CORNELL STUDIES IN PHILOSOPHY
SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM
KANTS THEORY OF EXPERIENCE
RADOSLAV A. TSANOFF, A.B., PH.D.
FORMERLY SCHOLAR AND FELLOW IN THE SAGE SCHOOL OF PHILOSOPHY
LONGMANS, GREEN, & COMPANY
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The writer has found the literature on Schopenhauer in English
comparatively meagre on the technical side, particularly with
respect to Schopenhauer s criticism of the Kantian philosophy.
Professor Caldwell s article on "Schopenhauer s Criticism of
Kant" in Mind (Vol. XVI, 1891, pp. 355-374) is, of course,
a direct contribution to the subject, but, in his bulky volume,
Schopenhauer s System in its Philosophical Significance (New
York, 1896), Professor Caldwell does not discuss in any detail
Schopenhauer s opinions upon Kant and Kant s works" (p. x),
believing quite seriously "not only that Schopenhauer himself
made little serious attempt to correlate his own thought with any
other system in existence (save perhaps the Kantian philosophy),
but that he did not care in the least to be understood 1 (p. 35).
The articles containing the controversy between J. Hutchison
Stirling and Edward Caird concerning Schopenhauer s inter
pretation and criticism of Kant, particularly with respect to
the deduction of the categories, in the Journal of Speculative
Philosophy (Vol. XIII, pp. 1-50, 215-220; Vol. XIV, pp. 49-134,
353-376), comprise, to the best of my knowledge, the longest
discussion in English of problems directly connected with
the subject of the present investigation. But Caird s articles
are concerned mainly with explaining his own interpretation of
Kant, and lay little stress upon Schopenhauer s particular
criticisms; whereas Stirling s articles, written in a too contro
versial spirit and full of irrelevant personal disputation, fail,
I think, to approach the problem from a significant point of
view. Professor Colvin s thesis, Schopenhauer s Doctrine of the
Thing-in-itself and His Attempt to Relate It to the World of
Phenomena (Providence, 1897), contains a discussion of that
problem from an historical point of view, but I have had no
occasion to make direct use of it. Professor Wallace s Life of
Arthur Schopenhauer (London, 1890), in the Great Writers series,
is much the best book on Schopenhauer that has appeared in
English. Wallace s portrayal of Schopenhauer is admirable, and
the book as a whole is as good an introduction to Schopenhauer s
philosophy as could well be desired. But, of course, it is no more
than a brief introduction can be, and is not concerned with the
technical treatment of Schopenhauer s criticism of Kant.
Of the standard works on Schopenhauer in German and French,
few contain any at all extended treatment of his relation to
Kant. In Kuno Fischer s systematic study of his philosophy,
Arthur Schopenhauer, in his Geschichte der neueren Philosophic,
Vol. VIII (Heidelberg, 1893), only a few pages are devoted to
the technical treatment of our particular problem ; and Johannes
Volkelt, in his lucidly written volume, Arthur Schopenhauer,
seine Personlichkeit, seine Lehre, sein Glaube (Stuttgart, 1900), in
Frommanns Klassiker der Philosophic, while having the Critical
point of view clearly in mind in his analysis of Schopenhauer s
epistemology, is nevertheless concerned chiefly with Schopen
hauer s own position, and does not therefore discuss in detail the
significance of Schopenhauer s criticism of Kant s philosophy.
Ribot s La philosophic de Schopenhauer (Paris, 1890) and Bos-
sert s Schopenhauer, Vhomme et le philosophe (Paris, 1904) each
devote a chapter to a brief outline of the "Appendix" to The
World as Will and Idea.
There are several monographs having a more or less direct
bearing upon the subject of the present study. I should mention
first of all Dr. Raoul Richter s dissertation, Schopenhauer s
Verhdltnis zu Kant in seinen Grundzugen (Leipzig, 1893), a study
which, in painstaking analysis, keenness of penetration, and
lucidity of exposition, already promised what that scholarly
author has fulfilled in his later works. Dr. Richter approaches
the problem by contrasting Kant and Schopenhauer as men,
thinkers, and writers, and exhibiting a corresponding contrast
between their systems. The technical nature of my own study
has led me to lay less stress upon the psychological aspects of the
problem, and to consider rather the inherent incompatibility
of the two systems themselves. I regret that I did not have
access to Dr. Richter s dissertation until after my work had been
nearly completed. Nevertheless, I have made occasional refer
ences to his views in the footnotes. Georg Albert s Kant s
trans scendentale Logik, mit besonderer Berilcksichtigung der Scho-
penhauerschen Kritik der Kantischen Philosophic (Wien, 1895) is a
well written and very suggestive monograph. Mscislaw Warten-
berg s articles, "Der Begriff des transscendentalen Gegenstandes
bei Kant und Schopenhauers Kritik desselben : Eine Recht-
fertigung Kants," in Kantstudien (Vol. IV, pp. 202-231; Vol. V,
pp. 145-176), contain a systematic discussion of that particular
problem, and show a thorough grasp of some fundamental issues.
References could be made, of course, to many other books on
Schopenhauer, were it not for the fact that they have no very
direct bearing upon our special problem. It has not been my
intention to give here a list of the books which I have had
occasion to use. I merely wish to call attention to the fact that
the better known writers on Schopenhauer have not given his
criticism of Kant s theory of experience the share of attention
which I think it deserves.
In making references to Schopenhauer s works, the Grisebach
edition of the Werke, in Reclam s Universal-Bibliothek (Leipzig,
6 volumes) has been used throughout. The inaccurate and un
reliable character of Frauenstadt s edition, formerly regarded as
the standard, has been pointed out by many recent writers on
Schopenhauer, and Grisebach s edition has gained in popularity.
(Cf. Kuno Fischer, op. cit., pp. 140-146; Bossert, op. cit., pp.
vi-vii; Paulsen, Schopenhauer, Hamlet, Mephistopheles, Berlin,
1900, p. 3. Volkelt, op. cit., p. 359, also refers to the "muster-
giiltigen" edition of Grisebach.) Quotations from The World as
Will and Idea are given according to the admirable English
translation by R. B. Haldane and J. Kemp (fourth edition,
London, 1896), in The English and Foreign Philosophical Library .
The references to Kant s Critique of Pure Reason are to the first
edition unless otherwise stated ; cross-references are always given
to Max Miiller s translation (second edition, New York, 1896),
which has been used for the quotations.
I wish to express my gratitude to Professors J. E. Creighton,
W. A. Hammond, and Frank Thilly, of The Sage School of
Philosophy, /or valuable suggestions and generous help in the
course of my work. Professor Thilly also kindly allowed me access
to his collection of Schopenhauer literature. Above all, however,
I am profoundly indebted to the sympathetic guidance and
helpful criticism of Professor Ernest Albee, who is largely respon
sible for whatever this monograph may possess of logical coher
ence and technical accuracy, though not, of course, for the par
ticular views expressed. I wish also to thank Professor S. F.
MacLennan, of Oberlin College, my first teacher in philosophy,
who introduced me to the study of both Kant and Schopenhauer,
for his kindness in looking over the proofs.
RADOSLAV A. TSANOFF.
NEW YORK CITY,
Introduction ......................................... ix
The Nature and Genesis of Experience: Perception and
Conception ........................................ I
The Principles of Organization in Experience: The Deduc
tion and the Real Significance of the Categories ........ 23
The Scope and Limits of Experience: Transcendental
Dialectic .......................................... 43
Experience and Reality: The Will as the Thing-in-itself. . 62
Schopenhauer s interpretation and criticism of Kant s theory
of experience is also an indispensable commentary upon the
technical side of his own philosophical system, and for this reason
alone would deserve more serious attention than it has generally
received. That Schopenhauer professes to base his own philos
ophy directly upon that of Kant, or upon that part of the
Critical philosophy which he approves of, must be evident to
all readers of The World as Will and Idea. His scornful re
pudiation of the other Post-Kantians is almost as evident as his
reverence for the master, when he says in the Preface: "The
philosophy of Kant ... is the only philosophy with which a
thorough acquaintance is directly presupposed in what we have
to say here." 1
But, though Schopenhauer is fond of representing himself as
the true successor of Kant, he is anything but a mere disciple of the
older philosopher. His thoroughgoing criticism of Kant s theory
of experience, at once highly technical and decidedly unconven
tional, is generally suggestive and often illuminating, even where
it signally fails to offer adequate solutions of the problems
considered. As might be expected, Schopenhauer shows little
capacity for sympathetic interpretation. His style is almost
invariably controversial, his point of view always distinctly his
own. To reinterpret and rectify Kant in the spirit of his own
epistemological phenomenalism and voluntaristic metaphysics,
and, while laying bare the inconsistencies of his master, clearly
to indicate the inevitableness of his own proffered solutions, and
thus establish firmly the grounds of his claim that between Kant
and himself nothing has been done in philosophy and that he is
Kant s immediate successor, these are the aims of the Appendix
1 G., I, p. 13; H.K., I, p. xii. For the sake of convenience, Grisebach s edition
of Schopenhauer s works is referred to as G., Haldane and Kemp s translation of
The World as Will and Idea, as H.K., the first edition of the Kritik der reinen Ver-
nunft, as Kr. d. r. V., and Max M filler s translation, as M. The other references
to The World as Will and Idea, which contains the major portion
of Schopenhauer s systematic criticism of the Kantian philosophy.
It is as an apologist for and defender of Kant at his best, and
often against himself, that Schopenhauer constantly addresses
himself to his readers. He would free Kant s philosophy from
its excrescences and show its essential meaning ; he would expose
the charlatanry of the university professors who have distorted
the master s doctrine. His own system is intended not so much
to supersede as to complete Kant s work; for the essential prin
ciples of Kantianism, he always insists, can never be superseded.
Perhaps the most convenient way to indicate the general spirit
of Schopenhauer s interpretation of the Kantian philosophy will
be to state briefly what he considered to be Kant s three incon
testable achievements in the quest of truth. 1 Kant s greatest
merit in philosophy Schopenhauer finds in the fact that he dis
tinguished clearly between the phenomenon and the thing-in-
itself. The inner nature of reality is hidden from our knowledge
by the intercepting intellect; our experience is fundamentally
intellectual. In reaching this momentous conclusion, Kant
clearly formulated and carried out to its logical results a doctrine
already implicit in Locke s Essay concerning Human Under
standing. Locke explained the so-called secondary qualities
of things as mere affections of the senses. This line of argu
ment, which Locke had employed only in the case of the sec
ondary qualities, Berkeley and Hume extended to the whole
range of experience. Berkeley, as Schopenhauer says, first
showed himself in earnest with the subjective standpoint, and
may thus be regarded as "the originator of the proper and true
Idealism," 2 in that he shows the identity of existence and per
ceptibility. But Berkeley did not know where to find the Real, 3
and borrowed from theology the notion of spiritual substance,
while rejecting that of material substance. Hume, making a
more consistent and thoroughgoing application of the method
1 The following outline will adhere in the main to Schopenhauer s order in the
"Criticism of the Kantian Philosophy," as given in the "Appendix" to The World
as Will and Idea.
2 G., IV, p. 26; Bax, Schopenhauer s Essays, in Bohn s Library, p. 13.
3 G., IV, p. 26; Bax, p. 14.
which Berkeley had followed to the extent of disproving the
existence of material substance, showed that the notion of spir
itual substance was equally untenable. Moreover, his destruc
tive analysis of the law of causality led him to the conclusion
that no necessary connection obtained in experience.
Kant, correcting the conclusions which Hume had drawn
from his wider application of the Lockean method, indicated the
real significance of the empirical point of view and systematized
the results of British empiricism. That is to say, Kant reinter
preted the meaning of these results; for him they did not lead,
as they did for Hume, to any sceptical conclusions con
cerning experience. He first brought out clearly the general
implications of the idealistic point of view, a thing which Berke
ley had been unable to do, because of the narrowness of his
line of attack, confined as that was to one point. 1 The distinc
tion between phenomena and things-in-themselves, and the
necessary limitation of experience to the former, principles
which now for the first time were consistently formulated,
revealed the half-hidden meaning of dimly felt truths in Plato
and the Vedic writers; they showed at the same time the funda
mentally false starting-point of Kant s rationalistic predecessors,
with their demand for eternal truths. The recognition of the
fact that these truths themselves had their origin and basis in
the human mind, and that their supposedly absolute validity
was, as a matter of fact, restricted to phenomenal experience,
shook the very foundations of pre-Kantian dogmatism. No
wonder that Mendelssohn, the last of the sleepers, called
Kant "den Alleszermalmer." 2 This is the Copernican reversal
of method which Kant inaugurated. Instead of starting with
certain ultimate and immutable truths, as the rationalists had
done, Kant took these truths themselves as problems, and,
by discovering their real source in the human mind, and their
purely experiential validity, laid the foundations of a real
philosophy of experience. 3 His theory of knowledge, however,
involved a frank recognition of the fact that our experience con-
iG., I. p. 542; H.K., II, p. 15.
2 G., I, p. 537; H. K., II, p. 9.
C/. G., I, pp. 537 f-J H.K., II, pp. 9 ff-
cerns only phenomena, and does not extend to things-in-them-
A second immortal achievement of the Critical Philosophy,
according to Schopenhauer, is its assertion of the primacy of
the Will. For Kant, the nature of the thing-in-itself remained
in a large measure an untouched problem. Yet, in so far as he
established its non-intellectual character, and, furthermore,,
explained, the undeniably metaphysical significance of human
action as passing beyond the pale of the phenomenal, in so far
Schopenhauer thinks that Kant was dimly conscious of that truth
which he himself was the first clearly to expound and formulate,,
the truth, namely, that the Will is the Weltprincip. That this
truth of all truths should have been implicitly present in Kant s
thought, Schopenhauer regards as a deeply significant fact, in
that it connects his own philosophy with that of Kant.
The third permanent resultof Kant s philosophy, Schopenhauer
thinks, is its complete refutation of Scholasticism, which had
treated philosophy as ancillary to theology and had dominated
the thought of almost every philosopher since Augustine, Gior
dano Bruno and Spinoza being the notable exceptions. The
deathblow which the Critique of Pure Reason dealt to the rational
istic psychology, cosmology, and theology was salutary alike
to philosophy and to natural science; it liberated both from the
shackles of creed-prejudice and allowed philosophical investi
gation free play in its search after truth. 1
The salient points of Schopenhauer s appreciative introduction
to his criticism of Kant s philosophy have been noted briefly.
The problems it raises, touching as they do epistemology, meta
physics, and theology, and suggesting the tenor of Schopenhauer s
whole philosophy, cannot be considered to advantage until
after a detailed examination of what Schopenhauer asserts to
be Kant s epistemological errors, and a discussion of the funda
mental principles of his own philosophy, which he invariably
advocates as offering the only logical solution of every real
Kantian problem. It will be well, however, to keep in mind
from the very start these three conclusions of Kant s philosophy,
C/. G., IV, pp. 118 ff.
which Schopenhauer regards as most significant and, indeed, as
incontrovertible, (i) Philosophy must recognize the purely
phenomenal character of knowledge. This indicates, positively,
the phenomenalistic character of Schopenhauer s own epis-
temology; negatively, it opens the door to illusionism. (2)
Philosophy must realize the primacy of Will over Reason. Posi
tively, again, this may be interpreted as an insistence upon the dy
namic nature of experience, as opposed to the contrary tendency
of rationalism. Negatively, and it is the negative side that
is unduly prominent in Scopenhauer s own system, the recog
nition of the primacy of the Will leads to the dogmatic assertion
of the ultimately irrational character of reality, and points
to a pessimistic conclusion. (3) Philosophy must be kept
distinct from theology. This means the rejection of any tran
scendent principles of explanation, and the repudiation of all
dogmatism. These three aspects of Kant s philosophy, as inter
preted by Schopenhauer, are merely indicated here. To analyze
them closely and to inquire into their consistency and philo
sophical significance, as well as to determine as nearly as possible
their historical value as interpretations of Kant s philosophy,
will be the object of this study.
THE NATURE AND GENESIS OF EXPERIENCE:
PERCEPTION AND CONCEPTION.
The problem of the relative functions of Perception and Con
ception in the genesis of experience raises the fundamental epis-
temological issue which split early modern philosophy in twain,
and the partial solution of which is one of the most substantial
achievements of modern logic. At the dawn of modern philos
ophy we find the old scholastic dispute of Nominalism vs.
Realism assuming a new form. The rationalistic world of eter
nal truths/ while having a certain abstract coherence of its own,
lacks any vital relation to the flesh-and-blood world of sense-
experience. If the actual facts are not in accord with its concep
tual scheme, then, Schopenhauer says, experience is "given
to understand that it knows nothing of the matter and
ought to hold its tongue when philosophy has spoken a
priori." 1 The revolt against this worship of the abstract uni
versal was represented by empiricism, which grounded its truths
in sense-experience and sought to explain all knowledge as
having its origin in perception. Rationalism had distrusted
the impressions of the senses, and viewed Reality from the
standpoint of its conceptual system, constructed by a process of
logical deduction from certain truths which were regarded as
axiomatic. For empiricism, on the other hand, the test of
Reality was to be found, not in the formal coherence of an
abstractly deduced system of concepts, but in the vividness and
immediate certainty of actual sense-experience.
Reality itself was conceived by both schools as in some sense
the transcendent ground of experience, either as the ultimate
basis of the rationalistic system of concepts, or else as the I
know not what, accounting for the immediate presence of sense-
experience. Empiricism and Rationalism differed as to whether
iG., I. p. 538; H.K., II, p. ii.
2 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
the real nature of things was more adequately to be defined in
perceptual or in conceptual terms; that is to say, the dispute
between them was primarily an epistemological one. But pre-
Kantian philosophy was unable to solve the problem as to the
relation between perception and conception precisely because of
its inadequate understanding of the relation between experience
and reality. And here is where Schopenhauer finds the great signifi
cance of Kant s reconstruction of philosophy. "The main tend
ency of the Kantian philosophy," he says, "is to place before us
the complete diversity of the Ideal and Real, after Locke had
already broken ground." 1 Kant proved that the categories of
knowledge cannot apply to the Real, and thus ended dogmatic
philosophy once for all. The Critique of Pure Reason, Schopen
hauer thinks, showed the spanless chasm which, for epistemology,
separates cognitive experience from Reality. But he holds that
Kant, while restating the problem of perception and conception
and putting it upon a new epistemological basis, was far from clear
and consistent in his own treatment. Schopenhauer criticises
severely what he calls Kant s "unfortunate confusion" 2 of per
ception and conception, and regards this as responsible for a
mass of inconsistencies in the Critique. "After he has . . .
dismissed this whole world of perception which fills space and
time, and in which we live and are, with the meaningless words
the empirical content of perception is given us, he immediately
arrives with one spring at the logical basis of his whole philosophy,
the table of judgments ." 3 But "the world of perception," Schopen
hauer argues, "is infinitely more significant, generally present,
and rich in content than the abstract part of our knowledge." 4
If Kant had given as much attention to the concrete content of
experience as to the pattern of its formal organization, he would
have realized, Schopenhauer thinks, the fundamental distinction
between perception and conception, a distinction which for
Schopenhauer himself determines the plan of his whole epistemo
logical structure. The Kantian object of experience is neither
J G., IV, p. 106; Bax, Schopenhauer s Essays, London, 1891, p. 99.
2 G., I, p. 558; H.K., II, p. 32.
3G., I, pp. 549-SSo; H.K., II, p. 23.
