mucli in a moral as in a legal sense, and lience more nearly signifies ••the Just." 
I have sometimes used the word "Right,'' in the singular number in this transla- 
tion, but it must always lie understood to refer to legal Right. 

§ 3. Right [Justice] consists in this : that each individual 
be treated and respected by the others as a free being ; for 
only under this condition can the free Will have itself as ob- 
ject and content, in another. 

Explanatory. — The freedom of the individual lies at the 
basis of rights, and the Right consists in this: that I treat 
others as free beings. Reason demands a just treatment of 
others. Essentially, every man is a free being. Men differ 
from each other in their special conditions and peculiarities, 
but this difference does not concern the abstract will as such. 
In the abstract will all are identical, and when one man re- 

156 HegeVs Science of Rights, 

spects another, lie respects himself. It follows tliat the viola- 
tion of the rights of one individual is the violation of the 
rights of all. This participation with others is quite a differ- 
ent thing from the sympathy which one feels at the sight of 
another's misfortunes. For although (1) the injury oi- priva- 
tion which a man suffers in gifts of fortune (which gifts though 
desirable are not essential) concerns me, 3'et I cannot say that 
it absolutely ought not to have happened ; (2) such conditions 
(of fortune) belong to the particularity of man. In all interest 
and sympath}^ we separate the misfortunes from ourselves, 
(not identifying them with our own essential interests,) and 
look upon them as something foreign [another's affair]. On 
the contrary, at the infringement of another's rights, each one 
feels himself attacked, because Eight is something universal. 
Hence a violation of rights cannot be looked upon as anything 
foreign \_alieniim\ We ourselves feel such an infringement 
all the more when it is directed toward another, for the prin- 
ciple of rights is a necessary one. 

§ 4. In so far as each man is recognized and acknowledged 
as a free being, he is a Persois^. The principle of rights is 
therefore to be expressed thus : Eacli sliould he treated hy 
the other as a "person. 

Explanatory. — The Idea (Comprehension) of personality 
includes in itself the selfhood or individuality which is free or 
universal. Man has, through his spiritual nature, personality. 

§ 5. It follows, hence, that no man can justly be compelled 
except for the purpose of annulling the constraint which he 
has placed upon others. 

Explanatory.— TliQYe are limitations of freedom, and laws 
which consent that men shall be treated not as persons but 
as chattels ; e. g. the laws which permit slavery. These are, 
however, opposed to Reason or Absolute Right. 

§ 6. That act which limits the freedom of another, or does 
not acknowledge him as a free will and give him free sway 
as such, is unjust. 

Explanatory. — In an absolute sense, no constraint is pos- 
sible against man, for the reason that he is essentially free, 
and can assert his will against necessity, and give up all that 
belongs to his particular existence. External constraint takes 
place when some condition is connected with the external 

Iforals, and Religion. 157 

existence of man in such a way, that, if he would realize the 
latter, he must submit to the former. Since man's external 
existence is dependent upon external objects, on that side he 
is liable to foreign interference. Man is externally constrained 
only when he wills something which involves anotlier ; it de- 
pends upon his will whether he will have one and with it the 
other, or neither of them. The external constraint, of course, 
depends upon his will — in how far he places himself under it. 
Hence the external constraint is only relatice. It is a legal 
constraint when it is exercised for the purpose of enforcing 
justice against the individual. This species of constraint has 
a side according to which it is not a constraint, and does not 
contradict the dignity of a free being, for the reason that the 
will in and for itself is also the absolute will of each indivi- 
dual. Freedom is found, not where the arbitrary will or ca- 
price of the individual, but where law, prevails. 

§ 7. Fermitted, but not for this reason commanded, is the 
legal aspect of all actions that do not limit the freedom of 
another, or annul another's act. 

Explanatory . — The legal Right contains properly only 
prohibitions and no commandments ; what is not expressly 
forbidden is allowed. Of course, legal prohibitions can be 
expressed as positive commands, as for instance : " Thou 
shalt keep thy contracts." The general legal principle, of 
which all others are only special applications, reads thus : 
"Thou shalt leave undisturbed the property of another." 
This does not require anything positive to be done — no 
eliange in circumstances to be produced — but requires only 
the abstaining from the violation of the right of property. 
Therefore, whenever the legal principles are expressed posi- 
tively, a form of expression is used which always contains 
at bottom a mere prohibition. 

§ 8. The will whenever it subsumes a thing under itself, 
makes it its own. Ownershij^ or possession is the condition 
of a thing as subsumed under the will. 

Explanatory. — To the subsumption of a somewhat, there 
belong two parts, one universal, and the other individual. I 
subsume something individual when I add to it a general de- 
termination. This subsumption occurs in the act of judgment. 
In the judgment, that which subsumes is the predicate, and 

158 HegeVs Science of Riglits^ 

that which is subsumed, the subject. The act of taking pos- 
session is the exj)ression of the judgment that a thing becomes 
mine. My will is here that which subsumes. I give to the 
thing the predicate to be "mine." The will is the subsuming 
activity for all external things, for the reason that it [the 
will] is in itself the universal Essence. All things, however^ 
Avhich are not self-related are only necessitated things and 
not free. This fact gives man the right to take i)ossession of 
all external things, and to make of them something different 
from what they are. It deals with them only in conformity 
with their essence [i. e. the will finds the things determined 
from without — necessitated — and it treats them accordingly. 
It determines them externally itself]. 

yote by Th-analnt'^?'. — "Tlie will i.s the subsnniiii<>- activity for all external 
things for the reason that it i^ in itself the universal Essence." The form of all 
Being considered as a totality is that of self-determination. Hence any externally 
determined somewhat must be a mere d<'pendent element of such self-determined 
totality; in other word-*, ••all external things" are '-subsumed" under a self- 
determin( d. i.e. under a Will. Hence follows the next paragraph. § 0: One will 
cannotf invade the province of another. Each is a totality, and legally must not 
attempt to reduce the other to a mere deiendent element. 

§ 9. (1) The thing wliich one takes possession of for the 
first time must be res nullms, i. e. not already'' subsumed un- 
der another will. 

Exi^lanatory. — A thing which already belongs to another 
cannot be taken possession of by me [i.e. by right of original 
acquisition^ not for the reason that it is not a chattel, but 
because it is 7^/5 chattel. For were I to take possession of 
the chattel, I should then annul its predicate to be Ms, and 
thereby negate his will. The will is absolute, and I may 
not treat it negatively [i. e. annul it]. 

§ 10. (2) Property must be openly taken possession of — 
i. e. it must be made known to others that I will to subsume 
this object under my will, be it through corporeal occupan- 
cy or through transformation [or inij)rovement], or at least 
through setting a mark on the object. 

Explanatory. — The external occupancy must be preceded 
b}^ the internal act of the will which exj)resses that the thing- 
is mine. The act of original acquisition is that of corporeal 
occupancy. It has this defect, that the objects thus seized 
must be so constituted that I can take possession of them with 

Morals^ and Religion. 159 

the hand, or cover them with the body, and furthermore that 
they are not of long duration. The second, more perfect^ 
mode is that of improvement — that I give shape to a things 
e. g. build upon a lot, make gold into a cup. In this case the 
form is mine, and immediately united to the object in such a 
way as to serve as a mark or token that the material even 
belongs to me. To the improvement [title by " accession "] 
belongs, among other things, also ]3lanting of trees, taming 
and feeding of animals. An impi^rfect form of property in 
land is the use of a territory without its cultivation : e. g. 
when nomadic peoples use a province for pasturage ; hunters 
for hunting grounds ; lisheimen, for their pur])oses, the coast 
of a sea or river. Such a possession is still superficial, be- 
cause the actual use is only a temporary one, not a perma- 
nent form of possession closely attached to the object. The 
act of taking possession through the mere marking an object 
is imperfect. That mark which does not (like the marks cre- 
ated by improvements) constitute the essential part of the 
thing, is a mere external affair ; what meaning it has is more 
or less foreign to the purpose. Moreover, its meaning is pe- 
culiar to itself, and this meaning disconnects it from that of 
the tiling of which it is the mark. The mark is thus arbi- 
trary. It is more or less a matter of convenience what the 
mark of a thing shall be. 

§ 11. A. possession becomes property (or a legal possession) 
when it is acknowledged by all others that the thing which I 
have made mine is mine, just as I acknowledge the projDerty 
of others as theirs. My possession is acknoioledged for the 
reason that it is an act of the free will, which is something 
■ absolute in itself, and contains universality in the sense, 
namely, that I regard the activity of another's will as some- 
thing absolute. 

Explanatory. — Possession and property are two different 
determinations. It is not necessary that possession and prop- 
erty be always connected. It is possible for me to have prop- 
erty without having possession of it. When, for example, I 
lend something to another, the property still remains mine 
though I part with the possession of it. Possession and prop- 
erty involve the idea that I have '"'' dominium'^ [i. e. control or 
dominion] over something. Property is the legal side of the 

IGO HegeVs Science of Rights, 

'■'■dominium^'' [or mastery], and possession is the mere exter- 
nal side — tliat something is in my power. The legal right is 
that side of my absolute free will which has declared some- 
thing to be its own. This will must be acknowledged by others 
for the reason that it is in and for itself, and in so far as the 
already adduced conditions have been observed. Property 
has, therefore, an internal and an external side. The latter 
for itself is the taking possession ; the former, the act of the 
will, which must be acknowledged as such. It seems acciden- 
tal or arbitrary that tlie acknowledgment of others should be 
added to the fact of taking possession. This is necessary 
however, for it lies in the nature of the Ihing. Acknowledg- 
ment has not the ground of reciprocity in it. I do not acknowl- 
edge your rights for the reason tliat you acknowledge mine, 
nor vice versa, but the ground of this reciprocal acknowledg- 
ment is the nature of the thing itself. I acknowledge the 
will of others because the nature of tlie thing demands my 
acknowledgment [i. e. recognition and assent]. 

§ 12. I can dispose of [i. e. by sale or gift^ — "alienate"] my 
property, and thus it may become the property of another 
through an act of my free will. 

Explanatory. — My powers and abilities are my property 
in the most peculiar sense, but they have also an external 
side. Abstractly, they are external in so far as I [the Egoj 
can distinguish them from myself, the simple Ego. Besides 
this, however, powers and abilities are by nature limited and 
individual, such as do not constitute my essence. My essence 
— the in itself Universal — is distinct from these special deter- 
minations. Moreover, they are external in their use. In the 
act of using my power, I reduce it to an external form, and 
the product is some external Being or other. Power, as such, 
does not lie in the use thej*€of ; but it preserves itself notwith- 
standing it is externalized, and tliis, its externalization, has 
made it a separate existence. This externalization of power 
Is in so far an externality as it is a limited and finite some- 
what. In so far as something is my property, I have connect- 
ed it with my will ; but this connection is no absolute aftair. 
For were it so, my will must essentially enter the chattel. 
But I have in this case only specialized my will, and can, for 
the reason that it is free, again cancel this sj^ecialization. 

Morals, and Religion. 161 

§ 13. Those possessions are inalienable which are not so 
much property as they are constituent elements of my inner- 
most personality or essence ; such, for example, as the free- 
dom of the will, ethical laws, religion, &:c. 

Explanatory . — Only those possessions are alienable which of an external character. Personality, for example, can- 
not be viewed as external to me, for in so far as a man has 
given up his personality he has reduced himself to a chat- 
tel. But such an alienating would be null and void. One 
for instance, w^ould alienate his ethical principles were he to 
bind himself to another to perform all manner of acts — crimes 
as well as indifferent acts. But such a bond would have no 
binding force because it alienates the freedom of the will ; 
■and in the latter, each one must stand for himself — [i. e. each 
man who commits a deed is directly responsible for it, and 
■cannot escape its consequences by alleging the commands of 
another whom he serves under contract]. Right or wrong 
deeds belong to the one who commits them ; and, for the rea- 
son that they possess a moral character, I cannot alienate 
them. Religion, too, cannot be alienated. If a church, or an 
individual, leaves it for a third party to determine what shall 
constitute its faith, such a bond of obligation would exist as 
could be cancelled at will by either party. No wrong at least 
could be done to the party with whom the agreement had been 
made, for the reason that he never could own as property any 
such privilege as that specified. 

§ 14. On the other hand, I can alienate the definite, speci- 
fied use of my mental and bodily energies as well as the chat- 
tels which I may possess. 

Explanatory. — One can alienate only a limited use of his 
powers, for the reason that this use, or Xh^ circumscribed ef- 
fect, is distinct from the powe^|j||^|tt- I^R the constant use, 
or the effect in its entire exten^(^^m?rt be separated from the 
power itself. The power is the Internal., or General., as op- 
posed to its utterance [realizafion]. The utterances [or reali- 
zations — effects] are particulai' existences limited in Time and 
Space. The power in itself is not exhausted in such an indi- 
vidual existence [as one of its effects], and is. moreover. I'ot 
confined in scope to one oi its conringent eheeis. J>ut, se< (-! 1- 
ly, the powei- must act a • 1 iit ••!• [exteruciliz.) itself, otliei - e 

162 IlegeVs Science of Iligltts, 

it Avere no power. Thirdly, the entire extent of its effects con- 
stitutes the power itself, for the entire extent of its external- 
ization is again the General [Generic], which is the power 
itself; on this account man cannot alienate the entire use of 
his powers ; he would in so doing alienate his personality. 

§ 15. To an act of alienating property to another belongs, 
hrst, my consent to resign the property to him, and, secondly, 
his consent to take it. This twofold consent, in so far as it is 
reciprocally declared and expressed as valid, is called coisr- 
TKACT {pactum). 

Explanatory. — Contract is a special mode by wliirli one be- 
comes the owner of projjerty which has already belonged to 
another. The mode, already explained, of coming into pos- 
session was that of "original acquisition" — the acquiring of a 
thing that was ^'res nnllius.'''' (1) The simjjlest form of con- 
tract is the gift-contract ; in this, only one of the parties gives 
and one receives, no equivalent being returned. A valid gift 
is a contract for the reason that the wills of both parties must 
act in the premises : the one must will to resign the property 
to the other without receiving an equivalent therefor, and the 
other must will to receive the property on those conditions. 
(2) The exchange-contract. Barter [^Tausclidertrag\ consists 
in this : I resign something to another under the condition 
that he gives me an equivalent therefor. To this belongs the 
twofold consent on the part of each — to give something to, 
and to receive something from, the other. (3) Bargain and 
sale is a particular species of exchange — that of goods for 
money. Money is the universal form of goods ; hence, as ab- 
stract value, it cannot be itself used for the purpose of satisfy- 
ing a particular want [i.e. one cannot eat or drink it, &c.] It 
is only.vlljLe general means by which to obtain sx>ecial means 
of grajtifying wantW Tj|||M||||f money is only a mediated one 
[onlj^/useful in geffing^^^^Rng else]. A material is not in 
and for itself money — i.^flnoney because it possesses such 
and such qualities ; but it becomes money only by general 
ao-reement [conventional usage]. (4) Tenure consists in this, 
that I grant to any one my possession, or the use of my prop- 
erty, while I reserve the ownership to myself. There are two 
cases : it may happen that the one to whom I have leased 
something is bound to return the same identical thing; or 

Morals, and Religion. 163 

that I have reserved a right to property identical in kind and 
amount, or of equal value. 

§ 16. The declaration of will contained in the contract is 
not sufficient to complete the transfer of my property or labor 
to another ; the transfer is effected by delivery, in accordance 
with the terms of the contract. 

Explanatory. — My promise in the contract contains the 
acknowledgment on my part that I have parted with the title 
to the property, and that the other party has acquired title 
to the same. The piece of property becomes immediately the 
property of another through the contract in so far as it had 
its ground in my will. But if I do not also place the other 
party in possession in accordance with the contract, to that 
extent 1 despoil him of his property. I am bound by the 
contract to give possession also. (Treat here of acquisition by 

§ 17. An encroachment [trespass] upon the sphere of my 
freedom by another may occur (1) through his having my 
property in his possession as Ms own, i. e. through his claim- 
ing it on the ground that he has the right to it, and acknowl- 
I edging at the same time that if I, instead of himself, had the- 
right to it, he would surrender it to me. In this he respects 
right as such, and only asserts that in this instance it is on 
his side. (2) The trespass may occur througn an act wherein 
the actor ignores my will as such, and consequently violates- 
right as right. 

Explanatory. — The ideas which we have been considering- 
contain the nature of Rights, its luios, and its necessity. But 
Rights are not "necessary" in the sense that necessity i& 
used when speaking of physical nature, e.g. the necessity 
which holds the sun in its place. A flower must grow in con- 
formity to its own nature. If it, e.g., does not complete its 
growth, it must be from the intervention of some external in- 
fluence. Mind, on the contrary, by reason of its freedom, can 
act against laws, and hence against the Right itself. A dis- 
tinction must here be made between (1) the universal Right, 
right as right, (2) particular right as it relates to the rights 
of an individual person or thing. The universal right is that 
through which everybody, independent of his or her proper- 
ty, is a legal person. A trespass against rights may take 

164 HegeVs Science of JiigJits, 

the shape of a mere refusal to concede to an individual some 
particular right, or some particular piece of property. In 
this case, the universal right is not violated. One stands in 
relation to his opponent as a legal person. Such a "judg- 
ment " can be regarded as a merely negative one wherein the 
particular is denied in the predicate, as, e.g., when I assert, 
" This stone is not green," I negate merely the predicate of 
greenness, but not thereby all predicates. In the second case 
of trespass against the rights of others, I assert not only that 
a particular thing is not the property of another, but I deny 
also that he is a person possessing rights at all. I do not 
treat him as a person. I do not lay .claim to something on 
the ground that I have a right to it, or believe that I have ; I 
violate the right as right. Such a predication belongs to the 
species of judgments called "infinite." The infinite judg- 
ment negates by its predicate not only the particular but 
also the general ; e. g. This stove is not a whale," or " The 
stove is not memory." For the reason that not only the Par- 
ticular but also the General is denied in the predicate, noth- 
ing remains of the subject. Such judgments are therefore 
absurd, though correct in form. So likewise the violation of 
rights as rights is something possible and indeed frequently 
happens, but il^is absurd and self-contradictory. The cases 
of the first kind*belong to the civil code, those of the second 
to the CRIMINAL (peintal) code. 

Note by Translator.— The reader unacquainted with the TliirdPart of Hegel's 
Lo^ic will find this allusion to the forms of "judgments" at this place quite un- 
expected. Un page 344 et seg. of vol. iii. of the Journal of Speculative Philoso- 
phy, I have attempted an outline of the dialectic by which Hegel proves that tlie 
"adequate form of True Being" is the "Comprehension," i.e. a self-determined 
totality. It (True Being) is a process of subsumption of itself under itself. An 
expression of each of the different degrees of perfection in this subsumption is 
found in the series of forms of Judgments and Syllogisms. The perfectly ade- 
quate subsumption is called the Idea (Idee). The Idea should be a complete 
reflection of itself (God and Creation, or God and Nature), or, what is the same, 
a complete subsumption of itself— a totality as subject and totality as predicate— 
which can only happen in case subject and predicate are identical, subject and 
object the same. Those forms of judgments or syllogisms in which the form 
(subject in the former and major premise in the latter) does not agree witli its 
content (predicate and minor premise) are imperfect and correspond to things 
that perish. A changeable somewhat, e.g., is a somewhat whose potentiality 
(ideal totality or "Universal") is more extensive than its realized shape (par- 
ticularitv), and hence its potentiality continually gets realized at the expense of 
whatever actual shape the somewhat may have at the time; in short, its particu- 

Morals and Religion. 165 

larity is subsumed under its universality and perishes, its content is not adequate 
to its form and therefore it changes. 

Let me apply these remarks to the passage in the text: 

Judgments of inherence are positive, negative, and infinite, and neither subject 
nor predicate is taken as a totality. Hence a twofold inadequacy arises, which is 
partially corrected (a) by the negative judgment in which the individual is said 
to be not merely a universal and not merely a particular: the rose has other qual- 
ities besides "red." and red belongs to other objects besides "rose"; (b) by the 
infinite judgment in which the individual is said to be not any particular deter- 
minateness whatever: " the rose is not a whale" not only denies the relation of 
the given subject to the given predicate, but it does not even imply any relation. 
When we say •' the rose is not red," we imply that it has color nevertheless; 
when we say that "it is not a whale," we do not imply any determinateness. 

The distinction between negative and infinite judgments, therefore, finds 
illustration in the sphere of Rights in the discrimination between the civil and 
criminal code. To the civil code belong those cases wherein an appeal is made 
to the validity of the law% or general right against a particular right: not this 
particular one is right, but some other one is right. The trespass is claimed on 
each side as committed by the opposite party. Each party acknowledges the right 
as such and bases himself on it. Hence such cases have the form of the negative 
judgment inasmuch as they recognize the relation between the subject and pre- 
dicate — individual and right— and only negate the particular: "thepiece of prop- 
erty is not his but mine." To the criminal code belong those cases wherein no 
appeal is made to the universal right as valid against a particular right, but where 
all right is set at defiance. In the form of a judgment it denies all relation of sub- 
ject and predicate. Crime denies all subsumption and hence contradicts the fun- 
damental form of spirit. Crime consists in acts which if made universal would 
immediately contradict themselves. Kant's rule, "Do only such deeds as would 
not prove self-contradictory if made universal," is founded on this idea. When 
an act cannot bear subsumption under itself as a rule, it has the form of an infi- 
nite judgment and is a crime. Theft, for example, as a particular act, would not 
be productive of any gain whatever to the individual if everybody were to steal, 
for in that case the thief would lose his property as fast as he stole it, and the 
direct result would be the utter annihilation of every species of ownership. Thus 
by theft the realization of the will of man is rendered impossible, and man redu- 
ced from a free to a necessary being. There would be no property to steal. Hence 
an act of theft implies a denial of all universal right, and hence denies itself di- 
rectly. (See pp. 354-56, vol. iii. Jour. Spec. Phil.) 

§ 18. In the first case [civil code], the mere explication of 
the legal grounds is all that is necessary to show to whom 
the contested particular right belongs. But for the decision 
of the case between the two confiicting parties a third party 
is necessary, one who is free from all interest in the matter, 
except to see pure justice done. 

Explanatory. — Under the first case come, therefore, civil 
controversies. In these the rights of another are called in 
question, but on principles of justice. The two contending 
parties agree in this, that they recognize the validity of right 

166 HegeVs Science of Riglits. 

as right. The possession is to be given only to that one who is 
light, and not to the one who has influence, power, or merit 
of his own. The parties differ only in regard to the subsump- 
tion of the particular or of the general. It follows hence that 
no personal retribution is sought against the judge by a party 
who is not satisfled with the decision, or by the judge against 
the party whom he pronounces to be in the wrong. For the 
reason that no trespass is here made against the personality, 
it follows that the party who has trespassed in an illegal 
manner upon the property of the other is not punished. 

§ 10. The second case [criminal code], on the other hand, 
concerns the violation of external personal freedom, of life and 
limb, or of property, b}^ force. 

Explanatori/. — First, there is the unjust robbery of my free- 
dom through duress or slavery. It is the deprivation of the 
natural, external freedom, the liberty to go where one will, c\:c. 
Moreover, there belongs here the violation of life and limb. 
This is much more signiflcant than the taking of property. 
Although life and limb are something external, like proper- 
ty, yet my personality suffers by this violation because I 
have vcij immediate feeling of self in my body. 

§ 20. The constraint which is effected through such an act 
must not only be annulled, i. e. the internal nugatoriness of 
such an act be exhibited negatively, but there must be a posi- 
tive restitution made. (The form of rationality must be made 
valid against it, the universality or equalit}^ restored.) Since, 
namely, the actor is a rational being, his deed ought to be of 
a universal character. '• If thou despoilest another, thou de- 
spoilest thyself! Slay est thou anybody ? then thou slayest 
all and thyself. The act is a law which thou settest up, and 
in thy deed thou hast recognized its validity." The actor must 
be subjected to the same form of treatment that he has given 
an example of, and in so far the equality that he has violated 
be again restored : jus talionis. 

Explanatory. — Kestitution implies the rational nature of 
the wrong-doer; it consists in this, that the unjust act must be 
reconverted into justice. The wrong deed is an individual irra- 
tional act. For the reason that it is carried into eftect by a 
rational being, it is according to form (though not according 
to content) a universal and rational deed. Furthermore, it is 

Morals^ and Religion. 167 

to be considered as a principle or law. But as such it is valid 
only for tlie one who committed it, because he recognized it 
by his act, while other men do not. He himself (the actor) 
thus belongs essentially under this principle or law, and it 
must be carried out upon him. The injustice which he has 
done should be visited upon him, because through this second 
act, which he has recognized, a restoration of equality is 
made : this is merely formal right. 

§ 21. The retribution, however, ought not to be measured 
out b}' the injured one, or by his party, because with them 
the general features of j ustice are obscured by the passions 
of the moment. The act of retribution must be administered 
by a third party, who merely makes valid and accomxDlishes 
the universal right. In so far it is punishment. 

Explanatory. — Revenge and punishment are to be distin- 
guished from each other through this : Revenge is adminis- 
tered by the injured party ; punishment by the judge. Retri- 
bution must be administered as punishment, because, in the 
case of revenge, passion has an influence and the right is 
dimmed through it. Moreover, revenge has not the form of 
Right, but of caprice, since the injured party always acts 
under the impulse of feeling or of subjective motives. On this 
account, justice administered as revenge constitutes a new 
offence, and is felt to be only an individual deed, and per- 
petually provokes reaction without prospect of reconciliation. 


PolitiGal Society. 

§ 22. The idea of Right, as the power which holds sway 
independent of the motives of the individual, has its actuali- 
zation only in political society. 

§ 23. The family is the natural society whose members are 
united through love, trust, and natural obedience (jnetas). 

Explanatory. — The family is a natural society, first, be- 
cause one does not belong to the famil}^ through his free act, 
but through nature ; and secondly, because the relations and 
the behavior of the members of a family toward each other 
do not rest upon reflection and deliberate choice, but upon 
feeling and impulse. The relations are necessary and rational, 

168 HegeVs Science of Eights, 

but there is lacking tlie form of conscious deliberation. It is 
more akin to instinct. The love of the family circle rests upon 
the fact that each Ego constitutes a unity with the other Egos. 
They do not regard each other as independent individuals. 
The family is an organic whole. The parts are, properly 
speaking, not parts, but members Avhicli have their substance 
only in the whole, and which lack independence when sepa- 
rated from the whole. The confidence which the different 
members of the family repose in each other consists in this, 
that each one has no interest to seek for himself apart from 
the rest, but only the common interest of the whole. The 
natural obedience within the family rests upon the circum- 
stance that in this whole only one Will dwells — that, namely^ 
of the head of the family. In so far the -family constitutes 
only one person. 

§ 24. The state is human society under legal relations, in 
which all are persons ; it does not rest on particular natural 
relations which arise from natural inclinations and feelings. 
This personality is asserted by and through each. If a family'' 
has expanded into a nation, and the state and nation [people] 
coincide, this is a great good fortune. 

Explanatory. — A people is combined through language, 
manners and customs, and culture. This connection, however, 
is not enough to form a state. Besides these, the morality, 
religion, prosperity and wealth of its citizens are very import- 
ant things for the state. It must care for the promotion of 
these circumstances ; but even they do not constitute for it the 
immediate object of its existence. It is to secure the actuali- 
zation of Rights that the state exists. 

§ 25. The natural condition is the condition of barbarism, 
of violence and injustice. Man must issue forth from such a 
condition into that of political society, because in the latter 
alone the legal relation can have actuality. 

Explanatory. — The state of nature is frequently painted 
as the perfect state of man both as to happiness and ethical 
development. In the first place, it is to be remarked that 
innocence as such has no moral value in so far as it consists 
in mere unconsciousness of evil, and rests upon the absence of 
those needs and wants which are necessary as the condition 
for the existence of evil. Secondly, this state of nature is 

Morals^ and Religion. 169 

ratlier one of violence and injustice, for the precise reason 
that men act toward each other in this state according to 
their natures. But in this they are unequal both in regard to 
"bodily power and in mental endowments, and they make these 
differences felt, one against the other, through brute violence 
and cunning. Although reason exists in the state of nature, 
it is there subordinate to nature. Man must, therefore, pass 
over from this state to one in which the rational will has sway. 

§ 26. Law is the abstract expression of the universal Will 
that exists in and for itself. 

Explanatory. — Law is the universal Will as accordant with 
Reason. It is not necessary in this that each individual have 
found this will in himself or be conscious thereof. Moreover, 
it is not necessary that each individual has declared his will 
and a general result been collected. In actual history it has 
not happened that each individual citizen of a people has 
proposed a law, and then that all have agreed to it by a com- 
mon vote. Law contains the necessity of the legal relation of 
justice, one toward another. The law-givers have not given 
arbitrary prescriptions. They have prescribed, not the pro- 
duct of their particular likes and dislikes, but what they 
have recognized through their deep-seeing minds as the truth 
and essence of what is just and right. 

§ 27. Government is the individualit}^ of the in-and-for- 
itself-existing Will. It is the power to make the laws, and 
to administer or execute them. 

Explanatory. — The state has laws. These are the Will in 
its general abstract being, which is as such inactive ; as prin- 
ciples and maxims express or contain at first only the general 
function of the will and not an actual will. To these gener- 
alities government is the only active and actualizing will. 
Law has indeed an existence as manners and customs, but 
government is the conscious power of unconscious custom. 

§ 28. The general power of the state contains sundry par- 
ticular powers subsumed under it : (1) the legislative as such; 
(2) the administratim and financial — the power of creating 
the means for the actualization of its freedom ; (3) the (inde- 
pendent) judiciary and police [constabulary] ; (4) the mili- 
tary, and the power to declare war and make peace. 

Explanatory. — The form of the constitution is determined 

170 HegcVs Science of Rights. 

principally by tlie question wlietlier these particiilai- powers 
are exercised directly by the central government; moreover, 
whether several of them are united in one authority, or are 
separated: e.g. whether the prince or regent himself admin- 
isters the laws, or whether peculiar, sj^ecial courts are estab- 
lished for this purpose; moreover, whether the regency exer- 
■cises also the ecclesiastical power, &c. It is also an i tnportant 
distinction to note whether in a constitution the highest cen- 
tral power of the government has the tinancial power in its 
hands without restriction, so that it can levy taxes and expend 
them quite arbitrarily; moreover, whether several authorities 
are combined in one, e.g. whether the judicial and military 
power are united in one office. The form of a constitution is 
furthermore essentially determined through the circumstance 
whether or not all citizens, in so far as they are citizens, have 
a part in the government. Such a constitution as permits this 
general participation is called a Democracy. The degenerated 
form of a democracy is called an Ochlocracy, or the rule of the 
multitude, when, namely, that part of the people who have no 
pro];)ert3^, and are not disposed to deal justly, obtain mastery 
over the law-abiding citizens by violence. Only in case of 
simple, uncorrupted ethical principles, and in states of small 
territorial extent, can a democrac}^ exist and flourish. Aris- 
tocracy is the constitution in which only certain privileged 
families have the exclusive right to rule. The degenerated 
foi'm thereof is an oligarchy, when, namely, the number of 
families who belong to the governing class is small. Such a 
condition of affairs is dangerous, because in an oligarch}^ all 
particular powers are immediately carried out b}' a council 
[i.e. the same power that legislates also administrates]. Mon- 
archy is the constitution in which the government is in the 
hands of an individual and remains hereditary in his family. 
In a hereditary monarchy civil wars and controversies vanish 
— such as are liable to happen in case of an election when a 
change of the occupants of the throne takes place — because 
the ambition of powerful individuals cannot in that case lead 
them to aspire to the throne. Moreover, the entire power of 
the government is not vested immediately in the monarch, but 
a portion of it is vested in the special ministers (bureaus) or 
also in the states which in the name of the king, under his su- 

Morals, and Religion. 171 

pervision and direction, exercise the power entrusted to them 
according to laAvs. In a monarchy civil freedom is protected 
to a greater degree than nnder other forms. The degenerated 
form of a monarchy is a despotism, wherein, namely, the ruler 
exercises the government according to his arbitrary caprice. 
It is essential in a monarchy that the government have a check 
upon the private interests of the individual, and have power 
to repress them ; but, on the other hand, the citizen mnst be 
protected by law in his rights. A despotic government has 
absolute power, but its defect consists in the fact that the 
rights of the citizen are sacrificed to it. The despot has the 
power to use the forces of his realm arbitraril}^ ; herein lies 
the danger. The form of government of a people is not an 
indifferent, external aflfair. A people cannot have one form 
just as well as another. It depends essentially on the char- 
acter, manners and customs, degree of culture, occupation of 
the people, and the territorial extent. 

Note by Translator. — To a citizen of tlie I'liited States the idea of limiting a 
Democracy to a ■•small territorial extent" will seem absurd, unless he rellects 
that since Hegel's time the railroad and telegraphic S3'stems. made efFective 
through the daily newspaper, have nearly obliterated the significance of such 
separation of peoples as large empires impl3\ There is as close communication 
kei)t up now between California and Massachusetts, or Missouri and England, 
as between i)eople living on oi)posite sides of Attica in tlie time of Pericles. 
"What is lost in per.-.onal contact is made up in the superior quality of the rela- 
tion — it being filtered through an ideal medium and thereby universalized. 
Thus in our time the means are actively used toi)roduce a spiritual homogeneity 
of all peoples, and this, too, with an accelerating rate of progress. 

§ 29. The citizens as individuals are subordinate to the 
power of the state and must obey the same. The content and 
object of the political power is the actualization of the natuial 
or absolute rights of the citizens. These rights are not any of 
them renounced or given up to the state, but are rather at- 
tained in their full enjoyment and fruition by its means alone. 

§ 30. The constitution of the state is the internal i)olitical 
law that fixes the relation of the particular i)owers not only to 
the central administration — their highest unity — but to each 
other, as well as the relation of the citizen to them. 

§ 31. The external political law [law of nations] concerns 
the relation of indej^endent peoples to each other through 
their governments, and rests principally upon S2:)ecial trea- 
ties {jus gentium). 

172 HegeVs Science of RigMs, 

Explanatory. — States are found rather in a natural than in 
a legal relation toward each other. There is, therefore, a con- 
tinual state of strife between them until they conclude treaties 
with and thereby enter into a legal relation toward each other. 
On the other hand, however, they are quite absolute, and in- 
dependent of each other. The law is, therefore, not in actual 
force between them. They can, therefore, break treaties irk 
an arbitrary manner, and on this account there always re- 
mains a certain degree of distrust between them. As natural 
beings they stand in relation to each other as external forces, 
and, in order to maintain their rights, must, if needs be, wage 
war for the purpose. 

Part Second. 


§ 32, Whatever can be demanded on the ground of Rights 
is a civil obligation \^SclmldigJceit] ; but, in so far as moral 
grounds are to be observed, is a duty {Pfiiclit]. 

Explanatory. — The word "duty" \Pfl.iGlit'\ is used chiefly of 
legal relations. The legal duties are delined as "perfect" and 
the moral duties as " imperfect," because the former must be 
done and have an external necessity, while the latter depend 
on a subjective will. But one might with good reason invert 
this classification inasmuch as the legal duty as such demands 
only an external necessity, in which the disposition is not 
taken into account, or in which even a bad motive may have 
impelled. On the contrary, to a moral disposition both are 
demanded : the right deed as regards its content, and likewise 
according to form the subjective side — the good intention, 

§ 33. Rights (legal) in general leave the disposition out of 
consideration. Morality, on the other hand, is concerned di- 
rectly with the intention, and demands that the deed should 
be done out of simple regard for duty. So, too, the legally 
right conduct is moral in so far as its moving principle is the 
regard for the right, 

§ 34, The disposition is the subjective side of the moral 
deed, or the form of the same. There is in it as yet no con- 
tent present, but the content is as essential as the actual per- 

Morals, and Religion. 173 

Explanatory.— V^\t\\ legally right conduct the moral should 
T3e essentially connected. It may, however, be the case that 
with a legally right conduct there is no sentiment of Right 
present ; nay, more, that an immoral intent may accompany 
it. The legally right deed is, in so far as it is done out of 
regard for the law, at the same time moral. The right action, 
and together with it the moral intent, must be accomplished 
before there is room for the moral action in which there is no 
legal command (or legal obligation). Men are very ready to 
act from a merely moral ground, e. g. to give away with an air 
of generosity, rather than pay their honest debts ; for in a 
generous deed they congratulate themselves on account of a 
special perfection, while, on the contrary, in the performance 
of just deeds they would only practise the perfect universal, 
which maks them equal with all. 

Every actual somewhat contains two sides, the true ideal, 
[Begrijf] and the reality of this ideal : e. g. the ideal of the 
state is the guaranty and actualization of justice. To reality, 
belong the special regulations of the constitution, the relation 
of the individual powers to each other, &c. To the actual 
man belong also, even on his practical side, the ideal and the 
reality of the ideal. To the former belongs pure personality, 
or abstract freedom ; to the latter, the particular character of 
concrete Being and concrete Being itself. Although there is 
in this something more than is contained in the ideal, yet this 
must be in conformity to the ideal and determined through it. 
The pure ideal of the practical Being — the Ego — is the object 
of Rights. 

Note by Translator. — I use the term "Ideal" in this parajrraph as a rendering 
for '•'•Begnff-^' ''Concept," "notion," "idea" and "comprehension" ai'e severally 
used by different translators and by myself elsewhere. Whatever term be em- 
ployed, it is important to hold fast to the meanino-: Begrijf is used by Heofel to 
signify the totality of an object grasped together in its truth—Plato's archetype, 
or logical necessity. The Begriff is thus the 'ideal totality" the '-in-and-for-itself 
Existent, out of which all its determinations flow." It is the self-determination, 
the potential and real self of Actuality, and Actuality nuist possess this in order 
to be at all. (ISee Jour. Spec. Phil., vol. i. p. 230; also p. 23U, " What is the true 
Actual?"— vol. ii. p. 176— vol. iii. p. 27S, p. 348 (C), p. 351.) 

§ 35. Moral action refers to man not as an abstract person, 
but to him according to the universal and necessary determin- 
ations of his particular Being. The moral code is, therefore, 
not merely 'proliihitory — like the legal code, which only or- 

174 HegeVs Science of RigMs, 

dains that the freedom of another must be left inviolate — but 
it ordains a positive course of action towards another. The 
prescriptions of Morality refer to individual actuality [i. e. to 
concrete situations in which the individual may be placed]. 

§ 36. Human impulse on the side of man's particular exis- 
tence, as regarded by morality, is directed towards the har- 
mony of the external with his internal determinations to 

the production of pleasure and happiness. 

Explanatory. — Manilas impidses (propensities), i.e. he ha& 
internal determinations in his nature, or on that side accord- 
ing to which he is an actual being as such. These determin- 
ations are therefore defective (imperfect) inasmuch as they 
are merely internal. They are imi:)iilses (propensities) in sO' 
far as they relate to tlie cancelling of this defect or want; i. e. 
they demand their realization, which is the harmony of the 
external and internal. This harmony is pleasure. It presup- 
poses, therefore, rellection : a comparison between the internal 
and external, whether this proceeds from me or from fortune. 
Pleasure may spring from the most varied sources. It does 
not dej^end upon the content, but concerns only the form ; in 
other words, it is the feeling of something merely formal, 
namely, of the given harmony, The doctrine which makes 
pleasure, or rather happiness, its aim, is called Eudctmon- 
isni. But that doctrine does not decide in what pleasure or 
happiness consists. Hence there is a coarse, rough Eada3- 
monism, and a refined one ; upon this principle both good 
and bad actions may be justified. 

§ 37. The harmony here considered is, as pleasure, a mere 
subjective feeling and something contingent which may at- 
tach itself to this or that impulse, and in the enjoyment of 
which I perform only the functions of a natural being, and 
seek only particular ends and aims. 

Explanatory. — Pleasure is something subjective and relates 
to me as a particular individual. There is in it nothing of ah 
objective, universal, intelligible nature. On this account it is 
no standard or rule whereby a thing is to be decided or judged. 
If I say that a thing pleases me, or if I appeal to my pleasure, 
I only express the relation of the thing to me, and thereby 
ignore the relation I have to others as a rational being. It is 
accidental according to its content, because it may attach to 

3Iorals, and Religion. 175 

tliis or that object; and since it does not concern the content, 
it is something purely formal. Moreover, according to its- 
external being, pleasure is contingent, dependent npon cir- 
cumstances. The means which I nse to attain it are external 
and do not depend npon my will. But the thing tliat I have 
obtained through the use of means, in so far as it is to add 
to my pleasure, must become for me, depend upon me (be 
assimilated). But this is a contingent aiiair ; the results of 
what I do, therefore, do not return to me. I have not the 
enjoyment of them as a necessary consequence. Pleasure 
thus arises from two different kinds of circumstances : first, 
from a condition of being which must be sought after and 
which depends entirely on good fortune, and secondly on a 
condition of being which I produce myself. Though this con- 
dition of things depends, as effect of my deed, upon my will, 
yet only the act as such belongs to me; hence the result does 
not necessarily return to me, and accordingly the enjoyment 
of the act is contingent. In such an act as that of Decius Mus 
for his native country, the effect of the same could not come 
back to him as enjoyment. The results cannot be made the 
principle of action. The results of an action are contingent 
for the reason that they are an externality wiiicli depends 
upon other circumstances, or may be annulled altogether. 
Pleasure is a secondary affair, merely a concomitant of an act. 
When substantial purposes are realized, pleasure accompa- 
nies in so far as one recognizes in his work his own subjective 
self. Whosoever seeks pleasure merely seeks his own self 
according to its accidental side. Whoever is busied with 
great works and interests, strives only to bring about the 
realization of the object itself. He directs his attention to the 
substantial, and does not think of himself, but forgets him- 
self in the object. Men who perform great services and have 
charge of great interests, are often [absurdly] commiserated 
by people for having little pleasure, i. e. for living in the 
object and not in their own accidentality. 

§ 38. Reason annuls that indeterminateness [want of 
character] which feels pleasure in mere objects, purifies the 
content of our propensities from what is subjective and con- 
tingent, and teaches how to recognize what is Universal and 
Essential as alone desirable, and, on the other hand, it incul- 
cates the disposition to do worthy actions for their own sake. 

176 HegeVs Science of Rights. 

Explanatory. — The intellect or reflection transcends in its 
activity all immediate pleasures [i. e. subordinates them to 
other ends], but does not, by this, change its aim or guiding 
principle [but still seeks happiness as the highest end]. It 
transcends single pleasures only in so far as to compare the 
impulses one with another and to prefer one over another. 
Since it aims not at pleasure in detail, but only on the whole, 
it aims at happiness. This reflection holds fast to the sphere 
of subjectivity and has pleasure for its end and aim, though 
in a larger, more comprehensive sense. Since it makes dis- 
tinctions in pleasures and seeks the Agreeable on all its 
diff'erent sides, it reflnes the grossness, wildness, and merel}' 
animal element of pleasure, and softens the customs and dis- 
positions. In so far, therefore, as the understanding busies 
itself with the means and needs of gratification, it facilitates 
its gratiflcation, and attains the possibility of gaining higher 
ends. On the other hand, this reflnement of pleasures weak- 
ens man, inasmuch as he dissipates his powers upon so many 
things and gives himself so many difterent objects, and these 
grow more and more insigniflcant in so far as their different 
sides are discriminated. Thus his power is weakened and he 
becomes less capable of the concentration of his mind wholly 
upon one object. When man makes pleasure his object 
he annuls with such a resolution his impulse to transcend 
pleasure and do something higher. 

Pleasure is indeflnite in regard to content for the reason 
that it can be found in the pursuit of all sorts of objects. 
Therefore the difi'erence between pleasures is no objective 
one, but only a quantitative one. The Understanding which 
takes account of results only, prefers the greater to the 

Reason, on the contrary, makes a qualitative distinction, 
i.e. a distinction in regard to content. It prefers the worthy 
object of pleasure to the unworthy one. It therefore enters 
upon a comparison of the natures of objects. In so far, it 
does not regard the Subjective as such, i.e. the pleasant feel- 
ing, but rather the Objective. It teaches, therefore, what kind 
of objects men should desiderate for themselves. On account 
of the universality of his nature, man has such an inflnite 
variety of sources of pleasure open before him that the path to 
the agreeable is beset with illusions, and he may be easily 

Morals, and Religion. 177 

led astray tlirongh this infinite variety itself, i. e. diverted 
from the purpose which he ought to make it his special ob- 
ject to attain. 

The desire for what is agreeable may harmonize with Rea- 
son, i. e. both may have the same content — Reason may legiti- 
mate the content. The form of impulse is that of a subjective 
feeling, or it has for its object to obtain what is pleasant for 
the subject. In dealing with a universal object, the object 
itself is the end and aim. On the other hand, the desire for 
pleasure is always selfish. 

§ 39. Impulses and inclinations are: (1) Considered by 
themselves, neither good nor evil ; i. e. man has them directly 
from nature. (2) "Good" and "bad" are moral predicates, 
and pertain to the will. The Good is that which corresponds 
to Reason. (3) But propensities and inclinations cannot be 
considered apart from all relation to the will ; this relation 
is not a contingent one, and man is no indifferent, twofold 
being. ' 

Explanatory. — Morality has for its object man in his par- 
ticularity. This seems at first to include only a multiplicity 
of peculiarities, wherein men are unlike and differ from each 
other. Men differ from each other in what is contingent or 
dependent on Nature and external circumstances. In the 
particular, however, dwells something universal. The par- 
ticularity of man consists in his relation to others. In this- 
relation there are also essential and necessary determina- 
tions. These constitute the content of duty. 

§ 40. (1) The first essential determination of man is his 
individuality [i. e. he is responsible for his acts] ; (2) he be- 
longs to a natural totality, the Family ; (3) he is a member 
of the State ; (4) he stands in relation to mankind in general. 
His duties, consequently, are fourfold: (1) duties to himself; 
(2) duties to his family ; (3) duties to the state ; (4) duties 
toward mankind in general. 

I. — Duties of the Individual to himself. 

§ 41. Man as individual stands in relation to himself. He 

has two sides — his individuality and his universal nature. 

His duty to himself consists partly in his duty to care for his 

physical preservation; partly in his duty to educate or cul- 


178 HegeVs Science of Rights, 

ture himself — to elevate his being as individual into confor- 
mity with his universal nature. 

Explanatory. — Man is, on the one side, a natural being. As 
such, he stands exposed to caprice and accident as an incon- 
stant, subjective being. He does not distinguish the essential 
from the unessential. Secondly, he is a spiritual, rational 
beiug, and as such he is not by nature what he ought to be. 
The animal' stands in no need of culture, for he is by na- 
ture what he is destined to be. He is only a natural being. 
But man has the task of bringing into harmony his two sides, 
of making his individuality conform to his rational side, 
and of causing the latter to become the guiding princii^le. 
For instance, it is a lack of culture to give way to anger and 
to act blindly from passion, because in this he takes an in- 
jury or affront for something of infinite importance, and 
seeks to restore the right b^^ an injury of the transgressor 
without due measure. It is a lack of culture to attach one- 
self to an interest which does not concern him, or in which 
he cannot accomplish anything through his activity. For it 
is reasonable to engage one's powers upon such an interest 
as is within the scope of his activity. Moreover, if man be- 
comes imj)atient under the regular course of events, and 
refuses to submit to the inevitable, he elevates his special 
interest to a higher degree of importance than his relation to 
mankind warrants. 

§ 42. To theoretic cnlture belongs, moreover, variety and 
detiniteness oi knowledge, and the ability to see objects un- 
der general points of view from which critical judgments are 
to be forced regarding them. One should have a sense for 
objects in their free independence without mingling there- 
with a subjective interest. 

Explanatory. — Variety of knowledge in and for itself be- 
longs to culture, for the reason that man through this elevates 
himself above the particular knowledge of insignificant things 
that surround him, to a universal knowledge through which he 
attains to a greater share in the common stock of information 
valid for other men, and comes into the possession of univer- 
sally interesting objects. When man goes out beyond his im- 
mediate knowledge aud experience, he learns that there are 
better modes of behavior and of treating things than his own, 

Morals^ and Religion. 179 

and that his own are not necessarily the only ones. He sepa- 
rates himself; from himself, and comes to the distinction of the 
Essential from the Unessential. Accuracy of information re- 
lates to essential distinctions, those distinctions which apper- 
tain to objects under all circumstances. Culture implies the 
forming an opinion regarding relations and objects of actu- 
ality. To this it is requisite that one knows the nature 
and the purpose of a thing, and what relations it has to other 
things. These points of view are not immediately gained 
through sensuous intuition, but through attentive study of 
the thing, through reflection on its flnal cause and essence, 
and on its means of realizing the same. The uncultured man 
remains in the state of simple sensuous intuition ; his eyes 
are open, but he does not see what lies at his very feet. With 
him it is all subjective seeing and apprehension ; he does not 
see the essential thing ; he knows only approximately the 
nature of things and never accurately — for it is only the 
knowledge of general points of view that enables one to de- 
cide what is essential, because they (general views) present 
the important phases of things, and contain the principal 
categories under which external existences are classified, and 
thus the work of apprehending them is rendered easier and 
more accurate. 

The result of this want of a knowledge of general views is 
that one j udges rashly concerning all things without under- 
standing them. Such rash judgments are based on partial 
views, in which one side is seized and the other overlooked, 
and hence the true idea of the thing is missed. A cultured 
man knows at once the limits of his capacity for judgment. 

Moreover, there belongs to culture the sense for the objec- 
tive in its freedom. It consists in this, that I do not seek my 
special subjectivity in the object, but consider and treat the 
objects as they are in and for themselves in their free idio- 
syncrasy : that I interest myself in them without looking for 
any special use for me. Such an unselfish interest lies in the 
study of the sciences when one cultivates them for themselves. 
The desire to draw use out of objects of nature involves the 
destruction of those objects. The interest for the tine arts 
is also an unselfish one. Art exhibits things in their living 
independence, and leaves out the imperfect and dwarfed and 

180 HegeVs Science of RlgMs, 

what has suffered from external circumstances. The objec- 
tive treatment consists in tliis, that it (1) has the form of the 
universal, without caprice, whims or arbitrariness, and is 
freed from what is strange or peculiar, &c. ; (2) that it has for 
its internal, essential side the true object itself for its end and 
aim, without seltish interest. 

§ 43. Practical culture involves that man, in the gratifica- 
tion of his natural wants and impulses, shall exhibit that 
prudence and temperance which lie in the limits of their ne- 
cessity, namely, self-preservation. He must (1) be out of and 
free from the Natural ; (2) on the other hand, he must be ab- 
sorbed in his avocation, the essential, and therefore (3) be 
able to confine his gratification of the natural wants not only 
within the limits of necessity, but also to sacrifice the same 
for higher duties. 

Explanatory. — The freedom of man as regards natural im- 
pulses consists not in his being rid of such impulses alto- 
gether, and thus striving to escape from his nature, but in his 
recognizing them as a necessity and as something rational, 
and in realizing them accordingly through his will. He finds 
himself constrained only in so far as he creates for himself 
accidental and arbitrary impressions and purposes, in oppo- 
sition to the Universal. The definite, accurate measure to be 
followed in the gratification of wants and in the use of physi- 
cal and spiritual powers cannot be accurately given, but each 
must learn for himself what is useful or detrimental to him. 
Temperance in the gratification of natural impulses and in 
the use of bodily powers is as such necessary to health, and 
health is an essential condition for the use of mental powers 
in fulfilling the high vocation of man. If the body is not pre- 
served in its ordinary condition — if it is injured in any one 
of its functions — then it obliges its possessor to make of it a 
special object of his care, and by this means it becomes some- 
thing dangerous, absorbing more than its due share of the 
attention of the mind. Furthermore, excess in the use or dis- 
use of the physical or mental powers is followed by dullness 
and debility. 

Finally, temperance is closely connected with prudence. * 
The latter consists in deliberating upon what one does, so that 
one in his enjoyment or labor watches himself with reflection, 

Morals, and Religion. 181 

and thus is not quite swallowed np in this or that individual 
condition, but holds himself open for the consideration of oth-' 
ers, which may also be necessary. In prudence one is out of 
and above his condition, outside of his feelings or his busi- 
ness, and witliln Ms mind. This position, in which one is 
not perfectly absorbed in his condition, is a desirable one, 
especially toward impulses and aims which though neces- 
sary yet are not essential. On the contrary, in the case of a 
true object or occupation the mind must be present with all 
its earnestness, and not outside of it. Prudence consists in 
this, that one has before his eyes all sides and circumstances 
of his work at the same time. 

§ 44. As to what concerns one's definite calling, which 
seems to be a sort of destiny (or fate), the form of external 
necessity should be removed from it. It is to be taken up with 
freedom, and with freedom to be pursued and carried out. 

Explanatory. — Man, in regard to the external circumstances 
of his lot, and all that he is immediately (i. e. from Nature), 
must so conduct himself as to make them his own [i. e. assimi- 
late them]; he must deprive them of the form of external 
existence. It makes no difference in what external condition 
man finds himself through good or bad fortune, provided that 
he is just and right in what he is and does, i. e. that he fulfils 
all sides of his calling. The avocation of a man, whatever his 
condition in life may be, is a manifold substance. It is, as it 
were, a material or stuff which he must elaborate in all direc- 
tions until it have nothing alien, brittle and refractory in itself. 
In so far as he has made it perfectly his own, he is free therein. 
Man becomes the prey of discontent chiefly through the 
■circumstance that he does not fulfil his calling. He enters a 
relation which he fails to assimilate thoroughly ; at the same 
time he belongs to the position that he has assumed; he can- 
not tear liimself loose from it. He lives and acts, therefore, in 
a repugnant relation to himself. 

§ 45. To be faithful and obedient in his vocation as well 
as submissive to his lot and self-denying in his acts — these 
virtues have their ground in the giving up of vanity, self- 
conceit and selfishness for things that are in and for them- 
selves necessary. 

Explanatory. — The vocation is something universal and 
necessary, and constitutes a side of the social life of human- 

182 HegeVs Science of RigMs, 

ity. It is, therefore, one of the divisions of human labor. 
When man has a vocation, he enters into cooperation and 
participation with the Whole. Through this he becomes ob- 
jective. The vocation is a particular, limited sphere, yet it 
constitutes a necessary part of the whole, and, besides this, is 
in itself a whole. If a man is t.o become something, he must 
know how to limit himself, i. e. make some specialty his voca- 
tion. Then his work ceases to be an irksome restraint to him. 
He then comes to be at unity with himself, with his external- 
ity, with his sphere. He is a Universal, a whole. Whenever 
a man makes something trifling (i, e. unessential or nugatory) 
his object, then the interest lies not in an object as such, but 
in it as Ids object. The trilling object is of no importance by 
itself, but has importance only to the person who busies him- 
self with it. One sees in a trifling object only himself; there 
may be, for example, a moral trifling : when a man thinks 
on the excellence of his acts, and has more interest in him- 
self than in the cause. The man who does small things faith- 
fully shows himself capable of greater ones, because he has 
shown his obedience — his self-sacrifice in regard to his wish- 
es, inclinations, and imaginations. 

§ 46. Through intellectual and moral culture man attains 
the capacity of fulfilling duties toward another, which duties 
may be called real duties, since the duties which relate to his 
own culture are, in comparison, of a formal nature. 

§ 47. In so far as the performance of duties appears as a 
subjective attribute of the individual, and to pertain chiefly 
to his natural character, it is properly called Viktue. 

§ 48. Inasmuch as Virtue, in part, belongs to the natural 

character, it appears as a peculiar species of morality, and of 

great vitality amd intensity. It is at the same time not so 

closely connected with the consciousness of duty as morality 

proper is. 

II. — Duties to the Family. 

§ 49. When man is developed by education he has attained 
capacity for practical action. In so far as he acts he is neces- 
sarily brought into relation to other men. The first necessary 
relation in which the individual stands to others is that of 
the Family. This has a legal side, but it is subordinated to 
the side of moral sentiment — that of love and confidence. 

Explanatory. — The Family constitutes essentially only one 

Morals, and Religion. 183 

substance, only one person. The members of the family are 
not persons in their relation to each ether. They enter such 
a relation first when by some calamity the moral bond is de- 
stroyed. Among the ancients, the sentiment of family love 
and action based thereon was called pietas. "Piety" has with 
us the sense of devoutness or godliness, which has in common 
with the ancient meaning of the word that both presuppose 
an absolute bond, the in-and-for-itself-existent unity in a 
spiritual substance, a bond which is not formed through par- 
ticular caprice or accident. 

§ 50. This sentiment, precisely stated, consists in this, that 
each member of the Family has not his essence in his own 
person, but that only the whole of the Family constitutes his 

§ 51. The union of persons of opposite sex — Marriage — is 
essentially a moral union of sentiment [good-will and consent] 
in reciprocal love and confidence, which constitutes them one 
person — and not merely a natural, animal union — nor, the 
other extreme, a mere civil contract. 

§ 52. The duty of parents towards children is, to care for 
their support and education ; that of the childien, to obey 
their parents until they grow up and become independent, 
and to honor and respect tliem through life ; that of brothers 
and sisters, to treat each other with the utmost consideration, 

III. — Duties to the State. 

§ 53. The natural whole which constitutes the family ex- 
pands into a people or a state, in which the individuals have 
for themselves an independent will. 

