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THE editor and publishers of this 
volume beg leave to announce that 
two other numbers of the series of 
philosophical "OUTLINES" by LOTZE, 
viz., the one on the " PHILOSOPHY OF 
RELIGION" and the one on " MORAL 
PHILOSOPHY," may be expected within 
a few months. Should the reception 
met by these three volumes be suf- 
ficiently encouraging, it is hoped to 
publish the "OUTLINES of PSYCHOL- 
OGY," of "^STHETICS," and of 
"LOGIC," still later. 











Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1884, by 

in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington. 



THE name of Rudolph Hermann Lotze, philoso- 
pher, has already been made familiar to a large 
number of readers in this country, and no little 
interest has been awakened in his opinions upon 
various philosophical and religious themes. But 
thus far the number who have attained any trust- 
worthy knowledge as to what those opinions are, 
has remained exceedingly small. Until very re- 
cently all his most important published works have 
been inaccessible to every one unable to cope with 
voluminous philosophical German. Within the pres- 
ent year, creditable translations of the two large 
volumes on Logic and Metaphysic, which consti- 
tute all of his System of Philosophy that thfe 
author lived to publish, have appeared in Eng- 
land ; and a translation of his Mikrokosmus (three 
volumes in German) is promised soon to appear. 
These works, however especially the two former 
are not only large but technical and difficult; 
few are likely to attempt their mastery who are 
not already trained in the reading of German phi- 


losophy. Yet there is scarcely any other recent 
writer on philosophical subjects whose thoughts are 
so stimulating for their breadth, penetration and 
candor; or with whom an acquaintance is so de- 
sirable for purposes of general culture through the 
philosophic way of considering life, with its inter- 
ests in not merely pure thought, but also in 
morals, religion, and art. 

It affords me, therefore, the pleasure that comes 
from the hope of being useful to a wide circle of 
persons, to announce that I have arranged to trans- 
late and edit several, if not all, of those little books 
called 4 Outlines ' which have been given to the pub- 
lic in Germany since the death of their lamented 
author. These * Outlines ' cover the entire ground 
of Lotze's mature teaching in the University upon 
the subjects of Logic, Metaphysic, Philosophy of 
Nature, Psychology, ^Esthetics, Moral Philosophy, 
Philosophy of Religion, and History of German 
Philosophy since Kant. A word of explanation 
as to the origin of these books will suffice to 
assure the reader that he is to be put into com- 
munication with the thoughts of this philosopher 
in a way which he can trust both as to substance 
and form of expression. The German from which 
the translations are to be made consists of the dic- 
tated portions of his latest lectures (at Gb'ttingen, 


and for a few months at Berlin) as formulated by 
Lotze himself, recorded 'in the notes of his hear- 
ers, and subjected to the most competent and 
thorough revision of Professor Rehmsch of Got- 
tingen. The 'Outlines' give, therefore, a mature and 
trustworthy statement, in language selected by this 
teacher of philosophy himself, of what may be con- 
sidered as his final opinions upon a wide range of 
subjects. They have met with no little favor in 

1 have used such competence and diligence as 
I could command in translating this first one of 
the Lotze series which it is proposed to publish. 
As far as seemed consistent with a desirable accu- 
racy, technical language has been avoided, and the 
work presented with an English expression. Some 
of the terms employed in the original, however, do 
not admit of exact and elegant representation in 
our language ; nor has it been possible had it 
been deemed desirable wholly to disguise the 
savor of the class-room. 

The Metaphysic was selected as the first one of 
the series for translation, because the views of the 
author on this subject were always regarded by 
himself as being, and in fact are, fundamental and 
initiatory to his views on all the other subjects to 
be treated. No one can make any progress what- 


ever in understanding the philosophical system of 
Lotze, or even in seeing the true bearing of his 
observations on aesthetic, ethical and religious mat- 
ters, who has not mastered his metaphysical notions. 
This little book, then, should be regarded as fur- 
nishing the key and door to all the rest. 

Two principal objects have been before my mind 
as motives for undertaking these translations. I 
wish, in the first place, to further the work of 
teaching philosophy by their use. Such condensed, 
orderly, and mature statements of conclusions on a 
wide range of philosophical questions will be found 
exceedingly valuable for both teacher and pupil. 
They furnish a scheme for all the instruction which 
the teacher is able to give in presenting and an- 
swering these questions. When skilfully used, 
they may be made to introduce the pupil to the 
widest fields of philosophy under the guidance of 
a great master, and in an interesting way. They 
present the applications of Metaphysic to art, re- 
ligion, nature, and human conduct ; and they thus 
open regions of reflection into which the instruc- 
tion of our colleges and universities scarcely takes 
their students at all, regions, however, which are 
precisely the ones where such students both de- 
sire and need to go. 

I wish, in the second place, to have these 


thoughts of Lotze do their legitimate work in 
liberalizing, expanding and elevating the culture 
of those persons who are wont to be styled the 
'educated class.' Perhaps, since what is here of- 
fered to them is presented in so compact and 
manageable form, not a few will be glad to look 
on life, in its widest extent, human and divine, 
with quickened powers of reflection under the 
stimulating words of this teacher from another 
nation. With such an object in view, it may be 
regretted that the first number of the series should 
be the most abstract, and seemingly foreign to 
practical interests, of them all. But, then, as I 
have already said, it is introductory and funda- 

It is not my purpose to attempt to defend, 
refute, or even characterize the opinions which 
these books will, for themselves, sufficiently set 
forth. Two or three remarks, however, will help 
to guard the uninstructed reader against certain 
misapprehensions of the author which might other- 
wise easily arise. The philosophy of Lotze is a re- 
markable combination of elements from the school 
and from real life. The elements which come 
from the school are both directly philosophical, 
and also only indirectly so through the physical 
and natural sciences. In the same year of his 


life, at the age of twenty-one, he gained both the 
degree of Doctor of Philosophy and that of Doctor 
of Medicine. Although his earliest published 
works were on Metaphysic (1841) and Logic (1843), 
the first to be much noticed were those upon the 
science which deals with the relations of physi- 
cal and psychical phenomena : on the Physiology 
of Life (1851) and of the Soul (1852). The thor- 
ough-going attempt made by the latter works to 
apply the conception of mechanism to the phe- 
nomena of mind led many to misunderstand Lotze, 
and even to class him among so-called scientific 
materialists. The freest allowance is given to the 
scientific conception of mechanism in this series 
of philosophical 'Outlines.' But the reader should 
never forget that in the view of Lotze, ' Mechan- 
ism ' or the coherency of the phenomena accord- 
ing to fixed laws of action is only the means or 
' way of behavior ' which the highest Idea, the Idea 
of the Good, has chosen to realize itself. And the 
whole drift and aim of the philosophical system 
set forth in these little books, is away from mate- 
rialism. The disciples of Lotze should he make 
any among us would become uncommonly at 
their ease concerning the ultimate result upon our 
fundamental faiths and aspirations, of materialistic 
science and destructive criticism. 


Some readers of the ' Outlines of Metaphysic ' 
may be betrayed into the hasty conclusion that 
their author was pantheistically inclined. Such 
should remember that it is not the business of 
Metaphysic to go far in the personification of that 
Absolute Being whom it discovers as the ' Ground ' 
of all reality, or in defining the true personality 
of the finite spirits which thus apprehend this 
Absolute Being. On such subjects, the ' Philoso- 
phy of Religion ' and the ' Philosophy of Ethics ' 
(Practical Philosophy) will give the elaboration and 
application of the author's metaphysical concep- 
tions. It is my plan to have these two additional 
numbers of the series follow the one on Meta- 
physic, within a few months. In the meantime, 
if this philosopher also must be classed with others, 
let us affirm our hope and belief that his conclu- 
sions will be in the main acceptable to the many 
who are feeling strongly a certain most interesting 
and promising drift in modern philosophy. Among 
such are those who have learned much from Hegel, 
although they have been obliged to modify many 
of his views. The method of Hegel was, indeed, 
always opposed by Lotze ; and he endeavored to 
make good what he considered the deficiencies of 
Hegel by substituting for a movement of Absolute 
Thought, a movement of Absolute Life, as the 


centre and sum of all reality. But, with all the 
differences in both method and conclusions of the 
two thinkers, Lotze teaches something like the 
same spiritual Monism as that into which many 
who have learned in the school of Hegel are lead- 
ing the way. And for such as do not feel that 
they have learned, even indirectly, from Hegel the 
secret of reconciling science with aesthetics and 
religious impulse, Spirit with so-called Matter, and 
Mechanism with Idea, these works will be found 
useful in pointing out how a candid and well-fur- 
nished mind considered such problem of reconcilia- 
tion, as well as in throwing light on many of the 
subordinate problems the solution of which is in- 
volved in the larger one. 

It should be mentioned with gratitude that these 
translations have been undertaken with the kind 
permission of the German publisher, Herr S. Hirzel, 

of Leipsic. 


NEW HAVEN, October, 1884. 






CHAPTER I. Of the Significance (Conception) of 

Being 18 

CHAPTER II. Of the Content of the Existent . 25 

CHAPTER III. Of the Conception of Reality . . 35 

CHAPTER IV. Of Change ...'.. 45 

CHAPTER V. Of Causes and Effects ... 57 



CHAPTER I. Of Space, Time, and Motion . . 79 

CHAPTER II. Of Matter 100 

CHAPTER III. Of the Coherency of Natural Events . 113 


CHAPTER I. Of the Subjectivity of Cognition . 129 

CHAPTER II. Of the Objectivity of Cognition . . 143 

CHAPTER III. Summary and Conclusion . . 153 

1. Our every-day apprehension of the World is 
pervaded throughout with suppositions concerning 
an inner coherency of its phenomena, which is in no 
wise immediately perceived by us, and yet is re- 
garded as needing no explanation and as necessary. 
Thus, for example, even the most common appre- 
hension of the world is impossible without articu- 
lating the content of our perceptions in such a man- 
ner that we assume ' Things ' as the supports and 
centres of its phenomena and events, and all kinds 
of ' reciprocal actions ' as being interchanged be- 
tween them. Neither those things, however, nor 
these actions, are immediate objects of perception. 
In the same manner are both a theoretic apprehen- 
sion and a practical treatment of the world incon- 
ceivable without the supposition of a causal connec- 
tion of that which has actual existence. 

All these and other suppositions we have become 
accustomed to in life with the feeling of their 
necessity, but without availing ourselves of a clear 
knowledge of their precise meaning and of the 
grounds and limits of their validity. There are 


therefore never wanting occasions where doubts at 
once arise in us concerning their validity. Thus in 
the consideration of human transactions, the new 
conception of freedom stands opposed to the ' causal 
nexus ' previously deemed of universal applicability. 
Thus on consideration of the soul, the conception of 
' Thing ' seems to be in general inept to designate 
the permanent subject of its changeable phenomena. 

These contradictions, in which the ^t'/r^-scientific 
form of representation is involved, and to which the 
particular sciences also lead, in so far as the axi- 
oms which some one of them follows in its domain 
run counter to those which another of them leaves 
undisputed in its domain, make us sensible of the 
necessity for a universal science, which takes as the 
objects of its investigation those conceptions and 
propositions that, in ordinary life and in the particular 
sciences, are employed as principles of investigation. 

This science is Metaphysic. 

2. The two questions that lie. nearest at hand 
would accordingly be : How can we get possession 
of those suppositions completely, in order to have in 
collective form that total content of our reason 
which is necessary to thought ? and, then : How 
can we demonstrate that these suppositions have 
any validity, or what validity they have ? 


As to the former question, it is well known that 
Aristotle first directed attention to those most gen- 
eral conceptions which are expressed concerning 
everything actual (the ' Categories ') ; but without 
conducting his search for them according to any 
principle, or giving any security that his enumera- 
tion of their series was complete. In more recent 
times, Kant attempted to make good this deficiency : 
Every act of cognition, he held, takes place by com- 
bination of ideas, whose form is that of logical judg- 
ment. If now it is sought to discover the different 
suppositions which we make about possible or nec- 
essary combinations of 'Things,' then there is only 
need to collect all the essentially different forms of 
the logical judgment, and it will thereupon be found 
that a special model of combination has been fol- 
lowed in each, according to which subject and predi- 
cate are thought of as cohering. For example : the 
categorical judgment ("gold is yellow") simply com- 
bines subject and predicate as thing and attribute; 
and this relation between thing and attribute is one 
of those suppositions which we make concerning the 
coherency of things. The hypothetical judgment 
("if gold is heated, it melts") unites the predicate 
to the subject, not absolutely but conditionally; and 
the thought which lies herein, namely, that of 
a combination of changeable phenomena according 


to a law of conditionating, is a second of those 
universal suppositions. Kant expresses them both 
by the brief titles of the categories of ' substantiality 
and of causality.' [In reference to this point it is 
common to remark, that the correct form, in which 
we are able to express those suppositions concerning 
the nature of actuality that are necessities of our 
thought, is without exception that of the proposition, 
not that of the conception. Only a proposition 
states a truth from which, by application to particu- 
lar cases, definite determinations can be deduced. 
Conceptions are only elements which can form 
truths by composition ; of themselves alone they 
are nothing, until \ve are told what is to be done 
with them. It was on this account a hindrance to 
the history of philosophy, and led to inapplicable 
ways of speaking, that Aristotle reduced those 
thoughts to the form of fundamental conceptions ; 
and that Kant also, at least at first, represented the 
truth which is necessary to thought as a series of 
conceptions, ('pure notions of the understanding'). 
In a round-about-way he annulled again this defi- 
ciency, when he afterwards sought to deduce a 
system of fundamental propositions of the under- 
standing from these conceptions of the understand- 

On the whole, it cannot be admitted that this 


clue, or that the series of forms of judgment to 
which it conducts, can lead to the complete, correct, 
and useful discovery of the metaphysical supposi- 
tions. Logical thinking is a combination of ideas 
according to laws of a universal truth ; but these 
ideas do not relate to what is merely actual, but to 
all that is thinkable, even to all abstractions which 
can never of themselves have any actuality. The 
logical forms are, further, modes of experience, by 
means of which our human thinking combines and 
disposes manifold ideas, in such manner that a cog- 
nition of what is actual can be gained therefrom ; 
but these logical forms themselves are not imme- 
diate copies of the combinations which take place 
between the elements of actuality. It is therefore 
to be expected, that this clue will indeed remind us 
of many metaphysical conceptions, because, of 
course, even that which is actual can be thought 
of only in the aforesaid logical forms ; but that, on 
the one side, we cannot be led by it to all the funda- 
mental propositions of metaphysic, and that, on the 
other side, we may by following this clue hit upon 
conceptions which have merely a logical value, and 
of which the metaphysical applicability is not clear. 

3. In the above-mentioned way Kant had dis- 
covered twelve categories, and, on account of the 


consciousness of necessary and universal validity 
which accompanied them, had considered them as 
not derived from experience, but as an originally 
inborn possession of our spirit. 

Fichte took offence at the view that our spirit, 
which every one inclines to think of as a unity in 
the strictest sense, be supposed to possess twelve 
different, isolated, fundamental conceptions ; and he 
proposed to deduce these Kantian categories from a 
single original act or original truth of the spirit, as 
a series of consequences, every one of which has its 
definite place beside the others. Such original act 
he found in this, that the spirit never merely is 
(namely, as object for another observer), but contin- 
uously, and in all forms of its activity, withal is 
1 for itself (fur sich ist) ; that is, it knows, feels, 
enjoys, or possesses itself, etc. ("the Ego posits 
itself "). And now Fichte sought to show how this 
* self-positing,' in order to accomplish what it wishes 
or is obliged to accomplish, necessarily leads also to 
the positing of a ' non-ego,' to the ascription of 
quality to the non-ego, to the assumption of its 
divisibility, etc. ; that is to say, how the spirit is 
necessitated by its original act to represent in gen- 
eral an external world, and to make, with reference 
to the inner coherence of the component parts of 
this world, those necessary suppositions which are 
expressed by the categories of Kant. 


4. Kant had considered the ' pure notions of the 
understanding* as only subjective forms of cognition 
belonging to our spirit, and therefore as valid only 
for that which has once become ' phenomenon ' for 
us, and not as valid for things themselves. But that 
such ' Things ' in general exist, he had constantly in 
praxi assumed. 

Even this the idealism of Fichte had to call in 
question : even that there are * Things' appeared to 
it as an imagination unavoidable by our spirit, the 
external world as a mere product of a faculty of 
imagination working unconsciously within us. The 
necessity of explaining how different spirits con- 
struct pictures of the world that fit together so as to 
make one common world, led to the assumption of a 
single creative power, which, harmoniously active in 
all spirits, both images before them the phenomenal 
world, and also necessitates them to judge of this 
same world according to certain suppositions. 

Henceforward this fundamental conception of an 
' Absolute ' determined the character of Metaphysic. 
The attempt was made to translate one's self imme- 
diately into the nature of this Absolute, in such a 
manner as to have a real experience of its develop- 
ments, and not merely bring them to one's contem- 
plation from without by the quondam means of 
human cognition, comparison of conceptions, and 


adduction of proof. In a ' dialectical method ' (con- 
cerning which, further on) the means appeared to 
be given of beholding this self-development of the 
Absolute within us, in its simplicity and without 
disturbing it by admixture of subjective investiga- 
tion. Schelling withal does not separate the two 
problems of deducing from this Absolute the gene- 
ral laws of all actuality and the definite particular 
forms of phenomena. Hegel designs at least to 
make this separation ; and in his Metaphysic (which 
he calls ' Logic ' ) he intends to depict that first 
inner development of the Absolute, through which 
it projects within itself those laws of every future 

possible world that are necessities of thought. 


5. Without passing judgment in this place upon 
the substantial value of the above-mentioned appre- 
hension of the world, we cannot approve of the 
method it employs. For it takes its departure from 
an assumption (the conception of the Absolute) 
which lies very remote from the common representa- 
tion ; the content of which is very difficult for even 
the philosophers to define exhaustively ; but the 
erroneous determinations of which become sources 
of mistakes in all subsequent investigations, mis- 
takes that are always the more hazardous, the more 
decidedly it is proposed to deduce the entire content 


of Metaphysic, in an unbroken series and without 
anywhere taking a new start, from a single 

Such kind of deduction appears to us the natural 
method of representing a truth with which we are 
already acquainted. Investigation, on the contrary, 
whose first business is to discover the truth, must 
take its departure from the largest possible number 
of independent, perfectly obvious and well-recog- 
nized considerations, with the proviso that the 
results which the prosecution of one consideration 
yields, shall be subsequently corrected, so far as is 
necessary, by the results of the rest. 

In this matter, therefore, we esteem Herbart 
right, who assumes as many independent sections 
of Metaphysic as there are different distinct ques- 
tions, problems, or contradictions, that meet us in 
our common contemplation of the world, and that 
are the separate causes of our philosophizing in gene- 
ral. For they compel us to attempt the reduction of 
the problems or contradictions given in perception^ 
to one consistent, actual 'way of behavior* on the 
part of ' the Existent ' ; and, more precisely, to such 
a way of behavior as will withal furnish an explana- 
tion, how the appearance of contradiction cannot fail 
to originate for our point of view. 


6. That we are right in following Herbart in 
this matter is shown by the fact that the most differ- 
ent schools, however wide the other differences of 
their fundamental views and their methods, have, 
nevertheless, composed an articulated system of 
Metaphysic in quite analogous manner. 

All these different schools experienced the neces- 
sity of discussing in the first place, in a section on 
' Ontology, ' (so the old Metaphysic and Herbart ; 
called ' Doctrine of Being' in Hegel) those most 
general suppositions which we cannot avoid making 
concerning the nature of all things and the possi- 
bility of their coherence. * Being,' 'Becoming,' 'efri 
cient causation,' and such questions form the chief 
problems of all this section. They experienced 

(2) The necessity of examining the forms in which 
the particular elements of actuality are united in one 
orderly totality. The intuitions of ' Space,' ' Time/ 
* Motion,' and the most abstract of the cognate con- 
ceptions of 'the Natural,' form the chief points of 
this section, called ' Cosmology,' (' Synechology in 
Herbart ' ; ' Doctrine of Essence and Phenomenon 
in Hegel). Finally, 

(3) They all arrive at the inquiry concerning the 
relation in which the objective world stands to that 
world of spirits by which it is apprehended. Within 
wider or narrower limits, the ' Rational Psychology ' 


of the old school, the ' Eidolology ' of Herbart (doc- 
trine of the forms of cognition), and Hegel's 'Doc- 
trine of the Idea,' treat of the same subjects. 

7. The second of the questions adduced above 
( 2), namely, How we can certify ourselves of the 
truth and validity of our metaphysical suppositions, 
cannot be decided previous to, but only in and by 
Metaphysic itself. For the bare question is without 
meaning so long as it concerns merely the validity 
in general of these suppositions ; it interests us only 
so far as it touches upon the validity of metaphysical 
cognition in reference to an actual world, which we 
think of as an object standing over opposite to us. 
But the question whether such a world may be 
thought of, and how it may be thought of, is a 
metaphysical one. And as a rule it will always be 
found that those who, previous to the application of 
our cognition to actuality, are pleased first to decide 
the point whether it is thus applicable at all or not, 
judge this point in such a way as to assume ready- 
made a crowd of propositions concerning the nature 
of objective actuality, concerning the nature of the 
cognitive spirit, and concerning a possible relation 
of interaction between the two ; while, nevertheless, 
it is only Metaphysic that can in the first instance 
demonstrate these propositions. The question which 


is disposed of unconsciously in such cases, we are 
going to undertake consciously ; and we relegate it 
to the third principal division of Metaphysic. 