4 G., I, p. 55i; H.K., II, p. 24.
NATURE AND GENESIS OF EXPERIENCE. 3
perceptual nor conceptual: it is "different from both, and yet
both at once, and is a perfect chimera." 1
Schopenhauer s way of looking at the matter is not wholly
wrong, but he misses what is after all the fundamental significance
of the Critical position. Kant s insistence upon the phenomenal
character of our whole experience, perceptual and conceptual
alike, certainly helped to emancipate philosophy from the un
warranted assumptions of the earlier dogmatism. The Critique
of Pure Reason has no pledges to keep : its fundamental postulate
is the inevitable one of respect for its own problem, the postulate,
namely, of the intelligibility of experience. To show that expe
rience is possible and that it is somehow intelligible, is no problem
for any philosophy that realizes its proper task. To explain
the nature of experience and the manner of its organization,
however, is the problem. Only in this sense can we ask: How
is experience possible? Experience is not a cryptogram, to be
transliterated by the use of any transcendent formula; it carries
its solution in its own bosom. No one of its aspects has signifi
cance apart from the rest. This standpoint, involved in the
very presupposition of the intelligibility of experience, deter
mines at the outset the Critical procedure. For neither are
concepts mere mutilated copies of sense-impressions, nor are
perceptions confused concepts, but the perceptual and the con
ceptual are both factors in the organic unity of experience.
"Thoughts without contents are empty, intuitions without concepts
are blind." 2 This is the fundamental guiding principle of Kant s
entire philosophy: the transcendent must give way to the tran
scendental, and a Critical epistemology supplant its ontologizing
Whether Kant himself, in denying the possibility of a science
of metaphysics, denied along with it the metaphysical significance
of experience, 4 and whether he carried his epistemological inten
tion consistently through, are matters which had better be dis
cussed later. The point here is, that the raison d etre of the
G., I, p. 558; H.K., II, p. 32.
*Kr. d. r. V., p. 51; M., p. 41.
3 C/. Kr. d. r. V., p. 12; M., p. 10 ; G., IV, pp. 101 ff.
4 Cf. Riehl, Der philosophische Kritizismus, Vol. I, Leipzig, 1908, p. 584.
4 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
Critique of Pure Reason, the significance of its novel standpoint,
and the reason why in it both empiricism and rationalism were
aufgehoben (in the twofold Hegelian sense of that term 1 ), are to
be found, not in its solution of the specific question as to whether
perception or conception is epistemologically prior, but in the
fact that it indicated the true method of approaching the problem.
In dealing with our experience from the transcendental point of
view, Kant showed that the conflict between empiricism and
rationalism lacked all ontological significance. Neither percep
tion nor conception alone could any longer possibly claim to
represent reality, for both were shown to be mutually involved
in the very nature of experience.
Schopenhauer recognizes the importance of Kant s account of
the relation of experience to reality, but he fails to realize that
the Critical method necessitates a restatement of the whole
problem of perception and conception and of the genesis of
knowledge. In order to understand at once the significance and
the inadequacy of Schopenhauer s position, one should follow
carefully his consecutive analysis and criticism of Kant s theory
Schopenhauer s admiration for the Transcendental ^Esthetic
is evident. " The Transcendental Esthetic," he says, " is a work
of such extraordinary merit that it alone would have been suffi
cient to immortalize the name of Kant. Its proofs carry such
perfect conviction, that I number its propositions among in
contestable truths, and without doubt they are also among those
that are richest in results, and are, therefore, to be regarded as
the rarest thing in the world, a real and great discovery in meta
physics." 2 In demonstrating that "space and time, no less than
causality, are known by us a priori, that is, lie in us before all ex
perience, and hence belong to the subjective side of knowledge," 3
Kant not only completed the work of Hume, but, in completing
it, reconstructed it and gave it an entirely new significance.
Up to a certain point Schopenhauer seems right. Indeed,
an interesting parallel might be drawn between the development
1 Logic (Wallace s transl.), Oxford, 1892, p. 180.
*G., I, p. 558; H.K., II, p. 32.
3 G., IV, p. 32; Bax., p. 20.
NATURE AND GENESIS OF EXPERIENCE. 5
of the phenomenalistic conception of space and time and the
genesis of modern epistemology. The scholastic conception of
space, as a metaphysical entity enclosing the finite universe,
proved inadequate to meet the issues of modern theory of knowl
edge. In early rationalism, to be sure, something corresponding
to the old notion long retained a lodging place. In Descartes s
philosophy space is indubitably real, since it is regarded as the
essence of corporeal substance, 1 and Spinoza insists that extension
is one of the infinite attributes of God. 2 This realistic theory
of space Descartes and Spinoza held side by side with an
opposite estimate of time, which they explained as subjective,
derived from the mere correlation of represented motions, and
lacking all metaphysical reality. 3 British empiricism, however,
grew emphatic in its insistence on the experiential character of
space and time alike. In Locke this tendency finds expression
in his opposition to Descartes s identification of space with cor
poreal substance. 4 Locke s protest is based largely on his agnos
tic attitude concerning substance; this remained for him the I
know not what, to identify which with extension he regarded
as a serious fallacy. 5 The idea of space, according to Locke s
theory, has its origin in our sensations of sight and touch; 6
and time is likewise considered from the standpoint of experience
as explainable only in terms of the succession of ideas. 7 This-,
method of approaching the problem of space and time gained
confidence and exactness of expression in Berkeley and Hume:
space is defined by them as our idea of the orderly distribution of
co-existent objects; time, again, is atomistically viewed as the
succession of discrete moments, corresponding to the sequence
of simple ideas. 8
l Cf. Princ. phiL, Pars II, viii. 2 Ethics, Part I, prop, xv, schoK
3 Cf. Princ. phiL, Pars I, Ivii; Spinoza, Cog. met., I, iv; Eth., II, xlv-xlvii.
Leibniz s theory of space and time differs materially from that of Descartes and
Spinoza, and it has therefore seemed advisable to refer to it separately, after
having indicated the differences between the earlier rationalistic position and
that of British empiricism.
4 Essay concerning Human Understanding, Vol. I, Oxford, 1894, p. 226.
6 Op. cit.. Vol. I, p. 228. Cf. also Book II, chapter xiii, pp. 218-37.
Op. cit., Book II, chapter iv.
7 Op. cit., Vol. I, p. 239; cf. Book II, chapters xiv and xv, pp. 238-269.
8 C/. Berkeley, Works, Vol. I, Oxford, 1871, pp. 206, 282; Hume, Treatise of
Human Nature, Oxford, 1888, pp. 26-68, esp. pp. 36, 38, 53.
O SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
Leibniz s theory of space is relational, quite the opposite of
the Newtonian doctrine of absolute space as the infinite collection
of actual points. Mr. Bertrand Russell considers Leibniz fairly
strong in his argument against the monistic theory of space as
an attribute, but inconclusive in establishing his own conception
of space as an assemblage of relations, a position logically neces
sitated by his monadism. Time Leibniz distinguishes from
duration: duration is an attribute of objects; time is the ideal
measure of duration. Interpretations of Leibniz differ as to the
metaphysical reality of time in his system, and a discussion of
these would necessitate closer attention to his general theory of
monads than seems relevant for the present purpose. Whether
space and time, as ideal relations, obtain in the ontological order
of monads or not, however, the space and time of experience
Leibniz clearly regards as ideal. 1
Thus one sees, alongside of the persistent speculation in modern
philosophy regarding the status of space and time in the tran
scendent world of Reality/ a growing recognition of the fact
that for us they are significant only in terms of experience.
And the development of modern philosophy is characterized by
an increasing realization of the intimate relationship between
;space and time, as co-essential aspects of experience; there is,
as it were, a growing rapprochement between the two.
In Kant s doctrine of the transcendental ideality of space and
time, all the partly thought-out and imperfectly formulated
views of their phenomenal character come to a focus. Space
and time are for Kant the a priori forms of outer and inner
intuition respectively. Their reality is purely experiential ; they
find their application solely within the scope of finite experience,
outside of which they would be utterly meaningless, but within
which they are indispensable, representing as they do its intui
tional basis. The doctrine of the Transcendental Esthetic is
among the very few Kantian theories which Schopenhauer accepts
unreservedly; the modifications he recommends are only by
l See, in this connection, Russell s discussion of Leibniz s theory of space and
time in his admirable book, The Philosophy of Leibniz, Cambridge, 1900. Cf.
chapters ix and x, especially pp. 112 ff. f 118 ff., and also his collection of leading
passages from Leibniz, pp. 230-59.
NATURE AND GENESIS OF EXPERIENCE. 7
way of emphasis and addition. "From the doctrine of the
Transcendental Esthetic," he says, "I knew of nothing to take
away, only of something to add." 1 As against the conceptually
reasoned out procedure of the Euclidean geometry, which Kant
regarded as explainable only on the basis of his theory of space
and time, Schopenhauer champions a new geometry, based on
pure immediate intuition and unimpeded by roundabout, irrele
vant demonstrations. 2
It is not necessary to discuss here the principles of the Tran -
scendental Esthetic in their relation to the Euclidean method in
geometry. 3 Suffice it to say that Schopenhauer s is no voice
crying in the wilderness: his teacher, G. E. Schulze, 4 is one of
the many who have believed that the Transcendental Esthetic
suggests a needed reconstruction of geometry. The significant
point in this connection is Schopenhauer s insistence upon the
distinctly intuitive character of space and time. Critics of
Kant have sometimes characterized his view of space as con
ceptual; 5 others have regarded Euclidean space as distinctly in
tuitional. 6 There can be no room for doubt as to Schopenhauer s
own attitude on the subject. The infinite divisibility and ex
pansion of space and time are for him matters of pure intuition ;
they represent the principium rationis sufficientis essendi, as the
basis of mathematical relatedness underlying geometry and
arithmetic respectively. 7 This their mathematical character is
G., I, p. 559; H.K., II, p. 33-
*C/. G., I, pp. 114-119; H.K., I, pp. 90-96.
C/. Fritz Medicus, "Kants transscendentale Aesthetik unddie nichteuklidische
Geometric," in Kantstudien, Vol. Ill, pp. 261-300.
4 G., I, p. 559; H.K., II, p-33- "One of Kant s opponents, and indeed the
acutest of them," Schopenhauer calls Schulze, in referring to his argument as
presented in the Kritik der theoretischen Philosophic, Book I, sect. 15. Schopen
hauer is not so appreciative when Schulze s views do not happen to coincide with
his own conclusions.
6 C/., e. g., W. Caldwell, "Schopenhauer s Criticism of Kant," in Mind, 1891,
8 C/. Goswin Uphues, Kant und seine Vorgdnger, p. 120. Cf. also Richard
Honigswald s discussion of this point in Kantstudien, Vol. XIII, "Zum Begriff der
kritischen Erkenntnislehre," pp. 409-456, especially pp. 420 ff.
7 C/. Schopenhauer s Table of the "Praedicabilia a priori of Space and Time,"
G., II, pp. 60 ff.; H.K., II, pp. 219 ff. The following brief outline of Schopenhauer s
four classes of objects, as presented in the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Suffi-
8 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
foreign to empirical perception ; the world of perceptual expe
rience is not a space-world and also a time-world, but a space-
Now, after the intuitive basis and the form of perception have
received such a thorough-going treatment at the hands of Kant,
what of its content? Schopenhauer says: "The whole teaching
of Kant contains really nothing more about this than the oft-
repeated meaningless expression : The empirical element in per
ception is given from without. " 1 And here it is that Schopen
hauer discovers Kant s Trparov T/reuSo?. "Our knowledge," Kant
says, "has two sources, receptivity of impressions and sponta
neity of conceptions: the first is the capacity for receiving ideas,
the second that of knowing an object through these ideas:
through the first an object is given us, through the second it is
thought." 2 This theory of the conceptualizing of the material
of sense-impressions into so-called objective experience, Scho
penhauer repudiates as false. The object, the Vorstellung, is not
given us. What is actually given, he insists, is the raw sensa
tion, i. e., the mere stimulation of a sense-organ. By means of
the twofold form of space-time, whose union yields causal related-
ness, the understanding transforms this primal meaningless sense-
organ stimulation into a perception, an idea, a Vorstellung,
"which now exists as an object in space and time, and cannot
be distinguished from the latter (the object) except in so far as
we ask after the thing-in-itself, but apart from this is identical
with it." 3 "It is only when the Understanding begins to act
dent Reason, does not follow Schopenhauer s own order (principium rationis suf-
ficientis fiendi, cognoscendi, essendi, agendi) ; it has been adapted rather to the order
of the general argument in the Kritik der Kantischen Philosophic, which order has
been the one usually followed in this monograph. The change in the order of
exposition does not affect the force of the argument as presented in the Fourfold
Root, and it indicates more adequately and with greater clearness, I trust, Schopen
hauer s fundamental epistemological principles, as distinguished from those of
G M I, p. 560; H.K., II, p. 34.
9 Ibid.; cf. Kr. d. r. V., p. 50; M., p. 40.
3 G., I, p. 560; H.K., II, p. 34. Cf. also Section 21 of the Fourfold Root of the
Principle of Sufficient Reason (G., Ill, pp. 64 ff.; Hillebrand s translation, Bohn s
Library, pp. 58 ff.), in which Schopenhauer demonstrates at length the a priori
character of the conception of causality and the intellectual character of empirical
NATURE AND GENESIS OF EXPERIENCE. 9
. . . only when it begins to apply its sole form, the causal law,
that a powerful transformation takes place, by which subjective
sensation becomes objective perception. . . . Accordingly our
every-day empirical perception is an intellectual one. . . . ?1
Experience, then, arises for Schopenhauer, not through the con
ceptualizing of the intuitions of sense, as he understands Kant
to hold, but through the intervention of the understanding,
which he regards as the perceptual faculty par excellence, common
to man and brute alike. The multiform relatedness obtaining
in the perceptual order thus originated, Schopenhauer finds
epitomized in the principium rationis sufficients fiendi, i. e.,
Causality. Spatial co-existence and temporal succession here
fuse into the concrete perceptual process involving causally con
It should be observed here that Schopenhauer s criticism of
Kant s account of the genesis of experience ignores the factor of
the productive or creative imagination. Kant says, for example :
"We must admit a pure transcendental synthesis of imagination
which forms even the foundation of the possibility of all experi
ence." 2 And again: "The whole of our experience becomes pos
sible only by means of that transcendental function of imagi
nation, without which no concepts of objects could ever come
together in one experience." 3 Such passages clearly imply that
unity-in-variety is the condition of the very possibility of expe
rience, i. e., that experience is implicitly, intrinsically organic.
Kant s theory of the productive imagination, in spite of its
vagueness and its too free use of metaphors, as when he speaks
of its work being done in a dark chamber of the soul, is, after
all, his confused expression of a most profound truth. The
organic unity of experience is for Kant a presupposition of its
very possibility ; Kant felt that the unity was there somewhere
in the very essence of experience. This failure on the part of
Schopenhauer to give due recognition to the fundamental role
played by the productive imagination in the Critical theory of
experience, should be kept in mind in estimating the value of
G., Ill, pp. 66, 67; Hillebr., pp. 60, 61.
*Kr. d. r. V., p. 101; M., p. 84.
*Kr. d. r. V., p. 123; M., p. 101.
10 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
his criticism of what he calls the conceptualizing of the perceptual
material in Kant s epistemology.
Schopenhauer spares no pains to impress upon his readers the
exclusively phenomenal character of causality. The Principle
of Becoming affects changes of states alone, changes conditioning
each other in a definite way. "Every change in the material
world can only take place because another has immediately preceded
it; this is the true and the whole content of the law of causality." 1
Substances, Dinge, are altogether beyond its scope. The cause-
effect relation is never a vague one : by cause we always under
stand the temporally antecedent change which actually evokes
the consequent effect. The change formerly considered as
effect then turns cause, evoking in its turn a new change, and
so on ad infinitum. There is a logical as well as a temporal
irreversibility of cause and effect, according to Schopenhauer s
theory, to ignore which irreversibility is to ignore the entire sig
nificance of the causal relation.
In accordance with the equality or inequality of the two
causally connected changes, Schopenhauer distinguishes three
kinds of causation. He says: (i) "I call a cause (Ursach), in
the narrowest sense of the word, that state of matter, which,
while it introduces another state with necessity, yet suffers as
great a change itself as that which it causes; which is expressed
in the rule: action and reaction are equal. Further, in the case
of what is properly speaking a cause, the effect increases directly
in proportion to the cause, and therefore also the reaction." 2
Here belong the mechanical causes of unorganized nature, operat
ing in the phenomena dealt with by mechanics, chemistry, and
the physical sciences generally. (2) "On the other hand," he
says, "I call a stimulus (Reiz), such a cause as sustains no re
action proportional to its effect, and the intensity of which does
not vary directly in proportion to the intensity of its effect, so
that the effect cannot be measured by it." 3 This is the causation
of organic and vegetative nature. (3) We have, moreover, to
consider motive, or animal cause, i. e., causation on the con-
*G., ii, pp. 52-53; H.K., ii, p. 211.
G., I, p. 169; H.K., I, p. 149-
NATURE AND GENESIS OF EXPERIENCE. II
scious plane, operating through knowledge. This is the causality
determining the purely animal functioning of all animals, and
the conscious activity of all conscious beings. 1
Man s faculty of being determined by motives expands his
sphere of causal functioning. In the conflict of motives, however,
the one which actually proves strongest is a cause as truly neces
sary as that impelling the inanimate object in its motion. In
this respect, there is no fundamental distinction between the two.
The consciousness we possess of our ability to determine our
selves through motives is the only consciousness we have of
ourselves as subjects. 2 That is to say, the subject of knowledge,
as such, can never be known, never become an object of repre
sentation. To adapt a passage from the Upanishads: u ld
videndum non est: omnia videt; et audiendum non est: omnia
audit; sciendum non est: omnia scit. . . ." 3 The subject of
knowledge, the knower himself, is known only as willing: a propo
sition which Schopenhauer regards as synthetic a posteriori, 1
derived as it is from our inmost experience. " Introspection
always shows us to ourselves as willing." 4
Looked at from this point of view of volition, the basis of
relatedness of Schopenhauer s next general class of objects be
comes manifest, principium rationis sufficients agendi, i. e.,
Motivation. Here, where the subject of knowledge itself is in
question, the rules affecting objects of representations no longer
apply. The "actual identity of the knower with what is known
as willing that is, of Subject and Object is immediately
given. 115 Schopenhauer calls this the inexplicable nodus of the
universe, "das Wunder tear efo^T/i/."
The bearing of the question of motivation upon the issue of
man s freedom, and the fundamental metaphysical problem
of the relation of knowledge to the Will-Reality, will be duly
considered along with the examination of the Dialectic of
Schopenhauer makes a nice distinction between activity of animals and animal
activity. Cf. Fr. d. Willens, G., Ill, pp. 410-411. In regard to the threefold
division of causes, cf. G., I, pp. 169 ff.; II, pp. 228 ff.
2 G., Ill, p. 158; Hillebr., p. 165.
3 G., Ill, p. 158; Hillebr., p. 166.
<G., Ill, p. 161; Hillebr., p. 168.
G., Ill, p. 161; Hillebr., p. 169.
12 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
Pure Reason and the discussion of the Will as the thing-in-itself .