Explanatory. — The state, in one respect, is able to dispense 
with the good-will and consent of citizens, i. e. in so far as 
it must be independent of the will of the individual. It pre- 
scribes, therefore, to the individual his obligations, namely, 
the part which he must perform for the whole. It cannot leave 
him to his good-will, because he may be self-interested and 
oppose himself to the interest of the state. In this way the 
state becomes a machine, a system of external dependencies. 
But in another respect it cannot dispense with the good-will 
of its citizens. ' The order issued by the govei-nment can con- 
tain only what is general. The actual deed, the fulfilment of 

184 HegeVs Science of Riglits, 

the designs of the state, requires a special form of activity. 
This can come only from individual intelligence, and from 
the good-will and consent of men. 

§ 54. The state holds society not only under legal relations, 
but mediated as a true, higher, moral commonwealth : the 
union in customs, culture, and general form of thinking and 
acting (since each one contemplates and recognizes in the 
other his universality in a spiritual manner). 

§ 55. In the spirit of a people, each individual citizen has 
his spiritual substance. The preservation of the individual 
depends not only on the preservation of this living whole, 
but this living whole is the universal spiritual nature, or the 
essence of each one as opposed to his individuality. The 
preservation of the whole takes precedence, therefore, of the 
preservation of the individual, and all citizens should act on 
this conviction. 

§ 56. Considered according to the merely legal side, in so far 
as the state protects the private rights of the individual and the 
individual looks^fter his own rights, there is indeed possible 
a sacrifice of a part of his property for the preservation of the 
rest. Patriotism, however, is not founded on this calculation, 
but on the consciousness of the absoluteness of the state. 
This disposition to offer up property and life for the whole 
is the greater in a people, the more the individuals can act 
for the whole with their own w^ill and self-activity, and the 
greater confidence they have in the whole. (Speak here of 
the beautiful patriotism of the Greeks; also of the distinction 
between bourgeois and citoyen.) 

§ 57. The disposition to obey the commands of the gov- 
ernment, attachment to princes and the constitutional form 
of government, the feeling of national honor — all these are 
virtues of the citizen in every well-ordered state. 

§ 58. The state rests not on an express contract of one 
with all or of all with one, or between the individual and the 
government ; the universal will of the whole is not simply the 
expressed will of the individual, but is the absolute universal 
will, which is binding on the individual for and by itself. 

IV. — Duties toward others. 
§ 59. The duties towards others are, first, the legal duties 

Morals, and Religion. 185 

•which must be connected with the disposition to do right for 
right's sake. The rest of these duties are founded on the 
disposition to regard others not merely as abstract persons, 
but also in their particularity as possessing equal rights, and 
to regard their welfare or evil fortune as one's own concern, 
and to manifest this feeling by active help. 

§ 60. This moral mode of thinking and acting goes further 
than is demanded by the mere legal right. But Integrity,* the 
observance of the strict duties towards others, is the first duty 
and lies at the basis of all others. There may be noble and 
generous actions which lack integrity. In that case they have 
their ground in self-love and in the consciousness of having 
done something particular in its character, whereas that which 
integrity demands is valid for all and is no arbitrary duty. 

§ 61. Among the special duties to others, the first is truth- 
fulness in speech and action. It consists in the identity of that 
which is and of which one is conscious, with what he utters 
and shows to others. Untruthfulness is the disagreement and 
contradiction between what one is in his own consciousness 
and what he is for others, hence between his internality and 
his actuality, and is therefore nugatoriness in itself. 

§ 62. To untruthfulness belongs, moreover, especially such 
action as this : when one assumes the air of having a good 
intention or friendly disposition toward another, and, on the 
contrary, does really harm to him. (This disagreement be- 
tween the disposition and the actual deed, as such, would be, 
in any event, liable to the charge of awkwardness ; but in so 
far as the doer is a responsible person, if he does evil, he is 
to be regarded as one who means evil.) 

§ 63. It implies the existence of a special relation between 
individuals to give one of them the right to speak trathfull}^ 
regarding the other's behavior. When one undertakes to do 
this without the right, he is himself in so far untrue, since he 
assumes a relation to another which has no existence. 

Explanatory. — It is of the lirst importance to speak the 
truth in so far as one knows that it is the truth. It is mean 
not to speak the truth when it is one's duty to speak it, and 
one debases himself by such action, before himself and others. 

* Reohtschaffenheit. 

186 HegeVs Science of Rights, 

But one is not to say the truth when there is no occasion for 
speaking at all, or in cases wherein he has no right to inter- 
meddle. Whenever one merely says the truth in order to put 
himself forward as an actor on the scene, and without further 
result, it is, to say the least, something quite out of place; for 
truth is not to be spoken for the sake of giving an opportunity 
to an individual to say it, but rather for its own sake. The 
word is not the deed or act — the latter is higher. The truth 
is said at the right jDlace and time when it serves to bring 
out the thing in its true light. Speech is an astonishingly 
great means, but it requires still greater understanding to use 
it rightly. 

§ 64. With Calumny,* which is an actual lie, malicious 
gossip stands in close affinity ; it is the narration of such 
things as compromise the honor of a third party, and are not 
directly known to be truth by the narrator. It is usually 
accompanied with zealous disapproval of immoral deeds and 
with the distinct assurance that the narrator cannot vouch for 
the truth of the igtory, but only tells it as told him. It is a 
species of dishonesty that reports stories and pretends to be 
unwilling to circulate them, while giving circulation to them 
in point of fact ; and the prating against immorality in such 
cases is a species of hypocrisy : under j)retext of speaking in 
the interest of morality there is an actual immorality enacted. 

Explanatory. — Hypocrisy consists in acting wickedly while 
assuming the appearance of having a good intention — a pur- 
pose of doing something good. The external deed is, however, 
not different from the internal one. In case of a bad deed, the 
intention is also essentially bad and not good. It may be the 
case that a man has accomplished something good, or at least 
not improper ; but it is not permissible to make of that which 
is in-and-£or-itself evil, a means with which to reach a good end. 
The end or the intention does not sanctify the means. Moral 
principle concerns chiefly the disposition or the intention. 
It is, however, essential that not only the intention, but also 
the deed, be good. Moreover, a man must not persuade him- 
self that he has excellent and highly important purposes 
in the common acts of individual life. In that case, it fre- 

* Verlaumdunsr. 

Morals, and Religion. 187 

qiiently happens, that while he places good intentions under 
his own deeds, and seeks to make his unimportant deeds 
great by his reflections, on the other hand, he is apt to attribute 
a selfish or bad motive to the great or good deeds of others. 

§ 65. The disposition to injure others, knowingly and will- 
ingly, is wicked. Tlie disposition which permits itself to 
violate duties to itself and others, from weakness to resist its 
inclinations, is base. 

Explanatory. — Good stands opposed to bad \])oese\, also to 
hase IscJilecTif]. To be bad or wicked involves the resolution 
of the will ; it presupposes /or7?^.aZZ2/ a strength of will, which 
is also a condition of the good; but baseness, on the contrary, 
is something devoid of will. The base individual goes accord- 
ing to his inclinations, and neglects his duties. It would be 
perfectly satisfactory to him to fulfil the duties if he could 
do so without effort, but he has not the will to master his 
inclinations or habits. 

§ 66. The ability to perform services for other men depends 
upon the contingent relations in which we happen to stand 
with them, and uj)on the special circumstances in which we 
are situated. When we are in a condition to assist another, 
we have only to consider two things — that he is a human 
being, and has need of help. 

Explanatory. — The first condition precedent to rendering 
help to others consists in this : that we have a right to regard 
them as suffering want and to act toward them as such suf- 
ferers. Help must not be given, therefore, without their Avill- 
ingness to receive it. This presupposes a certain degree of 
acquaintance or confidence. The needy is as such not on the 
same footing as regards equality with those not needy. It 
is a matter for him to decide whether or no he will appear 
as one in want. He consents to this when he is convinced 
that I regard him as my equal, and treat him as such in spite 
of this inequality of condition. In the second place, I must 
have in hand the means with which to help him. Finally, 
there may happen cases wherein his want is of so evident a 
character as to render unnecessary an express consent on his 
part to receive assistance. 

§ 67. The duty of the love of humanity in general includes 
those cases wherein we love those with whom we stand in 

188 HegeVs Science of Rights, 

relations of acquaintance and friendship. The original unity 
of mankind must be tlie basis from which arise voluntarily 
such closer connections as involve more particular duties. 
(Friendship rests on likeness of character and especially of 
interest, engagement in a common work, rather than in liking 
for the person of another as such. One should cause his 
friends as little trouble as possible. To require no services 
of friends is the most delicate way. One should spare no 
pains to lay others under obligations to him.) 

§ 68. The duty of Prudence (Policy) appears at first as a 
duty towards one's self in his relations to another in so far as 
the end is a selfish one. The true selhshness is, however, 
essentially attained only through moral conduct, and this, 
consequently, is the true prudence (policy). It is a principle 
of moral conduct that private gain may be a result, but must 
never constitute the motive. 

§ 09. Inasmuch as private gain does not constitute the 
direct result of moral conduct, but depends rather upon the 
particular, accidental good will of others, here is found the 
sphere of mere inclination or favor ; and prudence (policy) 
consists in this, that one does not violate the favor of others, 
but acts in their interest. But, in this respect, that which 
proves politic is really that which recommends itself for its 
own sake, namely : to leave others free where we have neither 
duty nor right to disturb them, and thus through our correct 
conduct to win their favor. 

^ 70. Courtesy (politeness) is the mark of a well-wishing 
di>^])(^sition ; also of a readiness to do a service to others, 
chiefly to those to whom we stand in a nearer relation of 
acquaintance or friendship. It is emj)ty when this mark is 
connected with the opposite disposition. True courtesy is, 
however, to be regarded as a duty, because we ought to have 
benevolent intentions towards each other in general in order 
to open by means of polite actions the way to a closer union. 
(To do a service, an act of politeness, something pleasant to 
a stranger, is courtesy. The same thing should, however, be 
done to an acquaintance or friend. Toward strangers and 
those with whom we stand in no nearer relation, there is the 
appearance of good- will, and this is all that is required. Re- 
jfinement, delicacy, consists in doing or saying no more than 

Morals, and Religion. 189 

is allowed by the relation in which one stands to the parties. 
— Greek humanity and urbanity in the time of Socrates and 

Part Third. 


§ 71. The moral law within us is the eternal law of Rea- 
son, which we must respect without reserve, and by which we 
must feel indissolubly bound. We see, however, the imme- 
diate incommensurateness of our individuality with it, and 
recognize a higher than we are, as a Being independent from 
us, self-existent and absolute. 

§ 72. This absolute Being is present in our pure conscious- 
ness and reveals Himself to us therein. The knowing of Him 
is, as mediated through our pure consciousness, for us imme- 
diate, and is called Faith. 

§ 73. The elevation above the sensuous and finite, consti- 
tutes in a negative form the mediation of this knowing, but 
only in so far as having originated from a sensuous and finite 
the latter is at the same time abandoned (transcended) and 
recognized in its nugatoriness. But this knowing of the Abso- 
lute is itself an absolute and immediate knowing, and cannot 
have anything finite as its positive ground, or be mediated 
through anything, not itself, as a proof. 

§ 74. This knowing must be defined more closely, and not 
remain a mere internal feeling, a faith in an undefined Being 
in general, but become a cognition of it. The cognition of 
God is not above Reason, for Reason is only God's image 
and reflection, and is essentially a knowledge of the Abso- 
lute; but such cognition is above the understanding — the 
knowledge of what is finite and relative. 

§ 75. Religion itself consists in the occupation (employment 
or exercise) of feeling and thought in forming an idea or rep- 
resentation of the Absolute Being ; with this exercise is con- 
nected self-forgetfulness of one's particularity while in this 
elevation, and as a result the regulation of one's practical life 
in view of this relation to the absolute Essence. 

§ 76. God is the Absolute Spirit, i. e. he is the pure Essence 
that makes himself his own object and in this contemplates 

190 HegeVs Science of Rights, 

only himself, or who is in his other-being absolutely returned 
into himself and self-identical. 

§ 77. God is according to the moments of his Being (1) abso- 
lutely Holy, inasmuch as he is the Being purely universal in 
himself. He is (2) Absolute Power, inasmuch as he actualizes 
the universal and preserves the individual in the universal — 
or is the Eternal Creator of the Unitierse. (3) He is Wisdom 
in so far as his power is only holy power ; (4) Goodness, in so 
far as he allows to the individual his self-realization [leaves 
him a free-agent] ; and (5) Justice, in so far as he eternally 
brings all back to the universal [i.e. "places everything under 
the form of Eternity, or applies to it the standard of the uni- 

§ 78. "Wickedness is alienation from God in so far as the 
individual on the side of his freedom separates himself from 
the universal, and strives to become absolute for himself in 
opposition to the universal. In so far as it pertains to the 
nature of the finite free being to reflect itself in this indi- 
viduality [i. e. to absorb itself in special ends and aims], this 
nature is to be regarded as evil. 

Note by Translato?-. — Here is found the doctrine of ori^iual sin: The form of all 
finite or natural Being is that f)i determination through anoilier ; i.e. every indivi- 
dual ill Nature, as such, is made or constituted by external conditions. Its po- 
tentiality is laro^er than its reality. Its whole or universal is a larger totality, 
including it — the iudivnlual, as a transitory phase. Hence such individuality as 
is found ill Nature is perishable and not selt-existent. But spirit is self-deter- 
mined and self-existent, and thus the opposite of Nature. Hence when man "'re- 
flects himself in natural individuality" he contradicts his essence as spirit; he 
puts on the form of a natural individual and is determined from without, as, e.g.. 
by the lusts of the flesh. Such immersion in natural individuality is suicidal to 
spiritual life. Dante has portrayed it in its diflferent degrees in the "Inferno." 

§ 79. But the freedom of the individual being is at the same 
time an identity of the divine Being with Himself, or it is in 
itself [i. e. potentially] the divine nature. This knowledge — 
that human nature is not essentially alien to the divine nature 
— is revealed to man by Divine Grace, which allows him to 
lay hold of this knowledge, and through it the reconciliation 
of God with the world is achieved, or man's alienation from 
God disappears. 

Note by Trandator. — This paragraph is most important. The essence of free 
dom is self-determination; hence the identity of the self with itself; and this self- 
identity is the divine nature. Thus human freedom is a reflection (or the image) 

Morals, and Religion. 191 

of God, the absolute self-deterrniued Beinff. The fact that the existence of man 
on this planet is a recent affair, proves the existence of other worlds in indefinite 
number, as theatres of development for rational beings. God is the creative Idea 
whose form is that of reflection into Himself in His creation: each highest result 
of His creation being a self-existent, self-deterniined individual who by his own 
will coiisciou>l3' realizes in ids life that of his Creator. In the sphere of the Idea 
'•return to itself" or '-reflection" does not involve the a&sor;9<ion of the individual 
— as it does in fact in the realm of Nature. The creation is the infinitely mani- 
fold genesis of God's reflection in rational, conscious, /ree beings; it always was 
and always will be, and all stages of the process exist at this moment and for- 
ever. — Hence human nature is, in essence, divine; while external nature in time 
and space has the form of evil or determination from without. This knowledge 
of the Divine Essence, and of the essential or potential identity of human nature 
with it, Hegel considers the highest. This knowledge, in the language of reli- 
gion, is attained through divine grace, and by it the reconciliation of man with 
God (and hence of the world with God) is accomplished. (See Jour. Spec. Phil., 
vol. i. p. 238.) 

§ 80. The service of God is the definite occupation of 
thought and sentiment with Him, and through this occupa- 
tion the individual strives to effect his union with God and 
obtain tlie inward consciousness of this union ; and this liar- 
mony of his will with the Divine will should be demonstrated 
by the spirit in which he acts, and by the fruits themselves of 
his practical life. . 

Eemarks by the Traxislator. 

These Outlines of the Science of Rights, Morals, and Reli- 
gion were written by Hegel for his classes at the Gymnasium 
at Niirnberg in the year 1808, shortly after the publication of 
his great work on The Phenomenology of Spirit. Written to 
be of service to immature minds, the style of presentation 
differs essentially from that adopted elsewhere in his works. 
A certain looseness, descending even to triviality, may occa- 
sionally be detected ; and one ought to bear constantly in 
mind the fact, that many sentences are mere memoranda, 
designed to call to mind topics which were to be elaboi-ately 
discussed orally. 

Of the contents of this exposition, it should be said tliat 
Hegel has made a detailed treatment in several volumes : — 
(1) The Philosophy of Rights— a work of 482 pages ; (2) The 
Philosophy of History — a work of 547 pages 8vo. ; (8) The 
Philosophy of Religion, in two volumes, containing in all 
over one thousand pages, of which the last two hundred treat 
of the proofs of God's existence. 


192 Bettine. 

Perhaps no work deserves translation into English more 
than Hegel's Philosophy of Religion. It unfolds completely 
the relation of Man to the Absolute in his various degrees or 
stages of self-consciousness, and demonstrates completely 
the supremacy of the Christian Religion over all others. IS^o 
dogmatic assertion on this subject has the least weight with 
Hegel. It is with him a matter of philosophic investigation : 
What are the facts before us as given in History, and what 
are their "necessary implications" — what do they signify in 
the light of thought ? Philosophic or scientific thought must 
be perfectly free, i. e. have no presuppositions, either of dog- 
ma or fact, that shall trammel its comprehension. But both 
dogma and fact stand before it as problems to be solved, and 
must be exhibited in their universality and necessity by phi- 
losophy. Thus it happens that the work of Hegel is interest- 
ing alike to the " free-thinker," so called, as well as to the 
implicit believer. It is the interest of Spirit, that what is 
seized as dogma shall likewise be comprehended as scientific 
truth. It is the interest of the individual who holds to the 
essential through faith, that he transcend that relation and 
attain the independent attitude of scientific cognition. It is 
an indispensable thing that the individual shall at least be- 
lieve the True, but the knowledge of the True is a higher 
goal always to be sought after. 


By John Aliske. 

Close to the steps of Nature's kings 
Some herald walks to make them known; 
The secret of their worth he sings 
Or e'er in Fame's great trump 'tis blown. 
Ever the wise know not their own; 
To simple souls they first are shown. 

A woman's heart is more than fate — 
It holds the future in its fee; 
Great Goethe's name to antedate 
A maiden jirophet needs must be. 
Thus while we wait each other's words, 
The verdict some free soul records. 




Vol. IV. 187 0. No. 3. 


By Fkancis A. Henry. 

No one can doubt that metapliysical studies have fallen at 
the present day to a very low ebh in general regard. The cur- 
rent of intellectual activity sets indeed so strongly in an oppo- 
site direction that such studies have become the object of 
contempt and open slight on the part of leading British wri- 
ters, most of whom are ready to felicitate themselves with Mr. 
Fronde that metaphysicians are " a class of thinkers which, 
happily, is rapidl}' diminishing."! So wide-spread is the opin- 
ion of the worthlessness of Metaphysics, and so free, not to say 
offensive, lias been the expression of such opinion not only 
on the part of eminent men of science, but on that of the un- 
distinguished of tlieir numerous followers, that it becomes 
interesting to inquire what are the grounds on which the opin- 
ion rests. The objections to Metaphysics appear to be mainly 
two, one directed against its matter and the other against its 
method. The objection to tlie subject-matter of speculative 
inquiry is one which springs from the great reactionary move- 
ment of modern thouglit against the spirit of meditevalism, 
which began by seeing the corruptions of the Church, and 

* The Secret of Hkgel, beiujr the Hegelian system in ori<?iii. principle, 
form, and matter. By James llutciiisou Stirling. 2 vols. 8vo. London: 
Longman, Gi'een, Longman. Roberts c\: Green. 1805. 

t "Spinoza,"' Westmiiisier Reriew. ls.'34 — a pai)er whose tone of complacent 
self-assurance contrasts amusingly with the writer's palpable ignorance of his 
general subject. 


194 The Finite and tlia Infinite. 

has reached in our day a declared antagonism to all the great 
spiritual interests which alone give to Imnian life its dignity, 
Its value, and its meaning. This objection declares the prob- 
lems i^roposed by Metaph^^sics idle and nonsensical, and the 
results aimed at em|)ty and worthless.^ — " Speculations touch- 
ing the divine attributes, tlie origin of evil, the foundation of 
moral obligation, are in a peculiar degree the delight of intel- 
ligent children and half civilized men." — "All your Platos 
and Socrates' s but fill the world with long beards and long- 
words.''''' That is to say, God, Freedom, and Immortality, are 
puzzles for children ; let us turn our back on thought, and eat 
and drink; civilized nuin is a sort of human beaver, whose 
proper concern is witli the sensuous material world before 
him with a view to its direct utilization. Inipiir^^ as to the 
wliy, whence, and whitlier of the universe, and our own posi- 
tion therein, is only unprotitable mental gymnastics and a 
waste of time. I cannot argue with this extreme materialism 
— although to show its falsehood and folly would cost less 
trouble than time — but must content myself with protesting 
against it as not less irrational than deplorable. 

Tile second objection demands a little more consideration. 
It says, in effect, that altliougii the matters in which Meta- 
physics is interested may be serious enough, yet tlie results 
attained by that so-called science are so pitiful, that to expect 
anything of value from it is cpiite liopeless. And tliat this 
must be so from the nature of tlie case : for the product 
of such speculation comes not from operation upon solid and 
tamnble realities, but from mei-elv fanciful theorizing, and 
individual brain-sj)inning as impotent as it is pretentious. As 
the poet has it : 

"Every worm Ix'iieatli the moon 
Draws diflei-eiit llireads, ami laic and .soon 
Si^ins, toilin^f out liis own cocoon." 

This objection, which amounts to this, rliat Metaphysics can- 
not attain objective results because it employs a merely sub- 
jective process, hinges on this radical error, that Thought is 
something merely subjective — an attribute of the individual — 
rather than the constitutive nature of all individuals, that Uni- 

* Macaulay. 

Tlie Finite amd the InjiniU. 195 

versal of wliicli you, and I, and lie, are onl}^ limited particnlar 
incarnations. The ol ejection under consideration is generally 
supposed to point to the superiority of Physics in respect of 
its claims to the title of a positive science. Here it may be 
sufficient to ai)pl3" the argumentum ad liomvnem. Has not 
Physical science itself recognized that " there is no sensuous 
objectivity of which intellectual elements do not constitute 
the essence," and has not its great advance in recent times 
•come from its proceeding upon this recognition ? Ph3^sics is 
not satisfied Avith mud and stone, and tree and flower, just as 
they appear to sense ; it inquires wdiat they are to thought. 
It seeks to know the principles, forces, and laws, which gov- 
ern the natural world, j^^ow, such forces and laws are not 
matters of experience ; the conceptions Force and Law are 
entirel}^ a priori concex)tio]is ; they arise within the mind, and 
there the natural pliilos()i)lier finds them and projects them 
upon nature, even while he preaches Phenomena as the be-all 
and end-all of human science, and perorates against the vanity 
of subjective theorizing. It is an obvious fact that the farther 
Physical science advances, the more purely intellectual be- 
comes its subject-matter; and to-day when it sees to what an 
extent the principles of mind are the principles of matter — 
when it sees that there are no principles of matter other than 
the principles of mind — it is in no position to reproach Meta- 
physics with the pure intellectuality of its field as if that prov- 
ed the subjectivity of all results of its industry therein. It 
should have learned that mind is not a Kuhject merely, but the 
substance of all that is. If pure thoughts are the pure princi- 
ples of all things, of what we call material as well as of what 
we call spiritual ; if this outward world of nature exists only 
by virtue of, only as the rei)resentation and realization of, 
these inward principles, which in their organic system form 
the warp and woof of the universe ; if this universe is as it 
were "a diamond net of intellect, on which matter, falling and 
condensing, crassifies into the concrete world of sense'' — tlien 
the only difference between the naturalist and the metaphy- 
sician will be that the former is employed upon what is out- 
ward and representative, and the latter upon what is inward 
and essential, in the same universe ; the one upon Existence 
or Thing, the other upon Being or Thought. 

196 Tlte Finite and' tJie Tnjinite. 

As a single instance to show tliat this is the onl}^ dift'erence- 
between them, and that the matter of Physics and of Meta- 
physics comes tolbe ninch the same, consider Darwin's Tlieory 
of the Origin of Species. This theory, as all know, asserts that 
the existing sjjecies of plants and animals are not x>iiiiiordial 
— that is, that all did not originate together at once sncli as 
they are now — "but that, on the contrary, they are derivative — 
that is, that the present species have sprnng from other and 
earlier species by a natural development in some sort akin to 
genealogical descent, and so have become what they now are 
by slow degrees through the operation of various influences. 
At first sight, si)ecies appear to be successions of individuals 
running down from the past in straight lines, which neither 
approach nor diverge from each other, but remain equidistant 
j)arallels. But, as the tlieory asserts, on more careful investi- 
gation this parallelism is seen to be only apparent, although 
the angle of convergence is so small that the approximation 
of the lines is only perceptible at an immense distance. Tra- 
cing them back far enough, hoAvever, we see many converge 
in a common starting-i)oint, and others fall into certain frag- 
ments of lines which deflect slightly from the rectilinear, and 
these again into fainter fragments which tend in a direction 
still farther away from that in which we started. Hence the 
theory concludes to "at most three or four primitive species," 
and finally to a "single primordial form," as the ultimate ori- 
gin of the manifold varieties of Flora and Fauna at present 
existing, from which all these have evolved themselves by 
successive transmutations. By means of the struggle for ex- 
istence, and the victory of the strongest. Nature^ selects her 
breeders, and hence the progression from lower to higher 
forms of life becomes easily intelligible. But it is to be re- 
marked that Progression, as such, is out of place in this the- 
ory, for it involves design, or an antecedent idea — a princii)le 
antagonistic to the doctrine of the Materialist, who knows 
only contingent phenomena, which var}^ according to contin- 
gent conditions. The consistent Materialist can speak only of 
Succession, and is Succession adequate to the facts as he him- 
self presents them, or do not these facts proclaim progression 
as well i But not to concern ourselves with this inadequacy, 
nor with the vacillation of the theorist, who cannot make up 

Tlie Finite and tlic In finite. 197 

his mind either to liold progression or to let it g-o, nor witli tlie 
loose lit and general haziness of the application of the theory 
in detail, — I remark simply that the theory fails to jnstify its 
title. It does not lead to an Origin of species, and so does not 
really take ns anywhere. "We have a reference np to a com- 
mon genus, but we have not the extraction and descent from 
that ; we have an exhibition of Snccession, but we have no 
explanation of a Beginning. "A single germ-cell might have 
been thrown into space, from which all we see might have de- 
veloped itself." Indeed I and lioio f Given the single germ- 
cell, how does it change itself, grow, develop ? whence is the 
transition from snch primitive One to the present Many ? To 
this qnestion. How ? the theorists give ns no answer. This, 
nevertheless, is their notion of ^'prineipivm — a material atom. 
But a real Beginning must be really a First and One, and to 
these requirements the primitive atom is inadequate, for it is 
already in space and in time, and surrounded by antecedent 
conditions which are necessary to its development. But, to 
waive these difRcnlties, to admit that a "primitive" atom may 
presuppose Time, Space, and Conditions — wdiich one would 
think might simplify Cosmogou}^ sufficient!}' — let us ask of 
what size shall this primitive atom be ? This is a question to 
give us pause ; but after all, since all size is relative, and any 
size indifferent to inhnite space, why consider the question of 
size at all? why not answer at once, "Any size"? But, observe 
this, any size is very literally no size ; quantity is not only 
indifferent to the atom, it is a pure nullity as regards it. On 
the hypothesis of the primitive atom, we cannot tell why there 
ever sliould have been au}^ Quantity at all, nor even what such 
a thing as Quantity is. As far as quantity is concerned, there 
seems no i-eason Avhy we should not go back to nothing at 
once. But, to make another trial, if we cannot ask, " how 
much ?" let us ask, "of what sort" shall the atom be ? It must 
be Something in order to distinguish itself from Space, which 
is vacancy. Well, wliat is it? If it is anything at all, it must 
have some character ; wdiat is its character ? W^e may ask this 
question forever, but we shall ask it in vain. It is plain that 
it is impossible for an3^thing to have definiteness, to make 
itself distinguishable, except by distinction from something- 
else ; but the atom is by supposition alone by itself. It can 

198 Tlie Finite and tlie Infinite. 

have no character, properties, nor attributes, for all these im- 
, ply relation. Quality, then, is as indifterent to the atom as 
Quantity, and the atom is as destitute of the one predicate as 
of the other. Such hypothetical atom is nothing else than 
pure abstraction, which is eciuivalent to pure negation.''- 

But, as I said, I refer to this Darwinian theory chielly as it 
instances what I was saying, namely, that the studies of the 
naturalist and the metaphysician are really of the same sub- 
ject-matter, only the one is employed upon the Outer, and the 
other upon the Inner of the universe. At bottom, the sole 
problem under consideration in Mr. Darwin's book concerns 
the metaphysics of Identity and Difference, the former of 
which is approached in the ascent to higher genera, and the 
latter in the descent to lower species ; and the complacency 
of Science might receive a slight dam})er from learning that in 
its treatment of this problem it occupies no ver}" new or com- 
manding position, but as nearly as may be one which was 
passed by two thousand years ago, that, namely, of Democri- 
tus and Leucipinis, to whose Atom and Void their Sjiace and 
Germ-cell quite accurately correspond. Indeed, had the wri- 
ters in question happened to consult Metaphysics they would 
have discovered not onl}" that the problem they were some- 
what blindly dealing with has been exhaustively treated and 
linally solved by that science, but that their own special line 
of investigation has been therein anticipated, and criticised 
b}^ anticipation. The naturalist labors at a disadvantage 
because of his determination to look only upon tlie outward 
world in order to discover in it its principles and laws. Had 
he been willing to look within before looking without, he 
might have made the discovery that what is, is a Rational 
S^'stem, of which "Nature" is onl}^ the externalization. His 
mistake is to approach the problem of the universe with his 
categories of thought ready-formed, and to apply them with- 
out examinaticm into their validity. He pro^joses to determ- 
ine everything by Identity and Ditterence, Matter and Form,. 
Force and Law, and the like ; and yet it does not occur to him 

* The theorists niiyht object to the above tliat they have not intended to 
speak of a primitive atom, but rather of a primordial form; but a form demands 
a substance, and to substitute tlie latter for the former is onh' to go back ro the 
logical prius, and to state their case correctly. In any case, moreover, ^\hethe^ 
the object of research be form or substance, the result is the same. 

The Fill ifc an d tlie In Jin ite. 199 

tliat it will be neoessaiy iirst to verify these standards, to look 
closely into them and find ont what of tnith and what of error 
they involve. In Kant's Trmucendental Dudectic he proves 
the existence of "three laws in the mind imposed by it on the 
objects of sense, and received by it from and with these ob- 
jects, as if they (these laws) were part and parcel of these 
objects themselves, and not a reflection, a color, fallen on them 
from the faculties to which these objects presented them- 
selves." This is what is meant by transcendental; that is 
transcendental which in reality is a contribution to objects 
from the mind, but whicli appears to belong to the objects 
themselves. The three laws in question are characterized thus : 
"Reason, therefore, prejiares for understanding its field, I. by 
a principle of the Homogeneity of the Variety of individuals 
under higher genera ; II. through ii principle of the \'ariety of 
the Homogeneity of the individuals under lower species ; and 
III. — in order to complete the systematic unity — a law of the 
Affinity of all notions, which law dictates a continuous tran- 
sition from every single species to every other through gradual 
increase of diversity. We may name them the principles of 
the Homogeneity, of tlie Variety, and of the Continuity of 
Forms." Here, then, Ave have the rationale of Darwinism. 
Laws not in objects, but projected upon them from the mind, 
have been taken as belonging to such objects, and supposed 
capable of yielding empirical results. That is, the theorists 
have supposed principles to be Constitutive which are only 
Regulative, and that to be Objective AAliich is only Transcen- 
dental. Thus Darwinism as matter of science is at once 
perfectfy certain and utterly imx)ossible. Unity of type, one 
grand coordinated system — this is demanded by the very con- 
stitution of Reason ; but. then from the very constitution of 
Experience this can never T)e found in Experience. We as- 
sume such an oi'ganically connected system, and in reason 
and truth there is such a system, Init in nature and fact there 
is not; Nature has individuals, she has neither genera nor 
species. Did any one ever see the genus Dog, or the species 
Mastiff'? Still less, then, can the "transmutation of species" 
be seen in nature ; still less can the articulated system be seen 
in formation and growth. And yet this is just wliat Darwini- 
ans attempt. The}' seek to come upon Nature unawares, and 

200 The Finite and the Infinite. 

as it were catcli lier in the fact with an individual half in and 
half out. They want to see jnst where Identity ends and Dif- 
ference begins. Bnt Metaphysics could tell them that this is 
an idle quest, for the secret of these two is their inseparalDil- 
ity.* Do we not see enough in all this to jnstify the warmth 
of sncli language as this? — "We hear much in these days of 
Metai)hysics having crumbled down definitively into ruins — 
this by misapplication and perversion on the authority of Kant 
himself — this at Wn^ very moment that Hegel claims for him- 
self the completion of the Kantian x^hilosophy into an exact 
science — this from men more ignorant of what they speak 
about than anv mandarin in China !" 

If, then, it is as I have said — if the essence of all things is 
Reason, and if Nature is only the phenomenon (or showing 
forth) of this essence, a science of \)\wq reason will be espe- 
cially valuable, and even indispensable, to a comprehension 
of the universe ; and it seems to me that an abstract conside- 
ration of what is contained to thought under the terms Finite 
and Infinite may be of service as tending to the establishment 
of both these propositions. 

It results from the materialistic mode of thinking at present 
dominant that the things of time and sense are regarded as 
what is most certain, positive, and real. In the world of ma- 
terial phenomena men fancy themselves on the solid ground 
of fact. Here they felicitate themselves that they deal with 
what they can see and handle ; here are unmistakable actual- 

* To the anticipation of Darwinism by Kant, I may add the followino: by He- 
gel, written many years before Mr. Darwin's boolv: 

'•Nature is to be regarded as a system of grades, of whicli the one rises neces- 
sarily out of the other, and is the proximate truth of the one from which it re- 
sults ; but not so that the one were ludm-ally generated out of the other, but only 
in the inner Idea which constitutes the ground of Nature. Metamorphosis ac- 
crues only to the Notion as such. Tlie notion, however, is in Nature partly only 
inner, partly existent ag living individual: to this individual alone, then, is exist- 
ent metamorphosis confined. 

' 'It has been an inept conception of earlier Nature-philosophy to regard the pro- 
gression and transition of one uatural form into a higher as an outwardly actual 
production, which however, to be made clearer, nuist be relegated into theobscil- 
rity of the past. To Nature externality is precisely proper— to let the Differences 
fiill asunder and present themselves as neutral existences; while the dialectic 
Notion which guides forward the stages is the Inner of the same. Thought must 
deny itself such nebulous and sensuous conceptions as. for example, the so-called 
07'igin of plants and animals from water, and then the origin of the more highly 
developed organizations from the lower, and so on." 

The Finite and tlie Infmite. 201 

ities ; here are no cobwebs of the brain, no chasing of the rain- 
bows, no tleeing from the spectres of fancy. From tliis taking 
of the Finite to be the real and the trne, it natnrally follows 
tliat thelnlinite, as the negative of tliat, becomes an unreality 
and an untruth. The essence of philosophy, as well as of re- 
ligion, is, on the contrary', tlie denial of substantiality to the 
things of sense, and the assertion that the world of linitude 
exists only as a revelation, as a held of disjihi}' for an Other ; 
and that, consequently, it has not a real but merely an ideal 
being. As a religious writer exx)resses it, "Nature is the great 
Sacrament — tlie outward visible sign of the inward divine 
Presence." This elevation from the facts of sense to the truths 
of reason is generally in the measure of a man's intellectual 
vitalit}^ and vigor. There are men who sleep, and rise, and 
eat, and plod, and idle, and sleep again, contented not to think 
of aught beyond the familiar routine of their little lives ; con- 
tented rather to live without thinking of their life at all, or 
what it really is. But thus to drift with the current of sensu- 
ous existence, wdiile all things pass before us like the shifting 
sights of a show, arousing no more than the moment's interest, 
and taking us not out beyond ourselves — this is sinipl}' the life 
of the lower animals, Avhich crop the grass, and bellow at a red 
rag, and are driven by a dog, and "stumble from particular to 
particular, as knowing no better and knowing no other." The 
life of the senses is that of the brutes which perish ; man's 
life is the life of Reason. "The Spirit is the Idealist proper." 
For him wdio thinks, and for him who truly feels — feels, that 
is, with tlie soul, and not w^tli the senses — the things of fini- 
tude have not veritable being, but are a representation to him 
of Being. That which appears to sense is not, as such, that 
which is to thought ; it is only the idea or image of it. Now 
let us look at this more closely ; let us examine this thesis of 
the idealism of the Finite which asserts that the Intinite is 
the real and the Finite the unreal ; that the Infinite is the true 
positive, and the Finite, as such, the negative. 

What, then, is the Finite i All will agree that the Finite is 
that which has an end, that which comes to an end. Finitude 
signifies destination to perish. The world of sense is a world 
of finitude; it is that world which is "all a fieeting show"; a 
panorama of shifting sights in endless alteration, where the 

202 Til r Fin He an d Hi e Injin He. 

flower l)l()()ms and fades, tlie fruit ripens and I'ots, tlie grain 
springs np and is cnt down. Finite existence is like an islet 
in a rapid river ; it is only a quasi permanent nuddle ground 
between Coming-to-be and Ceasing-to-be ; it is, in fact, only a 
stage of transition from one of tliese to the other. Finite things 
are doomed to death from the lionr of their birth, for it is the 
very character of a thing as a finite that it should perish and 
pass away. The ^mrticnl ar finite thing— every ob j ect of sense- 
has a limit or bound to its being, and when it reaches this limit 
it ceases to be. But the Limitation is as an other to the Thing ; 
the Thing changes itself therefore into another, and this is Itoio 
it passes away ; this is how the transitoriness of finitude is 
exhibited. The Limitation of each thing, as an existent-so, is 
its point of contact with other things, or its immanent rela- 
tivity. Through its Limitation it changes, passing out of its 
beiu"- as a so, and becoming an otJienoise. Throngli the Lim- 
itation, or ratlier through its transcendence, is realized what 
was before only potential in the thing, e. g. the flower blos- 
soms into the fruit. Li the Limitation, therefore, is manifested 
the special character of the thing, for the Limitation is just 
lohat distinguishes it, or where it is distinguished, from other 
things. But the Thing which is determined in its Limitation, 
just as much therein " sunders itself from itself, and points 
away over and beyond itself to its non-being, pronouncing 
this its being, and so passing over into the same." As a crude 
illustration of this, we may instance Water, Water is lim- 
ited by temperature : at freezing-point it x^'^i^ses into ice, and 
at boiling-point into steam. At either limitation Water points 
to its non-b(4ng, that is, to non-liquidity, and pronounces this 
its being; for the three states referred to — vaporous, liquid, 
and solid — are equally states of the same thing, HO. The fini- 
tude of things, then, consists in this, that their existence is 
not commensurate with their wliole being, for this embraces 
the whole circle of the thing's potentialities. What a thing- 
can become, that it is, just as truly as it is what at any given 
moment it is. The actual in it is no more valid than the poten- 
tial, as is shown by the fact that these change places continu- 
ally. The potentialities are m^gative to the actual existence 
of the tiling, and the more numerous they are, the more brief 
and fluctuating is that existence. If the whole circle of its po- 

Tlie Finite and tlie Infinite. 203 

tentialities wdv iictualiz*^! so as tocoincidt' witli t]i(» notional 
totality of its being, tlie thing wonld be self-related, self-exist- 
ent, and this would be the existence of the infinite. But, it 
will here be said, there is no sucli thing ; in all Nature there 
is not anytliing that is tlins eternal ; hnitud(\ perishableness, 
is the one inseparal)le quality of all things which cannot l)e 
lifted from them. Very true ; but wliat follows fi'om tliis i All 
things are and must remain finite ; it is impossible that hni- 
tude should pass from them. The existence of the hnite par- 
ticular is thus only a passing awa}', a movement towards 
dissolution. Existence in general, then, is only a %>erpetiial 
passing away ; that is, a Passing away which itself does not 
j)ass away ; existences perish, but Existence subsists ; the 
Perishableness of things is imperishable ; what is in-itself 
null /.'?, and it is as in itself null ; or Finitude is eternal. Here 
we seem to have reached a contradiction. The Finite, which 
was defined to be that which comes to an end, apj^ears to be 
rather that which cannot be ended. The Finite b}^ its defini- 
tion is the limited, the transitory ; the Finite, in shoji:, is only 
the Finite ; but if "in all Nature there is not anything that is 
eternal," Finitude must be persisted in as the ultimate ; Inrt 
just tlins it is converted into its contrary, just thus the Finite 
loses its essential character, and becomes in effect the Infinite. 
The Understanding halts puzzled. It holds tenaciousl}^ to the 
irreconcilability of the Finite and the Infinite as notions ab- 
solutely exclusive each of the other, but it is brought face to 
face with the Fact that Finitude subsists, that Existence does 
not come to an end, but maintains itself. It was in this man- 
ner that Zeno, theorizing on the absolute incompatibility of 
continuit}' and discreteness, was confronted by Diogenes with 
the fact of motion. But when the cynic got w^ and walked 
before the speaker, this objection was not the solution but ra- 
tlier the expression of the contradiction. The argument of 
Diogenes amounted to tliis : Your logic proves that I cannot 
walk ; I cannot refute it, but I can walk nevertheless. I op- 
pose to your Logic my Fact as equally valid. You have made 
out your case ; now I make out my case, and it is just as good 
a one; who is to settle the question? — Aristotle did settle it 
by restoring the fact in liarmony witli the logic, and so bring- 
ing a new and single Trutli out of the error of discordant half- 

204 Tlie Finite and the Injinite. 

trutlis. So, liere, it is no answer to Understanding to assert 
that if something passes away, it is equally trne that some- 
thing remains. Tlie first step towards reaching a real solution 
is to i)nt away the presupposition of the absolute partedness 
of the Finite and the Infinite. Com-x^rehend the two-sided 
Fact, and the contradiction vanishes ; talie tog(41ieT the whole 
matter just as it /.S', and there is no longer any puzzle. Let us 
attempt this. 

"Something Avitli its immanent limit established as the con- 
tradiction of its own self, by which it is directed and impelled 
beyond itself, is X\\ii Finite as such."-''^ The Finite, as such, is 
set or posited Being whose nature is a tendency or impulse 
to transcend itself, to go over into absolute Being, or infinitely 
to heeome. The truth of the Finite, then, is that it passes over 
— is nothing but the passing over — into the Infinite : it disap- 
pears in the Infinite ; what /.v, therefore, is only the Infinite. 
]N'ow we have found that the Limitation is the transitional 
X)oint between the So-being of the particular Thing and its 
Otherwise-being. Through Limitation it passes from what it 
is in itself to what it is for another. But the generic Finite, 
the material universe, is the existence of the whole. E., there- 
fore, has no "other" without and beyond itself; it cannot, 
therefore, be limited externally ; it cannot consequentl}^ go 
over into a being-for-Other, but it goes in into its being-for- 
Self, that is, Iniinitude. "Or, in other Avords, the finite Generic 
has no 'other,' because it is itself tlie Otlier, taken isolatedly : 
it is the outerness, the utterance, of the Infinite. Matter is the 
Other of spirit : Thought is what Nature is in itself ; Thought 
is the nature of Nature, or 'Nature' just means the nature of 
Thought.''"- Finite being is the series of its own finities which 
returns into its own single, constituent self. 

The contradiction posited in the Finite l\y the Understand- 
ing is resolved, therefore, by this, that not only is the Finite 
that which perishes, but something more. The Perishing is 
not the last, but it too perishes ; the Coming-to-an-end itself 
comes to an end. " Finitude 2)asses away into its other ; but 
Finitude is a passing away ; the passing-aAvay, then, passes 
away. Or, the Finite negates itself; but the Finite is nega- 
tion ; the Finite, then, negates negation, and affirmatively is." 

* Hegel; Looic, Sec. I. Chap. II. B. 

The Finite and the Infinite. 205 

This refers to the generic Finite, Finitnde in its notional total- 
ity. For the sphere of particnlar iinites is witJiin the Generic, 
and snbjected to its lirst or simple negation. They are finites, 
but not the Finite takt^n nniversally, any more than the indi- 
vidnals A, B, C and D are the American People. I repeat that 
in this passing over into Intinitnde, the Finite lias "gone to- 
gether with itself'; it lias not lost itself in an " other," it has 
attained its own complete being. Intinitnde is its own affirm- 
ative character, that which in itself it trnl}' is. The transition 
is not of the nature of eJmnge — as is the case with the particu- 
lar Thing, which goes into another particular thing — but the 
Finite and the Inlinite go each eternally into the other as into 
its presupposition and its Truth. The Finite, as such, may be 
called the Appearance of the Inlinite : so far as appearance 
it disappears ; but whereas it is the Inlinite itself lohich ap- 
pears, it abides. AYhat results, therefore, is neither the Iiiii- 
nite nor the Finite, abstractly, in separation, but the Inlinite 
and the Finite ; a new concrete unity of wliich these are the 
two constituent elements. 

In this view, it will be seen that the sadness which accom- 
panies the thought of Finitude falls away from it. The mel- 
ancholy which attaches to perisliableness in general, pertains 
here only to the abstract or immediate notion of Finitude. 
Understanding is hoi^elessl}' lost in this melancholy because 
it stands x)ersistently in the abstract Finite. It looks at the 
destination of things as not further than their end : it con- 
centrates their being in their non-being : it leaves them no 
affirmative l:)eing distinguished from their destination to per- 
ish : it looks at the Inhnite, if at all, as a Beyond hopelessly 
inaccessible, and so it is natural it should murmur to itself. 
Vanity of vanities ! But the iDh<jle notion of Finitude, or its 
unity with the Inlinite, restores peace to the mind. Tliere is 
no cliange and no cessation in tlie universal — its negation 
falls together into itself. Deatli is a relative ; Understanding 
errs in viewing it as independently valid. " Tliat tliou sowest 
is not quickened save it die." Death is new-birth ; it is a 
transition external to the concrete, which in passing awa}^ 
passes only into its own self. 

Now, in order to make the result j ust attained more clearly 
api)arent, let us go back and start from the other side. As 

206 The Finite and the Infinite. 

we bewail \>j asking, Wliat is the Finite '. so let ns ask now, 
Wliat is the Infinite? The Intinite, as the word imports, is 
simply the direct negative of the Finite ; it is that which has 
no end, or Avhich is illimitahly continnons. If the Finite is to 
be defined as that which comes to an end, and whose essential 
character it is to come to an end, or cease to be, Finitnde, as 
such, is plainly the negation of being. The Infinite, therefore, 
or the negation of the Finite, is the negation of the Negation; 
that is, Being reaifirmed, and restored as an absolute positive. 
In the ordinaiy view, however, the view of Common Sense, im- 
mediate, empirical objects have substantiality. Thus Finitude 
is for it the sphere of real existence, and the Infinite, as the ne- 
gation of that positive, is merely a negative abstraction wdiich 
floats vaguely away off above reality and life. But let us ex- 
amine this abstract Infinite and we shall find that by the very 
attempt to kee}) it pure and apart from the Finite, it is finit- 
ised ; just as we found that the attempt to hold the abstract 
Finite aloof from its relativity to the Infinite only converted it 
itself into an Infinite : in fact, it is precisely the insistence on 
their irreconcilable difference which reveals the polar attrac- 
tion that irresistibly draws them together. The Infinite, there- 
fore, we will take for the nonce to be merely the non-Finite, the 
non-existent, the indeterminate void. The Finite is the Here 
and Now, and the Infinite as negation or the Finite, is the Be- 
yond — the inaccessible, and unnameable. The Infinite that is, 
has no ])Ositive character of its own ; it is merely the negative 
of the Finite. We might proceed from this and say. Of what 
value or validity is such a mere negative ? The non-Finite is 
non-entity : the vrord Infinite contains no thought other than 
is contained in the general negative Nothing, and it might as 
Avell be dismissed from the language. But this position is 
modified by even the crudest refiection. "What is Finite passes 
away ; but if what passes away were really what we have sup- 
posed it, an independent being, tliere looulcl remain notldng, 
and we might ask. Whither does the Passing-away go i what 
becomes of it ? But the fact is that Finite existence remains. 
Finitude alone, then, taken abstractly, shows itself to be a 
relative, declares itself insufficient to itself, and demands its 
complement. Thus we arrive at the notion of two worlds, one 
of the Finite, the other of the Infinite, but determined in such 

Tlie Finite and tlie I it finite. 207 

-wise as to ]>e wholly external to each other, and absolutely 
opposed. Hence arises an alternation between the two no- 
tions which presents itself as the ProgreMiifi ad Iitjlnituia. 
The impulse to get beyond the Finite, awakened by the sense 
of its insufficiency, carries us to an Intinite wliich was pre- 
determined as onlij the opposite of the Finite, as only the lim- 
itation of that. But by such determination the Inlinite has 
lost its own very character — its iniinitude. AYhat was defined 
as limitless is itself made a Limit, and so we liave only reached 
.a new Finite. If this pseudo-intinite be seen to be a Finite, 
:and so be again transcended, it is only to reach a ]iew Limit, 
which in turn breeds a new Impulse to transcend, and so on 
.ad infinitum. Arrived at this "And so on ad' infinituni^- Un- 
derstanding supposes itself to have reached the ultimate solu- 
tion, and rests quite satisfied in a contradiction which is, how- 
ever, never resolved, but only enunciated as alwaj^s j)resent. 
Against the fact of Limit, Understanding asserts the fact of 
Impulse as equally potent, and leaves the two to fight out an 
endless battle. The transcendence of the Finite is no sooner 
effected than it has to be repeated; the transcending is ?i per- 
petual transcending, or rather tliere is no transcendence at all. 
A ''Progress" towards an inaccessible is, as regards its desti- 
nation, no progress at all ; it is a movement which contains no 
more advance than tliat of a blind horse in a treadmill. "And 
so on ((d infi,nitii ni'- does not change or add anything to tlie 
quality of any first step. If that was not transce]idence of 
iinitude, "And so on" cannot make it such. A thing, in short, 
is the same thing whether it be said once, or repeated forever, 
and 3'et Understanding fancies that to be constant change 
which is only perpetual repetition. The Inhnite Progress is, 
in fact, oid}^ the process of particular finite tilings, each of 
which i)asses over its Limitation into another finite, and that 
into another, and so on. The seed, for exam])le, becomes 
plant, the plant flowers, the flower becomes fruit, and the fruit 
produces new seeds. Now, what does tliis contradiction of an 
unprogressive " Progress " show up 'i Why simply that the 
assumi)tion of the Finite and the Infinite as two independents, 
absolutely opposed, is an untruth. The fixed determination 
of the one as the Hither side, and the other as a Further side, 
must be given up. The Finite and tlie Infinite mutuall}^ in- 

208 The Finite and tlie Infinite. 

volve, and so evolve, each other. "In that each is implication 
of its Other, jnst /// it, and from its own determination, thej' 
are inseparable. Bnt this theii- unity is concealed in their 
qnalitative otherness ; it is the internal one which only lies at 
bottom."'" This unity is, in fact, the very mainspring of the 
Infinite Progress itself, but Understanding does not retlect 
upon wiiat is internal : it stands by the Alternation, which is 
nothing but the manifestation of the unity at bottom, and, 
looking only at such externalization, holds fast to its abstract 
dualism. It jiersists in regarding their co-reference as merely 
difference, whereas it is just as much their sameness. Tliis 
co-reference, which Understanding views as a fact somehow 
external to these readj^-made, inde2)endent determinations — 
the Infinite and tlie Finite — is, on the contrary, their inward 
and essential being, that in which and by which, only, both 
are. The truth, then, is alread}' present in the Infinite Pro- 
gress ; all that is necessary is to take up what is present : to 
take up the Infinite and Finite together as they are, not apart 
as they are not. There are the tAvo abstractly ; each is itself; 
but each is just as much as the other; viewed in abstraction, the 
special character of each becomes converted into its opposite ; 
the suhlationf of both, therefore, is the true Infinite. Look 
at it once more. Taken in simple immediacy, the Infinite 
is the transcendence of the Finite^ — Impulse ; and the Finite 
is that which is posited to be transcended — Limitation, Each, 
then, needs the other; each is the determiner of the other; each 
is what it is only by reason of the other ; and yet the Infinite 
Progress would have them mutually exclusive ! The antithe- 
sis of correlative determinations is pushed till it reveals their 
insei^arableness, and 3'et the indej)endent being of each one 
as against the other is persistentl}' maintained I But, to re- 
peat, if there are two independents, the Infinite is only one of 
the two ; it is not the whole, but only one side ; it is limited 
b}' the Other ; it is thus a finitised Inhnite, or the Finite over 
again. In the very attempt to sunder it from the Finite and 

* llcrrel; Loo^ic, Sec. I. Chap. II. C. 

t Sublation is a term sio-nityin^- at once tollere and consercare. It is the pro- 
cess by which two antithetical determinations are mer<j-ed in a resulting third, 
or negative unitv ; tlnit is, a unity which ne.2:ates the independence of its factors; 
e. g'. acid and allcali are sublaied in tlie negative unity, salt. (See Secret of Hegel, 
Vol. I. p. :5:)ti.) 

Tlie Finite mid the Infinite. 209 

place it as a pure Infinite, it is reduced to linitude, and so to 
unity with the Finite again. Like an elastic cord,tlie further 
the Infinite is drawn out of the Finite, the closer it springs to- 
gether into it, that is, into itself. To rejDresent it by a figure, 
the Progressus is the straight line infinitely producible in 
both directions, and the Infinite is the end, always just be- 
3^ond wherever the line — Existence — actually is. As the true 
Infinite, the line reaches the ends, and they curve around and 
meet ; it is a circle, closed and complete, without beginning 
or end, or ratlier with its beginning and its end in itself. 
"Their Distinction (that of the Finite and Infinite) is thus the 
double meaning each has. The Finite has the double mean- 
ing to be, first, only the Finite — the Finite counter the Infinite 
— and secondly, to be at once that Finite and its opposite, or 
the Finite tliat goes over into absolute being. The Infinite,, 
for its part, has the double meaning to be, first, the al)stract 
Infinite, and secondl}^ the true, or absolute Infinite, which 
contains both itself and its Other."* As such true Infinite it 
is Reality ; it is that which is in the only complete sense. It 
is not immediate Being in simple affirmation, like the perish- 
able empirical thing, but it is Being as returned from the 
negation of finitude, self-mediated, and so self-existent. Con- 
sider how thus the thought and fact. Reality, grows upon us ; 
how much wider and grander is the view of tlie universe we 
obtain from this height than when we see no Reality but in 
the shifting scenes of finitude. 

Should it be objected to this result, the unity of the Finite 
and the Infinite, that is merely the issue of subjective reason- 
ing, and for all its logical show may be pure sophistry, the 
answer is that this is not subjective reasoning in the sense of 
the objection ; it is the objective evolution of what is, as it is. 
We, the subject, take no part in this evolution but to follow 
and watch it. We are lookers on at what is, and must be, 
whether or not we are there to look. And if the objector re- 
mains unsatisfied, we can only summon him to follow and 
watch this dialectic of Reality for himself, and behold in actn 
what he has believed impossible ; that is, the unity of Iden- 
tity and Difference, or rather the sublation of these into the 
one Whole that is. 

* Hegel; Logic, Sec. I. Chap. II. C. 

210 Descartes^ Meditations. 

In another paper tliis doctrine of the coexistence of the 
Finite and the Infinite will be considered in its application to 
various concrete problems. 



In zuhich are clearly -proved the Existence of God, and the real 
distinction between the Soul atid Body of Man. 

Translated from the French of Descartes, by Wm. R. Walker. 



I have during these past days so accustomed myself to 
detach my mind from the senses, and have so accurately ob- 
served that there are very few things of a corporeal kind 
which we can know with certainty, that there are many more 
things known to us relating to the human mind, and yet more 
relating to God himself, that it will now be easy for me to 
turn my mind away from the consideration of things sensible 
and imaginable, and lix it on those which, being disengaged 
from everything material, are purely intelligible. And, in- 
deed, the idea that I have of the human mind, in so far as it 
is a thing that thinks, and not extended in length, breadth 
and depth, and that does not participate in anything belong- 
ing to the body, is incomparably more distinct than the idea 
of anything corporeal ; and when I consider that I doubt — 
that is to say, that I am a thing incomi^lete and dependent — 
the idea of a being complete and independent — that is to say, 
of God — is presented to my mind with much distinctness and 
clearness ; and from the single fact that this idea is in me, or 
rather that I, who possess this idea, am or exist, the exist- 
ence of God and that my existence dejiends entirely on him 
throughout every moment of my life, are conclusions so evi- 
dent that I cannot think it possible for the human mind to 
know anything with more evidence and certainty. And al- 
ready I seem to discover a way leading from this contempla- 

Descartes'' Meditations. 211 

tion of tlie tnie God, in wliom are contained all the treasures 
of knowledge and wisdom, to the knowledge of tlie other 
tilings in the universe. 