8. Metaphysic is the science of that which is 
actual, not of that which is merely thinkable. By 
actuality we distinguish a thing that is from one that 
is not, an event that happens from one that does not 
happen, a relation that exists from one that does not 

It is improper to apply the term ' Being ' to this 
distinction ; for this term, according to the custom- 
ary usage of speech, designates only one kind of 
actuality, namely, the motionless existence of 
things, in opposition, for example, to the happening 
of events. 

Yet more hazardous are the designations of ' Po- 
sition ' and 'Putting.' For, since the very form of 
the word in this case indicates a transaction, these 
designations easily mislead us into the wrong course 


of wishing to understand or describe this transaction 
of ' putting ' or ' positing ' ; or rather (as we choose 
to express the thought) of raising the inquiry, how 
'actuality in general' is made. But no one can tell 
precisely how it is brought about that, in general, 
something is, instead of there not being anything at 
all ; or how it is made possible that something enters 
existence through coming to pass, instead of every- 
thing remaining as it was of old. 

This problem is not merely hopeless, but also con- 
tradictory. For every attempt to show how actuality 
originates, assumes the antecedent actuality of some 
conditions or other, out of which, or according to 
which, it originates. We can therefore never deduce 
all actuality, but always merely one form of actuality 
from another. And the problem of metaphysic is 
actually this : To discover the laws of the connection 
which unites the particular (simultaneous or succes- 
sive) elements of actuality. 

9. If we summarize the most universal factors 
of the ordinary view of the world, it will be found 
to include the following suppositions : There are 
' Things ' in indefinite number ; every thing sup- 
ports certain 'properties,' and can, in so far as it 
has a previous existence, enter into all manner of 
' relations ' with other things ; and these relations 


are the reason on account of which ' changes ' orig- 
inate in the things. 

How much that is not lucid these suppositions 
contain, will be shown only little by little. At pres- 
ent, it is enough to remark that the two simplest of 
the conceptions here employed, that of a ' Thing ' 
and that of its ' Being,' however lucid they appear at 
first, on closer consideration grow always more and 
more obscure. 

While we require that the ' Thing ' shall be think- 
able before its properties, we, for all that, never 
achieve the actual thought of it otherwise than by 
means of its properties. While we further require 
that it must first ' be,' in order afterward to experi- 
ence somewhat or to enter into relations with other 
things, we, for all that, never in experience find a 
' Being ' whose apparent rest does not itself rest 
upon uninterrupted motions and actions ; nor are we 
able even in our thoughts to discover a perspicuous 
conception of what we mean by such ' Being ' as this. 

These dilemmas afford us the first materials for 
our investigation ; more precisely, we treat first of 
the true significance of ' Being,' and afterward of the 
nature of that to which this particular species called 
actuality can appertain. 



10. If the ordinary understanding is questioned 
as to what it means when it mentions something as 
' Being,' in opposition to not being, it will without 
doubt appeal to immediate perception, and assert : 
That ' is,' which may, in some manner or other, be 
the subject of experience by the senses. 

If, however, we choose to formulate this expres- 
sion exactly as follows, ' To be ' signifies ' to be 
the subject of experience,' then this definition of 
' Being ' would by no means completely express what 
we actually mean by the word. For we ascribe 
' Being ' to what has been previously perceived, even 
when it is no longer perceived ; and we consider its 
being perceived as only something which may possi- 
bly appertain to the thing in consequence of its 
unobserved, separate existence, but which is not 
identical with this. 

In what now this unobserved ' Being ' consists, the 
ordinary understanding explains very easily. While 
the things, that is to say, disappear from our percep- 
tion, they still continue to stand in all kinds of rela- 
tions with one another ; and it is these ' relations,' 


in which, while they are not being observed, the 
' Being ' of things consists, and by which it is distin- 
guished from ' not being.' 

In more general terms : 'To be ' means ' to stand 
in relations/ and being perceived is itself only one 
such relation beside other relations. 

11. In opposition to the foregoing mode of 
apprehending the subject, philosophy is wont with 
great vivacity to explain : ' Standing in relations ' 
can be asserted only of that which exists previous to 
such relations. Accordingly, the ' Being ' of things 
can consist neither in their relation to us, nor in 
their relation to one another ; it must rather be 
thought of as a perfectly pure and simple 'position,' 
'affirmation,' or 'putting,' which excludes all rela- 
tions, but forms the ground of the possibility of 
becoming related at all. 

If we attempt to think of this pure 'Being,' and to 
give to ourselves an account of precisely what we 
mean by it, then we meet with the difficulty of being 
unable to specify anything by which such a 'pure 
Being ' may be distinguished from non-being. For 
if we actually exclude all relations, then the 'pure 
Being' would consist in a mere 'position ' ; by virtue 
of which, however, that which is thus existent can- 
not be discovered at any place in the world, or at 


any point of time in the succession of events, and 
does not assert itself in actuality by any effect upon 
anything whatever, and cannot be affected at all by 
any element of actuality. But it is precisely by 
these same features that we recognize, as we be- 
lieve, the non-existent. 

Consequently, the definition, which represents 
' Being ' as ' Position without relation, 1 is so imper- 
fect that it comprehends precisely the opposite of 
that which is to be defined ; it therefore needs cor- 

REMARK. The purport of this conclusion is exactly the 
same as that which forms the beginning of the Hegelian logic, 
in the proposition : ' Being = Nothing.' But the succession of 
mental operations which we have in this case accomplished 
(namely, an attempt at definition ; a comparison of the definition 
arrived at with what we really meant, and the discovery of a 
contradiction between the two ; and, finally, a discernment of 
the necessity of revising our definition), appears to Hegel as an 
inner development, which was gone through, therefore, not by 
our thoughts, but by their object : the Absolute, first thought of 
as pure Being, is obliged to discover itself as such to be actually 
identical with Nothing, and then, out of this unseemly identity, 
to posit itself again by a new act of development in the new form 
of ' determinate existence.' 

12. It will be objected that, none the less, an 
existence, previously thought of in relations, cannot 
by abstraction of these relations, pass over into a 


non-existence ; and that, therefore, the pure Being 
of the existence, which remains after this abstraction 
is made, is even still the contrary of non-being. 

This objection is just only in so far as we doubt- 
less mean by the term ' Being ' that which is the 
opposite to non-being : we design to affirm and posit, 
not to deny and annul. But we are mistaken in 
holding that it is sufficient to consider this positing 
or affirming, intended by us, as valid in actuality, 
without concerning ourselves about the conditions 
under which these two conceptions have any applica- 
bility to actuality. 

These conceptions really belong to the large class 
of abstractions which we correctly produce to aid 
the process of thinking, and which, in the process of 
thinking, we are also able, by combination with other 
conceptions, to convert into useful results : they are 
not, however, applicable at all per se ; but they first 
become applicable to what is actual, when we attach 
to them again the abstracted correlates through 
which their meaning is completed. 

Thus the conception of ' positing ' is not applica- 
ble at all, if it is designed, without media, to posit 
merely something, and yet not posit it anywhere 
whatever. Thus, moreover, we cannot ' affirm' a 
Thing, but only a predicate of 'a thing. 

'Pure Being,' thus apprehended, would therefore 


be only the conception of an affirmation, to which 
must be supplied both the subject of which the affir- 
mation is supposed to hold good, and the predicate 
which is supposed to attach itself to the subject. 

It follows, accordingly, that, as was shown above, 
the 'Being' of things can consist only in certain 
relations on which the act of positing affirmatively 
falls, and not in a pure act of positing without any 
definite condition in which the ' Thing ' was posited 
by the act. 

13. A further exception can be taken (so Her- 
bart) : If any existence, in order to be, must be 
related to some other, and accordingly pre-supposes 
this other, then a constant, durable positing of actu- 
ality can never come to pass. 

This objection, however, confounds the useless 
question, how a world would get itself made, with 
the metaphysical question, in what forms of coher- 
ence can the existing world consist. And even if 
we should make a world, it would remain incompre- 
hensible why the creating force, which we must then 
in every case assume and can in no case further 
explain, would have to be subject absolutely to the 
limitation of positing only one element at a time. 
But if we suppose that this force posited the entire 
manifoldness of the elements of the world, as related 


to each other, at one time, then the whole difficulty 
would disappear, and all the elements would remain 
constant ; although each, or rather, in this case, 
because each, is related to the other. 

Just as lacking in cogency is the other thought of 
an antecedent unrelated position, which is needed to 
make possible subsequent relations. An element 
which were out of all relation to all other elements, 
to the world in general, could not even subsequently 
enter into such relation. For, since it is obliged to 
enter, and is able to enter, not into ' relations in gen- 
eral,' but into certain perfectly definite ones, to the 
exclusion of others, the reason for this selection and 
this exclusion could be discovered afresh only in 
other ' relations ' that would be already existing 
between the above-said element and the world. 
There is therefore no transition for ' Things ' out of 
unrelated 'Being' into the condition of being re- 
lated, but only an interchange of different relations. 

14. For the sake of explaining the world, even 
the view which seeks for true ' Being ' in ' Position ' 
without relation, is still compelled to assume that 
things do, as a matter of fact, everywhere stand in 
reciprocal relations ; only this Realism goes on to 
say they are not so necessarily, but could likewise*! 
'be/ devoid of all relation. 


But the above statement means nothing else than 
this : There ' is ' actually nothing which does not 
stand in relations ; or, all ' that is ' does stand in 
relations. To speak, indeed, of 'pure, unrelated 
Being,' and at the same time admit that there is 
none such, means the same as to speak, not of the 
existent (which it is still necessary somehow to 
make good as 'existing'), but of the non-existent, 
something which this view considers possible, 
but which we consider a mere abstraction that has 
absolutely no direct significance with reference to 



15. If 'to be' means the same as 'to stand in 
relations,' then further inquiry arises : partly, What 
are the relations, to stand in which constitutes for 
things their ' being ' ? partly also, What are the 
Things, which as subjects enter into the relations? 

The second question, to which from reasons of 
convenience we give the precedence, does not mean 
that the characteristic and concrete content of 
things is to be specified, whether of every indi- 
vidual, in so far as they might happen to be distinct 
from one another, or of all collectively, in so far as 
they might happen to be of one essence. We have 
rather in this case to do only with the discovery of 
the universal formal predicates which must apper- 
tain to all that (whatever else it may be) which is to 
be called ' Thing/ or which is to appear in actuality 
as the ' Subject of relations.' In other words : we 
seek a definition of 'Thingness' (Dingheii). 

16. The belief of ordinary intuition, that it has 
an immediate perception of the nature of things, 
can be only very short-lived. On closer considera- 
tion, it very soon learns : 


(1) That all perceptible ' Things/ although they 
first appear to intuition as undivided wholes, are 
composed of many elements, and that all their sen- 
sible properties depend upon the form of this com- 
position, and change with it ; 

(2) That the simple elements, in which we must 
now seek for the genuine ' Things,' not merely re- 
main imperceptible, but that it would also be in vain 
to want to define their essence by means of other 
sensible qualities, since all such properties are de- 
pendent upon conditions, and, accordingly, cannot 
indicate the necessarily unchanging essence of the 
things, but only their way of behavior varying ac- 
cording to circumstances ; finally 

(3) That sensible properties also are not attached 
once for all, as changing phenomena to a single sub- 
ject, nor do they proceed from it alone, but that 
they are always only events which are attached to 
the concurrence of different things. 

For this reason, therefore, sensible properties are 
neither directly the content of 'the Existent,' nor 
are they phenomena which, although in an indirect 
manner, do, nevertheless, express the true nature 
of this Existent ; they are rather events which 
indicate indeed the fact and the manner of the 
affection or action of things, but never specify what 
the things are. 


17. After it is obvious that no kind of sensible 
properties form the content of Things, we still do 
not need to resort to the desperate expedient of 
speaking of an existence that were absolutely devoid 
of content, and the entire nature of which consisted 
in indeterminate ' Being,' without any definite Some- 
what to which this * Being ' appertains. The very 
name, ' the Existent/ by its participial form (in Ger- 
man, das Seiende) requires somewhat conceivable in 
itself which may as it were participate in 'Being.' 

It would therefore be most pertinent, as a rule, 
never to speak of ' the Existent ' absolutely, but 
always only of this or that definite existence. The 
first expression were allowable only on the supposi- 
tion that the essence of all things be identical, and 
that there be, accordingly, only one existence, which 
just for this reason could be designated by the name 
of 'the Existent? a name which in that case would 
appertain to such content merely, and to no other. 
The second expression makes it much more evident 
that just such is the content which must be pre-sup- 
posed as the content of ' Being'; and since it is 
attributed to whatever (no matter what else it may 
consist of) has the universal predicate of ' Being,' it 
does not include the pre-supposition which it would 
be unjustifiable to make at this stage of the question 
of the identity of all that exists. 


18. Now since a content for ' the Existent ' is 
indispensable, some persons recur to Quality ; but, 
instead of sensible quality, to one which is siiper- 
sensible, which remains unknown, and from which 
as its later consequences the sensible properties are 
supposed to originate (Herbart). 

If this assumption is not supposed barely to assert 
outright that the essence of 4 Things ' is unknown, 
then it can only design to assert : We know at least 
so much concerning this essence as that it may be 
formally apprehended under the general notion of 
quality. The inquiry now arises : In what does the 
specific character of this conception consist ? 

Without exception, the only qualities which are 
known to us as simple are those of sense, such as 
'red/ 'warm,' 'sweet,' and the like; what we might 
designate as sttfler-scnsiblc qualities, for example, 
'strong,' 'pious,' 'good,' and the like, very soon 
proves to be a form of representing the definite 
modes of the behavior of one subject under definite 
circumstances. We can therefore merely form the 
general notion of 'quality' in such a way as to lead 
us to seek further for the universal factor of all sen- 
sible qualities. Now since the classes of these quali- 
ties are altogether disparate, warm and sweet, for 
example, having no common element in their con- 
tent, such universal factor lies solely in the form 
which our representation gives to them all. 


The above-mentioned form of representation con- 
sists in this, that every prime quality is perfectly 
homogeneous ; that in itself it furnishes no motive 
for analyzing it into parts, or compounding it out of 
parts ; further, that the parts, which the act of 
thinking undertakes in an artificial way to discern 
therein, are absolutely indistinguishable from one 
another, cannot be brought into any essential rela- 
tion with one another, and prove to be mere repe- 
titions of our representation of the quality ; and 
further, that on this very account, ' Quality ' in itself 
includes no reason for a definite form, magnitude, 
and limitation of its own content, but must wait to 
get this reason from something else, with which, as 
quality, it is found. 

In brief : All qualities are adjectives, and cannot 
designate that which admits of being thought of 
merely as a subject ('Thing'), but only that which is 
merely predicate affirmed of another subject. 

19. To the preceding view it may be objected : 
This universal ' Quality,' that we had but now in 
mind, which is thought of as formless, and only just 
qualitatively determined, is, of course, not as yet a 
'Thing.' But just as little must it be assumed as 
though it were a kind of ' Stuff,' not yet cut out, 
from which, by an act of limitation that is still waited 


for, actual things are going to be cut out. In actual- 
ity there is, from the very beginning onward, nothing 
but just these individually limited and definite quali- 
ties, from which only we, by our comparative thinking, 
subsequently form the abstraction of a universal, un- 
moulded * Quality.' And it is precisely the aforesaid 
limited qualities that are the things themselves. To 
require, however, a demonstration of the way in 
which conversely ' Things ' originate out of formless, 
universal ' Quality,' signifies only the renewal of the 
old senseless inquiry, how ' Being ' is made. 

Fundamentally correct, however, as the foregoing 
refutation is, it is not with it that we are concerned. 
For we are not wanting to know how things are 
made, but are only asserting that the conception of 
a ' Thing ' is not thought in its completeness, when 
we simply think it by means of the two conceptions 
of an individually determined ' Quality/ and a ' Po- 
sition ' that rests upon this quality. For mere ' Posi- 
tion ' cannot make that upon which it falls into 
anything different from what it was in itself. Even 
when posited through an unconditioned ' Position,' 
those qualities would always remain simply qualities 
posited, and would not be changed into ' Things M*y 
the act of positing. 

It appears then that the conception of ' Thing ' is 
thought, in its completeness, only by means of three 


conceptions : namely, first, the conception of the 
before-mentioned Quality ; second, that of Position ; 
and third that of a Subject, of which the quality is 
affirmed by means of the position. This, as ordi- 
narily expressed, signifies what follows : ' Things ' 
cannot be qualities, but can only have them. 

20. The above-mentioned matter will be better 
understood if we reflect upon the following fact, 
namely, that we do not assume ' Things ' for their 
own sake, but in order that we may have them as 
subjects, as the points of egress and of termina- 
tion for ' events ' and ' relations/ For such a purpose 
a ' Thing' whose nature consisted merely in a simple 
quality posited unconditionally would be quite un- 

We can divide all relations into two classes ; first, 
relations of comparison, which originate at the mo- 
ment when our perfectly voluntary attention brings 
any two elements, or rather their mental images, into 
a contact with each other that is quite indifferent 
and unessential to the elements themselves. Such 
relations for example, ' similarity,' ' contrast,' ' lar- 
k r' or ' smaller,' and the like signify nothing at 
all as to what reciprocal influences the things have. 
The second class, on the contrary, that of objective 
relations, expresses a proportion which is not 


merely constituted between things by our thinking 
in an arbitrary way, but which is really extant for the 
things themselves in such manner that they are recip- 
rocally affected in this same proportion. For exam- 
ple : The merely logical relation of comparison alluded 
to above, that of ' contrast ' (of which, in itself, the 
things that stand in it do not need to take any note), 
would become an objective or metaphysical rela- 
tion, if it is understood as a resistance which things 
really offer to one another. 

Now it is obvious that only these metaphysical 
objective relations are of any value with respect to the 
essence of a * Thing.' For everything that can be 
conceived of at all, the unreal as well as the real, ad- 
mits of such merely logical comparison. 

21. To such metaphysical or objective relations 
as the foregoing, that is, therefore, to being affected 
by one another, simple qualities are quite unsuitable. 
For as soon as the qualities are simple, every change 
of their content (and such a change is included in the 
very conception of being affected in any way) com- 
pletely annuls this content, and then an altogether 
new content would take its place. This new content 
could, it is true, when compared with the former, 
appear to be connected with it by a definite degree 
of similarity. But this relation of mere comparison 


(by which even what is most diametrically opposite, 
even what is altogether incomparable, can be brought 
into a certain connection) does not by any means 
justify the assumption of an interior combining of the 
two in such a way that the second were a ' state ' of 
the first. 

The essence of a thing, if it merely consisted in a 
simple quality, would therefore with every change be 
itself totally changed ; that is, a new somewhat would 
take the place of the old as it vanished, and the 
* Thing ' would have in itself no kind of ' reserve/ to 
which, as to its permanent nature, it could withdraw 
on the occasion of a change in its quality. 

REMARK. The reciprocal effects which appear to take place 
in experience between simple qualities, everywhere go on only 
apparently between these qualities. Warmth per se does not 
change into colcl per se ; but only so far as the two are states of 
the same body, or of two bodies in contact, does the nature of 
these bodies carry along with it the impossibility of both states 
occurring together. * Cold ' is not in this way made ' warm ' ; but 
in a particular body the state of being cold is replaced by that of 
being warm. So that all action and reaction here depends upon 
the yet unknown nature of the real subject, and, on the contrary, 
only appears to take place between the simple qualities in them- 

22. To sum up the foregoing observations : The 
peculiar deficiency which prevents ' Quality ' from 


being the essence of a ' Thing ' consists in its sim- 
plicity. Because of this simplicity, quality, on the 
one hand, furnishes no inner principle of limitation, 
and never forms a whole ; and, on the other hand, it 
can only exist or not exist, but can never during its 
existence be the subject of states of any kind. 

We are obviously obliged to require a certain 
'unity' of the nature of 'Thing.' Just such unity, 
however, never appertains to what is simple, but in 
all cases only to that kind of multiplicity which, by a 
law of the combination of its parts, is so connected 
as to resist every unregulated increase, diminution, or 
change of its consistence, and to permit only such 
change as invariably leaves the new state subjected to 
the same law of its composition. 

Passing over the further difficulties of this subject, 
we express merely our provisional result as follows : 
The essence of 4 Things ' is not simplicity, but the 
above-mentioned unity ; and if this unity is to be 
apprehended in thought at all, such apprehension 
cannot happen in the mental form of the intuition, 
the object of which is a quality, but only in the form 
of the conception, the object of which is a law of 
the combination of the manifold. 



23. It is self-evident that, if we sought for the 
essence of * Thing ' in a multiplicity combined into 
unity, we did not design to consider this multiplicity 
as such, but only the bond which connects it together, 
as constituting this essence. On the contrary, it is 
well worth the trouble to inquire in what way it is 
possible to conceive of the fact that this bond, which 
proximately exists only in our thinking as the mental 
picture of the coherency of the manifold, is also really 
extant in the ' Thing ' as an actual power over its 

24. The doubt that arises next in order is the 
following : Quality, although in other respects insuf- 
ficient, at least furnished us with an intuitive, con- 
cordant content as the essence of ' Thing ' ; but the 
conception which apprehends this essence as Law, 
makes it appear as though it were only a thought, 
which itself, in turn, is a net-work of relations be- 
tween various points of relation. If quality, there- 
fore, was too simple, then a law is not simple enough 
to form the essence of ' Thing.' 