The significant point in this connection is that, in the three classes
of objects which have been discussed so far, Schopenhauer has
disclaimed any need of conceptions. Space and time yield the
principle of intuitive relatedness: taken separately, they are non-
perceptual pure intuitions; when they are united in concrete
experience, the understanding finds its sole function in transform
ing sense-excitations into causally connected perceptions. The
action of motives, also, the consciousness of self-determination,
while raising metaphysical problems, is yet an immediate
matter, foreign to all conceptual thought. " The action of motives
is causality seen from within" 1 The whole range of immediate
experience, intellectual and volitional alike, has thus been covered
without any reference to abstract thought. Our concrete ex
perience, Schopenhauer declares, requires no thinking, no con
cepts, no abstract categories, to dictate to it any organization
whatever. Perception leaps out of its sensation-shell complete
and perfect. If, however, we abandon concrete experience and
look for help from conceptions, then, he says, we find the intel
lectual faculty of the understanding to be of no avail. Thoughts
are not present in perceptual, that is to say (for Schopenhauer)
concrete experience; they are the result of abstraction, and the
faculty operating in the process which releases them is what
Schopenhauer calls Reason (Vernunft).
Here, then, we have Schopenhauer s clear-cut distinction be
tween Vet "stand and Vernunft in so many words. Understanding
is the faculty of perception, which man shares with the higher
animals. Its machinery is quite simple: through the union of
space and time it endows the material of sensation with causal
relatedness. Reason, on the contrary, is the faculty of reflection,
and of reflection alone. Its stock in trade is conceptions, which
are derived from perceptions by a process of abstraction; but
they "form a distinct class of ideas, existing only in the mind of
man, and entirely different from the ideas of perception." 2 Per
ception always remains the asymptote of conception; 3 what a
J G., Ill, p. 163; Hillebr., p. 171.
G., I, p. 77; H.K., I, p. 50.
"G., I, p. 995 H.K., I, p. 74-
NATURE AND GENESIS OF EXPERIENCE. 13
conception gains in range of application, it loses in concreteness
of meaning: "the content and the extent of the concepts stand
in inverse relation to each other, and thus the more is thought
under a concept, the less is thought in it. . . ." l
Schopenhauer s view of conception is thus not unlike Hume s:
"Reflection is the necessary copy or repetition of the originally
presented world of perception, but it is a special kind of copy
in an entirely different material. Thus concepts may quite
properly be called ideas of ideas." 2 Reality and certainty are
given only in perception, not in the conceptual structures of
science. These latter generalize, systematize, and store for future
reference our knowledge of ideas; but the concrete test of their
validity Schopenhauer finds in terms, not of immanent organi
zation, but of perceptual immediacy. The connection obtaining
in the process of abstraction, which yields conceptions by the
selective elimination of differences, is that of reason and con
sequent, corresponding to the cause-effect relation of the per
ceptual world of the understanding. This is the last form of the
Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason : principium
rationis sufficientis cognoscendi. Just as the demonstration of a
causal connection between two perceptible changes establishes
the phenomenal reality of the process considered, so, by virtue
of the fact that a judgment has a sufficient reason, the predicate
true* is applicable to it.
Conceptual relatedness is a form of the selfsame principle
which, in the world of perceptual changes, assumes the form of
causality, though the cognitive content involved in the two cases
is fundamentally different. Schopenhauer repudiates any con
fusion of the one Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient
Reason with the multiform character of its several spheres of
operation. 3 Reasoning clarifies the abstract content of concep-
1 G., II, p. 74; H.K., II, p. 236. *G., I, p. 78; H.K., I, p. 52.
8 The tendency, already present in the Fourfold Root, to insist upon the four dif
ferent classes of objects, while stoutly maintaining the oneness of the fourfold prin
ciple, becomes clearly manifest in Schopenhauer s later writings, where the sharpest
separation is maintained between perceptual knowledge and conceptual thought.
The principles of Becoming and of Knowing part company, and one discerns a
fatal tendency to regard the Fourfold Root as four roots. This fact shows the
inadequacy of Schopenhauer s fundamental epistemological position, which will be
discussed later, in the critical portion of this chapter.
14 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
tions, assigns their limits of application, and establishes their
perceptual genealogy. But conceptions are never what is first,
they provide the thinking subject with no new knowledge; far
from being the necessary conditions of the possibility of percep
tion, they themselves "receive their content only from the per
ceptible idea, which is therefore primary knowledge (Urerkennt-
niss), and has consequently alone to be taken account of in an
investigation of the relation between the ideal and the real." 1
The concept is a vassal in epistemology, lacking all autonomy;
you can take out of it only what you first put into it through
perception. Schopenhauer follows Hume in demanding of each
conception its passport showing a legitimate perceptual ancestry,
and regards all self-originating rational concepts as the vain
fictions of "the pure self-thinking absolute Idea, the scene of the
ballet-dance of the self-moving conceptions," 2 an expression
which calls to mind Mr. Bradley s famous turn of the phrase. 5
How does this apparently clear and consistent theory of the
relation between perception and conception compare with what
Schopenhauer regards as Kant s account of the genesis of knowl
With his characteristically sharp eye for details, Schopenhauer
brings together a list of definitions which apparently show Kant s
utter confusion as to what he meant by understanding and by
reason. The list is rather long and, in some respects, suggestive.
Reason is defined by Kant as the faculty supplying the principles
of knowledge a priori,* and is as such opposed to the understand
ing as the faculty of rules, 5 a distinction which Schopenhauer,
properly enough, calls "arbitrary and inadmissible." 6 Kant, how
ever, calls the understanding not only the faculty of rules, 7 but also
the source of principles, 8 the "power of producing representations,
!G., II, p. 223; H.K., II, p. 401.
2 G., Ill, p. 140; Hillebr., p. 145.
3 Principles of Logic, London, 1883, p. 533.
*Kr. d. r. V., p. u; M., p. 9.
6 Kr. d. r. V., p. 299; M., p. 243.
6 G., I, p. 552; HK., II, p. 26.
">Kr. d. r. V., pp. 132, 302; M., pp. 108, 245.
*Kr. d. r. V., p. 158; M., pp. 129-130. There are other abstract distinctions
which Kant makes and which Schopenhauer opposes for no obvious reasons. Thus
Kant calls mere judging the work of the understanding (Kr. d. r. V., p. 69; M., p.
NATURE AND GENESIS OF EXPERIENCE. 15
or the spontaneity of knowledge," 1 the faculty of judging, 2 the
faculty of concepts, 3 and the faculty of cognitions generally. 4
Reason, again, is variously described as the faculty of judging
mediately, 5 as the constant condition of all free actions of man, 6
as the ground of all concepts, opinions, and assertions, 7 as the
faculty which organizes and systematizes conceptions, 8 as the
faculty of deducing the particular from the general, 9 and so forth. 10
Now, from all this lack of consistency in his terminology,
Schopenhauer argues Kant s utter confusion of understanding
and reason. This perplexity on Kant s part Schopenhauer finds
not difficult to explain, from his own point of view: neither of the
two faculties is assigned a definite function, just because Kant
failed to recognize their respective spheres of operation. It is
in the failure sharply to discriminate between perception and
conception that Schopenhauer finds the ground of that "heillosen
Vermischung" 11 which mars the entire Transcendental Logic.
How do perception and conception each affect the genesis of the
57), and reason the faculty of inference (Kr. d. r. V., pp. 303, 330; M., pp. 246,
268). Now Schopenhauer himself regards judging as a sort of bridge between
perception and conception (G., I, pp. 108 ff.; H.K., II, pp. 84 ff.; cf. also the discus
sion of Schopenhauer s theory of judgment in Chapter II of this monograph), and
inference as the conceptual connection of judgments with each other; so that the
Kantian distinction, as interpreted by Schopenhauer, would seem to be not wholly
out of accord with his own position. Of course, no such abstract distinction be
tween judgment and inference could be valid for modern logic, which insists with
increasing emphasis upon the unitary character of the judgment-process, involving
judgment and inference alike. It is therefore hard to see in what respect Schopen
hauer s explicit separation of what, as a matter of fact, is inseparable is less open to
criticism than Kant s confused and inconsistent distinction, confused because out
of harmony with his own fundamentally organic conception of experience.
I Kr. d. r. V., p. 51; M., p. 41.
*Kr. d. r. V., p. 69; M., p. 57.
3 Kr. d. r. V., p. 160; M., p. 130.
<Kr. d. r. V., II Aufl., p. 137; M., p. 749.
*Kr. d. r. V., p. 330; M., p. 268.
t Kr. d. r. V., p. 553; M., p. 447.
7 Kr. d. r. V., p. 614; M., p. 494.
*Kr. d. r, V., pp. 634 f.; M., pp. 517 f.
Kr. d. r. V., p. 646; M., p. 520.
10 Note Schopenhauer s failure to recognize here the important Kantian distinc
tion between understanding and reason, as dealing with the conditioned and the
unconditioned respectively. This point is taken up for closer consideration in the
II G., I, p. 561; H.K., II, p. 35.
1 6 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
object of experience? Kant s answer lacks all consistency:
"through the whole of his theory the utter confusion of the idea
of perception with the abstract idea tends towards a something
between the two which he expounds as the object of knowledge
through the understanding and its categories, and calls this
knowledge experience. It is hard to believe that Kant really
figured to himself something fully determined and really distinct
in this object of the understanding." 1
To prove his case, Schopenhauer traces through the whole
Transcendental Logic Kant s treatment of the understanding as
affecting the object of experience. The Critique of Pure Reason
vacillates, he argues, between regarding the function of the under
standing as perceptual and as conceptual. The understanding
is called, successively, the faculty of judging, of thinking, of
connecting a priori and bringing the manifold of given repre
sentations under the unity of apperception, 2 and its categories
are declared not to be conditions under which objects can be given
in intuition. 3 And the Prolegomena distinguishes understanding,
as the faculty of judging, from the senses, to which perception is
referred. 4 All such passages, seeming to argue for the abstractly
logical character of the understanding and the mere inexplicable
Gegebenheit of the perceptible world, are " contradicted in the
most glaring manner (auf das schreiendeste) by the whole of the
rest of his doctrine of the understanding, of its categories, and of
the possibility of experience as he explains it in the Transcen
dental Logic." 5 Hence understanding is generally regarded by
Kant as the organizing function within perceptual experience
itself, which, by means of the categories, the a priori indispensable
conditions of all possible experience, synthetically combines,
connects, orders, and brings to intelligible unity the manifold of
sensation, and thus first makes Nature, i. e., organic experience,
2 Kr. d. r. V., pp. 67 ff.; II ed., p. 135; M., pp. 56 ff., 747.
3 Kr. d. r. V., p. 89; M., p. 74-
4 Prolegomena, Sections 20, 22.
G., I, p. 562; H.K., II, p. 36.
*Kr. d. r. V., pp. 79, 94; II Aufl. pp. 126 ff, 135 f., 143 ff-. iSQff-; M., pp. 65 f.,
78, 747 f., 752 ff., 762 ff.
NATURE AND GENESIS OF EXPERIENCE. 1 7
Schopenhauer, curiously enough, interprets all such passages
as meaning that the understanding is a distinctly perceptual
function, as in his own theory of knowledge. But the diametrical
opposition between this and the previous manner of treating the
understanding, prove to him conclusively the validity of his
original contention. He says : " I challenge every one who shares
my respect towards Kant to reconcile these contradictions and
to show that in his doctrine of the object of experience and the
way it is determined by the activity of the understanding and
its twelve functions, Kant thought something quite distinct and
definite. I am convinced that the contradiction I have
pointed out, which extends through the whole Transcen
dental Logic, is the real reason of the great obscurity of its
language." 1 The object of the understanding is really re
garded by Kant as neither a perception nor a conception, but
as alone making experience possible. This is a "deeply rooted
prejudice in Kant, dead to all investigation." 2 Schopenhauer
continues: "It is certainly not the perceived object, but through
the conception it is added to the perception by thought, as some
thing corresponding to it; and now the perception is experience,
and has value and truth, which it thus only receives through the
relation to a conception (in diametrical opposition to my exposi
tion, according to which the conception only receives value and
truth from the perception)." 3
This is the way Schopenhauer reads his Kant. The Critique
of Pure Reason, he thinks, treats experience as the result of the
conceptualizing of the perceptual material, by which process this
material of sensation first becomes organized and real. Now he
finds perception in no need of such conceptual transformation,
for it possesses in itself all the concrete reality that is possible
in experience. Thinking owes its whole significance to the per
ceptual source from which it arises through abstraction. " If we
hold firmly to this, the inadmissibleness of the assumption be
comes evident that the perception of things only obtains reality
and becomes experience through the thought of these very things
G., I, pp. 563-564; HK. ( ii, p. 38.
2 G., I, p. 564; H.K., II, p. 39-
3 G., I, pp. 564-565; H.K., II, p. 39-
1 8 SCHOPENHA UER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
applying its twelve categories. Rather in perception itself the
empirical reality, and consequently experience, is already
given; but the perception itself can only come into exist
ence by the application to sensation of the knowledge of the
causal nexus, which is the one function of the understanding.
Perception is accordingly in reality intellectual, which is just
what Kant denies." 1 What, then, is the nature of this Kantian
object of experience, particular and yet not in space and time,
because not perceptible (thus Schopenhauer), an object of
thought, and yet not an abstract conception, at once perceptual
and conceptual, yet incapable of being defined in terms of either
perception or conception alone?
Schopenhauer thinks that Kant makes a triple division: (i)
the idea, (2) the object of the idea, and (3) the thing-in-itself.
"The first belongs to the sensibility, which in its case, as in that
of sensation, includes the pure forms of perception, space and
time. The second belongs to the understanding, which thinks it
through its twelve categories. The third lies beyond the pos
sibility of all knowledge." 2 The confusion seems evident to
Schopenhauer : "The illicit introduction of that hybrid, the object
of the idea, is the source of Kant s errors," 3 he says. All we
have in concrete knowledge and experience is the Vorstellung;
11 if we desire to go beyond this idea, then we arrive at the question
as to the thing-in-itself, the answer to which is the theme of my
whole work as of all metaphysics in general." 4 With this epis-
temological hybrid, i. e., the object of the idea, "the doctrine
of the categories as conceptions a priori also falls to the ground." 5
Instead of assuming (as Schopenhauer thinks that Kant assumes)
the existence of an intermediate world between the idea and the
thing-in-itself, as the sphere of operation of the pure understand
ing and its twelve categories, Schopenhauer himself repudiates
the entire deduction of the categories as fundamentally false,
explains causality as the only valid category, and describes this
G., I, p. 566; H.K., II, p. 40.
2 G., I, p. 567; H.K., II, p. 41; Kr. d. r. V., pp. io8f.; M., pp. 89 f.
*G., I, p. 567; H.K., II, p. 41.
*G., I, pp. 567-568; H.K., II, p. 42.
*G., I, p. 567; H.K., II, pp. 41-42.
NATURE AND GENESIS OF EXPERIENCE. 19
as distinctly perceptual in character, thus referring all objective
relatedness and organization to the causal space-time union in
perception, and distinguishing the latter from the thing-in-itself
alone. All objectivity, all real knowledge, is perceptual for
Schopenhauer. A conception is a check drawn on the bank of
perception : its validity stands or falls with its perceptual deposit;
intrinsic reality it has none, though, as an abstraction, it may
be of undeniable instrumental service. 1
Schopenhauer s argument is apparently lucid and seems to
admit of no variety of interpretations. Does it, however, repre
sent a correspondingly clear understanding of Kant s problem?
What is the significance and the value of his interpretation and
criticism of the fundamental method of the Critical epistemology?
It should be noted that Schopenhauer does not recognize
what, after all, is Kant s real distinction between understanding
and reason, the distinction, namely, between understanding as
the faculty by which we deal with the conditioned and reason as
the faculty which demands the unconditioned. The understand
ing itself Kant seems to treat in a twofold manner: (i) under
standing in the wider sense, as the fundamental principle of
objectivity in experience, including within itself the immanently
organizing function of the productive imagination; and (2)5
understanding in the narrower sense, as the faculty of judgment,
or interpretation, operating primarily through the categories*.
This distinction is of great importance for the interpretation
of Kant s pure concepts of the understanding; and it should/
be noted that Kant explicitly limits the application of the
understanding to finite experience, to the sphere of the condi
tioned. On the other hand, Kant holds: "It is the peculiar
principle of reason (in its logical use) to find for every conditioned
knowledge of the understanding the unconditioned, whereby
the unity of that knowledge may be completed." 2 The pure
concepts of the understanding, the categories, find their meaning
and their sphere of operation in the organic interdependence of
1 Cf., in this connection, Richter s treatment of Verstand and Vernunft* as
used by Kant and Schopenhauer, Schopenhauer s Verhaltnis zu Kant in seinen
Grundziigen, pp. 144 ff.
2 Kr. d. r. V., p. 307; M., p. 249.
20 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
the different sides of conditioned experience. The concepts
of pure reason, on the other hand, or the Transcendental Ideas,
as Kant calls them, are explicitly concerned with the uncondi
tioned ground of experience; they refer to " something to which
all experience may belong, but which itself can never become
an object of experience." 1 In this sense the distinction between
pure understanding and pure reason, in Kant s technical pro
cedure, tends to correspond to the distinction between theory of
knowledge and theory of reality. 2
Whether the spirit of Kant s epistemology does actually
necessitate the conception of the unconditioned, and of a corre
sponding faculty of pure reason to deal with it, is a problem of
too weighty a character to be disposed of at the outset, and its
solution cannot and need not be undertaken in this chapter.
One thing, however, is certain : whether the distinction between
the understanding, as the organizing faculty of experience, and
reason, as the faculty of the beyond-experiential, is or is not
consistent with the fundamental method of the Critical episte
mology, the distinction between them as the faculties of per
ception and conception respectively is surely contrary both to
the spirit and to the letter of Kant s procedure. In Kant s
view of experience, perception and conception presuppose
each other in a way which makes it impossible to define knowl
edge in terms of either separately.
Returning to Schopenhauer, it is hardly too much to say that
his whole argument is specious. The fact that in Kant s admit
tedly confused way of treating perception and conception he sees
nothing but a solemn warning against undue adherence to an
ideal of architectonic symmetry, shows how hopelessly he
misconceives both the aim and the fundamental trend of Kant s
Critical method. 3 Kant s confusion of the perceptual and
l Kr. d. r. V., p. 311; M., p. 253. Cf. the introductory sections of the Tran
scendental Dialectic, especially Kr. d. r. V., pp. 299 ff., 305 ff., 310 ff., 322 ff.;
M., pp. 242 ff., 247 ff., 252 ff., 261 ff.
2 Kant regards speculative reason, however, as incapable of attaining knowledge
of ultimate reality, and therefore he introduces the notion of practical reason.
But this problem will more naturally come up for discussion in the sequel.