For, in the iirst place, I perceive it to be impossible that he 
-should ever deceive me, since all fraud and deception imply 
some kind of imperfection : and although it seems that the 
ability to deceive is a mark of subtilty or power, yet the will 
to deceive testifies, without doubt, of weakness or malice ; and 
therefore that cannot be in God. Further, I know by my own 
experience that there is in me a certain faculty of judgment, 
or discernment of the true from the false, which without doubt 
I have received from God, as well as all the other things that 
are in me and that I possess ; and since it is impossible that 
lie should wish to deceive me, it is also certain that he has 
not given it to me so that I could ever err in using it as it 
should be used. 

And there would remain no doubt concerning this, if one 
c©uld not apparently draw from it this conclusion, that in 
this way I can never be deceived ; for, if all that is in me 
comes from God, and if he has not put within me any faculty 
for erring, it seems that I ought never to be mistaken. It is 
equally true that, when I consider myself only as coming 
from God, and when I am turned altogether towards him, I 
do not discover in me any cause of error or falsity ; but im- 
mediately after, returning to myself, experience teaches me 
that I am nevertheless subject to an infinity of errors, on in- 
A^estigating the cause of which I observe that there is not only 
presented to my mind a real and positive idea of God, or 
rather of a being sovereignly perfect, but also, so to speak, a 
certain negative idea of nothingness- — that is to say, of that 
which is infinitely removed from every kind of perfection— 
and that I am as a mean between God and nothingness — -that 
is, placed in such a fashion between the sovereign being and 
non-being, that there is not in truth anything in me wliicli 
can lead me into error in so far as a sovereign Being has pro- 
duced me ; but that, if I regard myself as participating in 
some way in nothingness or non-being — that is to say, in so 
far as I myself am not the sovereign Being and have many 
things wanting in me— I am exposed to an infinity of wants, 
so that I ouii'ht not to be astonished if I am deceived. And 

212 Descartes'' Meditations. 

tlins I know that error, as such, is not a thing of reality 
depending on God, but only a defect ; and consequently, in 
order to err, I need no faculty to be given me by God espe- 
cially for this purpose ; but the reason that I am deceived 
is that the power which God has given me to discern between 
the true and the false is not infinite within me. 

Nevertheless, this does not yet altogether satisfy me ; for 
error is not a pure negation — that is to say, is not the simj)le 
defect or want of some perfection which does not belong to 
me — but is a privation of some knowledge which it appears 
that I should have. Now, in considering the nature of God, 
it does not seem possible that he has put in me any faculty 
which is not perfect of its kind, that is, wanting in any per- 
fection belonging to it : for, if it is true that the more expert 
the artisan is, the more perfect and complete are the produc- 
tions of his hands, what thing could have been produced by 
this sovereign Creator of the universe not perfect and entirely 
complete in all its parts ? And there is not a doubt but that 
God could have created me so that I should never be deceived ; 
it is also certain that he always wills what is best : is it, then, 
better that I should be liable to deception than that decep- 
tion should be a thing impossible to be wrought upon me ? 

Looking at this attentively, it at once occurs to me that I 
ought not to be astonished if I am not capable of comprehend- 
ing wherefore God acts as he does, and that I need not on 
that account doubt his existence, since perhaps I see by expe- 
rience many other things which exist without my being able 
to comprehend the reason of their existence, or how God has 
made them ; for, already knowing that my nature is extreme- 
ly weak and limited, and that the nature of God is, on the 
contrary, unlimited, incomprehensible, and infinite, I have no 
longer any difficulty in recognizing that there are an infinity 
of things in his power whose causes are beyond my compre- 
hension ; and that reason is alone sufficient to persiiade me 
that all that kind of causes which we are accustomed to de- 
rive from the end is useless in things physical or natural ; 
for it does not seem to me that I can without temerity inves- 
tigate and attempt to discover the impenetrable ends of God. 

Moreover, it further occurs to me that we ought not to 
consider a single creature separately, when we investigate 

Descartes'^ 3feclitations. 213 

whether the works of God are perfect, but generally all crea- 
tures together ; for the same thing which might perhaps with 
some show of reason seem very imperfect if it were alone in 
the world, might come to be very perfect when considered as 
forming part of this whole universe ; and although, since I 
formed the design of doubting all things, I have as yet known 
with certainty only my own existence and that of God ; yet 
since I have recognized the inlinite power of God, I cannot 
deny that he has produced many other things, or at least that 
he can produce them, so that I exist and am placed in the 
world as making part of the universality of all beings, 

Next, coming to look at myself more closely and to consider 
what are my errors, which of themselves testify that imperfec- 
tion is in me, I find that they depend upon the concurrence of 
two causes, namely, the faculty of knowing, which is in me, 
and the faculty of election, or rather of my free j udgment — that 
is, of my understanding and, together, of my will. For by the 
understanding alone I neither affirm nor deny anything, but 
conceive only the ideas of the things which I can affirm or 
deny. Now, in considering it thus precisely, it may be said 
that there is never any error in it, provided the word error is 
taken in its proper signification. And although there may 
perhaps be an infinitude of things in the world of which I 
have no idea in my understanding, it cannot be said that it is 
therefore deprived of those ideas as of something that is of 
necessity part of its nature, but only that it has them not, 
because there is in reality no reason which could prove that 
God ought to have given me a greater and more ample faculty 
of knowing than that which he has given me ; and however 
skilful and wise a worker I may imagine him to be, I am not 
therefore to think that he ought to have put into each of his 
works all the perfections that he may have put into some. 
Nor can I complain that God has not given me a free will, or 
a will sufficiently ample and sufficiently perfect, since in real- 
ity I experience it to be so ample and extended as not to be 
shut up within any limits. And what here appears to me to 
be very remarkable is, that of all the other things that are in 
me, there are none so perfect and so great but that I could 
acknowledge that they might be still greater and more per- 
fect. For, to take an example, if I consider the faculty of 

214 ■ Descartes^ Meditations. 

concejDtion within me, I find it to be of very small stretch and 
greatly limited, and at the same time I represent to myself 
the idea of another faculty mnch larger and even infinite ; and 
from the single fact tliat I can represent to myself its idea, I 
know without difficulty that it belongs to the nature of God. 
In the same way, if I examine tlie memory or the imagina- 
tion, or any other faculty in me, I do not find any which are 
not very small and limited, and which in God are not immense 
and infinite. It is only the volition, only the liberty of free 
will, whicli I experience in me to be so great as that I can con- 
ceive no idea of any other more ample and extended : so that 
it is chiefly this which makes known to me that I bear the 
image and resemblance of God. For, although it be incom- 
parably greater in God than in me, whether by reason of the 
knowledge and power that are joined with it and render it 
firmer and more efficacious, or by reason of the object, inas- 
mucli as it moves and stretches towards innumerably more 
things, yet it does not seem to me greater when considered 
formally and precisely in itself. For it consists only in this,, 
that we can do or not do a certain tiling, that is to say, affirm 
or deny, pursue or shun, a certain thing ; or rather it consists 
only in this, that in order to affirm or deny, pursue or shun, 
the things which the understanding proposes, we should act 
so that we do not feel any external force constraining us. 
For, in order that I may be free, it is not necessary for me to 
be indifferent in choosing one or the other of two contraries ; 
but rather, the more I lean towards one, whether because I 
know certainly that the good and the true are there, or be- 
cause God so disposes my inward thought, so much the more 
freely do I make my choice and embrace it; and, indeed, 
divine grace and natural knowledge, so far from diminishing 
my liberty, rather increase and strengthen it, so that this 
indifference which I feel when not borne by the weight of 
any reason to one side more than to another, is the lowest 
degree of liberty, and. shows rather a defect of knowledge 
than a perfection of will : for if I knew always clearly what 
is true and what is good, I should never have difficulty in de- 
termining what judgment and what choice I ought to make, 
and thus I should be entirely free without ever being indif- 

Descartes' Meditations. 215 

From all this, I find that it is neither the iDOwer of the will, 
which I have received from God, that is the cause of my errors, 
for it is very ample and very |)erfect of its kind, nor is it the 
power of the understanding or of the conception ; for, not con- 
ceiving anything but by means of this power of conception 
which God has given me, there cannot be a donbt but that , 
what I do conceive, I conceive aright, and it is impossible for 
me to be deceived in that. 

Whence, then, spring my errors ? From this alone, that the 
will being much more ample and more extended than the . 
understanding, I cannot hold it within the same limits, but 
stretch it to the things which I do not understand ; among 
which things, being of itself indifferent, it goes very easily 
astray, and chooses the false instead of the true and the evil 
instead of the good, and hence it is that I am deceived and 
that I sin. 

For example, when I was lately examining whether any- 
thing really existed in the world, and concluded, from the sin- 
gle fact that I did examine this question, that it very evidently 
followed that I myself existed, I could not hinder myself from 
judging that a thing which I conceived so clearly was true ; 
not that I found myself forced to such a judgment by any 
external cause, but only because from a great clearness there 
was in my understanding there followed a great inclination 
of my Avill ; and, I am inclined to believe, there was all the 
more liberty that it was with less indifference. On the con- 
trary, I at present know only that I exist in so far as I am 
something that thinks, but there is also presented to my mind 
a certain idea of corporeal nature ; which leads me to doubt 
whether this nature which tliinks, which is in me, or rather 
wliich I myself am, is different from this corporeal nature, or 
whether both are not one and the same thing ; and I suppose 
here that I do not yet know any reason to persuade me of 
the one rather than the other ; whence it follows that I am 
entirely indifferent as to denying or affirming it, or even ab- 
staining from giving any judgment in the matter. 

And this indifference extends not only to the things of 
which the understanding has no knowledge, but generally 
also to all those which it fails to discover with 2»«i'ft?ct clear- 
ness at the moment tliat the will is in deliberation ; for how- 

216 Descartes' Meditations. 

ever probable may be the conjectures wliicli incline me in 
judging any tiling, tlie simple knowledge that these are but 
conjectures and not certain and indubitable reasons is suffi- 
cient to give me occasion to judge the contrary; a course 
which I have had abundant experience of during these past 
days when I set down as false all that formerly I had held as 
very true, for the sole reason that I observed they could in 
some fashion be called in question. Now, if I withhold my 
judgment upon a thing when my conception of it is not suffi- 
ciently clear and distinct, it is evident that I do well and am 
not deceived ; but if I resolve to deny or affirm it, then I do 
not employ my free will as I ought ; and if I affirm what is 
not true, it is evident that I am deceived, and even although 
I judge according to the truth, it will be but the result of 
chance, and I do none the less err and make a wrong use of 
my free will ; for the natural light teaches us that the know- 
ledge of the understanding ought always to precede the deter- 
mination of the will. 

And it is in this wrong use of the free will that lies the pri- 
vation which constitutes the form of error. Tlie privation, I 
say, is found in operation in so far as it proceeds from me ; but 
it is not found in the faculty whicli I have received from God, 
nor even in its operation in so far as it depends on him ; for 
I have certainly no cause of complaint that God has not given 
me a more ample intelligence or a natural light more perfect 
than he has given me, since it is of tlie nature of a finite un- 
derstanding not to understand many things, and of the nature 
of a created understanding to be finite ; but I have every rea- 
son to render thanks to him in that, wliile never having owed 
me anything, he has nevertheless given me what few perfec- 
tions are in me, and I am far from conceiving sentiments so 
unjust as to imagine that he has unjustly withheld or dei^rived 
me of the other perfections which he has not given me. 

Nor have I cause to complain that he has not given me a 
will more ample than my understanding, because since the 
will consists but of one object and is thus indivisible, it seems 
that its nature is such that nothing could be taken from it 
without destroying it ; and, certainly, the greater its extent 
the more reason have I to acknowledge the goodness of him 
who gave it me. 

Descartes' Meditations. 217 

And, finally, I liave no cause to complain that God concurs 
with me in producing the acts of this will, that is to say, the 
judgments in which I am deceived ; because those acts are 
entirely true and absolutely good in so far as they depend on 
God ; and there is in a measure more perfection in my nature 
from my being able to produce them than if I could not pro- 
duce them. For privation, in which alone consists the formal 
reason of error and sin, needs no concurrence of God, because 
it is not a thing or a being, and because if we refer it to God 
^s its cause, it ought not to be called privation, but only ne- 
gation, according to the signification given to those words in 
scholastic philosophy. For, in truth, it is not an imperfection 
in God that he has bestowed upon me the liberty of giving or 
not giving my judgment on certain things of which he has not 
put a clear and distinct knowledge in my understanding ; but 
it is doubtless an imperfection in me that I do not use this 
liberty aright, and that I rashly give judgment on things 
whicli I conceive but with obscurity and confusion. 

I nevertheless see that it were easy for God to bring it about 
that I should never be deceived although remaining free and 
with a limited knowledge, namely, if he should give to my 
understanding a clear and distinct intelligence of everything 
on which I should ever deliberate, or even only if he should 
engrave on my memory so deeply that I could never forget it, 
the resolution of never judging anything without a clear and 
distinct conception of it. And I may remark that in so far as 
I consider myself altogether alone, as if there were only my- 
self in the world, I should have been much more perfect than 
I am if God had so created me that I should never err ; but I 
cannot therefore deny that there is not in some fashion a 
greater perfection in the universe from some of its parts not 
being exempt from defect, as others are, than if they all were 
were alike. 

And I have no right to complain that God, having placed 
me in the world, did not will that I should be ranked among 
the noblest and most perfect things ; I have even cause for 
contentment that if he has not given me the perfection of be- 
ing free from error by the first method I have just spoken of, 
which depends on a clear and evident knowledge of all the 
things on wliich I can deliberate, he has at least left in my 

218 Descartes' Meditations. 

power tlie otlier metliod, which is to hold iirm the resolution 
of never giving judgment on things the truth of wliich is- 
not clearly known to me : for though I realize my weakness- 
in not being able to fix my mind continually on one thought, 
I can yet, by a vigilant and oft-reiterated meditation, imprint 
it it so strongly on my memory that I shall never want re- 
minding whenever I shall have need of it, and in this way I 
may acquire the habit of evading error ; and inasmuch as in 
this consists the greatest and the principal perfection of man,, 
I consider that to-day I have gained not a little by this med- 
itation in having discovered the cause of error and falsity. 

And, indeed, there can be no other cause than that which 
I have just declared ; for as often as I so keep my will within 
the limits of my knowledge that it pronounces no judgment 
but on things which are clearly and distinctly represented to 
it by the understanding, it cannot come to pass that I should 
be deceived ; because every clear and distinct conception is, 
without doubt, something, and therefore it cannot derive its 
origin from nothing, but has necessarily Clod for its author : 
God, I say, who being sovereignly perfect cannot be the cause 
of any erixDr ; and consequently the necessary conclusion is 
that such a conception or such a judgment is true. Further- 
more, I have not only learned to-day what I ought to shun in 
order to be no more deceived, but also what course I ought 
to follow in order to arrive at the knowledge of truth. For I 
shall certainl}^ arrive thither if I fix my attention sufficiently 
upon all the things that I conceive perfectly, and sei:>arate 
them from others which I have conceived only with confusion 
and obscurity: and of this I shall hereafter keep careful watch. 




There remain many otlier things for me to examine con- 
cerning the attributes of God, and concerning my own nature, 
that is to say, the nature of my mind ; and of these I shall 
perhaps at another time make an investigation. For the 
present, after having observed what must be done or avoided 
in order to arrive at the knowledge of the truth, what I have 

Descartes^ Meditations. 219 

chieiiy to do is to attem^Dt to go forth and rid myself of all 
the doubts into Avhicli I have fallen during these past days, 
and to see if something certain cannot be known concerning 
things material. But, before examining whether there are 
such things existing outside of me, I ought to consider their 
ideas so far as they are in my mind, and see what of them 
are distinct and what are confused. 

In the iirst place, I distinctly imagine that quantity which 
philosophers commonl}^ call continuous quantity, or proiDerly 
the extension in length, breadth and depth which is in this 
quantity, or rather in the thing to which it is attributed. More- 
over, I can .discern in it many diverse parts, and attribute to 
each of those parts all kinds of sizes, shapes, positions, and 
movements ; and, in fine, I can assign to each of those move- 
ments all kinds of duration. And I not only know those 
things with distinctness when I thus consider them in general, 
but also, however slightly I may fix my attention on them, I 
recognize an infinitude of particulars concerning the numbers, 
shapes, movements, and other similar things, whose truth be- 
comes apparent with so much evidence and agrees so well 
with my nature, that when I begin to discover them it does 
not seem as if I learn anything new, but rather that I call to 
mind what I had heretofore already known ; in other Avords, 
I perceive things which are already in my mind, although I 
might not have again turned my thoughts towards them. 
And wliat I find here of most moment is that there is in me 
an infinitude of ideas of certain things which cannot be con- 
sidered as pure nothingness, although perhaps they have no 
existence outside of my mind, and which are not feigned by 
me, though I may be free to think them or not think them, but 
which have their true and immutable natures. As, for example, 
when I imagine a triangle, although there is perhaps no such 
figure in the world outside of my mind and may never have 
been, there is however none the less a certain nature, or form, 
or determinate essence of this figure, which is immutable and 
eternal, which I have not invented, and which in no way de- 
pends on my mind, — as is apparent from the fact that we can 
demonstrate various projierties of this triangle, namely, that 
its three angles are equal to two right angles, that the great- 
est angle is subtended by the greatest side, and so forth. 

220 Descartes^ Meditations. 

wMcli now, whether I will or not, I recognize very clearly and 
very evidently to be in it, although I may not have before 
thought of them in any way when I first imagined to myself 
a triangle ; and, therefore, it cannot be said that I either 
feigned or invented them. And it cannot be here objected 
that perhaps this idea of the triangle came into my mind by 
the intervention of my senses from my having sometimes seen 
bodies of a triangular shape ; for I can form in my mind an 
infinitude of other figures of which there could not be the 
smallest suspicion that they had ever fallen under the obser- 
vation of my senses, and yet I can none the less demonstrate 
various properties concerning their nature ^s well as that of 
the triangle ; which, certainly, ought to be all true, because I 
€onceive them clearly : and, therefore, they are something 
and not j)ure nothingness ; for it is very evident that all that 
is true is something, truth being the same thing as being ; 
and I have already amply above demonstrated that all the 
things which I know clearly and distinctly are true. And, 
although I had not demonstrated it, yet the nature of my 
mind is such that I could not but esteem them as true so long 
as I conceive them clearly and distinctly ; and I remember 
that, even when I was still strongly attached to the objects of 
sense, I counted as among the number of the most constant 
truths which I conceived clearly and distinctly concerning fig- 
ures, the numbers and other things belonging to arithmetic 
and geometry. 

But now, if, from the single fact that I can draw from my 
mind the idea of something, it follows that all that I recog- 
nize clearly and distinctly as belonging to that thing in real- 
ity belongs to it, can I not draw from this an argument and a 
proof demonstrative of the existence of God? It is certain 
that the idea of him is not less in me — that is, the idea of a 
being sovereignly perfect — than that of any figure or number 
whatever it may be ; and I do not know less clearly and dis- 
tinctly that an actual and eternal existence belongs to his na- 
ture, than that I know that all which I can demonstrate of 
any figure or number really belongs to the nature of that fig- 
ure or number ; and therefore, although all that I concluded 
in the jDreceding Meditations should not be true, the existence 
of God ought to be received into my mind with at least as 

Descartes'' Meditations. 221 

much certainty as I have until now regarded all tlie mathe- 
matical truths which relate only to numbers and figures, 
although in truth that may not at first appear entirely mani- 
fest, but seem to have some appearance of sophistry. For, 
being accustomed in all other things to make a distinction 
between existence and essence, I easily persuade myself that 
the existence can be separated from the essence of God, and 
that thus God might be conceived as not actually existing. 
But nevertheless, when I regard the matter with more atten- 
tion, I find it manifest that existence can no more be separ- 
ated from the essence of God than can the essence of a recti- 
lineal triangle be separated from the fact that its three angles 
are equal to two right angles, or than the idea of a mountain 
can be separated from the idea of a valley ; so that there is 
no less rei^ugnance in conceiving a God — that is, a Being 
sovereignly perfect^ — to whom existence is wanting — that is, 
to whom some perfection is wanting — than in conceiving a 
mountain which has no valley. 

But although in truth I cannot conceive a God without ex- 
istence any more than I can conceive a mountain without a 
valley, yet, as from the single fact that I conceive a mountain 
with a valley, it does not follow that there is any mountain 
in the world ; so also, although I may conceive God as exist- 
ing, it does not follow, it seems to me, that God exists : for 
my thought does not impose any necessity on things ; and as 
there is no difficulty in my imagining a horse with wings 
although there may be none having wings, so I could per- 
haps attribute existence to God although no God did exist. 
Far from it ; there is here a sophism hid under the plausibil- 
ity of this objection : for from the fact that I cannot conceive 
a mountain without a valley, it does not follow that there is 
in the world either mountain or valley, but only that the 
mountain and the valley, whether they are or are not, are 
inseparably joined to each other; while from this fact alone, 
that I cannot conceive God but as existing, it follows that 
existence is inseparable from him, and, therefore, that he 
truly exists. Not that my thought can effect this, or that 
it imposes on things any necessit}^ ; but, on the contrary, the 
necessity which is in the thing itself — that is to say, the 
necessity of the existence of God — determines me to have this 

222 Descartes' Meditations. 

thought : for it is not in my power to conceive a God without 
existence — that is to say, a Being sovereignly perfect without 
a sovereign perfection, though it is in my power to imagine 
a horse without wings or with them. 

Nor ought it to be said liere that though it is in truth 
necessary for me to admit that God exists, since I have sup- 
posed him to possess all kinds of perfection, and existence is 
one of them, yet that my hrst supposition was no more neces- 
sary than it is necessary to think that all four-sided iigures 
€an be inscribed in a circle, a supposition that if entertained 
by me would force me to admit that the rhombus can be there 
inscribed because it is a four-sided figure, and thus I w^ould 
be obliged to admit a thing that is false. One ought not, I 
say, to allege that: for although it ma3^ not be necessary .for 
me ever to fall a- thinking of God, yet, as often as it does hap- 
pen that I think of a Being first and sovereign, and to draw, 
so to speak, his idea from the treasure of my mind, I must 
attribute to him every kind of perfection, although I may not 
proceed to number them all, or fix my attention upon each of 
them in particular. And this necessity suffices to lead me 
(as soon as I recognize that existence is a perfection) to con- 
clude very strongly that that first and sovereign Being exists, 
and similarly, though it is not necessary that I should ever 
imagine any triangle, yet as often as I wish to consider a rec- 
tilineal figure composed only of three angles, it is absolutely 
necessary that I attribute to it everything wdiich goes to j)rove 
that those three angles are not greater than two right angles, 
although perhaps I do not then consider that in particular. 
But when I examine what figures are capable of being in- 
scribed within a circle, it is in nowise necessary to think that 
all four-sided figures are of this number ; on the contrary-, I 
cannot even feign that to be so as long as I do not wish to 
receive anything into my thought save what I can clearly and 
distinctly conceive. And consequently there is here a great 
difi'erence between false suppositions such as that and the true 
ideas wdiich were born with me, of which the first and prin- 
cipal is that of God. For in truth I recognize in many ways 
that this idea is not something feigned or invented, depending 
only on my thought, but that it is the image of a true and 
immutable nature : first, because I could not conceive any- 

Descartes^ Meditations. 223 

thing bat God, to whose essence existence of necessity be- 
longs, and because it is impossible for me to conceive two or 
more Gods such as he ; and admitting that there is one now 
existing, I see clearly that he must have before this existed 
from all eternity, and that he will hereafter exist to all eter- 
nity ; and, finally, because I conceive many other things in 
God incapable of diminution or change. 

Besides, of whatever proof and argument I may avail my- 
self, it is always necessar}^ to return to this : that it is only 
the things which I conceive clearly and distinctly which have 
the effect of persuading me entirely. And although among the 
things which I conceive of this sort there are in truth some 
which are manifestly known to every one, while there are oth- 
ers which are revealed only to those who consider them more 
closely and examine them witli more exactness, yet, after 
these are once discovered, they are not esteemed less certain 
than the others. As, for example, in a right-angled triangle, 
although it is not at first so apparent that the square of the 
base is equal to the squares of the two other sides, as it is that 
the base is opposite to the greatest angle, nevertheless when 
once recognized we are as much persuaded of the truth of the 
one as of the other. And as regards God, truly, if my mind 
were not prepossessed by any prej udices and my thought not 
diverted by the continual presence of the images of sensible 
things, there is nothing which I could know more readily or 
more easily than he. For is there anything of itself clearer 
or more manifest than tlie thought that there is a God — that 
is to say, a Being sovereign and perfect — in the idea of whom 
alone is necessary or eternal existence included, and who con- 
sequently exists ? And although, in order rightly to conceive 
this truth, I have had need of great application of mind, yet 
at present I am not only as much assured of this as of any of 
the things which appear to me most certain, but I observe, 
besides, that the certainty of all the other things depends so 
absolutely on this, that without this knowledge it is imjDos- 
sible ever to know anything perfectly. 

For, although I am of such a nature that as soon as I com- 
prehend anything very clearly and distinctly, I cannot but 
believe it to be true, yet, because I am also of such a nature 
as to be unable to keep my mind continually fixed u]3on one 

224 Descartes^ Meditations. 

tiling, and because I often call to mind my having judged a 
tiling to be true when I had ceased to consider the reasons 
which led me so to j udge it, it may hai^pen during such time 
that other reasons are presented to me, which would readily 
change my opinion if I were ignorant that there is a God ; 
and thus I would never have a true and certain knowledge of 
anything whatever, but only vague and inconstant opinions. 
As, for example, when I consider the nature of a rectilineal 
triangle, I know evidently, being a little versed in geometry, 
that its three angles are equal to two right angles, and this it 
is impossible for me to disbelieve while I apply my mind to 
its demonstration ; but as soon as I turn away from it, al- 
though I remember that I clearly comprehended it, yet I can 
readily enough doubt of its truth if I do not know there is a. 
God : for I may persuade myself that I was so constituted by 
nature as to be easily deceived, even in the things which I 
believe myself to comprehend with the greatest evidence and 
certainty ; especially considering that I remember having 
often deemed many things to be true and certain, which af- 
terwards other reasons have led me to judge to be absolutely 

But, after having recognized that there is a God, whereby at 
the same time I recognized also that all things depend on him 
and that he is no deceiver, and that consequently I judged 
that all that I conceive clearly and distinctly cannot fail to 
be true : although I do not any more think of the reasons 
which led nie to judge that to be true, yet provided only that 
I remember to have clearly and distinctly comprehended it, 
there can be no contrary reason produced wliicli would ever 
bring me to call it in question ; and thus I have a true and 
certain knowledge of it. And this same knowledge extends 
also to all the other things which I remember having former- 
ly demonstrated as to the truths of geometry and other simi- 
lar things; for what objection can be brought which would 
make me call them in question ? Will it be that my nature 
is such that I am greatly subject to error? But I already 
know that I cannot be deceived in the judgments whose rea- 
sons are clearly known to me. Will it be that I have for- 
merly deemed many things to be true and certain which I 
have since recognized to be false '( But I did not clearly or 

The PUlosopliy of Plato. 225 

distinctly know any of those things ; and, not then knowing 
this rule by which I assure myself of the truth, I was led to- 
believe them by reasons which I have since recognized to be 
less strong than I then imagined them to be. What further 
objection, then, can be made? Will it be that perhaps I am 
asleep (an objection which I myself formerly made), or that 
all the thoughts which I now have are no more true than the 
reveries which we imagine in our sleep ? But even when I 
am asleep, all that is presented to my mind with evidence is 
absolutely true. 

And thus I recognize very clearly that the certainty and the 
truth of all science depends solely on the knowledge of the 
true God : so that before knowing him I could not perfectly 
know any other thing. And now that I know him, I have 
the means of acquiring a perfect knowledge concerning an 
inhnitude of things, not only of those which are in him, but 
also of those which belong to corporeal nature in so far as it 
can serve as the object of mathematical demonstrations which 
do not take into consideration his existence. 


Timslatcd from the German of G, W. F. Hegel. 

[Tlie following translation includes the wlule of the extended notice given to 
Plato in the second volume of Hegel's History of Philosophy. About two fifths 
is devoted to the general features of Plato's Philosophy, after which follow spe- 
cial considerations of (1) The Dialectic, (2) Philosophy of Nature, (3) Philoso- 
phy of Spirit. The three special treatises are reserved for the next number of 
this Journal. The Philosophy of Aristotle, treated by the same masterly hand, 
will form a fitting continuation to this undertaking. In the philosophy of Plato, 
and especially in that of Aristotle, Hegel finds all speculative philosophj' — either 
in germ or considerably expanded; and he who reads for the first time these no- 
tices will be continually surprised by the marvellous accuracy with which those 
great Greeks have expressed insights that are usually accredited to modern 
thought. Nothing lends so much to that philosophic calm, which accompanies 
a feeling of repose in the Truth, as the re-discovery of one's thought in the sj's- 
tems of the ancient masters. "Surely it is no subjective illusion of mine — this 
speculative thought — for it has been tried in the fire of History for two thousand 
years, and still remains as the frame-work of all science and all forms of practical 
life. Dante, who calls Aristotle "'the master of those who know" [Vidi H Maes- 
tro di color ehe sanno), was well acquainted with this secure feeling which a know- 
ledge of Truth gives, and thus gives utterance to it in the fourth canto of the 
Paradise (a passage Hegel loved to quote) : 


226 TTie PMlosoiyJiy of Plato. 

Jo veggio ben, che giammai non si sazia 
Nostro intelletto, se il ver non lo illustra 
Di fuor dal qual nessun vero si spazia 
Posasi in esso come /era in lustra 
Tosto che giuiito flia -. e giungcr puolli), 
Se non ciascun disio sarebbe frustra.] 


The development of pliilosopliic science as science, and, 
more especially, the development of the Socratic standpoint 
to a scientilic completeness, begins with Plato and ends with 
Aristotle. For this reason these two men deserve to be called 
the teachers of the human race^ — if such a title can be justly 
applied to any men. 

" Plato belongs to the followers of Socrates — is the most fa- 
mous of the friends and auditors of Socrates ; he seizes in its 
truth the Socratic principle that Consciousness is the essence; 
inasmuch as, according to Plato, Tliouglit is tJie absolute, and 
all reality is tliougld. By this must not be understood the 
one-sided [abstract] thought, such as is spoken of in a one- 
sided idealism, wherein thought is seized as in opposition to 
reality ; not this, but thought which is one with reality, i. e. 
the CoMPREHENSioisr AiSTD ITS Reality as tliey are United iu 
the movement of: Science as the Idea of a scientitic wliole^ 
[The Comprehension (Begriff)=the exhaustive apprehension, 
i.e. the universial, and necessary relations of an object, seized 
together, making a complete definition of what is essential.) 
Socrates seized the in-ancl-for-itself existent thought only as 
end and aim for the self-conscious will ; Plato leaves this 
narrow point of view, and expands the merely abstract right 
of the self-conscious thinking, which Socrates set up as his 
principle, to the province of Science; and through this he 
made possible the process of construing and deduction from 
princixiles, although even Plato's exposition, as we shall see, 
is not quite scientific. 

Plato is one of the world-historical personages, and his 
Philosophy is one of the world-historic existences, and from 
its origin on through all succeeding times it has had a most 
significant influence upon the culture and development of 
spirit. For the peculiarity of the Platonic Philosophy is pre- 
cisely this direction toward the intellectual, supersensuous 
world ; it seeks the elevation of Consciousness into the realm 
of Spirit ; so that the spiritual, that which belongs to thought. 

The PJiilosophy of Plato. 227 

obtains importance in tliis shape for Consciousness, and is so 
revealed to it, that, conversely, Consciousness gets a firm 
foothold uj)on this ground. The Christian Religion also has 
set up this high principle, that the internal spiritual essence 
of man is his true essence, and has made it the universal prin- 
ciple (although this principle has in Christianity a j^eculiar 
orm representing man as destined for blessedness). But 
Plato and his Philosophy has contributed the greatest im- 
pulse towards this : to make that idea become this organiza- 
tion of the Rational, this realm of the supersensuous ; he had 
already made a great beginning thereto. 

His Life. 

We have first to mention the circumstances of his life. 
Plato was an Athenian ; was born in the 3d year of the 87tli 
Olympiad, or according to Dodwell 01. 87-4 (429 B. C.) at the 
beginning of the Peloponnesian war, in the year in which 
Pericles died. He was, according to this, 89 or 40 years 
younger than Socrates. His father Ariston traced his pedi- 
gree to Codrus ; his mother Perictione descended from Solon. 
His mother's uncle on the father's side was the famous Kri- 
tias, who likewise went round with Socrates for a long time, 
and was the most talented, genial, and therefore also the most 
dangerous and hated of the thirty tyrants of Athens. Kritias 
is usually counted with the Cyrenaics, Theodorus and Diago- 
ras of Melos, by the Ancients, as an atheist ; Sextus Empiri- 
cus has preserved for us a pretty fragment of a poem of his. 
Plato, born of this illustrious race, lacked not the means for 
his culture ; he received an education at the hands of the most 
famous Sophists, who practised him in all the arts which were 
esteemed fitting for an Athenian. He received at a later pe- 
riod, from his teacher, the name of Plato ; in his family he was 
called Aristokles. Some ascribed his name to the breadth of 
his forehead, others to the wealth of his discourse, others to 
the fine shape of his figure. In his youth he cultivated poetry 
and wrote tragedies — just as also with us the young poets 
begin with tragedies, — dithyrambs, and songs. Of the last, 
there are several still preserved to us in the Greek Anthology 
which go to his various loved ones ; among others, a well- 
known epigram on an "Aster,-' one of his best friends, which 

228 The Philosophy of Plato. 

contains a pretty tliouglit, that is found also in Shakespeare's. 
Romeo and Juliet : 

" To the stars thou look'st, my Aster; 
O, would that I were the heavens, 
So that [ could see thee with so many eyes." 

For the rest, he thought of nothing else during his ^^outli 
but of devoting himself to state affairs. In his twentietli 
year he was brought to Socrates, and had eight years' inter- 
course with him. It is related that Socrates, on the night be- 
fore, had dreamed that a young swan sat on his knees, whose 
wings grew fast, and that he soon flew up into heaven with 
the loveliest songs. The Ancients mention many such things 
which indicate the high honor and love in which he was held 
by his contemporaries and his successors for that silent great- 
ness and sublime simplicity and loveliness which has earned 
for him the name of " the divine." The society and wisdom 
of Socrates could not suffice for Plato. He busied himself also 
with the more ancient Philosoi^hies, principally with that of 
Heraclitus. Aristotle mentions that already before he came 
to Socrates he had been in the society of Cratylus, and had 
been initiated into the Heraclitic doctrines. He studied also 
the Eleatics and especially the Pythagoreans, and associated 
with the most famous Sophists. After he thus became ab- 
sorbed in Philosophy, he lost his interest in Poetry and the 
affairs of the state, renounced them entirely, and devoted him- 
self wholly to the Sciences. His duty as an Athenian to serve 
in the time of war, he fulfilled as Socrates had done ; he is 
said to have made three campaigns. 

After the execution of Socrates, Plato as well as many other 
Philosophers, fled from Athens and betook themselves to 
Euclid at Megara. From thence he soon travelled farther, at 
first to Cyrene in Africa, where he applied himself especially 
to Mathematics under the guidance of the famed mathemati- 
cian Theodorus, whom he introduces into several of his dia- 
logues. Plato himself did something for the perfection of 
Mathematics. The solution of the Delian or Delphic prob- 
lem is ascribed to him, which was given out by the oracle 
and which relates to the cube : namely, to describe a line 
whose cube is equal to the sum of two given cubes. This de- 
mands a construction through two curves. It is worthy of 

The PMlosophy of Plato. 229 

notice tliat tlie oracle at that time gave out sucli prolblems : 
there was then an epidemic, in which when one aj)plied to the 
oracle, scientific problems were given ; it was a very remark- 
alble change in the spirit of the oracle. From Cja^ene Plato 
w^ent to Italy and Egypt. In Magna-Grecia he became ac- 
quainted with the Pythagoreans of that time, Archytas of 
Tarentum, the famed mathematician, Philolaus, and others ; 
and, besides this, he bouglit up the writings of the older Py- 
thagoreans at heavy prices. In Sicily he formed a friendship 
with Dion. He returned to Athens and came out as a teach- 
er, conversing with his scholars in the Academy, a grove or 
promenade laid out in honor of the hero Academus, in which 
a gymnasium was kept. But Plato became the true hero of 
the Academy, and has obliterated the old meaning of the 
name "Academy," and has eclipsed the fame of the hero, in 
whose place he sat ; hence Academus has come down to pos- 
terity^ under the protection of Plato. 

His residence and business in Athens, Plato interrupted by 
n two years' visit to Sicily, to Dionysius the younger, the ruler 
of Sja-acuse and Sicily. This connection with Dionysius was 
the most significant, or rather the only., external relation into 
which Plato entered, but it produced nothing durable. The 
next of kin to Dionysius, Dion, and other distinguished Syra- 
cusans, friends of Dionysius, had the hope that Dionysius — 
whom his father had allowed to grow up very uncultured, 
and in whom they had infused the ideas of Philosophy and a 
respect for it, and had made him very anxious to become ac- 
quainted with Plato, — they hoped that Dionysius would gain 
very much through an acquaintance with Plato, and would 
be so influenced through Plato's idea of a true state that he 
would proceed to realize it in Sicily. Plato consented partly 
through friendship to Dion, partly because he entertained the 
higher hope of seeing through Dionysius the true form of the 
state actualized ; he was led to take the wrong step and travel 
to Sicily. Superficially looked at, the notion of a young prince 
near whom stands a wise man who inspires him by his instruc- 
tion is quite plausible and forms the basis of a hundred j^tolitl- 
cal romances ; but it is empty and delusive. Dionysius found 
indeed much pleasure in Plato, and conceived such a respect 
for him that he wished, in turn, to win Plato's respect ; but 

230 Tlie PhUosojyhy of Plato. 

tliis did not long hold ont. Dionysius was one of those mode- 
rate natnres who in their halfness strive for fame and distinc- 
tion, bnt are capahle of no depth and no earnestness ; bnt 
have only the appearance of it, and are without firm charac- 
ters — a desire without capacity : as in our day Irony brings 
a person upon the stage who supposes himself apt and excel- 
lent, and yet is only a bungler. And such a result is natural,, 
for the halfness allows only itself to guide ; but precisely this 
halfness it is also which, while it lays the i)lan, at the same 
time renders it impracticable. The disagreement broke out 
in a collision of personalities against each other ; Dionysius 
fell into a quarrel with his relative Dion, and Plato became 
involved in it because he was unwilling to give up his friend- 
ship with Dion, and Dionysius was not caj)able of a friendship 
which was founded upon respect and an earnest purpose in 
common ; he had only a personal inclination towards Plato, 
and his vanity was a leading motive in connecting himself 
with him. Thus Dionysius could not succeed in attaching 
Plato to himself firmly ; he desired to possess him exclu- 
sively, and this was a desire which could not be permitted by 

Plato therefore left Dionysius ; after the separation, both 
felt the desire to meet again. Dionysius called him back to 
bring about a reconciliation; for he could not endure the 
thought that he had not been able to bind Plato fast to him ; 
he found it especially unendurable that Plato would not give 
up Dion. Plato gave way to the importunity of his family 
and of Dion, and principally of Archytas and other Pythago- 
reans at Tarentum, to whom Dionysius had applied, and who 
had interested themselves also for the reconciliation of Dio- 
nysius with Dion and Plato ; nay, they became surety for his 
safety and freedom to depart again. Dion^^sius, however, 
could not endure the presence of Plato any better than his 
absence ; he found his presence a constraint. Through Plato 
and the others surrounding Dionysius, a respect for science 
had been kindled in him, but he could not be brought into 
anything deeper. His participation in the Philosophy was 
as superficial as his numerous essays in Poetry ; and while 
he desired to be all, poet, philosopher, and statesman, he 
could not bear to be guided by another. Thus there was esta- 

The PnUosophy of Plato. 231 

blislied no deep relation, "but they alternately approached 
and separated : so that even the third residence in Sicily 
ended with coolness ; after that the relation was not renewed. 
This time the tension against the relation with Dion grew so 
strong, that, when Plato wished to leave with Dion, from dis- 
satisfaction at the treatment of Dionysius, the latter prevented 
him, and would have used violence at last had not the Pytha- 
goreans came from Tarentum and obtained his release, and 
brought him to Greece. And they were aided by this cir- 
cumstance : Dionysius feared the scandal of not being able 
to live on good terms with Plato. Thus Plato's hopes were 
destroyed ; it was a mistake of his to attempt to adapt through 
Dionysius the constitution of the state to the demands of his 
philosophical idea. 

After this Plato refused other states which expressly 
applied to him and sent for him (among whom were the in- 
habitants of Cyrene and Arcadia), and would not become 
their law-giver. It was a time in which many Greek states 
did not prosper with their constitutions, and were not able to 
find anything new as a substitute. In our time [1820], during 
the last thirty years, there also have been many constitutions 
made ; and anv man who has busied himself therewith finds 
it easy to make such ones. But theoretical labors do not suf- 
fice for the making of constitutions ; individuals cannot make 
them ; they are of a spiritual, divine nature, and are devel- 
oped through History. The thought of an individual signi- 
fies nothing against this power of the world-spirit ; and if 
such thoughts do signify anything, i. e. can be realized, then 
they are nothing else than the product of this power of the 
spirit of the time. The notion to have Plato become a law- 
giver was an anachronism ; Solon and Lycurgus, it is true, 
were law-givers, but in the time of Plato this office was not 
possible any longer. Plato refused further concession to the 
wishes of states because they would not consent to the first 
condition which he laid down ; and this was the abolishing 
of all private property. We sliall consider this principle 
later with his Practical Philosophy. 

Thus honored everywhere, and especially in Athens, Plato 
lived to the first year of the 108th Olympiad (348 B. C), and 

232 Tlie Philosophy of Flato. 

died on liis Ibirtli-day, at a wedding feast, in the 81st year of 
Ms age, 

Plato's Writings. 

We have first to speak of the external form in which Pla- 
to's Philosophy has come down to us ; and this includes the 
writings that we liave of him : they are without douht one of 
the fairest heritages which fate has preserved to us from an- 
tiquit}^. To expound his Philosophy however, wdiich is given 
in these writings in a form not really scientific, is an undertak- 
ing not rendered difficult so much through that unscientific 
form as through the fact that this Philosopliy has been under- 
stood diff'erently at different epochs ; and especially through 
the fact that it has been manipulated b}^ unskillful hands in 
modern times. These manipulators have either brought into 
it their crude conceptions, incapable of seizing what is spir- 
itual in a spiritual manner, or else have considered that as the 
essential and most remarkable in Plato's Philosophy which 
does not belong to philosophy at all in fact, but only to the 
form of conception. But after all it is only ignorance of 
Philosophy that renders difficult the apprehension of the 
Platonic Philosophy. The form and content of these works 
are of like attractiveness and importance. In their study we 
must however know beforehand what we have a right to seek 
in them and can expect to find ; and, on the other hand, we 
must not forget that the Platonic standpoint does not admit of 
some of the ideas familiar to modern times since its time was 
not ripe for it. Thus it may very well happen that the writ- 
ings do not satisfy at all the want with which loe enter Phi- 
losox)hy ; it is however always better that they should not 
entirely satisfy us, than that we should look upon them as the 
ultimatum, i\iQ last words on the subject. Plato's standpoint 
is definite, and a necessary one, but we in our time cannot hold 
implicitly to him, nor can we transplant ourselves back to 
the spirit of his time ; for Reason now makes higher demands. 
To set him up as our highest thinker, and his standpoint as 
the one that we must accept — this course belongs to the weak- 
lings of our time, who cannot sustain the great, the reall}' 
immense demands of the present spirit of humanity, and 
hence feel oppressed and flee back, faint-hearted, to him. 

The PUlosopliy of Plato. 233 

One must stand above Plato: i. e. know the needs of tlie 
thinking si^irit in our time, or ratlier have this need. As in 
the s{?ience of Pedagogy the endeavor is to educate men 
so as to protect them from the external world, i. e. to fit 
them for special spheres — that of the counting-house, for 
example — in which special sx>li^i't?s they know nothing of 
the world without and take no notice of it ; thus in Philoso- 
}Dhy they go back to religious faith, and thus too to the Plato- 
nic Philosophy. Both are phases which have their essential 
standpoint and position ; but they are not the Philosophy of 
our time. It may be right to go back to Plato in order to 
learn again from him the idea of Speculative Philosophy ; 
but it is a piece of frivolity to ape the poetic freedom of his 
style in dialogues concerning Universal Beaiity and Excel- 
lence. The literary Messrs. Schleiermachers — and that critical 
discrimination which discusses whether the one or the other 
Dialogue be genuine (concerning the great ones there can be 
no doubt, according to the testimony of the Ancients)— these 
are for Philosophy quite superlluous, and belong to the hy- 
percriticism of our time. 


Secondly, the character of the Platonic works offers to us 
in their manifoldness different styles of philosophizing ; and 
this becomes the first difficulty which prevents the under- 
standing of the Platonic Philosophy. Did we still possess 
the oral discourses {^agrapha dogmata) of Plato under the 
title "Upon the Good" {peri tagathon) which his disciples 
mention, and those "On Philosophy," or "Upon Ideas," or 
"Upon the Good" (upon which Brandis has written), which 
Aristotle cites and seems to have before him w^hen he treats 
of Platonic Philosophy : then we should have his Philosox^hy 
in a simple form, because he treated it systematically in those 
w^orks. But we have o]ily his dialogues ; and this shape 
makes it difficult for us to obtain a definite notion of his 
Philosophy. The form of the dialogue contains namely very 
lieterogeneous elements, in which real philosophizing con- 
cerning the absolute essence, and the pictured conceptions 
about it are mixed up promiscuously ; and this constitutes 
precisely the mixture found in the Platonic works. 

234 The Philosophy of Plato. 

Esoteric and Exoteric. 

Another difficulty is said to be tliis : that one slionld dis- 
tinguish what is exoteric from what is esoteric. Philosophy. 
Tennemann says : " Plato reserves to himself that privilege 
which is conceded to every thinker, viz., the xnivilege of 
imparting of his discoveries only so much as he found good,, 
and only to those to whom he might entrust their reception. 
Aristotle, too, had an esoteric and exoteric Philosophy, with 
only this difference, that it was with him a merely formal 
distinction, while with Plato it was also a material one." How 
simple ! He speaks as though a philosopher might be in pos- 
session of his thoughts just like external things ! But the 
philosophical idea is in reality something quite different — 
men do not possess it, but, on the contrary, it rather jDossesses 
the men. When philosophers explain themselves concerning 
philosophical objects they must be guided by their ideas; 
they cannot hold them in their pockets ; and if one sj)eaks 
with another in an external manner, the idea is always im- 
plied in what they say, if what they say only has content. 
To the delivery of an external thing there does not belong 
much, but to the communication of an idea there belongs fit- 
ness ; this remains always esoteric, and hence one has not to 
deal with what is merely exoteric in philosophers. These are 
superficial conceptions. 

What Person sjyeaks for Plato ? 

One need not count among the difficulties of comprehend- 
ing the real speculations of Plato, the external side, that Plato 
in his dialogues sj)eaks not in propria persona., but introdu- 
ces Socrates and many others discoursing, of whom one does 
not always know which one really conveys Plato's opinion. 
In respect to this historical circumstance which seems to per- 
tain to the many-sidedness of Plato, there has been much said 
by ancients and moderns; "he has only represented histori- 
cally the manner and doctrine of Socrates ;" " adopted much 
in his dialogues from this or that sophist, and evidently 
brought forward many old Plnlosophemes, principall}" Pytha- 
gorean, Heraclitic and Eleatic, and in the last accordingly the 
Eleatic form of treatment very much appears"; so that, accord- 

The PUlosopliy of Plato. 235 

ing to these views, these Philosophies would form the entire 
matter of the works and only the external form would belong 
to Plato ; — it is therefore necessary on this account to distin- 
guish what really belongs to him and what does not, and to 
see whether those ingredients harmonize with each other. In 
the Socratic dialogues as Cicero gives them one can easily 
make out the i^ersons, but with Cicero there is no fundamental 
interest [i. e. speculative content] in question. With Plato, 
however, there is no real ambiguity ; the difficulty is only 
apparent. From the dialogues of Plato, his Philosophy comes 
out quite clearly ; for they are not like the dialogues of many 
writers which consist of a collection of monologues, wherein 
one person holds this opinion, another that, and each remains 
of the same opinion finally. But the differences of opinion 
which occur are examined, and the result is that the true is 
arrived at ; or the entire movement of thought in the dialogue,, 
when the result is a negative one, belongs to Plato. Hence 
what belongs to Plato or to Socrates in the dialogue is evident 
without farther investigation. It is, however, to be remarked 
that since the essence of Philosophy is the same, each philo- 
sopher must necessarily take w^ the preceding Philosophies 
into his own ; what properly belongs to him, is how he has 
carried them out and developed them to a higher degree. 
Philosophy is therefore not a mere individual aflTair like a 
work of art ; and even in this it is mostly skill which the 
artist has acquired from others that gives him success. The 
invention of the artist is the thought of his whole work [i. e. 
his ideal], and the intelligent application of the previously 
found and prepared means ; the immediate impressions and 
peculiar inventions may be infinite in number. But Philosophy 
has one thought, one essence, lying at the basis ; and in the 
place of the earlier true recognition of the same, nothing else 
can be substituted, but it itself must enter into the later Phi- 
losophies with the same neceseitj as it first appeared. I have 
therefore already remarked that Plato's dialogues are not to be 
looked upon as though it was their business to give currency 
to the systems of different philosophers, nor as though his Phi- 
losophy was an Eclectic Philosophy which was formed out of 
them ; they are rather tlie knots in which these abstract, one- 
sided principles are now united in a truly concrete manner. 

236 Tlie PMlosopliy of Plato. 

In the general conception of a History of Philosophy we have 
already seen that such knots occur in the line of progress of 
philosophic development, and in these it is that the True ar- 
rives at concreteness. The Concrete is the unity of different 
determinations, or principles ; these, in order to become devel- 
oped, in order to come clearly before consciousness, must first 
be set up for and by themselves [each one as the sole truth]. 
Through this they receive as a matter of course the shape of 
one-sided abstractions as compared with the following higher 
one; the latter, however, does not destroy them, nor let them 
lie unnoticed, but takes them up as moments of its own higher 
principle. In the Platonic Philosophy we see, therefore, many 
Philosoi)hemes which belong to an earlier time, but they are 
taken up into Plato's deeper principle and therein united. 
This relation is possible from the fact that the Platonic Phi- 
losophy exhibits a totality of the idea : hence, as result, it in- 
cludes in itself the principles of the previous Philosophies. 
Plato in many of his w^orks attempts nothing else but an ex- 
position of the more ancient Philosophies ; and what there is 
peculiarly his own in these expositions consists only in the 
fact that he has expanded them. His Tim^eus, according to 
all testimony, is the enlargement of a Pythagorean writing 
which we still possess ; and, in the case of the Parmenides, 
Plato's enlargement is of such a kind that its original princi- 
ple is cancelled in its one-sidedness. 

The Form of the Platonic Uxjjosiiion. 

For the removal of these last two difficulties, as a solu- 
tion of the first, the form is to be characterized in which Plato 
has propounded his ideas; and another point is, to sepa- 
rate it from that which is Philosox)hy as such with him. The 
form of the Platonic Philosophy, as is well known, is that of 
the dialogue. The beauty of this form is especially attractive : 
yet one must not (as frequently happens) hold that it is the 
most perfect form of philosophical exposition ; it is a peculi- 
arity of Plato's, and as a work of art is worthj^ of being con- 

First, to the external form belongs the scenery and the 
dramatic shape. Plato makes for his dialogues a surrounding 
of actuality, — in the locality and persons, and begins with 

The Philosophy of Plato. 237 

some individual occasion which brings together these persons^ 
all of which is of itself very lovely and open. The chief per- 
son is Socrates ; among the others are many well known stars, 
such as Agathon, Zeno, Aristophanes, &c. We come to a 
place : in Plijedrus to a Plane-tree, to the clear waters of the 
Ilyssus, through which Socrates and Phsedrus pass together ; 
in other dialogues the place is at the halls of the Gymnasia, 
at the Academy, or at a banquet. For the reason that Plata 
himself never comes in by name, but puts his thoughts in the 
moutlis of other persons, he clears himself of all that is tlietic or 
dogmatic, perfectly; and we see just as little of the one who 
manipulates the machinery of the exhibition as we do in the 
histories of Thucydides or in Homer. Xenophon permits his 
personality to appear at times, and he exhibits everywhere the 
desire to justify the life and teachings of Socrates through ex- 
amples. With Plato, on the contrary, all is quite objective and 
plastic ; and he uses great art in removing far from himself his 
statements of doctrines, often putting them in the mouth of the 
third or fourth person. 

In the Tone of the exposition as regards the personal beha- 
vior of those who take part, there prevails moreover the most 
noble urbanity of cultivated men ; one learns then what refine- 
ment of manner is, and sees the man of the world who knows 
how to demean himself properly. Politeness does not quite 
express "urbanity," and contains something more, something 
superfluous, namely, expressions of respect, of preference, and 
obligation ; urbanity is the true politeness, and lies at the basis 
of it. Urbanity, however, holds fast to this : it concedes to each 
one with whom one speaks, perfect personal freedom of senti- 
ments and opinions, as well as the right to utter them ; so that 
one even in rejoinder and counterstatement implies in his tone 
that he holds his own utterance as a subjective one compared 
with the utterance of the other ; for it is a conversation into 
which persons enter as persons, and not the objective reason 
speaking with itself. . Hence, in all the energy of utterance it 
is always borne in mind that the other is also a thinking 
person : one must not speak oracularly, nor browbeat another. 
This urbanity is, however, not feigned, but rather the greatest 
frankness and sincerity; and this constitutes the charm of 
the dialogues of Plato. 

238 The PMlosophy of Plato. 

The dialogue is, finally, not a conversation in wliicli wliat 
one says lias and should have a contingent connection so as 
not to exhaust the subject. If one wishes merely to "con- 
verse," then chance and the caprice of fancy guide the dis- 
course. In the introduction, it is true, the dialogues of Plato 
have at times also this form of conversation, consequently the 
appearance of proceeding without design ; he makes Socrates 
set out from the particular conceptions of individuals, from 
their circle of ideas ; but later the dialogue comes to the devel- 
opment of the theme and the subjective phase of conversation 
vanishes, and then begins a fairer and more consequent dialec- 
tical progress. Socrates speaks, proceeds by himself in his 
argument, draws a conclusion, and gives to all this an external 
turn, putting it in the form of a question ; for most of the ques- 
tions are directed in such a manner that the person interroga- 
ted answers only yes or no. The dialogue would seem to be 
best adapted to exhibit an argument, because it moves alter- 
nately to and fro ; its different sides are divided up among dif- 
ferent persons, so that the theme gets life and animation. But 
the dialogue has this disadvantage — that the movement of the 
discussion seems to be guided by caprice ; the feeling always 
remains therefore, at the end of the dialogue, that the subject 
might have been treated differently and had different results. 
In the Platonic dialogues, however, this caprice is only appa- 
rent ; for the unfolding of the dialogue is in fact only a devel- 
opment of the subject-matter, and little is left to the persons 
conversing. Such persons, as we have seen in the dialogues 
quoted in our chapter on Socrates, are plastic persons in the 
dialogue. It is not their business merely to give their opinions, 
or, as the French express it, pour placer son mot. As in the 
examination in the Catechism the answers are prescribed, so 
in these dialogues ; for the author makes those who answer 
speak what he chooses. The question is so directed to the 
point, that only a quite simple answer is possible ; and in this 
consists precisely the beauty and greatness of this dialogic art, 
and by this means also it gains the appearance of naivete. 

Now there is combined with this external side of personality, 
in the first place, the fact that the Platonic Philosophy does not 
announce itself as a special field in which is begun some special 
science in its proper sphere ; but it admits the validity of the 

The FMmopliy of Plato. 239 

ordinaiy conceptions of the existing culture — those of Socra- 
tes, for example, as well as those of the Sophists and also of 
the earlier Philosophies — and refers likewise in the course of 
the procedure to examples, and the modes of view prevailing. 
A systematic exposition of Philosophy we could not expect 
to find in this form. In this lies the inconvenience for a 
general survey, since no standard is at hand by which to 
decide whether the subject is exhausted or not. Notwith- 
standing this, it is pervaded by one spirit, and one definite 
standpoint of Philosophy is portrayed in it, though this spirit 
does not appear in the definite form that our time demands. 
The philosophical culture of Plato as well as the general cul- 
ture of his time was not yet ripe for real scientific works ; 
the idea was yet too fresh and new, and it was reserved for 
Aristotle to be the first to succeed with a scientific, s^'ste- 
matic exposition. 