This first objection is not dangerous. For the 
compositeness and multiplicity of those operations 
of thought, by means of which we are wont logically 
to explain and to express the content we mean, is 
no proof whatever that the reality meant by that 
content is itself also composite. If therefore the 
essence of a ' Thing ' were for us inexpressible save 
by many circumlocutions, yet it could none the less 
be a perfect unity, and need not itself consist <?/"those 
parts, from the combination of which we originate 
its expression. 

It will be objected, further, that a law appears even 
much less capable than a quality, of that reality 
which must appertain to every ' Thing.' This ob- 
jection we might obviate, in so far as it is undoubt- 
edly self-evident that, wherever we design to define 
in thought the essence of * Thing/ the thought- 
image by means of which we make the attempt, 
must remain as a mere image distinct from the real 
Thing. Moreover, we can in no case give such an 
expression to our thought of the essence of ' Thing ' 
as would be the real Thing itself, and not merely 
a designation for our cognition. And, finally, in 
every case, the way and manner, in which there 
becomes attached to this content of thought in its 
that actuality which makes the content to be a Thing 
outside of us, invariably eludes all our investigation. 


25. Nevertheless, the whole matter is not quite 
settled ; but the question recurs, Whether a ' Law,' 
even if we think of it as actualized by means of 
an ever incomprehensible ' Position,' can in that case 
be a 'Thing.' 

All that, to which we in other matters give the 
name of ' law,' is merely a valid rule, or a truth that 
prevails in the connection of our ideas, or in the 
connection of events as well. Of a ' Thing,' on the 
contrary, we demand a great deal more ; it is re- 
quired to be a subject, that can fall into states, 
and be affected and produce effects. 

Nothing of this kind, however, appears possible 
as occurring in the case of a truth, which is always 
valid, which always is what it is, and which, since 
it never changes, can never pass through any expe- 
rience. Every such Maw' is rather comprehensible 
by us merely as that mode of relation wh* h flows 
from the inner nature of somewhat else ; and it is 
in this somewhat else that we are now looking for 
the true essence of 'Thing.' 

In other words ; our consideration of what was 
meant by the essence of 'Thing,' leads us in a pro- 
visional way to the opinion, that the conception of 
this essence cannot be exhaustively defined without 
the use of three thoughts combined together : 

(i) The Quality of the Thing, that is, the law 


considered above, or the essentia by which the Thing 
is what it is, and by which one thing is distinguished 
from another ; 

(2) The idea of the ' Real/ the substratum, or 
' stuff/ in which this essentia is coined, as it were ; 

(3) The idea of ' Position/ by means of which the 
unity of both the foregoing thoughts is formed into 
the conception of an actual thing, in antithesis to 
the bare thought of the same thing. 

26. The conception of a * Stuff ' (substratum, 
originates from the ordinary perception that a mul- 
tiplicity of homogeneous parts, by diversity in the 
mode of combining them, is fashioned into objects 
of very diverse properties. Those homogeneous 
parts therefore, when taken together, appear to us 
as a yet crude neutral material, which is transformed 
into products with definite characteristics only by a 
subsequent process of forming. At the same time, 
we know very well that this is only relatively true. 
The ' stuff ' is formless only in comparison with the 
products formable from it ; in its own self, however, 
it has a form which distinguishes it from other 
'stuffs/ and is just as much a complete 'Thing' as 
are those which originate from it. 

On the other hand, the thought of a ' stuff ' loses 
all significance, if we are no longer speaking of 


composite secondary things, but of simple primitive 
essences. For what we should consider in every 
one of these simple essences as the ' stuff ' in which 
the characteristic essentia (by means of which one 
thing is distinguished from another) were actualized 
as form, would now inevitably have to be regarded 
as perfectly indefinite, as a so-called ' mere reality 
per se ' ; its whole nature would accordingly consist 
in ' Being ' in general, without being anything in 
particular, in being affected and producing effects in 
general, without being affected and producing effects 
in any definite way to the exclusion of all others. 
That is to say : Such a ' reality ' would obviously be 
only a logical abstraction, which could never have 
any actuality in itself, but always only in that from 
which it has been abstracted. 

In other words : Reality means for us the 'Being' 
of a somewhat that is capable of being affected and 
of producing effects. Everything with which this 
definition comports, is accordingly called a ' reality/ 
that is to say, has this title. But there cannot 
be a ' reality per se ' which were nothing as the 
bearer of this title. What is supposed to be real 
must merit this designation by being susceptible, 
through its own definite and significant nature, of 
having reality in the meaning alleged. 


27. After we find it impossible to distinguish 
in ' Thing ' a kernel of unconditioned reality, and a 
form (essentia) attaching itself or given to this ker- 
nel, we are driven in the next place to the opposite 
view. This view asserts that the ever incompre- 
hensible act of ' positing ' (by means of which actual 
is distinguished from non-actual) does not in the first 
instance fall upon somewhat real of a universal kind 
contained in the Thing, in such manner that this 
somewhat real, by the stability now secured to it, 
acted as a media to provide permanency and actu- 
ality to the content also (by means of which this 
particular thing is to be distinguished from others). 
[It might, in fact, even be shown that it is perfectly 
incomprehensible how such a process could happen ; 
and that all expressions of the kind the content 
' attaches itself ' to the reality, or ' inheres ' in it, etc. 
are ways of speaking devoid of all specifiable sig- 
nification.] On the contrary, the aforesaid act of 
' positing ' falls entirely without media upon the con- 
tent itself, upon the essentia by means of which one 
' Thing ' is distinguished from another. But since 
this essentia is such that it, in its relations to every 
thing else, always behaves consistently in accord- 
ance with a law, there originates for us the unavoid- 
able appearance of a reason for this consistency ; 
and this reason being distinct from all particular 


properties and states of the Thing, and, consequently, 
also from the totality of its content, lies at the back- 
ground of that content, the appearance, that is to 
say, of an unconditioned reality on which the content 

28. The second view mentioned above can be 
briefly expressed as follows : ' Reality ' is that ideal 
content, which, by means of what it is, is capable 
of producing the appearance of a substance lying 
within it, to which it belongs as predicate. The 
manifold difficulties of this view must be postponed 
for subsequent consideration ; in this connection we 
shall only bring to light the fact that this proposi- 
tion needs supplementing in order to express, not, 
to be sure, a specific conclusion, but, at the least, 
an accurate postulate. 

If by the term ' Ideal ' we understand such a con- 
tent as (or a content, in so far as) can be exhaus- 
tively reproduced in thought, then such an 'ideal' 
(even if it be not apprehended as a universal prop- 
osition, law, or truth, but as completely individual- 
ized, somewhat like the idea of a definite work of art) 
would always remain a mere thought ; and, even if 
it were 'posited' as actual, it would not in this way 
obtain that capability for producing effects and being 
affected, which we are forced to consider as the most 
essential characteristic of 'Thing.' 


We are forbidden, therefore, to understand the 
expression 'Ideal' as thus opposed to the ' Reality' 
previously referred to ; on the contrary, we must 
adopt into its signification the auxiliary definition, 
that what we so style has this meaning only with 
respect to our thinking. That is to say, it of itself, 
in a manner never demonstrable in thought, contains 
the aforesaid ideal content actualized in the form of 
an energizing existence ; but it does not owe this 
power of energizing to a real ' stuff ' that is equally 
unattainable by thought. 1 

Therefore, neither does the reality precede its 
content ; nor does the ideal content, apprehended in 
a one-sided way as a thought, precede its own reality. 
To hold fast by such a separation of the two would 
only signify that we were, in our metaphysic, re- 
garding the manifoldness of the logical operations 
through which we think of the Existent as though it 

1 Or expressed still somewhat differently : If we designate the essence of 
1 Thing ' as ' Idea,' we must have regard to the two- fold meaning which the 
expression ' Idea' then has. For, of course, 

(1) the ' Idea,' which we form from the nature of 'Thing,' is always a 
mere image of thought, which, even if thought of as actualized, would still 
invariably be only an existing thought and not an energizing ' Thing.' We 
mean specifically, however, by this word 

(2) just that essence of ' Thing ' itself which is never to be metamor- 
phosed into thoughts in general, or quite exhausted in them ; and we call 
it ' Idea ' merely because, if some thought-image of it is to be formed, it must 
not take the shape of a monotonous intuition, but rather that of a systema- 
tized conception, in which one law-giving formula brings a multiplicity of 
different determinations together into a Unity. 


were a like manifold ness of processes in the Existent 
itself. Just as colors do not first give forth light in 
general and then (in the second place) become 
either red or green ; and just as, conversely, red or 
green does not already exist in the darkness and 
merely become manifest by means of the light ; just 
as little is there first a reality in the ' Thing ' which 
afterward assumes definite form, or first an unactual 
form which is afterward realized by an act of ' pos- 

29. In order to elucidate in some degree the 
meaning of our previous very abstract reflections by 
a concrete example, let us call to mind an idea which 
we very ordinarily are wont to have of the essence 
of the 'soul.' Since we only have to do with eluci- 
dation, it is left altogether undecided whether this 
idea is of itself perfectly correct, or whether it, like 
perhaps our own result as thus far reached, stands in 
need of a further correction. 

(1) No one looks for the 'being' of the soul in 
an altogether relationless, self-sufficing 'position'; 
but the soul is only so far as it lives, that is to 
say, stands in manifold relations, of affection and 
action, to an external world. 

(2) No one looks for its 'essence' in a 'simple 
quality,' so that the true nature of the soul would 


consist in this quality, while the entire manifoldness 
of its further development would only contain an, 
as it were, incidental succession of consequences, 
which would be wrung from this quality by circum- 
. stances. Rather do we look for what is most essen- 
tial to the soul in its character ; that is to say, in that 
quite peculiar and individual law which appertains to 
the coherency of all its manifestations, a law which 
always remains identical, while the occasions for 
these manifestations are variously changed. 

(3) We have no thought whatever, at least in 
common life, of taking this personal character of the 
soul to be an ' Idea,' of itself devoid of all effect, 
which as pure form is attached to a ' soul-stuff ' that 
is in itself formless, but for this reason, all the more 
real. On the contrary, whoever thinks of that 
character of the ego (or, more correctly, of that 
characteristic ego), believes himself therewith to be 
thinking of the entire essence of the soul; to be 
thinking, therefore, of that which, in itself and with- 
out media> constitutes the subject of all spiritual 
affection and action, and, accordingly, the reality of 
the soul. 



30. If our conception of the essence of ' Thing,' 
that it is an individual self-subsisting Idea is, 
little by little, to gain the clearness in which it is 
still deficient, then the thought which manifestly lies 
concealed in it must first be brought to light : 
namely, It is possible that any a may, under cer- 
tain ' conditions,' assume a 'form' a, or a 'property' 
a, or a ' state ' a, which it would not have without this 
condition, and which, accordingly, is different from 
a ; but still in such manner that a, on occasion of 
this transition into a, remains identical with itself. 
We can call this in general the problem of change ; 
and it is a matter of indifference for us at present, 
whether this change follows in time on account of 
the mutability of the aforesaid conditions, or whether 
a permanent condition impresses a permanent state 
a, that is different from its essence, upon the a. 

31. In the present case also we are to recollect 
that our problem does not consist in showing how, 
in general, a 'change' (if we think of it as in time- 
form), or a ' state ' (which we may be able to think 


of as permanent, and therefore not in time-form) 
is made, and can be brought to pass. The attempt 
to show as a universal law by what mechanism in 
' Becoming ' the sequence of one condition upon 
another could be produced, or in what way that 
which we call a 'state' could be imparted to a 
subject in general, would very soon teach us that 
these questions are just as insoluble as the question, 
how ' Being ' is made. 

Our problem can merely be, to conceive of * Be- 
coming' in such manner that is, so completely, with 
all the points of relation, separations and combina- 
tions of our particular ideas, belonging thereto that 
the total idea of it is without contradictions and 
adequate to those facts of experience which we wish 
to designate by means of it. 

32. Two opposite views attempt to solve this 
contradiction, that, in changing, one and the same 
being is assumed to be both like and unlike itself, 
by abolishing the unity of the being which passes for 
the subject of the contradictory predicates. 

One view (that of Herbart and of physics) asserts 
that all individual beings, which are not already 
aggregates of others, remain perfectly unchanged; 
and that the manifoldness of varying sensible proper- 
ties proceeds, for us, merely from the variation of 


their external and non-essential relations with one 
another (situation, position, combination and separa- 
tion, motion, etc., of the atoms). The varying 
sensible properties, therefore, appear merely for us 
as a change of the beings themselves. 

Nevertheless, it is very easy to comprehend that 
this theory, even when most strictly carried out, can 
only suffice to eliminate from all external nature any 
change in reality itself, and to reduce it to mere 
variation in relations ; but that, on the contrary, 
an actual interior changeableness must, all the more 
inevitably, find a place for itself in that real being 
for which, as for the perceiving subject, the above- 
mentioned appearance of an objective change is 
assumed to originate. For in order that something 
may appear, a being is necessary to whom it 
appears. This ' appearing,' however, has no signi- 
ficance except that of 'being experienced.' Now, 
in order that the cognitive being may experience, 
sometimes a and sometimes p, it must manifestly 
pass over from one state, in which it previously 
was, into another, which previously was not. And 
we certainly cannot assume that this passing-over 
is only a variation in the external relations of this 
being to other beings, but that the being itself 
would be in no wise affected by such variation. 
For, in such a case, this being would not really 


experience anything, but would only appear to a 
third observer to be experiencing something. This, 
however, is contrary to the assumption ; for we 
wanted to know, how it is that anything appears 
to such a being itself, and not how it can seem 
to a second being as though something were ap- 
pearing to the first one. 

From what is said above it follows, therefore, that 
at least the percipient being must be conceived of as 
one that undergoes genuine interior changes, in order 
that the mere appearance of change may originate at 
all from the changeable relations of other unchange- 
able beings. 

33. An opposed theory that of 'absolute Be- 
coming' -tries to avoid the contradiction, while it 
altogether abolishes the real subject of change and 
maintains only a variation of phenomena, behind 
which no ' Things ' at all lie concealed. 

Phenomena are, nevertheless, always phenomena 
of something or other, for some subject or other. 
The theories which make use of this expression have 
on this account, as a rule, come to the conclusion, 
not to deny all reality, but only the independent 
reality of individual things ; and to regard the latter 
as 'phenomena' of a single infinite Reality, 
whether in the sense that this* Reality causes the 


things to appear to us as objective, or that it, so far 
as it shapes also the nature of our souls, merely pro- 
duces in us, in a general way, the idea of a world of 
things without its having any actual existence. 

An actual 'absolute Becoming' would be taught 
only by such a theory as should assert that the 
actuality itself (not merely the phenomenon of an 
actual being) changes so that, in the place of one 
actual being which disappears, there comes another 
newly originated, without the conveyance of any 
reality, common to both and serving as the common 
subject of their content, from the first being over 
into this second. But such a complete discontinuity 
between every two moments in the world's course 
would be absolutely incompatible with thinking of 
this course as subjected to any 'law' or any 'order* 
whatever. For no law can ever combine necessarily 
what is subsequent with what is previous, if the 
previous state, which is assumed to contain the 
reason for a definite application of the law to the 
subsequent state, is so absolutely separated from this 
state that the two do not even belong to the same 
World. But that the course of the world is obedient 
to laws, according to which it does not merely run 
on of itself, but can also, within certain limits, be 
changed by us at will, belongs, as an associated 
impression of all our experiences, so much to the 


sphere of our most assured knowledge, that it would 
be scientifically insipid to examine further a theoreti- 
cal fancy which is incongruous with it. 

34. The conception of change in that which is 
real, is, therefore, not to be avoided. In order, nev- 
ertheless, to avoid unnecessary difficulties, we must 
raise the further inquiry : To what extent, then, are 
we under the necessity of requiring an application of 
this conception ? 

Now in the actual praxis of apprehending the 
world, no one supposes that a being a can change 
without some principle of change and ad infinitum, 
so that at last it would become a z, in which no 
recollection of a is any longer to be discovered. 
The sphere of change is universally found to be 
limited in such a way that any a changes only into 
a, a lt a-j, . . . , any b only into p, p lf p 2 ; and, in general, 
every real being changes only into such a 'closed 
series ' of forms as, taken collectively, are deduci- 
ble from the original nature of the being; while no 
being can ever pass out of the series of its own 
forms over into a series of forms belonging to 
another being. 

Moreover, in the praxis of explaining the world, it 
is just as firmly supposed that a being a never passes 
into a new state a by its own agency alone, but only 


so far as a definite ' condition ' X, that is different, 
however, from a, affects this a ; so that, according to 
the law of identity, a in itself must, of course, always 
= a, that is to say, must be unchangeable, and, 
on the contrary a -j- X can be = a, a -}- Y = a : , etc. 

35. Now, in the next place, this conception of 
change, when practically and actually applied, con- 
tains twice over a certain supposition of which we 
have to become cognizant. 

That is to say, first, when we assert that every 
being is developed only into such forms as can flow 
'by way of consequence' from its own nature, and 
never into other forms, then we manifestly consider 
all the thinkable predicates, which admit of being 
represented as future forms of whatsoever beings, to 
be cohering members of a single system comprising 
everything thinkable ; and we do this in such a man- 
ner that each thing, as a member of this system, 
possesses a definite degree of relationship to, or a 
definite magnitude of difference from, all the other 
members. For only thus is there any meaning to 
the statement, that some forms, a, a 1} . . ., take their 
rise from a ' by way of consequence ' ; while other 
forms, p, Pi, . . ., could proceed from a only in an 
^consequent way, and, therefore, in this case, not at 


Secondly : when we make the ' conditions ' affect a 
so that different changes of a correspond to different 
conditions, we likewise assert, not merely that these 
conditions, X, Y, . . ., must be comparable with each 
other, but also that there must exist among them 
such a comparableness to the nature of a and the 
nature of a, a p . . ., as makes it possible that, in gen- 
eral, something follows from the conditions ; and 
that, by way of consequence, there follows from one 
condition something different from that which fol- 
lows from the rest. 

After this supposition is once expressed, it appears 
trivial for the reason that it actually lies at the foun- 
dation of our entire consideration of the world from 
its very beginning. Since it contains no contradic- 
tion, there is nothing in it to correct ; but it suffices 
to become cognizant of it, and to comprehend that it 
forbids every attempt to think of the essence of a 
* Thing ' as a unicum, such as were quite incommen- 
surable with other things. The rather would an 
intelligence, which completely penetrated this es- 
sence, be able to apprehend it every time by a com- 
bination of such 'elements of the thinkable ' - that 
is, of such predicates as appertain, not merely to 
this one, but also to other things. 


36. The conception of change is, nevertheless, 
distinguished further from the mere conception of a 
series whose members can be deduced from one 
another in thought. 

That is to say, the more such a comparableness of 
all that is thinkable is conceded, the more easily 
must different forms permit of being arranged so 
that some of them can be regarded as proceeding 
from the others according to a definite law ; and the 
latter again, in inverse order, from the former. 
Thus every member in a series of numbers depends 
upon every other, at pleasure. None of these mem- 
bers however actually originates from any other ; 
and, likewise, in the whole series of them no change 
takes place that invariably presupposes a subject 
subsisting through all the members of the series. 
On the contrary, there takes place only a succes- 
sion of forms that are indeed comparable, but inde- 
pendent, and that do not come into existence one 
from the other. 

In ' change ' all members of the series are to be 
regarded as ' states ' of one and the same abiding 
reality, and it is just in this way that there arises in 
the conception of change the contradiction which is 
foreign to the mere conception of a series ; namely, 
how this reality can remain identical while it is pass 
ing out of one state into the others. 


But at this point we raise the inquiry, whether 
this entire assertion of the identity of the ' Real ' with 
itself during its changes does not belong to those 
exaggerations which are discoverable in the abstract 
conception of change, but not in its actual applica- 
tion to the praxis of explaining the World. Why 
should we not rather admit that a, when it passes 
over into a, does not remain identical, but is itself 
really changed. As soon as we assume that such 
change takes place by means of a condition X, and 
that the a must uniformly be transformed back again 
into a by means of an opposite condition X, then 
we have in this form of representation all that we 
need in order to comprehend the actual change of 
things in experience. It is not necessary that a 
reality a remain uniformly = a, and that it assume 
a, oj, . . ., merely as its ' states,' (a way of speaking, 
from which nothing whatever can be gathered as to 
the actual transaction whose nature it should de- 
scribe) ; on the contrary, it suffices that a, while it 
is continuously changing, remain always within a 
1 closed series ' of forms, every one of which can be 
transformed by means of definite conditions into 
every other, and no one of which can be transformed 
by means of any condition into any form foreign to 
this entire series. 

This conception of a constancy or fixed connection 


of antecedent and consequent (Consequent) we, there- 
fore, substitute for the unserviceable conception of 
a complete identity of the same reality with itself 
during its changes. 

37. The other thought which lay in the concep- 
tion of change, namely, that a does not pass over 
into a unconditionally, but only under some definite 
condition, X, calls for still further deliberation. 
The question is, what is meant when it is said : a is 
' conditioned ' by X. 