3 Mere textual criticism of Kant s Critiques is sure to lead one astray, unless
the fundamental spirit of his philosophy is kept constantly in mind. As Richter
NATURE AND GENESIS OF EXPERIENCE. 21
the conceptual in experience is to be regarded, not as the failure
to discriminate ultimate differences, but rather as the imperfect
realization and the inadequate expression of the underlying
essential unity of concrete experience, which cannot be reduced
to merely perceptual or conceptual terms. Kant s confusion
is the confusion of depths not yet clarified; Schopenhauer s
lucidity manifests epistemological shallowness. Later idealism,
of course, brought to light much that escaped Kant himself;
but Kant was far more nearly right than Schopenhauer when he
said: "Thoughts without contents are empty, intuitions without
concepts are blind. . . . The understanding cannot see, the
senses cannot think. By their union only can knowledge be
The fundamental defect of Schopenhauer s epistemology
is to be found in his constant endeavor to explain one abstract
phase of experience in terms of another, supposedly prior, phase,
really the vice of the older rationalism, instead of reading
both into the organic unity which embraces both and derives
its own meaning precisely from such systematization of aspects
meaningless in abstract isolation. The relation between the
organizing principles of experience is for Kant, not one of formal
subsumption, but of organic interdependence. Experience in
volves both perception and conception, the one as much as the
other; its progressive organization consists in the gradual
evolution of the two, which unifies them in one concrete process.
The perceptual content is essentially meaningful, and the
application of the categories brings out what is implicit in it.
Schopenhauer s universals are the universals of the old scholastic
logic, abstractions which do not exist outside of its text-books
and are alien to concrete experience. Conception, in the true
Kantian sense, is no mere attenuated perception, but the sig
nificant aspect of experience. Conceptions, or, perhaps better,
puts it: "Es 1st wirklich nicht so schwer, wenn man sich nur an den wortlichen
Text der Kritiken halt, Rationalismus und Empirismus, Dogmatismus (im weitesten
Sinne) und Scepticismus, Idealismus und Realismus aus ihnen herauszulesen"
(op. /., pp. 91-92). And again, with special reference to Schopenhauer s procedure:
"Kantische Elemente hat Schopenhauer aufgenommen, Kantisch fortgebildet
hat er sie nicht" (op. cit., p. 77).
1 Kr. d. r. V., p. 51; M., p. 41.
22 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
meanings, are involved in experience from the very beginning;
they are not merely its abstract terminus ad quern, as Schopen
hauer would have it. 1 Universality means, not erasure of
details and differences, but their gradual organization from a
point of view ever growing in catholicity. The progress of
knowledge is not from perception to conception, but from less
concrete to more concrete organization of both.
G.. II, p. 55JH.K., II, p. 213.
THE PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIZATION IN EXPERIENCE: THE
DEDUCTION AND THE REAL SIGNIFICANCE OF
Schopenhauer s abstract distinction between perception and
conception, and his explanation of our original cognitive experi
ence in exclusively perceptual terms, affect most vitally his
technical discussion of Kant s transcendental deduction of the
categories. What is the r61e of the categories? What is their
function in the genesis of experience? In what respect can we
conceive of perceptual knowledge as depending for its very
being upon the pure (i. e., for Schopenhauer, empty) abstrac
tions of thought, derived from the classification of judgments as
found in the old logic?
Schopenhauer interprets Kant s formal procedure as follows:
"Kant s only discovery, which is based upon objective compre
hension and the highest human thought, is the apperQU that
time and space are known by us a priori. " 1 "Gratified by this
happy hit," 2 Schopenhauer says, Kant pursued the tactics which
he had employed in discovering the pure a priori constituents
of our unformed sensibility, in order to discover, if possible, the
a priori basis of the empirically obtained conceptions. A
table of pure, logically grounded forms of conception was needed,
to correspond to the intuition-forms of space and time. Kant
therefore hit upon the table of judgments, "out of which he
constructed, as well as he could, the table of categories, the
doctrine of twelve pure a priori conceptions, which are supposed
to be the conditions of our thinking those very things the per
ception of which is conditioned by the two a priori forms of sen
sibility ; thus a pure understanding now corresponded symmetri
cally to a pure sensibility."* To increase the plausibility of his
1 G., I, p. 572; H.K., II., p. 47.
3 G., I, p. 573; H.K., II, p. 48.
24 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
scheme as thus formulated, Kant conceived a way of connecting
a priori the pure forms of intuition and of understanding. Hence
arose the notion of the schemata, or monograms of the pure
imagination, which, according to Schopenhauer, represent
Kant s attempt to bridge over the chasm between the world of
sensibility and the fundamentally disparate world of thought.
One s attitude towards the fundamental objection which
Schopenhauer makes to the doctrine of the Schematism depends
largely upon one s acceptance or rejection of the separation
between perception and thought, between the content and the
form of experience. Schopenhauer regards Kant s pure con
ceptions of the understanding as having no organic relation to
perception, hence as incapable of involving any pure schemata
or monograms of the imagination corresponding to the repre
sentative conceptions or phantasms of empirically grounded
thought. That Kant was led into such an illogical position,
instead of demonstrating, as Schopenhauer himself professes to
do, the transformation of sensation into perception by means
of the causal principle, Schopenhauer considers sufficiently
accounted for by the above psychological explanation of the
Transcendental Logic. And he regards this explanation as
adequate to refute Kant s treatment of the categories and of the
As suggested above, Schopenahuer is not incorrect in his
analysis of the technical point discussed, but he draws the
wrong conclusion from it. In the Transcendental ^Esthetic
Kant treats space and time as the pure forms of intuition or im
mediate experience. Hence there is no need of any chapter on the
Schematism of the Pure Forms of Sense Intuition. From the
point of view of the Analytic, however, the content and the form
of experience tend to assume a disparate, if not antithetical,
character. The rationalist in Kant looks for principles that shall
organize the content of perception, as it were, ab extra. As a
result, the functions of the pure understanding tend to be pre
sented as formal logical concepts. The error is accentuated by
the notion of a definitely fixed number of fundamental functions
of pure experience. In consequence of this rationalistic bias,
PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIZATION IN EXPERIENCE. 2$
coupled with an all too evident fondness for abstract symmetry
("alle gute Dinge sind drei"), which Schopenhauer clearly per
ceives and justly satirizes, a conceptual structure is evolved,
which is to condition the possibility of all objective experience
and shape the pattern of its formal organization. In his attempt
to connect perception with thought, Kant had swung over to
the conceptual side to such an extent that he had lost contact
with concrete experience. To span this gap in his epistemology,
he now proposes the doctrine of the schemata, which are to
serve as ladders to let the categories of the pure understanding
down to concrete experience.
But this gap was the result of Kant s own too abstract formula
tion of the doctrine of the categories. The correct solution of
the difficulty, therefore, would have been to restate the theory in
a more nearly consistent, truly instrumental sense, and thus
interpret the categories in their true nature as functions operative
in concrete experience, immanently determining its progressive
organization, not to span the artificial gap by a still more
artificial bridge. Kant, instead of rectifying his initial error,
sought to extricate himself by the inadequate doctrine of the
schematism. Schopenhauer, however, draws a different conclu
sion from Kant s unsuccessful attempt to connect the concepts
of the understanding with the a priori perceptions. He regards
the difficulty resulting from Kant s artificial procedure as funda
mental and insuperable. That is to say, for Schopenhauer
perception and conception can never be co-ordinate in experience;
thought never plays the part of immanent organizer in the
It must be frankly admitted that Schopenhauer s conclusion
is quite natural, if one is satisfied with criticising Kant s artificial
treatment and neglecting the deeper implications of his thought.
But if modern epistemology is to find any real significance in
Kant s treatment of the categories, it must draw a moral far
different from Schopenhauer s free and easy one. Instead of
arguing from the futility of the schematism the incapacity of
thought for immanently determining the organization of expe
rience and thus making its objectivity possible, a correct diagnosis
26 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
would locate the trouble in Kant s departing from his own ideal
of the organization of experience from within and attempting to
explain that organization, as it were, ab extra. The deduction of
the categories, therefore, should be re-interpreted in the true
Kantian spirit, its abstract formalism eliminated, and the im
manent character of the organizing principles of experience
clearly emphasized. This would obviate the difficulty by
showing the irrelevancy and the needlessness of any schemata.
It may seem unnecessary to have insisted so much upon
Schopenhauer s illegitimate separation of conception from per
ception. But the fact is that Schopenhauer himself finds all
of Kant s most serious epistemological errors to be due to this
one inextricable confusion. Thus he writes at the beginning
of his examination of the categories: "That I reject the whole
doctrine of the categories, and reckon it among the groundless
assumptions with which Kant burdened the theory of knowledge,
results from . . . the proof of the contradictions in the Tran
scendental Logic, which had their ground in the confusion of
perception and abstract knowledge. . . . ?1
The abstractions of science, Schopenhauer admits, have the
incomparable advantage over mere perception that they enable
us to comprehend, within the compass of a few clearly determined
and well-defined conceptions, the manifold of phenomenal expe
rience, and to reduce its multifarious connections to uniformities
capable of being formulated. Kant s was a bold and happy
thought, to isolate the purely conceptual and exhibit its function
in the development of abstract knowledge. But, Schopenhauer
insists, Kant should have recognized the indirect character of his
method. In effect, he says: In seeking the foundation-stones
for his edifice of experience in the formal table of judgments,
Kant "may be compared to a man who measures the height of
a tower by its shadow, while I am like him who applies the
measuring-rule directly to the tower itself." 2 The normal forms
of the combinations of conceptions, schematically embodied in
the Table of Judgments, are of various origin. Some are derived
from the relatedness obtaining in the perceptual world of the
1 G., I, pp. 576-577; H.K., ii, p. 52.
*G., I, p. 577;H.K., II, p. 53-
PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIZATION IN EXPERIENCE. 2 7
understanding. Others, again, are of hybrid origin, due to the
intermixture of perception and conception. But for the most
part the judgment-forms are deducible from the nature of reflec
tive knowledge itself, i. e., directly from reason, springing as
they do from the dictum de omni et nullo and from the four
metalogical truths founded on the conditions of all thinking,
to wit: the laws of identity and contradiction, and the principles
of excluded middle and of sufficient reason. 1
This different origin of the various judgment-forms does not
affect their invariably instrumental r61e in the process of expe
rience. Schopenhauer s theory of judgment can apparently be
stated in a few words. Judgment is the connecting link between
perception and conception, "the power of rightly and accurately
carrying over into abstract consciousness what is known in
perception," and as such it is "the mediator between under
standing and reason." 2 The erection of conceptual structures
upon the ground of manifold perceptions necessitates a coher
ence of the abstract spheres of reference; and in the same way
as the elementary comparison of concepts (the referring of
the predicate to the subject ) yields the various logical judg
ments, 3 just so does inference result from the interconnection of
completed judgments. 4 The judging process itself is essentially
reflective. For, while the content of judgment is originally per
ceptual, "knowledge of perception suffers very nearly as much
change when it is taken up into reflection as food when it is
taken into the animal organism whose forms and compounds are
determined by itself, so that the nature of the food can no longer
be recognized from the result they produce." 5 Only conceptual
outlines can enter into the schematic correlations of logical
thought. "An individual idea cannot be the subject of a judg
ment, because it is not an abstraction, it is not something thought,
but something perceived. Every conception, on the other hand,
is essentially universal, and every judgment must have a con-
1 G., Ill, pp. 125 ff.; Hillebr., pp. 127 ff.
2 G., I, p. 108; H.K., I, p. 84.
G., I, p. 81; H.K., I, 55-
<G., II, p. 128; H.K., II, p. 295.
*G., I, p. 579; H.K., II, pp. 54 f-
28 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
ception as its subject." 1 Explanatory passages of this kind serve
to indicate what appears to be Schopenhauer s real theory of
judgment. A mediator between the perceptual and the con
ceptual, he calls it; but its members are abstract concepts, and
the entire process involved in their manipulation is a matter of
reflection, of reason.
The initial definition of the faculty of judgment might have
suggested to a modern logician the possible basis for an organic
theory of cognition. In the judging process one witnesses the
radiating centre of the various aspects of knowledge, which here
fuse into the one unity of concrete thought. But Schopenhauer
treats the judgment-members as discrete in character; while he
regards the copula as non-significant beyond its function of
reference, he nevertheless conceives the process of judgment as
the mere comparison of two concept-spheres and their consequent
union or separation. The judging process, thus regarded, cannot
in any intelligible sense serve as the connecting link of perception
and conception, for the simple reason that no process can connect
two fundamentally different spheres of reference (as perception
and conception are in Schopenhauer s theory), and still remain
an organic, unitary whole.
Kant s technical treatment of judgment is unnecessarily ab
stract, but its implications indicate his deeper realization of the
concretely organizing character of the judging process. "All
judgments," he writes, "are functions of unity among our
representations, the knowledge of an object being brought about,
not by an immediate representation, but by a higher one, com
prehending this and several others, so that many possible cog
nitions are collected into one." 2 This position becomes more
adequately denned, and the unitary, dynamic character of the
judgment-process more consistently formulated, by later idealism.
Hegel s discussion of the matter, in the lesser Logic, is most
suggestive. In the introductory sections of his Doctrine of the
Notion , Hegel settles once for all the question of the organic
nature of thought and judgment. "It is a mistake to imagine
G., II, p. 123; H.K., II, p. 289.
2Kr. d. r. V., p. 69; M., p. 57.
PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIZATION IN EXPERIENCE. 29
that the objects which form the content of our mental ideas
come first and that our subjective agency then supervenes, and
by the aforesaid operation of abstraction, and by colligating the
points possessed in common by the objects, frames notions of
them. Rather the notion is the genuine first; and things are
what they are through the action of the notion immanent in
them, and revealing itself in them." 1 And again, referring more
specially to the process of judgment itself, he says: "It is . . .
false to speak of a combination of the two sides in a judgment,
if we understand by the term combination to imply the inde
pendent existence of the combining members apart from the
combination. ... To form a notion of an object means there
fore to become aware of its notion: and when we proceed to a
criticism or judgment of the object, we are not performing a
subjective act, and merely ascribing this or that predicate to the
object. We are, on the contrary, observing the object in the
specific character imposed by its notion." 2
This point of view has become increasingly significant in
recent logical theory. Professor Bosanquet, for example, finds
in judgment the epitome of the entire procedure of knowledge.
The judgment-process is for him the immanent function of cogni
tive experience. We do not first have clearly delimited and
defined concepts, which we then compare and connect or disjoin
as the case may be; the delimiting and defining itself of concepts
is accomplished precisely by means of this judging process, and
keeps pace with its actual development. The progressive organi
zation of the significant elements in experience corresponds to the
technical perfecting of the judgmental procedure. The genesis
of judgment is the genesis of organized dynamic experience. Its
members are no barren abstractions deprived of all concrete
meaning: they are ideas bearing the significant essence of our
manifold experience. The true subject of judgment, therefore,
is no mere concept: it is invariably reality itself. "The word
and its reference a reference to some continued identity in the
world of meanings are inextricably welded together." 3 Judg
ment and experience, conception and perception, move pari passu.
1 Logic, p. 294. * Ibid., pp. 298,299.
3 Logic, Vol. I, Oxford, 1888, p. 73.
30 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
But let us return to Schopenhauer s criticism. The radical
fault which he finds with Kant s deduction of the categories is
its abstract character. From formal logical materials which af
ford no glimpse of concrete reality, Kant has fashioned a Table
of pure concepts, which he proffers as the functions of organiza
tion and necessity, making experience itself possible. Schopen
hauer s protest against Kant s abstract formalism is most just;
but his own theory of judgment incapacitates him at the very
start from indicating the fundamental error; namely, the formal,
abstract character of the Table of Judgments from which Kant
would derive his organizing principles of experience. This should
be borne in mind in the following examination of Schopenhauer s
criticism of Kant s categories, a criticism which is of paramount
significance, although actually leading to conclusions different
from those intended by the author.
I. Quantity. Schopenhauer is brief in his account of the
Quantity and Quality of judgments, and of the categories which
Kant deduces from them. "The so-called Quantity of judgments
springs from the nature of concepts as such." 1 The inclusion of
one concept within another and the relations arising from this
process he regards as purely abstract. To his mind, the dif
ference between the universal and the particular judgment is
"very slight"; 2 it depends upon the more exact definition of the
wider concept (the logical subject) in the judgment called uni
versal. Indeed, to Schopenhauer, the distinction between Some
trees bear gall-nuts and All oaks bear gall-nuts is a mere matter
of the "richness of the language." 3 In place of Kant s three
categories, Unity, Plurality, Totality, Schopenhauer proposes two
forms of judgment, Totality and Multiplicity, their application
depending upon whether the subject-concept is taken in whole
or in part. Under Totality he includes the individual judgment:
Socrates = all Socrateses. 4
Schopenhauer s revision of the Quantity of judgments, equating
as it does the singular with the universal, represents a way of
G., I, p. 580; H.K., II, p. 56.
G., I, p. 581; H.K., II, p. 56.
<G., I, p. 610; H.K., II, .88.
PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIZATION IN EXPERIENCE. 3 1
looking at the matter which was not unknown to Kant, but
which he attempted to transcend. 1 Kant s endeavor to present
Totality as the synthesis of Unity and Plurality, suggests the
essentially correct solution of the problem which later Idealism
formulated more adequately: Totality is not mere Unity any
more than it is mere Plurality, but the concrete synthesis of the
two. Schopenhauer s distinction, on the other hand, points to
the abstract separation of Unity and Plurality. By the category
of Totality Kant sought to express the synthesis of the manifold
of differences and the universal significance which pervades them
all and makes them fit material for the organizing process of
Nevertheless, it is now evident that the merely quantitative
aspect of thought lacks the organic individuality which Kant
endeavored to represent by the category of Totality. Looked
at from this point of view, Schopenhauer s criticism is not tech
nically incorrect; that is, in the sense that merely quantitative
Totality is not the synthesis of Unity and Plurality. But this
only suggests the valid objections of modern logic to any arbitrary
separation of the qualitative from the quantitative in experience.
Every principle of organization derives its own meaning from
its interrelations within the whole of experience ; and the category
of Totality can have the meaning which Kant would ascribe
to it only when its synthetic character passes beyond the ab
stractly quantitative phase of experience and becomes the im
manent principle of individuality in concrete experience itself.
2. Quality. The Quality of judgments consists, according to
Schopenhauer, in the possibility of uniting and separating the
spheres of abstract concepts, 2 and therefore concerns merely the
form and not the content of judgments. The content is per
ceptual in origin, and Schopenhauer finds both assertion and
denial foreign to perception, which is "complete, subject to no
doubt or error " ; 3 whereas the quality-form of judgment, affirming
or denying the connection of the concept-spheres in question,
lies entirely within the province of reason.
l Cf. Kr. d. r. V., p. 71; M., p. 59.
2 C/. G., I, p. 581; H.K., II, p. 57.
>G., I, p. 5 82;H.K., II, p. 57.
32 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
The infinite judgment, and the category of Limitation deduced
from it by Kant, Schopenhauer summarily rejects as "a crotchet
of the old scholastics, an ingenuously invented stop-gap, which
does not even require to be explained." 1 This, coupled with
his protest against the unreal character of abstract affirmation
and denial, is a just criticism of Kant s too formal treatment.
Kant does not sufficiently recognize the inseparable character
of affirmation and negation, which mutually imply and involve
each other. But Schopenhauer, on the other hand, would ob
literate the distinction by describing concrete reality as neither
affirmed nor denied, but somehow being immediately present.