Defect of the Philosophic Standpoint. 

With this defect on the part of the form in Plato's expo- 
sition there is connected also a defect in view of the concrete 
determination of the idea itself, since there is a mixing up of 
the different elements of the Platonic Philosophy which are 
presented in these dialogues, namely, the mere opinions con- 
cerning Essence are intermingled with the strict comprehensive 
statements of the same, in a loose, popular manner, so that 
especially the former often assume a mythical exposition \— 
a mingling which is unavoidable in the earliest stages of real 
science seeking its true form. Plato's sublime mind, which 
had an intuition or representation of Spirit as such, penetra- 
ted its object with the speculative comprehension; but he 
only hegan this penetration, and did not as yet grasp together 
the entire reality thereof with the comprehension : or the 
knowing which appeared in Plato was not yet realized as a 
complete whole. Here it happens, therefore, that the notion of 
essence is separated again from its comprehension, and falls 
into opposition with it, so that he has not distinctly expressed 
the doctrine that the comprehension alone is the true essence : 
hence we see Plato speak of " God" and again of the "Abso- 
lute essence of things," but isolatedly, or in such a connection 
that the two seem to be separated, and " God" to be a term 

240 The Philosophy of Plato. 

employed by Representation to express the uncompreliended 
Essence. There enters also into the treatment for the further 
elaboration and reality of the exposition, the products of fan- 
cy ; in the place of scientific procedure (in accordance with 
the comprehension), we have myths — i. e. self-developed move- 
ments of phantasy, or stories taken from the realm of sensu- 
ous representation, which, though defined by thought, are not 
thoroughly interpenetrated by it. In general, what is spir- 
itual is determined through the forms of representation ; there 
are taken up, for example, sensuous phenomena of the body, 
or of nature at large, and tlioughts about them are paraded 
which do not at all exhaust the subject; they are not thor- 
oughly thought out, and the comprehension [i. e. the exhaus- 
tive idea of tlie whole] does not proceed [develop] independ- 
ently in itself. 

From these two causes it happens in the apprehension of 
the Platonic Philosophy that either too much or too little is 
found in it. The Ancients, the so-called Neo-Platonists, find 
too much ; they allegorized the Greek Mythology and x^re- 
sented it as an expression of ideas (which myths, of course,, 
always are), and they have likewise found the ideas contained 
in the Platonic myths and put them into the form of Philoso- 
phemes (in this consists solely the merit of Philosophy, that 
it exhibits the True in the [scientific] form of the Comprehen- 
sion) : so, too, what is found in a scientific form in Plato, is 
taken by the Neo-Platonists for the expression of the Abso- 
solute essence — e. g. the doctrine of essence in Parmenides is 
taken for " Plato's Theology" — as though Plato himself had 
not made a distinction between the two. Even in the Platonic 
pure thought, representation as sucli [thinking with images]^ 
is not entirely dispensed with : or it is not expressly said that 
these pure thoughts are in themselves the essence ; i. e. they 
do not have a higher meaning for Plato than representations 
do, and are not essence itself. — The moderns are apt to find too 
little ; for they cling to the side of representation and see re- 
ality in it. What is found in Plato in the form of Compre- 
hension, or as purely speculative, is apt to pass with them for 
a manipulation of abstract logical conceptions, or, as they 
express it, for "empty hair-splitting": and that which is given 
in the form of representation passes with them for a Philoso- 

The FTullosopliy of Plato. 241 

plieme. Tims we find in Tennemann and others a stri(;t 
rednction of Platonic philosophy to the forms of onr formal 
Metaphysics ; see, for example, his proof of the Being of God, 

However famous the mythic exposition of the philoso- 
pliemes in Plato may be, and altliongh it constitutes the 
attractive element in his dialogues, yet it gives rise to much 
misunderstanding ; and it is a mistake to hold these myths 
for the most excellent part of Plato's philosophy. Many 
philosophemes are indeed brought nearer to intelligibility 
through the mythical exposition ; yet it is not a true form of 
exposition ; philosophemes are thoughts which, in order to 
be pure, must be stated as thoughts. The myth is an expo- 
sition which always employs sensuous pictures which are 
directed to the faculty of representation and not to the think- 
ing activity ; therein lies, however, a weakness of thought 
which knows that it does not yet hold things firmly, and hence 
is not yet the free thought. The myth belongs to the peda- 
gogy of the human race, in that it excites and allures one to 
busy himself with the content; as an impure statement of 
thought through the use of sensuous forms, it cannot express 
what the thought intends. When the ability to comprehend 
is acquired, then the inytli is needed no longer. Plato fre- 
quently says : it is difficult to express himself on this subject, 
and hence he will have recourse to a myth ; this is easier, of 
course. And Plato saj^s of simple concepts, that they are de- 
pendent transitor}^ moments which have their ultimate truth 
in God ; and as he now speaks of God for the first time [i. e. 
without defining or deducing the idea of God], it is a mere 
representation. Thus the style of representation and the genu- 
inely speculative intermingle. 

Hence in order to derive the philosophy of Plato from his 
dialogues, it is necessary to separate what belongs to repre- 
sentation (imagination) from the philosophic idea itself, espe- 
cially^ in those places where he has recourse to a myth for the 
exposition of ai)liilosophic idea ; only by this precaution can 
one find out what belongs only to the form of representation, 
and as such is not essential to the thought. But if the reader 
does not of himself know what Gompreliension is, i. e. what 
the Speculative consists in, then there is great danger that 
when he is engaged with these myths he will derive a multi- 


242 Tlie Fliilosoijliy of Plato. 

tude of propositions and theorems from the dialogues, and 
offer them as Platonic philosophemes, when they are in real- 
ity nothing of the kind, but are merely forms of rej)resenta- 
tion. Thus, e. g., Plato in his Timseus makes use of the form 
of expression that God made the world and that d{3emons had 
certain functions to perform in the work ; this statement is 
made quite in the form of representation [i. e. symbolically]. 
IS'ow, if it is taken for a philosophical dogma of Plato, that 
God created the world, and that higher creatures of a spiritual 
kind exist, and have assisted God in the creation, although 
it must be confessed that this stands literally in Plato, yet it 
does not belong to his philosophy. When he says in the 
form of representation [i.e. symbolically] that the soul of man 
has a rational and an irrational part, this is to be taken with- 
out reserve ; but Plato adds, not philosophically, that the soul 
is composed of two kinds of substances, two sorts of things. 
When he represents knowing and learning as reminiscence, 
this doctrine can be taken to mean that the soul of man pre- 
existed before his birth. Likewise when he speaks of the 
most important elements of his philosophy, of ideas, of the 
universal, as the abiding and independent, as the models of 
sensuous things, we could easily be led to think those ideas, 
after the manner of the modern "categories of the imderstand- 
ing," to be substances which exist in the intellect of God, or 
exist for themselves as independent beings, e. g. as angels, 
outside of the real world. In line, all that is expressed in the 
form of representation [symbols] the moderns take for philos- 
ophy. Platonic philosophy can be construed in this way, and 
be justified by Plato's own words; but if one knows what 
philosophy is, he does not trouble himself about such sym- 
bolical expressions, and has no difficult^' in discovering what 
Plato intended. 

In the exposition of the Platonic philosophy itself which I 
now enter upon, although these two styles of writing cannot 
be entirely sundered, yet thej' must be carefull}^ distin- 
guished and criticised in a very different manner from that 
which is current in modern times. We have to unfold first 
Plato's general idea of philosophj^ and of scientific know- 
ledge, and secondly the s^Decial provinces in which he applies 
this idea. 

Tlie PMlosophy of Plato. 243 

Plato's Idea of the Value of Philosox>hy — its place in the State. 

As respects the general idea of pliilosopliy, tlie first point 
to consider is tlie view that Plato held with reference to the 
value of philosophy. We see in him a man qnite tilled with 
the importance of the knowledge of philosophy ; and he 
shows an enthusiasm for the thinking of that which is in-and- 
for-itself. The Cyrenaics set up the doctrine that the relation 
of existences to the individual consciousness is their essence, 
and the Cynics (posited) immediate freedom as essence : on 
the contrary, Plato posits the self-mediating unity of con- 
sciousness and essence, or scientilic knowing. He expresses 
everywhere the sublimest views regarding the worth of phi- 
losophy, and he manifests the deepest feeling and clearest con- 
sciousness that all else is to be regarded as inferior ; he speaks 
of it with the greatest animation, with energy, with all the 
pride of science ; we should not dare to assume his attitude 
toward philosophy in our day. Of the so-called modesty of 
science in the presence of other spheres there is no trace to 
be found in his writings — not even of man toward God. Plato 
is fully conscious of the nearness and unity of the human 
reason to God. One is very tolerant when he reads this- in 
Plato, an ancient, for it seems to be a thing entirely of the 
past ; in a modern philosopher, however, it would be taken 
as very wicked. Philosophy is to Plato the highest posses- 
sion, the essence, for men : it alone is that which man has to 
seek. From numerous passages on this subject, I quote one 
from the Tim?eus : " The knowledge of the most excellent 
things begins through the eyes. The distinction of the visi- 
ble day from the night, the lunations and revolutions of the 
planets, have produced the knowledge of time and given rise 
to the investigation of the nature of the whole. Whence we 
have gained philosophy ; and a greater good than it, given 
b}^ God to men, has neither come nor will ever come," 

One of the most famous and at the same time most con- 
demned passages is that in which he expresses himself on 
this subj ect in the Republic, since it contradicts so much the 
ordinary notions of men ; and it is the more striking inas- 
much as it concerns the relation of philosophy to the state, 
and hence to the actuality. For although one may attribute 
high value to it in other respects, yet those have merely a 

244 Til e Pit ilosopli y of Plato. 

subjective value; here, however, it concerns the constitution 
and government, the actuality. After Plato has made Socra- 
tes expound the true state, he makes Cllaucon interrupt this 
exj)osition by demanding of Socrates that he show how it is 
possible for such a state to exist. Socrates talks much round 
the point, will not come to it, seeks by subterfuges to avoid it, 
and asserts that he is not bound, when he gives a description 
of justice, also to explain how it may be established as an 
actual thing : grant this ; yet one must adduce the means 
through which, if not perfection, at least an approximation 
thereto, may be made possible. At last, when the question 
is pressed upon him, he says : " It shall be spoken even if it 
is to be overwhelmed with a flood of laughter and perfect in- 
credulity. Until philosophers rule in the state, or the now 
so-called kings and men in power philosopliize truly and per- 
fectly, and thus the ruling power and philosoph}^ coincide — 
until the different dispositions are united which now are 
isolated, and engaged in these provinces sejoaratel}^ for them- 
selves, pursuing the one or the other ; until then, oh friend 
Glaucon, there will be no end of evil for the ]3eople, nor, think 
I, for the human race in general ; and this state of which I 
spoke will not be produced nor see the light of the sun be- 
fore-' this happens. "This it is,'' adds Socrates, "that I have 
so long delayed to say because I know that it goes so much 
against the common view." Plato makes Glaucon answer : 
" Socrates, you have ex^jressed yourself in such a manner as 
to imply that you think that there are a multitude, and those 
not base people, who would throw off their mantles and grasp, 
the nearest best weapons, and, assembled in closed ranks, 
make a charge upon you ; and if you did not know how to 
appease them with reasons, you would have to repent bitterly." 
Plato thus sets up the doctrine of the necessity of this union 
of philosophy and government. As regards this demand, it 
may well seem a great piece of presumption on their part to 
demand that the government of the state should be put into 
the hands of philosox^hers ; for the basis of History is another 
than that of Philosophy. In History, the Idea as the abso- 
lute ruling power rejoroduces itself : in other words, Clod rules 
the world ; yet History is the idea which is realized in tlie 
natural form and not with consciousness of it at the same 

The Fliilosopliy of Plato. 245 

time. There is, of course, mncli respect paid to universal 
thouglits of riglit, etliics, wliat pleases God, &c. ; yet for the 
most part actions flow from the impulses of the individual 
incited by special ends and aims. The actualization of the 
idea, therefore, is l^rouglit about through a mingling of 
thoughts and comprehensions with immediate particular 
ends ; so that this actualization is produced only on one side 
througli thought, but on the other side through circumstan- 
ces, through human deeds, as means. These means seem 
often to be opposed to the idea, but this does not matter ; all 
these limited purposes are in fact only means of producing 
the idea, because the Idea is the absolute power in the world. 
The idea, consequently, comes to existence in the world, since 
it has no lack of anything ; [note the proof of tlie existence of 
God in the Meditations of Descartes : the Total and Universal 
has nothing to resist it ;] it is, however, not necessary that 
political rulers be conscious of the idea. 

In order to decide on the merits of this doctrine that the 
rulers of nations mast be philosophers, it is necessar}^ to con- 
sider well what is meant b}' philosophy in the Platonic sense 
and in the sense that was current in that time. The word 
" philosophy" has at different times had very different mean- 
ings. There was a time when they called a man who did not 
believe in ghosts, or in the existence of the devil, a philoso- 
pher, Notions of that sort are gone by, and it no longer 
occurs to any one to call a man a philosopher on this account. 
The English call that province philosoi)hy which is known 
b}^ us as experimental physics ; a philosopher in England is, 
consequently, any one who makes such experiments, and 
possesses theoretical acquaintance with chemistry, mechan- 
ics, &c. With Plato, on the other hand, philosophy is con- 
founded with the consciousness of the supersensuous which 
with us is termed religious consciousness ; Platonic philoso- 
phy is thus the consciousness of wliat is essentially true and 
right, the consciousness of universal ends in the state, and 
their practical validit}^ In the entire liistory, from the migra- 
tion of nations on to the time when Cliristianity became the 
universal religion, the business of philosophy has been noth- 
ing else but to realize the supersensuous realm which in the 
first place was for-and-by-itself — to realize this supersensuous 


246 The PMlosopliy of Plato. 

realm — that is to say, to mould tlie actuality into conformity 
with what is in-ancl-for-itself universal and true. This has 
been the further business of culture generally. A state, a 
government and constitution, in modern times has therefore 
quite another basis than a state of ancient times, and espe- 
ciall}^ of the time in which Plato lived. The Greeks gene- 
rally at tliat time were utterly discontented with their demo- 

V cratic constitutions and the state of affairs that resulted from 
them : so also have all philosoi^hers condemned the democra- 
cies of the Greek states in which such things happened as 
the punishment of their generals. [See Grote's History of 
Greece, chap, lxiv.] Under such a constitution, one is apt 
to think, the most honorable treatment would be shown 
toward the best men of the state : in fact, however, arbitra- 
riness and caprice held sway, and only for the moment was 
it restrained through such preponderating individualities 
and such geniuses in statesmanship as Aristides, Themisto- 
cles, and others ; — a condition of affairs which preceded the 
downfall of this form of constitution. In our states, on the 
contrary, the end and aim of the state, the universal good, is 
immanent and powerful in quite a different way from that in 
ancient time. The legal status of things, the tribunals, the 
constitution, the will of the people is so firm in itself that it 
is only for the moment to be disturbed ; and the question 
naturally arises whether anything at all is dependent upon 
the individual. "To govern" means, with us, to manage affairs 
in the actual state according to the nature of the circumstan- 
ces ; and this requires the ruler to have ji consciousness of the 
nature of those circumstances ; the actuality is to be brought 
into harmony with the comprehension [i. e. the Ideal], and 
hence the idea realized in existence. It is clear that when 
Plato says " Philosophy should govern," he means that the 

J status of affairs should be directed and controlled through 
universal principles. This is carried out in modern states 
much more completely, inasmuch as universal principles are 
essentially their basis ; of course, not in all modern states, 
but still in the greater part. Some are already upon this 
stage, others are in the midst of the struggle for it ; but it is 
generally acknowledged that such principles ought to consti- 
tute the substantial basis of government and administration. 

Tlie Pliilompliy of Plato. 247 

Thus the demand of Plato has been substantially realized 
in modern times. But what loe call Philosophy, the activity 
of pure thought, concerns the form, which has a peculiar prov- 
ince ; but it does not depend upon this form whether or not the 
Universal, freedom, the right, is made the principle of a state. 
An example of what a philosopher could accomplish upon 
a throne would be furnished in Marcus Aurelius ; there are, 
however, only private deeds that can be mentioned of him, 
and the Roman empire was not bettered by him. Frederic II. 
is, on the other hand, with justice called tlie philosophical 
king. He busied himself with Wollian metaphysics and 
French philosoph}^ and made verses, and was thus a philoso- 
pher according to the notions of his time ; philosophy seems 
to have been a special private concern of his own individual 
liking, and to have been distinct from his function as king. 
But he was also a philosophical king in the sense that he set 
up for his principle a quite universal end and aim, the wel- 
fare, the good of his state, in all his actions and in all direc- 
tions, in opposition to stipulations with other states, and in 
opposition to particular rights [privileges] in his own country, 
which he subordinated to the in-and-for-itself universal end 
and aim. Later, when it becomes an ethical and customary 
affair to follow the course marked out, the princes are not any 
longer called philosophers, although the same principle is 
extant, and the government and the institutions especially 
are founded on it. 

In the Republic, Plato speaks further yet, in an allegory, of 
the distinctions of condition in philosophic culture and of the / 
necessity for the existence of philosophy ; it is a prolix alle- 
gory which is remarkable for its brilliancy. He represents it 
as follows : " They conceive a subterranean dwelling like a 
cave with a long entrance open towards the light. Its inhab- 
itants are fastened in such a manner that they cannot turn 
their heads, and thus can only look towards the back of the 
cave. Far behind their backs there burns a torch on high. 
In the interval there extends, above, a road, and along it is 
built a low wall, and behind this wall" (towards the light) 
" are found men who bear and hold up over it, like the pup- 
pets in a marionette-theatre, all sorts of statues of men and 
beasts, while they alternately converse with each other and 

248 Tlie Pliilosopliy of Plato. 

are silent. Those fettered ones are able to see only the shad- 
ows of these figures as they fall on the opposite wall, and they 
take these shadows for the true reality ; and they hear what 
is said by those who are holding the puppets as it reverbe- 
rates from the wall in front of them and take it for the speech 
of the shadows. Now if it should so happen that one of them 
should get loose from his fetters and then was obliged to 
turn his neck so that he now could see things themselves, 
he would believe that which he now saw to be essenceless 
dreams, still thinking those shadows to be the true ; and if 
they drew up anyone into the light out of his prison, he would 
be blinded by the light and see nothing, and would hate those 
who drew him up to the light for having deprived him of the 
truth, and in place thereof prepared only j)ain and injury for 
him." This kind of myth belongs to what is peculiar^ the 
province of the Platonic Philosophy, namely, to draw a dis- 
tinction between the sensuous world in men and the con- 
sciousness of the supersensuous. 

Inasmuch as we now have to speak more at length of this 
subject, we must, secondly, proceed to consider the nature of 
TcnoiDing as it is according to Plato, and with it begin the ex- 
position of the Platonic Philosophy itself. 

The Nature of Cognition. 

(«) Plato delines pliilosoj)hers as those " who have an ap- 
petite for looking at the truth" (Republic, Book \ ., chap. 20). 
Glaucon: " This is correct ; but how do you illustrate it?" — 
Socrates : "I do not say this to every one ; you will, however, 
agree with me in this."— "In what?"— ''That since the beau- 
tiful is opposed to the ugly, they are two."—" Why not ?"— 
"With justice and injustice, good and evil, and of every other 
idea, tlie same is true ; each of them is one, taken for itself, 
thouo-h as to their relation with the actions and bodies and 
other ideas everywhere appearing, each one seems to be a 
manifold."—" You say right."—" I distinguish now according 
to this, on the one hand, the men who love public shows, de- 
light in arts, and practical men ; on the other hand, those of 
whom we are speaking and who alone are correctly called 
philosophers."—" How do you mean that ?"— " Namely, such 
as delight to see spectacles and hear stories, love tine voices 

Tlie FMlosopliy of Plato. 249 

and colors and shapes, and all that consists of the like ; but 
the nature of the Beautiful in general their thought is inca- 
pable of seeing and loving/' — " So it is." — " But those 
capable of going to the Beautiful itself and seeing it for 
itself, are these not rareT' — "Yes indeed.'" — "Now, whoever 
holds beautiful things for beautiful, but does not know Beau- 
ty itself, and when any one leads him to the knowledge of 
the same is not able to follow, do you suppose that he passes 
life in a waking or a dreaming state T (i. e. the non-philo- 
sophic are compared to dreamers.) " For, see, to dream, is 
it not this : when one — be he asleep, or awake even- — holds 
the likeness of a thing not for the likeness but for the thing 
itself which it resembles T — " I would, of course, say of him 
that he dreams." — " The Avaking man then, on the other hand, 
is he who holds the Beautiful itself for that which exists and 
who can recognize it as well as he can recognize that which 
only participates in it [i. e. sensuous things], and does not 
confound the two." 

In this philosophiccil exposition we see in some sort what 
the so much talked of Platonic Ideas are. The Idea is noth- 
ing but what is current with us under the name of the Uni- 
versal, when this word is not taken in the sense of formal 
Universal — which is only a property of things — but as the 
in-and-for-itself existent, as the essence, as that which alone 
is true. We translate the Greek word ^^eidos'' by '■''genus'- or 
^^S'j)ecies'^ (German, Gattung^ or Art), and the idea is of course 
the genus, but in the form in which it is apprehended by 
thought and exists for it. When " genus "' or " species "' is 
seized as a number of similar determinations collected by 
retiection from several individuals, to serve as a inark for the 
convenience of the understanding, then we have the Universal 
in quite an external [superficial] form. The genus [generic 
element] of the animal is, however, his vitality ; this vitality 
is his substantiality, and if one takes this from him, nothing- 
is left. Philosophy is thus to Plato in general the science of 
this in-itself Universal, to which he, in opposition to the indi- 
vidual, again and again returns. Diogenes Laertius relates : 
" When Plato spoke of the tahle-uess and goblet-ness, Dioge- 
nes the cynic said, 'I see indeed a table and a goblet, but not 
the tahle-ness nor the goblet-ness.^ 'Right,' answered Plato ; 

250 Tlie PMlosopliy of Plato. 

' for though you have eyes which serve to see the table and 
the goblet, yet the wherewith to see table-ness and goblet- 
ness, i. e. Reason,, you have not.' " — What Socrates began is 
thus completed by Plato, who recognizes only the Universal, 
the idea, the good, as the essential. By the exposition of his 
"Ideas" Plato has revealed the Intellectual- World, which, 
however, is not a "beyond" to Actuality, i.e. in heaven or 
some other place outside of existing reality, but the actual 
world itself. This is also what Leucippus has done : the ideal 
is brought nearer the actuality and not — metapli3^sically — 
placed behind nature. The essence of the doctrine of ideas 
is accordingly the view, that the True is not the sensuous 
existence, but that the True is that which is self-determined, 
in-and-for-itself universal, and that this alone is existent in 
the world : the intellectual- world is therefore the true, that 
which alone is worth knowing ; it is the eternal, and in-and- 
for-itself [potential and actual] divine. Differences are not 
what endures, but what exists only in a state of change ; yet 
the Absolute of Plato as that which is in-itself one and self- 
identical, is, at the same time, essentially concrete, inasmuch 
as it is a movement which returns into itself and is eternally 
by itself [i. e. self-contained]. The love for ideas is what 
Plato calls '' enthusiasm." 

The misunderstanding which arises concerning the Plato- 
nic ideas is twofold. The first springs from that kind of 
thought which is formal, and holds that to be the true reality 
which is sensuously represented — what Plato calls mere shad- 
ows. When Plato, namely, speaks of the Universal as the 
Essence, such a habit of thought conceives the Universal only 
in the form of a property, i. e. as a mere thought [an abstrac- 
tion made by and existing] in our understanding ; or else it 
conceives that Plato takes this universal as substance, as an 
essence in itself, which in tliat case falls (uitside of us [i. e. 
has corporeal existence like the things for which it is substi- 
tuted]. Again, when Plato uses the expression, " Sensuous 
tilings — like copies — resemble that which is in-and-for-itself," 
or " the idea is their model and archetype," these " ideas " 
if not exactly understood as if they were things, yet are 
taken for a sort of transcendental beings which lie somewhere 
outside of us, afar off in an extra-mundane intelligence, and 

Tlie PliUoso'pliy of Plato. 251 

are pictured conceptions, wliicli are kept out of sight like the 
model of the artist, according to which he fashions a given 
material and moulds it into shape. Inasmuch, namely, as 
they are removed from this sensuously objective actuality 
vi^hich passes for truth, and are separated from the actuality 
of the individual consciousness, it follows that the Ego which 
thinks them, and whose original representations they are, 
must be conceived as outside of consciousness and be repre- 
sented always as something alien to it. 

The second misunderstanding which prevails in respect to 
ideas, is, not that they lie outside of our consciousness, but 
that although they pass for necessary ideals of our reason, 
yet their productions neither have reality now, nor can ever 
reach it. As in the case just considered, where the "Bej'ond" 
was an extra-mundane conception in which the genera or spe- 
cies were regarded as substances, so in this case our Reason 
is taken as such a "beyond" to Reality. When, however, they 
are taken as the forms of Reality in us, then another misun- 
derstanding arises inasmuch as they are seized as being of an 
aesthetic nature [i. e. belong to the sensory] ; in this wa^^ they 
come to be regarded as " intellectual intuitions," which must 
be seen through immediate vision, and thus belong either to 
the fortunate possessor of genius, or to him who attains to a 
condition of ecstasy and inspiration. Such intellectual intui- 
tions would be only products of imagination or phantasy ; 
but Plato's Ideas are not such products, nor are such products 
adequate to the knowing of truth. The Ideas are not found 
in immediate consciousness, but they are to be reached only 
in and through scientific cognition : and they are immediate 
intuitions only in so far as they consist of the simple results 
which scientific cognition arrives at by its processes. In other 
words. Immediate intuition is qv\j that phase in the process 
of knowing which seizes the simple result. For this reason, 
one cannot be said to hcvi^e them (intellectual intuitions), but 
they are produced through the activity of the cognizing mind. 
Enthusiasm is their first irregular production, btit scientific 
thought brings them first into a rationally develoj)ed shape 
and into the daylight : in it they are likewise real, for they 
are the only being. 

Accordingly, Plato distinguishes, in the first place, science, 

252 Tlie PUlosopliy of Plato. 

the knowledge of tliat which is in trnth, from opinion (Re- 
public y., chap. XXI. & XXII.) : " Such a thinking as cognizes 
[systematically] we may reasonably call science, but the other 
should be called opinion. The scientific thought relates to 
that Avhich is ; opinion is opposed to it, but in such a manner 
that its content is not nothing — that would be ignorance — but 
it is something opined. Opinion is hence the middle ground 
between ignorance and science, and its content is a mingling 
of being and nought. Sensuous objects, the subject-matter 
of o2)inion — in short, — oi\\j participates in the 
Beautiful, the Good, the Just, i. e. in the Universal ; but it 
participates likewise in the Ugly, the Bad, the Unjust, &c. 
The twofold is likewise half of each. The individual is not 
merely either great or small, light or heavy, i. e. merely one 
of these opposites, but every individual is as well the one as 
the other. Such a mingling of being and non-being is the 
individual which is the object of opinion"; — a mingling in 
which the oppositions have not been dissolved into the Uni- 
versal. The latter [i. e. the solving the antitheses in the Uni- 
versal] vv'ould be the speculative idea of science, while the 
ordinary form of our consciousness belongs to " opinion.'" 

(?/) Before we turn to the consideration of the objective, 
in-itself-existent content of scientific thought, we must first 
consider more in detail, the subjective existence of know- 
ledge in consciousness, as Plato holds it ; and secondly, how 
the content as soul is, or is manife'sted in Representation ; 
and these two sides constitute the relation of scientific know- 
ledge, as the Universal, to the individual consciousness. 


(a) The source of our knowledge of the Divine is the same 
that we mentioned before when speaking of Socrates. The 
Mind of man contains the very essence [i. e. self-existence] in 
itself, and in order to acquire a knowledge of the divine, one 
must develop it in himself and bring it to consciousness. 
"While, however, with the Socratic school this discussion con- 
cerning the immanence of science in the Mind of man [i. e. its 
self-origination] occurs in the form of the question, whether 
virtue can be taught ; and with the sophist Protagoras takes 
the form of the question, whether sensation is the true — (a 

The PUlosoplty of Plato. 253 

question which touches closely the content of science as well 
as the distinction of it from opinion) : while these views had 
been advanced before him, Plato went further, and held that 
the culture for this scientific cognition is not a learning as 
such, but that what we seem to learn is nothing else than 
REMINISCENCE. To tliis subject Plato frequently alludes, but 
he treats it most at length in the " Meno"; in which place he 
asserts that there can be nothing really learned, but that learn- 
ing is rather only a process of recalling that which we j^ossess 
already, and that the effort which consciousness makes to 
learn anj^thing is only the excitant to recollection. Plato 
thus gives a speculative meaning to that question in so far as 
it relates to the nature of scientific cognition, and not to the 
empirical view of the process of acquiring knowledge. To 
learn — namely, according to the ordinary notion of it — ex- 
presses the taking up of a foreign somewhat into the think- 
ing consciousness: a kind of mechanical combination and 
filling up of an em2:)ty space with things wiiich are them- 
selves of a foreign nature and indifferent to the space which 
they fill. Such an external state of relation toward that which 
has come into it — a relation in which the soul appears as 
tahiiUi rasa — belongs to that style of thinking which makes 
out the growth of a living being to be a mere addition of par- 
ticles, and is something dead, and unfitting for the nature of 
Mind, which is subjectivity, unity, being which is b3-itself, 
and eternal in its nature. Plato, however, conceives the true 
nature of consciousness (in the doctrine of Reminiscence), 
spirit to be— in which there already exists that which is its 
object ; in other words, spirit is that Being which is for- itself. 
This doctrine contains the comprehension [or exhaustive defi- 
nition] of the true universal in its movement ; the genus, 
which is in itself its own becoming [or self-generating] since 
it is already in itself [potentially] what it is to become subse- 
quently^ for- itself; — a movement in which it does not proceed 
beyond itself [but moves in a circle]. This absolute genus 
is spirit, whose movement is only the constant return into 
itself; so that nothing is for it which is not /;i, it itself : to 
learn, according to this, is this movement in which no foreign 
somewhat is added to it, but instead thereof its own essence 
becomes for it, i. e. it comes to consciousness of itself. That 

254 The PMlosopJiy of Plato. 

which is not yet learned is the sonl, the consciousness repre- 
sented as natural being. That which excites mind to science 
is this appearance (and the confusion caused by it), that the 
essence of spirit exists as its other, as its negative : a form of 
appearance [its own appearance as otlier to itself] which con- 
tradicts its essence ; for mind [spirit] has, or is, the internal 
certitude that it is all reality. Since it cancels this appear- 
ance of the other being [of being objective to itself], it com- 
preliends the objective, i. e. arrives at a consciousness of itself, 
and by so doing reaches science. Images (representations) 
of individual, temporal, transitory things come, of course, 
from without ; but such is not the case with universal 
thoughts which, as the True, have their root in the Mind and 
belong to its nature ; through this [universal thought], then, 
is all external authority rendered superfluous. 

Recollection [Ger. ErmneTiing\ in one sense, is an unfitting 
expression : namely, in this, that it signifies the reproduction 
of a representation which one has had already at another 
time. But recollection {Erinneriing = internalizing] has also 
another sense which its etymology gives it, namely, that of 
[Re-collecting] going into itself : this is the deep meaning of 
the word [it is scarcely found in English]. In this sense, it can 
certainly be said that the cognition of the Universal is nothing 
but a going-into-onesself : that which shows itself at first in 
an external form [i. e. is sensuously perceived], and is deter- 
mined as a manifold, is converted by us into something inter- 
nal, a universal, through the act by which we go into ourselves 
and recall to mind what is in the depths of our soul. "With 
Plato however, it is not to be denied, the exjDression " recol- 
lection''' has cliiefiy the empirical sense first named. This 
happens because Plato states the true comprehension (that 
consciousness is in itself the content of knowing), parti}', in 
the form of representation [i. e. through symbols] and mythi- 
cally ; so that just here the already mentioned mingling of 
representation and of comprehension enters. In "Meno" 
Socrates undertakes to show, by questioning a slave who had 
had no instruction, that learning is a recollection. Socra- 
tes asks him questions and lets him answer according to 
his own opinion, without teaching him anything, or assert- 
ing anything to be true ; and brings him through this finally 

Tlie Plvilosopliy of Plato. 255 

to the expression of a geometrical proposition of the ratio of 
the diameter [diagonal] of a square to its side. The slave 
draws out of himself the science, so that it seems as if he only 
recollected what he already knew but had forgotten. When 
Plato calls this procedure of drawing out science from con- 
sciousness a recollection, it involves the assumption that it 
already has been once actually in the consciousness : i. e. that 
the individual consciousness has not only in itself [potential- 
ly], according to its essence, the content of knowing, but also 
has already heen in possession of it as this individual con- 
sciousness, and not in general. But this element of individu- 
ality belongs only to the stage of representation ; and recol- 
lection is not thought [technically speaking], for Recollection 
has its function in man as a sensuous individual, and not as 
being Universal. The nature of the production of science is 
on this account here mixed up with what is individual, 
i. e. with representation ; and cognition here enters in the 
form of soul, as the form of the in-itself [potentially] exist- 
ing essence, the one, since the soul is only a moment [an 
element] of spirit. Inasmuch as Plato here passes over into 
the loose style of thinking (i. e. with images), whose content 
has no longer the pure signiiication of the Universal but only 
of the individual, he gives to its further development a myth- 
ical shape. He imagines that being-in-itself of spirit in the 
form of a pre-existence in time, as though the True had ex- 
isted for us at some former time. But at the same time it is 
to be remarked that he gives this not as a philosophical doc- 
trine but in the shape of a tradition {saga) which he has 
received from priests and priestesses who are well-informed 
["posted up"] in divine things. Similar things are narrated 
by Pindar and other divine men. According to these tradi- 
tions, the soul of man is immortal, and that which one calls 
death ceases to be, but the soul comes [after it] again into 
existence, and in nowise perishes : "If now the soul is immor- 
tal and frequentty reappears" (metempsychosis), "and has 
seen all — that which is in Hades" (in unconsciousness) "just 
as well as that which is here — then there is no such thing as 
learning ; it is onl}" a recalling of that which has been seen 
elsewhere." This allusion to the Egyptian doctrine, though 
it is only a sensuous determinateness, is seized upon by the 

256 Tlie PUlosopJty of Plato. 

historians of philosophy, who tell us that ''Plato has affi,niied 
that," &c. ; but Plato has not "affirmed" these things ; it does 
not belong at all to philosophy, and above all not to his own 
philosophy ; nor is that which we shall hnd afterwards con- 
cerning God to be considered his philosophy. 

{h) In other dialogues this mytUus is further and more 
splendidly developed ; he alleges, in the ordinary acceptation 
of the term " recollection," that the mind of man has seen at 
a former time that which develops in it its consciousness of 
the true and in-itself-existent. It is however, in this connec- 
tion, Plato's chief endeavor to show by this doctrine of remi- 
niscence that Spirit, Soul, Thinking in-and-for-itself, is free ; 
and this has with the ancients, and especially in the Platonic 
style of representing it, an immediate connection with that 
which we call the Immortality of the Soul. 

(rt«) In Phfedrus, Plato speaks of it where he attempts to 
show that Love {Eros) is a divine mania given to us for the 
greatest happiness. This is an enthusiasm which is a mighty, 
all-prevailing impulse toward the Idea : but it is no enthu- 
siasm of the breast or of feeling, no intuition, but a con- 
sciousness and knowledge of the Ideal. Plato says he must 
explain the nature of the divine and human soul in order to 
explain Eros [Phfedrus, 51] : " The first [position] is that the 
soul is immortal. For that which moves itself is immortal and 
unchangeable ; but whatever has its movement from another 
is changeable. Whatever moves itself is [a prime mover 
or] Principle ; for it has its origin and beginning in itself and 
from no other: and just as little can it cease to move itself; 
for only that ceases which has its movement from another." 
Plato develops thus at first t\\^ simple comprehension of the 
soul as the self-moving, which [the soul] is in so far a moment 
[subordinate element] of spirit ; but the real life of spirit in- 
and-for-itself is the consciousness of the absoluteness and 
freedom of the ego itself. If we [moderns] speak of the im- 
mortalit}^ of the soul, we generally represent it as a physical 
thing which has properties : and while these may be changed, 
it [the soul] is so constituted as to be independent of them 
and not subject to change. Among these properties of the 
soul, which in that case are represented as independent of the 
thing [i. e. the soul], there is found that of thinking ; and the 

The PliilosoiDliy of Plato. 257 

tliinking activity is here determined as tlioiigli it were a 
tiling, and as though it coukl perish and cease to be. In 
this question, therefore, it is the interest of the doctrine 
presented in this style to represent the soul as an unchange- 
able thing that can subsist without having fanc}^, thought, 
«&c. With Plato, on the contrary, the immortality of the 
soul depends immediately upon the fact that the soul itself 
is the thinking activity ; so that thought is not a property 
of the soul, but its substance. It is with the attributes of 
the soul just as it is with those of a body ; gravity is not a 
quality of a body, but its substance: just as the body would 
no longer exist if gravity [i. e. all attraction— cohesion and its 
other forms] were removed, -so the soul would not any longer 
exist if the thinking activity were taken away. Thinking- 
is the activity of the Universal ; it, however, is not an ab- 
straction, but that which is reflected into itself, that which 
posits itself identical with itself, a process which takes place 
in all representations [i. e. in representing I am conscious 
that the image or picture in my mind is my own production] ; 
while the thinking activity is unchangeable and remains 
self-contained throughout all change, the soul itself is that 
which preserves its identity while in another : e. g. in sensuous 
intuition it is involved with another, with external material, 
and yet it preserves its self-identity at the same time. Im- 
mortality lias, therefore, with Plato not the interest which it 
has with us in a religious asj^ect ; it is rather connected by 
Plato with the nature of thinking, i. e. with its internal free- 
dom ; and thus it is united to that doctrine which lies at the 
basis of that which is the chief characteristic of the Platonic 
philosophy, to wit : this supersensuous foundation which 
Plato has established ; with Plato, therefore, the immortality 
of the soul is also of the greatest importance. 

The Lapse of the Soul. 

[Phsedrus, 53-55 :] " The exposition of the soul," he con- 
tinues, " is a long and divine investigation ; but a similitude 
thereof may easily be given in a human mode." Here follows 
the allegory, which is, however, somewhat motley and incon- 
sistent. He says : " The soul is likened unto the united power 
of a chariot and driver." This image [unfamiliar to our time] 

258 The Philosophy of Plato. 

does not speak to ns. " The horses," (the impulse) " and the 
charioteers of the gods are good and from a good source. Our 
charioteer guides the reins ; but only one of the [our] horses is 
beautiful and good and of such origin, the other is the oppo- 
site and of opposite pedigree. On this account the guiding 
is difficult and troublesome. How the terms mortal and im- 
mortal apply to this being we must attempt to explain. 
Every soul is anxious about that which is inanimate, and 
wanders through the whole heavens passing from one idea 
into another. If it is perfect and winged, it soars aloft," i. e. 
has sublime thoughts, "and regulates the entire world. AVhen. 
however, its wings sink, the soul impels itself around till it 
meets with something solid ; it then assumes an earthly bod}^ 
which it moves through its own power; and the whole is 
-^called an animal, it being a soul and a body joined together, 
and has the appellation of mortal." The one is thus the soul 
as a thinking activity, that which is in-and-for-itself ; the 
other is the combination of it with matter. This transi- 
tion from thinking to corporeal nature is very difficult, and 
for the ancients too difficult to comprehend; we shall see 
more concerning it when we come to treat of Aristotle. 
From what has been said one can see the ground of the view 
which generally prevails concerning the Platonic philoso- 
pheme, that the soul has existed for itself before this life, and 
from thence has lapsed into matter, united itself .with it and 
thereby polluted itself with it, and that its destination is 
to abandon matter again. The connection of the two sides 
which arise in the process by which the spiritual realizes it- 
self from and out of itself is a point that is not discussed in 
all its depth by the ancients ; they have two abstractions, 
soul and matter, and the connection is expressed onl}^ in the 
form of the lapse of the soul. 

"But the immortal," continues Plato" — if we do not express 
it according to scientific thought, but picture it in conformit}' 
with the style of representation, which does not discern nor 
adequately comprehend God, — the immortal life of God is 
that in which he possesses a body and a soul, but which are 
united through their essential nature," i. e. made one not in 
an external manner, but in and for themselves. Soul and body 
are two abstractions, life is the unity of both ; and since God's 

Tlie PhUosoiJhy of Plato. 259 

nature is defined for the representation [i. e. expressed sym- 
bolically] as that whose soul and body are indivisibly in one, 
he is therefore Reason, whose form and content are insej)ara- 
bly one. This is a great definition of God, a great idea which 
indeed, for that matter, is no other than the definition of mod- 
ern times: the identity of subjectivity and objectivity, the 
inseparableness of the ideal and real, — i. e. of the soul and 
the body. The mortal, the finite, is on the contrary deter- 
mined by Plato correctly as that whose existence is not abso- 
lutely adequate to the idea, or, in other words, to the form of 

Plato now describes further how it comes to pass in the life 
of the divine essence, what spectacle the soul has before it, 
and how the loss of its wings happens : " The chariots of the 
gods travel along in ranks, which the leader Jupiter conducts, 
driving his winged chariot. The host of other gods and god- 
desses, arranged in eleven divisions, follow him ; and each per- 
forming his part, they act the most magnificent and blessed 
spectacles. The substance, devoid of color, shape, and feel- 
ing, allows thought alone, that which guides the soul, to be 
its spectator : and thus there arises for it true science. [See 
Kapila, LIX. to LXVI., p. 228, vol. II. Jour. Sp. Phil.] Thus 
it sees that which IS, and lives in the contemplation of the 
True since it follows the circle (of ideas) which returns into 
itself. In this circle" (of gods) "it beholds Justice, Temper- 
ance, and Science, not [as qualities] of that which we call 
' things,' but as existing in truth in-and-for-itself." This is 
now expressed after the manner of an occurrence or event. 
When the soul conies back from this exhibition [spectacle], 
the charioteer takes his horses to the manger, feeds them with 
ambrosia, and waters them with nectar. This is the life of 
the gods. But other souls, fallen into tumult through failure 
on the .part of the charioteer or of the horses, issue with bro- 
ken wings from that celestial region, cease to see the truth 
[i. e. mistake a^iipearance for real being], nourish themselves 
v/itli the food of Opinion, and fall upon the earth ; according 
to its experience — the fact of its having seen more or less — 
it comes to a higher or lower station here. In this condition, 
it still has a recollection of that which it saw ; and if it spies 
anything beautiful, just, i&c., it is beside itself with enthusi. 

260 The Philosopliy of Plato. 

asm. The wings again gain power ; and the soul, especially 
of the philosopher, remembers its former condition in which 
it saw not merely something beautiful, something just, &c.y 
but Beauty and Justice themselves." Since the life of gods 
is possible for the soul, when in the presence of the indi- 
vidual Beautiful, it is reminded of the Universal, it follows 
that there exists in the soul (just as in such existence in-and- 
for-itself) the idea of the Beautiful, Good, Just, as of existen- 
ces in-and-for-themselves and which are in-and-for-themselves 
Universal. This constitutes the general basis of the Platonic 
theory. When Plato speaks of science as reminiscence, he 
intends to have this taken only in a symbolical or allegorical 
sense. He does not take this in the sense that certain theo- 
logians have done, who seriously debated the question whether 
the soul had pre-existed before its birth, and if so, where. It 
cannot be shown that Plato believed this, and he never spoke 
of it in the sense that the theologians discuss it ; just as little 
evidence is there that he thought this life to be a lapse from 
a perfect condition, or an incarceration, &c. But that which 
Plato expresses as truth is this : that Consciousness is, in its 
form as Reason, the divine essence and life ; that man looks 
upon it in pure thinking and cognizes it, and this cognition 
itself is this celestial abode and activity. 

{hh) More distinctly, cognition makes its appearance in its 
form as soul in the passage where Plato in the Pli?edon has 
unfolded these notions of the immortality of the soul. 
What in the Phfedrus is stated as a myth, and clearly distin- 
guished from a scientific statement of the truth, is not thus 
carefully discriminated in the Phsedon, that famed dialogue 
in which Plato makes Socrates speak of the immortality of the 
soul. That Plato connects this investigation with the his- 
tory of the death of Socrates, has seemed worthy of admira- 
tion in all ages. There seems nothing more fitting than to 
place the argument in favor of immortality in the mouth of 
him who is on the point of departure from this life, and to 
animate that conviction through this scene, as well as such a 
death reciprocally through the conviction. It is at the same 
time to be remarked that what is fitting under the circum- 
stances would seem to be this : that it becomes a dying per- 
son first to busy himself with his own fate instead of the 

TTie Philosopliy of Plato. 261 

Universal — with this certitude of himself as a particular being 
instead of with truth. We therefore meet here with the least 
degree of separation between the forms of representation and 
of the comprehension ; but in this exposition the form of rej)- 
resentation is far removed from descending to the crude view 
whicli conceives the soul as a thing, and, in the style of speak- 
ing of a thing, asks after its duration or its subsistence. We 
find Socrates affirming that the body and what appertains to 
bodj^ is a hindrance to the striving after wisdom and to the 
exclusive pursuit of philosophy, for the reason that sensuous 
intuition shows nothing pure as it is in itself, and that what 
is true is to be known only through removal of the soul from 
what is corporeal. For Justice, Beauty, and the like generic 
entities, are alone what truly exists, that to which all change 
and death is foreign; and it is not through the body, but 
through the soul alone, that they are contemplated. (Phsedo 

In this separation we see the essence of the soul considered 
not as if it were a " thing," but as the Universal : still more 
is this the case in the following passages, through which 
Plato proves immortality. One of the principal thoughts in 
this proof is the one already considered, that the soul has 
already existed before this life, because learning is only 
reminiscence (Ph?edo 49-57) ; which involves that the soul is 
already in itself [i. e. potentially] what it will become for 
itself. One ought not, in this connection, to have recourse to 
the wretched theory of "innate ideas": an expression which 
implies a natural being of ideas, as though the thoughts were 
already in some measure fixed, and liad a natural being that 
did not originate through the activity of spirit. But Plato 
lays most stress on this argument for immortality : the com- 
posite is subject to dissolution and decay ; the simple, on the 
contrary, can be in no manner dissolved and destroyed ; what, 
however, is always like itself, and the same, is simple. This 
simple — the Beautiful and Good, the self-identical, is incapa- 
ble of any change ; while, on the contrary, those in whom 
these universals exist — men, things, &c. — are changeable, and 
23erceptible by the senses ; but the former is supersensuous. 
The soul on this account, whicli exists as a thinking being, 
iind associates with simple essences as with its kindred, must 

262 Tlie PMlosoi^liy of Plato. 

on this account be held for a simple nature. Here, then, it is. 
clear again that Plato takes simplicity not as simplicity of a 
thing, e. g. not as the simplicity of a chemical element which 
can be shown as incapable of further analysis ; such simple 
being as this would be only the empty abstract identity or 
universality, the simple as a being [or thing]. 

Finally, however, [in the dialogue referred to — the Phffido] 
the Universal actually makes its appearance in the shape of 
a thing; this occurs where Plato makes Simmias assert in 
this respect : a harmony that we hear is nothing else than a 
imiversal, a simple which is a unity of different things ; this 
harmony, however, is connected with a sensuous thing, and 
vanishes with it just as the music of the lyre perishes with 
with the destruction of the lyre. In answer to this, Plato 
makes Socrates show that the soul is not a harmony of this 
kind ; for this sensuous harmony originates after the things 
exist and as a result of the same, but the harmony of the soul 
is in-and-for-itself before all sensuous being. The sensuous 
harmony has, moreover, different degrees of pitch, while the 
harmony of the soul has no quantitative distinctions what- 
ever. From this it is clear that Plato holds the essence of the 
soul to be quite universal, and posits its true being not in its 
sensuous individuality ; accordingly also the immortality of 
the soul cannot be taken by him in the sense in which we 
take it, namely, as that of an individual thing. "When now, 
furthermore, the myth comes to treat of the residence of the 
soul after death in another more splendid and glorious earth> 
w^e may readily understand what to make of it. 


(c) As regards the education and culture of the soul, it is. 
connected with the theory just considered. But one must not 
think the idealism of Plato to be a subjective idealism, or a 
spurious idealism like that which has become prevalent in 
modern times, which holds the doctrine that one learns noth- 
ing at all from without, and is not in any way externally 
determined, but generates all its representations from itself 
as subject. Idealism is frequently defined as the doctrine 
which represents the individual as creating in himself all his 
ideas, even the most immediate ones, by his own activity. 

Tlie Pliilosoi^liy of Plato. ' 263 

This is, however, an nnhistorical, quite false notion ; in the 
sense that this crude theory defines idealism, there are no 
idealists, at least among philosophers [nor outside a lunatic 
asylum], and certainly the Platonic idealism is very far re- 
moved from it. In the seventh book of his Eepublic, Plato 
speaks — in connection with that which I have already cited 
[the allegory of the cave] — especially of the manner in which 
this learning — through which the universal, previously impli- 
cit in spirit, is developed out of it — is accomplished : " We 
must hold this view respecting science and the process of 
learning, that they are not so constituted as some have given 
out" (he means thereby the Sophists) "who speak.of culture 
as though knowing is not contained in the sonl, but as if one 
had to introduce science into the soul in the same manner 
that seeing is i^laced in blind eyes." This notion, that know- 
ing comes entirely from without, is found in modern times 
with very abstract, crude, empirical philosophers, such, e.g., 
as have asserted that all that man knows of the divine comes 
in through education and habit, and hence that spirit is only 
a quite undetermined possibility of knowledge. The extreme 
phase of this view is the doctrine of revelation, in which all 
is given from without. In the Protestant Religion this crude 
view does not occur in its abstract form ; in it [i. e. Protest- 
antism] the "testimony of the spirit" is considered as belong- 
ing essentially to faith ; in other words, it is essential that the 
individual subjective spirit (in-and-for-itself) shall contain and 
posit the internal sense of the dogma which is given to it b}^ 
external anthority. Hence Plato speaks against that view, 
and remarks in relation to the above allegoric myth : "Reason 
teaches that in each man there dwells, as an immanent faculty 
of his soul, the organ with which he learns ; namely, as if the 
eye could not turn from darkness to light unless the whole body 
moved with it ; in this manner one must be turned away with 
the whole soul from the transient occurrences surrounding 
him" (the contingent sensations and representations) towards 
the [truly] existent till he is capable of enduring the contem- 
plation of the highest clearness of existence. This existent, 
however, we term the good. Its art would be the art of in- 
strnction how to turn the soul round so as to contemplate 
existence ; and indeed in what manner to turn it around in 

264 • Tlie Philosophy of Plato. 

the easiest and most effective way, not for the sake of im- 
planting the sight in him, because he has it already, but is 
not proiDerly turned towards it, and does not see the object 
which he should see. The other virtues of the soul stand 
more nearly related to the body ; they are not previously 
contained in the soul, but come into it by degrees through 
exercise and custom. The thinking activity, on the contrary, 
as possessing a divine nature, never loses its power, but be- 
comes good or evil through the mode in which it is turned 
toward existence or its- opposite. This is a close statement 
of the relation which Plato establishes between the internal 
and external. With us [moderns] such views as make spirit 
the source of the determinations of the good, &c., are much 
more current. Plato, however, was engaged in the task of 
fixing these doctrines for the first time. 

Four Grades of Knowing. 

c. Since Plato places the truth in that alone which is pro- 
duced through thought, while the source of knowledge is at the 
same time manifold (feeling, sensation, &c.) it becomes neces- 
sary for us to mention the different kinds of knowing as classi- 
fied by him. The view that truth is given through the sensu- 
ous Consciousness which has for content the well known [i. e. 
familiar objects] from which we begin [our knowledge], is 
a view which Plato opposes everywhere as the doctrine 
of the Sophists. [Hegel unfolds this fully in treating of 
Protagoras.] Feeling itself is easily persuaded that it con- 
tains all truth, as, e.g., that Platonic "mania for the Beau- 
tiful" contains the True in the form of feeling ; this is, how- 
ever, not the true form of the True, for the reason that feeling 
is a wholly subjective j^hase of consciousness. Feeling, as 
such, is exactly the form in which one makes caprice a de- 
termination [i. e. a characteristic] of the True, for in feeling 
there is no true content fixed [i.e. the object of the feeling 
cannot be given through feeling, but must always be given 
by the intelligence], for in that [i. e. feeling] any content may 
have place. Moreover [according to this view], the highest 
content must be in feeling ; to have in the memor}^, or in the 
understanding, is for us quite other than to have in the heart, 
in the feeling, i. e. in our innermost subjectivity, in our Ego; 

The Fliilosopliy of Plato. 265 

and in so far as the content is in the heart, we say it is in the 
true place, becanse it is then quite identical with our special 
individuality. The misunderstanding lies in this : a content 
is not true for the very reason that it is in our feeling. It is, 
therefore, the great doctrine of Plato that the content is sup- 
plied only through thought ; for it [the content] is the univer- 
sal, which can be apprehended only through the activity of 
thinking. This universal content, Plato has defined in a pre- 
cise manner as Idea. 

At the end of the sixth book of the Republic, Plato gives 
the distinction between the sensuous and intellectual in our 
knowing with more detail : he again sets up two phases of 
consciousness in each province [i. e. making four grades of 
thinking in all] : ''In the sensuous [the visible world], one 
division is the external phenomena, as for example shadows, 
Images in water, as well as reflections in dense, smooth, shin- 
ing bodies, and the like. The second kind comprehends those 
similar to the former : animals, plants (concrete life)," and 
everything of an artiflcial nature. In the intelligible there 
is also a two-fold content: The soul uses those sensuous 
images which we have just classifled, and is necessitated to 
proceed from hyjjotheses which point not towards the prin- 
ciple but towards the result. Reflection, which is not by 
itself sensuous but belongs to the thinking activity, mixes in 
thought with the objects of sensuous consciousness, but its 
object is not yet a pure intelligible. " The other species" [of 
the intelligible] (that which is thought in the soul itself) "is 
that in which the soul, setting out from an hypothesis, makes 
its way through the idea itself to an unhypothetical princi- 
ple without the aid of those images which we use in the for- 
mer instance. The form of thinking which deals with geom- 
etry, arithmetic, and the like sciences, presupposes straight 
lines and curved lines, figures, three kinds of angles, and the 
like. And while they proceed from such presuppositions 
["hypotheses"] they believe that they are in nowise bound to 
give any further reason for tliem^ — any more than of other 
well known affairs. Furthermore you know that they make 
use of visible flgures, and speak of them, although they do 
not really mean these figures, but rather those [general] prin- 
ciples of which they are mere visible copies, since they intend 

266 Tlie FMlosoplnj of Plato. 

to make their demonstration apply to the square and its 
diagonal in general" (the universal one), " and not merely to 
that" (sensuous) "one which they draw as a diagram ; and so 
it is, too, with other things." This is the place where science, 
as such, begins according to Plato, inasmuch as it has no more 
to do with the sensuous as such ; this, however, is not yet the 
true science, which treats of the spiritual Universal, for itself, 
but it is rather the deductive, argumentative [ratiocinative] 
cognition which forms itself general laws and definite species 
from the sensuous. " Those figures which they draw and de- 
scribe, among which are shadows and images in water, they 
use only as images and seek to see their original, which one 
can never see except with the intellect. — Truly spoken ! — This, 
then, is what I have above indicated as that species of thought 
in whose investigation the soul is obliged to use presupposi- 
tions [hypotheses], for the reason that it does not rise to prin- 
ciples, inasmuch as it cannot transcend those presuppositions, 
but employs these subordinate images as pictures which are 
made perfectly like those originals, and are by this fact com- 
pletely defined. — I understand that you speak of that which 
takes place in geometry and other like sciences. — Learn now 
to know the other division of the intelligible which attaches 
to Reason itself inasmuch as it makes use of hypotheses, 
through the dialectic, not as principles, but as hypotheses 
ought to be used— as i)reliminary steps and starting-points ; 
with this they attain to that Avliich has no presuppositions 
[the unhypothetical], the principle of All," which is in-and- 
for-itself; "it seizes an object, and, again seizing what was 
involved in the former [i. e. its presuppositions], ascends to a 
new result, and all the while it uses for that purj^ose no sen- 
suous element at all, but only ideas themselves, and thus 
through them alone it arrives at ideas [i. e. the most compre- 
hensive ones] in the end." To master the science of this is 
the interest and business of Philosophy ; this field is explored 
by the pure thought in-and-for-itself, which is active only in 
such pure thoughts. — "I understand it, but not yet quite 
clearly. You seem to me to wish to assert that what is con- 
sidered through the science of the dialectic [movement] of 
existence and thought, is clearer than what is considered in 
those so-called sciences whose jDrinciiDles are hypothetical. 