The above expression is clear to us only in the 
sense that, if we in our consciousness place the 
representation of a in relation with the representa- 
tion of X, and compare the two, then there arises 
the mental necessity of conceiving of the third rep- 
resentation a. The significance of this is : the con- 
tent of a, for our thinking, has its underlying reason 
in a combination of a and X. But in all change of 
what is ' real/ it is not merely the conception of the 
subsequent state which depends upon the content 
of a condition, as one mathematical proposition may 
depend upon a substitution which is introduced into 
another; but the state a is produced, by means of 
another state and by means of the condition affect- 
ing it, as an actual state, it having been previously 
without any actual existence. 


Now, in actuality, nothing but ' Things ' and their 
relations exists. If, therefore, a condition is to be 
discovered, under which not merely thoughts result 
from thoughts, but actualities from actualities, then 
this condition must lie in some relation or other, 
which occurs between two or more things after 
having previously not taken place. The inquiry 
now arises, in what way the natures of these differ- 
ent things can become reasons for change in one 
another ; that is to say, how one ' Thing ' has an 
effect upon the other. 



38. From the repeated succession of single 
events ordinary reflection develops the idea of an 
inner connection between them, which furnishes the 
reason for this succession in time, and which as it 
is frequently generalized, expresses this idea as fol- 
lows : ' Everything has a cause.' 

The above-mentioned proposition is exaggerated. 
For not merely are valid truths like those of math- 
ematics, even when a reason can be discovered 
from which insight into them is gained, produced 
by no ' cause ' ; but not even everything actual re- 
quires an act of causation. It is only the change of 
something actual that requires this. The 'Being' 
of an existence can in itself be regarded as per- 
fectly unconditioned and eternal. It is only the 
special nature of what exists, that can, on manifold 
other grounds, excite a doubt respecting its uncon- 
ditioned existence and an inquiry after its origin. 
Even such an investigation, however, must termi- 
nate in the recognition of some unconditioned being 
or other. And the well-known infinite regression, 
following which, every cause pre-supposes a new 


cause, is nothing but the token of a mistakable. use 
of the conception of ' condition.' 

39. It is, further, incorrect to say that every- 
thing has one cause. This expression gives the 
appearance of speaking as though one being suffices 
by its own agency to produce the effect ' ready- 
made,' and then somehow merely transport it to a 
second being as into an empty space. 

In the actual application of the causal conception 
we do not perpetrate this error : on the contrary, we 
are persuaded that the effect which a being a exer- 
cises, never occurs at all without a relation X in 
which it stands to a second being b ; and that this 
effect, therefore, does not depend on the discretion 
of a, but can be exercised by it only under the con- 
dition of this relation, and, when the condition is 
fulfilled, must be exercised. 

We further know that the effect of a is different 
according as it stands in the same relation X either 
to b or to c, d, . . . ; and that it therefore depends 
just as much upon the nature of the being (b, c, . . .) 
which appears to us to be the ' passive object,' as 
upon the nature of that (a) which we style ' efficient 

And not less do we know that the effect, even 
between the same beings a and b, is different ac- 


cording as they stand in the relation X or in the 
other relation Y; and, further, that in every case 
the changes of the effect depend, according to a 
universal law, upon the changes or varieties of the 
things a, 1>, c, d, . . . and the relations X, Y, Z. 

Finally, the effect produced will itself constantly 
consist in a change of both co-operating things 
(causes), and, likewise, in a change of their relation: 
that is to say, it will be a ' reciprocal effect.' 

40. The ordinary usage of speech does not 
accurately correspond to that behavior of ' Things ' 
described above as metaphysical. 

Very frequently the reason (Grund) for the entire 
form of the subsequent effect (e.g., vegetation) lies 
in one co-operating cause (a kernel of grain), and the 
other causes (water, warmth, etc.) only furnish be- 
sides a condition which is necessary in order to give 
physical reality to this effect thus provided with a 
reason. According as one regards the work done 
in primarily fixing the form or in its subsequent 
actualization to be the greater, one will sometimes 
designate the kernel of grain alone as the 'cause' 
of the growth, and water and warmth, etc., only as 
vital 'stimuli'; or just the reverse, will designate 
the latter alone as causes of the plant-life, and the 
kernel of grain merely as the ' passive object ' of 
their efficient causation. 


And, further, it is very frequently discovered that 
the entire effect is perceptible only as a change in a 
single element ; while in some other element no 
effect is perceptible, although this, too, is really 
changed. In such a case, the latter is wont to be 
designated as the 'active subject,' the former as the 
'passive object.' 

All the foregoing expressions, accurately taken, 
are untrue ; they are to be interpreted in accordance 
with the remarks above. 

41. If by ' effect ' we understand the actual 
occurrence of a fixed event, then the explanation of 
it is twofold : the content of this event, by means of 
which it is distinguished from other events, and its 

The aforesaid ' content ' we understand as the 
result necessarily to be deduced, according to laws 
of universal verity, from those fixed relations be- 
tween a and b that form the sufficient reason for 
this result ; and on this point there is in general 
nothing further to add. On the contrary, even if 
this 'reason' namely, the relation X between a 
and 1> enables us to understand why only the 
effect E, and not some other effect F, can pro- 
ceed from the reason ; still we do not on this ac- 
count understand besides how anything at all can 


originate from that X. That is to say : An event E, 
the reason for which, so far as its content is con- 
cerned, is completely provided in certain relations of 
things, does not appear to be obliged to take place 
and to occur in actuality, on that account alone ; 
but such an event, if nothing additional occurred, 
would remain continually unactualized to all eter- 
nity, as a result impending, necessary, and bound 
to be. A special impulse, a ' complementum possi- 
bilitatisl appears necessary before this event, the 
reason for which is already complete, can be actual- 

The above-mentioned appearance is not contra- 
dicted with perfect success by asserting that every 
event, the reason for which is made fully complete, 
takes place immediately ; and that where, in experi- 
ence, such occurrence appears to be delayed, we 
invariably find some insignificant part lacking to its 
complete reason. It is through the addition of this 
part which supplies the deficient reason, and not 
through the addition of a special impulse of actuali- 
zation to the reason, already complete, that the im- 
pending event becomes one actually occurring. For 
all the examples which experience offers us, of delay 
in the occurrence of an effect, do without doubt 
admit of such explanation ; but this is just because, 
in a way which is not yet clear to us, the matter, in 


fact, stands as follows. The 'complete reason' for 
the content of an event (by means of which it is dis- 
tinguished from other events) always includes like- 
wise the ' complete reason ' for the actualization of 
the same event, as soon as the aforesaid reason of 
the content is not merely thought of, but is itself 
actual as a state of this thing and of that other thing, 
and as a relation between them both. 

At this point the problem presents itself: To 
comprehend why it is that this fact of the actual co- 
existence of two different things and of the above- 
mentioned relation, can include the reason for the 
actual occurrence of what appears to our thought as 
a consequence necessarily to be inferred from this 
fact. That is to say : We wish to know, how 
the aforesaid ' Things ' can * act ' on one another. 

42. The ordinary opinion at this point tells us 
of the ' passing-over ' of an ' influence ' from one 
element to the other (Causa transiens> Influxus phy- 
sictis), and thinks to see herein the process of effi- 
cient causation. 

But it is neither possible accurately to define that 
which is here assumed to ' pass-over ' ; nor, if this 
could be done, to make intelligible from it the act of 

For, in the first place, if we consider what * passes 


over ' to be a real element c, which separates itself 
from the real element a, and 'passes over' to an- 
other element b ; then this is, to be sure, a possible 
form of representation, and, in fact, many apparent 
effects produced by the natural elements on each 
other depend upon this way of behavior. But in 
such cases, seriously speaking, no efficient causation 
is present. When water (c), for example, with all its 
properties passes over from a to b, the only effect 
produced is that these properties now appear at the 
place b (which becomes moist), and vanish at the 
place a (which dries off). If, however, that which 
passes over is assumed to be not a real element, but 
as the manifold names ' state/ ' influence/ 'effi- 
ciency/ 'force/ indicate something which cannot 
exist by itself, but only as the predicate of another 
subject; then the ancient proposition is valid, 
'Attribute non separantur a substantiis? In other 
words : A ' state/ and the like, can never be set loose 
from the ' Thing ' a, in such manner as to exist, for 
an instant between a and b as the same state, but as 
state of no subject, state by itself, and then subse- 
quently be attached to b. 

But, in the second place : If this * passing-over ' of 
something were to be made a comprehensible affair, 
still the only result would be, that c would now be 
in the neighborhood of b ; and the real question 


Why is this fact of such importance for b that b 
must change on that account ? that is, precisely how 
can c produce an effect on b? would remain as 
much unexplained as before. 

In general: The 'passing-over' of any element 
whatever, called c, from a to b, can very frequently 
be observed to occur as a preliminary and, for some 
reason, indispensable condition, a condition with- 
out which no effect would take place in b ; but this 
' passing-over ' does not explain the process of effi- 
cient causation. On the contrary, the efficient causa- 
tion does not begin until this same 'passing-over' 
has already taken place. 

43. The doctrine of Occasionalism sought to 
escape from all the above-mentioned difficulties. 
Since it is impossible to think of any efficacy as 
passing over from one element to another, this con- 
ception ought to be wholly abandoned, and the course 
of the world considered as a succession of events, 
each of which is only the occasion or signal for the 
occurrence of some other, but none of which really 
effectuates any other. 

It is easily obvious that, in particular sciences, 
Occasionalism has a meaning as the demand of 
methodology, not to direct useless efforts toward a 
domain beyond investigation. [Such sciences are 


those in which the investigation of the general 
method of procedure that one element follows in 
producing an effect on some other, for example, 
the body on the soul, has peculiar difficulties. In 
these cases, the only real fruit which investigation 
wins does not consist in the solution of such a general 
inquiry, but in the solution of the special question : 
With what states of the one element (for example, 
the soul) are certain states of the other element (for 
example, the body) united according to a general law.] 
On the contrary, Occasionalism could become a the- 
ory, an explanation of this uninvestigated domain, 
only if it should succeed in demonstrating precisely 
by what means an event a can be or become an 
' occasion ' for another event b. 

44. The demonstration just alluded to has al- 
ways been attempted in such manner that God has 
been considered as the ' Reason ' (Grund) of this 
reciprocally conditioned 'Being' of things and 
events. From the isolated finite being a, it has 
been held, there could never arise a conditioning 
influence upon another being, b, different from it. 
Only God, as the Reason of all, could supply this 
deficient reciprocal relation. 

Now, in the first place, it is possible to say, that 
God in his omnipotence arbitrarily connects with a 


the consequence a, and, for this very reason perhaps, 
with a second similar a, another consequence P. 
Such arbitrary and unregulated interposition in the 
connecting together of events has found no philo- 
sophical defenders. 

A second opinion makes the entire course of the 
world, down to the infinity of time and down to every 
trifling detail of its content, to be unchangeably pre- 
destined by God in the entire succession of its events 
(' Prq-established Harmony'). Now, without men- 
tioning other objections, we must at this point raise 
the question : If God withdraws himself again from 
this world, after its beginning, and if, with the be- 
ginning, its entire progress in the germ, is created ; 
then in what does the security consist that the course 
of this world is actualizing the predetermined events, 
in general and in particular, in the order of succes- 
sion enjoined, and not in one utterly confused ? The 
famous example (Geulincx, and, alas ! Leibnitz, too) 
of two clocks that, because of their first contrivance, 
always go exactly alike without having any effect on 
each other, proves nothing at all. For each one of 
these two clocks can go at all, and go uniformly, only 
because its own parts constantly produce effects on 
each other according to a fixed law. 

Another form of the opinion teaches a universal 
hypothetical predestination : God has not determined 


in special everything that is to happen, but has only 
determined in general that if a certain x happens, 
then a definite ty is obliged always to happen. This 
opinion also is compelled to assume the conception 
of efficient causation. For if a Thing n is to be 
subject to the state ^ as often as the state \ is 
present in another Thing m, then n must take some 
notice of \s being present, in order to be able to 
distinguish it from the case of x's not being present ; 
that is to say, either x or in must have some effect 
on n. 

Finally, a last form of the opinion asserts a con- 
stant assistance of God (assistentia or conctirsus Dei) 
by means of which he at every moment brings it 
about in special that, on a's having just been present, 
the proper sequel P originate. This theory, too, does 
not eliminate the conception of efficient causation, 
but contains it twice over. For in order that God 
may attach to every a its p, and to every x its i|r, it is 
necessary, in the first place, that the presence of the 
a or of the \, at the moment when one of them is 
present, have some effect on God, and that the ex- 
istence of a have a different effect from that of ; in 
the second place, it is necessary besides that God, in 
consequence of the consistency of his own being, 
react upon the things concerned ; and of course in 
one way to produce p, and again in a different way to 
produce <|/. 


It would render no further assistance for the expla- 
nation of efficient causation if we planned to investi- 
gate the relation C, in which a and b are absolutely 
obliged to stand in order to yield a definite effect. 

Universally C is assumed to be changeable, and the 
effect arising is assumed also to change with its 
( changing. C is therefore, to speak precisely, one 
part of the reason which determines the content of 
the effect arising. A universal reason, however, 
one by the agency of which everything in general 
actually originates, would only be discovered in 
case all such existing relations C, Ci, C 2 , . . . could be 
compared, and the characteristic common to them 
all determined. Even if this were possible, however, 
the common character r which such an effectuating 
relation would then have, would only be made good 
as a matter of fact ; that is, we should be able to say : 
two elements a and b can never have any effect on 
each other unless the relation C between them is one 
species of the universal relation r. But how this r 
brings it to pass that something actual follows from 
all of its own species, while nothing follows from 
other relations, would remain as wholly unexplained 
as before. 

46. The result of the foregoing discussion is as 
follows : The conception of efficient causation is inevi- 


table for our apprehension of the World, and all 
attempts to deny the reality of efficient causation, and 
then still comprehend the course of the world, make 
shipwreck of themselves. But just as certain is it 
that the nature of efficient causation is inexplicable ; 
that is to say, it can never be shown in what way 
causation in general is produced or comes to pass. 
On the contrary, all that can ever be shown is, what 
preparatory conditions, what relations between the 
real beings, must in every case be given, in order 
that this perpetually incomprehensible act of causa- 
tion may take place. 

That the inquiry into the ' bringing-to-pass ' of effi- 
cient causation is necessarily unanswerable, and in 
its very nature senseless, is shown by the circulus 
into which it straightway leads. For, if we want to 
get an insight into the causative process of causation 
itself, we naturally take for granted, as something 
necessarily familiar, the causal efficiency of that very 
cause which is assumed to produce the causation to 
be explained ; we are therefore explaining efficient 
causation by itself. 

47. Although it is impossible to gain any posi- 
tive information as to the event by means of which 
causation in general is brought to pass, we must, 
nevertheless, at least in thought, supplement our con- 


ception of causation with all those auxiliary thoughts 
through which its content becomes possible. 

Now, in the first place, the following fact is obvi- 
ous : If a is to exercise any effect which it did not 
previously exercise upon a b that is now present, but 
was not previously present, or that is now standing 
in a relation C to a, but did not previously stand in 
this relation, then it is not enough that b is now pres- 
ent ; on the contrary, a must take some note of this 
new fact. Dropping the figure of speech, all this 
means : there must be present in a a certain state a 
that is dependent upon the presence of b, a state 
which is wanting if b is wanting, and which forms for 
a the sufficient reason of its producing an effect after 
having previously produced no effect. That is to say, 
in brief, in order that a may have an effect upon b, it 
must be induced to exercise this effect by being itself 
subject to some effect from b. Exactly the same 
thing is true of the causal action of b on a. The 
carrying-out of this consideration teaches us that 
every two elements which are to produce an effect 
on each other must previously have had some effect 
produced upon themselves, and so on, in infinitum. 
It is therefore impossible, in general, to speak of the 
absolute beginning of a reciprocal causation between 
' Things.' The rather, a conclusion that easily fol- 
lows, must the reciprocal causation of all things be 


regarded as an eternal, uninterrupted matter of fact. 
In the World causal action does not alternate with 
non-action, but it is only the form of the individual 
effects, within the sphere of unceasing efficient cau- 
sation, that is changed. 

48. We remark, however, in the second place, 
that the ' passing-over ' of an influence from one being 
a to the other being b is still assumed even in the 
above-mentioned mode of conceiving of the matter ; 
that is to say, what is or happens within the one 
being a is considered as the sufficient reason why 
somewhat is or happens also in the other being b. 

Now as long as a and b have the value of beings 
independent of each other and self-subsisting, no 
matter how similar, comparable, or related their 
natures may otherwise be, so long is the above 
assumption without a reason for its possibility : the 
states of a have nothing to do with b, and conversely. 
All the pains-taking, however, to bring these 'Things/ 
which are of themselves quite isolated, into some 
relation in a supplementary way, by means of ideas 
of the 'passing-over* of some influence, have been 
shown to be perfectly fruitless. 

If, therefore, causal action is to appear possible at 
all, this assumption of the independence of 'Things' 
toward one another must be denied absolutely. A 


state a, which takes place in the element a, must, for 
the very reason that it is in a, likewise be an ' affection ' 
in b ; but it does not necessarily have to become such 
an ' affection ' of b by means of an influence issuing 
from a. 

The foregoing requirement can be met only by 
the assumption that all individual things are substan- 
tially One : that is to say, they do not merely become 
combined subsequently by all manner of relations, 
each individual having previously been present as an 
independent existence ; but from the very beginning 
onward they are only different modifications of one 
individual Being, which we propose to designate pro- 
visionally by the title of the Infinite, of the Absolute 
= M. 

The formal consequence of this assumption is as 
follows : The element a is only = M (x) , the element 
b = M (y) , etc. Every state a which takes place in a 
is therefore likewise a state of this M ; and, by means 
of this state, M is necessitated according to its own 
nature to produce a succeeding state p, which makes 
its appearance as a state of b, but which is in truth a 
state of this M, by means of which its preceding mod- 
ification M (y) is changed. 

Efficient causation, therefore, actually takes place, 
but it takes place only apparently between the two 
finite beings as such. In truth, the Absolute pro- 


duces the effect upon itself, since by virtue of the 
unity and consistency of its own Being it cannot be 
affected with the state with which it is affected as the 
being a, without likewise being affected with the suc- 
ceeding state in the being b, a state which appears 
to our observation as an effect of a on b. 

It is true that the manner in which it comes to 
pass, that even within the one Infinite Being one 
state brings about another, remains still wholly unex- 
plained ; and on this point we must not deceive our- 
selves. How it is in general that ' causal action' is 
produced is as impossible to tell as how ' Being ' is 
made. The only meaning of this last consideration 
was to remove the hindrance which, consisting in 
the self-subsistence of individual 'Things,' makes the 
occurrence of this inexplicable process always contra- 
dictory in whatever the process itself may be sup- 
posed to consist. 

Finally, it is to be remarked that the conception of 
the Infinite, or of the One Real Being, which we have 
here made use of, merely designates a postulate in a 
provisional way. But the inquiry how we are to con- 
ceive of this Infinite itself, and of those modifications 
of the same Infinite which we explain the individual 
things to be, is reserved for subsequent investiga- 





49. The common apprehension of the World is 
the result of the following assumption-: A multipli- 
city of self-subsisting Things produces the change- 
able course of the world by means of the fact that 
this multiplicity stands in reciprocal relations : these 
relations change ; and with every such change there 
arises a change also in the peculiar states of the 

Now the assumption of a multiplicity of self-sub- 
sisting Things was shown to be impossible at the 
conclusion of the Ontology. But even the common 
opinion would not strictly carry out this assumption. 
For since it made the Things be related to one 
another, and made them all together form one world, 
it obviously pre-supposed the self-subsisting exist- 
ence of some background, or some medium, which is, 
to be sure, not real itself, but in which the relations 
of one reality to another pursue their course. 


Now the question arises : In what way can such a 
background, a non-real form, exist outside of what is 
real, a form in which, by its arrangement, the 
'Reality' presents to our view a coherent 'world- 
whole/ a Cosmos ? It scarcely need be stated, that 
Space and Time (and Motion) are the most essential 
of those forms, the consideration of which is incum- 
bent upon Cosmology. 



50. Metaphysic does not raise the question, at 
least not at first, whence our ideas of space origi- 
nate ; but only what significance they have after they 
are finished, and what application can be made of 
them to the sphere of reality in consequence of such 

In accordance with the logical form of its mental 
representation, space is distinguished as an ' intui- 
tion ' from the conceptions which we otherwise form 
of objects. 

Every conception comprehends a general rule for 
the combination of certain marks, and requires obedi- 
ence to this rule of every exemplar that is to fall 
under it. Such conception, however, leaves it per- 
fectly indefinite upon how many, and upon what 
kind of exemplars it is itself to be stamped ; nor does 
it establish between the particular exemplars the 
slightest reciprocal relation to be of necessity fol- 
lowed by them. For what is called the co-ordina- 
tion of such species or exemplars within the sphere 
of their general notion, is merely significant of the 
community of their subordination under this general 


notion, but of absolutely no other definite relation 
on the part of one exemplar to another. 

Everything spatial is also subjected to such a 
common rule of combination, and this rule may be 
expressed, for example, as follows : Between any two 
separate points one, and only one, straight line is 
possible. But this law does not merely hold good 
for every single case of application, separately ; for 
example, for every single pair of points in such man- 
ner as to leave it quite doubtful how this pair is 
related to another pair that follows the same law. 
On the contrary, it is just this law which likewise 
combines all cases of its application together in such 
a way that every pair of points stands in the same 
relation of law to every other pair, as do the points 
of every single pair. 