Affirmation and Negation are both relative to the ideal signifi
cance of experience from a certain point of view. In every
negation an affirmation is implicit; and, conversely, no affirma
tion is mere abstract assertion but contains negative factors
which delimit its sphere of reference. Thus Bradley writes:
"We cannot deny without also affirming; and it is of the very
last importance, whenever we deny, to get as clear an idea as
we can of the positive ground our denial rests on." 2
Kant s category of Limitation might well embody this qualita
tive relativity in experience, which both points to, and explains,
its positive-negative polarity. But Kant tends to regard the
logical antecedent of the category of Limitation as the infinite
judgment, understood as expressing the mere absence of deter
mination, and practically amounting to what logicians have
called the privative judgment. The indefinite division of the
universe of discourse, by means of an arbitrarily chosen char
acteristic which provides no adequate basis of distinction, does
not yield a new form of judgment, but indeed makes all significant
judging impossible. The soul as a non-mortal being (to select
Kant s own example 3 ) can be fit material for judgment, only
when it is explained as a possible material for thought, by a
proper understanding of the significance of mortality and im
mortality. But it is precisely this lack of understanding of
concrete relationship which has suggested an escape from the
G., I, p. 582; H.K., II, p. 58-
* Principles of Logic, p. 120.
*Kr. d. r. V., p. 72; M., p. 60.
PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIZATION IN EXPERIENCE. 33
suspense of ignorance into the abstract indefiniteness of the
infinite judgment, justly criticised by recent logicians. 1
The synthesis of affirmation and negation is not to be found
in their confusion but in their organization. Limitation means,
not indefiniteness, of course, but concrete interdependence, and
the proper delineation of the sphere of reference. As Bosanquet
says, "Exclusion by Privation rests on a conviction, won by
persistent lack of affirmation, of the true negative limit and
external contour of knowledge, which limit, qua the true limit,
must be held true of reality." 2 Schopenhauer s rejection of
Kant s infinite judgment does not necessarily involve a return
to the formal separation between abstract affirmation and nega
tion, as Schopenhauer himself seems to infer. Rather should
Limitation be reinterpreted to mean the precise indication of
the context which embodies within itself the organization of
reality, positive and negative, and gives both their real meaning
for experience; in the same way as, from the point of view of
Quantity, abstract Unity and abstract Plurality find their basis
of union in the concrete Totality of the Individual.
3. Relation. In Kant s view there are three fundamental rela
tions involved in Judgment: (a) relation of predicate to subject,
connecting two concepts (categorical judgment); (b) relation of
reason and consequent, involving the logical connection of two
judgments, the separate validity of each remaining undetermined
(hypothetical judgment); (c) relation of subdivided knowledge
and of the collected members of the subdivision to each other
(disjunctive judgment). In the disjunctive judgment, the rela
tion is one not of consequence but of the logical opposition of
mutually exclusive alternatives, on the one hand, and of the
community of these alternatives, on the other hand, in that they
are complementary, and, taken together, "constitute the whole
contents of one given knowledge." 3
The categorical judgment, according to Schopenhauer, ex-
1 See in this connection Sigwart, Logic, translated by Helen Dendy, Vol. I,
London, 1895, pp. 127 ff.; Bradley, Principles of Logic, pp. 109 ff.; and especially
Bosanquet s treatment of Privation, which seems to me the most suggestive, Logic,
Vol. I, pp. 332 ff.
1 Logic, Vol. I, p. 339.
*Kr. d. r. V., p. 74; M., p. 61; Cf. Kr. d. r. V., pp. 73 ff.; M., pp. 60 ff.
34 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
presses "the form of judgment in general, in its strictest sense.
For, strictly speaking, judging merely means thinking, the com
bination of, or impossibility of combining, the spheres of the
concepts." 1 But it is a misconception, Schopenhauer says, to
explain the subject and predicate of judgment as having a
"peculiar and special correlative in perception, substance and
accident." 2 He adds: "I shall show clearly further on that the
conception substance has no other true content than that of the
conception matter." 3 For a discussion of this latter point the
reader is referred to the next chapter, where Schopenhauer s
theory of Substance is treated at greater length.
The form of the hypothetical judgment expresses the abstract
connection of the ratio cognoscendi, but its scope of application
actually includes the entire world of ideas. The category of
causality is only one of the four forms of the Principle of Suf
ficient Reason, and the causal relation does not, therefore, exhaust
the logical implications of the hypothetical in experience, as
Kant mistakenly supposes that it does, when he derives from the
hypothetical judgment merely the causal category. The hypo
thetical judgment is for Schopenhauer the logical expression of
the dependence obtaining in experience, and formally concerns
the dependence of completed judgments upon each other; but
this its formal use by no means exhausts its significance.
The disjunctive form of judgment, in a similar way, expresses
the incompatibility of judgments with respect to each other.
Kant, basing on the fact that the alternatives in complete
disjunction, while being incompatible with and excluding each
other, nevertheless, if taken together, exhaust the sphere of
reference expressed by the judgment, deduces from what he
calls the community of logical disjunctions the category of
Reciprocity. Schopenhauer emphatically denies the validity of
the deduction. In real disjunction, he insists, the affirmation
of one alternative means the negation of all the rest, hence it
could by no means serve as the logical basis of the category of
Reciprocity, in which the affirmation of anything involves at
iG., I, p. 583; H.K., II, p. 59.
2 C/. G., I, pp. 584; H.K., II, p. 60.
*G., I, pp. 584-585; H.K., II, p. 60.
PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIZATION IN EXPERIENCE. 35
the same time the affirmation of everything else towards which
it stands in a reciprocal relation. "Therefore," he says, "un
questionably, the real logical analogue of reciprocity is the vicious
circle, for in it, as nominally in the case of reciprocity, what is
proved is also the proof, and conversely. And just as logic
rejects the vicious circle, so the conception of reciprocity ought
to be banished from metaphysics." 1
Thus Schopenhauer proceeds "quite seriously, to prove that
there is no reciprocity in the strict sense." 2 A proper understand
ing of the nature of causality, as "the law according to which
the conditions or states of matter which appear determine their
position in time," 3 a law regulating our entire perceptual world,
would show clearly, Schopenhauer maintains, the empty, false,
and invalid character of the conception of reciprocity. The
direction of the causal succession is by no means a matter of
indifference. Cause and effect are no vague, interchangeable
terms. Cause is precisely the antecedent state of matter A,
which necessarily evokes the consequent state of matter B. The
temporal factor is of the very first importance in any causal
succession, and this is just what is completely left out of account
in the category of Reciprocity. For, in calling the two states A
and B reciprocal, Kant virtually asserts "that both are cause
and both are effect of each other; but this really amounts to
saying that each of the two is the earlier and also the later; thus
it is an absurdity." 4
Causality and reciprocity are thus incompatible; and, inas
much as the entire world of perception is a causally connected
world, reciprocity is inadmissible as a category of the under
standing. In the realm of reason, to be sure, where nothing
happens, e. g., in the abstract reasons and consequents of logic
and mathematics, reciprocity is the ruling principle precisely
because there causality as the category of perception is ruled out.
Thus, Schopenhauer concludes, the category of Reciprocity is,
in the first place, not deducible from the disjunctive judgment,
G., I, p. 585; H.K., II, p. 61.
2 G., I, pp. 585-586; H.K., II, pp. 61-62.
3 G., I, p. 586; H.K., II, p. 62.
<G., I, p. 586; H.K., II, pp. 62-63.
36 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
but finds its logical counterpart in the vicious circle, and, sec
ondly, it is untenable as a category of the understanding (in
Schopenhauer s sense), because it is found to be incompatible
with causality and causal succession.
Schopenhauer s attitude towards reciprocity is quite consistent
with his interpretation of causality. Having described the per
ceptual order in exclusively causal terms, and having defined the
law of causality itself as meaning nothing more nor less than the
dependence of any state of matter B upon a preceding state A
necessarily evoking it, he cannot but draw the logical conclusion
that in such a perceptual world, in which such a law of causality
holds complete sway, organic interaction in the broad sense, or
reciprocity, is inadmissible.
Does it follow, however, that Reciprocity is inadmissible as a
category of concrete experience? If the causal category is really
to express the Principle of Sufficient Reason in the world of
events, if one is to reduce to it all the twelve categories of the
understanding, it must itself be conceived in a far broader sense
than Schopenhauer allows. Concrete experience is too complex
a system to be adequately dealt with from the point of view of
causality reduced to terms of mere temporal succession. The
unitary character of experience, its essentially organic nature,
means just this: that every element, every factor in it, obtains
its being and its essence precisely by virtue of its relations to the
rest of the system. And these relations are not of mere abstract
dependence. The dependence in experience is organic interde
pendence: the entire process is one of constant give-and-take, a
process of progressive organization. The causal category, as
Schopenhauer defines it, is a correct enough statement of this
interdependence regarded from one particular point of view, and,
in its abstract form, it is indispensable for the procedure of phys
ical science, though not necessarily adequate for all purposes even
of physical science. 1 But this cannot be used as an argument
against the category of reciprocity, for the reason that reciprocity
takes a less abstract view of experience than causality does. The
category of reciprocity expresses a deeper recognition of the
*Cf. Bosanquet s pertinent remarks on the conception of ground, as implied
in the procedure of physical science. Logic, Vol. I, pp. 264 ff.
PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIZATION IN EXPERIENCE. 37
concrete organization of experience; as Hegel puts it, "reciprocal
action realises the causal relation in its complete development." 1
Kant s account of reciprocity is far from clear or adequate,
but the principle of interdependence in the organization of expe
rience is indispensable from the point of view of the Critical
method, and, indeed, from the point of view of science. In tak
ing too narrow a point of view, and failing to realize the inevitably
instrumental character of all categories, Schopenhauer displays
all of Kant s dogmatic tendency and carries Kant s initial error
to its logical extreme.
4. Modality. Schopenhauer finds Kant s reasoning much more
consistent in the case of the categories of Modality. In contrast
to the "willkiirlichsten Zwange" 2 characterizing the previous
deductions, the categories of Modality are really derivable from
the forms of judgments corresponding to them. "Thus that it
is the conceptions of the possible, the actual, and the necessary
which occasion the problematic, assertatory, and apodictic forms
of judgment, is perfectly true; but," Schopenhauer continues,
that those conceptions are special, original forms of knowledge
of the understanding which cannot be further deduced is not
true." 3 The knowledge of necessity, Schopenhauer asserts*
springs directly from the Principle of Sufficient Reason, the one
original form of all knowledge. The conceptions of contingency,
possibility, actuality, and impossibility, on the other hand, arise
only through the conflict of abstract and intuitive knowledge. 4
Schopenhauer elucidates his point of view by analyzing the
notion of necessity at some length, showing it to be nothing more
than the application of the general Principle of Sufficient Reason.
"The conception of necessity," he emphatically declares, "con
tains absolutely nothing more than this dependence, this being
established through something else, and this inevitably following
from it." 5 Accordingly, the four forms of the Principle of Sufficient
Reason manifest the four kinds of necessity in experience: logical,
physical, mathematical, and moral. 6
1 Logic, p. 2&o. 2G., I, p. 590.
3 G., I, p. 590; H.K., II, p. 66.
*Cf. G., I, p. 590; H.K., II, p. 67.
*Cf. G., Ill, p. 171; Hillebr., p. 182.
3 8 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
One should keep clearly in mind that, while the Principle of
Sufficient Reason itself, being a metalogical truth, is axiomatic
and incapable of proof, nevertheless everything which comes
under its regulation, has its meaning, truth, and reality precisely
in reference to something else. Hence, Schopenhauer insists,
the thoroughly relative character of all necessity becomes evident.
Nothing is necessary in itself, but solely by virtue of something
else upon which it depends and in which it finds its meaning.
Necessity is thus the general way of expressing this coherence,
this multiform organization in experience, of which the Principle
of Sufficient Reason is, for Schopenhauer, the most general
statement. If once this relative character of necessity is com
prehended, the meaning of contingency becomes obvious. Kant s
confusion on this point is due to his adherence to the abstract
rationalistic notion of the contingent (as that of which the non-
existence is possible), opposed, on the one hand, to the necessary
(that which cannot possibly not be), and, on the other hand,
to the impossible (that which cannot possibly be). 1 This Aristo
telian conception of the contingent 2 in Kant results from sticking
to abstract conceptions without going back to the concrete and
perceptible." 3 As a matter of fact, contingency is nothing more
nor less than the denial of necessity in a particular case, i. e.,
""absence of the connection expressed by the principle of sufficient
Contingency is relative, just as necessity is relative, and for
the same reason. Every thing, every event in the actual world
"is always at once necessary and contingent ; necessary in relation
to the one condition which is its cause; contingent in relation to
everything else." 5 The absolutely contingent would be some
thing out of all relation : a thought as meaningless, Schopenhauer
insists, as the absolutely necessary, dependent upon nothing else
in particular. In both necessity and contingency the mind turns
C/. K. d. r. V., II ed., p. 301; M., p. 198; G., I, p. 594; H.K., II, p. 70.
2 Ibid. Schopenhauer refers here to De generatione et corruptione. Lib. II, c. 9
3Q., I, p. 594J H.K., II, p. 71.
<G., I, p. 59i; H.K., II, p. 67.
*G., I, p. 591; H.K., II, p. 68.
PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIZATION IN EXPERIENCE. 39
back in search of explanation ; the necessary and the contingent
thus mean merely the relevant and the irrelevant in the process
of organization. If one considers merely the given event by
itself, merely the effect, without looking for the explanatory
cause which necessitates it and makes it contingent with respect
to everything else, then one understands the meaning of the
immediately existing, the actual, the thing as directly appre
hended. The actual in nature, however, is always causally re
lated, hence also necessary here and now. If, on the other hand,
the mind abstracts from this here and now, and presents to
itself all the laws of nature and thought, physical and meta
physical, i. e., known to us a posteriori and a priori respectively, 1
then the conception of possibility arises, which means compati
bility with our conceptual systems and laws, without reference
to any particular time and place. That which is inadmissible
even from this abstract point of view, Schopenhauer calls the
impossible. This development of the conceptions of necessity,
actuality (existence), and possibility, showing as it does their
common basis in the one Principle of Sufficient Reason, demon
strates, Schopenhauer asserts, "how entirely groundless is Kant s
assumption of three special functions of the understanding for
these three conceptions." 2
A comparison of this outline of Schopenhauer s conclusions
with Kant s summary of his own treatment of the modality of
judgments, will illustrate the difference between the two positions.
Kant says: "As in this way everything is arranged step by step
in the understanding, inasmuch as we begin with judging prob
lematically, then proceed to an assertory acceptation, and finally
maintain our proposition as inseparably united with the under
standing, that is as necessary and apodictic, we may be allowed
to call these three functions of modality so many varieties or
momenta of thought." 3 The three characteristic stages in the
logical progression might well indicate three points of view in the
self-organization of experience, and in this sense Kant may be
justified in distinguishing three categories of Modality. Never-
1 G., I, p. 592; H.K., II, p. 69.
G., I, p. 593; H.K., II, p. 69.
*Kr. d. r. V., p. 76; M., p. 63.
40 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
theless Kant s distinctions are too sharp and abstract: while he
suggests a process of logical development in the passage just
quoted, he fails to explain the matter adequately and clearly to
emphasize the essential interdependence of these momenta of
thought, which involve each other in the systematic organization
of experience. 1 On the other hand, Schopenhauer is quite unable
to realize the organic character of concrete experience, which
implies, not the absorption of possibility and actuality into neces
sity, but their proper correlation in the systematic whole. In
his constant tendency to make hard and fast distinctions, to the
neglect of the concrete unity of the system of experience, Schopen
hauer represents what Hegel called the standpoint of the under
standing. As Professor Bosanquet says: "The real prophet of
the understanding . . . was Schopenhauer. His treatment of
the principle of sufficient reason as at once the fundamental axiom
of human science and the innate source of its illusions, forms an
ultimate and irreversible criticism on the aspect of intelligence
which consists, to sum up its nature in a popular but not in
accurate phrase, in explaining everything by something else
a process which taken by itself is necessarily unending and un
The constant protest which Schopenhauer makes against "the
inadmissibility and utter groundlessness of the assumption of
twelve special functions of the understanding," 3 is quite modern
in so far as it insists upon the unitary character of the principle
of objectivity in experience. The notion of a numerically fixed
table of organizing principles conditioning the possibility of expe
rience, is diametrically opposed to any consistently organic theory
of knowledge. The desire for architectonic symmetry made
Kant oblivious to the fact that concrete experience follows, not
the formal classifications of the logician, but its own immanent
principles of interdependence. The categories are nothing more
nor less than the functions of thought by means of which we can
recognize the objectivity or coherence of experience from the
l Cf. in this connection Bosanquet s analysis and criticism of Kant s treatment
of Modality, Logic, Vol. I, pp. 377 ff.
*0p. cit., Vol. II, pp. 81-82.
S G., I, p. 598; H.K., II, p. 75-
PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIZATION IN EXPERIENCE. 4 1
various points of view that have proved permanently significant
in the development of the special sciences and of the various
philosophical disciplines. Every clearly defined point of view
from which we can study experience to permanent advantage is
itself a category. The exact number of valid categories is thus
a matter of vain speculation. The roots of the Principle of
Sufficient Reason, the categories of experience, are neither twelve,
nor four, nor twelve times four; their number is constantly vari
able and their name is legion. The essentially functional
character of the principles by means of which we deal with the
concrete organization of experience, when duly recognized, shows
the impossibility of any complete enumeration.
The categories, then, are exclusively instrumental in character;
their truth is in no sense abstractly fixed and immutable. Kant s
conception of their fixedness is but a relic of the eternal truths
of the older rationalism. Nothing is more evident in recent
theory of knowledge than the tendency to realize the non-static
and developing character of all categories. The proof of all
principles of organization in science and philosophy, the only
test of their validity, is to be found precisely in their ability to
organize. Science and philosophy alike are a continuous re
construction and restatement of categories, a perpetual striving
after ever more adequate formulations of the coherence immanent
It is unfortunate, though not difficult to explain, that Schopen
hauer, whose keen criticism of the doctrine of the categories had
disclosed so many of its flaws, should have overlooked one of
Kant s most questionable distinctions, namely, that which he
makes between constitutive and regulative principles. This
distinction is employed by Kant with little consistency, although
the tendency is to discriminate between: (a) the fundamental
forms of intuition, the productive imagination, and the functions
of thought, which condition the possibility of all experience and
constitute its organization; and (b) the rational assumptions
which, while not determining the actual form of experience,
serve to rationalize the moral order and the aesthetic judgment.
The distinction, otherwise expressed, is between the mechanical
42 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
categories of the Understanding, which Kant calls constitutive,
and the teleological categories, the postulates of Practical Reason
and of the Esthetic Judgment, which he regards as regulative. 1
The incompatibility of this hard and fast distinction with any
interpretation of experience which attempts to do justice to its
organic character is amply illustrated in Kant s own technical
procedure. The teleological categories are declared to be merely
regulative, because not constitutive of experience mechani
cally considered. But are the mechanical (i. e., constitutive )
categories constitutive of moral and aesthetic experience? Such
considerations, which Kant would have been the last to take
lightly, should have warned him of the untenability of a dis
tinction that negates the immanent unity of experience, which
is the fundamental postulate of the Critical philosophy.
The Transcendental Dialectic aims to show that the categories
are invalid, and, indeed, without significance, if applied beyond
the sphere of possible experience. But Kant fails to draw the
important, if, to us, fairly obvious conclusion that all categories
as such, whether theoretical, practical, or aesthetic, are instru
mental and essentially regulative, i. e., that every valid principle
is valid only within its specific sphere of application, true (in the
complete sense) only from a certain definite point of view. Just
because of this purely instrumental significance of all the cate
gories, they lose all meaning if taken out of their proper context.