Tlie PhilosopTiy of Plato. 267 

and tliat those who consider them are obliged to do so with 
the intellect and not with the senses. Since, however, in such 
processes they do not ascend to an absolute principle, but 
speculate with hypotheses, they seem not to possess thought 
itself [i. e. pure thought] in considering these objects, though 
they are lil^e thoughts with a principle [at their basis]. You 
seem with reason to name the course of procedure employed 
in geometry and the kindred sciences, understanding [Greek 
= dianola] ; and to define it in such a manner that it is found 
between pure Reason [JYoics'] and the" (sensuous) " represen- 
tation [doxa]. — You have correctly understood me. Corre- 
sponding to these four distinctions I will name the four aff'ec- 
tions or faculties of the soul: the comprehending thinking 
[JVoesi's] is the highest ; the understanding is the second ; the 
third is called faith" [2->'istis], a knowledge appertaining to 
animals and plants, for the reason that they are vital, homo- 
geneous, identical with us — the true sensuous representation ; 
"and the last the pictured conceptions (mental images) [JSiJca- 
slay i. e. opinion. Arrange them according to the degree of 
clearness [comprehensiveness] that each stage has, or [which 
is the same thing] according to the degree of truth there is in 
it," This is the distinction wiiich lies at the basis of the 
teachings of Plato, and it is what he has been chiefly instru- 
mental in bringing to light. 

Three Divisio7is ofPhilosoj^hi/. 

If we now proceed from cognition [in general] to its more 
definite content into which the idea specializes itself and 
thereby organizes itself into a scientific system : with Plato 
[for the first time in the history of philosophy] this content 
begins to fall asunder into three divisions, which we distin- 
guish as Logic, the Philosophy of Nature, and the Philoso- 
phy of Spirit. The logic was called by the ancients Dialectic, 
and its addition to philosophy is expressly ascribed to Plato 
by the ancient historians of philosophy. This is not a dia- 
lectic such as was used by the Sophists, — which was used to 
bring ideas into confusion generally ; but this first branch of 
the Platonic philosophy is the dialectic which is active in 
pure thoughts, the movement of the speculative logic with 
which several of the dialogues, e. g. the Parmenides, is en- 

268 Goethe- s Social Romances. 

gaged. The second division is a kind of Natnre-Pliilosopliy 
whose fundamental principles are to be found chiefly in the 
Timpeus. The third is the Philosophy of Spirit, a system of 
Ethics, and above all his expositions of a perfect State in the 
Republic. To the Tim?eus and the Republic should be added 
the Critias, which we cannot now make much use of, since 
there is only a fragment left of it. These three dialogues Plato 
gives as the continuation of one connected discourse. With 
the Tim?eus the Critias is so coordinated that while the Tim?eus 
treats of the speculative origin of man and nature, the Critias 
exhibits the ideal history of human culture, a philosophical 
history of the human race illustrated by the history of the 
ancient Athenians as it was preserved by the Egyptians ; of 
this, however, only the commencement has come down to us. 
To the Republic and the Timseus is still to be added the Par- 
menides, and these three make a complete exposition of the 
Platonic philosophy in each of its three divisions. We will 
now proceed to consider in detail these three divisions. [To 
be concluded in the next number.] 



Translated from the German of Carl Rosenkranz by D. J. Snider. 

The composition of the three romances which we have just 
considered according to their ideal signification, is wholly 
different. In the Apprenticeship it changes progressively. 
At first, the exposition is not at all rapid. From the ordi- 
nary tone of narration, it passes with the exhibition of the 
mode of living of strolling actors, into a dramatic activity. 
With the society of the noblemen, the st}'le is pervaded by 
a fine flavor of irony. In the confessions of a fair saint, we 
admire the untainted, yet still highly cultivated naivete with 
which the innermost struggles of a noble soul are laid open 
to us. Her contemplative tranquillity disperses the actors' 
bustle, and the frivolities attending it, by unfolding to us the 
duodrama of a soul struggling with God. After this begins 
the elegiac tragical vein, in the scenes that describe the death 

Goethe's Social Romances. 269 

of Mariana, tlie fading away of Mignon, the history of Au- 
gustino and Sperata, the mournful obsequies of Mignon, and 
the transition of Wilhelm to Natalia. Mignon's funeral with 
its magnificent choruses, and the dignity of the decoration, 
heightens the impression to sublimity. — Wholly different is 
the inner antithesis of the Apprenticeship, the Elective Affini- 
ties. The latter, which introduces ns into the hidden workshop 
of pragmatism, with which the character creates its own fate, 
has nothing in common with the Apprenticeship, whose tone 
is comfortable, yielding, and only gradually concentrates it- 
self. The individuals who enter the scene of action are all 
essentially complete. The genesis of their determination lies 
beyond the story, and only Ottilia's development is an ex- 
ception, because she is the pillar of the edifice. But because 
in her the firmness of natural character rules with simple 
power, such unsteadiness as is the case with Wilhelm is out 
of the question. Her growth is a gentle gradation, which is 
suddenly interrupted, only to be dissolved in a blessed trans- 
figuration. The style of the Elective Affinities is polished, 
and has a peculiar tranquillity, which has invidiously been 
called diplomatic. But this transparent, simple style is artis- 
tically necessary, because it is the golden circle that encloses 
angry fate, which under the most comfortable external cir- 
cumstances destroys the most refined people. The effect 
of tbis seeming opposition explains how such fantastic irre- 
pressible natures as Bettina have received such an impression 
from this romance, as if they suddenly found themselves in a 
close ravine, in whose crushing narrowness dismal trees, 
thorns and thistles, fill the mind with the desolation of de- 
spair. That the composition of the Elective Affinities is in the 
form of a novel has often been remarked. The reason lies 
in the abstraction with which all persons and circumstances 
are aiming at the generation of the one fatal product. Even 
after the catastrophe, Goethe causes the outward appearance 
of life at the castle to progress in the accustomed order, just 
as if nothing had happened, while really below the exterior 
everything trembles to the fall, and passion has thrust the 
dagger into the heart of man. Thus they resemble wax fig- 
ures, who, with the appearance of the most vigorous life, still 
stare at us as if without soul. The persons who have lost 

270 Goethe's Social Romances. 

love and life wander abont only as shadows. If we recollect 
tliat Goethe had to describe the most delicate and at the same 
time the most terrible discordances and errors of the feelings, 
we comprehend the brevity, yes, even the poverty of style, 
for this reason, that he with chaste spirit wished to subor- 
dinate the sensual element. Let ns ask ourselves, whether a 
genius of a lower order than Goethe's would not be inclined 
to describe the scene in which the captain carries Charlotte 
from the skiff to the shore, or furthermore the scene of the 
unhappy moral double-adultery in the strange night-twilight, 
in the most glowing, sensual colors ; or whether one of the 
modern French novelists would not have liiade a whole pi- 
quant volume of it ? 

From the internally scorching sultriness of the Elective Af- 
finities, we step with the Journeymanship into the world, which 
has the power to dissolve the fate of the individual by change 
and activity, by resignation and travel. One must have the 
courage again to alienate himself from his own fatality. The 
Journeymanship is in its composition truly epic. The infini- 
tude of the world-bustle is unfolded to us. The scene of ac- 
tion changes continually. The mountain rises aloft ; the plain 
extends in the distance ; the garden invites us into its green 
arches ; the lake reflects its crystal surface ; hospitable villas, 
inns, manufactories, festive halls, receive us. Person after per- 
son is introduced into the story. One fatality is developed out 
of another. The most distant elements move together, the most 
united separate. That the poet with modesty calls himself the 
editor of reports that have been sent to him, that he breaks off 
and then takes up the thread again, forces upon us the feel- 
ing of the immeasurableness of the life of man. And still 
this wealth of contrasts and complications would leave be- 
hind the impression of a mosaic aggregate, if this thought 
did not pervade all the details, namely : that the reconcili- 
ation with fate can be brought abou.t either through resigna- 
tion or activity; or rather, as the one does not exclude the 
other, through both causing us to forget ourselves. Herrnliut 
and America, the author teaches us, are everywhere, if we 
only choose to seek them. The Journeymanship unites the 
pedagogic movement of the Apprenticeship with the novelis- 
tic one of the Elective Affinities. The novels in the Journey- 

Goethe's Social Romances. 271 

iiiansliip are usually spoken of as if they were unimportant, 
and as if Goetlie had used AVillielm's story only as an envelop 
to infold these narrations. To me this seems unjust. The nov- 
els in the Journeymanship are master-pieces, especially that 
one which is usually called the most prosaic, the man of 
fifty. Had Goethe intended to picture therein only the despi- 
cable vanity of an old fop, who with the aid of the arts of the 
toilet wished to keep up a fresh, youthful appearance, such 
accusation would be just. This novel is usually looked at in 
this light. But the real content of it is the collision between 
father and son, who both love the same Hilaria, and, discov- 
ering this, are thrown into the most tragical situations, so 
that the son, rescuing himself from the passion for the young, 
coquettish widow — from insanity and death — appears to him- 
self as a miracle, lost, and wandering between heaven and 
hell. Macaria interferes in this story as the higher ethical me- 
diator. We have in this an example of her activity. All the 
novels end in resignation or travel, in which respect the novel 
of the child and the lion, which Goethe simply calls the No- 
velle, might well be added to those of the Journeymanship. 
Tlie pedagogic system and Wilhelm's story are related symmet- 
rically to the cycle of novels. In the Apprenticeship the spirit 
of culture is accumulated in the ideal Natalia ; in the Elective 
Affinities, the demon of fate in the angelic Ottilia ; in the Jour- 
neymanship, the secret power of the world-conquering soul 
in the spiritual Macaria. This dignified, elderly, sickly lady, 
who is continually chained to her easy-chair, is the ethical, 
prophetical spirit of her whole family, whom all approach 
with reverence and unconditioned confidence, and whose de- 
cisions are considered as final. Macaria has the diseased 
fancy that in herself lives the life of our solar system 
in a peculiar manner. The confused astrology of the seer- 
ess of Prevorst is probably a product of Goethe's poesj^. 
What did Goethe intend with this figure which truly borders 
upon the allegoric ? Shall we consider her simply as an odd- 
ity, as a didactic whim? I think not; far could we not conjec- 
ture that, through her, he intended to illustrate the connec- 
tion between the earth and the universe ? The Earth has a 
life of her own, bat only in a reciprocal relation to all the 
■other hearenly bodies. The light that shines into our room 

272 Goethe's Social Romances. 

is imdonbtedly light of the sun. Therefore we find ourselves, 
while in this light, also in the sun, in so far as the peculiar 
excitation of the eye which we call seeing has its causality in 
the sun, and takes its origin many millions of miles distant 
from us. Or, on the other hand, how quiet everything seems 
here ! The chests, the tables, the stove, we ourselves— every- 
thing stands straight and fixed ; — and still, while we seem to 
be in the midst of repose, nothing is more certain than that, 
with the maddest velocity, we roll along in our course in the 
universe four miles every second. Were this jDossible — but 
through the co-operation of all bodies of the universe ? Do 
not all these conspire to bring forth these spirals ? Is it not cor- 
rect in this sense that a change in any one movement of cosmi- 
cal life will also produce a change in the remaining, through- 
out space ? Macaria's strange accompanying of our planets 
and suns helps us realize that we are not only wanderers on 
our own planet, but, being such, we are also world- wanderers, 
world-citizens. That I have not invented this interpretation 
of Macaria to make it palatable, but to prove, in this too, the 
loftiness of our poet, I refer most emphatically to the conver- 
sations of the astronomer (who is with Macaria), partly with 
Wilhelm and partly with Montan. This man, the former Jarno, 
has turned his attention to tellurism. If Macaria believes in 
solar siderism, he brings a rhabdomant, a metal-feeler, as a 
counter-balance, who continually feels downward toward the 
centre of the earth, while Macaria feels drawn towards the sun's 
centre. Montan finally agrees with the astronomer thus far, 
that to real life, to activity, neither intellectual nor material 
transcendentalism is necessary, but that the earthly reality 
and spiritual ideality must balance each other. To move these 
two worlds toward one another, to manifest the qualities of 
both in the passing life-phenomenon, that is the highest form 
to which man has to develop himself. To accomplish this, 
he need not penetrate to the centre of the earth, nor need he 
soar beyond the boundaries of our solar system. The surface 
of the earth is the true stage of activity. And hence Maca- 
ria's state is specially designated as a diseased one. This 
union of poesy and prose, of idealism and realism, of spirit 
and matter, of the word and the flesh, or in whatsoever form 
this antithesis may be expressed, Wilhelm himself had to 

Goethe's Social Romances. '^If^ 

realize in liis own life. Gradually lie has developed himself 
to the harmony of culture, but according to the laws of the 
association he had to master comj^letely a special branch. 
Man ought to be a virtuoso in some species of knowledge or 
activity. He ought to be able to make himself useful to him- 
self and others, with trustworthiness. All true culture must 
lead from the beautiful through the true to the useful, or from 
the useful through the true to the beautiful. Wilhelm has, in 
the contemplation of the human l^ody, found the way in which 
he must go to become useful. He had amj)le opportunity as 
an actor to become acquainted with the imperfections of the 
human form, and the artitices by which they are hidden from 
the audience. At the same time, he experienced how a hand- 
some man, a beautiful woman, is most important on the 
stage. If they are there to play the part of the lovers, the 
director is safe. In a course on Anatomy, he acquired the 
shocking experience that corpses were torn from their resting- 
places, and even human beings murdered, in order to hand 
over their bodies to the anatomical theatre. To correct this 
abuse, he hails with applause the art which imitates in wax, 
for the purposes of science, with deceptive naturalness the hu- 
man members. Nothing endangers so quickly and so greatly 
the delicate, wonderful structure of the human form and life 
as sudden wounds, fractures, bruises, etc. Hence the surgeon 
has at all times and especially in war, as the example of the 
Homeric Machaon shows, been of the greatest importance. 
So Wilhelm decides to become a surgeon. His professional 
skill is to be devoted now to the preservation of life itself. 
This termination Goethe had before his eyes from the begin- 
ning, where Wilhelm is wounded in the skirmish with the 
marauders, and the amazon Natalia dresses the wound. Sur- 
gery is no refuge to provide Wilhelm with a field of useful- 
ness. How is he rewarded by his art ! Through bleeding, 
he saves the life of a youth who was precipitated with his 
horse into the water. This youth is his son Felix ! 


( 274 ) 

Translated from the German of A, B. Marx, by A. E. Kroeger. 

[The following characteristic of one of Beethoven's most admired sonatas for 
the pianoforte is taken from Marx's Life and Works of Beethove7i.'] 


It is a night picture, sombre, scarcely perceivable, wildly 
agitated by storms, scarcely for a moment lit up by tlie pale 
light of the moon. Until this sonata was written Beethoven 
had never created anything so ghostly, weird and sphynx-like, 
nor has he since. It tiies away before our mind like a wild 
tempestuous dream, and yet impresses upon us all its fea- 
tures, never to be forgotten. Was it a dream of the infernal 
regions into which the earth-ridden soul descended for a mo- 
ment ? Who can say ? Perhaps not even Beethoven himself. 

The very tirst theme of the first movement, allegro assai, 
floats weird-like and hollow-sounding upwards as if question- 
ing for something, repeating itself in a still sharper manner 
on the half-note higher tone. But what are those four tones 
in the bass — D fiat, D flat, D flat, C — that seem to interrupt 
the question warningly and as if beckoning, until the theme 
of the question rushes up again like lightning, and plunges 
down and whirls upward again, repeating the question ? 

You may take these suggestions, which uncalled for I ap- 
pend to the naked fact of the notes, for chimeras. Of course, 
I can prove nothing. But the wildest of all chimeras it would 
be to compose such tone-pictures, unless an internally ruling 
thought had called them forth. If they were mere play of 
tones, the most commonplace composition were preferable, 
for this movement is even technically objectionable, since 
the first theme finds no counter theme, and since the second 
niothe — D Hat, D flat, D flat, C — has no warrant in the 
first. This is neither technically correct, nor in Beethoven's 

The same theme is repeated, beginning softly, but immedi- 
ately attracting a clanging falling in of the harmony, three 
times interrupted with fury, when quick as lightning all the 
tones concentrate upon E flat, waiting there upon frightened 
chords, that nevertheless have a sound of awakening hope in 

Beetlioveri's F 3£inor Sonata. 275 

tliem, until — it all passes witli fearful speed — there arises 
upon the dimly-lit depth of the tottering world of fog a beau- 
tiful chant (36th measure), which, however, soon after its re- 
commencement, is interrupted by painful tones. Were those 
the voices of spirits from Elysium, which the cruel mythology 
of the Greeks has located so near the Tartarus ? Who knows ? 
To the friend of the Greeks such ideas were near enough at 

Whatever you may assume, from these sounds the tones 
rusli down to a second, hard-knotted theme, moving anxiously 
in the depth, then again floating in terror to' a higher point, 
while the bass climbs up and breaks out in those very 
tones which interrupted the lirst question in so solemn and 
threatening a manner. With this second theme — in A flat — 
the whole movement lirst gains fixed connection and consis- 
tency ; the concluding measures end the matter abruptly, the 
bass having become the ruling voice sinks down to the low- 
est depth, there dying off" under the trembling tones of the 
treble that echo away in the highest octave. 

Such is the first part of the first movement of this Sonata, 
and here we pause to take a glance at the whole. 

There is clearly not a feature in the whole first movement 
that does not closely correspond with what we have suggested 
to be cliaracterized in this first part ; from the first beginning 
— where the reposing A fiat, changed into G sharp, leads to 
the milder key of E major, giving the soul a chance to breathe 
again as if half awakening from a fearful dream — to the pain- 
fully winding quintolet passages and thence to thC>se weird 
four tones which finally in the third part of the first move- 
ment, where, under the chief theme, they keep knocking and 
complaining and threatening, become almost haunting ghosts, 
shrieking, " Eternally damned /" 

Let this sufiice ^or those who find therein a trace of the mind 
that built up the composition. For the others I have already 
said too much. 

But it is certainly allowable — even if we look away from all 
fixed interpretation — to call this first movement of the Sonata 
fantastic. Being built upon the chief theme in hollow double 
octaves, the repetition of the theme in an utterly foreign key 
(G flat major following F minor) instead of a counter-theme, 

276 Beetliomn's F Minor Sonata. 

the externally utterly unjustilied mixing up of that quite for- 
eign D flat, D flat, D flat, C, the equally abrupt up and down 
rushing of the sixteenths'-passages, and the renewed break- 
ing off with a sort of half-conclusion on the dominant, the 
repetition of the chief theme for a third time without a coun- 
ter-theme — all this contributes to fix the fantastic character 
of the movement, at least up to the second theme. 

But still more. At first the second theme was quite normal 
in the parallel of the chief key in A flat major. But the sec- 
ond time it changes this into A flat minor, so that Beethoven, 
having once resolved to let minor follow minor, went, more- 
over, and took, instead of the nearest dominant, C minor, a. 
far removed key. 

"We have called this movement fantastic. Fantastic is what- 
soever shows itself to be foreign to the usual connection of 
our thinking — as, for instance, every notion of a spirit-world, 
since we can form no definite and accurate conception of it. 
It indicates one of the highest tensions of the imagination, 
one of the most important spheres of art, which even here 
touches the infinite. True, the same line is also the limit of 
insanity and illusion. Now, it is very remarkable in Beetho- 
ven, that no musician had the gift of fantasy to such a degree 
as he ; but no one also has been so able to control and tame 
that gift, so that, of all forms of composition, he liked least of 
all the form of a fantasia. This duplicity of the gift and the 
talent to control it shows itself nowhere clearer than in the F 
minor sonata. Look at the contents as you will, they appear 
fantastic. But from the very end of the first part the contents 
are forced to submit themselves to the tight reins held in the 
hands of the master, who precisely thereby proves himself 
master, and they so submit without losing their character. 
Those fantastic images are given in the first part. Now they 
live and move after natural laws. 

At the conclusion of the first part the chief theme re-enters,, 
but in E major, moving monodically in octaves, and not any 
more in hollow double-octaves. But the major key cannot be 
long retained, from the very nature of the composition, and 
hence changes into E minor, in which key the chief theme is 
led upward from the bass, accompanied by a trembling tre- 
ble, and thus accompanied — that is, steadied — for the first 

BeetJioTieri's F Minor Sonata. 277 

time. Thence the bass amidst those torturing quintolet pas- 
sages returns back to the depths, whilst tlie trebh^ leads the 
theme up to the liighest G. Thence both treble and bass 
move in the same manner, but in other keys, until this whole- 
theme comes to rest on the dominant of D tlat major ; on which 
key the second theme of the second part enters. This is a 
repetition of the second theme of the first part, but in a broad- 
ened and changed elaboration. This whole second part may 
indeed be called a repetition of the first part, but with a thor- 
ough change of the elaboration of the contents. 

The same thing may be said of the third part of the first 
movement ; which third part indeed, usually, is essentially a 
repetition of the first part. 

But to this third part, or rather to the whole, there follows 
an appendix. Again the chief theme forms itself in F minor, 
and rises from the lowest depths, under a treble moving in 
sixths, upwards, where it changes into D fiat major, and re- 
ceives there the reply of the treble — the same chant, hearing 
which we ventured to think of the Elysian fields. We follow 
this movement no further. Everywhere we have seen the 
firmest, manliest control of the most fantastical contents ever 
conceived by Beethoven. 


The second movement we may call a De profuiidls clainam 
ad Te. An earnest, simple chant, scarcely moving, and, like 
the upward glance of silent devotion, forms itself over a deep, 
solitary bass — the depth continuing from out of the night vis- 
ion of the first movement. Tlie repetition of the chant — for 
there are variations, not of a merely formal character, how- 
ever, but thoroughly spiritual — sunders both voices still more 
distinctly — the upper tones chanting hesitatingly and in an 
interrupted way-, the bass tones following falteringly. The 
next variation lifts the chant mildly and comfortingly upward 
into clearer regions ; and in the following variation the chant, 
now accompanied by harp-passages, seems to try to ascend 
even to the most etherial heights. From these supreme 
regions the tones suddenly return to the first depth, then 
move back to the central region, where, as they echo away, 
a sharp transition hurries us into the finale. 

278 BeetTioveii's F Minor Sonata. 


This finale, Ries tells ns, was conceived by Beethoven on 
one of those wild rambles when the composer used to for- 
get the world about him and himself in the impetuous- 
storm of his thoughts. And a storm-night it surely is, whirl- 
ing along without stop, like that wild night wherein King 
Lear exposed his tortured venerable head to the winds and 
the lashing rain. Beethoven had returned from his ramble 
with a tempest raging in his breast, but this finale fixed in 
his mind in its defiant storm -march movement {jrresto), as 
the proper, though utterly unexpected, conclusion of his great 
work, leaving it to work out its storm-movement musically 
as it might. 

Yes, this finale is a storm-night and creates night- visions — 
as probably everyone who has heard this tempestuous jyrestO' 
has experienced within himself — weird as those that came 
upon the soul of the lonely singer who comj^osed it. The 
legend says that the cheeks of those who have seen spirits 
retain forever the paleness of terror. Thus, after the demonic 
vision of the first movement of the Sonata, peace and glad- 
ness could not return. That chant, " From the depths do I 
call unto Thee," might stretch uj) to listen unto sounds from 
heaven, but it could not escape the anxious life of earth and 
its breathless haste ; the unquieted woe of earth grasps it, 
and with repeated blows fastens itself deep and wounding 
into the heart. 

And now begins that tempest, which had arisen in the- 
consciousness of the singer on that fearful night, high in the- 
treble and quite softly — just as the wind announces its com- 
ing in the highest branches of the forest — sweeping down and 
raging with fury in the bass. It never ceases ; but in the 
twentieth measure it becomes, as is proj)er, a secondary mat- 
ter — symhollG of the deep-inward ever-restless and stormy 
soul. And as a true man, in the inner as well as outer storms 
of life, first takes firm hold of himself and "plants himself 
down square," so Beethoven, above all, first places himself 
storm-secure (from twentieth to twenty-ninth measure), and 
only then begins to breathe forth his chant of the storm into 
the wild tempest of the night. 

It is not of importance what he sings, but that he sings and 

Contributions to Pliilosopliy. 279 

lives and stands tirm in nnbroken courage is the part that 
tells. Hence Beethoven soon drops that chant in order to 
sing the genuine song, that which he held valid throughout 
his life (from thirty-sixth to fiftieth measure) — "Upwards 
through tempest and night." This is the song he sings. The 
storm never ceases, and his courage never permits itself to 
be broken, although in the whirl of the tempest the heart at 
one time threatens to succumb, and complains and sobs ; and 
at one time everything — inner and outer storms — sinks away 
into breathless quiet. 



In the first and second volumes of this Journal I published 
in ten chapters an " Introduction to Philosophy," designing 
therein to present in the simplest form certain fundamental 
insights {aperfties) which light the way to the purely specu- 
lative. These were not given in any strict order, but each 
chapter endeavored to start de novo, and to develop out of 
some common view the underlying speculative basis. 

It is now proposed, in a series of chapters, to unfold a more 
systematic view of the totality which the speculative insight 
discloses to us as the truth of tlie Phenomenal world. This 
Avould be a genetic deduction of the categories of Pure Rea- 
son such as Hegel has attempted (successfully) in his Logic. 
In it would appear the frame- work of the Maceocosm; and 
as the so-called '■^ Microcosm ^^ is "made in its image," or, in 
other words, since the human mind is jDotentially the com- 
plete manifestation of the Reason which creates the World, it 
is necessary that a complete statement should show the psy- 
chological side to the Ontology which such a Logic furnishes. 
I shall therefore introduce at the beginning, and at certain 
stages of the progress, entire chapters devoted exclusively to 
making clear certain important psychological distinctions. 

Besides the subjective asj^ect which must be removed from 
pure thought by a careful consideration of Psychology, 
there is a source of difficulty still more formidable : Tdstori- 
cal complication. It arises from the fact that the form of 

280 Contributions to Philosophy. ■ 

exposition iu one age or nation uses what seems a peculiar 
dialect to other nations and ages. Its strange and foreign air 
repels close study necessary for comprehension. The resolu- 
tion of this latter difficulty is accomplished through a philo- 
sophical treatment of the History of Philosophy, wherein 
vanishes what is idiomatic and peculiar, letting appear the 
fundamental harmony that underlies great philosophical sys- 
tems. Thus the threefold pui-pose of these chapters may be 
briefly stated : 

I. To exhibit in their systematic C(.)unection the categories 
of Pure Thought. 

II. To make careful separation of the psychologic^al phases 
— ^distinguishing one stage of the culture of thought from 
another — and by this process to remove serious obstacles to 
the comprehension of the speculative solution of problems. 
This will involve frequent criticism of })hilosophic writings 
which confound the different provinces of thought. 

III. To clear up the obscurity in different philosojDhical 
systems, and their apparent conflict, by a comparative criti- 
cism of their technique. Much reference will be had to the 
various translations hitherto published in this Journal, and 
thus many chapters may be regarded as commentaries on 
the same. 

The strictness of " systematic connection " which I promise 
is not to prevail in the style of the exposition (as it does iu 
Hegel's writings), but only in the results exhibited. Thus the 
order in which parts of the system are taken up may be ir- 
regular, but it (the proper order and genesis of each) must be 
fully discussed so as to leave no doubt as to the rank of any 
given term in the series. 


TfiiNKiNG versus Sensuous Representation. 

Most of the difficulties in the way of what is called "mak- 
ing Philosophy popular," arise from the incapacity of uncul- 
tured people to think without having recourse to sensuous 
representation. Those who must use images of sense on all 
occasions have not the strength to seize pure relations, and 
hence cannot find the " constant in the variable"; they seize 
this and that^hut in the movement of chajiffe, 2yhenomenality, 

Contribiitlom to PliilosopJiy. 281 

and self -relation, they get utterly lost. From the point of 
view of Representation a speculative doctrine seems absurd 
and impossible. But the road is not long that leads from 
Kepresentation to its self-contradiction. 

The first business of the philosophical student is therefore 
to learn this distinction, and to know when he thinks, and 
when he merely represents. He must strive before all things 
to gain in himself this power to think — to think exluLusticely. 
The child that can walk only by taking hold with its hands, 
compared with the man who can walk freely, furnishes the 
type of such as can think only with images. Poetic imagina- 
tion is not the subject of discussion here : in it Representa- 
tion comes under control of a higher, spontaneous activity of 
the Mind. 

In the following chapters, this theme is continued in some 
of its most interesting phases. 



On page 487 of the Lectures on Metaphysics, Hamilton com- 
plains of the " vagueness and confusion which are produced 
by the confounding of objects so diflferent as the images of 
sense and the iinpictivrable notions of intelligence.-^ He says 
that " different names are given wherever a philosophical no- 
menclature of the slightest pretensions to perfection has been 

It would surprise us to find a writer, after so explicit a 
statement, falling systematically into the error he condemns. 
Such surprise is in store for us ; for Hamilton does not by ac- 
cident, by a slip of the pen, or by a moment of forgetfulness, 
fall into this error ; he Mdlds on it the corner-stone of Ms 
whole philosophy. He says — Metajjliysics, p. 527 : 

" I lay it down as a law which though not generalized by 
philosophers, can be easily proved to be true by its applica- 
tion to the phenomena : that all that is conceivable in thought 
lies between two extremes, which, as contradictory of each 
other, cannot both be true, but of which, as mutual contradic- 
tories, one must." 

Whether these contradictories are the famous "Antinomies" 
of Kant is a question we will defer for the present. The reader 

282 Contributions to Philosopliy. 

will remember tliat Kant holds that " the understanding falls- 
into these antinomies whenever it transcends its proper 
sphere." Hamilton, however, claims this doctrine as his own 
discover}^ (Meta. p. 647), in the following words : 

" If I have done any thing meritorious in Philosophy, it is 
in the attempt to explain the phenomena of these contradic- 
tions ; in showing that they arise only when intelligence trans- 
cends the limits to which its legitimate exercise is restricted ; 
and that within these bounds (the conditioned) natural thought 
is neither fallible nor mendacious." 

Not only is this x^osition claimed by Hamilton as the cor- 
ner-stone of his system, but his followers lay stress on it and 
use it most frequently. 

Since he does not attempt a scientific justification of this 
"law" which "can be easily proved to be true by an applica- 
tion to the phenomena," we must seek out a specimen of this 
"application"-species-of -proof which seems to be borrowed 
from the j)roof by " superposition " used in geometry. He 
applies it to space. 

Meta. i^ 527: "It is plain that space must either be bound- 
ed or not l)oanded. These are contradictory alternatives ; on 
the principle of Contradiction, they cannot both be true, and, 
on the principle of Excluded Middle, one must be true. This 
cannot be denied without denying the primary laws of intel- 
ligence. But though space must be admitted to be necessa- 
rily either finite or infinite, we are able to conceive the possi- 
bility neither of its finitude nor of its infinity. 

"We are altogether unable to conceive space as bounded — 
as finite ; that is, as a whole, beyond which there is no fur- 
ther space. Every one is conscious that this is impossible. 
It contradicts also the supposition of space as a necessary 
notion ; for if we could imagine space as a terminated sphere, 
and that sphere not itself enclosed in a surrounding space, we 
should not be obliged to think everything in space ; and, on 
the contrary, if we did imagine this terminated sphere as itself 
in space, in that case we should not have actually conceived 
all space as a bounded whole. The one contradictory is thus 
found inconceivable ; we cannot conceive space as positively 

" On the other hand, we are equally powerless to realize in 
thought the possibility of the opposite contradictory; we can- 
not conceive space as infinite, as Avithout limits. You may 
launch out in thought be3^ond the solar walk, you may trans- 
cend in fancy even the universe of matter, and rise from 

Contributions to Philosophy. 283 

sphere to sphere in the region of empty space, until imagina- 
tion sinks exhausted ; — with all this, what have you done ? 
You have never gone beyond the finite : you have attained, 
at best, only to the indefinite ; and the indefinite, however 
expanded, is still always the finite. Both contradictions are 
equally inconceivable, and, could we limit our attention to 
one alone, we should deem it at once impossible and absurd, 
and suppose its unknown opposite as necessarily true. But 
as we not only can but are constrained to consider both, we 
find that both are equally incomprehensible ; and yet, though 
unable to view either as possible, we are forced by a higher 
law to admit that one, but one only, is necessary." 

In this remarkable passage, in which Hamilton attempts to 
show that intelligence contradicts itself in the endeavor to 
decide upon the extent of space, the assumption must be that 
the operation of intelligence is the same throughout — other- 
wise the different results do not necessarily contradict. If I 
fail to find the bottom of a cistern with one stick while I can 
easily do it with another, this is no contradiction. But the 
words used to describe the mental activity in these processes 
are : conceive^ conscious, supposition^ necessary notion^ ima- 
gine, thinJc, realise, launch out in thotight, transcend infan- 
cy, attain, attention, deem, suppose, constrained to consider, 
mew, forced to admit. 

The Scotch philosophers, and especially Hamilton, have 
won great fame as psychologists. One must seriously doubt 
the justice of that fame in this instance. According to his 
own confession, a '' philosophical nomenclature of the slight- 
est pretensions to perfection" should discriminate between 
"images of sense and the unpicturable notions of intelli- 
gence," and yet he builds a "law" on the plainest confound- 
ing of such operations as imagining and thinMng. 

Let us apply this distinction to the case he considers, and 
see how completely the contradiction vanishes. 

I. Imagination or fancy (sensuous Representation) makes 
images of objects ; and as images must have limits in order 
to have form, we could not expect to be able to imagine that 
which is infinite if such object could be found. 

II. Thought (using the "unpicturable notions of intelli- 
gence") contemplates the nature of an object, and attaches. 

284 The Bool' of Job considered 

predicates accordingly. It is no contradiction if its " unpictu- 
rable notions" cannot be imagined. 

III. Thought of Space. 

1. Space if finite must be limited from witliont. 

2. But such external limitations would require space to ex- 
ist in. 

3. And hence the supposed limits of space posit space be- 
yond them instead of /ze^a^m// space — they prove space to 
be continuous and not finite. It appears, therefore, that space 
is of such a nature that it can end in, or be limited by, itself 
alone, and thus is universally continuous or infinite. 

IV. Representation of Space. 

If the result attained by thoug-ht is correct, space is infi- 
nite ; and if this is so, it cannot be imagined or represented. 
Therefore we are prepared to expect what Hamilton states as 
a result of the attempt to realize an image of space : " The 
imagination sinks exhausted." 

If imagination had succeeded in "realizing" space it would 
have proved space to be picturable, and hence finite ; and 
here would have heen a true contradiction. 

As it is, however, the impotency of imagination is a nega- 
tive confirmation of the positive assertion made by thought. 


Translated from the German of J. G. Herder, by A. E. Kroeger. 

The book contains a twofold scene, in heaven and on earth. 
Above, the action takes place ; down below, the discussion. 
The lower knows not the meaning of the above, hence it 
counsels hither and thither : the daily condition of all philos- 
ophies and theodicies of the world. 

The book has for its subject a suff'erer — nay, an innocent 
and even bodily afflicted sufferer. Hence we pardon him all 
his sighs and complaints ; for even a hero groans when suf- 
fering bodily pain. He sees immediate death before him and 
prays for it ; his life is embittered ; why should he not groan ? 

as an Art- Composition. 285 

Job suffers as the glory and pride of God ; liis plagues are 
sent on liim to prove true tlie word of honor given by the 
Creator : is a nobler point of view of human suifering possi- 
ble ? It is this great plan of the book that is the theodicy of 
the World-monarch — not the one-sided justifications from 
the mouths of the wise men of the earth ; although they also 
say much that is beautiful. 

But all they say brings no comfort ; nay, it embitters. Job 
outvies them in describing the power and wisdom of God, and 
nevertheless remains miserable — a usual picture of earthly 
comfort. Their view is too narrow and overclouded ; they 
seek for reasons in the dust, whereas they ought to. look for 
them beyond the stars. Which of them reaches so far ? Not 
a single one even surmises that the reason of Job's sufi*ering 
is that which the first chapter narrates.* 

What honor is fieaped upon the unfortunate man sitting in 
the ashes ! He is a spectacle for the angels and for all the hosts 
of heaven. Job approves his virtue ; justifies the word of the 
Creator ; and God holds ready the wreath wherewith to crown 
him. This double scene, and the invisible spectators who 
watch how Job may bear his misfortune, render sacred the 
scene of the whole book. 

The man, who is to be an example of human strength and 
fidelity to the heavens, is upon earth entangled in a confiict 
of reasoning ; and even here he shows himself to be a man 
like others. The poet has given him a quick character, and 
a warmth which carries him away at the very first and really 
mild address of Eliphaz. This leaven is the fermenting ele- 
ment of his virtue, and likewise of these conversations ; they 
would be tedious and uninstructive if in them his friends 
merely comforted and Job merely complained. 

A fine thread pervades them all. The three wise men speak 
characteristically, and Job overcomes them both as a wise 
man and as a poet. Eliphaz is the most modest, placing even 
the very first teaching addressed to Job in the mouth of an 
oracle ;t Bildad attacks Job rather more ; Zophar chiefly ex- 
aggerates what Bildad has said — he is also the first one to 
leave the scene. 

* Chap. 1 : 8-12. Chap. 2: 3-6. 
t Chap. 5:12. 

286 The Book of Joh considered 

Tliere are three attacks of the men."^' At the end of the lirst, 
matters have ah-eady progressed so far that Job makes a judi- 
cial appeal from them, his accusers, to God.f In the second 
attack the thread is knotted most, and it is indeed the climax 
of the conversation, for at the end of it Job goes so far as to 
assert against Zophar that it is precisely the wicked who have 
the best lot in this world ; % an assertion to which he is led 
altogether by the heat of the discussion. Eliphaz tries to 
smooth matters by a fine turn ; but the discussion has grown 
too bitter. Job maintains his statement;! Bildad knows 
little to object, § Zophar nothing at all,^ and Job is the vic- 
tor. He stalks like a lion amongst his succumbed enemies, 
takes back what he has uttered in the heat of the argument, 
and pours forth, in three rhapsodies, sentences that are the 
crowning glory of the book.''^^* 

Monotonously as all these speeches sound to us, they yet 
are planned with light and shade, and the thread or rather 
the confusion of the matter increases from speech to speech, 
till Job collects himself and softens his assertions. He who 
does not follow this thread does not observe how Job always 
twists the arrow out of his opponent's hand, and either says 
better what has been said or uses his opponent's arguments 
for his own case, has failed to perceive the life, the growth, 
and, in short, the soul of the book. 

Job begins with a beautiful elegy,tt and generally concludes 
his sayings with one of these touching lamentations. They 
are like the choruses of aixcient tragedy, making the subject- 
matter universal and human. 

When Job has overcome the wise men, a young prophet 
enters upon the scene.:{::j: Like most of the God-inspired men 
of this kind, he is assuming, bold, alone wise, and makes 
grand images without end or purpose ; hence no one replies 
to him. He stands there like a mere shadow between the- 
speech of Job and that of God. God refutes liim only by the 
fact of His appearance; he vanishes at once like a shadow. 
His appearance has been wisely and instructively arranged 
in the composition of the whole. 

* Chap, 4-14; chap. 15-21; chap. 22-20. 
t Chap. 13. X Chap. 21. || Chap. 24. I Chap. 26. 

H Chap. 27. ' ** Chap. 28-31. ft Chap. 3. H Chap. 32-37. 

as an Art- Composition. 287 

God appears unexpectedly and glorionsly. He interrupts 
tlie prophet, who, without knowing it, liad pictured his ap- 
pearance and pronounced it impossible. He turns aw^ay from 
the wise men, his defenders, and speaks to Job. Him he ad- 
dresses at first also as a wise man and not as a judge.'- He 
projiounds to him, who has overthrown all their wise ar- 
guments, and exhausted all the wit of heaven and earth, 
certain riddles and questions. They relate to the secrets of 
creation and world-government. The earthly-wise Job stands 

He brings before his mind seven wild-animal forms and 
finally the monsters of the deep,t all of whom he, the father 
of the world, has created, and for all of whom, as for his favor- 
ites, he daily takes care. '' Why do these creatures exist 'i 
They exist not for man, for the most of them are hurtful to 
man," The earthly-wise Job stands dumb and shamed. 

Hence submission to the infinite understanding, to the un- 
graspable plan and the evident goodness of the great father, 
who takes care of the crocodile and the raven : such is the 
solution of the question concerning w^orld-government and 
fate from the lips of the world-governor himself, speaking as 
he does out the whirlwind and with facts of all creation. 
The true theodicy of man is the study of the power, wisdom 
and goodness of God in all nature, and humble recognition 
that his plan and his understanding exceed ours. 

Hence God also does not teach Job why he has tried him. 
He restores to him what he had lost, and this is all a mor- 
tal could claim. The commonplaces of the so-called repre- 
sentatives of God are so little honored and rew^arded, that 
they must rather first be reconciled to God by a sacrifice from 
the hand of Job. 

O high and wondrous plan of the book, of which I have been 
able to sketch only a few weak features ! If a prince did not 
write it, it is worthy of a prince, for his way of thinking is 
kingly and godly. Throughout the whole book God acts as 
king, father, and wise ruler of creation. Angel and man, ra- 
ven and behemoth, are equal in his eyes. The most beautiful 
descriptions of God's qualities and his world-government, the 

* Chap. 38. f Chap. 39-41 . 

288 The Book of Job, &c. 

most eloquent grounds of comfort, and all that can be said 
for and against providence and the fate of man, are scattered 
throughout the Avork. But the highest glor}'^ and doctrine is 
the plan itself of the book : epopee of mankind, theodicy of 
God, and not in words but in fate, in His quiet deed. Ecce 
s%>ectaculiim dig num. ad quod, respiciat intentus operi sua 
Deus. Ecce par Deo dlgnum oir fortis cum mala fortuna 

And where is thy grave, thou early man of wisdom, who 
didst ponder out this epopee and theodicy, gathering it to- 
gether into this quiet deed, the fate of a sufferer upon liis- 
heap of ashes, and who didst illumine and festoon it with 
winged words of wisdom as well as with the sparks of thy 
quick soul ? Where is thy grave, thou high poet, the confi- 
dant of divine counsel and of the souls of angels and men, 
who didst gather heaven and earth intu one glance, and didst 
waft thy S]3irit, thy heart, thy poetry, and thy passion, from 
the complaint of the tortured wretch in the region of shadows 
up to the stars and even beyond them ? Does an evergreen 
cypress bloom upon thy resting-place ? Or liest thou hidden, 
like thy unknown name, leaving thy book to testify, and sing- 
est — high over our great heap of ashes, the abode of so many 
tortured wretches — with morning-stars around the throne of 
the Ruler of the world ? Or wast thou the historian of thy 
own sufferings and thy triumph, of thy overcoming and over- 
come wisdom — wast thou thyself the happ}^ unhappy one, the 
tortured and the rewarded ? Then hast thou for the second 
time given vent to the complaints of thy heart, and established 
thy victory for thousands of years and all parts of the world. 
From thy ashes there has arisen with this book a phoenix, a 
rejuvenated palm-tree, whose roots drink water; its incense 
wafts around, and has refreshed many a fainting soul, and 
will so refresh till the end of all time. Thou drawest heaven 
down to earth ; thou encampest the heavenly hosts invisibly 
round the bed of the sick — his sufterings become a spectacle 
for the angels, God approving himself in his creature, upon 
which his glance reposes searchingly as if to justify his own 
case. " Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have 
heard of the patience of Job and have seen the end of the 
Lord ; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy." 




Vol. IV. 187 0. No. 4=. 


By Francis A, Henry. 

As we have seen in the last paper, the " Infinite Progress " 
is the holding to the dualism of co-referent determinations as 
eqiially valid with their unity, and the failure to see that the 
dualism is in fact svMated by the unity. Thus the Under- 
standing is thrown in a ceaseless alternation back and forth 
from the dualism to the unity, and from the unity to the du- 
alism. The Progress may be specifically stated thus : The 
Finite and the Infinite are taken to be a single unity ; this 
position requires to be corrected by the opposite one that 
they are direct contraries ; and this again by the reiteration 
of the first statement, and so on ad Infinitum. The resolu- 
tion of the contradiction lying, as has been said, in the fact 
that the unity and the diff'erence are themselves inseparable. 
Thus the notion of Causality is one which brings up the Infi- 
nite Progress. Cause and efi'ect are insej^arable correlatives. 
Something is determined as Cause ; as such it is not foi' itself, 
but for its efi'ect, or, each determination is as one-sided as the 
other : if not self-existent, it is not its own cause, but is caused 
by another ; that is, it is itself an efi'ect — nnity of Cause and 
Effect. Again, the Cause which is itself an efi'ect, has its 
own cause in another — that is, the cause, as such, is a differ- 
ent something — separation of Cause and Effect; this new 
cause again is itself only an efi'ect — unity; it has another for 
its cause — separation ; and so on ad infinitum. In seeking 

* The Secret of Hegel, by J. H. Stirlino-. 

290 The Finite and the Infinite. 

a First Cause we are travelling around the circumference of 
a circle, and we sagely remark that if we could go on far 
enough we should come to the beginning. Hamilton is right, 
then, when he calls the phrase Absolute Cause a contradiction 
in terms. Causality is a category of the Understanding. It 
implies succession, it is relation ; it falls out of the thinking 
of Reason, which is a thinking " under the form of eternity";, 
it falls out of the notion of the Absolute. For The Absolute 
is that which is without relation to any Other — e. g. the effect 
■ — but which is related only to itself. But is the question still 
asked, Well, hoio does the Absolute come into being ? If it 
was not caused by another, what was its beginning ? Such a 
question is best answered by considering what is contained 
in the notion beginning. 

A Beginning is simply a becoming, a coming to be of that 
which was not before. The beginning, then, the beginning of 
the All, could have had nothing else. Now observe, the abso- 
lute Beginning — that first origination before which there was 
absolutely nothing — implies as its necessary logical antece- 
dent a power to originate, and, since there was nothing before 
the Beginning, a power to originate from nothing ; or, in other 
words, it follows that Nothing is an originative principle. 
Does this sound like a mere play on words ? Let us look 
at it. Let us try to conceive the universe abolished ; let us 
ask ourselves how it would be if there never had been any- 
thing at all — no time, no space, no matter, no mind. What 
would there be if existence were not? Why there would be 
simply nothing. There would be nothing ; nothing, that is 
what would be. The truth of positive and negative comes out 
irrepressibly in this common language. The very annihila- 
tion of All to nothing only converts Nothing into Being ; only 
shows that the Be subsists and must subsist eternally. Exis- 
tence we may annihilate in thought by abstracting its predi- 
cates, but Being, the universal, or " all-common," predicate^ 
we cannot so annihilate, because it is the essential constitu- 
ent of thought. There is no possible destruction of Being, 
then. The Not is impotent against it, for — and this is the 
wonderful result of complete analysis — the Not that is set as 
its contrary falls into it ; Being and Nothing melt together 
into the same conception. 

Tlie Finite and the Infinite. 291 

Whatever exists has a certain character or nature, and it 
exists only by virtue of such nature which constitutes it what 
it is; that is, a thin.c: only exists in so far as it is a This or' 
That. Its existence absolutely without any qualification is 
imi)ossible and inconceivable. What, then, is its Existence 
in itself — the ultimate underlying universal — the one com- 
mon property and predicate of all things ? It is a pure ab- 
straction. Its only characteristic is to have absolutely no cha- 
racteristic. It is, and that is all about it ; it is, but it is not any 
thing (no thing, nothing) ; it is IS without as yet being any 
hoiD ; it is an utterly predicateless vacuity. Now if abstract 
Nothing be realized to thought, it will be seen to signify pre- 
cisely the same vacuity. What is meant by each term is the 
same thing, namely, absence of determinateness, definiteness ; 
but each term expresses this conception with a slightly dif- 
ferent accentuation. Being states only the positive phase, 
and implies the negative ; conversely. Nothing states only the 
negative phase, and implies the positive. Each of these j^ha- 
ses looked at steadily is seen to vanish in the other. Being 
— abstract affirmation, or affirmation that affirms nothing — 
disappears into a negative ; and Nothing — abstract negation, 
or negation that denies nothing — changes into a positive. Or, 
the Being that disappears in negation reappears again as be- 
fore ; for the negation, being purely abstract, detracts nothing 
from its positiveness. This disappearing of each in the other 
generates a kind of alternation between them in which their 
whole truth emerges. Being and Nothing are the same, yet 
not the same ; the truth of the matter is not that both are, 
independently, but that each passes into the other. This 
Passing is, in the abstract. Becoming. The movement from 
Nothing to Being is Beginning, or Origin ; that from Being 
to Nothing is Ending, or Decease. It is not quite exact, then, 
to speak of Being and Nothing as identical ; for Becoming is 
only so far as they are differents ; but Becoming, which mani- 
fests their difference, manifests also their unity, in which this 
difference is eliminated. Now the logical inconsistency of 
common conception appears in this, that while Being and 
Nothing are regarded as mere antitheticals, and their union 
as a contradiction — Beginning and Ending are, nevertheless, 
held to be valid predicates. But on the supposition of the 

S02 The Finite and the hijinite. 

absolute partedness of Being and Nothing, any Becoming is 
absolutely incomprehensible. On this supposition there can- 
not anything begin : for, it either is already, or is not : so far 
as it is, it does not begin ; and so far as it is not, it does not 
begin. The Eleatic Pantheists, therefore, whose principle 
was the absolute opposition of Being and Nothing, were only 
consistently liolding to that principle when they denied the 
possibility of motion, change, production, &c., or the Becom- 
ing in general. A thing either is or is iiot^ said they, for there 
is no middle state between Being and non-Being ; but, if by 
these are meant absolute being and absolute non-being, the 
truth is rather that there is nothing whatever in all existence 
which is not precisely in this middle state, or transitional 
condition. The question, then, as to the beginning of the 
Absolute is answered by this, that the unity, or rather the 
together-ness, of Being and Nothing makes a Beginning of 
Being impossible ; it is its own beginning. That is, the Be- 
ginning, like Cause, is merely a logical Category. It applies 
itself reall}^ to succession and relativity, but only abstracth' 
to the eternal and absolute. In the notion of the circle, a 
beginning is merely a constitutive point which is everywhere 
in general, but nowhere in particular. So in the eternal IS of 
the universe the Beginning is simply a logical i^rius factually 

The foregoing may furnish an answer to what has been a 
sort of qucestio nexata in philosophy, which indeed is onl_\' 
another form of the question we have been considering : How 
does the Finite come out of the Intinite? or. How does the. 
Iniinite come out of itself into iinitude 'i At pages 80-81 of 
Mr. Mansell's " Limits of Religious Thought,'' it may be seen 
how the Understanding struggles with this question. " Since. 
says Mr. Mansell, " the idea of the Absolute is irreconcilable 
with the idea of Cause, we can do nothing toward explaining 
how the absolute can give rise to the relative, the inhnite to 
the finite." After groping about in the dark for this explana- 
tion, only to his own increasing confusion, he makes up his 
mind that there is no explanation to be had, and remarks : 

"The whole of this web of contradictions is woven from one 
original warp and woof— namely, the impossibility of con- 
ceiving the co-existence of the finite and the infinite, and the 

Tlie Finite and the Infinite. 293 

cognate impossibility of conceiving a tirst commencement of 
phenomena, or tlie absolute giving birtli to tlie relative. The 
laAvs of thought apjiear to admit of no possible escape from 
the meshes in which thought is entangled, save by destroy- 
ing one or other of the cords of which they are composed. 
Pantheism or Atheism are thus the alternatives offered us 
according as we prefer to save the infinite by the sacrifice 
of the finite, or to maintain the finite by denying the infi- 

Upon this Mr. Mansell disposes in turn of both of these 
solutions as incomplete, and comes out himself upon the not 
very satisfactory conclusion that since the last result is a con- 
tradiction complete and thorough-going, " it tells with equal 
force against all belief and all unbelief, and therefore neces- 
sitates the conclusion that belief cannot be determined solely 
by reason." Thus " it sufficiently shows the impotence of 
human reason, while it is not in itself inconsistent with any 
form of religious belief." It would seem hardly likely that 
a contradiction which showed itself so little particular as 
to the form of our religious belief, should not be obliging 
enough to dispense us from holding any religious belief at 
all. But this question. How does the Infinite come out of 
itself? proceeds, it will be seen, from that abstract conception 
of the Infinite which has been shown uj) as a false concep- 
tion. The question, How does the Infinite become finite? is 
answered by this, that " there is no such thing as an Infi- 
nite which is first of all Infinite, and which is afterwards un- 
der a necessity to become finite, to go out into the Finite, but 
it is, in itself, already, just as much finite as infinite. The 
question assumes that the Infinite per se is on one side, and 
that the Finite which has gone out from it — or which has 
come from somewhere, one knows not how — is, separated 
from it, truly real. Here, rather, it is to be said that just this 
separation is incom'preliensible, and that neither such Finite 
nor such Infinite has truth." " So far as one recognizes the 
untruth of these abstractions he may answer the question di- 
rectly, and say that the Infinite goes out into the Finite just 
because as an abstract unity it has no principle of subsistence 
or consistence in itself; and converse!}^, for the same reason 
of its nullity, the Finite goes in into the Infiiute. In other 
words, the Infinite is eternally gone out into the Finite, be- 

294 The Finite and the Infinite. 

cause no more than pure being, is it, by itself, alone, without 
having its Other in itself."* 

But, it may be exclaimed, this co-existence of the Finite 
and the Inhnite makes the Finite eternal, and so overthrows 
the doctrine of the Creation. Not at all ; it only requires us 
to understand that doctrine. If the Creation of the universe 
be regarded as an effect of a creative fiat in time — an eter- 
nity anterior to this is presupposed. Some persons w^ho per- 
ceive this, and who, reluctant to admit a God eternally inac- 
tive, and a universe eternally non-existent, think to solve 
the difficulty by asserting that God is eternally creative — 
that He creates from eternity to eternity. But this only 
removes the difficulty by a single step. If Creation proceed 
from creative fiat, at some time or other that fiat must have 
been spoken, and the question recurs, How was it before f 
The attempt to answer this question brings up the Infinite 
Progress again. Back of the creative act lies an eternity ; at 
the beginning of this eternity we set another creative act ; 
but then there arises a new eternity, to be antedated by a 
new creative act, and so on ad infinitum. It is the same 
thing with the future as with the past. God "creative to eter- 
nity" is God creating in succession ; not creating the universe 
in one act, but working from world to world ; and because 
space and time are endless. He can go on doing so forever. 
The creation of the universe cannot, then, be an act in time, 
unless we are to suppose an eternity when the universe was 
not, and when God was alone in the infinite void. Such a 
God may answer for Buddhism, but such is not the God of 
Christianity. What, then, is Creation? It is the objectiva- 
tion of God's thought to Himself. As such it is certainly 
"from eternity," but not in the sense that you cannot reach 
the time M^hen it liegan ; for I must repeat once more that 
Eternity does not mean endless time, but no time ; not pro- 
gress towards an unreachable future, but rest in a perpetual 
present. God the Creator is, in that as in every aspect, God the 
Spirit ; and the act of a spirit is thought, God creates like an 
Artist, not like a stone-mason. In the rare old Greek tongue 
only the Artist is called Creator, for he alone creates that 

* Hegel's Logic, .sec 1. chap. II.. C, Stirling's translation. 

The Finite and tlie Infinite. 295 

which is spiritual — which, as St. John says, "abideth forever," 
The creation of the universe is co-incident and co-eternal with 
God's thought, and as to creation of particulars that is an 
affair of time, and as such it is continuous, and was by no 
means finished up as regards this planet six thousand years 
ago. As then the waters were gathered together, and the dry 
land appeared ; as the earth brought forth grass, and herb, 
and fruit-tree ; as tlie waters brought forth the moving crea- 
ture that hath life, and the air was filled with the fowls that 
fly above the earth, and the earth with cattle, and creeping 
things, and beasts, — just so it is now: the rocks go on form- 
ing day by day, the minerals concrete, the waters work new 
ways, the forests spring up and are cut down, and all living- 
creatures continue to be born and die. This emerging from 
and sinking in the vast billows of an ever-flowing sea is the 
very story of existence. So far, then, from the Finite being 
made eternal, it appears to be that which has no permanence, 
whose being is altogether in succession. 