Space appears to us, therefore, not as a Universal 
which occurs in a certain indefinite number of exam- 
ples that are in other respects without any cohe- 
rence ; but it appears as a Whole which combines, as 
its parts into a synchronous sum, all the particular 
cases of the application of the law that prevails in it, 
in accordance with this same law. 

This is the reason why the name for space chosen 
by Kant, viz., an intuition, is to be preferred to 
that of conception : there is only one space, and this 
space is continuously extant; all particular spaces 


are only parts of this Whole, and are likewise con- 
tinuously present. 

51. The customary opinion, for just the reason 
mentioned above, very easily apprehends space as a 
ready-made, .empty, and yet self-subsisting 'form,' 
which precedes and furnishes a place to whatever is 

The conception of such a form, however, is not a 
general notion borrowed from examples elsewhere, 
and justified by means of these examples; a con- 
ception which could be used for the explanation of 
space, because space might be brought under it. 
The conception originated rather from the analogy 
of space-containing vessels, which can pass for 
' empty forms ' merely in a relative way ; because 
some other material can be put into the space 
included by them. But the vessels themselves con- 
sist of some real material, and are therefore not 
'empty forms' in the sense in which space might be 
called so. That the conception of an empty form, 
which is framed by nothing real, but precedes every- 
thing real, is in itself impossible, follows from the 
consideration of this very example. 

Those other expressions, which style space 'the 
total of the relations of things,' or ' the arrangement 
of things,' or ' the total of the proportions between 


them,' are all erroneous in that they do not at all 
express what we actually mean by space. For, in 
fact, space is not at all a definite arrangement, or 
relation, or form of things ; but only the possibility of 
all this : it is the incomprehensible principle, in 
itself wholly without form, arrangement, and relation, 
which makes possible indefinitely many different 
' forms,' ' arrangements,' or ' relations ' of things. 

52. If space were actually a cohering totality of 
relations between ' Things,' then, for that very rea- 
son, it could not possibly have any existence of its 
own, independent of things and comprising or pre- 
ceding them. 

It is true that we are accustomed to speak of rela- 
tions as though they could actually exist between 
things in such a manner as to bind together two of 
them without being themselves in either one of the 
two. This manner of mental representation, how- 
ever, is quite obviously a simple consequence of our 
intuition of space ; for, by means of this intuition, it 
is impossible to represent under the word ' between ' 
any mere negation of reality (any mere not-being) ; 
but it is possible to represent only a positive, intu- 
itive kind of that distinct or separate being which 
belongs to the elements of reality. 

Space itself, therefore, cannot be proved to have 


an independent existence by an appeal to relations 
which are held to have existed between reality, and 
yet to have been neither a mere nothing, nor such 
reality itself. The truth is rather that space furnishes 
merely the inducement to correct this false idea of 
the relations, and to become aware that, in fact, 
nothing can be outside of 'the Existent' ; and, there- 
fore, that nothing ' is ' but the Existent and its inte- 
rior states. 

Accordingly, if relations of space cannot pass for 
inner states of 'Things,' but are obliged and de- 
signed merely to pass for external relations between 
them, then it follows that they can only exist as 
inner states of the spirit which is percipient of the 
things, that is to say, as forms of our intuition ; 
but they have no such existence of themselves as to 
make our intuition a mere means for perceiving 

Finally, if what is said above is true with refer- 
ence to all the determinate relations in which things 
appear actually to be standing at a determinate mo- 
ment of time, and therefore of the space-picture that 
the world preserves at the aforesaid moment of time, 
then it is yet much more true of the universal idea 
of infinite empty space, which as such is merely a 
possibility of relations. Much more is it true that 
such space cannot exist except as a mental picture, 


which originates only in and for our intuition, when- 
ever this intuition is reminded of that occurring 
in all its individual space-intuitions which is com- 
mon to them all and conformable to law. 

53. The above proposition concerning the ' ideal 
character of Space ' is established by Kant on some- 
what different grounds ; and it was used by him and 
his school chiefly in order to make conspicuous the 
perfect incomparableness of the true nature of 
Things to the apparent form which they assume in 
our intuition. 

But such expressions as the following "Space 
is a subjective form of intuition which we set over 
against 'Things,' and into which things fall only as 
seen from our point of view, although they are in 
themselves quite incomparable to all that is spatial " 
are contradictory ; because, of course, whatever 
is assumed to be able even to ' fall into ' any form or 
other, must necessarily somehow or other be com- 
mensurate with this form : it cannot, therefore, be 
absolutely incomparable to it. 

On the other hand, we do not have merely the 
empty intuition of infinite space ; but we perceive 
in space different phenomena at places which we 
cannot perceive in another order at our pleasure, but 
must see as they are. There must, consequently, be 


a reason in the things which assigns to them these 
determinate places. That is to say, even if Things 
are not themselves spatial, and even if no relations 
of space subsist between themselves, still there must 
be other non-spatial or intellectual relations, which 
can be portrayed in general by means of space- 
relations, and which in special furnish the reason 
why, whenever they are apprehended in space-form 
by any intuition, each thing must appear to be at 
a determinate point of space. 

54. If inquiry is made, In what do the ' intellec- 
tual relations' of Things consist? then it would 
not suffice to look for them merely in the likeness or 
similarity, and different degrees of relationship and 
opposition, which belong to their natures. For all 
this is unalterably fixed for every two things ; the 
spatial arrangement of the world would, therefore, 
if it be dependent only thereon, always be the same. 
But since things change their place, the reason for 
their various places must lie in the reciprocal effects 
which they exercise upon each other in a changeable 

With the above assumption the inaccuracy of the 
expression cited in the foregoing article is likewise 
rectified ; namely, ' intellectual relations ' can as lit- 
tle take place between things as can other relations. 


There exist only the states with which each thing is 
interiorly affected ; and this is certainly not, as the 
ordinary opinion assumes, by virtue of a ( relation ' 
between two things antecedent to such reciprocal cau- 
sation and furnishing its reason, but is without any 
media whatever. It is not until after the ' Things/ 
because they are all together mere modifications of 
one Absolute, have immediately and without any 
intervening mechanism acted upon each other, that 
they appear to our thinking (if it compares this case 
of their causal action with that of their non-action) 
to stand in a ' relation ' which conditions the action ; 
whilst, precisely the reverse, their causal action, 
if it is to be thought of, merely compels our think- 
ing to place the ideas of things in another relation 
than if their non-action is to be thought of. 

Finally, it is self-evident that the bare reciprocal 
action of two things a and b is no reason at all, why 
our soul (c) should have an intuition of a and b in 
general ; and still less in any definite order. On the 
contrary, it is only because a and b, by virtue of 
their nature and by virtue of the states with which 
they are themselves affected by each other, act upon 
c (our soul) and produce in it the impressions a and 
p, that the soul can be necessitated to perceive a and 
b in general, and indeed, on account of the definite 
degree of relationship or opposition which takes 


place between a and p, to have an intuition of them 
in a definite reciprocal position. Whilst, at another 
moment when, by virtue of an altered reciprocal 
action between a and b, a and p also pass over into 
the new values a' and p', the soul will have an intui- 
tion of both in a correspondingly different spatial 

55. According to the ordinary view, therefore, 
space exists and things exist in it: according to 
our view, only Things exist, and between them 
nothing exists, but space exists in them. That is 
to say, to the individual being the other beings with 
which it stands, either immediately or mediately, in 
reciprocal causation, appear arranged in one space 
according to the kind and magnitude of the effect 
exercised upon this being by them, a space which 
is extended merely within the individual as its intui- 
tion, and in which it assigns to itself a definite 

Kant had understood the 'ideal character of 
Space ' in such a way as to make space only a htiman 
form of intuition ; other and higher beings may not 
be restricted to it. The later systems endeavored, 
on the contrary, to abolish this anthropomorphic 
limitation. They either sought diligently for the 
proof that space is a necessary logical result of the 


development of that total Idea which strives after its 
manifestation everywhere in the world (like the 
idealistic systems of Schelling and Hegel) ; or else 
they imagined to show how the apprehension of 
space must inevitably arise in every being which 
forms ideas at all, and combines manifold ideas with 
each other (like the realistic systems of Herbart and 
others). Not one of such deductions escapes the 
blame of having, in some manner or other, secretly 
smuggled in under the abstract conceptions from 
which it was to be deduced, the specifically spatial 
element of space, the very thing, therefore, which 
was to be deduced. A decisive sentence, accord- 
ingly, seems impossible. Although it is very im- 
probable that the World should appear to other 
beings as non-spatial and yet intuitive in some 
other fashion, still the necessity of the intuition of 
space for every percipient being does not admit of 

56. We certainly do not by any means possess 
an immediate intuition of infinite ' Time,' but merely 
one that is obtained by help of the intuition of 
space, and, at the same time, in opposition to it. 
That is to say : When we conceive of a line in 
space, the points of which all exist together in like 
fashion, we gain from it a complete intuitive picture 


applicable to the precisely opposite case of time, 
whose line consists of points, of which each one 
exists only when the other does not exist. 

The above-mentioned fact is aptly enough desig- 
nated by the customary definition : Space is the 
form of that which has juxtaposition ; time, the form 
of that which has succession. This ' succession? 
however, consists in a one-sided dependence of any 
two states of an actual being, a t and o. 2 , in such man- 
ner that a.! is the condition of the actuality of 04, but 
not 02 of the actuality of a^ If we represent the 
individual cases conceivable of the occurrence of 
this dependence, as summarized in one (of course, 
infinite) whole, and if we represent them, indeed, as 
following the - same law which holds good for every 
individual case ; then there arises the intuition of 
infinite 'empty Time/ every moment of which, on 
one side, depends upon one of its neighbors, and, on 

the other side, furnishes the ground for another of 

its neighbors. 

Considerations quite similar to those in the case 
of space teach us that no substantial existence, how- 
ever constituted, can appertain to time also ; but 
that it must exist only as an intuition in the repre- 
sentative act of the spirit. It is not necessary to 
examine in detail the contradictions in which the 
two attempts to conceive of objective time involve 
us, to wit : 


(1) Motionless empty time, in which events elapse, 
is, so far as it is motionless, not ' time,' but another 
back-ground, on which, in order to elapse, the events 
themselves are afresh in need of time ; 

(2) Elapsing empty time, which takes the events 
along with itself, can, in fact, neither elapse, since 
no moment in it is different from another, nor take 
the events along, since no one of its moments has 
any more relation than another to any one definite 

If we carry out the above consideration we are 
led to the following result : Empty time neither is, 
nor elapses, between events or before them ; but, if 
the living causal action of ' Things ' upon each other 
as arranged in definite one-sided relations of depend- 
ence become the object of perception for a percipi- 
ent being, then in each case that which conditions 
must appear to precede, that which is conditioned to 
follow, and the total occurrence to elapse within the 
course of an infinite time. 

57. The mental representation of the above- 
mentioned ' ideal character of time ' is much more 
difficult to apprehend than the analogous one of 
space, to wit : 

In order to have an intuition of the supersensible 
relations of the manifold in the form of space, the 


soul itself is in no need of space; or, the soul can 
bring forth what is spatial, as the product of its own 
act of intuition, without its productive procedure 
itself requiring to be spatial. If, on the contrary, 
we saV) Relations of a manifold, that really have 
no time-form, appear in time-form, if they act upon 
a percipient being, then we presuppose either, at 
the very least this causal action as an event elapsing 
in time ; or else, if we should intend to assume that 
this action also is a timeless impression, it still 
appears as though our mental act of representation 
could not posit one part of the aforesaid manifold 
as previous, and the other as subsequent, without 
accomplishing the very act of positing the first, pre- 
viously, and the act of positing the second, subse- 
quently. Even if, therefore, everything that has 
time-form were eliminated from the entire objective 
world, it still appears that the act of intuition itself 
would require time for the procedure by means of 
which it has the intuition of that which really has no 
time-form, as though it were in time. 

To the above objection we now reply, that quite 
the contrary we should never have a mental repre- 
sentation of that which is ' successive/ if our act of 
representation were itself successive. In such a 
case, to be sure, we should represent a first, and b 
afterward ; but only by means of a third act of men- 


tal representation, nevertheless, should we descry 
the fact that these two representations followed each 
other in us ; and for this third act they do not follow 
each other, but are comprehended in one synchro- 
nous intuition, although in such manner that, 
according to its nature, a is placed before b as its 
conditioning reason, that is to say, as previous to it. 

However extraordinarily difficult it may be to alter 
the mental habit opposed to such a view, still we are 
compelled to consider in like manner even our whole 
life, and the succession of events allotted to us as 
it arises in our recollections. We are not indeed 
denying that the aforesaid one-sided dependence of 
its constituent parts, which we regard as succession 
in time because we are necessitated to apprehend it 
in one mental act under the form of time, really 
subsists within that timeless actuality of which alone 
our assertions were made. We are merely denying 
that an empty time, existing outside of events and 
outside of our act of representation, is required in 
order -that the aforesaid one-sided dependence may 
take place, or appear to us, as sequence of time. 

Even the whole of our life, therefore, is a whole so 
articulated that all the other parts seem to stand 
in definite intervals of nearer or more remote rela- 
tion to that particular consciousness which is filled 
up with one part of the same whole ; that is to 


say, the series of states which furnish the condition 
for this particular moment of time, must appear to 
the consciousness of the moment as a longer or 
briefer 'time-past.' 

58. Secondly, an objection to the ideal character 
of time, fundamentally the same as the foregoing, 
can be formulated as follows : A happening or an 
acting that has not time-form is in itself inconceiv- 
able, yet must be assumed if we would intend to 
maintain the appearance in time of that which is 
really without time-form. 

Now it is correct, that we, because we are once 
for all bound to the form of time-intuition, do always 
apprehend happening and causal acting as in time, 
and that happening without time-form is a contradic- 
tion of the usages of speech. But, on the other 
hand, it will be seen that the essential thought 
which constitutes the conception of causal action, 
namely, the thought of the efficient conditioning 
of one thing by means of another, does not 
require * time ' to validate it. That is to say : The 
existence or the elapse of an ' empty time ' can never 
make any more intelligible than it would be with- 
out this, precisely how an a sets about it in order to 
condition or produce a b. As soon as the complete 
reason for b lies within a, then time can have nothing 


to do with making the existence of b more easy or 
more difficult. If, in experience, an elapse of time 
appears to us necessary in order that the cause a 
may bring forth its effect z, nevertheless time does 
not in such a case work favorably by means of its 
empty extension between a and z ; on the contrary, 
it is only because a is not the immediate reason for 
z, but simply the reason for b, b for c, c for d, . . ., y 
for z, that a cannot pass over into z except by means 
of a series of intermediate states which is repre- 
sented to our intuition as the rilling up of a definite 
duration of time. 

59. We cannot define ' Motion ' in a primitive 
way as the passing through of a certain space. This 
could be said only in case space were somewhat 
objective which could be passed through, or the 
passing through of which required to be made good 
as a kind of performance or work. But space is only 
an intuition for us ; and even for us not prirfto loco 
an intuition of an infinite magnitude of extension, 
but stated accurately only the mental represen- 
tation of that coherent system of places which apper- 
tain to the different real elements, by virtue of their 
supersensible relations to one another in our intui- 

' Motion,' therefore, means for us primarily ' change 


of place.' To wit : If those relations between 
1 Things' (real elements), for the sake of which the 
latter must appear at determinate places, are 
changed, then the things must appear at the new 
places which the sum of their changed relations 
prescribes to them. 

60. If we added nothing further to what has 
already been said, then it would follow from our 
definition, that a thing ceases to appear at its old 
place a, and begins to appear at its new place , 
without having appeared in all the points between 
a and w, that is to say, without having passed 
through the distance o. But such an event happens 
only in fairy tales ; in the realm of actuality, a thing 
changes its place merely in case it passes over from 
the previous place a to the new one w through all 
the intermediate places. 

Made attentive by experience in the foregoing 
manner, we recognize the incompleteness of our 
metaphysical conception of motion, and endeavor to 
supplement it. For this purpose, however, it does 
not suffice to appeal to *a universal law of con- 
tinuity,' according to which a transition can be 
made from a magnitude of one value (a) to another 
of the same kind () only by passing through all the 
intermediate values. For, in itself, this proposition 


is only a law of our mathematical imagination, and 
affirms : If two fixed values, a and , are given, then 
the difference between them is not arbitrary but is 
also fixed ; and, in thought, the a cannot be made 
to increase to , without adding the total differ- 
ence a; nor can this be, without previously think- 
ing of every one of its parts as added to a. On 
the contrary, the question which interests us, 
namely, whether ' Things in themselves ' are bound 
by the same law which our mental representation 
follows, is by no means decided by this method. 

We look for its decision in the following way : 
the place a of a being a is fixed by means of its 
relation to b, c, . . . z. The reason for a new 
place CD occurs whenever the relation which pre- 
viously existed between c and d is changed. Just 
so the reason for another new place <>' of the 
same being, whenever the previous relation between 
f and g is changed. If now both the reasons, last 
alluded to, for the new place of the being were 
fixed only by their qualitative content, that is 
to say, in this case, by the situation of the place 
which they require to have, then there would 
exist no principle of decision, in accordance with 
which one of these reasons, if they operated simul- 
taneously, must be preferred to, or made equal 
with, the other. We are therefore compelled to 


apprehend every relation which fixes one of these 
places, not merely as a fixing of this place in 
opposition to some other, but at the same time as 
a magnitude of the force with which the relation 
strives to fulfil the demand made on it. 

Now the same thing holds good also of that 
relation which fixed the original place a of a thing; 
it, too, must be apprehended as a magnitude which 
withstands the reason for the new place , and 
does not simply disappear when the reason occurs 
at co, but requires to be overcome by it. This 
takes place only by means of the magnitude a 
vanishing through all the intermediate values down 
to the zero-point ; and by means of the reason for 
thus increasing correspondingly until it obtains 
the intensity which, possibly, remains with it after 
the removal of a, and which now fixes the new 
place . 

Now if, as a universal rule, the totality of the 
relations of one ' Thing' to all the others is the 
reason for its appearance at a fixed place, then all 
the changed relations, which successively occur 
during the conflict of both the aforesaid reasons, 
must also manifest themselves in an unbroken 
sequence of the phenomena of the ' Thing ' at 
intermediate places fixed by these reasons. That 
is to say : The element moved passes from its old 


place a to the new one <> only in case it appears 
in regular succession at all the points between a 
and ; and therefore (in the simplest case) tra- 
verses in space the length of the straight line a. 

61. If motion is change of place, it would 
further seem to follow that it must cease of itself 
after attaining the new place which is fixed by 
the changed relations. This contradicts the well- 
known principle of mechanics (that of the persist- 
ence of motion, or 'inertia'), according to which 
every motion once begun continues in a straight 
line and uniformly to infinity, if it is not hindered. 

Of the correctness of the above-mentioned law 
there is no doubt. A direct metaphysical deduc- 
tion of it, however, is impossible ; for all the more 
general points of view, to which it could be referred 
back, are unproductive. For example : The pro- 
position that the conditioned effect must disappear 
with the cessation of the conditioning cause (a 
proposition which runs counter to the law) is 
obviously not universally correct ; since there are 
numerous effects which require indeed a productive 
cause, but do not require for their continuation a 
maintaining cause. But the contradictory proposi- 
tion, Whatever once is or happens, that just is 
and happens, and can never of itself cease to be, 


but must be done away with by means of some- 
what that is and happens of a similar kind may, 
indeed, express the fact ; yet it is not so lucid as 
to be esteemed a self-evident necessity of thought, 
or strictly deducible from other propositions. 

Nothing else seems to be left but the attempt 
to demonstrate the law of the ' persistence of 
motion ' in apagogical fashion as a necessary postu- 
late. We pass it over to the philosophy of nature 
to show that no motion or ' Becoming ' of any kind 
whatever could actually take place, that the length 
of no line of finite magnitude could be traversed, 
unless the effect, which the cause productive of 
the motion brings about in an element by means 
of a momentary action, is regarded as a velocity, 
that is to say, as an effort to traverse a definite 
space in every unit of time to all eternity. 



62. In experience we meet with various sen- 
suous images which we call 'bodies,' and in them 
all, in spite of their variety, with certain common 
modes of behavior, such as extension and resistance 
to the diminution of the space occupied (' impene- 
trability '), etc. These modes of behavior, when 
taken altogether, we can designate as 'the attribute 
of materiality " ; and every sensuous image that has 
this attribute is, on this account, called a material 
substance. It is the problem of Metaphysic to show, 
in what manner certain of themselves supersensible, 
unextended, real beings, can furnish us with those 
sensuous images called ' matter.' 

If it is replied to the above question, that what 
is aforesaid takes place because one and the same 
matter is existent in all these bodies, but that it is 
once for all time made the peculiarity of this matter 
to be extended and to offer resistance ; then mani- 
festly, on the one hand, the materiality is not ex- 
plained, and, on the other hand, a hypothesis is 
introduced which were admissible only on the sup- 
position that it had special reasons from another 


quarter in its support. For otherwise it is just as 
conceivable that ' Materiality ' depends upon a formal 
mode of the combination of real elements, without 
these elements requiring to be alike as respects 
their essence. If this latter assumption is still to 
be made, it must furnish express grounds from an- 
other quarter for such an identity of all reality. 