And this is the real significance of the * Transcendental Dialectic :
it shows the futility of confusing the various aspects of experience
with each other, and the necessity of rejecting all transcendent
principles of explanation as incompatible with the Critical theory
The elucidation and justification of this contention will be
the object of discussion in the next chapter.
1 Regarding this whole problem, cf. Professor Albee s article on "The Significance
of Methodological Principles," in The Philosophical Review, 1906, pp. 267-276,
esp. pp. 270 ff.
THE SCOPE AND LIMITS OF EXPERIENCE: TRANSCEN
The real distinction between Understanding and Reason which
Kant makes in the Critique of Pure Reason, and which he sub
stantially maintains throughout the Dialectic , is the distinction
between understanding as the faculty which deals with the con
ditioned and reason as the faculty which demands the uncondi
tioned. Although, as already observed in Chapter I, 1 Schopen
hauer does not at first explicitly recognize this, Kant s real
distinction between understanding and reason, nevertheless, in
his examination of the Transcendental Dialectic, he attempts to
account for the origin of the notion of the unconditioned and to
point out its role in Kant s philosophy. "It is the peculiar
principle of reason (in its logical use)," Kant says, "to find for
every conditioned knowledge of the understanding the uncon
ditioned, whereby the unity of that knowledge may be com
pleted." 2 Now Schopenhauer insists that the whole plausibility
of Kant s conception is due to its abstractness. Kant s argument
is summarized by Schopenhauer as follows: "If the conditioned
is given, the totality of its conditions must also be given, and
therefore also the unconditioned, through which alone that totality
becomes complete." 3 But, Schopenhauer argues, this totality
of the conditions of everything conditioned is contained in its
nearest ground or reason from which it directly proceeds, and
which is only thus a sufficient reason or ground. 4 In the alter
nating series of conditioned and conditioning states, "as each
link is laid aside the chain is broken, and the claim of the principle
of sufficient reason entirely satisfied, it arises anew because the
condition becomes the conditioned." 5 This is the actual modus
1 Cf. above, pp. 14 ff., 19 ff.
*Kr. d. r. V., p. 307; M., p. 249.
3 G., I, p. 612; H.K., II, pp. 90-91.
<C/., G., I, pp. 613-614; H.K., II, p. 92.
*G., I, p. 614; H.K., II, p. 92.
44 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
operandi of the Principle of Sufficient Reason. "Only through
an arbitrary abstraction," Schopenhauer says, "is a series of
causes and effects regarded as a series of causes alone, which
exists merely on account of the last effect, and is therefore
demanded as its sufficient reason." 1
The unconditioned is unthinkable; and Kant himself, of course,
does not claim objective validity for the conception. He does,
however, regard the demand of reason for the unconditioned as
a regulative principle, "subjectively necessary." 2 The employ
ment of reason in this sense, as the faculty which demands the
unconditioned, offers Kant a great opportunity for satisfying
his ideal of architectonic symmetry. Corresponding to the
three categories of relation, Kant finds three syntheses of reason,
each of which yields a special unconditioned: "First, the uncon
ditioned of the categorical synthesis in a subject; secondly, the
unconditioned of the hypothetical synthesis of the members of a
series; thirdly, the unconditioned of the disjunctive synthesis of
the parts of a system." 3 The Dialectic is thus divided by Kant
into three parts, dealing respectively with the refutation of
rational psychology, rational cosmology, and rational theology.
Now, while it is doubtless true that these are "the three principal
subjects round which the whole of philosophy under the influence
of Christianity, from the Scholastics down to Christian Wolff, has
turned," 4 Schopenhauer counts it an error on the part of Kant
that he accepts without question these transcendental ideas
as the product of the essential nature of reason, instead of recog
nizing them for what they really are, the artifacts of scholastic
theology. An historical investigation into the rise and extent
of theistic belief, Schopenhauer maintains, would have shown
Kant its actual r61e in philosophical thought, and would have
indicated the artificiality of these so-called transcendental ideas/
As it is, Kant is now involved in "an unfortunate necessity . . .
in that he makes these three conceptions spring necessarily from
the nature of reason, and yet explains that they are untenable
*G., I, p. 614; H.K., II, pp. 92-93.
2 G., I, p. 616; H.K., II, p. 95.
3 Kr. d. r. V., p. 323; M., p. 262.
G., I, p. 618; H.K., II, p. 97.
SCOPE AND LIMITS OF EXPERIENCE. 45
and unverifiable by the reason, and thus makes the reason itself
a sophisticator." 1
The real value and significance of Schopenhauer s rejection of
the unconditioned can be better appreciated after an examination
of his detailed criticism of the Transcendental Dialectic. Be
fore proceeding to this, however, mention should be made of a
technical point which Schopenhauer raises in criticising Kant s
use of the term Idea.
Schopenhauer is doubtless right in holding that Kant s use
of the term Idea is essentially different from Plato s. By his
Ideas Plato sought to represent the unchanging, the permanent
behind this our world of fleeting shadows. He regarded the
Ideas as the archetypes of our multiform experience, speculative
and mathematical as well as practical. Kant, however, seizing
upon the transcendent* character of the Ideas, employs the
term to denote his own practical as ifs. But the potential
perceptibility of the Platonic Idea is incompatible with the mean
ing which Kant reads into Plato s doctrine, and in so far Schopen
hauer s criticism is quite just.
This, however, does not mean that Schopenhauer s own con
ception of the Platonic Idea, as developed in Book III of The
World as Will and Idea, is true to the spirit of the original Platonic
doctrine. If Kant unduly emphasizes the non-empirical char
acter of the Ideas, to support his own doctrine of teleological
postulates, Schopenhauer, in a similarly abstract way, makes
use of their archetypal character of permanence and their poten
tial perceptibility, in order to secure the prestige of a great name
in support of his endeavor to span the chasm between his two
worlds of Idea and Will by means of his Theory of Art. Neither
Kant s nor Schopenhauer s use of the term Idea contributes in
any real sense to the actual historical criticism of Plato s doctrine,
although their interpretations of the term are of undeniable sig
nificance for the understanding of their own respective systems.
I. Rational Psychology. Schopenhauer admits that Kant s
refutation of rational psychology "has as a whole very great
merit and much truth." 2 But he criticises Kant for neglecting
iG., I, p. 620; H.K., II, p. 99-
2 G., I, p. 621; H.K., II, p. 100.
46 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
the historical origin of the notion of the soul, in order to deduce
it, for the sake of architectonic symmetry, from the paralogism
of substantiality, "by applying the demand for the unconditioned
to the conception of substance, which is the first category of
As a matter of fact, Schopenhauer says, the actual proof is
based upon a pure intuition of time. The succession of time,
Kant argues, is unintelligible without the assumption of an under
lying permanent; change involves the changeless: "Substances,
therefore (as phenomena) are the true substrata of all determina
tions of time." 2 Now "it is false," Schopenhauer says, "that
in mere time there is simultaneity and duration; these ideas only
arise from the union of space with time." 3 Kant s assumption of
a permanent in time through all change is a complete miscon
ception; "a permanent time is a contradiction." 4 Moreover, the
law of causality, the principle of change, can in no way arise out
of the notion of mere succession in time, as Kant endeavors to
show in the Second Analogy. Temporal succession need not
necessarily be causal succession; phenomena may follow one
another without following from one another. 5 Kant seems to
reverse Hume s conclusion by tending to identify sequence with
consequence; such a view Schopenhauer finds little better than
the Scholastic post hoc ergo propter hoc. In order that mere
temporal succession may be transformed into causal connection,
a union of sequence in time with permanence in space is necessary.
The causal law cannot be deduced from anything else ; it is merely
the a priori certainty that we have of necessary connection in
our perceptual world, which makes us ever seek the cause account
ing for any perceived effect.
It is the perception of connected changes, viewed in the light
of causality, which raises the question of a permanent bearer of
all changes; that is, what Schopenhauer calls causality objecti
fied, matter. That which in perceptual experience appears
*Kr. d. r. V., p. 188; M., p. 154.
3G., I, p. 601; H.K., II, p. 78.
*Cf. G., Ill, p. 107; Hillebr., p. 106.
SCOPE AND LIMITS OF EXPERIENCE. 47
as a chain of causally connected changes, when regarded from
the point of view of its permanence, is what Schopenhauer calls
matter. He would not be understood as upholding the old
doctrine of a hypothetical Substance behind experience ; that is
precisely the view which he combats. "Matter is never known
otherwise than as producing effects, i. e., as through and through
causality; to be and to act are with it one, which is indeed signi
fied by the word actuality." 1 In the space-time union of the
perceptual order, causality represents the connected sequence
of changing states, that is to say, the temporal element; matter,
the permanent, abiding essence of the changing properties, i. e.,
the spatial element. This shows plainly that the conception of
the permanent is contributed by space, but only in its union
with time. "Intimate union of space and time causality,
matter, actuality are thus one, and the subjective correlative
of this one is the understanding." 2
Schopenhauer s conception of matter has been considered in this
connection, partly because it leads to his view of the groundless
character of the idea of soul as immaterial substance. He asks
the reader to bear in mind the fact that matter derives all its
real meaning from its relation to the causal order. By itself,
therefore, and apart from its action in causality, matter can
only be thought in abstracto, in conception. Now, Schopenhauer
argues, from this notion of matter, when thus abstractly regarded
by itself, substance, hypothetically a higher genus, is abstracted
by means of retaining its one predicate of permanence and
ignoring its other essential attributes, i. e., extension, impenetra
bility, divisibility, etc. Moreover, "like every higher genus . . .
the concept substance contains less in itself than the concept
matter, but, unlike every other higher genus, it does not contain
more under it, because it does not include several lower genera
besides matter; but this remains the one true species of the
concept substance, the only assignable thing by which its content
is realized and receives a proof." 3 The real motive for this
needless abstraction, however, is not far to seek. Just because
G., I, p. 602; H.K., II, p. 79-
3 G., I, p. 624; H.K., II, p. 103.
4-8 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
the genus substance was framed, not by means of a legitimate
abstraction from several lower genera, but by means of the
arbitrary isolation of the characteristic of permanence of its one
and only sub-species, matter, a second species can now be co
ordinated with matter under the concept substance, i. e.,
"the immaterial, simple, indestructible substance, soul." 1 The
arbitrary and artificial character of the whole procedure seems
quite obvious to Schopenhauer. The new species is obtained
by the express denial of precisely those characteristics which
had been tacitly omitted in the abstraction of the concept
substance from its one valid sub-species, matter. Thus the
notion of the soul is shown to be "an exceedingly superfluous
concept, because its only true content lies already in the concept
of matter, besides which it contains only a great void, which can
be filled up by nothing but the illicitly introduced species imma
terial substance." 2
Schopenhauer, accordingly, does not even discuss Kant s
reasoning in the Paralogisms of Pure Reason ; he regards his
own account of the origin of the concept soul proof positive
that it cannot be employed legitimately in philosophy. Along
with the notion of immaterial substance, therefore, "the concept
substance must be entirely rejected, and the concept matter
everywhere put in its place." 3
This, then, is Schopenhauer s account of the real significance
of Substance in experience. And, while recent epistemology
must take exception to many of the conclusions which Schopen
hauer (in his more materialistic moments, in The Will in Nature
and in the Supplements to Book II of The World as Will and
Idea) draws regarding the metaphysical r61e of matter in the
genesis of knowledge, it must be admitted that his general con
ception of matter, as the permanence implied in the causal order,
is, on the whole, well grounded. It rightly emphasizes the in
separable union of space and time in the world of perception,
and insists upon the concreteness of causal connection. Its
validity as a basis for criticism of Kant s account of causality
2 G., I, p. 625; H.K., II, p. 104.
SCOPE AND LIMITS OF EXPERIENCE. 49
depends to a large extent upon one s interpretation of Kant s
real meaning. Kant s endeavor to treat causality in terms of
objective succession may plausibly be interpreted and criticised
as Schopenhauer interprets and criticises it; or, again, it may be
viewed differently, more in harmony with the real spirit of the
Critical method, as a recognition of the deeper significance of
causality, by regarding it as the typical expression of the all-per
meating coherence and objectivity immanent in all experience.
Regarding the status of the notion of substance in philosophy,
one thing is certain: substance is emphatically not admissible
in its old dogmatic sense of a transcendent substratum existent
behind experience. Such a hypostatized abstraction is not only
of no instrumental value for philosophy, but it makes impossible
any consistent theory which shall do justice to the organic char
acter of experience. For the more recent idealistic epistemology,
experience is one and undivided, and its principles both of unity
and of permanence must be in terms of itself; otherwise a dualism
is unavoidable, with all its insoluble problems and hopeless surds.
Schopenhauer, then, holding as he does that substance is one
and immanent in concrete experience, seems justified in refusing
even an audience to the illegitimate concept of the immaterial
soul, to which Kant devotes a whole chapter of his Transcendental
Is Schopenhauer s own position, however, equally defensible,
when he identifies his one Substance with Matter? This identi
fication of Substance with the hypothetically permanent in
physical causation involves a tendency towards a materialistic
interpretation of experience; it means ignoring for the time the
abiding character of the rational elements in experience. If the
principle of permanence is to be immanent and unitary, experi
ence itself must be regarded as one and undivided. The correct
solution must lie in the opposite direction from the one Schopen
hauer follows. The unitary character of substance can be an
instrumentally valid conception only for an epistemology which
recognizes its one Reality in the all-embracing, coherent, intel
ligible experience, in which every element is a factor in a self-
perpetuating process of organization, and contributes to the
permanent significance of the absolute whole.
50 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
II. Rational Cosmology: Antinomy of Pure Reason. The
idea of the soul was technically deduced by Kant from the
categorical syllogism, but only through the most artificial manipu
lation. In the case of the Antinomy of Pure Reason, however,
Schopenhauer finds no such violence necessary, in order to dis
cover the logical basis of the "dogmatic ideas concerning the
universe, as far as it is thought as an object in itself, between two
limits that of the smallest (atom), and that of the largest
(limits of the universe in time and space)." 1 These do really
proceed from the hypothetical syllogism. For, as Schopenhauer
says, "in accordance with that principle, the mere dependence
of an object upon another is ever sought for, till finally the
exhaustion of the imagination puts an end to the journey," 2
and thus the real character of the Principle of Sufficient Reason
is forgotten, namely, its necessary restriction to the world of
representations. The transcendental ideas of the hypostatized
universe, therefore, do actually find their source in this applica
tion, or rather misapplication, of the hypothetical judgment,
the logical form of the Principle of Sufficient Reason.
But "so much the more is sophistry required," Schopenhauer
asserts, "in order to classify those Ideas according to the four
titles of the categories." 3 Thus he sees no reason why the
Cosmological Ideas concerning the limits of the world in space
and time should be classed under quantity, which denotes
nothing more than the extent of inclusion of the subject-concept
in the judgment. Even less justified is the arbitrary linking of
the idea of matter to quality. For the notion of the divisi
bility of matter, Schopenhauer holds, not only has nothing to
do with quality, but does not even spring from the Principle of
Sufficient Reason. The relation of parts to the whole, which is
the real meaning of the second Cosmological Idea, is based upon
the metalogical principle of contradiction ; for "the whole is not
through the parts, nor the parts through the whole, but both
are necessarily together because they are one, and their separation
is only an arbitrary act." 4 The relation of parts to the whole is
G., I, p. 625; H.K., II, p. 104.
2 G., I, p. 625; H.K., II, p. 105.
3 G., I, p. 626; H.K., II, p. 105.
G., I, pp. 626-627; H.K., II, p. 106.
SCOPE AND LIMITS OF EXPERIENCE. 5 1
thus one of mutual implication, not one of dependence, of reason
and consequent. But Kant neglects this obvious fact; "such
great difficulties are here overcome by the love of symmetry." 1
The idea of a First Cause, connected as it is with the category of
causality, would naturally come under the rubric of relation.
But Kant assigns this to modality/ by making use of the
totality of that series, to transform the contingent, the accidental,
into the necessary, 2 a procedure which perverts the whole meaning
of contingent and necessary, as Schopenhauer uses these terms.
For Kant s meaning becomes intelligible only when, regarding
the hypothetical series as absolutely complete, we are forced to
admit that everything must be in some way necessarily con
nected within the whole. But under such arbitrary conditions
necessity and contingency alike become meaningless, and we
could with perfect right reverse Kant s conclusion and say that
in the absolute completeness of the series everything necessary
becomes contingent; and both statements would be equally
meaningless. For necessity and contingency are complementary
conceptions; contingency means nothing more nor less than
the absence of definite dependence between two particular states-,
in a system which is affirmed in the very notion of necessity..
This is the simple meaning of necessity and contingency whem
applied to the empirical world, and no absolute completion of
any series can identify the two conceptions.
Schopenhauer is right in insisting upon the complementary
character of necessity and contingency as applied to the world
of experience. Kant connects the Idea of First Cause and abso
lute necessity with modality by postulating the existence of a
hypostatized complete system, which would make the very
conception of necessity meaningless. Necessity and contingency
alike have significance only for coherent, dynamic experience.
In taking his stand, therefore, on the inevitable distinction be
tween the necessary and the contingent in finite experience, and
in opposing Kant s transcendent transformation of the contingent
into the necessary, Schopenhauer justly combats an untenable
G., I, p. 627; H.K., II, p. 106.
*Cf.Kr.d.r. V., p. 415; M., p. 335.
5 2 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
"About all this, however," he says, "I find and assert that
the whole antinomy is a mere delusion, a sham fight." 1 Only
the antitheses remain consistently on the objective basis of the
Principle of Sufficient Reason. The theses, on the contrary,
in all four conflicts, are mere subjective assertions, resting solely
upon "the weakness of the reasoning individual," 2 or rather,
upon the indolence of his imagination, seeking to put an end to
an endless regressus. "The proof of the thesis in all the four
conflicts is throughout a mere sophism, while that of the antithe
sis is a necessary inference of the reason from the laws of the world
as idea known to us a priori."* Kant succeeds in maintaining
the appearance of a real conflict and a balanced antinomy in
each case by the constant artifice of not showing clearly the
nervus argumentationis, but rather confusing and complicating
the argument by means of "a mass of superfluous and prolix
Whether this view of the utter groundlessness of the four theses,
and the consequent absence of any real antinomy, is tenable or
not, can best be determined by a detailed analysis of the line
of argument followed by Kant. "I assume," Schopenhauer says,
"that in this examination the reader has always before him the
Kantian antinomy itself," 5 a suggestion which may also prove
helpful to the reader of the present monograph.
J. Antinomy of Space and Time. In the first conflict, Scho
penhauer says, the thesis, The world has a beginning in time
and is limited with regard to space, avoids the point at issue
by a mere sophism. For, first, with regard to time, its proof
applies equally well to a beginning in time and to a beginning of
time, which is absurd. 6 Again, instead of arguing against the
impossibility of beginning the series of states constituting the
world, it suddenly turns its proof against the conception of the
endlessness (infinity) of the series; and this it shows to be in
compatible with the fixed completeness of the series, which it
p. 627; H.K., II, p. 107. Cf. Kr. d. r. V., p. 430; M., p. 346.
, p. 627; H.K., II, p. 107.
, pp. 627-628; H.K., II, p. 107.
, p. 628; H.K., II, p. 107.
, p. 628; H.K., II, p. 108. 6 C/. G., IV, p. 125.