Here it may be objected that this is to make the Creation 
a matter of necessity, which view savors of Pantheism. But 
if by creation be understood God's thought, no one need hesi- 
tate about its necessity. With Spirit, to think is to be, and 
you can as little relieve it from this "necessity" as you can a 
quadruped from the necessity of having four feet. On the 
other hand, if you suppose Creation an accidental circum- 
stance — an exertion of arbitrary volition — you tolerate the 
supposition that God might just as well have been entirely 
solitary and entirely inactive ; and such a God is simply no 
God at all. To conceive that existence only happens to be, 
to conceive it all superfluous, and that there might just as 
well have been nothing at all, is to overlook this fact : in that 
God created the world. He demonstrated that abstract self- 
identity was not alone what constituted Him. As to Panthe- 
ism, so far from considering creation necessary. Pantheism 
declares it impossible. For the Pantheist there is nothing 
but the abstract Absolute, and the world of time and sense is 
not its immanent " otherness," but a Maya or delusion of the 
brain. The fact is that just this making Creation an indiffer- 
ent thing — this making God the First and one of the universe, 
suiRcient to Himself without the universe — may seem like 

296 The Finite and the Infinite. 

piety, but is the essential princix:>le of Pantheism. To stand 
by the abstract Infinite, or by the abstract Finite — to stand 
by the one to the exclusion of the other — this, as Mr. Mansell 
correctly describes it {supra), is the position taken by Pan- 
theism and by Atheism. The Universal by itself, without 
particulars, is Pure Being, or the Universal void ; and Par- 
ticulars by themselves, without the including Universal, are 
only Dependents cut from what they depend upon, which 
shrivel up and perish in our hands. The truth as against 
Pantheism and Atheism is neither the one nor the other, 
separatel}^, but both sublated in each other. The true Abso- 
lute-Infinite contains the finite and relative ; it is the Univer- 
sal, and it is in the very notion of the universal that it involve 
the particular ; that it be the All, and therefore every Each. 
To such as may fancy that this " unity of the finite and infi- 
nite" savors of Pantheism, I will say that, as matter of fact, 
Pantheism never came near enough to catch the faintest 
glimpse of this thought, and, further, that this thought over- 
throws Pantheism and treads it underfoot forever. But does 
the reader still shake his head dubiously and say : '' Your 
doctrine nevertheless looks Pantheistical, or Atheistical, to 
me, for you make the Universe— the unity of Finite and Infi- 
nite — a self-existent, sufficient to itself; and you take the 
Beginning— the first cause of the universe — to be abstract Be- 
ing, which you say is convertible with pure Nothing" ? The 
explanation is very simple. This cannot be Pantheism, nor 
Atheism, for in all this there is no question of Clod. The 
Universe has the foroii of God, it is not God; it is thought, 
not the thinker ; it is IS, not I AM. God is not The Infinite, 
but the Infinite one ; He is not self-existence in general, but 
the self-existent Singular. The dialectical evolution of Being 
through Negation after bringing us to the abstract Universal 
— the Infinite and the Finite, or Self and its Other — leads be- 
yond this to Spirit or Personality — the concrete Universal — 
as the absolute thought and fact. The Universe is the equal- 
ity of the Finite and the Infinite : so far as there is definite 
Being there is Infinite Being ; or, there is only one Reality, 
rhe singleness of self-existence. But this is rather a single 
manifold than a single one ; the extension and intension are 
coincident, but just from this coincidence and equality it 

Tlie Finite and the Infinite. 297 

results that there is a self-identical Many rather than a self- 
identical One. What is present is, therefore, Otherness in 
general, or a universal Being-for-Other, which, because it is 
a single Being-for-Other, is more properly Being-for-One. 
That is, the Singleness of the determination snblates the Oth- 
erness. " The Universal is necessarily ./br-One, but it is not 
iov-Anotlier ; the One for which it is, is only itself." That is, 
the One i^ for-itself ^M^t because that which is for-it is noth- 
ing other than itself. To try another statement. Thought, 
or Reason, is the iniplicit or In-Itself of Nature ; or, if one 
chooses, Nature is the exiMcit or Out-of-Itself of Thought ; 
for the Universal is just this Inward-and-Outward, and as 
much one as the other. Thought, then, is Existence in-itself^ 
Nature is existence for-itself, or objectivated to Thought, and 
Spirit is the wliole truth of existence, at once in-itself and 
for-itself. This is the way, and the only way, that Nature 
can lead to Nature's God. No so-called arguments from de- 
sign to prove an intelligent Creator of the universe have been 
worth the paper they were written on. Impersonal thought 
is all that Nature evidences to the sense-understanding ; and 
seed-thought is scarcely a higher principle than seed-matter. 
Abstract Idealism and abstract Materialism are only the two 
forms of Pantheism — that is, of direct and indirect Atheism. 
Now j ust as Nature is the Out-being of Thought, so the unity 
of these two — the absolute Universal — is the Out-being of the 
absolute Spirit, which is thus absolute Subject and absolute 
Object. This may be stated thus: the Ego is, first, self-rela- 
tion, simple identity, or In-Itself; secondly, the Ego discerns 
itself, distinguishes itself, others itself; this Otherness is, as 
contrasted with the first phase, its being Out-of-Itself, and, 
since the Othering is a making itself an object to itself, it is 
also its being For-Itself ; thirdly, the Ego returns from Oth- 
erness, returns from the distinction in which it was set as a 
For-Itself to be discerned, back to the In-Itself, the discerner ; 
but it carries back with it and retains this explication of it- 
self ; it is now Identity and Diversity, the Universal and the 
Particular, at once in and /or itself. This is, of course, only 
logical analysis of an immanent process. There is no such 
thing as an Ego which is first of all in itself, then for itself,. 

298 The Finite and the Infinite. 

and then in and for itself, but it is always in this last or 
complete state of being.* 

As to the difficulty about the Beginning, Pure Being is 
merely the logical prius of the universe, not the actual prius. 
The Immediate is the first in the order of abstract thought, 
but the Self-mediating is the first in the order of reality. The 
true Beginning of the universe is the self-thinking of Spirit, 
and this is also the end, or, more truly, there is neither be- 
ginning nor ending to the eternal Thought of God, the eternal 
IS of the eternal I AM. If this be Pantheism, it is such as is 
taught by St. John. " In the Beginning was the Word, and 
the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same 
was in the beginning with God. All things were made by 
him, and without him was not anything made that was 
made." In the beginning was the Word ; there never was 
even a beginning when the Word was not. That is, the abso- 
lute Voice was and is always a speaking Voice. And not 
only is the Word loith the Voice, but the Word is the Voice. 
For what is a voice which does not utter itself? And what is 
the vocalization but the voice itself? 

As I have said, the subject-matter of philosophy and of 
religion is the same ; the sole question involved in each is 

* Thoroufjhly to think is to think God, for to think is to seek an explanation, 
and i!Ae explanation of all, however we name it, is God. Thus the history of 
philosophy is only a history of the explication of the Divine Idea. Descartes, 
Spinoza, Locke, are all concerned with the One, the absolute as such, Substan- 
tiality, or the In-Itself of Spirit; Hume considers the transition to Many, Caus- 
ality, or the For-Itself of Spirit; Kant establishes the truth of this interrogative 
suggestion by adding the notion of Reciprocity to the other two; and lastly He- 
gel takes up this tritheism into the trinity-in-unity of Self-determination. This 
is the most general statement of Hegel's derivation from Kant. Kant altered the 
relative positions of Subject and Object by showing that the Subject is neces- 
sary to the Object, that the Objective is in fact conditioned by the Subjective— 
for this was Kant's notion of the Categories. The Category, then, the essential 
form of Thought, is the middle ground between Subject and Object, and thd 
truth of these is their necessary relation. Hegel carries out and completes this 
view. It is an error, he says, to regard this reciprocity as a relation somehow 
external to the Subject and Object, a view which would leave these standing by 
themselves as separable and independent, for this relation is rather their organic 
movement, and in it alone they have their being. In fact, the distinction into 
-Subject and Object is a purely logical or formal one. "What we have to do with 
is not two separates and their relation— Subject, Object, Iveciprocity— but One 
inseparable in its immanent distinction — Spirit, Self-determination. 

The Finite and the Infinite. 299 

that of the spiritual interests of man, and philosophy has 
value only as it clarifies our faitli and strengthens our con- 
victions in the truths of religion. That is the spirit which 
searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. Nor is 
such achievement a small matter, or its value trifling. Chris- 
tianity is the revelation of the Infinite and Divine, not as an 
abstract ideal but as the veritable concrete truth, the great 
and only reality. But the profession of faith in this reality 
which we make by calling ourselves Christians is virtually 
belied to-day by the general acceptance of a theory diametri- 
cally opposed to it, supposed to be established by philoso- 
phy and science, in which the Finite as such is viewed as the 
only real, and the Infinite as a "merely negative notion." 
How many calling themselves at once Christians and Phi- 
losophers stumble against imaginary " limits of religious 
thought," and ask doubtfully. What is Truth? and then, 
shaking their heads, answer very wisely, Lo ! we cannot tell 
what it is. What is the common idea of God but a vague 
.abstraction i The phrases Supreme Being and First Cause 
have a grand sound, but what definite idea do they convey 
to the mind i Even while filling ourselves with these windy 
words do we not find ourselves reaching up longingly, striv- 
ing to grasp some more solid and satisfactory conception of 
the Divine ? Nay, do we not sometimes whisper to ourselves, 
Whence, loliere, and how, is this Supreme Being, after all ? 
What does First Cause mean, and what was the hegiiining 
to that ? We seek the Absolute, but we tire of the quest, or 
we have been taught that it is impious to attempt to be wise 
above what is written ; so we answer ourselves, " The Abso- 
lute ? oh, that is God.'' And God ? The answer comes not 
quite so confident!}', " God ? why God is the Supreme Being, 
the First Cause" — in fact, the Absolute. And so Infidelity 
comes up with the pace of a conqueror. Thus many honest 
men are placed in an anomalous and embarrassing position, 
and their efforts to make themselves comfortable in it — not 
entirely to reject the old faith while they embrace the new 
science, and so to hang on to both sides of a contradiction — 
are a spectacle at once painful and ludicrous. The question, 
" What is Truth ?" is the question. What is the Absolute I — ■ 
and this is the question which is to-day supposed unanswer- 

300 Tlie Finite and the Infinite. 

able. It was not strange that Pilate in the darkness of that 
day conld look It in the face and ask despairingly, What is 
Truth? but what excuse shall we Christians have who shut 
our eyes to it, and then say we cannot see ? In this matter 
Mr. Mansell would have us walk by Faith, and not by sight. 
He would carry us to the Absolute by a iiying leap in the 
dark. He iinds the Infinite and Absolute "encompassed with 
contradictions," and this " teaches us that it is our duty to 
believe that which we cannot conceive." If, he says, there is 
an object of which the mind is unable to form a clear and dis- 
tinct conception, this inability disqualifies us for holding any 
given doctrine concerning that object. Thus if we can form 
no positive notion of the nature of God as an Infinite Being\ 
we can neither explain the dogma of the Trinity, nor are we 
entitled to reject it as inconsistent with that nature which is 
thus unknown to us. Such mysteries belong not to Reason 
but to Faith, and the inquiry concerning a belief must be di- 
rected not to its reasonableness or unreasonableness, but to 
the nature of the authority on which it rests as revealed or 
unrevealed.'" In Mr. Mansell's view, that is. Faith, which is 
contrasted with Reason, is simply acceptance of a given doc- 
trine without any inquiry into its reasonableness. The " in- 
quiry" he speaks of into the nature of the authority for the 
doctrine, as revealed or unrevealed, does precisely nothing to 
substantiate this bare acce]Dtance ; for the "revelation" itself 
comes from that same unknown which was in question in the 
first instance. The "inquiry," therefore, is only a vicious 
circle. Mr. Mansell has been compared to a man sitting on 
the end of a plank that projects over an abyss, and deliber- 
ately sawing off" his seat. How easily and immediately such 
a bastard faith would lead to infidelity, one would think 
might have been foreseen. My good friend, answers the 
Spencerian, if this is the best thing you can say for your faith 

* "Priestcraft rea])pears under many forms. This warning off the field of the 
supernatural which is uttered in the supposed interests of Religion, is eclioed 
with even greater earnestness in the real interests of— the Positive Philosophy. 
•AVhatever,' says Mr. Lewes, 'is inaccessible to reason should be strictly inter- 
dicted to research.' Here we have the true ring of the old sacerdotal interdicts I 
Who is to define beforehand what is and what is not 'accessible to reason' ■' The 
strong presumption is that every philosophy which assumes to issue such an 
interdict must have reason to fear inquiry." — Duke of Argyll. 

The Finite and the Infinite. 301 

— that its object is sometliing of which you can form no clear 
and distinct conception, and consequently you are as well en- 
titled to accept as to reject it, because at least it can never be 
disproved — 3^011 must pardon me if I do not embrace your 
creed. You forget that the burden of proof rests with the 
afRrmative, and here on your own showing is nothing ad- 
vanced for the proposition God exists, except that, as it con- 
tains no idea at all, it cannot be contradicted ; it must require 
a truly Tapleyan cheerfulness to content oneself with such 
meagre spiritual sustenance. You believe, you say, but you 
t'an't say why, and you don't know what ; I think we can 
dispense with your belief at least till you can give us some 
answer to these not unnatural questions. Our rational con- 
victions with regard to Divine things, Mr. Mansell says, must 
be regarded not as certainty, but as probability ; and he re- 
marks with perfect truth, '' A single infallible criterion of all 
religious truth can be obtained only by the possession of a 
perfect philosophy of the Infinite," and then proceeds, "if such 
a philosophy is unattainable" — and that it is, is Mr. Man- 
sell's fundamental position— " there is always room for error, 
etc." But not only is there room for error, there is no room 
for anything else ; if this philosophy is unattainable, Truth 
is absolutely unattainable. But is this philosoph}^ unattain- 
able ? What are the Infinite and the Absolute ? Are they 
not the eternal All of things, the actual Universe which is ? 
"VYhy fanc}^ them off in a vague Be^^ond, a dim unreachable 
unknown i But Thought, you say, is conditioned, and can 
never understand the unconditioned; "all, in short, that is 
not finite, relative, and phenomenal, as bearing no analogy 
to our faculties, is beyond the verge of our knowledge." And 
are you so sure of this ? Why do you say Thought is finite '( 
how do you know that Thought is not infinite ? But Thought 
is held in by limits which it cannot transcend. And what if 
these " limits " are pure fictions and fancies ? Nay — if you 
force me to say it — what if it is your own individual incapa- 
city which you thus complacently generalize into limits of 
human thought ? What if your Absolute is an untruth, and 
so quite naturally unattainable ? Here you will open " cer- 
tain boys' puzzle-boxes of Time and Space," and hasten to 
" impale me on the horns of certain infantile dilemmas." — 

302 The Finite and the Infinite. 

But what if you are shown the simple secret of these logical 
labyrinths — what if you are brought to blush that you could 
have found them difficulties ?* Consider a moment. What 
is the difficulty about the Absolute? Is it not the explana- 
tion of the Relative ? Is it not, therefore, given in and with 
the notion of the Relative, not outside and apart from that ? 
Every exx)lanation of a given thing is a finding of the Abso- 
lute of that thing. " Thought, when it asked why an apple 
fell, sought the Absolute and found it, so far at least as Mat- 
ter is concerned." The Absolute is only the final explana- 
tion, the principle of principles, and therefore it is in them, 
and in the things to be explained — that is, just where we are 
thinking, not ofiT somewhere where we cannot think. We 
grope in the darkness of the inane "if haply we may feel af- 
ter and find " the Absolute, though all the time " it is not far 
from every one of us." We stumble over the Absolute lying 
on our own threshhold, and then wander off in a vain search 
for it into the trackless wastes of the desert. We hunt high 
and low, as it were, clamoring for the spectacles which all the 
while rest quietly astride our nose. 

But, in fact, to the assumption of Hamilton, Mansell, and 
the rest, that, in general, the fact of Limitation implies its 
impassability, it is to be objected that rather the direct con- 
trary is implied by this. In that something is determined as 
limited, there is left over against the Limitation that which 
this restrains. The Limitation is only such in antithesis to 
the unlimited part, which by such antithesis is determined as 
Impulse. The Limitation and the Impulse are both in the 
Something, or the Something is simply the unity of both ; 

* The ultimate result of logic is always an unresolved contradiction in thought 
and in terms. The Understanding is the faculty of seeing things in relation, and 
consequently its last result is a dualism which is pushed to an antithesis of con- 
tradictories. But the eye of Keason sees the last result as unity — what is truly 
last cannot be two, it must be one. Reason has insight into the sublation of the 
contradiction. It sees the dualism resolved into unity, at the same time that the 
two terms are coiiscrved^ in so far as necessary factors of that unity — which is only 
out of their difference — but not conserved as independents whose combination is 
contingent and external to their being. To reach the speculative view we must 
think ourselves loose from the abstractions of the understanding which entangle 
thought in their tough, fibrous "web of contradictions," and "'shut it in with 
"Limits" and keep it down with " Laws," so that it cannot rise to a comprehen- 
sion of Self-diremption in Self-conservation, which is the Truth of the universe. 

Tlie Finite and the Infinite. 303 

one side, therefore, is just as valid as the other, for each side 
is only by reason of, and in consequence of, the other. There- 
fore to stick at Limitation as a finality, and not to see that in 
fact this is so determined only in order to he transcended — 
that in fact its meaning simply is that the Something in its 
inner nature has not a^ yet passed the bound, but only is to 
do so — this comes from inability to place oneself in the whole 
notion, or to see more than a one-sided, abstract, half-truth. 
Not to argue the matter further, the assertion of the impassa- 
bility of Limitation may be met by a simple reference to the 
Actual. What takes place constantly around us is nothing 
else than transcendence of limitation. Change is Something, 
through its potentiality, passing over the limits of its present 
being into a new state of being. The oak, for instance, is the 
transcendence of a limitation to be an acorn. Or, tempera- 
ment, disposition, our whole inherited or given moral nature, 
is the Limitation of our character : this is what we are ; but 
against this is free-will, the Impulse, the power to become 
otherwise. Possibility of transcendence is admitted by all 
who believe in moral responsibility, that is, by all mankind 
except a few abstract theorists. The will and the idiosyn- 
cratic moral total are the two constituent elements of charac- 
ter, which is simply what results from the action and coun- 
teraction of these two. Now this given nature is precisely 
our finitude, this is the sphere of the negative for human 
Spirit ; and in this moral sphere the Limitation, though never 
impassable, is often not passed. But Thought, Reason, on 
the other hand, is what is universal in us as opposed to our 
particularity ; it is the Universal which is without and be- 
yond all limitation, which, not potentially, but actually, is 
absolutely free. 

In conclusion, I can only say that I believe that there might 
be found in the full comprehension of these two thoughts, 
Finite and Infinite in their ultimate unity and truth, a clue 
to many tangled puzzles of modern life, and a light to break 
through the cloud which shadows our future. The principles 
of Christianity are to-day in great measure discarded or for- 
gotten ; man is fast losing his hold on that Infinite and Divine 
which is the truth of his being, fast slipping backward into 
the condition of misery and darkness from which Christ came 

304 Descartes^ Meditations. 

to rescue him eighteen centuries ago. As of old the Truth 
spoke to the simple and unlearned, saying, Arise and follow 
me, so to-day" he gives the same summons to men of intellect. 
It is high time that earnest thinking men should know that 
the " riddle of the painful earth" is not insoluble, is not un- 
solved ; time they should know that " the secret of the uni- 
verse is powerless to resist the might of thought''; time they 
should bring something else than "infantile crjdngs,'' and 
" stretchings of lame hands of faith that gather only dust and 
chaff," to meet the present need. To-day as in the First Cen- 
tury the world's great need is the need of Principles — Prin- 
ciples social, i)olitical, economical, religious — Principles to 
guide man's every walk in life. The principles which mould- 
ed the life of a former time are fallen from their thrones, and 
mankind is in open rebellion against the past. The task be- 
fore us, then, is no less a one than to lay the foundations of a 
better era in the ruins of the old world. To bring this task 
to a successful issue Philosophy alone is competent ; amid 
perplexity, confusion, and the strife of many tongues, it is the 
utterance and acceptance of philosophic truth which alone 
can bring peace in our time — peace to the unquiet hearts of 
men, peace to the unquiet hearts of nations. 



III xuhich are clearly proved the Existence of God, a7id the real 
distinction between the Soul and Body of Man. 

Translated from the French of Descartes, by R. Walker. 



It now remains to me only to examine whether there are 
things material : and, indeed, I already know at least that 
they may exist in so far as they are regarded as the object 
of the demonstrations of geometry, since in this fashion I 

Descartes' Meditations. 805> 

conceive them very clearly and very distinctly. For there is 
no doubt bnt that God has the power of producing all the 
things which I am capable of conceiving with distinctness; 
and I have never judged it impossible for him to do anything 
except Avhat was in contradiction to the power to conceive 
aright. Moreover, the faculty of imagination which is in me, 
and of which I see by exjierience I make use when I apj)ly 
myself to the consideration of things material, is caj)able of 
persuading me of their existence ; for when I attentively con- 
sider what this imagination is, I find that it is nothing but a- 
certain application of the faculty which knows, to the body 
which is intimately present with it, and which therefore 

And in order to render this very manifest, I remark, first, 
the difference which there is between imagination and pure 
intellection or conception. For example, when I imagine a tri- 
angle, I not only conceive that it is a figure composed of tliree 
lines, but in addition I regard these three lines as joresented 
by the force and the internal application of my mind ; and this 
is properly what I call imagination. But if I wish to think of a 
chiliagon, I conceive in truth that it is a figure composed of a 
thousand sides, as easily as I conceive that a triangle is a 
figure composed of three sides only ; but I cannot imagine 
the thousand sides of a chiliagon as I can the three sides of 
a triangle, or regard them, so to speak, with the eyes of my 
mind as present. And though, knowing the custom I have of 
always using my imagination when I think of things cor2:)o- 
real, it happens that in conceiving a chiliagon I confusedly 
represent to myself some figure, yet it is very evident that 
this figure is not a chiliagon, since it in nowise differs from 
what I should represent to myself were I to think of a myria- 
gon or of any other many-sided figure, and does not in any 
way aid in discovering the properties which constitute the 
difference between the chiliagon and other polygons. But if 
the consideration of a pentagon comes in question, it is very 
true that I can conceive its figure as well as that of a chilia- 
gon without the aid of the imagination ; but I can also ima- 
gine it in applying the attention of my mind to each of its five 
sides, and at the same time to the area or space which they 
enclose. Thus I know clearly that I liave need of a particu- 

B06 Descartes'' Meditations. 

lar effort of the iiiiiid in order to imagine, an effort of wliicli 
I make no use in order to conceive or to nnderstand ; and this 
l)articnhir effort of the mind shows evidently the difference 
which lies between imagination and intellection or pnre con- 
ception, I observe, besides, that this power of imagination 
which is in me, in so far as it differs from the power of con- 
ception, is in no fashion necessary to my natnre or essence, 
that is, to the essence of my mind ; for, althongh I slionld not 
have it, there is not a doubt but that I wonld always remain 
the same as I now am : whence it seems that we may con- 
clude that it depends on something that is different from my 
mind. And I easily conceive that if any body exists to which 
my mind is so joined and nnited that it can be applied to its 
consideration wlien it pleases, it can in this way imagine cor- 
poreal things : so that this fashion of thinking differs only 
from jjure intellection in this, that the mind in conception is 
turned in some way towards itself, and regards some one of 
its ideas as it is in itself; but in imagination it is turned 
towards the body, and regards in it something conforming to 
the idea which it lias itself formed, or which it has received 
through the senses. I easily conceive, I say, that the imagina- 
tion may act in this manner if it is true that there is a body ; 
arid l:)ecause I can hnd no other Avay of explaining how it 
does act, I thence conjecture that it is probably in this 
way, but only probably ; and although I carefully examine 
everything, I cannot lind that from this distinct idea of cor- 
poreal nature which I have in my imagination, I can draw 
any argument whicli necessarily concludes the existence of 
any l)odv. 

But I am accustomed to imagine many other things besides 
this corporeal nature which is the object of geometry, namely, 
colors, sounds, tiavors, pain, and other such things, although 
less distinctly ; and since I much better perceive those things 
by the senses, by the mediation of whicli and of the memory 
they seem to reach my imagination, I believe that, in order 
to examine them more conveniently, it would be well to exam- 
ine at the same time what feeling is, and to see whether from 
those ideas which I receive in my mind by this fashion of 
thinking which I call feeling, I cannot draw some certain 
2)roof of the existence of things corporeal. 

Descartes'' Meditations. 307 

And, in tlie first place, I shall trace back in my memory 
what are the things which I formerly accounted true, as hav- 
ing received them by the senses, and npon what foundations 
my belief rested; next, I shall examine the reasons which 
have since obliged me me to call them in question ; and, final- 
ly, I shall consider what I ought now to believe. 

First, then, I felt that I had a head, hands, feet, and all 
the other members composing this body, which I considered 
as a part of myself, or perhaps also as the whole ; moreover, 
I felt that this body was placed among many others, from 
which it was capable of receiving comforts and discomforts 
of various kinds; and I observed these comforts by a cer- 
tain feeling of pleasure or luxury, and the discomforts by 
a feeling of pain. And, besides this pleasure and this pain, 
I also felt within me hunger, thirst, and other similar appe- 
tites ; as also certain corporeal tendencies towards joy, sad- 
ness, anger, and other similar passions. And, externally, 
besides the extension, the figures, the motions of bodies, I 
observed in them hardness, heat, and all the other qualities 
which fall under the touch ; moreover, I there observed light, 
colors, odors, tastes, and sounds, the variety of which gave 
me the means of distinguishing the sky, the earth, the sea, 
and generally all other bodies the one from the other. And 
indeed, considering the ideas of all these qualities which were 
presented to my thought, and which alone I felt properly and 
immediately, it was not without reason that I believed I felt 
tilings entirely different from my thought, namely, bodies from 
which these ideas proceeded ; for I experienced that they were 
presented to them without my consent being required, so that 
I could not feel any object, however willing 1 might have 
been, if it were not present at the organ of one of my senses ; 
and it was not at all in my power not to feel it when it was 
present. And because the ideas which I received by the 
senses were much more lively, more positive, and even in 
their own fashion more distinct, than any of those which I 
could of myself feign in meditating, or which were imprinted 
on my memory, it seemed that they could not proceed from 
my mind ; so that they were necessarily caused in me by 
other things. Of which things having no knowledge, save 
that they gave me these same idea, it could not occur to mv 

308 Descartes^ Meditations. 

mind but these things were similar to the ideas which they 
caused. And since I remember also that I was more quickly 
served by the senses than by my reason, and that I recog- 
nized that the ideas which I of myself formed were not sq 
positive as those which I received by the senses, and even 
that they were made up of parts of those very ideas received 
by the senses, I easily persuaded mj^self that I had not any 
idea in my mind which had not before passed into it through 
my senses. Nor was it without reason that I believed that 
this body, which by a certain peculiar right I called my own, 
belonged to me more properly and more strictly than another y 
for, in effect, I could not be separated from it as from other 
bodies : I felt in it and for it all my appetites and all my 
affections, and, in tine, I was touched with the feelings of 
pleasure and of pain in its parts, and not in those of other 
bodies separated from it. But when I examined why, from a 
vague feeling of pain, there followed sadness in the mind, and 
from the feeling of pleasure there arose joy, or whyj from an 
unknown disturbance of the stomach, called hunger, we have 
the desire to eat, and from the dryness of the throat we have 
the desire to drink, and so on, I could not render any reason, 
except that nature thus taught me ; for there is certainly no 
affinity or relation, at least in my comprehension, between 
this disturbance of the stomach and the desire to eat, or be- 
tween the feeling of the thing which causes the pain and the 
thought of sadness which this feeling creates. And, in the 
same way, it seems to me that I have learned of nature all 
the other things which I judged concerning the objects of my 
senses; because I observed that the judgments which I was 
accustomed to make of these objects were formed in me 
before I had the leisure to weigh and consider any reasons 
which might oblige me to make them. 

But, thereafter, many experiences gradually destroyed all 
the credit I had attached to my senses : for I have often 
observed that the towers which at a distance seemed to me 
round, appeared, when near, to be square, and that the colos- 
sal figures raised upon the highest summits of these towers 
appeared to me when regarding them from below as little 
statues ; and also, from an infinity of other occasions, I have 
discovered error in the judgments founded upon the external 

Descartes' Meditations. 309 

■senses ; and not only upon the external senses, but even upon 
the internal ; for is there anything more intimate or more in- 
ternal than pain ? and yet I at one time learned from several 
persons whose arms and legs had been amputated that they 
still sometimes seemed to feel pain in the part which they no 
longer had ; which led me to think that I also could not be 
entirely assured that I was ill in one of my members although 
I should feel pain in it. And to these reasons for doubt, I 
have recently added two others of a very general kind : the 
•first is, that I have never believed myself to feel, when awake, 
anything which I could not sometimes also believe myself to 
feel when asleep ; and as I do not believe that the things 
w^hich I seem to feel when asleep proceed from any objects 
•outside of me, I do not see why I should rather have this be- 
lief concerning those which I seem to feel when awake ; and 
the second is, that, not yet knowing, or rather feigning not 
to know the author of my being, I see nothing preventing me 
from having been so made by nature as to deceive myself 
even in the things which appear to me the most veritable. 
And as for the reasons which before persuaded me of the 
truth of things sensible, I had not much difficulty in answer- 
ing them ; for nature seeming to carry me to many things 
from which reason turned me aside, I did not believe it my 
duty to trust much in the teachings of this nature. And al- 
though the ideas which I receive by the senses do not depend 
upon my will, I did not think I ought therefore to conclude 
that they proceed from things diff^erent from me, since per- 
haps there might be discovered in me some faculty, hitherto 
unknown to me, which may be the cause of them and pro- 
duce them. 

But now that I begin to know myself better and to discover 
more clearly the author of my origin, I do not in truth think 
that I ought rashly to admit everything which the senses 
appear to teach us, nor, on the other hand, do I think that I 
ought altogether generally to call them in question. 

And in the first place, since I know that all the things wiiich 
I conceive clearly and distinctly may be produced by God, 
such as I conceive them, it is sufiicient that I can conceive 
clearly and distinctly one thing without another in order to 
be certain that the one is distinct or diff"erent from the other, 

310 Descartes- Meditations. 

because they can be placed separately, at least by tlie om- 
nipotence of God; and we are obliged to judge tliem to be 
diiferent, no matter by what power this separation was accom- 
plished : and therefore, from the very fact that I know with 
certainty that I exist, and yet that I do not observe that any- 
thing else necessarily belongs to my nature, or to my essence, 
than that I am a thing that thinks, I very properly conclude 
that my essence consists in this only, that I am a thing that 
thinks, or a substance whose whole essence or nature is sim- 
ply to think. And although perhaps, or rather certainly, as 
I would almost say, I may have a body to which I am very 
closely joined, yet, since on the one hand I have a clear and 
distinct idea of myself in so far as I am only a thing that 
thinks and not extended, and on the other hand I have a 
distinct idea of the body in so far as it is only a thing ex- 
tended and that does not think, it is certain that I — that is to 
say, my soul, by which I am what I am— am entirely and 
really distinct from my body, and that I can be or exist with- 
out it. 

Moreover, I find in me various faculties of thinking which 
have each their peculiar manner : for example, there are in 
me the faculties of imagination and feeling, without which I 
.can well conceive myself clearly and distinctly as altogether 
complete ; but I cannot so conceive, reciprocally, those facul- 
ties without me, that is, without an intelligent substance to 
which they are attached or to which they belong ; for, in our 
notion of these faculties — or, to use scholastic terms, in their 
formal concept — tliey comprise some kind of intellection; 
whence I conceive that they are distinct from me as modes 
.are distinct from things. I know also some other faculties, 
such as the changing of place, the taking various situations, 
and the like, which cannot any more than the former be con- 
ceived without some substance to which they are attached, 
and without which they consequently could not exist ; but it 
is very evident that these faculties, if it is true that they 
exist, must belong to some corporeal or extended substance, 
and not to an intelligent substance, because in the clear and 
distinct concept of them there is contained some kind of ex- 
tension, but of intelligence none. Besides, I cannot doubt but 
that there is in me a certain passive faculty of feeling, that 

Descartes'' Meditations. 311 

is, of receiving and recognizing the ideas of sensible things ; 
but it would be useless to me, and would in nowise be ser- 
viceable to me, if there were not also in me, or in some other 
thing, another active faculty capable of forming and produ- 
cing these ideas. But this active faculty cannot be in me in 
so far as I am only a tiling that thinlis, since it does not 
presuppose my thought, and also since these ideas are often 
represented to me without my in any way contributing there- 
to, and even often against my will ; it is necessary, therefore, 
that it should be in some substance different from me, in 
which all the reality which is objectively in the ideas pro- 
duced by this faculty is formally or eminently contained, as 
I have formerly observed : and this substance is either a 
body — that is, a corporeal nature — in which is formally and 
in reality contained all Avhich is objectively and by represen- 
tation in these ideas, or it is God himself, or some other crea- 
ture more noble than the body in which it itself is eminently 
contained. Now, God not being a deceiver, it is very mani- 
fest that he wdll not transmit these ideas immediately through 
himself, or by the mediation of any creature in which their 
reality is not formally contained, but only eminently. For, 
not having given me any faculty to know what that is, but, 
on the contrary, a very great inclination to believe that they 
proceed from corporeal things, I do not see how one can 
acquit him of decej)tion if in reality these ideas proceed from 
elseAvhere, or are ]3roduced by other causes than things cor- 
poreal : and, therefore, we must conclude that it is from cor- 
poreal tilings which exist. Yet they may not be altogether 
such as we perceive them by the senses to be, for there are 
many things which render this perception of the senses very 
obscure and confused ; but it must at least be admitted that 
all the tilings which I conceive clearly and distinctly — that 
is, all the things, generally speaking, which are comprised in 
the object of speculative geometry, are really there. 

But as regards other things which are either only particu- 
lar — for example, that the sun is of such a size and of such a 
shape, etc.— or are conceived less clearly and less distinctly, 
as light, sound, pain, and the like, it is certain that though 
they are more doubtful and uncertain, yet, from the single 
fact that God is no deceiver, and that consequently he does 

312 Descartes' Meditations. 

not allow any falsity in my opinions which he has not given 
me some faculty capable of correcting, I believe myself able 
to conclude assuredly that I have in me the means of know- 
ing them with certainty. And, first, there is not a doubt but 
that all which nature teaches me contains some truth : for by 
nature, considered in general, I do not now understand any- 
thing but God himself, or rather the order and disposition 
which God has established in created things, and by my 
nature in particular I do not understand anything but the 
constitution or assemblage of all the things which God has 
given me. 

Now there is nothing which this nature teaches me more 
positively or more sensibly, than that I have a body which 
is ill-affected when I feel pain, which needs to eat or drink 
when I have the feelings of hunger or thirst, etc. And there- 
fore I ought not in anywise to doubt that there is in that 
some truth. 

Nature teaches me also by these feelings of pain, hunger, 
thirst, etc., that I am not only lodged in my body, as a pilot 
in his ship, but am besides very closely united and so blend- 
ed and mixed with it that I make up with it a single whole. 
For, if it were not so, when my body is wounded I should 
not feel any pain on that account, since I am only a thing 
that thinks ; but I should perceive this wound by the under- 
standing alone, as a pilot perceives by sight if anything 
breaks in his vessel ; and when my body has need of drink- 
ing or of eating, I should only know that, without being 
warned of it by confused feelings of hunger and thirst : for 
in reality all these sentiments of hunger, thirst, pain, etc., are 
only certain confused fashions of thinking which proceed 
from and depend upon the union and almost the mixture of 
the mind and body. 

Besides this, nature teaches me that many other bodies ex- 
ist around me, of which I have to pursue some and to shun 
others. And indeed, from the fact that I feel different kinds 
of colors, odors, tastes, sounds, heat, hardness, etc., I ver}' 
properly conclude that there are, in the bodies from which 
proceed all these varicms perceptions of the senses, certain 
varieties corresponding to them, although perhaps these va- 
rieties are not in reality similar to them ; and from the fact 

Descartes- Meditations. 313 

that among tliese A'arious perceptions of the senses some are 
agreeable to me and others disagreeable, there is no doubt 
but that my body, or rather myself altogether, in so far as I 
^m composed of body and soul, is capable of experiencing 
various comforts or discomforts from the other bodies which 
surround it. 

But there are many other things which it seems nature had 
taught me, which however I have not really learned from her, 
but which were introduced into my mind by a certain cus- 
tom which I have of making inconsiderate judgments of 
things; and thus it may easily happen that they contain 
some falsity ; as, for example, my opinion that every space 
in which there is no thing w^hich moves and makes impres- 
sions on my senses is void ; that in a body which is warm 
there is something similar to the idea of heat which is in me ; 
that in a white or black body there is the same whiteness or 
blackness which I feel ; that in a bitter or sweet body there 
is the same taste or the same savor, and so on ; that stars, 
towers, and all other distant bodies, are of the same figure 
and size as they appear to our eyes at a distance, etc. But 
in order that there may not be in this anything which 
I do not distinctly conceive, I ought to define preciselj' 
what is my proper meaning when I sa^^ that nature teaches 
me anything. For I here use nature in a more strict sig- 
nification than when I call it an assemblage or collection 
of all the things which (xod has given me ; since this assem- 
blage or collection comprises many things which belong to 
the mind alone, to which things I do not here refer in speak- 
ing of nature, as, for example, the notion which I have of this 
truth, that what has been done once cannot have been done 
again, and an infinity of others similar which I know by the 
natural light without the aid of the body ; and since there 
a-re also comprised in it ihany others which belong to the 
body alone, and are not now included here under the term 
nature, such as the quality of weight, and many other such 
things of which also I do not speak, but only of the things 
which God has given me as being composed of mind and 
body. Now this nature teaches me to shun the things which 
cause in me the feeling of pain, and to incline towards those 
which give me au}' feeling of pleasure ; but I do not see that 

314 Descartes'' Meditations. 

beyond this it has taught me that from these various per- 
ceptions of the senses we ought ever to conclude anything 
concerning the things which are outside of us until the mind 
has carefully and maturely examined them : for it seems to 
me to belong to the mind alone, and not to the compound of 
mind and body, to know the truth of these things. Thus, 
although a star should make no more impression on my eye 
than the light of a candle, there is however within me no real 
or natural faculty that would lead me to believe that the star 
is larger than the light of the candle, but I have so judged it 
from my first years without any reasonable foundation. And 
although in approaching the fire I feel heat, and in approach- 
ing a little nearer I feel pain, there is yet no reason to per- 
suade me that there is in the fire anything similar to this 
heat or to this pain : but I have only reason for believing 
there is something in it, whatever it may be, which excites in 
me these feelings of heat or pain. Besides, although there 
may be spaces in which there is nothing which excites and 
moves my senses, I ought not therefore to conclude that these . 
spaces do not contain in them any body ; but I see that, as 
much in this as in many other similar things, I have been 
accustomed to pervert and confound the order of nature, be- 
cause these feelings or perceptions of the senses having been 
put within me by nature only for the purpose of signifying 
to my mind what things are suitable or injurious to the com- 
pound of which it is a part, and being for that purpose suffi- 
ciently clear and distinct, I nevertheless make use of them as 
if they were very certain rules by which I could know imme- 
diately the essence and nature of the bodies which are out- 
side of me, of which however they can teach me nothing 
which is not very obscure and confused. 

But 1 have already before sufficiently examined how, not- 
withstanding the sovereign goodness of God, it happens that 
there should be falsity in the judgments which I thus make. 
Only one difficulty here presents itself concerning the things 
which nature teaches me should be followed or avoided, and 
also concerning the internal feelings it has put within me ; 
for it seems to me that I have here sometimes observed error, 
and thus that I am directly deceived by my nature : as, for 
example, the agreeable taste of some viand in which poison 

Descartes^ Meditations. 315 

lias been mixed may invite me to take this poison, and thus 
deceive me. It is true, however, that in this nature may be 
excused, for it leads me only to desire the viand, which has 
an agreeable taste, and not to desire the poison, which is un- 
known to it ; so that I can only conclude from this that my 
nature does not entirely and universally know all things : a 
conclusion that need not give rise to any astonishment, since 
man being of a finite nature his knowledge can thus have 
only a limited perfection. 

But we are also as often deceived even in the things to 
which we are directly inclined by nature, as happens to sick 
persons when they desire to drink or to eat things injurious 
to them. It may, perhaps, here be said that the cause of the 
deception is that their nature is corrupted ; but that does not 
remove the difficulty, for a sick man is not less truly the crea- 
ture of God than a man in full health, and it is therefore as 
much repugnant to the goodness of God that there should be 
one deceitful and faulty nature as that there should be 
another ; and as a clock, composed of wheels and counter- 
weights, observes not less exactly all the laws of nature when 
badly made and when it does not keep good time, than when 
it entirely satisfies the maker's desire, so also, if I consider 
the body of man as a machine so formed and composed of 
bones, nerves, muscles, veins, blood, and skin, that while 
there would be no mind in it, it should not at all cease to 
move in the same way as it now does when not moved by the 
direction of its will and consequently by the aid of the mind, 
but only by the disposition of its organs, I easily recognize 
that it would be as natural to this body — being, for example, 
dropsical — to suff'er from dryness of the throat, which gener- 
ally conveys to the mind the feeling of thirst, and to be dis- 
posed by this dryness to move its nerves and other parts in 
the manner requisite for drinking, and thus to augment its 
malady and injure itself just as naturally as when it has no 
indisposition it is by a similar dryness of the throat inclined 
to drink for its benefit ; and although, considering the use to 
which a clock is destined by its maker, I may say that it is 
turned from its nature when it does not properly mark the 
hours, and that in the same way, considering the machine of 
the human body as having been formed by God to have in 

316 Descartes- Meditations. 

itself all the movements whicli are generally there, I should 
have occasion to think that it does not follow the order of its 
nature when its throat being dr}^ drinking injures its preser- 
vation, I yet recognize that this last way of explaining nature 
is very different from the other ; for this is only but a certain 
-external denomination, which depends entirely on my thought, 
which compares a sick man and a clock badly made with the 
idea which I have of a healthy man and of a well-made clock, 
and which betokens nothing which is in reality in the thing- 
referred to ; whereas, by the other way of explaining nature, 
I understand something which is really in the things, and 
which therefore is not without some truth. 

But indeed, with respect to a dropsical body, it is but an 
external denomination to say that its nature is corrupted 
when, without having the need to drink, it has yet a dry and 
arid throat ; yet, with respect to the whole compound — that 
is, to the mind or soul united to the body — it is not a pure 
denomination, but rather a veritable error of nature, since 
it is thirsty when to drink is very injurious to it; and there- 
fore there yet remains to be examined how the goodness of 
God does not prevent the nature of man, taken in this way, 
from being faulty and deceitful. 

Commencing then this examination, I here remark, first, 
that there is a great difference between the mind and the 
body in this, that the body, by its nature, is always divisi- 
ble, and that the mind is entirely indivisible ; for, in truth, 
when I consider it — that is, when I consider myself in so 
far as I am only a thing that thinks — I cannot distinguish 
in me any parts, but I know and conceive very clearly that 
I am a thing absolutely one and entire ; and although all 
the mind seems to be united to all the body, yet when a 
foot or an arm or some other part is separated from it, I know 
very well that nothing has thereby been cut off from my 
mind : and the faculties of will, feeling, conception, etc., can- 
not any more be properly called its parts, for it is the same 
mind which is employed all entire in willing, and all entire 
in feeling and in conceiving, etc.; but it is altogether the con- 
trary with things corporeal or extended, for I cannot imagine 
.any of them, however small, which I could not easily in 
thought take to pieces, or which my mind could not very easily 

Descartes^ Meditations. 317 

divide into several parts, and which consequently I know to 
be divisible. And this would suffice to teach me that the mind 
or the soul of man is entirely different from the body, even if 
I had not already otherwise sufficiently learned it. 

I observe also that the mind does not receive immediately 
the impression of all parts of the body, but only of the brain,, 
or perhaps rather of one of its smallest parts, namely, that 
where is exercised that faculty called the common sense, 
which, as often as it is affected in the same way, causes the 
same thing to be felt in the mind although in the meantime 
the other parts of the body may be variously affected, as an 
infinity of experiences testify, which there is no need of here 

I observe, besides, that the nature of the body is such that 
not any one of its parts can be moved by another part a little 
distant, otherwise than it can in the same way be moved by 
each of the intermediate parts without the part most distant 
being moved. As, for example, in the cord A B C D, which is 
completely tense, if we draw and move the last part (D), the 
first (A) will not be moved in anywise differently than it would 
be if we drew one of the middle parts (B or C), and the last 
(D) were to remain motionless. And, in the same way, when 
I feel pain in my foot, physics teaches me that this feeling is 
communicated by means of nerves dispersed through the foot, 
which, being stretched like cords from there to the brain, and 
which when drawn in the foot draw also at the same time the 
place of the brain from which they come and in which they 
terminate, and there excite a certain movement which nature 
has instituted to make pain felt in the mind as if this pain 
were in the foot ; but because these nerves must pass through 
the leg, the thigh, the loins, the back, and the neck, in order 
to reach from the foot to the brain, it may happen that al- 
though their extremities which are in the foot are not moved, 
but only some of their parts which pass through the loins or 
the neck, this may nevertheless excite the same movements 
in the brain which would be excited there by a wound re- 
ceived in the foot, in consequence of which the mind would 
necessarily feel in the foot the same pain as if it had there 
received a wound ; and we must judge similarly concerning 
all the other perceptions of our senses. 

318 Descartes^ Meditations. 

Finally, I observe that, since each movement made in the 
part of the brain from which the mind receives immediately' 
the impression produces but one single feeling, we cannot, as 
concerns this matter, wish or imagine anything better than 
that this movement should produce in the mind that one of 
all the impressions it is capable of causing, wliich is the most 
proper and the most generally useful in the preservation of 
the human body when in full health : but experience reveals 
to us that all the feelings which nature has given us are such 
as I have just described; and there is, therefore, nothing in 
them which does not make apparent the power and the good- 
ness of God. Thus, for example, when the nerves which are 
in the foot are much, and more than usually, moved, their 
movement, passing through the marrow of the dorsal spine 
to the brain, makes there an impression on the mind wliich 
causes it to feel something, namely, pain, as being in the foot, 
whereby the mind is warned and excited to do its best to re- 
move the cause, as very dangerous and injurious to the foot. 
It is true that God might establish the nature of man so that 
this same movement in the brain should produce in the mind 
an impression altogether different : for example, that it should 
make itself fieel directly according as it is in the brain, or in 
the foot, or in any other place between the foot and the brain, 
or, in short, any other part whatever ; but nothing in all this 
would so well contribute to the preservation of the body as 
that which it actually feels. Moreover, when we require to 
drink, there is thereby created a certain dryness in the throat 
which moves its nerves, and by their means the internal parts 
of the brain ; and this movement produces in the mind the 
feeling of thirst, because on such an occasion there is nothing- 
more useful to us to know than that we need to drink for the 
preservation of our health, and so of our other needs. 

Wherefore it is altogether manifest that, notwithstanding 
the sovereign goodness of God, the nature of man in so far as 
it is composed of mind and body cannot but sometimes be 
faulty and deceitful. For if there is any cause which excites, 
not in the foot, but in some one of the parts of the nerve which 
stretches from the foot to the brain, or even in the brain, the 
same movement which generally takes place when the foot is 
hurt, we will feel the j^ain as if it were in the foot, and the sense 

Descartes' Meditations. 319 

will naturally be deceived ; because tlie same movement in 
the brain could cause in the mind only the same feeling, and 
this feeling being much oftener excited by a cause which 
hurts the foot than by another which is elsewhere, it is much 
more reasonable that it should convey to the mind the feel- 
ing of pain in the foot than in any other part. And if it 
happen that sometimes the dryness of the throat does not 
come as it generally does from its being necessary for the 
health of the body to drink, but from some cause altogether 
contrary, as happens to those who are dropsical, yet it is 
much better that it should deceive in such circumstances 
than if, on the contrary, it always deceived when the body is 
in good health, and so of the other things. 

And indeed this consideration is greatl}^ serviceable to me 
not only for the purpose of recognizing all the errors to which 
my nature is subject, but also of avoiding or correcting them 
more easily : for knowing that all my senses more commonly 
point out to me the true than the false as regards the things 
relating to the comforts and discomforts of the body, and 
being nearly alwa3's able to make use of several of them to 
examine any one thing, and being able, besides, to make use 
of my memory in uniting and joining present knowledge to 
past, and also to make use of my understanding which has 
alread}^ discovered all the causes of my errors, I ought no 
longer to complain of there being falsity in the things which 
are most commonly represented to me by my senses. And 
I ought to throw aside all the doubts of these past days as 
hyperbolical and ridiculous, particularly the so general un- 
certainty regarding sleep, which I could not distinguish from 
waking : for now I find here a very notable difference, in this, 
that our memory can never unite and join our dreams to one 
another and to the whole course of our life, as it generally 
does in regard to the things which happen to its when awake. 
And, in fact, if any one, while I am awake, should very sud- 
denly appear before me and as suddenly disappear, as do the 
images I see when asleep, so that I could not observe whence 
he came or whither he went, I would not unreasonably deem 
it a spectre or phantom formed in my brain, and similar to 
those which are formed there during my sleep, rather than a 
real man. But wlien I perceive things which I know distinct- 

320 Tlie Philosophy of Plato. 

ly, and the place whence they come, and where they are, and 
the time at which they appear to me, and when, without any 
interruption, I can unite the feeling which I have of them 
with the course of the rest of my life, I am fully assured that 
I perceive them while awake and not in my sleep. xVnd I 
ought not in any way to doubt the truth of these things, if, 
after having invoked all my senses, my memory, and my un- 
derstanding, for their examination, there is nothing commu- 
nicated to me by any of them repugnant to what is comuni- 
cated to me by the others. For from this fact that God is no 
deceiver, it necessarily follows that I am not in that deceived. 
But, because the necessity of aftairs often obliges us to decide 
for ourselves before we have had leisure to examine them so 
carefully, it must be admitted that the life of man is subject 
to very frequent deception in particular things, and finally 
we must recognize the infirmity and the weakness of our 


Tanslated from the German of G, W. F. Hegel. 

H.^ — Dialectic. 

We have already remarked that the province of the true 
dialectic is to show up the necessary movement of the pure 
concepts [or categories of pure thought] — not as a movement 
wherein they are reduced to naught — but the result should 
be that the pure thought concepts prove to be this movement 
and that the Universal is seen to be the unity of such anti- 
thetic concepts. It is true that we do not find in Plato a clear 
consciousness of this nature of the dialectic, but still we find 
in his writings the true dialectic itself: we find the Absolute 
essence recognized in the form of pure ideas, and we find also 
the exposition of the movement of these ideas. That which 
makes the study of the Platonic dialectic difficult is this 
development and the demonstration of the Universal from 
the notions of common consciousness. This beginning [with 
ordinary notions] which it would seem ought to facilitate the 
arrival at science, proves rather to make the difficulty greater, 

The PMlosopliy of Plato. 321 

since it leads into a field in which something prevails that 
is qnite diflferent from what possesses validity in Reason, 
and it brings us face to face with sensuous objects ; while in 
the sphere of Reason, on the contrary, one enters the move- 
ment of pure ideas alone, and he is not reminded at all of the 
former [sensuous] sphere. But through this very contrast the 
ideas gain greater truth. For the pure logical movement is 
quite apt to be conceived as existing for itself, like a separate 
province which has another province [sensuous conscious- 
ness] lying beside it which possesses equal validity. But 
when the two are brought together as in Plato, the Specula- 
tive manifests itself first in its truth : it appears, namely, as 
the only truth, and this is demonstrated through the [dialec- 
tic] change of the sensuous state of opinion into thought. In 
our common consciousness, for example, there is in the first 
place the immediate individual, the sensuous reality; more- 
over, these are determinations of the understanding, and they 
pass with us as ultimate truths. In opposition to external 
reality, however, the Ideal is to be considered rather as the 
most real of all ; aiid that it is the only Real, is the insight 
of Plato, who defines the Universal or Thought to be the True, 
and the Sensuous to be the converse of this. 

The purpose of many of Plato's dialogues, which end with- 
out any affirmative content, is therefore to show : that imme- 
diate existence, including the many things whicli appear to us, 
even granting that we have quite correct notions about them, 
are yet not in themselves true in an objective sense, for the 
reason that they change, and are determined [or made to be 
what they are] through their relation to other things and not 
through themselves ; hence one must even in sensuous indi- 
viduals pay attention to the Universal alone; and this is 
called by Plato "the Idea." The sensuous, limited, finite, is in 
fact not only itself but likewise another, whicli also j)ossesses 
■existence ; and hence it is an unsolved contradiction, since in 
it its other holds sway. [In a thing of space, dependence upon 
other things is its characteristic ; and thus its real self is a 
totality transcending it.] It has already been mentioned that 
the Platonic dialectic is employed for the purpose of confus- 
ing and annulling the finite notions of men in order to bring 
them to realize their want of scientific knowledge, and to direct 

322 Tlte PUlosoyliy of Plato. 

them to the search for that which is. Through the fact that 
the Dialectic is directed against tlie form of the Finite, its 
first effect is to confound the Particular ; and this is accom- 
plished through the activity by which the negation contained 
in it is shown up ; so that it proves to be not what it seemed 
to be, but passes over into its opposite through its limit which 
is essential to it. If, however, this latter is held fast, in its. 
turn it too ceases, and is found to be another than that for 
which it was assumed. From the point of view of formal 
philosophizing the dialectic may seem to be nothing else but 
an art whose function is to throw into confusion not only the 
notions of common consciousness but also the pure ideas of 
Reason, and thereby exhibit their nothingness ; in this, its. 
result is held to be a merely negative one. With this phase 
of it in view, Plato also, in his Republic (Book VII.), advises 
that citizens be initiated into the dialectic only on completing 
their thirtietli year, alleging as the reason that through its 
means one is able to change the beautiful doctrines which he 
has heard from his teachers into ugly ones. This form of the 
dialectic we see chiefly in those dialogues of Plato that are 
peculiarly Socratic — moral dialogues, — and also in those nu- 
merous dialogues that refer to views of the Sophists upon 

With this is connected also the second side of the dialectic, 
which aims before all to bring to consciousness the Univer- 
sal ; and this, as already remarked [in speaking of Socrates], 
was one of the chief ends of the Socratic teacliing. This we 
may look upon henceforth as settled, and only remark that,, 
besides these, several other dialogues of Plato have the aim 
only to bring to consciousness a general view which we pos- 
sess without sj^ecial eftbrt on our part ; on this account the 
prolixity of Plato often proves tedious to us. Although this, 
dialectic is an activity of thought, yet it is essentiall}^ only 
an external form of it, and necessary for the reflecting stage 
of consciousness in order that it may arrive at the knowledge 
of the Universal Avliich is in-and-for-itself, unchangeable, and 
immortal. These two preliminary sides of the dialectic 
whose purpose is to cancel the particular and thus to produce 
the universal, are not the true form of the dialectic ; it consti- 
tutes a form of the dialectic which Plato used in common with 

The Philosophy of Plato. 323 

the Sophists, who understood very well how to annul what 
was merely particular in its nature. A content which Plato 
often treated with this purpose in view is that in which lie 
shows virtue to he but one;* and hy this process he derives 
the universal good from the particular virtues. 

Inasmuch as the Universal (i. e. the True, the Beautiful,., 
and the Good — that which is genus for itself) derived through 
the confusion [negating] of the Particular, was at first yet un- 
determined and abstract, it is, tltirdly, the chief aim in the 
labors of Plato to define the Universal in itself more definite- 
ly. This defining (determining) is the relation which the 
dialectical movement in thought has to the Universal; for 
through this movement the idea arrives at such thoughts as 
contain in themselves i\\Q antitheses involved in Avhat is finite. 
The idea is then, as the self- determining, the unity of these 
antithetically opposed sides ; and hence is the determined 
idea. The universal is therefore the determined Universal 
which solves and has solved the contradictions in it, and con- 
sequently that which is in itself concrete ; so that the cancel- 
ling of the contradiction is afiirmation. The dialectic in this 
higher function is the Platonic dialectic proper : as specula- 
tive, it does not end with a negative result, bat it i)resents the 
union of antithetic sides which have annulled each other. 
At this point the difficulty for the Understanding begins. 
Since the form of the method as used by Plato is not as yet 
purely develo]3ed for itself, his dialectic is frequently mere 
ratiocination, proceeding from individual points of view, and 
often ending without results. On the other hand, Plato him- 
self has condemned this merely ratiocinative dialectic ; it is, 
however, easy to see that it troubles him to draw the proper 
distinction between it and the true dialectic. This speculative 
dialectic which begins with him is hence the most interestino: 
feature of his works, but at the same time the most difficult 
to understand ; and for this reason it is not often learned 
when one studies Platonic writings. Thus Tennemann, for 
example, has allowed the most important things in the Pla- 
tonic Philosophy to escape him entirely, and has brought 
together only a few thoughts from it in the shape of dry 
ontological determinations ; namely, such as served his turn. 
It is, however, an indication of the highest degree of defi- 

324 Tlie PJulosopliy of Plato. 

ciency in the proper spirit on the part of an historian of Plii- 
losophy to lincl in a great philosopher only what goes to 
«erve his particnlar ends. 