Finally, it is obvious that 'one matter/ or 'uni- 
versal matter,' can never be spoken of as though 
it were barely matter and nothing further. Since 
' materiality ' is, rather, simply a formal attribute 
that presupposes a subject conceivable of itself to 
which it appertains, this ' universal matter ' also 
must be discriminated as a concretely determinate 
essence from other conceivable but not actual 
kinds of matter. 

63. The attempts at an explanation of matter 
can proximately have two distinct designs : 

The realistic systems which seek everywhere 
for the causal connection of actuality, and accord- 
ingly inquire under what conditions aught arises, 
endures, and perishes, in their explanations arrive 
at special 'constructions of matter/ that is to 
say, at attempts at comprehending how materiality 
is constituted out of certain reciprocal effects or 
activities of elements that are in themselves non- 
material but real 


The idealistic systems, which set their heart 
only on the significance that the existence of 
every individual has for the complete expression 
of the one comprehensive World-Idea, arrive merely 
at 'deductions of matter'; that is to say, they 
show that the existence of matter is indispensable, 
if the aforesaid World-Idea is to attain complete 
expression : but they do not tell in what manner 
this postulate is actually fulfilled. 

A great crowd of attempts, finally, have not 
made this distinction between the two designs at 
all clear to themselves, and vacillate confusedly 
between construction and deduction. 

64. Kant's theory of the * Construction of mat- 
ter ' contains, 

(i) the correct thought that matter does not fill 
space with its bare existence ; since, in itself con- 
sidered, the co-existence of innumerable things at 
precisely the same spot involves no contradiction. 
Although one portion of matter resists the penetra- 
tion of another, or even its own disruption, still it 
does this by means of the forces of attraction and 
repulsion which it exercises on other portions of 
matter, and, as well, within itself from part to part ; 
and it is on this latter exercise of the forces that 
even its own extension depends. But 


(2) fault is to be found with this construction of 
matter in that it is never made quite clear who the 
subjects are which exercise the aforesaid forces. 
If that which attracts or repels, is itself already 
extended body, then it is not ' matter,' but only the 
subsequent behavior of ready-made material objects 
toward one another, which is constructed by it. If 
the aforesaid subjects are not matter, then they 
must be so-called ' Things-in-themselves.' But since 
Kant did not permit any kind of positive assertions 
concerning such entities, they could not be made 
use of in this connection ; and the deficiency in 
clearness still remains. Later adherents of Kant, 
like Fries, simply confessed that the subject of 
those forces is already 'matter,' and that it is 
incomprehensible how this matter itself comes into 

(3) Finally : Kant, from reasons not to be pur- 
sued in this connection, had a special interest in 
having continuous space filled up by matter also 
continuous ; and, therefore, in having the various 
condensations and rarefactions of bodies explained, 
not by the diminution or respectively the aug- 
mentation of the empty spaces between their 
alleged atoms, but in such manner that the larger 
space should be just as completely filled up as the 
smaller by the self-expansive matter. Such a thing 


appeared possible to him by means of the assump- 
tion that the two forces of repulsion and attraction 
could increase or diminish in various proportions ; 
and from this there results a continuous condensa- 
tion and rarefaction. On the contrary, it must be 
remembered that the assumption of two opposed 
forces belonging to the same subject in relation to 
the same object remains an insoluble contradiction ; 
and, as well, that no insight at all can be gained 
into the question, by what means a change in the 
strength of one or the other forqp should be brought 

65. Herbart's ' Construction of matter ' begins 
(i) with an accurate specification of the subjects 
concerning which he is to discourse. Real beings 
of simple quality and devoid of all extension, they 
have positions in space that are mere mathematical 
points. So far as their nature is concerned, they 
need have no relation to each other, and do not, in 
themselves, act upon each other. Still they can 
enter into a certain relation to one another, in 
which the differences of their qualities become the 
cause of their reciprocal action. This relation is 
called the ' Propinquity ' (das ' Zusammen ') of the 
real beings ; in what it consists is not systematically 
stated. But after 


(2) this effectuating relation has once attained this 
spatial title of 'propinquity/ the actual spatial 
meaning of this word is by a subreption regarded 
as identical with abstract ontological 'propinquity,' 
and therefrom arises the following assumption : 
Real beings act on each other only when in spatial 
contact. Hence it follows 

(3) with reference to the construction of matter : 
Matter cannot consist of real beings separated by 
intervening spaces. For since these beings could 
not in such a case act upon each other, they could 
not possibly have any cohesiveness whatever. But 
real beings, since they are unextended, can have 
no contact with each other; they would, if they 
attempted it, all fall together in a single point, and 
the ' matter ' obtain no extension. On this account, 

(4) the impossible demand is set up, that the 
unextended real beings must be partly within, and 
partly outside of each other, in order to give rise to 
both the cohesiveness and the extension of matter. 
No theory has ever been able to make it intelligible 
in what way such a thing as this is to be conceived 

66. The fault of this last theory of the con- 
struction of matter consists in space being regarded, 


though in 1 !, concealed fashion, as an actually existent 
yet unreal medium, which can accomplish some re- 
sistance to the reciprocal actions of things, in case 
they are remote from each other. 

According to our view, however, the remoteness 
of two elements from each other is only the form 
in which we behold the magnitude and diversity of 
those reciprocal actions of Things, upon us and upon 
each other, that have already taken place ; and such 
a phenomenon, therefore, can neither be regarded 
as a favoring or hindering condition for those recip- 
rocal actions on which the phenomenon itself de- 
pends. That is to say, briefly expressed : All 
real elements can act immediately at and from any 
degree of remoteness ; and it is just by means of 
these actions that they prescribe to one another 
the places in space at which they are to appear. 

Matter consists, therefore, of a multiplicity of real 
beings, each of which is of a super-sensible nature 
and unextended, and all of which, by means of 
influence acting at a distance, prescribe to one 
another the reciprocal position that belongs to each 
as a spatial expression for all its intellectual rela- 
tions to all the rest. 

Matter does not, therefore, continuously fill a 
space ; but it consists of discrete elements between 
which there exist intervals where nothing real is 


found. Still it would permit of easy demonstration 
that such a system of interacting particles distrib- 
uted in space, on occasion of its reciprocal action 
with other systems similarly composed, or by means 
of its reactions on an external influence of any 
kind, would exhibit perfectly the same sensible 
properties which we customarily suppose should be 
ascribed only to a 'matter' that fills up its space 
without any break. 

67. Concerning the conception of ' Force/ of 
which use was made above in an accessory way, 
what follows holds good : If two elements a and 
b fall into a definite relation C, then for such a 
case there always prevails a universal law, accord- 
ing to which a certain consequence X must origi- 
nate (it must in general consist of some alteration 
of a and b). Now because this law prevails uni- 
versally, we are able to transpose this achievement 
of producing X from the future into the present, 
and ascribe the capacity for it to the elements a 
and b as a property constantly inhering in them, 
that is to say, as a 'force.' 

The above-mentioned expression is not accurate. 
For this capacity does not belong to the a abso- 
lutely, but only in case that it stand in some rela- 
tion with b. This law is observed in physics by 


never speaking when wishing to be accurate 
of the force of a single element, but always of 
the force which two elements exercise upon each 
other ; in this way the fact is recognized that 
force is not, properly speaking, a constant attri- 
bute of the elements, but a capacity for an achieve- 
ment that arises in them under certain conditions. 
The same fact is expressed by modes of speech 
that are in themselves devoid of significance : The 
force is said to be existent in a, but latent, and to 
be exerted only under determinate conditions (con- 
ditions under which, rather, it first originates). 

Further, the effect which arises between a and 
b is also dependent on the relation (C) between 
them, and on its alterations. Speaking accurately, 
this means that at each moment there originates 
from the sum of all conditions a force valid for 
this moment ; and at the next moment a fresh 
force from the altered conditions. If it is assumed, 
however, that, so long as a and b remain the same, 
the form of their reciprocal action (be it attraction 
or repulsion) is not altered without the intermix- 
ture of a third cause, and that, likewise, the altera- 
tions in the intensity of this action are proportional 
to the alterations in the magnitudes of the rela- 
tion C ; then this assumption can be expressed, 
for use, as follows : The element a constantly 


possesses a force that is invariable so far as its 
form of action is concerned, for example, attrac- 
tion ; but its exertion depends on the alterations of 
a condition, C (for example, the distance between a 
and 1>) according to an assignable law. 

Finally, nothing at all hinders a and b from 
exercising a quite different reciprocal action y 
under a quite different relation r ; or hinders a 
from developing a quite different action z in rela- 
tion to a second quite different element e. Fol- 
lowing the above manner of representation, we 
can ascribe simultaneously to the same element a 
the many forces x, y, z, . . . that are partially 
opposed to one another. A contradiction were 
involved in this only in case these forces were 
regarded as properties of a with an actual constant 
existence ; the contradiction vanishes, because each 
of these forces belongs to a only under certain 
conditions, and, indeed, each force under different 
conditions from the others. 

68. It were a conceivable possibility that the 
unity of one real Being, in virtue of its syn- 
chronous relations to several others that, in turn, 
are compelled by their relations to still other 
beings to be at different positions, were neces- 
sitated to appear simultaneously at different points 


of space ; and our conviction with regard to space 
would readily permit of this as possible without 
annulling the inner unity of this Being with mani- 
fold phenomenal aspects. Nevertheless, such a 
thing as this were conceivable only on the condi- 
tion that none of these phenomena, too, should 
maintain an independent existence ; that is to say, 
every influence which touches one of them must 
eo ipso touch the whole real Being, and there must 
never be any process of mediation required in order 
to transmit the states suffered by one apparent part 
of this Being to another part. Of this truth there 
are three applications : 

(1) For example, all bits of gold in the world 
could be regarded as locally different phenomena 
of a single 'gold-substance.' But the experience 
that what happens to one bit of gold is altogether 
a matter of indifference to another bit remote 
from the first, teaches us that no unity of sub- 
stance belonging to all gold is assumable, in any 
serviceable meaning of the words ; the rather that 
the individual bits of gold are independent real 

(2) It could be assumed, as was previously found 
of use, that there are unextended, definitely shaped, 
indivisible 'atoms.' If such a statement is not merely 
to mean that, in the present course of nature, cer- 


tain very minute particles undergo no alteration, 
because the requisite conditions for this alteration 
are not forthcoming ; but if it is to mean that every 
atom is, according to its very conception, a unity of 
being in itself real and indivisible, whose simulta- 
neous appearance at all points of a limited volume 
is necessary for reasons alluded to above : then it 
would be apparent that this assumption of its real 
unity does away with the advantages which it was 
designed to get from its extension and form. For 
it is wont to be assumed that these atoms have one 
or more axes, at the terminal points of which their 
action is different. But this is incompatible with 
the unity of the reality throughout the entire vol- 
ume, and is only compatible with the assumption of 
a multiplicity of active parts which are independent ; 
and it is by means of the relations in the positions 
of these parts that the different properties of the 
different points give conditions to the total form 
of the atom. 

(3) The assumption that one matter fills a limited 
volume continuously, while being likewise divisible 
ad infinitum, and yet before division does not consist 
of parts, but is a real unity, is impossible for the 
same reasons. Whatever permits of separation from 
a totality in such manner as to be, when separated, 
completely independent and able to exercise forces 


that are qualitatively the same precisely as those 
of the aforesaid totality, only diminished in pro- 
portion to its magnitude, that must already have 
existed in the aforesaid totality itself as an inde- 
pendent element, or system of elements ; and such 
totality cannot have been an individual being, but 
must have been simply the resultant of a composi- 
tion of such independent elements. 

After all has been said, we come back to the 
view which is the one now taken for granted also in 
physics, namely, 

Every volume filled up with matter consists of an 
infinite number of real beings, which in themselves 
have no extension, but which, by means of their 
intellectual relations to one another, prescribe places 
in space that are merely mathematical points ; and 
these, by means of the sum of all their reciprocal 
actions, effectuate both extension in general, and 
also the form, cohesion, and force of resistance that 
belong to the extended whole. 



69. On considering the conception of causality, 
it was found that the various real beings which 
underlie the course of nature, when taken together, 
must be, either directly or indirectly, comparable ; 
that none of them need be a Unicum whose na- 
ture were disparate from that of all the rest ; but 
rather that all the contents which constitute the 
nature of * Being ' must form a coherent system in 
which each of them has its fixed place. It was fur- 
ther shown that all real beings ultimately can only 
be modifications of one single infinite Reality. 

Both these propositions we are to apply to the 
inquiry whether there is in nature only one Matter, 
or matter diversified into species. 

If the term ' one matter ' is understood to mean 
that there is one actuality, from which the appar- 
ently different elements in the course of nature 
actually proceed, and to which they return, in such 
manner that this (one) ' matter ' is the unvarying 
point of transition through which the creative force 
of the Infinite brings forth the particular elements 
hi time ; then the decision of the question belongs 


entirely to experience. Experience, to be sure, has 
hitherto not demonstrated a transition of the chemi- 
cal elements into one another, or their derivation 
from one universal original matter ; but at least a 
considerable diminution of the number of elements 
is not improbable in its view. 

If, on the contrary, we should consider the indi- 
vidual elements as modifications constant and 
unalterable in the course of nature of that ' one 
matter ' which, in this case, would have no separate 
existence at all outside of these elements ; then this 
thought has no speculative value. For it would 
only combine and that in inept fashion the 
assertion of the existence of the aforesaid elements 
with the thought (correct enough in itself) that all 
these elements possess a series of common proper- 
ties, on account of which the conception of 'mate- 
riality' belongs to them. Now it follows from the 
first of the propositions alluded to above, that, if we 
conceive of the totality of these properties which are 
formative of 'materiality/ as constituting the es- 
sence of a ' Thing ' ; then the nature of each par- 
ticular kind of matter must always admit of being 
expressed as a modification or function of this ' uni- 
versal matter ' ; .but without such ' universal matter,' 
on this account, underlying realiter the individual 
elements in the form of a ' stuff ' modified by them. 


As a consequence, therefore, from all that has 
previously been said, we derive the following propo- 
sition : The one infinite Reality is without media 
organized into a system of specifically diversified 
elements. But since its diversity must always admit 
of comparability, the diversified elements are equiva- 
lent one with another (of course, according to a di- 
versified measure), in relation to one and the same 
effect chosen for the purpose of comparison. Be- 
cause they are ultimately equivalent, they always 
admit of being apprehended as mere modifications 
or functions of one and the same fundamental 
Essence ; and this essence, called ' universal matter,' 
can therefore serve as a very useful formula for the 
calculation of events, without signifying any separate 
real actuality. 

70. The order of natural occurrences must be 
considered from two points of view : first, inquiry 
can be directed toward the Plan which rules in the 
combination of things and occurrences ; and, second, 
inquiry must be directed toward the general Laws 
of procedure according to which each step in the 
actualization of that plan is brought about. 

The very separation of these two inquiries, how- 
ever, forms the essential character of a mechanical 
view of nature, in the most general sense of this 


word as opposed to many more restricted signi- 
fications which it has acquired in the natural sci- 

The principle of such ' Mechanism ' consists in 
the following truth : Everything that happens in 
nature depends upon real elements which, even if 
they do not belong to one 'stuff,' nevertheless 
admit of being regarded as modifications of a single 
whole, that is to say, as measures comparable 
with each other. Whatever the inner states may 
be into which these elements fall by means of their 
action on one another, the kinetic energies in which 
the same elements express themselves are always 
comparable with one another ; and their alterations 
are connected with definite mathematical conditions 
(position, distance, etc.). 

At every moment, therefore, at which two beings, 
a and b, occur in a certain combination C, this cir- 
cumstance furnishes the sufficient reason for one, 
and only one consequence X ; and, throughout, if 
either a or b or C, or all together, is altered, the 
alteration of the consequence X into B, which is 
necessarily connected therewith, admits of being 
calculated according to an invariable law. That is 
to say, in other words : No momentary state of a 
being, when in combination with a definite sum of 
external circumstances, can ever produce more than 


one definite effect ; and, conversely, every effect 
that arises is just what ensues from those given con- 
ditions with inflexible necessity. 

71. Now, within the limits of this mechanical 
view, a definite plan for the coherency of events can 
be considered as realizable only in case the content 
of this plan (quite apart from all design that might 
be striving to accomplish it) is besides the una- 
voidable result of a definite combination of given 

The whole of the course of nature is, on the 
mechanical view, to be traced back with inflexible 
necessity to the supposition of an original position 
and original motion of the elements, a position 
and a motion which are taken for granted as primi- 
tive and not to be deduced from anything further 
back ; as well as to general laws, according to 
which this particular result ensued from this par- 
ticular beginning, while from another beginning a 
quite different result would have ensued. 

Every more circumscribed example of develop- 
ment according to a plan, this view regards as a 
single case in which, out of the general course of 
nature, and fully accounted for by it, single groups 
of its elements are arranged into a totality whose 
cohering unity consists only in the reciprocal actions 
of the combined elements themselves. 


In opposition to the above view another is ad- 
vanced, which discovers not impossibility, to be sure, 
but absurdity, in the thorough-going maintenance of 
this mechanical doctrine. From reasons which we 
are to estimate later, the thought is held to be 
insupportable that not merely some casual structure, 
but even a phenomenon which, like organism, obvi- 
ously expresses a most significant idea, is assumed 
not to develop from within itself, but to be merely 
the inevitable resultant of many conditions in them- 
selves indifferent to one another, and only co-operat- 
ing as a matter of fact. 

For this reason it is denied that everything in 
nature is the necessary result of circumstances ; and 
the conception of an organic or dynamic ' impulse ' 
is opposed to that of a physical or mechanical 

' Force ' is always in the way previously shown 
a constantly like capacity for an ever like achieve- 
ment ; only with respect to its intensity is it alter- 
able under quite definite conditions. ' Impulse,' on 
the contrary, is a faculty for very manifold achieve- 
ments ; and which of these shall be exercised at 
each moment does not depend, at least absolutely, 
on conditioning circumstances that actually exist, 
but on regard for an end that does not yet exist, but 
is impending. 


Concerning ' force ' the further assertion was 
made, that it is compelled always to achieve what- 
ever, under given conditions, it is able to achieve. 
Concerning ' impulse ' the assertion is made, that it 
is able to keep back a part of its effect ; in other 
cases to reinforce or somewhat alter its activity, 
of course, with reference to the goal that is to be 

' Force ' was never known to pass over from one 
form of causal action to another without a definite 
inducement : ' Impulse/ on the contrary, begins 
its effects, starting from a state of rest, by means 
that lie within itself. 

Now it is through its own action that the living 
totality to which impulse appertains, is held to 
define for itself its own form and the connection of 
its development ; but the external real elements it 
employs as means in its service. 

72. Let it now be supposed that such an im- 
pulse of development were considered as the attri- 
bute of a single real Being ; and let it be left 
undecided how this impulse were in itself possible : 
still the other question remains, namely, Under 
what conditions can it accomplish that which is 
ascribed to it ? 

If now one Being is to accommodate itself to the 


changeable circumstances with a changeable activity, 
in such manner that the latter is at the same time 
always adapted to a definite final purpose, then it is 

(1) that the Being experience some influence in 
general from the aforesaid circumstances, and, be- 
sides, that the influence be changeable and propor- 
tional to the variety of the circumstances ; 

(2) that this influence in the Being itself beget a 
reaction which is adjusted not merely with reference 
to it, but also with reference to its relation to the 
final purpose. 

The further question now arises, In what way the 
final purpose that is to say, a somewhat that is to 
be, but as yet is not can be represented in this 
Being in such manner as to be able to exercise its 
co-determining influence upon these reactions. 

From our point of view such a thing -is conceiv- 
able only in case the Being either has a conscious- 
ness of the final purpose, and, consequently, the 
idea of the purpose as a living state of this Being 
is the force which can give conditions to the other 
states of the Being, and so to its own reactions, 
too ; or else in case the Being works unconsciously 
indeed, but its unconscious nature is originally con- 
structed therefor in such a manner that the various 
impressions which various conditions bring to pass 


in it, undesignedly and necessarily combine into the 
totality of the development required. 

In the last case, this development is quite obvi- 
ously a perfectly mechanical result ; and is not at 
all distinguished from the rest of mechanism by 
means of any peculiar principle of action, but merely 
by means of a special nature belonging to the subject 
which is active, and yet conditioned by the circum- 
stances in a purely mechanical way. In the first 
case, the same thing is true, only in a more con- 
cealed fashion. For the idea of the final purpose, 
too, cannot determine the method of its accom- 
plishment which the moment requires, in a man- 
ner devoid of all principle ; but what accords with 
the purpose is discovered by a comparison of the 
purpose with the circumstances of the instant. 
Such comparison does not allow, so far as its 
result is concerned, of any arbitrariness whatever; 
and for the very reason that it takes place through 
the instrumentality of thought, it is positively in 
no less degree than other events dependent on the 
subordination, under general laws, of the contents 
compared (viz., the final purpose and the form of 
the circumstances). 

73. All that is above-mentioned, however, would 
simply comprehend how, within the Being itself, a 


definite purpose-full impulse can be awakened ; but 
not as yet how this impulse can actualize what it 

If now the impulse were to be directed only to a 
succession of inner states in the Being itself, then 
it might appear possible that a definite amount of 
force for the forming of other states of the same 
Being were communicated to it, in so far as the 
impulse itself is one state of this Being. 