SCOPE AND LIMITS OF EXPERIENCE. 53
takes for granted. The antithesis, however, shows that an
absolute beginning -of the world in time presupposes an ante
cedent empty time in which, it is argued, no existence can possibly
have its beginning. And against this proof of the antithesis
nothing whatever is advanced by the thesis. An absolute end,
Schopenhauer asserts, is thinkable, but not an absolute beginning.
The causal law "affords us a priori the certainty that no occupied
time can ever be bounded by a previous empty time, and that
no change can be the first change." 1 In assuming the complete
ness of the world as a given whole, the thesis begs the question.
Thus it shows that "in order ... to conceive the world, which
fills all space, as a whole," 2 we must consider it as spatially
limited. But the totality of the world, in such a sense of the
term totality/ is just what was to be proved; the rest follows
logically enough. "Totality presupposes limits, and limits pre
suppose totality; but here both together are arbitrarily pre
supposed." 3 Inasmuch as the causal law applies to changes in
time only, it cannot prove a priori the incompatibility of occupied
and empty space. But the mind cannot conceive of any possible
relation between the two. In other words, in the case of both
time and space, the antithesis proceeds on the basis of the actual
world of perceptual experience, whereas the thesis assumes
throughout the given totality of the world, which latter is the
very point at issue.
2. Antinomy of Matter. In a similar way, Schopenhauer says,
in the second conflict "the thesis is at once guilty of a very
palpable petitio principii."* It starts by assuming a compound
substance, from the compoundness of which it proves the neces
sity of simple parts without any difficulty. But, he argues, the
point to be proved is just this, that all matter is compound.
For "the opposite of simple is not compound, but extended, that
which has parts and is divisible." 5 The thesis fails to note that
the relation of parts and whole is nowise temporal, and asserts
G., I, p. 630; H.K., II, p. 109.
*Kr. d. r. V., p. 428; M., p. 346.
3 G., I, p. 629; H.K., II, p. 109.
<G., I, p. 631; H.K., II, no.
54 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
the existence of the parts as in some sense preceding the whole;
for this is the very meaning of compoundness, which asserts the
existence of the parts a parte ante. Hence the thesis, if it is to
prove its case, must show that there is necessarily a limit to the
divisibility of matter. Thus, Schopenhauer insists, the argu
ments of the thesis evade the problem and do not even touch the
proofs of the antithesis. "The infinite divisibility of matter,
which the antithesis asserts, follows a priori and incontrovertibly
from that of space, which it fills." 1 Kant says in his observations
on the thesis: "we ought not to call space a compositum, but a
totum." 2 This, Schopenhauer thinks, "holds good absolutely
of matter also, which is simply space become perceptible." 3 This
is the real force of the antithesis : its proof rests on its realization
of the concrete character of matter. In his effort to make the
conflict appear as real as possible, Schopenhauer says, Kant
"spoils the proof of the antithesis by the greatest obscurity of
style and useless accumulation of words, with the cunning inten
tion that the evidence of the antithesis shall not throw the
sophisms of the thesis too much in the shade." 4
Kant s Critical Solution attempts to maintain the balance in
the antinomies by taking sides with neither thesis nor antithesis,
but, ostensibly substituting for the dogmatic aut-aut of the
alternatives in the first two conflicts a nec-nec, 5 condemning
both as inadequate. As a matter of fact, however, Schopenhauer
finds that the verdict is "really the confirmation of the antitheses
by the explanation of their assertions." 6 Thus, Kant s view that
both theses and antitheses depend upon the dialectical argument
that, if the conditioned is given, the whole series of conditions
is also given, is obviously erroneous. This is assumed only by
the thesis, and is exactly what the antithesis opposes, starting
as it does on the basis of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which
is concerned only with connected conditioned and condition-
1 G., I, p. 631; H.K., II, p. in.
*Kr. d. r. V., p. 438; M., p. 356.
3 G. f I, p. 631; H.K., II, p. in.
4 G., I, pp. 631-632; H.K., II, p. in.
*Cf. Paulsen, Immanuel Kant, translated by J. E. Creighton and A. Lefevre,
New York, 1902, pp. 217 ff.
6G., I, p. 634; H.K., II, p. 114.
SCOPE AND LIMITS OF EXPERIENCE. 55
ing states, and not with the series of conditions. Again, it is
only the thesis that, in assuming a world in space and time,
mistakenly conceives space and time as existent by themselves,
and makes "the false assumption of a self-existent universe, i. e.,
a universe given prior to all knowledge, and to which knowledge
came as to something external to itself." 1 Kant s solution,
the world is neither finite nor infinite in time and space, because
time and space have no meaning for the world as a whole,
does not controvert the proofs of the antithesis in the least.
For the antithesis maintains that in the world with which it
concerns itself, the spatial-temporal world of knowledge, no limits
of time and space can be postulated; and the conclusion of
Kant s own solution follows directly from this: "The infinity
of the world is only through the regressus, not before it." 2 Thus it
is seen that the antithesis does not assert, as Kant claims that
it does, an infinity apart from the progress of experience, but
merely refuses to admit that the progress can at any point come
to an absolute stop.
The same criticism applies to the second conflict. It is the
thesis that, in asserting the compoundness of substance (matter),
ignores the reciprocal relation of parts and whole. The an
tithesis, on the other hand, in refusing to admit any limit to the
divisibility of matter, simply recognizes its concrete character
in the process of experience, and is fully conscious of the in-
separableness of matter from space. When Kant maintains that
"none but sensuous conditions can enter into the mathematical
connection of the series of phenomena," 3 he is but re-affirming
the contention of the antithesis, which is concerned throughout
with the world of representations. " Indeed," Schopenhauer con
cludes, "if, reversing the procedure, we take as the starting-
point what Kant gives as the solution of the conflict, the assertion
of the antithesis follows exactly from it." 4
This attempt to vindicate the antitheses of the several anti
nomies is of considerable significance in that it illustrates the
1 Ibid .
*Cf. G., I, p. 635; H.K., II, p. 115.
3 Kr. d. r. V., p. 530; M., p. 430.
<G., 1, p. 636; H.K.. II, pp. 115-116.
56 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
general character of Schopenhauer s own philosophical attitude
no less than of his criticism of Kant. He seems correct in the
main in his interpretation of the first two Antinomies and their
solution, i. e., in claiming that the assertions of the theses are
utterly untenable, whereas the proofs of the antitheses are valid
so far as they go. If taken in the negative sense of merely
refusing to admit in the world of representations laws other
than those resting on the Principle of Sufficient Reason, the
position represented by the antitheses is not open to attack.
The vindication of the antitheses in the Antinomies would not
call for criticism, if it were confined to the mere re-affirmation of
the validity of the mechanical categories in experience physically
considered. But it means more than that. It means the sur
render of the entire world of possible experience to the mechanical
categories; and in this respect Kant s Critical Solution does
actually lead him to the same conclusion that Schopenhauer
draws from a thoroughgoing acceptance of the antitheses. Space
and time are indisputably essential aspects of experience. The
objectivity of the causal process, which necessitates and is actual
ized in the conception of matter, is fundamental to any intelligible
view of our world, and is a ground of its coherence. But space,
time, and matter all become meaningless, if we lose sight of the
all-embracing character of the experience of which they are
aspects. Space is real for experience, but it does not exhaust
the reality of experience. Time is indispensable to dynamic,
objective experience, but objectivity cannot be expressed in terms
of time alone. The spatial-temporal factors of experience are
subject to laws which cannot be set aside at pleasure; but expe
rience is more than merely spatial-temporal, and its other aspects
manifest uniformities which may require their own special
principles of explanation.
Experience is an organic system, and no one of its significant
aspects can be persistently ignored without wrecking the entire
structure of knowledge. This does not mean that all phases
of experience are of equal reality, from the point of view of
philosophy, and that time, space, and matter are no more and
no less real than any other aspects of experience. The degree
SCOPE AND LIMITS OF EXPERIENCE. 57
of reality of any phase or factor of experience must be determined
in terms of its significance for the whole of experience considered
in the light of its immanent organization. But this point of
view is only one way of regarding the problem of philosophy.
Here it is merely insisted that space, time, and matter, funda
mental factors though they are in the progressive organization
of experience, do not exhaust its significance. The antitheses, as
Schopenhauer interprets them, refuse to admit the tenability
of any philosophical theory which treats space, time, and matter
in a transcendent way, out of their interrelation within concrete
experience. But precisely for that reason it is philosophically
inadmissible to regard space, time, and matter out of their con
text by ignoring other aspects of experience.
3. Antinomies of Causality. The third and fourth antinomies,
Schopenhauer thinks, differ only in their external form ; at bottom
they both concern the possibility of an unconditioned First Cause,
and are thus essentially tautological. 1
The real point at issue is this : Are all changes in the world of
phenomena explainable only in terms of causality, and therefore
conditioned in nature according to the Principle of Sufficient
Reason; or does causality presuppose the unconditioned? The
thesis of the third antinomy Schopenhauer characterizes as "a
very fine sophism." 2 It starts, correctly enough, by arguing
that a cause is adequate only when it completely accounts for its
consequent effect. But then it proceeds to substitute, for the
completeness of the determining conditions present together in
the production of a concrete effect, the completeness of the
chain of causes of which the state in question presumably forms
the last link. And, inasmuch as its abstract conception of com
pleteness involves the notion of a closed system, and that, again,
implies finiteness, "the argument infers from this a first cause,
closing the series and therefore unconditioned." 3
But "die Taschenspielerei liegt am Tage," 4 as Schopenhauer
puts it. For the causal law means nothing more than this: that
G., I, p. 633: H.K., ii, P . 113.
J G., I, p. 632; H.K., II, p. in.
8 G., I, p. 632; H.K., II, p. 112.
5 8 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
for every state B, in the world of experience, an adequate ante
cedent state A must be presupposed, which conditions it neces
sarily and completely. This exhausts the demand of the causal
law in each specific case. The question as to how the cause
A itself came about is irrelevant to the problem raised by the
consideration of state B] that question can concern the law of
causality only when we turn to A, and, regarding it no longer
as the conditioning cause of B, but as itself an effect, a conditioned
state, demand an explanation of it in causal terms. The Prin
ciple of Sufficient Reason of becoming proceeds throughout
from the conditioned effect to the conditioning cause. It can
never be used to trace chains of causes, because it can never
start with a cause as such.
The successive alternation of effects and causes in the causal
series is complete only in reference to the process of tracing the
connection of causal dependence, and is thus inseparable from
the progress of perceptual knowledge. Hence any theory of a
finite causal series assumes an arbitrary cessation of the law of
causality at some one point, and is due only to "the laziness of
the speculating individual." 1 This, Schopenhauer argues, is the
sum and substance of the law of causality, and it expresses the
real argument of the antitheses, in spite of the confused language
in which the latter are couched. Schopenhauer insists through
out that the Principle of Sufficient Reason in general and the law
of causality in particular apply only to concrete dependence in
the world of phenomena, and distinctly not to the universe taken
as a hypostatized whole. The assumptions of "a primary begin
ning," 2 "absolute spontaneity of causes," 3 "necessity of a first
beginning of a series of phenomena from freedom ... so far
only as it is necessary in order to comprehend an origin of the
world," 4 are all incompatible with the fundamental meaning of
the Principle of Sufficient Reason.
In his Critical Solution of the two antinomies of causality,
Kant attempts to show the partial truth of both thesis and
1 G., I, p. 633; H.K., II, p. 112.
*Kr. d. r. V., p. 446; M., p. 362.
3 Kr. d. r. V., p. 446; M., p. 364.
*Kr. d. r. V., p. 448; M., p. 366.
SCOPE AND LIMITS OF EXPERIENCE. 59
antithesis; but his attempt is necessarily futile. The arguments
of thesis and antithesis alike concern, not any transcendent
world of things-in-themselves, but only the phenomenal, the
objective World as Idea. The whole force of the thesis is directed
to prove that the phenomenal world itself involves unconditioned
causes, and this is precisely what the antithesis denies. This is
explicitly stated in the fourth conflict : the thesis demands some
thing absolutely necessary, which nevertheless " belongs itself
to the world of sense," 1 and is "contained in the world." 2 The
causality of freedom, the validity of which the thesis seeks to
prove in the third antinomy, is no transcendent matter, but is
merely the spontaneous originating of a series, which thence
forward is to operate "according to mere laws of nature." 3 And
it is precisely against this doctrine of the arbitrary violability of
the causal law in the empirical world that the antithesis directs
its proofs, depending as it does throughout upon the explicitly
phenomenal Principle of Sufficient Reason.
Kant s theory of freedom, therefore, in so far as it concerns the
thing-in-itself, is entirely irrelevant in this connection. For the
relation of the intelligible to the empirical character, Schopen
hauer insists, is nowise a causal relation, but passes beyond the
phenomenal world and raises the fundamental metaphysical
problem of the thing-in-itself. In so far as it concerns the present
issue, however, that theory also affirms the argument of the
antithesis. For, in Kant s Critical Solution, it is argued that
in the phenomenal world causality is supreme ; the empirical char
acter of man is unalterably determined. Hence man can by
no means originate a causal series in the world of nature. Free
dom is the principle of explanation of the world itself, which (for
Schopenhauer) is in itself a manifestation of Will. But in the
world, and this is the point at issue here, "in the world causal
ity is the sole principle of explanation, and everything happens
simply according to the laws of nature." 4 Thus, Schopenhauer
concludes, "the right lies entirely on the side of the antithesis,
1 Kr. d. r. V., p. 452; M., p. 370.
2 Kr. d. r. V., p. 454; M., p. 372.
Kr. d. r. V., p. 448; M., p. 366.
<G., I, p. 644; H.K., II, p. 124.
60 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
which sticks to the question in hand, and uses the principle of
explanation which is valid with regard to it; therefore it needs
no apology. The thesis, on the other hand, is supposed to be
got out of the matter by an apology, which first passes over to
something quite different from the point at issue, and then as
sumes a principle of explanation which is inapplicable to it." 1
III. Transcendental Ideal: God. Schopenhauer is quite curt in
dismissing the arguments of speculative theology. He thinks
that Kant makes too long work of his refutation of the theological
proofs. "No critique of reason was necessary for the refutation
of the ontological proof of the existence of God; for without
presupposing the aesthetic and analytic, it is quite easy to make
clear that that ontological proof is nothing but a subtle playing
with conceptions which is quite powerless to produce conviction." 2
It should be recognized for what it is, a veritable masterpiece
of the monstrous productions of scholastic theology. 3 This sum
mary manner of dealing with the ontological argument exemplifies
Schopenhauer s general attitude towards Kant s chapter on "The
Ideal of Pure Reason." He dismisses the two other scholastic
proofs without much ado : the cosmological proof, as incompatible
with the law of causality ; the physico-theological proof, as com
pletely misconceiving the meaning of teleology in experience.
Philosophy and theism, Schopenhauer holds, are fundamentally
opposed to each other, and the conception of God is out of place
in any consistent epistemology. 4 The real basis for the notion of
an Ultimate is to be sought for, not in terms of transcendent, but
of immanent teleology.
The indubitable significance of the teleological categories leads
Kant to the assumption of a transcendent world of Reason, and
the conception of things-in-themselves inevitably introduces a
line of cleavage between the theoretical and the practical, which
makes consistent unity impossible in the technical formulation
of Kant s theory of reality. The world of freedom remains for
2 G., I, pp. 648-649; H.K., II, p. 129.
3 G., I, p. 646; H.K., II, p. 127.
4 Cf. G., IV, pp. 128 ff., where Schopenhauer discusses further the three proofs
of speculative theology, in connection with some remarks bearing more directly
upon his views on the philosophy of religion.
SCOPE AND LIMITS OF EXPERIENCE. 6 1
him an as if, a necessary postulate of Practical Reason; it never
acquires epistemological validity for the world of possible expe
rience. Schopenhauer s solution of this problem, on the other
hand, points in the opposite direction. The world of Will and
freedom is for him the absolute reality which underlies the world
of cognitive experience; Kant s world of possible experience
is therefore regarded, from the point of view of metaphysics, as
lacking in ultimate validity and truth, as an appearance, an
illusion, as the veil of Maya concealing the free Will-Reality.
In spite of essential differences in standpoint, which have been
at least sufficiently accentuated in the above comparison of their
treatment of the teleological principles, Kant and Schopenhauer
make the same fundamental mistake. Neither fully realized
the essentially instrumental character of all categories. Each
and every category considers experience, all of it, from its own
point of view. Experience is one, and the categories are its
categories, the points of view from which it may profitably be
regarded; no one of them can exhaust its meaning, nor can any
truly significant category find its own meaning exhausted in
any one part of experience, for the simple reason that experience
is organic and is therefore not divisible into discrete parts.
Schopenhauer s failure to draw this inevitable conclusion from
the results of the Transcendental Dialectic, and the consequent
dualism of his own metaphysics, will be considered in the next
EXPERIENCE AND REALITY: THE WILL AS THE THING-IN-!TSELF.
The Critical epistemology leads inevitably to the conclusion
that all possible experience is phenomenal, i. e., that it has no
meaning except in terms of knowledge and in reference to the
knowing subject. This realization of the fundamentally sub
jective character of the phenonemal object, Schopenhauer
regards as "the theme of the Critique of Pure Reason. " x
The organization of this subject-object world of possible ex
perience is formulated by Kant in terms of the mechanical
categories, to the exclusion of the teleological. This is the
formal result of the Dialectic.
The rejection of the rationalistic solution of the teleological
problem does not, however, do away with the problem itself.
The practical can have no real application in an experience
conceived in purely mechanical terms; nevertheless, Kant is
deeply impressed with the undeniable significance of the moral
and aesthetic phases of experience, and with the inadequacy of
the mechanical categories to explain these. His vindication
of the real significance of the teleological categories is intimately
connected with his justification of the notion of the thing-in-
itself. A change of philosophical method is to be observed at
this stage of Kant s exposition, which Schopenhauer interprets
as follows. Kant does not affirm, clearly and distinctly, the
absolute mutual dependence of subject and object in all possible
experience. "He does not say, as truth required, simply and
absolutely that the object is conditioned by the subject, and
conversely, but only that the manner of appearance of the object
is conditioned by the forms of knowledge of the subject, which r
therefore, come a priori to consciousness. But that now which
in opposition to this is only known a posteriori is for him the
immediate effect of the thing in itself, which becomes phenom-
J G., II, p. 205; H.K., II, p. 381.
EXPERIENCE AND REALITY. 63
enon only in its passage through these forms which are given
a priori. " 1 And Kant fails to realize that "objectivity in gen
eral belongs to the forms of the phenomenon, and is just as much
conditioned by subjectivity in general as the mode of appearing
of the object is conditioned by the forms of knowledge of the
subject; that thus if a thing in itself must be assumed, it abso
lutely cannot be an object, which however he always assumes
it to be, but such a thing in itself must necessarily lie in a sphere
toto genere different from the idea (from knowing and being
Schopenhauer criticises Kant s conception of the thing-in-
itself in the same manner in which he had criticised his theory of
the a priori character of the causal law. Both doctrines are true,
but their proof is false. " 3 Kant argues that "the phenomenon,
thus the visible world, must have a reason, an intelligible cause,
which is not a phenomenon, and therefore belongs to no possible
experience." 4 But this is perverting entirely the meaning of the
law of causality, which applies exclusively to relations between
phenomenal changes, and can therefore in no way account for the
phenomenal world as a hypostatized entity. This "incredible
inconsistency" 5 was early discerned by Kant s critics, especially
by G. E. Schulze. 6 Schopenhauer explains it as due to Kant s irre
sistible desire to establish in some way the reality of the practical
postulates, God, freedom, and the immortality of the soul, which
he found himself unable to establish upon the speculative basis
of rationalism. Making use of the distinction between theoreti
cal and practical reason, he now transports the machinery of
rational dogmatism into the practical sphere, and thus justifies
the practical validity of the Ideas of God, Freedom, and Immor
tality in the world of possible experience, by maintaining their
metaphysical validity in the supersensible world of things-
Kant s technical view of this problem, and his entire method
J G., I, pp. 638-639; H.K., II, pp. 118-119.