What Plato seeks in the dialectic is the pnre thought of 
the Reason, from which he Very carefully discriminates the 
Understanding {dlanoia). One can have thoughts concerning 
many things, if he has thought at all ; but Plato does not 
mean this sort of thoughts. The true speculative greatness 
of Plato, that through which he makes an epoch in the his- 
tory of Philosophy, and consequently in the world-history in 
general, is the more definite comprehension of the Idea : an 
insight which some centuries later constitutes the fundamen- 
tal element in the ferment of the world-history and in the new 
organic form of the human spirit. This closer comprehension 
can be understood from what has preceded : Plato in the first 
place apprehended the absolute as the "Being" of Parmeni- 
des, but as the universal which, as genus is, final cause (i. e. 
rules the special, the manifold — penetrates and produces it) : 
but Plato did not fully develop this thought of a self-pro- 
ducing activity ; hence he falls at times into external teleol- 
ogy. As the union of principles held by ^philosophers before 
Mm, Plato moreover proceeded from this "Being" to determin- 
ateness and distinction (as it is contained in the trinity of 
the Pythagorean determinations of numbers), and exj^ressed 
these distinctions in the form of thought ; in short, he appre- 
hended the Absolute as unity of being and not-being (as 
Heraclitus says), in the becoming — the unity of the one and 
many, &c. Furthermore, he took up the Eleatic dialectic, 
which is the mere external act of the subject — the mere show- 
ing up of a contradiction^ — and elevated this into the objective 
dialectic of Heraclitus in such a way, that, in place of the 
external changeability of things, there appears their internal 
transition, i. e. of their ideas, or, in other words, of their cate- 
gories, from and through themselves. Finally, while Socrates 
used the thinking activity only for the purpose of the moral 
reflection of the subject, Plato has established it as objective, 
as the IDEA, which is not only the universal thought, but also 
that which is true existence. Hence the earlier Philosophies 
do not perish for the reason that Plato has refuted them, but 
they vanish only in something higher — in his philosophy. 

Tlie Philosopliy of Plato. 325 

Sucli pure thoughts — in the consideration of which the Pla- 
tonic Philosophy busies itself wholly — are, besides being and 
not being, the one and the many and such others as, e. g., the 
Finite and the Infinite. The purely logical, quite abstruse 
treatment of such objects contrasts very strongly with the 
activity of imagination exercised upon the beautiful, charm- 
ing, humorous content of Plato's writings. The consideration 
of these pure thoughts is to him the highest function of Phi- 
losophy, and that which he everywhere expresses as the true 
philosophical and scientific cognition of truth; in this he 
places the distinction between Philosophers and Sophists. 
The Sophists, in contrast to the former, treat only of the 
phenomenal, which they hold fast in opinion : hence although 
they have thoughts too, yet these are not _2^i<'re thoughts, or 
thoughts of that which is in-and-for-itself. This is a side 
which causes many to go away from Plato unsatisfied by the 
study of his works. When one begins a dialogue he finds, 
in this free form of Platonic exposition, beautiful natural 
scenery, a magnificent introduction which promises to lead 
us through flowery fields into Philosophy, and that too into 
the highest Philosophy, the Platonic. One encounters in it 
that exalting element which especially appeals to youth; 
but it all disappears soon. If one has allowed himself to be 
allured by those pleasant scenes at first, he must now renounce 
them ; and coming to the really dialectical and speculative 
portions, he must enter on toilsome paths, and allow himself 
to be pricked by the thorns and thistles of metai^hysics. For 
look, there follow next, as the highest, the investigations 
concerning the one and many, being and nought ; this was 
not to be expected, and the reader lays down the book 
silently, wondering how Plato could seek in such places for 
knowledge. From the deej)est dialectical investigations Plato 
then passes over again to pictures and images for the fancy, 
to the painting of scenes of conversation between men of ge- 
nius : thus it happens, e. g., in the Pha;don, which Mendels- 
sohn has modernized and changed into AYolfian metaphysic ; 
the beginning and end are exalting, beautiful ; the middle 
portion contains the dialectic. Thus Plato's dialogues require 
very different tones of mind in reading them. Hence their 
study demands in some sort an indifference toward the vari- 

326 The Flulosoijlty of Plato. 

ous interests. If one reads with interest the specnlative, he 
skips what is considered tlie most beautiful ; if one has inte- 
rest in the exalting, edifying portion, he skips the specnlative 
and finds it uninteresting. It goes with him as with the youth 
in the Bible, who had done this and that, and now asked 
Christ what course he should still take to follow him. But 
when the Lord commanded him, " Sell your goods and give 
to the poor, then the youth went away sorrowing'-; it was 
more than he expected. So — in our day — many, who meant 
well with Philosophy, have studied Fries and I know not 
what other philosopher. Their bosoms swell with aspiration 
for the True, the Good, and the Beautiful ; they fain would 
know and see what ought to be done ; but in their bosoms 
there is only the good-will to do — there is no actual endeavor 
corresponding to that good-will. 

While Socrates holds fast to the good, universal, in-itself- 
concrete thought, without fully developing it, and hence with- 
out exhibiting it systematically, Plato proceeds to the fully 
determined idea [the definite exposition of it] ; but Ids incom- 
pleteness lies in tlie fact that this determinateness and that 
universality are not united. Tlirough the reduction of the 
dialectic movement to its final result, the determined [well- 
defined] idea can be obtained, and that is the chief object of 
Science. When Plato, however, speaks of Justice, the Beau- 
tiful, the Good, the True, nothing is shown as to their origin; 
they appear, therefore, not as results, but as direct assump- 
tions — as mere presuppositions. Although consciousness has 
the unwavering conviction that they are the highest objects, 
yet what is asserted of them is nowhere proved. This dialec- 
tic of pure thoughts (since the dogmatic expositions of Plato 
on ideas are lost), is given to us only in the dialogues on this 
subject, which precisely because they deal with pure thoughts 
are among the most difficult ones : these are the Sophist, the 
Philebus, and, more especially, the Parmenides. Those dia- 
logues wliich contain onl}^ negative dialectic and Socratic 
conversation we here omit, since they treat only of concrete 
notions and do not contain tlie dialectic in that higher sense ; 
they do not satisfy our demands, for the reason that their 
ultimate purpose is only to confound the opinions of the indi- 
vidual, or else to awaken in him a desire for knowledge. But 

Tlie PMlosopliy of Plato. 327 

the three dialogues mentioned express the abstract specula- 
tive idea in its pure comprehension. The bringing together 
of the antithetic positions into one and the expression of this 
unity is lacking in Parmenides ; and this dialogue therefore, 
like those others mentioned, has in some respects a merely 
negative result. In the Sophist, however, and also in the 
Philebus, Plato expresses this unity. 

The Parmenides. 

a. The elaborated dialectic, the proper dialectic, is con- 
tained in the Parmenides — that most famous masterpiece of 
the Platonic dialectic. Parmenides and Zeno are there rep- 
resented as meeting Socrates in Athens ; but the chief matter 
is the dialectic placed in the mouths of Parmenides and Zeno. 
At the beginning, the nature of this dialectic is brought out 
in detail in the following manner. Plato makes Parmenides 
praise Socrates thus : "I noticed that you, with Aristotle "— 
(one of the persons present at the dialogue ; he has been taken 
for the philosopher, but the latter was born sixteen 3^ears after 
Socrates' death) — "that you, conversing with Aristotle, exer- 
cised yourself in determining in what the nature of the Beau- 
tiful, the Just, the Good, and each of these ideas, lay. This 
ardor of yours is beautiful and divine. But practise yourself 
still more in this apparently useless exercise, which is called 
by the multitude 'mere idle talk,' while you are yet young; 
otherwise the truth will escape you."^ — "In what," asks Soc- 
rates, " consists this kind of exercise ?" — " You pleased me in 
that you said just now that one must not hold fast to the con- 
sideration of the sensuous and its illusions, but consider that 
which is only to be seized by thought, and which alone IS." 
I have already remarked [see Hegel's Works, Vol. YI., Part 
I., p. 8] that men have in all times believed that the True 
could be found only through reflection ; for in reflection one 
finds thoughts, and through reflection he changes that which 
he has before him in the form of representation, or what he 
receives upon faith, into thoughts. Socrates replies in the 
jDresent instance to Parmenides : "In this way I believed the 
like and unlike, and the other universal determinations of 
things, would be best understood." Parmenides answers: 
" Well ! But you must, when you begin with such a deter- 

328 Tlie Pliilosopliy of Plato. 

mination, not only consider that wliicli follows from assuming- 
it, you must also add this which follows when you assume 
the opposite of such a determination. For example, in the 
assumption — the many is — you have to examine : what hap- 
pens to the many in relation to itself and in relation to the 
one ; and likewise, what happens to the one in relation to 
itself and in relation to the manyP This is precisely the 
wonderful thing which one encounters in thinking, when he 
takes such determinations for and by themselves ; they each 
go over into its opi)osite. But again it is to he considered, 
if the many is not, what happens then to the one and to the 
many, both for themselves and for each other ? Precisely 
such considerations are to be instituted in relation to identity 
and non-identity, rest and movement, beginning and ceasing ^ 
and likewise in respect to being itself and non-being ; what 
is each for itself, and what is their i elation when one or the 
other is assumed. In this, by exercising j^ourself perfectly, 
you will learn to know the essential truth." Such great stress. 
as this Plato lays upon the dialectical consideration — which 
is no consideration of what is merely external, but a vital 
consideration, whose content consists in pure thoughts only ^ 
and their movement is precisely this, that they make them- 
selves the other of themselves; and hence show that only 
their unity is the truly justified result. 

Concerning the meaning of the unity of one and many, 
Plato makes Socrates say: "When one proves to me that I 
am one and many, I am not surprised. Since namely he 
shows to me that I am a manifold by exhibiting to me my 
right and left sides, my upper and lower extremities, my an- 
terior and posterior : and again he proves me to be one by 
pointing out that I am one of us seven. Just in this manner 
stone, wood, &c., can be shown to be one and many. But I 
should be surprised if one defined the ideas, such as likeness 
and nnlilieness, multiplicity and unity, rest and movementy 
and the like, in the first place each as determined for itself, 
and then showed how they were identical and different in 
themselves." The dialectic of Plato, however, is not to be 
acknowledged as perfect in every respect. If it is his special 
object to show merely that in each determination its opposite 
is contained, even then one cannot say that in all his dialectic 

Tlie PUlosopny of Plato. 320 

movements this strict form is preserved ; but there often occur 
ex:'ternal considerations v^hich have influence in his dialectic. 
For example, Parmenides says : " Will the two parts of the 
existent one — the one and the existent — ever cease, the one to 
be a part of the existent, and the existent, to be a part of the 
one f Hence, each part contains again the one and the exist- 
ent, and the smallest part consists always of these two parts." 
In other words : the one IS ; from this it follows that the one 
is not synonymous with is, and hence one and is are distinct. 
Thus there is in the proposition ; tlie one is, a distinction ; 
hence the many is in it, and hence I assert the many when I 
say the one is^ This dialectic is correct but not quite pure, 
since it begins with a combination of two determinations 
[i. e. presupposes them]. The entire result of such investiga- 
tion in the Parmenides is thus summed up at the end : " that 
the one, whether it is or is not, is the many as well as itself, 
and in relation to another as well as for-itself — all through- 
out is not, as well as is ; it ap2:)ears and does not appear. ''"' 
This result may appear strange. We are, according to our 
ordinary views, very far removed from taking these quite 
abstract determinations — the one, being, not-being, appear- 
ance, rest, movement, and the like — for ideas; but these 
entirely universal somewhats Plato takes as ideas, and this 
dialogue is therefore his science of pure ideas. He shows of 
the One that it, if it is, just as well as if it is not, as self -iden- 
tical or not self-identical, whether in movement or at rest, 
beginning or ceasing, is and is not; or, in other words, that 
the unity as well as all these pure ideas in their multiplicity 
are and are not; hence that the one is the many as well as^ 
the one. In the proposition, " The one is,^^ there is also in- 
volved, " The one is not one, but many " ; and conversely, 
" The many is" involves " The many is not many, but one." 
These abstractions are shown in the dialectic to be essentially 
the identity with their others ; and this is what is true. An 
example of this is found in the Becoming : in the Becoming, 
Being and not-being are contained in inseparable iinity, and 
yet the}^ are in this also distinct ; for Becoming consists only 
in the p>assage of one into the other. 

Perhaps this result in Parmenides may not satisfy us, for 
it has the appearance of having a negative character instead 

330 The PMlosopJiy of Plato. 

of being the negatien of negation, which exjDresses the true 
affirmation. In this latter sense the New Platonists take it 
especially Proclus, hence they look npon this exposition in 
the Parmenides as the true Theology, as the true revelation of 
all the mysteries of the divine Essence. And they may well 
be taken for this, however improbable this may at first ap- 
pear (indeed Tiedemann, Platon. Argumenta, p. 350, pronoun- 
ces such assertions to be mere Neoplatonic extravagance). 
In fact, however we apply the name God to the Absolute 
essence of all things, which is in its simple comprehension 
the unity and movement of these pure essentialities, the ideas 
of the one and many, &:c. The divine essence is the idea in 
general, as it is either for the sensuous consciousness or for 
thought. In so far as the divine idea is the absolute Self- 
thinking activity, the dialectic is nothing else than this activ- 
ity of the self- thinking in itself; this connection the New 
Platonists look upon only as nietapliysical, and they have 
excogitated from it Theology — the development of the mys- 
teries of the divine essence. But here enters the already men- 
tioned ambiguity, which must now be explained more definite- 
ly : under the terms "God" and " The essence of things" two 
different contents may be understood. When namely it is 
asserted, on the one hand, that the essence of things is the 
unity of opposites, it seems as though only the immediate 
essence of these immediately objective things is defined by 
this, and such a doctrine of Essence — or such Ontology — may 
seem to be different from the knowledge of God, or Theolog}^ 
These simple essences and their relation and movement seem 
to express only moments of the Objective, and not Spirit 
itself, for the reason that they still lack one moment (name- 
ly, that of reflection into itself) which we demand for the 
being of the divine essence. For spirit, the true Absolute 
Essence, is not only the simple and immediate in general, 
but it is that which is reflected into itself [i. e. self-conscious], 
for which there exists, even in its self-opposition, the unity of 
itself and its opposite ; as such however those moments and 
their movement do not exhibit it, but they appear as simple 
abstractions. Upon the other hand, they may also be taken as 
pure ideas belonging to the pure reflection-into-itself. Thus 
there is wanting to them Being, which we demand for the 

The PMlosopliy of Plato. 331 

rellection-into-itself of tlie divine essence ; and, besides, their 
movement passes for an empty play with empty abstractions 
which belong only to Reflection, bnt have no reality. To solve 
this antithesis [antinomy] we mnst learn to know the natnre of 
scientific cognition and knowledge so as to have in the form of 
idea all which is therein. In this way we shall become con- 
scious that the idea in truth is neither the mere immediate 
(though it is simple), nor is it merely that which reflects itself 
into itself, the "thing" of consciousness ; but it possesses ^p/r- 
itual simplicity, hence is essentially the thought which has 
returned into itself, and is moreover in itself, i.e. objective 
essence, and consequently all reality. This consciousness 
concerning the nature of the comprehension, Plato has not 
expressed so definitely, and hence also has not said that this 
essence of things is the same as the divine essence. It is, how- 
ever, only an omission on his part to say so in direct words, 
for the thing itself is certainly there ; and there is here only 
such a difference of expression as there is between the form 
•of representation and that of comprehension. In one respect, 
therefore, this reflection-into-itself, the spiritual, the idea, is 
present in tlie speculations of Plato ; for the unity of the one 
and the many, &c., is just this individuality in the difference, 
this being-returned-into-itself in its opposite, this opposite 
which is in itself; the essence of the world is essentially the 
into-itself-returning movement of that which has returned 
into-itself. In another respect, however, Plato still holds fast 
to this reflection-into-itself as separate from it — that is, as 
Clod according to \\\q form of ordinary consciousness ; and in 
his exposition of the becoming of Nature in the Tim?eus, 
they appear thus as distinct from each other : God, AND 
the essence of things. 

The Sophist. 

h. In the Sophist, Plato investigates the pure concepts or 
ideas of 'movement and o^est, self-identity and other -heing, 
being and not-heing. He proves here against Parmenides that 
the not-being is, likewise that the simple and self-identical 
participates in other-being, unity in multiplicity. Of the 
Sophists, he says that they hold fast to the not-being ; and 
he refutes their entire standpoint, which is that of the not- 

332 Tlie Philosophy of Plato. 

heing^ sensation, or the many. Plato lias, therefore, defined 
the true Universal as the unity of such ideas as the one and 
many, or of being and non-heing ; but at the same time he 
has avoided — or it lay in his intention to avoid — the ambigu- 
ity which lies therein when we speak of the " unity of Being 
and naught," &c. With this expression namely we lay the 
chief accent on the unity, and then the difference vanishes, as 
if we only abstracted from it. Plato has sought to preserve 
also the distinction. The Sophist is a more complete treat- 
ment of being and non-being, both of which belong to all 
things; for since things are different — each the other of the 
other — in them there lies the determination of the negative. 
First of all, however, Plato expresses in the Sophist this more 
definite insight concerning ideas as abstract universalities : 
that they are not to be held as fixed and unchangeable, for 
this would be to oppose the unity of the idea with itself. 
Plato therefore refutes, first, the sensuous, and, secondly, the 
[isolated validity of the] ideas themselves. The first of these 
views [the sensuous] is the later so-called Materialism : that 
matter alone is the substantial, and that nothing has reality 
except what can be felt by the hands, like rocks and oak 
trees. "Now," says Plato, secondly [in the Sophist], "we 
will go to the others, the friends of ideas." Their notion is 
that the substantial is incorporeal, intelligible ; and they 
separate the field of the Becoming, of Change, in which the 
sensuous falls, from the Universal, which is for-itself. They 
represent ideas as immovable somewhats to which belongs 
neither activity nor passivity. Plato brings against this doc- 
trine the argument that one cannot deny motion, life, soul, 
and thought, to the truly existent, and that the Divine Rea- 
son could exist nowhere, nor in aiiyone, if it were unmoved. 
Plato has thus a clear consciousness that he has gone beyond 
Parmenides when the latter says : 

"Never shalt thou explore for the whereabouts of non-being. 
But from a search Uke this, turn away the soul speculative." 

Plato says, therefore : the existent participates in the not- 
being as well as in the Being ; the participating is, however, 
different from Being and not-being as such. 

This dialectic is directed chiefly against two other kinds of 

The FMlosopliy of Plato. 333 

First., against the dialectic in the ordinary acceptation of 
that term, of which we have also spoken. Examples of this 
false dialectic, to which Plato recurs frequently, are found 
especially in the Sophists ; and jet he has not treated with 
sufficient clearness their difference from the pure dialectic 
cognition, according to the idea. Plato explains himself [in 
the Sophist], for example, in this style, in reply to the asser- 
tion of Protagoras and others, "that there is no determination 
in-and-for-itself": bitter is not an objective existence, since 
what tastes hitter to one person is for another person sweet; 
likewise great and small, more and less, &c., are relative 
determinations, since the great, in one case, is, under other 
^circumstances, small ; the small, in the same way, is great. 
In other words, the unity of opposites hovers before every 
consciousness ; but the common mode of view, which does 
not arrive at a consciousness of what appertains to REASOisr, 
always holds asunder the opposites, as if they were only op- 
posed in a particular respect. Just as we show in each thing 
the unity as well as the multiplicity, since it has many parts 
and properties. In the Parmenides, also, we saw that Plato 
criticised this form of the unity of opposites, because in it 
something is held to be one in quite a different respect from 
that in which it is held to be many. In such a unity we do not 
bring these thoughts [i. e. the different sides of the antithesis] 
together, but the imagination (or argument) passes to and fro 
from one to the other. If this passing backwards and for- 
wards is consciously employed, it is the empty dialectic 
which does not unite the opposites truly. Plato says on this 
subject: "If anyone takes pleasure in this as though he had 
found something difficult — because he is able to move his 
thought from one determination to another — he has no occa- 
sion for self-congratulation ; for that is a feat that is neither 
difficult nor excellent." That dialectic which cancels a deter- 
mination by showing up its defect [i. e. its dependence on 
other-being], and then goes about establishing another, is in- 
correct. " The difficult and true way is this, to show that the 
somewhat and its other are the same [whole], and that the 
identity of the somewliat involves an other : and indeed in the 
same respect, and according to the same point of view that 
the one determination is found in them, the other determina- 

334 The PUlosoplty of Plato. 

tion also is to be shown in them. On the contrary, to show- 
that the same being is in some form or other an other, and 
the converse of this — for instance, that the great is also the 
small" (e. g. Prot|0(goras's dice), *■' and the similar is also dis- 
similar — to relish such a procedure as this, which always 
produces the opposites from their grounds, — this belongs to 
no true insight, but is evidently the production of a novice" 
in thought "who begins to deal with Entity for the first time. 
To sejDarate all things, each from the other, is the awkward 
method of the consciousness uncultured in philosophic pro- 
cedure. It is a perfect abandoning of all thought to let 
everything rest in complete isolation ; for thought consists- 
precisely in the uniting of ideas." Thus Plato speaks directly 
against this species of dialectic which knows only how to re- 
fute something according to some particular point of view, &c. 
We see that Plato, in regard to the content, expresses noth- 
ing else than what has been termed " the indifference in the 
difference " : the difference of absolute opposites and their 
unity. In contrast to this speculative cognition he portrays 
the common thought, positive as well as negative : the former 
[the positive common thinking], not bringing together these 
thoughts, allows first one and then another to i:)ass as valid 
separately ; the latter [the negative species of common think- 
ing], although conscious of the unity of these opposites, 
knows only a superficial unity — a divisible unity, or a unity 
in which the two moments are in reality still held asunder, 
being united only in some one respect and separate in others. 
The second sj)ecies of dialectic against which Plato directs 
his own dialectic, is that of the Eleatics and their proposition, 
which in its kind is also similar to that of the Sophists, name- 
ly : that Being only is, and not-being is not at all. This means 
with the Sophists (as Plato shows) : " Since the negative does 
not exist at all, but only Being exists, it follows that there is 
nothing untrue or false in the world ; all that exists, all that 
is for us, is for that reason [i. e. because it exists] necessarily 
true, and what does not exist we cannot know or perceive. 
Plato, therefore, reproaches the Soi^hists with having cancel- 
led the distinction of the true and false. Arrived upon this 
stage of the dialectic consciousness (and the whole matter is 
only a distinction of different stages), " the Sophists could 

Tlte Philosopliy of Plato. 335 

not give what they promised : this was, namely, to show that 
whatever the individual believed to be his interest, and made 
it his object to attain, was afhrmative and correct [i. e. indi- 
vidual opinion made the true and right: "Man is the meas- 
ure of all things"]. According to this view, one could not say 
of a deed: This is wrong, wicked, or a crime; for this would 
imply that the principle on which it is done is a false one. 
No more could one say : This opinion is illusive ; for, accord- 
ing to the doctrine of the Sophists, whatever I feel, or what- 
ever opinion I may have, in so far as it is my own, is an 
affirmative content, and consequently is true and correct. 
The proposition looks quite abstract and innocent in itself ; 
but one notices first what such abstractions contain when 
he sees them in their concrete shape. According to this inno- 
cent proposition, it follows logically that there is no such 
tiling as sin, or crime, &c. The Platonic dialectic is essen- 
tially different from this kind of dialectic. 

The more special meaning of Plato is that the idea — the 
in-and-for-itself Universal, Good, True, or Beautiful— is to be 
taken as existing for itself, and not simply as a subj ective aff'air. 
The myth [of the Cave] which I have already mentioned goes 
so far as to set up the doctrine that one must not consider a 
good deed, a beautiful man — not the subject of which such 
determinations are the predicates : but that that which ap- 
pears in such representations or intuitions as predicates must 
be taken for-and-by -itself, and that this is the true essence. 
This is connected with the form of the dialectic which has 
been discussed. An action taken according to the empirical 
representation may be said to be just; according to another 
side, one could point out also opposite characteristics. But 
the Good, the True, is to be taken without such individuali- 
ties, without such empirical concrete material, but as for- 
itself-existent ; and this is alone what IS. The soul, in the 
divine drama, having lapsed into matter, yet rejoices over a 
beautiful or just object; but the only true Being is Virtue, 
Justice, Beauty in-and-for-itself. It is, therefore, the Univer- 
sal for-itself which is more definitely determined through the 
Platonic dialectic ; of this dialectic there occur several forms, 
but these forms are still very general and abstract. The 
highest form with Plato is the identity of Being and Non- 

336 TTie PliUosopliy of Plato. 

Ibeing ; tlie true is the existent, but this existent is not without 
negation. Plato nndertakes in this to show that non-being' 
is an essential determination of the existent, and that the 
simple, self-identical, participates in Other-being. This unity 
of being and non-being is also found in the doctrine of 
the Sophists ; but in the shape taught by them it is not as 
yet completely expressed. But the further examination 
which Plato gives it comes to this result, that non-being, 
more accurately defined, is the nature of the other : " The 
ideas mingle, and being and the other run through all and 
through each other ; the other for the reason that it partici- 
pates in being, through this indwelling of being will" be, but 
[will be] not the same as that which dwells in it, but a dif- 
ferent : and as the other of Being, it is necessarily the Non- 
being. Since, however. Being likewise participates in other- 
beino;, it is therefore different from the other ideas and is not 
one of the same ; so that it, in ten thousand different ways, 
IS NOT ; and so also the others, as well individually as gener- 
ally, AEE in a manifold form, and are not in manif<,)ld 
ways." Plato in this expresses that the other as the nega- 
tive, non-identical in general is at the same time, in one and 
the same respect, the with-itself identical ; i. e. these are not 
different sides which remain in contradiction to each other. 

This is the chief conclusion of Plato's own dialectic. 
That the Idea of the Divine, the Eternal, the Beautiful, is that 
wiiich exists in-and-for-itself, [the knowledge of this] is the 
first step in the elevation of consciousness into Spiritual in- 
sight, namely, into the conviction that the Universal is true 
[i. e. that Truth is the Universal]. As for the imagination, it is 
well enough to arouse it and animate it with representations 
of the Beautiful and the Good ; but tlie thinking cognition 
asks after a definite statement regarding the nature of this 
Eternal and Divine. And the Nature of this Eternal and 
Divine is, essentially, free determination alone, and the being 
determined does not in any way interfere with its universali- 
ty; — a limitation (for every determination is limitation) which 
nevertheless leaves the Universal in its infinitude free by 
itself. Freedom exists only in the .Return-into-itself, the 
undistinguished [pure identity] is lifeless ; the active, living, 
concrete Universal is, therefore, that which distinguishes 

The PMlosopluj of Plato. 337 

itself witliiu itself [i.e. defines, limits itself], but remains free 
in this process. This determinateness consists only in this : 
that the one is self-identical in its other, in the Many, the 
Different. This constitutes the only true point of interest for 
science in wluit is called Platonic Philosophy; and if one 
does not know this, he is ignorant of the most important tlnng. 
In the already quoted passage, in which Socrates shows him- 
self to be one and many, the two thoughts fall asunder [i. e. 
One and Many are taken as "different respects"] : yet the 
speculative thought is reached only through bringing together 
these thoughts ; and this bringing together of different ones 
— of Being and Not-being, of the One and Many, &c. — 
without explaining them by a mere transition from the one 
to the other, is the innermost and the true greatness of the 
Platonic Philosophy. This feature is the "Esoteric" of the 
Platonic Philosophy, all else is exoteric. (This, indeed, is 
a wretched distinction, when it is taken as though Plato 
had two philosophies — one for the world, for the people ; 
the other the internal, reserved for his disciples. The Eso- 
teric I speak of is, however, the Speculative, which, though 
written and printed, without any secrecy, remains a sealed 
book for those who have not interest enough to exert them- 
selves in its study.) To this Esoteric belong the two dia- 
logues already considered, and to them the Philebus is to be 
added as the third. 

The Philebus. 

c. In the Philebus, Plato investigates the nature of pleas- 
ure ; and in that dialogue is treated especially the antithetic 
of the finite and infinite, or, of the unlimited and the limited. 

If we bring this before our minds, we do not at first see how 
the nature of Pleasure is to be decided by the metaphysical 
knowledge of the nature of the infinite and undetermined ; 
but these pure thoughts are the Substantial, through which 
all questions are to be decided, be they ever so concrete or 
ever so far off. When Plato treats of pleasure, and of 
wisdom as its opposite, it is the antithetic of finite and infi- 
nite. Under pleasure we represent what is immediate and 
individual— the sensuous ; but it is the undetermined in that 
it is the merely elementary, just as fire or water is ; it is 

338 TU PMlosopliy of Plato. 

not the self-determining. Only the idea is the self-determin- 
ing, the identity with itself. To our rellection the limited 
seems inferior in comparison with the unlimited, and the un- 
limited, on the contrary, seems to be something preferable, 
the highest ; and the oldest philosophers looked upon this 
relation in the same way. By Plato, on the contrary, it is 
proved that the limiting is the true taken in the form of the 
self -determining, while the unlimited is the merely abstract ; 
it [the abstract undetermined] may indeed be determined in 
a manifold way, but this determined result is in that case 
only the individual [or linite]. The intinite [in the sense of 
unlimited] is the formless ; the free form as activity is the 
linite, which in the infinite finds the matter with which to 
realize itself. Sensuous pleasure Plato thus defines as the 
unlimited, which does not determine itself; only Reason 
is the active determiner. The infinite is, however, this poten- 
tiality to pass over to the finite : the perfected good is thus, 
according to Plato, to be sought neither in Pleasure nor in 
Reason, but it is in a life mingled of both. Wisdom, how- 
ever, as the limit, should be the true cause whence proceeds 
what is of a preferable nature. As that which establishes 
the measure and limit, it is that which in-and-for-itself deter- 
mines the final cause of its activity : the immanent determin- 
tion with which and in which freedom at the same time gives 
itself existence. 

Plato considers this — that the true is the identity of oppo- 
sites-^further : the infinite [or unlimited] is, as the undeter- 
mined, capable of more or less ; it can have more or less 
intensity ; it may be colder and warmer, dryer and moister, 
quicker and slower, &c. Now the limited is the equal, the 
double, and every other equilibrium through which the oppo- 
sites cease to be related unequally, and become sjanmetrical 
and harmonious. Through the unity of those opposites, e. g. 
of the cold and warm, dry and moist, arises health : likewise 
the harmony in music arises through the mutual limitation 
of high and low tones, of quick and slow movements ; in 
general, everything beautiful and perfect arises through the 
union of such opposites. Health, happiness, beauty, &:c., 
appear thus as results produced by the combining of oppo- 
sites : and thus as a mingling of them. (Instead of the expres- 

The Philosophy of Plato. 339 

sion " individuality," the ancients use cliiefly tlie expressions 
^'■mixincf' or ^^ mingling .^^ '''• ijarticipation^'' &c. ; for ns these 
are indefinite and unsatisfactory expressions.) But Plato 
says : the third, which is the resultant thus produced, pre- 
supposes a somewhat through which it is made, namel}", a 
cause ; and tills [cause] is more excellent than those [contra- 
ries] through whose efficacy that third somewhat arises. 
Thus Plato has four determinations : firsts the unlimited, the 
undetermined ; second., the limited, measure, j)roportion, (to 
wliicli wisdom " belongs) ; the third is the mixture result- 
ing from the two former — that which has only originated ; 
the fourth is the Cause. The latter [the cause] is in it pre- 
cisely the unity of the different ones : subjectivity, might and 
control over the opposites, that which has power to support 
in itself opposites ; only the Spiritual, however, is so pow- 
erful that it can endure or sustain the antithesis, and the 
highest contradiction within itself : all weak, corporeal sub- 
stance perishes as soon as it feels the approach of another. 
This Cause is found to be the divine Reason, the overseeing 
providence of the world ; whatever is beautiful in the world, 
whether in air, fire or water, or, generally, in the realm of 
living beings, has originated through it. The absolute is 
hence that which is finite and infinite in one unity. 

When Plato speaks thus of the Beautiful and Good, these 
are concrete ideas ; or, rather, there is only one idea. But 
to such concrete ideas it is still along road if one begins with 
such abstractions as helng, non-behiig^ unity., miiltlpllclty . 
Although Plato has not accomplished the development and 
condensation of these abstract thoughts into [the concrete 
idea of] beauty, truth, and morality, yet in the science of 
those abstract determinations is found at least the criterion 
and the source of the Concrete. In the Philebus this transi- 
tion to the concrete is made, inasmuch as the principle of 
sensation, or pleasure, is there considered. The ancient phi- 
losophers knew quite well what value these abstract thoughts 
possessed for the concrete. In the Atomistic princij^le of 
multiplicity we find thus the source of a construction of the 
state ; for the ultimate thought of such "state-principles" is no 
less than a logical one. The ancients had in such pure philoso- 
phizing not the end and aim which we have : in general, the end 

340 TUe PhilosopMj of Plato. 

j)roposed lay before their minds not so much as a metaphysi- 
cal consequence as a problem for solution. We, on the con- 
trary, have before us a concrete formation, and wish to bring 
our pure thinking into agreement with this concrete material- 
In Plato, philoso]Dliy gives the direction which the individual 
should pursue in order to cognize this or that scientifically ; 
but in general Plato sets up the doctrine that absolute hap- 
piness itself — the blessed life — consists in continual em- 
ployment in the consideration of those divine objects [i. e. 

This contemplative life seems to be without definite purpose 
for the reason that all interests have vanished in it. To live 
in the realm of free thought is, however, the highest, most 
essential object for the ancients ; and they knew well that 
only in thought is freedom. 

III. — Nature Philosophy. 

The Tiinwus. 

With Plato, moreover, begins the endeavor on the part of 
Philosophy to extend its science to more concrete and special 
sj)heres ; and thus the general material of knowledge [i. e. 
the objects of scientific study] began to specialize and to iso- 
late itself more and more. In the Tinifeus the idea makes 
its appearance expressed in its concrete determinateness, and 
the Platonic Philosophy of Nature teaches us, therefore, to 
know more closely this essence of the world ; but we cannot 
go into details as there is little interest in its elaboration. 
Especially where Plato goes into Physiology, what he says 
has no correspondence with our scientific data, though we 
must admire occasionally his excellent glances which have 
been only too much ignored by the moderns. Plato has 
adopted much from the Pythagoreans ; how much belongs 
to them is not accurately determined. We have already 
remarked that the Tim?eus is really the revision [by Plato] 
of a work by a Pythagorean author: others however, hy- 
percritical people, have said that the latter is only a selec- 
tion which some Pythagorean made from a greater work 
of Plato ; but the first is the likelier opinion. The Timseus 
has in all times passed for the most difiicult and obscure of 
the Platonic Dialogues. The difficulty lies partly in the 

Tlie PJiilosopliy of Plato. 341 

■external mingling of the compreliencling cognition and 
imagination already remarked npon, an example of which 
-we shall see in the passage where the Pj^thagorean nnni- 
iDers are introdnced ; secondly, however, the difficulty lies 
especially in the nature of the philosoiihical treatment of the 
subject itself, concerning wiiich Plato had as yet no clear 
consciousness. This latter difficulty is the arrangement of 
the whole ; namely, Plato in his exposition digresses fre- 
quently, and often seems to turn back and begin again at the 
Ibeginning. This has moved critics, e. g. August Wolf and 
others, who did not know how to take it philosophically, to 
take the Tinifeus for an aggregate or a collection of frag- 
ments, or of several works, combined in an external manner, 
in which the Platonic element was united with much else. 
Wolf thought that he recognized in it its origin from oral 
conversations much in the same manner as his Homer. But, 
although the connection seems to be without method, Plato 
himself makes frequent excuses for its confused state ; and 
we shall yet see on the whole how the subject necessitates a 
fragmentary treatment, and how a deeper internal ground 
renders necessary the repeated return to the beginning. 

The exposition of the essence of nature, or of the becoming 
of the world, Plato introduces in the following manner : "God 
is the Good." (The Good stands also — in that oral discourse 

which Aristotle cites from on the summit of the Platonic 

ideas) ; "the Good has, however, in nowise any envy in itself, 
and on this account it has made the world most similar to 
iitself." God is here introduced without previous definition, 
and hence is a mere name quite empty as regards thought. 
When Plato begins again in the Tim^eus, he has a more defi- 
nite notion of God. That God has no envy is, above all, a 
great, beautiful, true, though naive, thought. With the more 
•ancient philosophers, on the other hand, jSTemesis, Dike, des- 
tiny, envy, are the sole attributes of the gods ; accordingly, 
they abase the great and make them insignificant, and can- 
not endure the presence of the worthy and sublime. The later 
nobler philosophers strive against such notions of Divinity. 
For in the mere conception of Nemesis there is contained no 
ethical determination, since the punishment consists only in 
an abasement of what exceeds due measure ; but this measure 

342 The PUlosopliy of Plato. 

is not yet conceived as an ethical one, and punislinient there- 
fore is not yet a making valid of the ethical against the non- 
ethical. Plato's thought is likewise far higher than the view of 
very many moderns, who also ascribe envy to God when they 
assert that " God is a hidden God, who has not revealed him- 
self, and of whom one can therefore know nothing." For why 
should He not reveal Himself to us if we earnestly apply our- 
selves to gain a knowledge of Him ? A light loses nothing 
when another is lit by it ; for this reason it was made a crime 
in Athens not to allow this to be done. If the knowledge of 
God is denied us so that we can know only the finite, and 
cannot attain to the infinite, then He is envious, or else God 
is a mere empty word. This assertion, that God is not re- 
vealed, means nothing else than this : that which is higher 
and divine we wish to leave alone by itself, and give our 
exclusive attention to our own petty interests, projects, &c. 
Such humility as this is an impiety and the sin against the 
Holy Ghost. 

Plato continues :" God found the vislble^^ — a mythical 
expression which arises from the necessity to begin with 
something immediate, which, however, one must not take lit- 
erally just as it stands — "not in a quiescent state, but moved 
about fortuitously and in disorder ; and he brought it from 
disorder to order since he regarded the latter as more excel- 
lent than the former." According to this passage, it looks 
as though Plato had assumed God to be only the DemiurguSy 
i. e. the disposer of matter, and matter to be eternal, indepen- 
dent, already existent, as Chaos ; this is, however, according 
to what we have seen, not Plato's idea. These relations are 
philosophical dogmas of Plato with which he was in earnest ; 
but from the fact that he has used the form of expression 
adapted to the style of the pure representation, such expres- 
sions as this passage contains have no philosophical value. It 
is only the introduction of the object for the purpose of show- 
ing up what determinations matter possesses. Plato then 
comes, in course, to further determinations, and these first 
constitute the concrete idea ; to this latter speculative proce- 
dure we must hold fast, and not to the former representation. 
And so when he says, " God regarded order as more excel- 
lent," this is a naive mode of expression. With us one would 

Tlie Flillosoijliy of Plato. 343 

demand that the existence of God be first proved ; just as lit- 
tle would one introduce the visible in this abrupt manner. 
What Plato shows in this naive manner is the first definition 
of the true character of the absolute idea which after him 
takes its place in Philosophy. He says further : " God, con- 
sidering that of visible things those not endowed with reason 
could not be more beautiful than Reason itself, and that noth- 
ing could partake in Reason without soul, resolved to place 
Reason in the soul, and placed the soul in the body, and 
united them in such a manner that the world became an ani- 
mated rational animal." We have here Reality and Reason 
opposed to each other, and the soul as the bond that connects 
these two extremes, without which Reason could not be par- 
ticipant in the visible body ; in a style similar to this w^e saw 
in the Phaedrus the true Real apprehended by Plato. "There 
is, however, only one such animal ; for if there were two or 
more, these would be only parts of the one, and [hence still 
there would be] only one." 

iS'ow Plato proceeds at first to the idea of the corporeal 
entity: "For the reason that the world is to have bodily, 
visible and tangible existence, but cannot be seen without 
fire, nor touched without something solid, i. e. without earth, 
God made in the beginning fire and earth." In this childish 
way Plato introduces these extremes — the solid and the ani- 
mated. "But two cannot be united without a third; there 
must be a bond between them that holds them together" — 
this is one of the pure expressions of Plato — "that bond, 
however, is the fairest which makes itself, and that which is 
united by it, in the highest degree, one [i. e. which is the unity 
of itself and the other]. This is a deep utterance in which is 
contained the concrete idea ; the bond is subjectivity, indi- 
viduality [i. e. consciousness], the power which prevails over 
the other and makes it identical with it. " This is realized 
most beautifully by a constant ratio ; if, namely, of three num- 
bers, masses, or powers, that which is the middle one is to the 
last as the first is to the middle ; and conversely, as the last to 
the middle term so is that to the first" (a : b : : b : c). "When 
this middle term becomes the extremes and the extremes be- 
come in turn the means, it results from necessity that all are 
the same ; and if they are all tlie same, all are one." That is 

344 Tlie FMlosoi^liy of Plato. 

excellent, and we retain it in pliilosopli}' even now ; it is the 
distinction which at the same time is none. This diremption 
from which Plato sets ont is the syllogism well known in lo- 
gic ; it appears in the form of the ordinar}^ syllogism, in which 
therefore the entire rationality of the idea is contained at least 
externally. The differences are the extremes, and the middle 
term is the identity "which makes them, in the highest degree, 
one": hence the syllogism is the Speculative, which in its con- 
clusion unites the extremes with itself, since each place may be 
occupied by any one of the terms. It is, therefore, wrong to 
speak disparagingly of the syllogism and not to acknowledge 
it to be the highest and absolute form ; but the syllogism as a 
form of the Understanding, on the other hand, is justly open to 
contempt. This has no such middle term. Each of the terms 
passes in that syllogism for a different one in its own inde- 
pendent form, and as possessing its own peculiar determina- 
tion in contradistinction to others. This is set aside in the 
Platonic Philosophy ; and the speculative constitutes the real 
true form of the syllogism whenever the extremes remain nei- 
ther independent towards each other nor towards the middle 
term. In the syllogism of the Understanding, on the contrary, 
the unity which is produced, is onl}^ the unity of extremes 
that are held asunder and so remain; for here one subject is 
joined by inference to another through the middle term, or 
" one concept is united to another." In the syllogism of Rea- 
son, however, the chief point of its speculative grasp is the 
identity of the extremes which are joined by inference ; and 
this involves that the subject conceived in the middle term is 
some content or other which is joined not merely to another, 
but tliTougli and in the other, is self-identical. This is, in 
other words, the nature of God, which, when He is spoken of 
as subject, takes the form of this dogma, that He has begot- 
ten His son, the world ; but in this reality which manifests 
itself as another and at the same time remains identical with 
itself — which negates the lapse and unites itself in the other 
w^ith itself — in this alone He is spirit. If one places the im- 
mediate above the mediated, and says God's operation is 
immediate, his assertion has a good ground ; but the concrete 
[whole truth] is that God's being is [or has the form of] a syl- 
logism that unites itself to itself as a result through an act of 

Tlte Fhilosopliy of Plato. 345 

self-distinction, and is restored to immediateness tlirougli the 
annulment of mediation. The highest is thus contained in 
the Platonic Philosophy : they are only pure thoughts it is 
true, but they contain all ; for all concrete forms dei)end sole- 
ly on thoiia'ht-determinations. The Church fathers have thus 
found in Plato the Trinity which they were seeking to seize 
in thought and to prove ; in fact, the True as Plato defines it 
has the same determination as the Trinity. These forms, 
however, have remained unused for two thousand years after 
Plato, for they did not pass into the Christian Religion as [in 
the form of] thoughts ; nay, it has been considered wrong to 
admit them in Theology at all, until in modern times men 
have begun to comxDrehend that the concrete idea is contained 
in these determinations, and therefore that Nature and Spirit 
can be cognized through them. 

Plato continues : " Since the solid needs two middle terms, 
for the reason that it has not only depth but breadth also, 
God has placed between fire and earth, air and loater ; and 
according to such a proportion that fire is to air as air to wa- 
ter, and moreover air to water as water to earth." In the same 
way we have prox)erly four elements of space ; since the ^90/72/ 
is connected with the solid through the line and surface. This 
broken middle term which we find here is another important 
thought, having logical depth ; and the number four which 
occurs here is in Nature a fundamental one. Being the Dif- 
ferent [i. e. in two respects, being related to two extremes] 
which is turned towards both extremes, the middle term must 
contain a distinction in itself. In the syllogism in which God 
is the first, the Son the second (the mediating), and the Spirit 
the third, the middle is simple [there are three terms instead 
of four']. The cause, however, why that which is only triune 
in the rational syllogism, in Nature becomes 'd, fourfold rela- 
tion, lies in the constitution of Nature, since that which is 
immediately one in thought, in Nature falls asunder [into a 
dualism]. Therefore in Nature the antithetic exists as actual 
antithesis, and must be a Twofold ; thus we have four, if we 
count. This takes place also in the conception of God ; for 
when we apply it to the world we have as middle term Nature 
and existing Spirit as the form of Return from Nature, and 
the returned being is the Absolute Spirit [i. e. the returned 

346 Tlie PMlosophy of Plato. 

Being is the Being which has reached perfection, or exists in 
its absoluteness — and this is not after time as though it re- 
quired time, and hence was a finite process. The return "was 
in the beginning with God, and it was God"]. Tliis living- 
process, this distinguishing, this positing as identical of the 
distinct ones, is the living God, 

Plato saj^s further : " Through this unity, the visible and 
tangible world has been made. Through the fact that God 
has given to it these elements whole and undivided, it is per- 
fect, and does not grow old or suifer from disease. For old 
age and sickness arise only through the circumstance that 
such elements work upon a body in excess and from without. 
This, however, is here not the case ; for the world contains 
those elements wholly within itself, and nothing can come to 
it from without. The shape of the world is globular" (the 
doctrine held by the Pythagoreans and Parmenides), "as the 
most perfect, which contains all others in itself ; it is perfect- 
ly smooth, for there is nothing for it existing outside, and 
hence it needs no limbs." Finitude consists in this, that a 
distinction [difference] from something else exists — an exter- 
nality — for an object. In the idea there is also determina- 
tion, limitation, distinction, other-being, but it is contained^ 
at the same time, as dissolved or subordinated — held in the 
one ; thus it is a distinction through which no finitude arises, 
but it [the distinction] is at the same time cancelled. Fini- 
tude is thus in the infinite itself ; this is a great thought. 
" God has now given to the world the most appropriate of the 
seven movements, namely, that which is most befitting un- 
derstanding and consciousness, the circular movement ; the 
six others he has isolated from it and freed it from their 
irregularity" (forward and backward movements). This is 
said only in a general way. 

It goes on thus : " Since God wished to make the world into 
a God, he therefore endowed it with soul, and placed it in the 
midst, and diffused it through the whole, and with it envel- 
oped it from without ; and in this way he brought into exis- 
tence this self-sufficing entity, which needs no other one, but 
is to itself well-known and friendly. And thus has God by 
all these things begotten the world as a blessed God." We 
may say : here where the world is [conceived as] a totalitj" 

Tlie Pliilosophy of Plato. 347 

tlirougli tlie World-soul, there is extant for the first time the 
knowledge of the IDEA ; this '' Tjegotteii'^ God, as the middle 
term and identity, is the true in-and-for-itself existing. That 
fornierh' mentioned God, who was only the Good, is on the 
contrary a mere presupposition, and therefore neither deter- 
mined nor self-determining. " Now though we have spoken 
last concerning the soul, yet," says Plato, " it must not for 
this reason be thought to be the last itself, for this only per- 
tains to our mode of speaking ; it [the soul] is the ruling, the 
regal : the corporeal, on the other hand, is that which is obe- 
dient to it." This is the nawete of Plato, to ascribe this 
inversion to the mode of speech ; hence what in one place 
appears contingent is afterwards found to be necessary: 
namely, to begin with the immediate, and then to come by 
degrees to the concrete. We also must take this course, but 
with the consciousness that if we begin in Philosophy with 
such determinations as Ijeing, or God, Space, Time, &c., we 
speak of them also in an immediate manner, and this content 
itself, according to its nature, is at first immediate, but hence 
is at the same time undetermined. God, e. g. assumed at the 
beginning as an immediate [or w^ell-known], is only truly 
proved at the end of the exposition, but still he is shown by 
the proof to be the true FIRST. One can thus, as has already 
been remarked, point out in such expositions Plato's confu- 
sion ; but the only point at issue is, what he arrives at as 
the True. 

More in detail, Plato shows us the nature of the absolute 
Idea in one of the most famous and profound passages, in 
which he recognizes in the essence of the soul really the same 
idea which he had already expressed as the essence of the 
corporeal. He says, namely : " The soul was created in the 
following manner. Prom the undivided essence which is 
eternally the same, and from the divided entity which is in 
bodies, God has formed a third species of existence by uniting 
the two, and the mixture partakes of the nature of the self- 
identical and of the nature of the other. ''^ (The divided means 
in Plato, the otlier as such or in-itself [i. e. other of itself], 
and not of any particular somewhat,) " and, according to this, 
God has made the soul the middle term between the undi- 
vided and divided." There come in again the abstract deter- 

348 The Philosoiyliy of Plato. 

minations of the one which is the identity, and of the many 
•or non-identical which is the antithetic, the distinction. If 
we were to say : " God, the absolute, is the identity of the 
identical and non-identical," many people wonld cry out, 
^' Barbarism and scholasticism"; and yet these same people be 
all the while great admirers of Plato notwithstanding he has 
defined the True in the same waj^ "And taking these three 
entities as posited differently, God has united all in one idea, 
in that He has by force adjusted the nature of the otJier which 
is difficult to mix in with others to the self-identical." The 
force of the absolute idea is here alluded to, which posits the 
many — that which exists asunder — as ideal ; and that is pre- 
cisely also the force which has to be used against the under- 
standing when anyone proposes anything of this sort to it. 

Plato now describes how the self-identical as one moment, 
and the otTier or matter as the second moment, and the third 
moment which manifests itself as the cancelling of the first 
two and not as a union of moments which return into the first 
unity, — how these three that were distinct at first are now 
reduced to moments in the simple reflection into itself and 
the withdrawal of the former beginning: "Mingling the 
identical [1st] and the other [2d] with the essence" [3d] (i.e. 
w^itli the third moment), " and, making one out of the three, 
God has again distributed this whole into parts — so many as 
seemed good to him." Since this substance of the soul is the 
same as that of the visible world, the result is that this one 
"Whole now, for the first time, becomes the systematized sub- 
stance, the true matter, the absolute stuff (material) which is 
sundered in itself, as an abiding and indivisible unity of one 
and many ; and all further search for an essence must be 
•abandoned. The mode and manner of division of this subjec- 
tivity contains the famous Platonic numbers, which without 
doubt belonged originally to the Pythagoreans ; and they — 
ancients and moderns (even Kepler in his Harmonia Mundi) 
— have given themselves much trouble to explain these num- 
bers, but as yet no one has reallj' understood them. To un- 
derstand them implies two things : In the first place, to recog- 
nize their speculative significance, their concrete idea. But, 
as already remarked in speaking of the Pj^thagoreans [in 
vol. I. of this History], these numerical distinctions express 

The PTiilosopliy of Plato. 34& 

ill an indefinite way only, the forms of tlie concrete idea of 
DlstmctioR, and even so mucli only in the first few num- 
bers : when [in the higlier luimbers], however, the relations 
become more involved, they are entirely incapable of indi- 
cating them with any degree of precision. In the second 
place, numbers — since they relate to magnitudes — express 
only distinctions in sensuous things. The system of phenom- 
enal magnitudes — and the sidereal system is that in which 
magnitudes manifest themselves in the purest and freest 
manner, without being subordinated to the qualitative — must 
therefore correspond to them [i.e. to numerical relations]. 
But these living numerical spheres are systems containing 
many subordinate moments : e. g. their distances, their velo- 
city, and their masses. No individual of these moments can 
be compared with the system of sidereal spheres, or exhib- 
ited as a series of simple numbers ; for the series correspond- 
ing to this can contain for its members only the system of 
these entire moments. Now if the Platonic numbers were 
also elements of each one of such systems, then any particu- 
lar element could not be seized definitely and individualized 
in relation to the general series; but- the relation of the mo- 
ments which are distinguished in the movement, is that which 
is to be comprehended as whole, and this phase is the truly 
interesting and rational one. We have briefly to adduce the 
chief ]joints historically ; the most thoroughgoing treatise on 
this point is by Boeckh, " On the Formation of the World- 
soul in the Timjeus of Plato," in the third volume of The 
Studies of Daub and Creutzer (p. 26 et seq.) 

The fundamental series is very simple : "First, God took a 
part from the whole ; and then a second part double the size 
of the first ; the third is one and a half times as much as the 
second, or thrice the size of the first ; the next one (the fourth) 
is double the second ; the fifth threefold the third ; the sixth 
eightfold the first ; the seventh [and last] is twenty-six times 
greater than the first." The series is therefore : 1 ; 2 ; 3 ; 
4=2'; 9=3-; 8=2^; 27=3^ "In the second place, God filled 
out the twofold and threefold intervals" (the relations 1 : 2 
and 1 : 3) " by cutting off" parts of the whole again. These 
parts he so arranged in the intervals that there are two mid- 
dle terms in each, one of which is in the same ratio larger 

350 The PMlosopliy of Plato. 

than one and smaller than the other of the extremes, while 
the other [middle term] exceeds by a given sum one extreme 
and by the same snm is exceeded by the other extreme" — i. e. 
the first is a constant geometrical ratio, the other an arithmeti- 
cal one. The lirst middle term [mean term] arises throngh the 
sqnare and is hence, e. g., in the ratio 1 : 2, the proportion 
1 : \/2 : 2 ; the other mean term is by the same [arithmetical] 
ratio the number 1^, Through this arise in the next place 
new ratios, which again are interpolated into those first ones 
in a definitely given but more diflRcult form: so, however, 
that everywhere something is omitted and the last ratio of 
number to number is 256 : 243 or 2^ : 3\ — These numerical 
ratios, however, do not help one much, for they present noth- 
ing for the speculative comprehension. The ratios and laws 
of Nature cannot be expressed by such barren numbers ; they 
form only an empirical relation which does not constitute the 
fundamental basis of the proportions in Nature. Plato saj's 
further : " This whole series God divided lengthwise into two 
parts, and laid them upon one another crosswise like the let- 
ter X, and bent round their ends into a circle and closed them 
with a uniform movement ; forming an inner circle and an 
outer one, the outer one as the revolution of the self -identical, 
the inner one as that of the other-heing or of self -distinction, 
the former having the superiority as the undivided. Again, 
he has- divided the internal, according to the mentioned 
ratios, into seven different circles, three of which revolve with 
equal velocity and four with unequal velocity as respects each 
other and the first three. This is the system of the soul, 
within which everything corporeal is shaped ; it is the mid- 
dle term,' penetrates the whole, and envelopes it externally, 
and moves itself within itself ; and has, therefore the divine 
basis for a ceaseless and rational life in itself." This is not 
entirely without confusion, and hence is to be taken only in a 
general sense, to wit : that since Plato finds the soul to be the 
all-including Simple in the idea of the corporeal universe, to 
him the essence of the corporeal and of the soul is that of the 
Unity in the Difierence. This twofold Essence, posited in- 
and-for-itself in the Difference, systematizes itself within 
the One into many moments, which however are movements ; 
so that this reality and the mentioned essence are — taken 

The PhilosopMj of Plato. 351 

together — this whole in the antithesis of soul and body, and 
the antithetic sides are again one. Spirit is the all-penetrat- 
ing to which the corporeal is opposed, though the former 
(spirit) is in fact this extension itself [i. e. spirit is the ground 
of extension]. 

This is the general description of the soul which is placed 
in the world and rules it ; and in so far as the substantial 
which is in matter resembles it, its identity is asserted [or 
confirmed] in itself. That the same moments are contained 
in it that constitute its reality means this : God, as absolute 
substance, sees nought but Himself alone. Plato describes, 
therefore, the relation of the soul to the Objective Essence, 
and makes it out that it (the soul), when it comes in contact 
with one of the moments o£ the same [i.e. the objective essence] 
^ — either the divisible [i. e. mutable] or indivisible substance — 
reflecting itself into itself [i. e. by its own spontaneity], and 
distinguishes both, it predicates of it what is identical in it 
and what is non-identical, . and in what manner, place and 
time the individual relates to another and to the Universal. 
*' Now if the circle of Sensuous tilings, running regularly on 
in its course, reveals its entire soul to scientific cognition" (if 
the difterent circles of the system of the world show them- 
selves harmonious with the being-in-itself of spirit), "then 
arise true opinions and correct convictions. If, however, the 
soul applies itself to tlie Reasonable and the circle of the 
Self-identical yields to investigation, then thought becomes 
completed into science." This is the essence of the world 
as the blessed Grod ; in this is completed the absolute idea 
of the whole, and in accordance with this idea the world 
makes its appearance. Hitherto there had appeared only the 
essence of the sensuous, but not the loorlcl as sensuous ; for 
though Plato had before sjooken of fire, &c., yet in that place 
he gave only the essence of the sensuous ; he would have 
done better, therefore, to omit those expressions. In this 
lies the reason why it appears as though Plato began 
anew to consider what he had already treated of. For the 
reason, namely, that one must begin with the abstract in 
order to know the true and concrete which makes its appear- 
ance only at a later stage, it follows that this (True and Con- 
crete), when found, has the appearance and form of a new 

352 Tlie Phllosopliy of Plato. 

"beginning, and this happens especially in Plato's loose man- 
ner of exposition. 