If, however, an effect from the impulse is to be 
shown in the elaboration according to a plan of other 
real elements that are originally foreign to the 
subject of the impulse (and this is the case, for 
example, in all organic architectonic impulses such 
as assimilate foreign material) ; then it is obvious 
that the intensity of the impulse within the one 
Being leads to nothing unless it meet with a like 
obedience to its commands in other beings. Now, 
since these other beings by no means experience of 
themselves the ' impulse ' to actualize the final pur- 
pose of the aforesaid first Being ; and since, rather 
every being would naturally have its own special 
impulse : therefore, a Being A cannot make other 
elements, Tb, c, d, of service to its special impulse, 
except so far as it can bring some compulsion to 
bear upon them ; that is to say so far as A can 
exert forces that can be exerted in a definite mea- 


sure by and upon every other being as well, accord- 
ing to a law common to all the elements. For 
every element 1>, c, or d, wants to be under the 
necessity of performing one of its own actions in 
pursuance of the same right as that to which it is 
itself subjected ; and not in pursuance of the par- 
ticular preference of some other element. 

The end of the above consideration is this: The 
conception of an 'impulse' adjusting the elements 
in accordance with a plan is undoubtedly permis- 
sible ; but an impulse never effectuates anything 
unless that which it wants is, in itself, already the 
inevitably necessary result of the conditions present 
at the instant. 

74. ' Impulse,' accordingly, is not usually as- 
cribed to one simple element, but to a combined 
multiplicity of such elements. And, indeed, it is 
assumed to be attached to no single one of them 
except in a partial way, so that it were the collec- 
tive sum of the partial impulses of these elements ; 
it rather appertains to the totality of such a system, 
a totality which, in this case, is thought of as 
in opposition to all the parts of which it consists. 
According to Aristotle, the Whole is previous to the 
parts, and produces, not, of course, the real sub- 
stratum of which they consist, but that specific 


form in them by means of which they are parts of 
this whole. To express the same thing in more 
modern fashion ; the Idea of the whole is previous 
to the reality in which it is actualized, and rules 
it in accordance with its own final purpose. 

It is scarcely worth the trouble to repeat that 
these expressions designate an actual process, but 
do not explain it. Of course the whole, or the 
idea of the whole, can be distinguished in thought 
from its corporal actualization ; but it must then 
also be demonstrated, how and where in ' Being ' 
this abstraction of the whole can exist as an 
efficient power and can give conditions to reality. 

Experience shows what can be known a priori 
that an organic whole is never actualized unless 
it exist in the shape of a smaller and already extant 
system of elements, from whose combination and 
reciprocal action with external nature the subse- 
quent whole must proceed after the manner of a 
mechanism. In this way alone does the whole 
exist as potentia ; that is to say, in a case like 
this, not as power, but as bare ' possibility.' 

Just so, we can gain no insight into the manner 
in which an ' Idea/ that is in all cases originally 
nothing but the thought of a thinker, can become 
' in Being ' an efficient power ; unless it, too, be first 
realized as a system of relations and reciprocal 


actions between different elements. This realiza- 
tion must be of such a nature that the development 
which we deduce from the ' Idea,' is, in fact, in this 
case too, produced a tergo by causes acting accord- 
ing to law ; and the development coincides with the 
Idea, only because its demands were likewise pre- 
destined as inevitable consequences in that recipro- 
cal position of the elements which was given from 
the first. 

75. According to all above-said, our entire view 
of nature would issue in thorough-going Deter- 
minism : all that happens would be the inevitable 
and blindly necessitated result of all that has pre- 
viously happened ; and the entire history of the 
world would be restricted to the successive unfold- 
ing of a series of states, all of which lay already 
contained in the primitive state of the world as 
a future made necessary thereby. 

The bare consideration of nature and of its 
economic coherency would furnish absolutely no 
inducement to alter this view ; metaphysical cos- 
mology, therefore, concludes with it just as pro- 
perly as the view itself everywhere underlies natural 
science considered as barely setting forth the facts. 

If, nevertheless, our entire spirit is not satisfied 
with this view, the cause of the repugnance lies in 


the fact that, although in itself possible and free 
from contradictions, the view still appears incredi- 
ble and preposterous when estimated in accordance 
with its significance and its value. Our mind 
wants that not all in the world be 'mechanism,' 
but that some One be ' freedom ' as well ; that not 
all be shaped by external conditions, but that some 
One at least shape its own being and its own future 
for itself. 

Even in these demands of the mind there can 
lie concealed a certain portion of an inborn truth. 
In how far this is the case, and in what manner 
legitimate inference from our previous views permits 
of satisfying these demands, is left over for the 
last Division of our work. 







76. In the ontological discussion we have spoken 
of the ' Being and States of the Existent/ without 
ability to specify precisely in what both consist. 
In the cosmological, we have taken it for granted 
that the world of phenomena as it appears to our 
intuition proceeds from these unknown reciprocal 
actions of 'Things.' Finally, at the conclusion of 
the Cosmology, demands of the mind were stirred 
that are to be prospectively satisfied only by means 
of an insight into that actual nature of things 
which constitutes what corresponds to the formal 
conditions of Ontology and Cosmology. 

Now all inner states of all other things are unat- 
tainable by us ; of only our own souls, which we hold 
to be one of these real beings, have we an immediate 
experience. Hence there arises the hope of learning 


from this example just what positively constitutes, 
in other things as well, their essential ' Being.' On 
this account the last Division of the Metaphysic 
could perhaps be called as of old 'Psychology.' 
But in this connection the soul is of essential inter- 
est to us only so far as it is the subject of cognition. 
We therefore at this point resume the inquiry 
previously announced ; after we have developed 
those conceptions concerning the coherency of all 
Things which are necessary to our thinking, How 
must we now think concerning the nature and mean- 
ing of our own cognition, in so far as it, too, is 
subject to one of those same conceptions, namely, 
to that of the reciprocal action of different elements 
(in this case, Subject and Object)? On this account, 
this conclusion of the matter may be called * Phenom- 
enology. ' 

77. From all the foregoing with reference to our 
cognition it follows, that 

(i) We recognize by means of no sensible quality 
an objective attribute of * Things ' ; no such quality 
can be a copy of the Things themselves, but each 
can simply be a result of their influence. This re- 
sult, however, like every effect, does not depend in 
a one-sided way upon the nature of the being which 
exercises the influence, but just as much upon the 


nature of the being which receives the influence. 
Every sensation as for example, color is there- 
fore only the subjective form in which an excitation 
of our peculiar Being, sustained through the instru- 
mentality of external influence, comes to conscious- 
ness in us, 

(2) Although no single sensation is a copy of the 
reality, yet definite relations with one another of the 
single real ' Things ' seem to come to our perception 
in the very forms of combination in which different 
sensations are brought to us in juxtaposition or suc- 
cession ; and this happens in such a way that, while 
we could not, of course, cognize the single things, 
yet we could cognize the changeable relations be- 
tween them. But the Cosmology has shown that 
the universal forms of Space and Time, within 
whose confines all the aforesaid special forms as- 
sumed in combination by the manifold impressions 
become specifically marked off, are themselves like- 
wise only forms of our intuition ; and it is only we 
who perceive in these forms the graduated reciprocal 
conditions of Things that are not in themselves 
subjects of intuition, but are only apprehensible as 
abstract conceptions. The World of Space and Time 
is, therefore, 'phenomenon'; the 'real Being/ which 
answers to it and produces it within us, is dissimilar 
to it. 


(3) There, consequently, remained nothing left 
for us but to maintain that only a formal cognition 
is possible of the ' Being ' of those ' Things ' which 
we proceeded to assume ; that is to say, we were 
able to define those forms of our thoughts by means 
of which we defined the modes of relation belonging 
to the unknown Existent, in such a manner that our 
ideas of it accorded both with the general logical 
laws of our thinking, and also with those more sig- 
nificant suppositions which our reason makes con- 
cerning the same necessary coherency of things. 

Now the aforesaid logical laws, as well as these 
metaphysical suppositions of our reason, are nothing 
further than definite species and forms of its activ- 
ity, which is excited by the content of the ideas that 
are present within us. That is, to wit : If, in con- 
sciousness, different ideas, a, 1>, c, d, . . ., are given in 
all manner of relations, x, y, z, . . ., to one another, 
then the soul is so framed by nature that this very 
fact of a multiplicity of ideas serves as a stimulus 
for it to interpret an interior connection into these 
ideas; that is to say, to regard the content of one, 
for example, as the ' cause ' of the content of the 

From this peculiar nature of the soul, in order to 
explain the throng of ideas that are present within 
ourselves, there ensues as would easily be found 


from carrying out the above considerations the 
entire habit of assuming an external World of 
' Things ' : and it is from the influence of these 
* Things ' upon us, that the aforesaid ideas are held 
to originate in us ; while from their interchangeable 
proportions originate the given reciprocal relations 
of the ideas. 

That is to say : It becomes at this point a matter 
for inquiry, whether simply the aforesaid most ab- 
stract and fundamental conceptions which we frame 
of ' things ' and ' events ' contain any truth what- 
ever; and whether they, too, are not merely subjec- 
tive habits of our own activity, by means of which a 
non-existent external world is mirrored before us. 

78. The above considerations lead at once to 
the view of 'subjective Idealism'; to the view, 
namely, that all which we call * cognition' is only a 
play of our own activity. The perception of the 
world is then a product of our creative faculty of 
imagination ; the elaboration of perception by means 
of theoretical conceptions, and its interpretation by 
reference to a Kingdom of ' Things,' only a further 
carrying out of this activity, which still further 
articulates its product after it has constructed it. 
The same view holds, on the contrary, that outside 
of the cognitive spirit this world of ' Things ' has no 


existence ; and, finally, that, so long as cognition 
consists in an agreement of the idea with its object, 
we cannot speak of ' a truth of cognition ' in any 
thing like the ordinary sense, or even of an ( act 
of cognition ' in general (considered as somewhat 
accommodated to its external object), but only of an 
' act of representation ' which is productive of its 
own subject-object (Fichte). 

79. In opposition to the above view the fol- 
lowing remarks hold good : 

(i) The demonstration of the 'thorough-going 
subjectivity of all the elements of our cognition,' 
sensations, pure intuitions, and pure notions of 
the understanding, is in no respect decisive 
against the assumption of the existence of 'a 
world of Things outside ourselves.' For it is 
clear that this ' subjectivity of cognition' must in 
any case be true, whether ' Things ' do, or do not 
exist. For even if ' Things ' exist, still our cogni- 
tion of them cannot consist in their actually find- 
ing an entrance into us, but only in their exerting 
an action upon us. But the products of this 
action, as affections of our being, can receive their 
form from our nature alone. And, as it is easy to 
persuade ourselves, even in case ' Things ' do actu- 
ally exist, all parts of our cognition will have the 


very same 'subjectivity' as that from which it might 
be hastily concluded that ' Things ' do not exist. 

80. (2) The assertion that the World is the 
creation of his own faculty of imagination could 
not possibly be accomplished with complete free- 
dom from obscurity by anyone except some lone 
individual indulging in philosophic speculation. 
Since it is quite too absurd that this one person 
deem the remaining spirits, too, in whose society 
he is conscious of living, as merely products of 
his own fantasy ; and since rather the same kind 
of reality for all spirits, at least, must be credited ; 
therefore the question arises : How do these indi- 
vidual spirits A, B, C, D, . . ., come to produce, 
by means of their faculties of imagination, four 
(or, if the case requires, n) pictures of the world, 
which have as a whole the same content, but 
which so vary in their particular features that the 
other spirits, B, C, D, . . ., appear to A at definite 
places, and they, in turn, to A at another place ; 
in brief, that all appear to each other in such 
manner as to make it possible for one to seek for 
and to meet with the other, for the sake of a 
mutual action in this non-existent phantom-world ? 

Obviously, the reason for such a noteworthy 
correspondence between the imaginations of the 


individual beings cannot lie in them as individuals, 
but must lie in some one individual and yet uni- 
versal Power which is equally effective in all the 
individuals ; and this Power instead of first cre- 
ating actual 'Things' outside these beings, in order 
afterward to produce in them the ' appearance of 
Things ' by the circuitous way of an influence 
from these ' Things ' upon the aforesaid beings 
directly causes this same ' appearance ' to arise 
in every one of them. 

Idealism, therefore, would accord with the com- 
mon view in this respect, that our perception of 
the World must have some reason outside our- 
selves ; but not in this respect, that such reason 
must be sought in a multiplicity of ' Things ' 
acting upon us. 

81. With the modifications made above, sub- 
jective Idealism does, in fact, succeed in explaining 
the course of the world. Things would, of course, 
be no longer ' things j but only particular actions 
which the ' Absolute Being ' exercises in all finite 
spirits in conformable fashion. But these ' partic- 
ular actions,' k, 1, m, n, . . ., since they are deeds 
of one and the same Being, would naturally so 
cohere, in accordance with the law governing 
them, that always, when k is exercised, the exer- 


cising of another act m also follows ; and always, 
if the act k is altered to \, then m also passes 
over into j*. That is to say, the entire coherency 
of natural phenomena according to law, for which 
we are wont to believe the existence of certain 
unalterable individual elements or atoms to be 
necessary as subjects of the events, is also possi- 
ble, in case the ' actions of an individual Absolute,' 
constantly maintained or interchanged in accord- 
ance with fixed law, are regarded as substituted 
for such ' Things ' ; and as constituting a system 
of reasons with manifold members and effective 
simply in us, but not extant outside us that 
determine the content and vicissitudes of our 

82. The above-mentioned Idealism, neverthe- 
less, has failed to get rooted, not barely in the 
common mode of conception, for which it is 
quite too much of a foreign growth, but also 
in philosophy. It has been objected to it, that 
its so-called ' actions of the Absolute' could serve 
as a substitute for 'Things,' but still are not actual 
Things. That there must be Things t however, is 
firmly adhered to, from a motive very obscure and 
little analyzed. We want to possess in that Nature 
which we immediately perceive, something really 


self-existent and not barely a somewhat apparent 
to us. 

If now the question is raised, precisely in what 
does that good consist which would be actualized 
by means of such a reality to 'Things,' and which 
the world would lack, in case only actions of the 
Absolute existed in its stead ? then it would 
easily be discovered that the bare objective ex- 
istence, maintenance, and actual self-motion of 
' Things,' and their actual but blind action on 
each other, would not have, of itself, in the least 
degree more value than the perfectly correspond- 
ing relations between the actions of the Absolute. 

Precisely what we want is this, that the 
'Things' really enjoy these states of their own, 
and not merely be thought of by us as existing 
in them. That is to say, 'Reality' is 4 Being for 
self ' ; an expression, by which we designate that 
most general characteristic of self-apprehension, 
which is common to all forms of spiritual life, 
to feeling, to representation, to effort, and to 

83. Now if such is the exact motive for our 
for the assumption of real Things, it 
necessary merely to be persuaded that 
"0 means be as has thus far 


been tacitly assumed a certain species of exist- 
ence called 'Reality/ which, wherever it is extant, 
has there made possible the ' Being for self or 
spiritual life of what is thus existent. Quite the 
reverse, however, must we admit that to be spirit 
is the only conceivable reality : that is to say, only 
in the idea of spiritual life do we understand with 
a perfect clearness what 'real Being' means; and, 
on the contrary, every as yet non-spiritual but 
'Thing-like' reality is conceived of by us only 
through the instrumentality of a collection of 
abstract conceptions that make upon us the de- 
mand for somewhat more, of which we do not 
know precisely in what way it is to be fulfilled. 

For example : In the Metaphysic we have hitherto 
considered 'Thing' as the 'subject of its own predi- 
cates/ or as the ' support of its own properties/ as 
' substratum of its own states/ If now that one of 
these expressions, which is perhaps the best, is ana- 
lyzed, and the question is raised : In what precisely 
does the relation, which the expression designs to 
designate, consist ? then it will be discovered that 
only the Spirit or the Ego, which has learned in a 
living experience to feel itself to be the independent 
and sole personality in contrast with all its own par- 
ticular excitations, has any knowledge of what it 
means to be the 'subject of states/ or to suffer and 


to experience certain states.' In what way, on the 
contrary, a distinction of its own genuine being from 
its temporary states can be conceived of in a blind 
'Thing' devoid of self -enjoyment, is quite impossible 
to see. 

We have further required of every ' Thing,' a 
requirement connected with the foregoing, ' unity 
in the midst of change.' But how this requisition 
could be satisfied, and precisely where besides the 
series of its successive states this ' unity ' might 
subsist, we do not know. It is the spirit that first 
solves this riddle by means of the miraculous phe- 
nomenon of Memory, which through a living co- 
herence in one consciousness, of what is really 
successive, first reveals to us the only possible mean- 
ing for the aforesaid 'unity.' 

We have, finally, spoken of the 'affection and 
action ' of ' Things.' But these names, too, have a 
real significance only in case the ' affection ' is actu- 
ally suffered, that is, consists in some feeling or 
other; and in case the 'action' is an effort or volition, 
and not a bare procedure of a result from a cause 
which thereat neither does nor suffers anything, or 
else is altered without any experience of it. 

All endeavors are vain, on the one hand, to avoid 
assuming this character of spiritual life in Things, 
and yet, none the less, still try to say, precisely in 


what their 'Being/ their 'Unity/ their 'States/ in 
brief their whole ' Reality/ consists. None of these 
words signify anything which, in its universality, 
were clear and comprehensible, and of which the 
spiritual life might form only a special example with 
other examples existing besides ; but they are all 
abstractions which, from the spirit as their sole 
subject, abstract a formal mode of behavior that, in 
fact, is possible for its nature alone. Thus they' 
induce in the unreflecting mind the semblance of an 
ability to signify something of themselves, and come 
to be assumed of all manner of subjects. 

84. The foregoing considerations lead to the 
opinion that there can be no ' Things ' which are 
merely things in the ordinary sense of a non- 
self-existent, unconscious, blindly acting reality. 
Nothing but the following alternative remains : 
Either we ascribe to all 'Things/ as soon as they 
are assumed to ' be ' realiter outside ourselves, the 
most common characteristic of spiritual life, to 
wit, some form or other of ' Being for self ' ; or 
else, if we do not want to concede such an ' ani- 
mating of all Things/ we must deny that they can 
be realiter outside ourselves. For the conception of 
whatever has not Being for self does not admit of 
being distinguished in any tenable fashion from the 


conception of a bare action, or a bare state of that 
' Infinite Substance,' which we in the Ontology, and 
in this connection afresh, have discovered to be the 
foundation of all finite Being. 



85. After we have comprehended the unavoid- 
able and thorough-going subjectivity of our cogni- 
tion, and have conceded that we always see ' Things' 
merely as they look when they come before our 
sight, and never as they look when nobody sees 
them ; and after we have finally reflected that this 
fact is no limitation whatever of our Jiuman cogni- 
tion, but must happen just the same in the case 
of every superior being, in so far as its cognition 
depends upon its reciprocal action with other beings, 
then the inquiry arises : What kind of significance, 
ultimately, has such a cognition as this, which uni- 
formly misses of its object ? 

We answer : The name ' Cognition ' is the expres- 
sion of a prejudice, to wit, the assumption that the 
course of mental representation which originates 
from external stimuli within the spirit has the prob- 
lem of reproducing in copy these ' stimuli ' from which 
it springs. In science our act of representation 
naturally serves, in every case, the purpose of ascer- 
taining a matter of fact ; but in the totality of the 
World it has another position. It is a prejudice, 


that the World exists, without the kingdom of spirits, 
ready-made and completed in effective consistence of 
its own ; and that the life of mental representation 
which spirits lead is simply a kind of half-idle ap- 
pendage, by means of which the content of the World 
is not increased, but only its ready-made content 
once more copied in miniature. The rather is the 
fact, that a world of ideas is awakened within these 
spirits by means of the influence of Things upon 
them, in itself one of the most significant events in 
the entire course of the world ; an event, without 
which the content of the world would not simply be 
imperfect, but would straightway lack what is most 
essential to its completion. 

In brief : The mental representation of spiritual 
beings is not designed to copy Things, which, be- 
cause they have no such power of representation, 
are inferior to spirit; but 'Things' (so far as this 
name has now any meaning left at all) exist besides, 
in order to produce by their influences that course 
of mental representation belonging to the spiritual 
beings, which, accordingly, has its value in itself 
considered, and in its own peculiar content, and 
not in its accord with an objective matter of fact. 

86. To give an example: We object to the fac- 
ulty of sense that it shows us colors and tones which 


exist nowhere outside ourselves, but are only affec- 
tions of ourselves : it is therefore constantly de- 
ceiving us ; for the waves of light and sound which 
constitute what is truly objective, it does not permit 
us to see. 

We answer : Such is undoubtedly the state of the 
case ; but color and sound are no worse, because 
they are simply our sensations. The rather do they 
constitute the precise purpose which external nature 
meant to reach with its waves of ether and of air. 
It could not accomplish this, however, of itself alone ; 
but for its fulfilment had rather an absolute need of 
spirit, in order that the latter might realize in its 
own state of sensation the beauty of shimmering 
light and ringing sound. 

87. ' The doctrine of the Identity of Thought 
and Being ' (Schelling, Hegel) asserts, what is appar- 
ently the same as the foregoing view, and yet is 
really different from it, in more general form. The 
true Being of non-spiritual Actuality (the modus 
existendi of which is here left pretty obscure) con- 
sists simply in an 'Idea,' for the actualization of which 
it is intended. Only the thinking of spiritual beings, 
however, apprehends ideas as ideas. In thinking, 
accordingly, does that first become actualized which 
Things only in themselves that is to say, in this 


connection, Things according to their plan really 
are. It is not our cognition, therefore, that is un- 
suitable to reproduce the nature of Things ; but 
Things are unsuitable to produce their own nature, 
that is to say, that for which they are intended. It 
is thought which first makes them ready, as it were. 

88. The above doctrine admits of a threefold 
signification : 

(1) If by the 'Being of Things' we designate 
that by means of which the Thing is distinguished 
from our idea of the thing, then it is quite certain 
that this ' Being ' is not identical with being 
thought. Or, conversely, thought is in no condi- 
tion to comprehend precisely wherein the ' Being ' 
consists with whose manifold formal relations it 
is itself employed. 

(2) If again we use c Being ' in the same sense, 
and therefore as synonymous with 'being affected 
and producing effects,' then the before-mentioned 
proposition means as follows.: The thinking 'Being' 
of Spirit is not one species of this Being, and the 
blind ' Being ' of Things another species ; but the 
latter, too, is a thought. That is to say : All that 
we are wont to apprehend as the unconscious ac- 
tivity of Things, is only an unrecognized process 
of thought within them. 



(3) If we call that the ' true Being ' of a Thing, 
by means of which it is distinguished from some 
other Thing, then this doctrine would assert that 
such essentia of Things does not consist in any 
Reality which is of quite foreign species and inac- 
cessible to all the means belonging to the spirit ; 
but it is rather perfectly exhaustible by means of 
our thoughts, or, at least, by means of thought in 

89. Herein lies the truth, that the essence and 
Being of Things cannot be opposed to the essence 
and Being of Spirit, as though the former were a 
second principal division of the world and a per- 
fect stranger to the latter. So long, however, as 
the word 'thinking' retains the special meaning by 
which it distinguishes one definite mode of the 
spirit's activity from other modes, the Being and 
essence of things certainly is not identical with 
such 'thinking.' 

In order to pass judgment on this matter one 
must reflect upon the exact share which thinking 
is wont to have even in the sum-total of what we 
really know. And on this point there is mani- 
festly a very general illusion. To wit : as often 
as we in speech have designated anything with a 
name, the semblance of having constructed or pen- 


etra,ted the so-named content by means of an oper- 
ation of 'thinking' arises in our minds, although 
very often this ' thinking ' makes a very small con- 
tribution to what we mean by the name. For 
example : 

(1) If we say, * sweet,' 'blue,' 'warm,' then the 
entire work performed by thinking consists in 
designating by the adjective form of the name, as 
though it were an independent property inhering 
in another subject, a content which is wholly and 
merely an experience in the form of immediate 
sensation, but which can be neither produced nor 
imparted by the medium of thinking. That is to 
say : Thinking reflects upon the formal relation of 
this content to others ; it does not exhaust the 
content itself. 

(2) Only by experience can ' weal ' be distin- 
guished from ' woe,' ' pleasure ' from ' pain ' ; and 
no operation of thinking makes it comprehensible 
to a subject possessed of the greatest intelligence, 
but of no feeling, what both names signify. They, 
therefore, designate a content which is known only 
if it is experienced. 

(3) The same thing is true of our metaphysical 
conceptions. What ' Being ' signifies, no ' thinking ' 
makes obvious to one who does not from self- 
feeling understand his own being. 'Action and 


affection * only that being comprehends who has in 
itself had experience of both. Even the abstract 
conception of conditionating were without signifi- 
cance for us, if we did not know from our own 
experience, from our own volition and effort, what 
it means for one element to have, or to have de- 
sired, a power over some other. 

In pursuance of these examples we learn that 
all our 'thinking' by no means altogether compre- 
hends, or in the least degree exhausts, what we 
could regard as the ' actual constitution ' and ' inner 
Being ' of Things ; and that it rather merely com- 
bines with one another in formal relations the 
ideas which designate the subject-matter of expe- 
rience, whether in the form of sensation, of feel- 
ing, or otherwise. 

90. 'Being' could be posited as identical with 
such 'Thinking,' only in case the significance of the 
' Existent ' were so far degraded as to make the 
entire content of thought, which the actuality were 
called on to express, consist still in simply those 
formal relations of the manifold that logical think- 
ing comprehends and judges of. 

In fact, such is the meaning of Hegel, who not 
without significance calls that Logic which is else- 
where styled Metaphysic. If, therefore, things exist 


and events happen simply in order that the formal 
relations of Identity and Opposition, Unity and Mul- 
tiplicity, Indifference and Polarity, of Universal, 
Particular and Singular, etc., may be actualized in 
the most manifold manner possible, and set forth in 
Phenomenon ; then, of course, the essence of 
' Things ' is so pitiful and insignificant that our 
thinking succeeds perfectly well in adequately com- 
prehending it. 

91. The teaching of Fichte had been different. 
The problem of the spirit, he held, does not lie in 
the cognition of a blind ' Being ' (the conception 
of which appeared to him as impossible as it ap- 
pears to us), but in action. The aforesaid world 
external is not, but appears to us in order to serve 
as material of our duty, as inducement or object 
of our action. Of course, the world cosmographi- 
cally and historically determined, with which we 
see ourselves surrounded, is not to be deduced for 
human cognition as somewhat necessary to this 
final purpose, but must be barely assumed as a 
given matter of fact. Of those metaphysical prin- 
ciples, on the other hand, in accordance with which 
we trace out an inner coherency within this pheno- 
menal world, it can be shown that they are nat- 
ural to our spirit on account of this, and only 


on account of this, because the spirit is in- 
tended for action. For * Things' considered as 
fixed points in the course of phenomena, altera- 
tion of these things according to law, and recipro- 
cal determinateness of them by causality, and so 
forth, all these are forms of the inner coherency 
which a spirit, that wills to act, must inevitably 
assume in that world on which its action is di- 

92. The above-mentioned thought is not quite 
satisfactory, because it makes all actuality exist 
merely in the service of human action ; this action 
itself however is only considered from its formal 
side, as activity and self-determination, while that 
content whose actualization were alone worth the 
trouble of action is, on the contrary, neglected. 

For the aforesaid 'action' of Fichte we substi- 
tute the morally Good, for which the action is sim- 
ply the indispensable form of actualization ; we 
besides conceive of the ' beautiful,' too, and the 
' happy ' or ' blessedness,' as united with this Good 
into one complex of all that has Value. And now 
we affirm : Genuine Reality in the world (to wit, 
in the sense that all else is, in relation to It, subor- 
dinate, deduced, mere semblance or means to an 
end) consists alone in this Highest-Good personal, 


which is at the same time the highest-good Thing. 
But since all the Value of what is valuable has 
existence only in the spirit that enjoys it, there- 
fore all apparent actuality is only a system of con- 
trivances, by means of which this determinate 
world of phenomena, as well as these determinate 
metaphysical habitudes for considering the world 
of phenomena, are called forth, in order that the 
aforesaid Highest Good may become for the spirit 
an object of enjoyment in all the multiplicity of 
forms possible to it. 

The -objectivity of our cognition consists, there- 
fore, in this, that it is not a meaningless play of 
mere seeming; but it brings before us a World 
whose coherency is ordered in pursuance of the 
injunction of the Sole Reality in the world, to 
wit, of the Good. Our cognition thus possesses 
more of truth than if it copied exactly a world of 
objects that has no value in itself. Although it 
does not comprehend in what manner all that is 
phenomenon is presented to its view, still it un- 
derstands what is the meaning of it all ; and is 
like to a spectator who comprehends the aesthetic 
significance of that which takes place on the stage 
of a theatre, and would gain nothing essential if 
he were to see besides the machinery by means 
of which the changes are effected on that stage. 



93. The view last approved namely, that all 
metaphysical truth consists only in the forms which 
must be assumed by a world that depends upon 
the principle of the Good can avail only as a 
consideration to fix the limits of Metaphysic, by 
whose instrumentality we assign to the totality 
of the principles treated of, their correct position 
in our total view of the world. But since those 
metaphysical suppositions, which we conceive of as 
dependent on the Good, are once for all the una- 
voidable habitudes of our spiritual organization, they 
are in themselves much more clear to our view, 
and certain, and, on account of their manifold 
application to the innumerable contents of expe- 
rience, much more easy of accurate description, 
than is that ' Highest Good ' which we conceive 
of as their source. 

Therefore, although we apprehend the Highest 
Good as the one Real Principle on which the 
validity of the metaphysical axioms in the world 
depends, still we cannot regard it as a principle 
of cognition that can be profitably converted into 


a major premise from which to deduce the sum of 
metaphysical truth. Our presentation of the sub- 
ject, accordingly, has no further problems to solve, 
which lie in this direction. 

94. On the contrary, our further problems lie 
in the following direction : The very name, the 
' Highest Good,' designates the content, the esscn- 
tia of the highest principle, but not the form of 
existence which we must attribute to it in order 
to comprehend it as a conditioning cause of the 
world of phenomena. 

In this respect three thoughts require to be 
united : 

(1) the thought of one Infinite Being to the 
necessary assumption of which Ontology led us ; 

(2) the thought briefly developed, that no meta- 
physical reality can possibly exist except in the 
form of spirituality ; 

(3) the thought just touched upon, and not fur- 
ther demonstrable as a matter of strict metaphysic, 
that the highest reason for the formation of the 
World, and of our metaphysical thoughts about it, 
is to be sought for solely in the Idea of the High- 
est Good, Person and Thing. 

The association of these three propositions yields 
the result, that the substantial ' Ground ' of the 


world is a Spirit, whose essence our cognition 
were able to designate only as the living and 
existent Good. All that is finite is action of this 
Infinite. ' Real beings ' are those of his actions 
which the Infinite permanently maintains as cen- 
tres of out-and-in-going effects that are susceptible 
of acting and of being affected ; and, indeed, their 
reality that is, the relative independence which 
belongs to them consists, not in a 'Being outside 
the Infinite ' (for such a Being no definition could 
make clear), but only in this, that they as spiritual 
elements have Being for self. This ' Being for self ' 
is the essential factor in that which we, in a for- 
mally unsatisfactory way, designate as ' Being out- 
side the Infinite.' On the contrary, what we are 
accustomed to call ' Things' and 'events between 
things,' is the sum of those other actions which 
the highest Principle variously executes in all spirits 
so uniformly and in such coherency according to 
law, that to these spirits there must appear to 
be one world of substantial and efficient 'Things/ 
existing in space outside themselves. The mean- 
ing, however, of the general laws, according to 
which the Infinite Spirit proceeds in the creation, 
preservation, and government of the apparent world 
of Things, is to be found in their being conse- 
quences of that Idea of the Good, which is its 
own nature. 


95. In case we characterize as was just done 
an action of the Infinite as a 'consequence' of 
another nature, or of its own nature ; and, in gen- 
eral, as often as we make that which is highest of 
all the object of investigation, there always arises 
the appearance of positing a 'kingdom of abso- 
lutely valid truth ' previous even to the ' supreme 
Source of all actuality ' : in accordance with this 
truth would the decision be, what property 1> must, 
even in the Infinite, succeed the other property a. 

The above thought has been expressly formu- 
lated as follows : A ' negative Absolute ' - that is, 
an unconditioned truth (comprising the laws of 
Metaphysic and Mathematics) does, in fact, pre- 
cede all actuality, as a kind of immemorial neces- 
sity (' absolute Prius ') ; and it defines under what 
formal conditions, and in what modes, all must be, 
in case aught whatever is to be. Within these 
unyielding limits thus drawn, a 'positive Abso- 
lute ' with freedom then creates an actuality which, 
accordingly, satisfies the formal conditions of the 
aforesaid ' negative Absolute ' without originating 
from it so far as its material content is concerned 
(Herm. Weisse). 

96. Our previous reflections led to the oppo- 
site conclusion. 


Over and over again were we made to see that 
no 'law' and no 'truth' can exist within the 
World, before, outside, between or above the ' Things/ 
concerning which it is assumed to hold good : law 
or truth is, and acts, only in so far as it is realized 
as a 'state' or 'activity' of, or within, the living 

Still less, therefore, can a collection of laws 
already valid be thought of as existing in a per- 
fectly void Nothing, before the World and God 
was, in accordance with which God directed him- 
self in creating this world; and every other God 
would be compelled also to direct himself when 
creating another world ! 

Rather, the absolute living and creative Spirit 
alone is ; and He is the first principle of all in such 
manner that even the truth, according to which he 
seems to create, is only extant after his creative 

That is to say : Since God unfolds the infinite 
activities, which become for Him and for finite 
spirits the object of knowledge, therefore, this knowl- 
edge can, on comparison of those manifold actions, 
comprehend the meaning common to them all in 
universal propositions. It is these propositions 
which, in the first place, because they hold good 
throughout the whole created world, admit of be- 


ing considered with reference to every particular 
of the world, even when yet unobserved or still 
future, as rules by anticipation. And, on the 
same account, do they come to be considered by 
us, with an erroneous generalization, as a power 
controlling all the future and all actuality: just 
as though they were not merely the laws which, 
proceeding from the primal Existent One, hold 
good for the world that sprung from Him ; but as 
though they preceded all actuality, and even that 
primal Reality from which they spring, like some 
inscrutable Fate. 

97. One must hold firmly to the above reflec- 
tion, in order to avoid questions that are unanswer- 
able ; for example : How does the Supreme Being 
begin to sustain such relations to itself as to be a 
conscious Spirit ? Precisely in what do those modi- 
fications of this Being consist which we assume 
to take place ? How, further, does this Being 
begin to be at all, and impart to particular ones 
of his own actions that independence by means 
of which they become ' substances ' ? 

At this point there is obviously a demand for 
explanations which depict these processes accord- 
ing to the analogy of those procedures by means 
of which one matter of fact follows from another 


within the already created world. But every pro- 
cedure or machinery of this kind is only conceiv- 
able in some such manner as combines into one 
activity the already subsisting elements of an ac- 
tuality already constituted in accordance with laws 
that hold good in its case. Therefore, we cannot 
be forever asking anew the question, By means of 
what machinery or procedure does actuality in gene- 
ral, or its original matters of fact, come to be con- 
stituted ? for it is just from these matters of fact 
that the whole possibility of reestablishing any 
machinery or procedure whatever is derived. 

The supreme principles and the original forms 
of their activity never admit of being ' explained,' 
'constructed/ or 'deduced.' Our cognition, in 
the most favorable case,- masters only the interior 
order of that manifold which depends upon these 
principles. But how the principles themselves 
have power to 'be' or to 'act,' is an unanswerable, 
idle inquiry. 




Absolute, idea of, in Metaphysic, 7 f . ; in Schelling, 8 ; in Hegel, 8, 20; the 
ground of Things, 72 f. ; Things are modifications of, 86, 136 f. ; nega- 
tive, 156. 

Actuality, belongs to cause, 60. 

Aristotle, categories of, 3 f. ; doctrine of whole and parts, 123. 

Atoms, as elements of Things, 46 f. ; no f. 


Becoming, conception of, 45 f. ; absolute, 48 f. 

Being, conception of, 15 ff., i8ff., 27 f. ; never mere position, 19 f.; never 
unrelated, 21 f., 23f. ; of Things, determinate, 26 f.; the Infinite, 73, 
109 f., 154; unity of the one real, 109 f., 113, 119 f., 121 f. ; for Self, the 
sole Reality, 139. 

Body, conception of a material, loof. 

Categories, of Aristotle, 3 f. ; of Kant, 3 f., 5 ; Fichte's deduction of, 6. 
Cause, conception of, 57 f., 68; never single, 58; nor transient, 62 f., 64, 

71 ; efficient, needed to explain the World, 68 f. ; Thing as a, 70. 
Change, conception of, 45 f., 50 f. ; connected with state of Thing, 53 f. 
Cognition, subjectivity of, 129 f., 133, 134 f. ; objectivity of, 143. 
Cosmology, conception of, 10, 77 f. 


Determinism, as a conclusion of cosmology, 125 f. 

Essence, of Things, 35, 38, 40 f., 45, 52, 114; as a law, 35, 37; applied to 
soul, 43 f. 

164 INDEX. 


Fichte, deduction of the categories, 6; Idealism of, 7, 134, 150. 

Final Purpose, in Mechanism, 121 f. 

Force, cannot pass over, 62 f.; an attribute, 63; conception of, 107 f.; 

opposed to impulse, n8f. 
Fries, view of matter, 103. 


God, doctrine of Occasionalism concerning, 65 f., 67 f; the Highest Good 

154 ; the Ground of all reality, 157 f. 
Good, the highest reality, 151 f., 153, 154 f. 


Hegel, doctrine of the Absolute, 8 ; conception of Being, 20 ; deduction of 
space, 88 ; on identity of Thought and Being, 145, 149. 

Herbart, conception of Metaphysic, 9 f. ; doctrine of position, 22 f. ; doc- 
trine of quality, 28 f. ; conception of change, 46 ; construction of matter, 
104 f. 


Idea, as a real action, 42, 124 f.; as actuality, 145 f. 

Idealism, of Fichte, 7, 134 ; its deductions of matter, 102 ; subjective, 133 f., 

136 f. 

Identity, of states of Things, 54. 

Impulse, opposed to Force, 118 ; ascribed to many elements, 123 f. 
Infinite, the ground of Things, 72 f., 113; provisional conception of, 73 f. 


Kant, categories of, 3 f., 5 ; doctrine of Things, 7 ; doctrine of space, 80, 84 f., 
87 ; construction of matter, 102 f. ; on Things in themselves, 103. 

Law, as essence of Thing, 35 f., 37; as necessary to Becoming, 49. 
Leibnitz, Pre-established Harmony of, 66 f. 

INDEX. 165 


Matter, conception of, 100 f., 105 ; deductions of, 102 ; elements of a correct 
view of, 102 f., io6f., 112, 113; Kant's doctrine of, 102 f.; Herbart's 
construction of, 104 f.; unity of, 114. 

Mechanism, principle of, 115, n6f.; as related to plan, 117 f. 

Metaphysics, definition of, i f., n, 15 ; Absolute in, 7 f. ; Hegel's conception 
of, 8, 10, 149; Herbart's conception of, gf. ; divisions of, lof. ; problems 
of, 79, ico. 

Motion, conception of, 94 f., 96; change of, as defining Things, 96 f. ; per- 
sistence of, 98 f. 


Occasionalism, doctrine of, 64 f. ; cannot furnish a theory, 65 ; Leibnitz's 

view of, 66. 
Ontology, conception of, 10, 15 f. 


Phenomenon, always of some Thing, 48 f. ; the world considered as, 131 f. 

Flan, as related to Mechanism, 117 f. 

" Position," conception of, 15 f., 17, 30 f. ; never without relation, 20 f., 23 f., 

enters into our conception of Thing, 31. 
Propinquity, Herbart's doctrine of, 104 f. 


Quality, of Things, 26, 28 f., 32 f., 34, 35; 37 f., 130 ; Herbart's view of, 28 f. ; 
always adjective, 29 ; Simple cannot change their content, 32 f. ; known 
only by experience, 148 f. 


Reality, conception of, 35 f. ; as ideal content, 41 f., 42 (note); unity of, 

48 f., 109 f., 113, 115; identity of, 53 f.; is self-being, 138 f., 154 f.; of 

Things, 139 f. 
Eelations, necessary to Being, i8ff. ; involved in Things, 25 f., 85; classes 

of, 31 f. ; as explaining causation, 68 ; intellectual, of Things, 85 ; of 

time-form, 91. 

l66 INDEX. 


Schelling, doctrine of Absolute, 8; deduction of space, 88; on identity of 

Thought and Being, 145. 
Soul, idea of the essence of. 43 f. 
Space, 78 ff. ; conception of, 79 ff. ; an intuition, 79, 80 ; not self-subsisting 

form, 81, 105 f. ; erroneous definitions of, 81 f. ; not between Things, 

82 f.; ideal character of, 84 f.; Kant's doctrine criticised, 84^,87; no 

deduction of, 87 f. ; as filled by matter, 102 f., 106. 
Spirit, as real Being, 145, 146 f. ; the Highest Good, 151 f., 153, 158 f. 
State, belonging to Thing, 45 f. ; connected with change, 53 f. 
" Stuff," conception of, 29 f., 38 f. ; as related to essence, 39. 
Substance, conception of, 30 f. (see " Stuff"). 


Things, Kant's doctrine of, 7 ; ordinary view of, 16, 77 ; no unrelated Being 
in, 22 f. ; true conception of, 25 f., 30 f. ; properties of, 26 f., 28 f. ; quality 
of, never simple, 28 f., 37, 130 ; essence of, 32 f., 36, 37 f., 42, 45, 52, 139 f. ; 
unity of, 34, 71 f., 77, 140; reality of, 37, 130 f., 136 f., 140 f., 146 f. ; law, as 
the essence of, 36 f.; an Idea, 42; states belong to, 54 f.; action of, 
55 f., 58 f., 69,70; never independent, 71 f. ; no space between, 82; as 
modifications of one Absolute, 86, 114, 155 ; motion of, 94 f., 97 ; knowl- 
edge of, in themselves, 96 f., 103 f. 

Thought, as related to reality, 42. 

Time, conception of, 88 f., 90; no intuition of, as infinite, 89; relation to 
space, 89 f.; empty time impossible, 90, 92; ideal character of, 90 f., 
93 f. ; difficulties of, 90 f. 


Weisse, on the Absolute, 156. 

World, in Space and Time, 131 f. ; objectivity of, 134 f., 143 f.; and God, 



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