Plato now goes on to call this divine world also the model 
which exists alone in thonght and is in eternal self-identity : 
This Totality, however, enters again into antithesis in such a 
manner that a second (the copy of that first one) — tlie world 
originates and becomes visible. This second one is the 
system of sidereal motion, but the former is the Life eternal. 
That which has origination and becoming in it, it is not pos- 
sible to make perfectly like that first — the eternal idea. But 
it is made a self-moving image of the eternal which remains in 
the unity ; and this eternal image which is moved according 
to number [numerical relations], is what we call time. Plato 
says of it : We usually call the Was and Will he parts of 
Time, and carry into the essence of Time these distinctions of 
the self-moving change in Time. The true time, however, is 
eternal, or the Pkesent. For substance is neither new nor 
old ; and Time, as the immediate image of the Eternal is not 
divisible into Past and Future. Time is ideal like Sj^ace, and 
is not a [mere] sensuous existence, but rather the immediate 
form in Avhich Spirit becomes objective — and thus is sen- 
suous and not-sensuous. The real moments of the principle 
of the in-and-for-itself existent motion in time are those 
which undergo changes : " From the divine decree and will 
that created Time arose the Sun, the Moon, and the five other 
stars called Planets ; they serve to fix and preserve the nu- 
merical relations of time." For these numbers of time are 
realized in them. Thus the celestial [sidereal] motion, as 
the true time, is the image of the eternal that abides in its 
unity, i. e. a realization on the part of the Eternal of its self- 
identit}^. For all exists in time ; i. e. in a negative unity 
which allows nothing to take free root in itself and thus 
move or be moved by chance. 

But this Eternal is also in the form of the other Essentiality 
— in the idea of the self-chaiiging and erring principle whose 
Universal is matter. The eternal world has its copy in the 
world that belongs to time [i. e. pure time] ; but standing 
in opposition to this is a second world that dwells essentially 
in the realm of change. Tlie Self-identical and the Other are 
the abstract antithesis that we were lately considering. The 

The Philosopliy of Plato. 353 

-eternal world as posited in time lias, therefore, two forms : 
the form of the Self-identical, and the form of the Self-chang- 
ing and wandering. The three moments as they make their 
appearance in this last sphere are : first, the simple essence 
which is created — the produced or determined matter; sec- 
ond., the Place in which it is created ; tliird., that which is the 
archetype of what is created. Or, as Plato gives them : ^^ Es- 
sence, Place, and Generation.''^ Hence we have the syllogism 
in which Space is the middle term between individual produc- 
tion and the Universal. If we posit this principle in opposi- 
tion to time, according to its negativity, then the middle term 
is this principle of otherness as general principle — "a recep- 
tive medium like a nurse"; — an entity that receives all, 
makes it self-subsistent and self-protecting. This principle 
is the Formless, which however is receptive of all forms, the 
general essence of all varieties of phenomena. Crude, pas- 
sive matter is meant by such expressions ; that which is rela- 
tively substantial and subsisting only in general, but as 
external existence and mere abstract being-for-itself. In our 
style of reflection we distinguish it from its form, and, accord- 
ing to Plato, this is brought into being through the " nurse." 
In this principle is found that which we call Phenomenon ; 
for matter is nothing but this persistence of the act of indi- 
vidual production in which diremption is posited. But that 
which is manifested in this is not to be posited as an indi- 
vidual, earthly existence, but is to be apprehended as univer- 
sal in its determinateness. Since matter, inasmuch as it is 
the Universal, is the essence of every individual, Plato in the 
lirst place calls attention to the fact that one is not permitted 
to speak ol: these sensuous things : fire, water, earth, air, &c. 
(which here again make their appearance); for by this a 
fixed determinateness would be attributed to them — i.e. a 
permanent determinateness — but in fact that which abides is 
only their universality, these elements as universal : the fiery, 
the earthy, &c. 

Plato makes a further exposition of the definite nature of 
these sensuous things or of their simple determinateness. In 
this world of change, spatial configuration is the universal 
form ; in that world which is the immediate image of the 
Eternal, time was the absolute principle. Here, on the other 

354 The PMlosopliy of Plato. 

hand, the absolute ideal principle is pure matter as such, and 
this is only another expression for the continuity of space. 
Space is the ideal essence of this phenomenal world, the mid- 
dle term which unites positivity and negativity ; but the 
determinatenesses of space are its configurations. Among 
the dimensions of space, the surface must be taken as the 
truly essential one for the reason that it forms the middle 
term between the line and the point, and in their first real 
limitation it is three-fold ; so that the triangle is the first of 
[really limited] figures, while the circle, on the other hand, 
does not possess the limit as such. Here Plato comes to the 
treatment of configurations, all of which are formed from the 
triangle as the simple element ; therefore the triangle is the 
essence of sensuous things. Hence he says, using a Pytha- 
gorean form of expression, that the connection and combina- 
tion of this triangle (as its idea belonging to the middle term) 
constitute the elements of the sensuous world according to 
the original numerical relations. This is the basis from which 
he proceeds. I will, however, omit his derivation of the fig- 
ures of the elements, and the combinations of the triangle. 

From this, Plato passes on to Physics and Physiology, and 
we have little desire to follow him into these fields. It is to 
be looked upon as a first, childish attempt to comprehend the 
sensuous phenomenon in its multiplicity ; but it is still super- 
ficial and confused — a method of seizing the sensuous phe- 
nomenon, e. g. the limbs and members of the body, and a 
description of the same in which there are thoughts intermin- 
gled; in fact, it reminds one of the formal explanations 
current in our time, in which all trace of the logical Idea 
vanishes. It is our interest to hold fast to the logical Idea ; 
to it belongs what is excellent in Plato's treatment. But the 
realization of the Idea is not attained — Plato has felt and 
expressed only the need of this. The speculative thought is 
often discernible here and there, but for the most part the 
treatment deals with quite external forms, such as conformity 
to end, &c. We treat Physics in quite another way ; with 
Plato there is a great lack of empirical information, while 
in modern Physics there is an equal lack of the knowledge 
of the Idea. Although he discovers a great want of conform- 
ity to our system of Physics — a system which does not hold 

The PhilosopJiy of Plato. 355 

fast the idea of vitality ; and although lie discourses in a 
childish manner, using external analogies, yet he presents us 
very deep glances into individual departments, glances well 
worthy of our consideration if our physicists were in the 
habit of looking at nature from the point of view of vitality. 
Equally worthy of our attention would seem his account of 
the relation of the Physiological to the Psychical. Some 
portions of his exposition contain what is universally valid, 
e. g. his treatment of colors. From this he branches off again 
into general considerations. When Plato comes to speak of 
this subject, he says with reference to the difficulty of distin- 
guishing and knowing the individual, that in the considera- 
tion of nature "two causes- are to be distinguished, the neces- 
sary and the dimne ; the divine must be sought in everything 
in order to attain a blessed life." (This occupation is end 
and aim in-and-for-itself, and in it lies blessedness) " so far 
as our nature is susceptible of it : the necessary causes are 
to be sought only in those things that we cannot know with- 
out them" (i. e. as conditions of knowledge). The considera- 
tion of necessary causes is an external one touching the 
connection, relation, &c., of objects. " Of the divine causes, 
God himself is the auth(>r"; the divine apjjertains to that tirst 
"eternal" world not as a "Beyond" but as a "Present." "The 
production and regulation of mortal things God committed to 
his assistants." This is an easy mode of transition from the 
divine to the finite, the earthly. "These now imitating the 
divine, for the reason that they received into themselves the 
soul as an immortal principle made a mortal body, and in it 
placed a mortal idea of the soul. This mortal idea contains 
the violent and necessary passions : pleasure, the greatest 
lure to evil ; secondly, pain, the hindrance of the good ; be- 
sides also rashness and fear (the unreasonable counsellor) ; 
anger, hope, &c. These affections all belong to the mortal 
soul, and in order that this shall not pollute the divine where 
it is not unavoidably necessary the subordinate gods separa- 
ted this mortal part from the seat of the divine, making it 
dwell in a different part of the body, and formed an isthmus 
and separation between the head and the breast, placing the 
neck between." The feelings, passions, &c., dwell in the 
breast, in the heart. (The moderns place the immortal soul 

356 Tlie Philosophy of Plato. 

in the heart;) the spiritual is in the head, but in order to 
make it as perfect as possible they, e. g., " inHamed the heart 
with anger, but placed near it, as a compensation, the lungs, 
soft and bloodless, pierced with many tubes like a sponge, in 
order that by taking in air and tiuids they may cool off the 
heart and bring relief to its heat." 

Especially remarkable is that passage concerning the liver: 
''Since the irrational part of the soul possesses the appetite for 
eating and drinking, and does not obey reason, God created 
the liver so that the multitude of thoughts falling on it from 
the intellect, as upon a mirror that receives and presents im- 
ages to view, may terrify it ; then wlien this part of the soul 
is again quieted, it becomes in sleep a participant of visions ; 
for, mindful of the eternal decree to make the race of mortals 
as good as possible, they have formed even the inferior part 
of us in some degree cognizant of truth by establishing within 
it the faculty of divination." Plato thus ascribes prophecy 
to the irrational, corporeal side of man ; and although the be- 
lief prevails that revelation, &c., is ascribed by him to reason, 
it is nevertheless a mistake. He holds it to be a species of 
reason appertaining to the irrational. ''That God gave pro- 
phecy to the irrational part of man, is a striking proof that 
no man powerful in his reason is participant in a true and 
divine prophecy, except when in sleep his power of wakeful 
discernment is fettered, or wlien by sickness or enthusiasm 
he is beside himself." Clairvoyance is thus explained by 
Plato as something inferior to conscious reason. " Tlie man 
in his senses, however, has to analyze and interpret such 
revelations, for he who is still in the trance cannot discern 
their purport. Hence it was well said by the ancients : 'to 
act and to recognize one's own and himself belongs only to 
the man in his senses.' " Plato is sometimes appealed to as 
the authority for mere enthusiasm, but this passage shows 
the error of such a view. This closes our consideration of 
Plato's Philosophy of Nature. 

lY. — Philosophy of Spirit. 

We have to some extent on the theoretical side already 
called attention to the speculative essence of mind, which is, 
however, still without its realization [in Plato] ; and we luive 

Tlie Pliilosopliy of Plato. 357 

pointed out the very important distinctions which he makes 
between the different species of knowing. But, after all, we 
find in Plato as yet no complete consciousness concerning 
the organism of the theoretical mind, although feeling, mem- 
ory, &c., are discriminated from Reason ; Ibut these moments 
are neither distinguished with sufficient exactness, nor treated 
of in the connection in which they stand through necessary 
relation. Therefore, the only portion of this that will prove 
interesting in his doctrine of the Mind is his idea concerning 
the ethical nature of man ; and this real, practical side of 
consciousness is preeminently the brilliant one in Plato's 
treatment, and it lies now before us. Plato, in this investiga- 
tion, is not trying to find a " supreme moral principle," as it 
is called, and in which one has only an empty word while 
he believes that he has everything ; nor is it a search for a 
natural principle of Right — that trivial abstraction from the 
real, practical essence, the Right ; but he unfolds his idea 
of that " ethical nature " in his books on the Republic. The 
ethical nature of man seems to us [moderns] to be an entirely 
different thing from the state ; Plato, however, found the real- 
ity of spirit— i. e. of Spirit [or Mind] in so far as it is opposed 
to Nature — in its highest truth and perfection in the State- 
organization, which as such is essentially ethical ; and he 
recognized the truth that the ethical nature of man (the free 
will in its rationality) finds its legal rights, its actuality, only 
in a true nation [or state]. 

Moreover, it is to be remarked that Plato, in the books of 
the Republic, introduces the treatment of his subject by 
showing what justice consists in. After much discursive 
talk, and many negative considerations with regard to its 
definitions, Plato finally says in his simple style : '' This in- 
vestigation should be made in the same manner as if one 
were to have given him the task of reading small print at a 
great distance ; then if he disco-vers this same type nearer at 
hand and larger, he would first read the latter, and tlien he 
could proceed more easily with the smaller. In such a man- 
ner he would now deal with the subject of Justice. Justice 
is to be found not only in the individual but also in the state, 
and in the latter to a greater degree than in the former; 
hence it can be traced in broader cliaracters and be more 

358 The PMlosopliy of Plato. 

easily recognized in the state."' (This is different from the 
Stoickl doctrine of " The Wise Man.") " He will on this ac- 
count prefer to consider, first, what Justice is as it exists in 
the state." Plato in this manner, through the comparison of 
these modes of inquiring into the nature of Justice, passes to 
the consideration of the State ; it is a very naive, agreeable 
transition, and seemingly arbitrary. The great [good] sense 
of the ancients, however, led them to the True : and what 
Plato gives here merely as a piece of pleasantry, is in fact- 
rather the nature of the thing itself. It is, therefore, not a 
mere matter of convenience that conducts him to this theme ; 
but it is the fact that the consummation of Justice is only 
possible in so far as man is a member of a state ; for Justice, 
in its reality and truth, is to be found only in the state. 
Right as SPIRIT, not in its phase as Cognition, but in so far 
as it [spirit] wishes to give itself reality, is the Existence of 
freedom, the actuality of self-consciousness, the spiritual 
Being-in-itself and by-itself [indej)endence] which is active : 
as in property, for example, I posit my freedom in some 
external thing. The essence of the State is, moreover, the 
objective actuality of Right: the reality in which exists 
Spirit as a totality, and not merely my subjective knowing 
as a particular individual. For when the free rational will 
determines itself, there arise laws of freedom ; but these laws 
exist likewise as laws of states, since it is precisely the ideal 
purpose of the state that the rational Avill shall exist. In the 
state, therefore, those laws gain validity and become habit 
and ethical custom ; since, however, arbitrariness and cajjrice 
likewise prevail, law is not mere ethical custom, but must at 
the same time be a power against caprice, just as it axjpears, 
and hence arise courts of justice and governments. Hence it 
happens that Plato, in order to recognize the lineaments of 
Justice, turns with the instinct of reason to the State for an 
exhibition of it. 

The Just in itself is commonly conceived by us in the form 
of natural rights, of Right in a " state of nature " ; such a 
" state of nature" is however an ethical impossibility. What- 
ever is in-itself [potential], is held by those who do not grasp 
the universal to be something " natural," just as the neces- 
sary moments of spirit are called ''innate ideas.'' The natu- 

The PUlosopliy of Plato. 359 

ral is rather that which spirit must negate or annul, and the 
right of natural condition can make its appearance only as 
the absolute wrong of spirit. Against the state as spirit in 
its reality, spirit in its simple ideality not yet realized, is 
abstract Potentiality ; this ideality {Bagrlff'] must, of course, 
precede the construction of its reality, and it is this which 
has been apprehended as " natural condition." We are ac- 
customed to set out in our theories from the fiction of a natu- 
ral condition^ which of course is no condition of spirit, of 
the rational will, but rather that which exists among ani- 
mals ; for this reason even Hobbes has correctly remarked 
that the true state of nature is a state of war of all against 
all. This "in-itself" [potentiality] of spirit is the individual 
man [taken in his isolation] ; for sensuous conception [ Yor- 
stellung\ takes tlie universal as existing separate from the 
individual — as though the individual were in-and-for-himself 
in his exclusiveness, and the universal did not constitute his 
essential truth : according to this, the universal would not be 
his essence, but the most important would be what he 
possessed in himself as a specialty. The fiction of the "state 
of nature" begins with the individuality of the person, his 
free will and the relation of this free will to other persons. 
What should be right by nature has also been considered to 
be that which is right in the individual and for the individu- 
al ; and societ}' and the state have been held to be means 
existing for the individual person who forms the ultimate 
purj)ose of their existence. Plato, in opposition to these 
views, lays down the Universal, the Substantial, as the basis, 
and, in accordance with this, holds that the individual as 
such has this Universal for his end and aim, and that the indi- 
vidual subject exercises volition for the state — acts, lives, and 
enjoys, for it — so that the state becomes his second nature, 
his ethical custom and habit. This ethical substance, which 
constitutes tlie spirit, life and the essence of individuality, 
and is the basis thereof, systematizes itself to a vital organic 
whole, inasmuch as it separates itself essentially into mem- 
bers whose activity is no other than the production of the 

This relation of the idea [the ideal whole] to its reality had 
not yet come to consciousness in Plato ; and hence we find 

360 The Philosophy of Plato. 

with Mm no philosophical construction that exhibits first the 
idea in-and-for-itself, and then the necessity of its realization, 
and then this itself. As regards the Platonic Republic, it 
has become an established conclusion that Plato has given 
therein a so-called '■'■ ideaV^ of a constitution; this view ha& 
become trite in pretty much the following shape : that this- 
notion of an "ideal state" is a chimera, which though it can 
be thought in one's head just as Plato has described it, and 
is in itself excellent and true, and that it is also practical, but 
only under the condition that men are excellent, as they per- 
haps are in the moon ; but that it is not jiracticable for men 
just now as they are here on the earth. Since one is obliged 
to take men as he finds them, he therefore cannot bring this 
ideal into existence on account of their (men's) depravity • 
and hence it would be very idle to set up such an ideal. 

As to the first point, it is to be remarked that in the Chris- 
tian world an ideal of a perfect man is current, though indeed 
it cannot exist as the mass of a people. If we find it realized 
in monks or Quakers, or the like pious people, yet a crowd 
of such sorrowful creatures could form no real nation, as little 
as lice or parasitical plants could exist for themselves and 
not upon an organized body. If such men should constitute 
a nation, this lamb-like soft disposition, this vanity which 
busies itself with the particular person, providing shelter and 
sustenance for it, and always assumes the image and con- 
sciousness of peculiar excellence, would go to destruction. 
For the life in the universal and for the universal does not 
require that lame and cowardly mildness, but rather an 
energetic one ; not an occupation with itself and its sins, but 
with the universal and that which has to do with it. Now if 
that spurious ideal hovers before one, he, of course, finds 
mankind always aftected with weakness and depravit}", and 
that ideal not realized ; for it sets a value upon trifles that 
no rational man sees, and it takes for granted that such 
weakness and errors are there even though they are not visi- 
ble. But this is not to be considered as greatness of mind on 
their part ; we must rather attribute what they call weakness 
and error to the fact that they see things through their own 
corruption. The man who has weakness and error is imme- 
diately absolved from it through himself in so far as he makes 

The PUlosopliy of Plato. 361 

nothing out of it [i. e. does not make it liis function]. Vice 
is vice only if it is essential to tlie individual, and depravity 
consists in this : to hold it for somewhat essential. The men- 
tioned ideal must, therefore, not stand in our way whatever 
te its form, even if it is not exactly that of the monks or 
Quakers : for instance, as this principle of the inadequacy of 
sensuous things and the deficiency of energy in performance 
that must let much fail which deserves success. To preserve 
all relations is contradictory ; there is always a side in them 
that gives oifence though they are otherwise right and prop- 
er. Moreover, what has been said in another place concern- 
ing the relation of Philosophy to the state, has shown that 
the Platonic ideal is not to be taken in this sense. If an ideal 
as such has truth through its conformity to the concrete idea, 
then it is no chimera precisely because it is true ; for the 
trutli is no chimera : such an ideal is, therefore, nothing idle 
and powerless, but rather the Actual. To indulge in wishes 
is a quite innocent occupation ; if, however, one gets no fur- 
ther than x^ioi^i^"^ wishes for the realization of what is great 
and true, he is 'godless : and the man who can do nothing 
[change nothing] because all is holy and inviolable [as it is], 
and will not be anything determinate [i.e. will not take up any 
specialty] for the reason that all determined things have their 
deficiency. The true Ideal is not something that merely 
ought to be actual, but it IS actual, and is alone the Actual ; 
if an idea were too good for existence, then the defect would 
be in the idea itself, and actuality would likewise be too good 
for it. The Platonic Republic would be a chimera, not for 
the reason that humanity lacked excellence, but that its ex- 
cellence was of too inferior a quality for humanity. For 
THAT WHICH IS ACTUAL IS EEASojsr ABLE. But oiie must kuow 
what is in fact actual [i.e. know the diff'erence between Seem- 
ing and True Being] ; in common life everything is regarded 
as actual; but there is a distinction to be made between 
the phenomenal world and that of actuality. The actual has 
also an external finite side which exhibits caprice and con- 
tingency, as happens in nature when a tree, a house, and a 
plant come together [i. e. a connection exists between things 
not essentially connected]. The surface of the Ethical — the 
deeds of men — has much that is bad, and much that could be 

362 The PMlosopliy of Plato. 

done better; men will always be vicious and depraved, but 
this is not tlie IDEA. If one would recognize the actuality 
of substance he must look through the surface on which the 
passions contend for mastery. The temporal, the perishable, 
exists, it is true, and it can make needs and wants enough for 
any one ; but nevertheless it is no true actuality, no more 
than is the particularity of the subject, his wishes and incli- 
nations. In this connection we must refer again to the dis- 
tinction made in speaking of the Platonic nature of philoso- 
phy : The eternal world, as the in-himself blessed God, is the 
actuality ; not a " beyond " the " other side," but the present 
world considered in its truth, not as it appears to the ear and 
eye, &c., sensuously. If we consider the content of the Pla- 
tonic Idea, we shall see that Plato has portrayed in the Re- 
public the Greek ethical culture in its substantial form ; the 
Greek national life is what constitutes the true content of -this 
work. Plato is not the man to busy himself with abstract 
theories and principles ; his true spirit has recognized and 
unfolded the True : and this could be nothing else than the 
True in the world in which he lived, this one spirit which 
was vital in him as well as in Greece. No one can transcend 
his time ; the spirit of his time is also his spirit ; but he must 
see to it that he does not fail to recognize it according to its 

In the second place, a perfect constitution must be made 
with special reference to a given people, for no constitution 
is adapted to all nations. Thus if it be said that a true con- 
stitution is not adapted to men as they are, it is to be replied 
that the constitution of a nation is the more excellent, the 
more excellent it renders the nation ; but then, on the other 
hand, since the ethics of the peoi:>le constitutes the real living 
constitution, the constitution in its abstraction is really noth- 
ing taken for and by itself, but must be related to the former, 
and the living spirit of the people must till it. Therefore, it 
cannot be said that there is one true constitution which is 
adapted for each and every nation ; and it is, of course, the 
actual fact that for men as they are, e. g. the Iroquois, the 
Russians, the French, no one constitution is good for all ; 
for the nation belongs to History. But in the same manner 
that the individual man is educated in the state, i. e. is ele- 

The PMlosopliy of Plato. 363 

vated from individuality into universality, and from a child 
becomes a man, so is each nation educated ; it passes from 
its condition of childhood, or its barbaric state, over into a 
rational condition. Men do not merel}^ stand still as they 
are, they become something else ; and so it is w^itli their con- 
stitutions. And it is here the question, "What is that true 
form which the nation must move towards ?" just as it is the 
question, "What is the true science of mathematics, or any 
other subject?" but not whether children or boys are to pos- 
sess this science ; they must first be educated up to the capa- 
city of acquiring it. Hence the true constitution stands 
before the Historical people as a form that the latter gradu- 
ally approach. Every people must in the course of time 
make such changes in its existing constitution as will bring 
it nearer and nearer to the true one. Its spirit issues forth 
from the leading-strings of childhood ; and the constitution 
is the nation's consciousness concerning that which it is in it- 
self the form of its truth and of the knowledge of itself. If its 
internal being is no longer what its constitution expresses as 
the True — if its consciousness or its ideal being and its real- 
ity are different,^ — then the national sj)irit is a sundered, 
divided existence. There are two cases of this kind : first, 
the nation may through an internal, more powerful eruption 
strike down the existing form of lawful order ; or it may 
•change the existing law (which has lost its ethical hold on 
the people) quietly and slowly, and substitute for it the law 
which is more in accordance with its true ethical status. 
Secondly, it may not have the intelligence and strength for 
this change, and for that reason remain standing under the 
sway of the inferior laws belonging to the ethical condition 
outgrown ; or it may be that another people which has alrea- 
dy reached the higher status, and is for this reason more 
perfect, subdues the former nation, and it loses its separate 
existence. On this account it is of essential importance to 
know what the true constitution is ; for what opposes it has 
no abiding validity, no truth, and is self-destructive. It may 
have a temporal existence, but it cannot preserve it ; it may 
have possessed validity, but it can no longer continue to do so. 
That it must be abolished, lies in the idea of its constitution. 
This insight [into the development of national idea as em- 

364 The Philosophy of Plato. 

bodied in a constitution] can be attained only through philos- 
ophy [i. e. through an investigation of historical data in the 
light of the pure idea]. National changes happen without vio- 
lent revolutions if the insight [reached by the thinkers of the 
nation] has become universal [i.e. it has penetrated the mass- 
es] ; regulations fall away and are lost, one knows not liow^ 
and each citizen submits in this to his loss of rights. Whether 
the time is ripe for this change or not is a matter that the 
governing power should know ; if it adopts mere temporal 
regulations, not conscious of what is in truth the need of the 
time — if it takes under its protection the Unessential and 
gives it validity as against the Essential (and what this 
Essential is, is contained in and determined by the national 
Idea), — then it itself gets overthrown before the growing 
national spirit, and the dissolution of the government is fol- 
lowed by that of the nation itself ; or else, on the other hand, 
the government and the Unessential retain the upper hand. 

The chief thought that lies at the basis of Plato's Republic 
is precisely that which is to be viewed as the principle of 
Greek Ethics ; that, namely, the Ethical is the Substantial as 
related to the other elements, and hence is to be held fast as 
the Divine. This is, of course, the fundamental principle. 
That which conflicts with this substantial relation of the indi- 
vidual to the ethical status is the subjective arbitrary Avill of 
the individual, the moral standpoint, to wit: that the indi- 
vidual does not act from respect or reverence for the insti- 
tutions of the state or of the country, but from his own 
conmction, adopting his resolutions upon moral considera- 
tions, and determining himself accordingi}'. This principle 
of subjective freedom is a later one, and is the principle of 
the culture of modern times, and it appears in the Greek 
world as the principle of destruction to the Greek state-life. 
It was its destruction for the reason that the Greek spirit had 
not adapted and could not adapt its laws and constitution to 
this principle grown up in it. Since the two were not homo- 
geneous, the Grecian ethical and conventional status must 
perish. Plato recognized and comprehended the true spirit 
of bis world, and set out with the definite intention of mak- 
ing this new principle impossible in his Republic. Plato has, 
therefore, placed himself upon a substantial standpoint, for 

The Philosophy of Plato. 365 

the substantial element of his time lies at the basis of it ; but 
it is only relatively so, since it is only a Greek standpoint, 
and the latter principle is intentionally proscribed. This is 
the general element of the Platonic ideal of the State, and 
from this point of view it must be considered ; investigations 
into the question whether such a state is possible or the best 
one, questions discussed in the light of modern standpoints, 
lead onlv to shallow views. In modern states freedom of 
conscience exists, and through that freedom each individual 
can demand the privilege of caring for his own interests; 
this, however, is all excluded from the Platonic Idea. 

a. Plato's Idea of a State, 

I will now bring up in a more deiinite manner the chief 
points in so far as they have philosophic interest. Though 
Plato presents the state as it is in truth, yet the Platonic state 
has a defect which we shall learn : that, namely, the indi- 
vidual does not, in formal rights, stand in opposition to this 
e-eneral element as he does in the dead constitutions of the 
States founded on a legal basis. The content is only the 
total ; though this is the nature of the individual, yet it is 
that only as retiecting itself into . the universal, and not as 
unyielding, or as something possessing value in and for it- 
self ; so that the practical essence of the state and individual 
are the same. Hence while Plato sets out with the idea of 
Justice that takes for granted that only just individuals exist 
as ethical members of the state, yet he undertakes to show in 
the course of the treatment how this actuality of the substan- 
tial spirit is realized; i.e. in the iirst place, the organism of the 
ethical community as it exists in the distinctions or differences 
which lie in the idea of the ethical substance [the articulation 
into castes, or the division of labor]. Through the unfold- 
ing of these moments [or distinctions] they become vital 
and existent ; these moments, however, are not independent, 
but exist only in a unity. Plato considers these moments of 
the ethical organism in three shapes: first, as they exist as 
conditions or employments in the state ; secondly, as duties 
or moments of the ethical ; thirdly, as moments of the indi- 
vidual subject — of the empirical actuality of the will. Plato 

366 The Philosophy of Plato. 

preaches not morality but Ethics ; he shows how the Ethical 
is a vital self-movement, and he exhibits its functions as it 
were its viscera ; for inward systematic movement as found 
in the organic body, in contradistinction to the solid, dead 
unity of metallic bodies, arises only from distinct visceral 
functions which are essential to a vital self-moving unity. 

a. Without ranks and stations [differences of vocation], 
without this division into great masses, the state has no or- 
ganism ; these great distinctions are grounded in the Substan- 
tial. The first antithesis which we meet with in the state is 
that of the uniiiersal (as occupation in the business of the 
state, and life devoted to the state) and the individual (as life 
and labor for the individual self) ; the two Employments are 
so divided that one station is assigned to this person and the 
other to that person. More in detail, Plato makes three sys- 
tems of actuality belonging to the Ethical : (1) the functions of 
legislation — the activity and provision for the Universal, for 
the interest of the whole as such - (2) the defence of the com- 
monwealth against enemies from without ; (3) provision for 
the individual, for his wants, through agriculture, grazing, pro- 
duction of clothing, houses, utensils, &c. This treatment is in 
general quite correct, yet it seems too much as if derived from 
an external necessity, because such "wants" are taken for 
granted without being deduced from the idea [or Essential 
Nature] of spirit. These different functions are next distributed 
into various systems, being shared each by a mass of indi- 
viduals who are specially fitted thereto ; and thus arise the 
different ranks and stations in the state ; for Plato is also 
opposed to that superficial notion that all people must be one 
and the same [in respect to rank and station ; i. e. abstract 
equality is not Plato's idea]. He accordingly makes three 
ranks : (1) that of the rulers, learned men, scliolars ; (2) that 
of the military ; (3) of those who provide the necessities of 
life — ao-riculturists and mechanics. The first he also calls 
the state guardians (2^hulakas), the essentially philosophi- 
cally cultured statesmen, who possess true science ; they 
have the military to assist them, but in such a form that 
the military and civil ranks do not exclude each other but 
are conjoined, and the oldest ones are to be the state guar- 

The Philosophy of Plato. 367 

dians.* Altliougli Plato has not deduced this division of 
ranks, yet in this manner is formed the constitution of the 
Platonic state ; and every state is necessarily a system con- 
taining these systems vs^ithin itself. Plato proceeds from this 
point to individual determinations which are in part trivial 
and are better dispensed with : e. g. he defines special titula- 
ries for the iirst rank, and discourses on such subjects as show 
how the nurses should demean themselves, &c. (Rep. Bk. V.) 

h. In the next j)lace, Plato shows the moments which are 
here realized in the several ranks and orders as ethical prop- 
erties which are present in the individual and constitute his 
essence : the simple ethical idea divided into its general de- 
terminatenesses. For as result of this division into ranks and 
orders, he proves that through such an organism all virtues 
may be vitally present in the commonwealth; he distin- 
guishes four of these, and they have been called the cardinal 

(1) As the first virtue appear wisdom (sopJiia) and sci- 
ence : such a state will be wisely and well governed — not for 
the reason that there are many arts known there by the mul- 
titude which relate to special employments — as smithing, 
agriculture (sciences relating to industry and wealth we 
should call them) ; but on account of true science, which 
has its reality in the existence of the rank or order of over- 
seer and regent, which deliberates concerning the general 
interest, as well what is best for it in itself as in its relation 
to other states. This insight is properly the possession of 
the few only. (Rep. Bk. IV.) 

(2) The second virtue is bravery ["fortitude" or moral 
courage] {andria), which Plato defines as the lirm assertion 
of what is just, and a preservation of the opinion which the 
laws have founded, that there are certain things to be dread- 
ed, and bravery [fortitude], steadfast in spirit, does not yield 
to these though impelled by appetite or lured by pleasure. 

* Note by Gennaii Editors. — "In accordance with these Notes on Phito, Hegel 
united these two vocations, in an early Essay on the Philosophy of Rights 
(Works, 2d ed., vol. I. p. :}80-l), which he at a later period (vol. VIII. p. 267) 
called the General Order (rank or class) of citizens; the "other" rank (as Hegel 
expresses himself in the Iirst passage) mentioned by Plato, Hegel divided into 
two, in both expositions; the second (trades) and third (agricultnre)." 

368 The PMlosopTiy of Plato. 

This virtue belongs to tlie vocation of the warrior. (Rep. 
Bk. IV.) 

(3) The third virtue is temperance {sojyhrosune), the power 
to control appetites and passions, which preserves the whole 
as a harmony ; so that the weaker and the stronger — whether 
in mind or body, in numbers or wealth, or in whatever re- 
spect — work together for one common result and are har- 
monious. This virtue is, therefore, not (like wisdom and 
bravery) limited to parts of the state, but is prescribed for 
both rulers and ruled as a harmony, a virtue for all ranks. 
(Rep. Bk. IV.) Notwithstanding this virtue of temperance is 
the harmony in which all work towards a common end, yet it 
is peculiarly the virtue of the third class, to whom belongs the 
labor of supplying bodily wants and necessities, though at 
first glance it would not seem thus. But this virtue consists 
precisely in preventing any moment, determinateness, or in- 
dividuality, from isolating itself; in its more limited moral 
signification it takes care that no want or necessity is allowed 
to become essential and thereby become a vice. Labor [in- 
dustry] is the moment of human activity, which is limited to 
the individual, but returns to the Universal and is for it [i. e. 
since the individual through his industry elaborates products 
which supply the wants of all, and thereby relieve all from 
the tyranny of those wants, Hegel says that industry is the 
phase of human activity through which a return is made or 
begun from the extreme depth of specialization. The indi- 
vidual enslaves himself to emancipate himself; for each 
works for all, and therefore all for each]. Hence though this 
virtue is common to all classes, yet it pertains specially to 
the third class to bring it into harmony, for it lacks the abso- 
lute harmony which the other conditions have in themselves. 

(3) The fourth virtue, finally, is justice, and this is treated 
of from the beginning to the end. This is found in the state 
(as integrity) in this : that each individual busies himself 
only about such concerns as relate to the state, and for which 
his nature lias best adapted him ; so that each one does not 
pursue a variety of vocations, but confines himself to that 
for which he is fitted: young and old, boys, women, freemen, 
slaves, mechanics, rulers and ruled. We must remark con- 
cerning this, in the first place, that Plato places Justice here 

The Fliilosopliy of Plato. 369 

side 'bj side with the other moments, and it ai)pears as one 
of the four determinations. But he withdraws from this posi- 
tion so far as to make Justice that which tirst gives to the 
others — Temperance, Bravery, and Wisdom — the power to 
become, and, when tliey exist, to preserve them. On this 
account, he says that Justice will also be found where those 
other virtues are found. (Rep. Bk. IV.) This means, when 
explained, that the idea of Justice is the basis, the idea of 
the Totality that is thus divided organically, and that each 
part is in the Totality only as moment, and the Totality is 
only through each part; so that in this virtue those [social] 
classes or properties [of the individual] are only moments. 
Justice alone is this universal, all-pervading substance : but 
it is at the same time the for-itself-being [independence] of 
each part which the state permits to exist for and by itself. 

It is evident therefore, in the second place, that Plato has 
understood by the term Justice, not the right of property — as 
is commonly done in sciences of Right — but this : that Justice 
is the Spirit attaining in its totality to its rights as the real 
existence of its freedom. In property my personality exists 
very abstractly, my abstract freedom. Plato holds particu- 
lar treatment of the duties of this science of Rights to be on 
the whole superfluous. (Rep. Bk. IV.) We find, it is true, 
laws concerning property, policy, &c. ; " But," says he, " to 
enounce laws on this subject to noble and beautiful men is 
not worth the pains." Really, how will one be able to dis- 
cover divine laws for that whose material contains only con- 
tingency ? Also, in the books on "The Laws," Plato considers 
chiefiy the ethical phase ; yet he goes somewhat more at 
length into the former [i. e. civil rights]. Since however Jus- 
tice, according to Plato, is the entire essence, which is so 
related to the individual that through it each one may accom- 
plish in the best manner that for which he was born ; there- 
fore the individual comes to his rights onl}^ in the form of 
definite [special] individuality : only in this way does he be- 
long to the universal spirit of the state, and in it attain his 
Universal as a particular person. While the right is the Uni- 
versal with a definite [limited] content, and consequently is 
only for 771 al universality ; yet this content is the definite total 
individuality, not this or that thing belonging to me through 

370 Tlie Plulosopliy of Plato. 

accidental possession ; but my real ownersiiip consists in the 
developed possession and use of my nature. Justice allows 
in general each special trait of character to have its rights, 
and thus leads it back into the wdiole ; through this, that the 
particularity of an individual must be developed and come to 
existence, each one occupies his place and fulfils his vocation. 
Justice, therefore, means — according to its true idea as we 
seize it — freedom, in the subjective sense; and this because it 
is that which obtains rational existence ; and since this right 
— that freedom shall become existent — is universal, Plato 
places Justice above all as the vocation of the whole in the 
sense that rational freedom obtains existence through the 
organism of the state — an existence which becomes through 
its inherent necessity a form of nature. 

c. The individual subject [or Ego], as subject, has likewise 
these properties belonging to him ; and these moments of the 
subject correspond to the three real moments of the state. 
That in this way there is a rhythm in the idea of the state — 
is the great and beautiful basis of the Platonic State. This 
third form, in which those moments appear, Plato describes 
as follows : There are shown in the subject, in the first place, 
wants, appetites like hunger and thirst, each of which relates 
to something definite and to this only. The labor for the 
[gratification of] the appetite corresx)onds to the vocation of 
the third rank [or class]. At the same time, however, there 
is found, secondly, in the individual consciousness something 
else which restrains and hinders the gratification of this 
appetite, and holds control over its incitement ; this is the 
Rational {logos). To this corresponds the position of guar- 
dian, the wisdom of the state. Besides these two ideas of the 
soul, there is a third, Anger (thu/nos), which is in part akin 
to appetite, but likewise also contends against appetite and 
assists Reason. "When one has done an unjust deed and it 
causes him to undergo hunger and cold, which he believes he 
suffers justly ; then the nobler he is, the less anger he will 
feel against the inflicter : on the other hand, when he suffers in- 
justice, it ferments and boils within him, and he allies himself 
to that side which is just, and endures and vanquishes hunger 
and frost and other miseries which are inimical to his apj)e- 
tites, till he carries his point or dies, or is j^acified through 

The Pldlnsophy of Plato. 371 

reasons just as a dog is called off and pacilied by tlie shep- 
herd," Anger corresponds to the vocation of the brave de- 
fender of the state : just as lie takes np his weapons in Ibehalf 
of the reason of the state, so Anger when it is not coiTupted 
through bad education stands by Reason. Just as the wisdom 
of the state is the same as that of the individual, so also is the 
bravery ; and so in the case of the rest, temperance, and har- 
mony of the individual moments of the Natural : and justice, 
as it is in external acts where each works out his own part, so 
too in the Internal each moment of spirit obtains its rights, and 
mingles not in the business of the others, but allows them free- 
dom. (Rep. Bk. IV.) We have thus a syllogism of three mo- 
ments, in which the middle term between universalit}' and 
individuality is anger ; it is the for-itself-existing [indepen- 
dent] moment, and is directed against the objective, constitutes 
the middle term as freedom returning into itself, and conducting 
itself negatively in relation to itself. This is alwaj^s present 
to Plato — this internal truth^ — ^even when he has no conscious- 
ness of its abstract idea — as in the Timjeus, for example ; and 
everything [in Plato's works] develops from it. This is the 
manner in which Plato makes disposition for the whole ; the 
carrying out is a matter of details which has no further inter- 
est here. 

b. Tlie Means of Pi'eserving a State. 

Then, secondly, Plato gives the means of preserving the 
state. Since now the whole community rests upon Ethics as 
the spirit which has become [by use and habit] the [second] 
nature of individuals, the question arises : how does he man 
age to give to each the business which is his vocation so thai 
it becomes his peculiar being and exists as the ethical act 
and desire of the individual, — so that each with temperance 
shall subordinate himself to his [proper] rank and position ? 
The chief point is to educate the individual for this. Plato 
desires to produce this ethical result directly on the individual, 
first and chiefly in the guardians, whose culture is the most 
important part of the whole and constitutes the foundation. 
For since to the guardians is left the care of producing this 
ethical status through the preservation of tlie laws, it is 
necessary [in the laws] to have special regard paid to their 

372 The PMlosopJiy of Plato. 

education ; so also to that of the warriors. How it is in the 
trades, the state cares not so much ; • " for if the cobbler is 
wretched and corrupt, and only seems to be what he should 
be, that is no misfortune to the state." (Rep. Bk. IV.) The 
culture of the guardian should, however, be perfected through 
science and j)hilosophy, which is the knowledge of the Uni- 
versal — of the existent in-and-for-itself. Plato mentions as 
the means of culture : Religion, Art, Science. In detail, he 
describes how far music and gymnastics should be admitted 
as means. But the poets Homer and Hesiod he banishes 
from his state, because he finds their representations of God 
unworthy. (Rep. Bks. II., III., V., VII.) For in that time it 
began to become an earnest business with the consideration 
of the faith in Jupiter and the Homeric histories, since such 
individual narrations were taken as universal maxims and 
divine laws. In a certain stage of culture childish stories are 
innocent ; if, however, they should be set up as the basis of 
the truth of ethics as law for the present time (as, for exam- 
ple, in the Scriptures of the Israelites — the Old Testament — 
the extirpation of nations has been used as a rule in the rights 
of nations ; and the innumerable turpitudes which David, the 
man of God, committed, and the cruelties of the priesthood 
through Samuel against Saul, have been used as justifica- 
tions of the like in our time), then the time has come to 
reduce them to something merely historical, a thing of the 
past. Plato, besides this, desires to prepare introductions to 
the laws, in which citizens are exhorted to their duties, and 
convinced of the importance of the choice of the most excel- 
lent, &c. — -in short, of ethical culture. 

Here, however, there is a circle : the public state-life is 
founded on ethics, and conversely ethics is founded on the 
institutions of the state. Ethics must not be independent of 
institutions : i. e. institutions must not be founded simply on 
ethics through forms of education as, e. g.. Religion. More- 
over, institutions must be regarded as the first condition for 
the existence of ethics and as presupposed by it, for this [eth- 
ics] is the form in which institutions have their subjective side. 
Plato himself gives us to understand liow much contradiction 
he expected to find. And yet it is the custom to blame him for 
being too idealistic; but the defect lies rather in the fact that 

The Philosopliy of Plato. 373 

he is not idealistic enougli. For tlioiigli Reason is set np as 
the universal [all-j)revailing] jDower, this [power] is essentially 
spiritual; but subjective freedom belongs to the spiritual — 
and this is the very thing that Socrates had set up as his 
principle. While the Rational should be the basis of law, 
and is on the whole, yet, on the other hand, conscience — one's 
own conviction — (all forms of subjective freedom) are essen- 
tially contained therein. At first this subjectivity stands op- 
posed to the laws — which form the rational groundwork of 
the state-organism — and which are the absolute power whose 
function is to assimilate the individual member of the family 
[i. e. digest him] through an external system of wants, in 
which Reason, however, exists as the essential object. It 
begins with the subjectivity of the free arbitrary will, joins 
itself to the whole, chooses a vocation, and raises itself to the 
rank of an ethical being. But this moment [or element] in 
general, this movement of the individual, this principle of 
subjective freedom, partly escapes Plato's attention, and in 
part is intentionally neglected because it proved by its fruits 
to be the principle that wrought the ruin of Greece ; and his 
sole aim is to discover how the organization of the state 
should be best secured, and not how subjective individuality 
is to be attained. Instead of transcending the principle of 
Greek ethical culture, which was not able to permit the 
growth and development of subjective freedom within its 
substantial freedom, the Platonic philosophy seized that 
principle [of ethical cnlture] and unfolded it. 

c. The Exclusion of Subjective Freedom, 

As regards this aim — to exclude the principle of subj ective 
freedom — it is one of the chief objects sought in the Platonic 
Republic. The spirit of it consists essentially in this, that 
all sides in which the individuality as such is fixed, are to be 
dissolved in the Universal — all individuals shall attain recog- 
nition only as unwersal men. 

a. This purpose to exclude the principle of subjectivity 
renders it extremely proper that Plato should deny to the 
individual the privilege of choosing his vocation ; a privilege 
which we consider to be necessary for freedom. It is, liow- 
■ever, not birth which separates the ranks, and destines the 

374 The Philosophy of Flato. 

individual for his vocation; each one is examined by the 
regents of the state (tlie elders of the first rank, to whom is 
assigned the function of educating the rest), and according to 
natural fitness and capacity displayed, the choice of occupa- 
tion is made and the individual assigned a definite sphere by 
those regents. This would seem, according to our modern prin- 
ciples, thoroughly contradictory. For although it is obvious 
that there is a special capacity and fitness desirable in every 
vocation, yet individual inclination should not be ignored in 
determining what sphere of activit}^ a man shall fill ; and this 
inclination, as a seeming free choice, is necessary to make his 
vocation truly his own. It is not for one man to prescribe 
for another individual, and say, e. g. : " Since you are good 
for nothing better, you shall become a cobbler." Each may 
attempt for himself ; he must be allowed to decide for him- 
self in a subjective manner since he is a subject, and he may 
settle his course through his own caprice without regard to 
external circumstances ; and no one shall say " nay " to him 
if, e.g., he says, "I will apply myself to study." 

l). Furthermore, it follows from this purpose in view [the 
subjective in subjective caprice], that Plato (Rep. Bk. III.) in 
his State has also done away with the principle of private 
property. For in that [private property] individuality, the 
individual consciousness, becomes absolute ; in other words, 
the person [as property-owner] is viewed as indei^endent with- 
out content in any form. In Rights as such, I am a particular 
individual in and for myself. x\.ll are such, and I am thus 
only because all are ; i. e. I am a universal [or the whole finds 
its realization in each] ; but the content of this universality 
is fixed individuality. Whenever in Rights the question is 
concerning what justice is as such, the judges do not lay 
stress on whether this or that man possesses this house, nor 
do the parties lay stress on the possession of this particular 
thing about wliich they are contending, but they contend for 
justice for its own sake (as morality la^^s stress on duty for 
its own sake) ; and thus this abstraction is held fast and sepa- 
rated from the content of reality. But the essence is not held 
by Philosophy to be an abstraction, but it is found to be the 
unity of this universal and the reality (or its content). The 
content, therefore, is retained only in so far as it is posited 

The Fldlosopliy of Plato. 375 

negatively in the nniversal [i. e. only as food for the action 
of the universal] : therefore only as returning — not in and for 
itself [as having independent validity]. In so far as I use 
things — not in so far as I merely x>ossess them as property, not 
in so far as they are to me lixed things existing for me, who 
am also a fixed somewhat — do they stand in living relation 
to me. Plato makes the other ranks, the laborers, trades- 
men, agriculturists, produce the necessaries of life for all, 
without acquiring pro]3eity for themselves through their la- 
bor ; but the whole is only one family in which each one has 
his prescribed business, the product of the labor being com- 
mon to all, and the producer too, like the rest, uses from the 
common store whatever he needs. Property is a possession 
which belongs to me as this particular person, and it (my 
person as such) comes to existence, to reality ; on this ground 
Plato excludes it. It remains an unsolved question, however, 
how there can be found in the development of the trades, where 
the hope of private property is lacking, a stimulant to activ- 
ity, for the fact that I am an active person depends chiefly on 
my ability to acquire property therebj^ That by such an 
arrangement as Plato supposes (Rex?. Bk. V.) all strife, dis- 
sensions, hatred, avarice, &c., are to be prevented, can indeed 
be imagined ; bnt all this would be only a subordinate result 
in comparison to the higher and more rational principle of 
the right of proioerty : and freedom has external existence 
only in so far as the person comes to XDOssession of property. 
This is the form in which we see subjective freedom inten- 
tionall}^ banished by Plato from his state. 

e. On the same ground, Plato does away with marriage, 
because it is a bond in which a person of one sex belongs to 
a person of the other sex recii)rocally and permanently — a 
bond outside of the merely natural relation. Plato does not 
allow the family life to arise in his state — possessing as it 
does an exclusiveness peculiar to itself, and by which it [the 
family] constitutes a whole for itself — because it [the family] 
is only an extended personality ; i. e. a relation, set up within 
the natural ethical culture, that excludes others, and, though 
the family principle is an ethical one, it is however such a 
one as pertains to the individual as a special individuality. 
According to the idea of subjective freedom, the family is 

376 The PUlosophy of Plato. 

just as necessary — nay, sacred — to the individual, as property 
is. Plato, on the contrary, has the children taken away from 
their mothers directly after birth, placed together in an 
institution for the purpose, and brought up by wet-nurses 
chosen from the mothers, and educated in common : and this 
is carried out in such a manner that no mother shall be able 
to recognize her child afterward. Though there were to be 
marriages and each man was to have his own wife, yet the 
union of men and women was not to presuppose a personal 
inclination, nor was it to be a special liking which deter- 
mined individuals for each other. The women were to bear 
from the twentieth to the fortieth year, the men have wives 
from the thirtieth to the lifty-lifth year. In order to prevent in- 
cest, the children who were born after the marriage of a man 
were all to be known as his children. (Rep. Bk. Y.) Women, 
whose essential vocation is the family life, are deprived of 
this their province. In the Platonic republic, therefore, this 
results : since the family is dissolved and women cannot pre- 
side over the home, that they are no longer private persons, 
and therefore have to assume the vocations of man as the 
universal individual in the state, and Plato on this account 
has the women, like the men, share in all masculine employ- 
ments — nay, even in that of war. Thus he sets them upon 
nearly the same footing as men, but has no remarkable confi- 
dence in their bravery, since he places them only in the rear, 
although not as a reserve but as an arrUre garde, in order 
at least to cause fear in the enemy by numbers, and in case 
of necessity to render assistance. (Rep. Bk. V.) 

These constitute the chief features of the Platonic Repub- 
lic, which has in it this essential thing, to wit, the suppression 
of individuality ; and it seems that the idea makes this de- 
mand, and that precisely in this lies the opposition of Philos- 
ophy to the method of sensuous representation which regards 
the individual as the self-existent, and thus it sees in the state 
as the real spirit, right of property, j)rotection of person and 
property to be the basis of the whole. In this is found pre- 
cisely the limit of the Platonic Idea — it only makes its 
appearance as abstract idea. But, in fact, the true idea is 
precisely this, that each moment realizes itself perfectly, em- 
bodies itself and becomes independent, and yet in its inde- 

The PUlosopny of Plato. 377 

pendence is annulled [subordinated] for spirit. In accordance 
with this idea it is necessary that the individuality perfectly 
realize itself, have its field and realm in the state, and yet be 
dissolved in it. The element of the state is the family : i. e. 
the family is the natural, irrational state : this element must 
as such be extant. Then, too, the Idea of the rational state has 
to realize the moments of its ideal being so that they become 
classes of citizens, and the ethical substance is thereby sun- 
dered into masses, just as the corporeal substance is divided 
into viscera and organs, each of which carries on vitality in 
a special function, and yet all constitute together only one 
life. Tlie state in general, the total, must pervade each and 
all. The formal principle of right also — ^as abstract univer- 
sality of personality with the undivided as its existing con- 
tent — must run through all ; and yet a particular rank or 
station belongs to it. Thus, also, there must be a rank or 
station in which the immediately permanent property, like 
the possession of the body, is vested as a territorial posses- 
sion ; and then a rank or station in wliicli there is acquired 
continually not such an immediate possession, but an estate 
which is ever changing and wavering. These two ranks or 
stations exjoose the nation partially to the principle of indi- 
viduality, and allow here the right to rule ; to seek a perpetu- 
ity, the universal, the in itself, in this principle, which is 
rather that of movability. This principle must possess its 
quite perfect reality, and must also exist as property. This 
is the first appearance of the true real spirit in which each 
moment preserves its own perfect independence, and at the 
same time allows its other-being to possess the perfect indif- 
ference of being; this, Nature is not adequate to — it cannot 
exhibit independent life in its parts, except in great systems. 
This is, as we shall see elsewhere, the great superiority which 
the modern world has over the ancient — in it the Objective 
obtains greater, nay, absolute independence, which therefore 
renders it so much the more difficult to return to the unity of 
the idea. 

The deficiency of subjectivity is the deficiency of the Greek 
ethical idea itself. The principle which Socrates originated 
was hitherto extant only in a subordinate form ; it must now 
become also an absolute principle, a necessary moment of the 

378 The PMlosopTiy of Plato. 

Idea itself. Through the exclusion of property and of family 
life, through the cancelling of arbitrary will in the choice of 
occupation — i.e. the doing away with all determinations 
which relate to the j)rinciple of subjective freedom — Plato 
believes that he has shut the door against all passions ; he 
had clearly recognized the fact that the destruction of Greek 
life was immanent when individuals sought to make valid 
their aims, inclinations and interests as such, and were 
allowing these to get the mastery over the common spirit. 
Inasmuch as this principle is rendered necessary by the 
Christian Religion — in which the soul of the individual is the 
absolute end and aim, and thus has entered into the world 
as necessary in the idea of spirit — it is easy to see that the 
Platonic constitution cannot fulfil the higher demands made 
upon an ethical organism. Plato did not recognize the know- 
ing, willing, and resolving of the individual and its repose on 
itself, nor did he know how to unite it with its idea; justice, 
however, demands likewise for this its rights — that it attain 
the higher solution and harmony with the universal. The 
opposite of Plato's principle is the principle of the conscious 
free will of the individual which in later times has been set 
up, especially by Rousseau : that the caprice of the indi- 
vidual as individual, the self-expression of the individual is 
necessary. In that statement, therefore, the principle has 
gone over into the opposite extreme and appears in its com- 
plete one-sidedness. In oj^position to this caprice and indi- 
vidual culture, the Universal in-and-for-itself must exist^ — the 
thought, not as w^ise ruler and ethical system, but as lawy 
and at the same time as my essence and my thought, i. e. as 
subjectivity and individuality. Man must produce the ra- 
tional itself out of his own interests and passions ; just as it 
enters into actuality through the pressure of necessity, oj)por- 
tunity, and occasion. 


There still remains to be considered briefly a famous side 
of the Platonic Philosophy, namely, the Esthetic, the science 
of the Beautiful. Upon this subject, likewise, Plato has seized 
the only true thought : that the essence of the Beautiful is 
the intellectual, the idea of Reason. When he speaks of a 

The Philosopliy of Plato. 379 

spiritual beauty, he is not to be understood as saying, tliat 
beauty as sensuous is beauty which is to be thought as in 
some place one knows not where ; but that which is beautiful 
in the sensuous is spiritual beauty. Just as the essence and 
the truth of the phenomenal is the idea, so is also the truth 
of phenomenal beauty likewise the idea. The relation to the 
corporeal as a relation between appetite, or the Agreeable 
and the Useful, is no relation to it as beautiful ; it is a rela- 
tion to it as merely sensuous, or a relation of the individual 
to the individual. The essence of the Beautiful, however, is 
•only the simple idea of Reason existing in a sensuous man- 
ner as a thing ; the content of this thing is nothing else than 
the idea. (Plato: Hippias Major.) The beautiful is essen- 
tially of a spiritual nature ; it is, therefore, not merely a sen- 
suous thing, but the actuality subordinated to the form of 
universality, of truth. But this universal retains not the 
form of universality although the Universal is its content^ 
but its form is the sensuous ; and in this, lies the determinate- 
ness of the Beautiful. In science, on the other hand, the Uni- 
versal has also the form of the Universal, or of the Idea ; the 
beautiful, however, enters as actual thing, — or in language as 
representation (the shape that the thing takes in the spirit). 
The nature, essence and content of the Beautiful is alone to 
be recognized and criticised through the Reason, since it is the 
same content that pliilosophy has. Since Reason apj)ears 
in the Beautiful in the form of a thing ^ the Beautiful remains 
subordinate to Science ; and Plato has on this account placed 
its [Reason's] true appearance — where it has the form of the 
spiritual — in scientific knowledge. 


This may be given as the chief content of the Platonic 
Philosoj)hy : first, the accidental form of: discourse in which 
noble free men converse without other interests than that of 
the spiritual life of Theory ; secondly., they come, led only 
by the content, to the deepest ideas and most beautiful 
thoughts like precious stones which one linds, if not exactly 
on a desert, yet upon a dry journey ; thirdly, there is found 
no systematic connection, though all flows from one common 
interest; fourthly, the subjectivity of the idea is everywhere 

380 The Philosophy of Plato. 

lacking ; but, fifthly, the substantial idea forms tlie founda- 
tion. Plato's Philosophy has two stages on which it must 
exj)and and be elaborated into a higher principle. The Uni- 
versal, which is in the Reason, must first be dirempted into 
the strongest, intinite antithesis, into the independence of 
personal consciousness which is for itself : therefore, in the 
jN'ew Academy, the self-consciousness returns into itself and 
becomes a form of scepticism; it is the negative Reason 
which is turned against all forms of the Universal, and 
knows not how to find the unity of the self-consciousness 
and the Universal, and hence remains in the former [i. e 
holds by self-consciousness]. Secondly, the New Platon- 
ists make the return by finding this unity of self-conscious- 
ness and the absolute essence : to them God is immediately 
present in the Reason, which is the rational cognition of the 
divine spirit, and the content of this cognition is the essence 
ol: God. We shall consider these themes hereafter. 





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