2 G., I, p. 639; H.K., II, p. 119. Ubid.
<G., I, p. 638; H.K., II, pp. 117-118.
G., I, p. 638; H.K., II, p. 118.
8 C/. G., IV, pp. noff.
64 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
of dealing with it, in the Critique of Practical Reason, Schopen
hauer regards as fundamentally false. His own Basis of Moral
ity contains a vigorous attack upon the fundamental principles
of Kant s ethical theory. According to him, Kant "founds . . .
his moral principle not on any provable fact of consciousness,
such as an inner natural disposition, nor yet upon any objective
relation of things in the external world, . . . but on pure
Reason, which ... is taken, not as it really and exclusively
is, an intellectual faculty of man, but as a self-existent hypo-
static essence, yet without the smallest authority. "* The second
Critique inconsistently retains what was declared untenable
in the Transcendental Dialectic , by the obvious subterfuge of
raising the speculative reason into a genus, and then deducing
from it a second species, practical reason, a procedure similar
to that accounting for the origin of immaterial substance, and
as inconsistent as it is useless in the solution of the ethical
problem. 2 Through the road of knowledge, through understand
ing and reason, we can arrive at perception and conception
respectively; but cognition is always restricted to phenomena,
the thing-in-itself is unknowable. The Critical account of
experience as phenomenal in character, and its definition of
phenomenal as synonymous with cognitive experience, made
possible through the mechanical categories, show that the thing-
in-itself, the kernel of experience, is forever beyond the reach
It is at this point that Schopenhauer makes what he regards
as his own great contribution to philosophical thought; here
it is that Schopenhauer s philosophy joins onto the Kantian,
or rather springs from it as from its parent stem. 3 "Upon
the path of the idea one can never get beyond the idea; it is
a rounded-off whole, and has in its own resources no clue leading
to the nature of the thing in itself, which is toto genere different
1 G., Ill, pp. 510, 511; Basis of Morality, tr. by A. B. Bullock, London, 1903,
pp. 44, 45. For a fuller discussion of this problem, cf. the writer s article on
"Schopenhauer s Criticism of Kant s Theory of Ethics," The Philosophical
Review, Vol. XIX, No. 5, Sept., 1910, pp. 512-534.
2 G., Ill, pp. 511 ff.; Bullock, pp. 45 ff.
l Cf. R. Behm, Vergleichung der kantischen und schopenhauerischen Lehre in
Ansehung der Kausalitat, Heidelberg, 1892, p. 39.
EXPERIENCE AND REALITY. 65
from it. If we were merely perceiving beings, the way to the
thing in itself would be absolutely cut off from us. Only the
other side of our own being can disclose to us the other side of
the inner being of things. This path I have followed." 1 Kant
is correct in holding that we are unable to arrive at the ultimate
reality of things by the road of knowledge; but he then pro
ceeds to deny the possibility of all metaphysics, thus ignoring,
in his Critique of Pure Reason, the paramount ontological sig
nificance of non-cognitive experience.
Nevertheless, Kant s theory of freedom, untenable though
it is in its technical form, serves to indicate his realization of the
inadequate and incomplete character of his epistemology and its
implications. The doctrine of the transcendental freedom of
man s will recognizes implicitly, Schopenhauer maintains, that
in man necessity is phenomenal only, and that in him the thing-
in-itself manifests its inner nature in the form of Will. "What,
then, Kant teaches of the phenomenon of man and his action
my teaching extends to all phenomena in nature, in that it makes
the will as a thing-in-itself their foundation." 2 For man is not
toto genere different from the rest of experience, but differs only
in degree. The World as Idea is, as Kant says, purely phenom
enal; but it does not exhaust reality. "As the world is in one
aspect entirely idea, so in another it is entirely will. A reality
which is neither of these two, but an object in itself (into which
the thing in itself has unfortunately dwindled in the hands of
Kant), is the phantom of a dream, and its acceptance is an ignis
fatuus in philosophy." 3 The path of objective knowledge does
not lead us to the real nature of things, and so far Schopenhauer
is in thorough agreement with Kant. But " the thing in itself can,
as such, only come into consciousness quite directly, in this way,
that it is itself conscious of itself; to wish to know it objectively
is to desire something contradictory." 4 The thing-in-itself
is unknowable, precisely because it is not a matter of knowledge
but is in its inmost essence Will. Our consciousness of willing
G., I, p. 638; H.K., II, p. 118. Cf. G., IV, p. 115.
2 G., II, pp. 201-202; H.K., II, p. 377.
G., I, p. 3SJH.K., I, p. 5.
G., II, p. 227; H.K., II. p. 405-
66 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
is the only knowledge which we can have of the thing-in-itself.
But by will Schopenhauer does not mean " merely willing and
purposing in the narrowest sense, but also all striving, wishing,
shunning, hoping, fearing, loving, hating, in short, all that
directly constitutes our own weal and woe, desire and aversion. MI
Kant, then, recognized the metaphysical significance of human
volition, but his perverse explanation of it in terms of Practical
Reason led him to regard volition as a special prerogative of
man. Schopenhauer considers it his own great achievement in
philosophy to have completed Kant s idealism by indicating the
ultimate character of the Will as the Weltprincip, as the one
and only thing-in-itself. For this is the greatest truth in all
philosophy: the nature of man manifests the character of ulti
mate reality. 2 "We must learn to understand nature from our
selves, not conversely ourselves from nature." 3 Man is not the
microcosm; nature is, rather, the macanthropos. This is the
point of view from which Schopenhauer now proceeds to re
interpret the entire universe of phenomena, which, in his theory
of knowledge, he had characterized as mere spatial-temporal
ideas, necessarily determined by the Principle of Sufficient
Reason in the subject-object world.
The consciousness of willing and striving, in which the thing-
in-itself reveals itself in man, is different from the striving and
willing manifest in all nature, but different only in degree.
"Even the lowest forces of nature themselves are animated
by that same will, which afterwards, in the individual beings
provided with intelligence, marvels at its own work, as the
somnambulist wonders in the morning at what he has done in his
sleep; or more accurately, which is astonished at its own form
which it beholds in the mirror." 4 There is in all things a meta
physical element, ultimate and refusing further analysis, which
remains after their existence as ideas of the subject has been
set aside. 5 What this metaphysical kernel is, Kant is unable to
JG., II, p. 233; H.K., II, p. 412.
*C/. G., I, p. 164; H.K., I, p. 143-
3G., II, p. 227; H.K., II, p. 406.
<G., II, p. 381; H.K., III, p. 73-
G., I, p. 157; H.K., I, p. 136.
EXPERIENCE AND REALITY. 67
say; but he is right, Schopenhauer thinks, in stating what it is
not. In excluding space, time, causality, and all the categories
of knowledge from it, Kant asserts its non-cognitive character
and is dimly conscious of the truth to which Schopenhauer him
self first gives adequate expression. Science investigates phe
nomena, generalizes, systematizes our knowledge. But all
science whatever finally ends in some surd or other which it is
unable to solve on the basis of its own premises. "This that
witholds itself from investigation ... is the thing-in-itself, is
that which is essentially not idea, not object of knowledge, but
has only become knowable by entering that form. The form is
originally foreign to it, and the thing-in-itself can never become
entirely one with it, can never be referred to mere form, and,
since this form is the principle of sufficient reason, can never be
completely explained." 1 It is not capable of any abstract formu
lation; its non-cognitive, dynamic character is its essential char
acteristic. The thing-in-itself, which reveals itself in man as
conscious willing, is manifest in the action of all things, assuming
an infinity of forms, but remaining throughout the series a rest
less, endless striving, a conative flux.
In the higher grades of the manifestation of the will, indi
viduality comes to occupy a prominent position ; 2 but we should
err if we mistook the absence of self-conscious individuality for
absence of the will-reality. "If ... I say," Schopenhauer
writes, "the force which attracts a stone to the earth is according
to its nature, in itself, and apart from all idea, will, I shall not
be supposed to express in this proposition the insane opinion
that the stone moves itself in accordance with a known motive,
merely because this is the way in which will appears in man." 3
That is to say, to quote a significant passage: "When in any
phenomenon a knowing consciousness is added to that inner being
which lies at the foundation of all phenomena, a consciousness
which when directed inwardly becomes self -consciousness, then
that inner being presents itself to this self-consciousness as that
which is so familiar and so mysterious, and is denoted by the
1 G., I, pp. 176-177; H.K., I, p. 157.
2 G., I, p. 188; H.K., I, p. 170.
3 G.,I,p. is8;H.K., I, p. 137.
68 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
word will. Accordingly we have called that universal funda
mental nature of all phenomena the will, after that manifestation
in which it unveils itself to us most fully." 1
Comparing the intellectual and the conative aspects of expe
rience, therefore, Schopenhauer emphasizes the direct immediacy
of the latter, as over against the merely presentative character
of the former. The world of perception is directly apprehended
by the knowing subject, through the faculty of the understanding
and its one category of cause-effect, resulting from the union
of space and time. Its cognitive directness is in marked contrast
to the abstract character of conception, with its multitude of
artificial abstractions and formal laws, lacking all application to
direct experience. But perception and conception alike, Scho
penhauer holds, lack the immediacy of the conative experience.
In the willing consciousness the entire intellectual web of the
World as Idea is swept aside ; the multiplicity of things in space
and time, which hides the metaphysical oneness of all reality
from the knowing subject, is no more; the one ultimate condition
of the possibility of consciousness alone remains, time. This
the consciousness of man cannot efface without effacing itself.
"The will, as that which is metaphysical, is everywhere the
boundary-stone of every investigation, beyond which it cannot
go." 2 No "systematically connected insight" 3 into this meta
physical unity of Will is possible; the inevitably temporal char
acter of our consciousness makes us unable to grasp the thing-
in-itself once for all in its inmost nature. But, Schopenhauer
frankly admits, "the question may still be raised, what that will,
which exhibits itself in the world and as the world, ultimately
and absolutely is in itself? i. e., what it is, regarded altogether
apart from the fact that it exhibits itself as will, or in general
appears, i. e. t in general is known. This question can never be
answered: because, as we have said, becoming known is itself
the contradictory of being in itself, and everything that is known
is as such only phenomenal. But the possibility of this question
shows that the thing in itself, which we know most directly in
G., II, pp. 373-374; H.K., III, pp. 65-66.
2 G., II, p. 421; H.K., III, p. 116.
3 G., II, p. 379; H.K., III, p. 71.
EXPERIENCE AND REALITY. 69
the will, may have, entirely outside all possible phenomenal
appearance, ways of existing, determinations, qualities, which
are absolutely unknowable and incomprehensible to us." 1
Thus, ultimately, in its own inmost being, the thing-in-itself
is for Schopenhauer also unknowable. We never can penetrate
in consciousness through the last, thinnest of veils, time, and be
the thing-in-itself; nevertheless, Schopenhauer warns us against
considering will as a mere example or analogue of the thing-in-
itself. Bradley s way of regarding the matter is quite different:
" Thought . . . must have been absorbed into a fuller experience.
Now such an experience may be called thought, if you choose to
use that word. But if any one else prefers another term, such
as feeling or will, he would be equally justified." 2 Schopenhauer
would not have consented to any such generous policy. Will,
used in the metaphysical sense, refers not only to the funda
mentally conative character of all animal beings, but also to
"the force which germinates and vegetates in the plant, and
indeed the force through which the crystal is formed, that by
which the magnet turns to the north pole, . . . the force which
appears in the elective affinities of matter as repulsion and attrac
tion, decomposition and combination, and, lastly, even gravita
tion. . . ." 3 Thus it would be a misunderstanding of Schopen
hauer s theory, to interpret his thing-in-itself as will in the narrow-
sense of motived volition. But, Schopenhauer insists, "I should!
be equally misunderstood by any one who should think that it
is all the same in the end whether we denote this inner nature
of all phenomena by the word will or by any other." 4 For this
would be the case only if the thing-in-itself were indirectly known,
if Will were its mere symbol. "But," as he says, "the word
will, which, like a magic spell, discloses to us the inmost being of
everything in nature, is by no means an unknown quantity,
something arrived at only by inference, but is fully and imme
diately comprehended, and is so familiar to us that we know and
understand what will is far better than anything else." 5
G., II, pp. 229-230; H.K., II, p. 408.
2 Appearance and Reality, second edition, London, 1897, p. 171.
3 G., I, p. 163; H.K., I, p. 142.
<G., I, p. 164; H.K., I, p. 144.
G., I, p. 165; H.K., I, p. 144-
7 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
The willing consciousness, therefore, affords us the first direct
hint as to what the inner nature of reality may be. When,
having thus realized our own inner nature, we look again at
the world and recognize that "every kind of active and operating
force in nature is essentially identical with will," 1 that the cona-
tive is in all experience the most immediate, the prior, the ulti
mately unanalyzable because subject to no abstract laws, then
the word will acquires a new meaning. Then the real sig
nificance of the world first dawns upon us, and the metaphysical
character of the ethical aspect of experience becomes evident.
Then only, as Schopenhauer says, do we understand the meaning
of the Kantian doctrine that time, space, and causality do not
belong to the thing-in-itself, but are only forms of knowledge. 2
And, on the other hand, only when the solution of the meta
physical problem has disclosed to us the essential nature of
the thing-in-itself as Will, does Kant s inconsistently formu
lated doctrine of the primacy of Practical Reason acquire a real
meaning for philosophy. On Kant s basis metaphysics is im
possible and the thing-in-itself unknowable. Schopenhauer pro
poses his theory of Will as offering an immanent solution of
the problem of metaphysics: it repudiates the untenable logic
of Kant s transcendent explanations, while at the same time it
consistently reveals the true significance of Kant s doctrine of
Practical Reason, thus supplementing and bringing to completion
the Idealistic philosophy. This is Schopenhauer s estimate of
his own philosophical achievement.
In his criticism of Kant s * Transcendental Dialectic, Schopen
hauer advocates a position which, up to a certain point, is in
marked agreement with recent epistemology and its interpreta
tion of science and scientific methods. Schopenhauer constantly
insists that in the World as Idea the Principle of Sufficient Reason
is the sole principle of explanation. The causally connected
universe discloses the operation of immutable laws, to ignore
which, even in a slight degree, would make any real progress
in science impossible. To offer an answer in terms of freedom,
when a scientific answer in causal terms is demanded, is to shirk
1 G., I, p. 164; HK., I, p. 143-
2G., I, pp. 166-167; H.K., I, p. 146.
EXPERIENCE AND REALITY. 7 1
the point at issue. If science is to remain science, it must rest
all its conclusions upon the Principle of Sufficient Reason. But,
for Kant, the distinction between the subject-matter of physics
and that of metaphysics is identical with the distinction between
what appears and what is. This Kant has "nettement etablie,"
as Ribot puts it, following Schopenhauer. 1 And, inasmuch as
all experience is what appears/ i. e., phenomenal, the thing-in-
itself, which is, is unknowable; and hence metaphysics, in the
strict sense of the term, is impossible.
Here it is that Schopenhauer attempts to improve upon Kant,
by asserting the possibility of an immanent metaphysics, a meta
physics of experience. Philosophy, he says, begins where science
leaves off, it takes things up and "treats them after its own
method, which is quite distinct from the method of science." 2
This essential difference in method Schopenhauer indicates in no
vague terms. Science is concerned with the systematic connec
tion of differences. But in the conative consciousness the dif
ferences of the World as Idea vanish into one immediate unity,
and scientific knowledge is transmuted into a consciousness of
will, which demands no explanation, starts from nothing, points
to nothing, but is itself an unending immediate striving. Scho
penhauer, therefore, denies, on the basis of Kant s own epistemo-
logical results, the possibility of metaphysics, if by metaphysics
is meant the scientific explanation of the inmost nature of the
thing-in-itself as such, considered apart from its manifestation
in consciousness. But he emphatically affirms the possibility of
a metaphysics of experience, in terms of its completest and most
immediate, i. e., most real manifestation, Will.
In this sense, then, Schopenhauer asserts that his own meta
physics of Will is the key to the world-riddle. His test of the
metaphysical * realness of any phase of experience is in terms of
a unity which absorbs multiplicity. This unity, however, is not
the result of the abstracting process of conception, but, in contrast
to the mediate character of all thought, is concrete, i. e., imme
diately present in consciousness. Schopenhauer seeks his ulti
mate reality in some specific aspect of experience, or rather in
1 La philosophic de Schopenhauer, Paris, 1890, p. 35.
2 G., I, p. 128; H.K., I, p. 107.
7 2 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
some one sort of experience, in which, as in the apex of the cone,
all the various radii may somehow vanish and be lost in one un-
differentiated unity. The real is conceived by him as opposed
to and contradistinguished from the rest of experience, which is
thereby declared illusory. The ultimate unity is possible, on
Schopenhauer s basis, only by means of the erasure of the
organized multiplicity of phenomena. Reality is not truly re
vealed by its phenomenal appearance ; rather is the World as Idea
the fleeting shadow of the Real, its veil of M&ya\ All the organi
zation and coherence implied in the Principle of Sufficient Rea
son avail us nothing in the solution of the ultimate problems of
experience. To learn metaphysics, we must unlearn science:
this is the spirit of Schopenhauer s theory of reality.
The result of such a conception of metaphysics for the inter
pretation of the reality now recognized as Will, is not difficult to
foresee. We know ourselves as willing in our separate acts of
striving. But it is precisely this our knowledge of the conative
that introduces the element of multiplicity and makes impossible
the complete metaphysical unity. Our consciousness of willing
is metaphysically real, not by virtue of its being conscious, but
in spite of it, by virtue of its being Will. The Will-Reality
as such, the metaphysical kernel of the universe, is not in time,
because it absorbs all multiplicity in itself. Consciousness, in
evitably temporal in character, is itself a mere accident of the
metaphysical Real. The ultimate thing-in-itself is non-temporal,
unconscious, irrational, free. "The will in itself is without con
sciousness, and remains so in the greater part of its phenomena.
The secondary world of idea must be added, in order that it
may become conscious of itself." 1 Will is the prius, the Welt-
princip; vow is secondary, intellect is the posterius, a derivation
and a mere appearance of the thing-in-itself. To urge the
primacy of the intellect over the will, is therefore an "enormous
7rpcoToj> \f/ev8os and fundamental vo-repov Trporc/oov." 2
"It is the unconscious will" Schopenhauer insists, "which
constitutes the reality of things, and its development must have
1 G., II, pp. 323-324; H.K., in, p. 12.
2 G., II, p. 230; H.K., II, p. 409.
EXPERIENCE AND REALITY. 73
advanced very far before it finally attains, in the animal con
sciousness, to the idea and intelligence; so that, according to me,
thought appears at the very last." 1 This position leads Schopen
hauer to materialistic excesses. The whole world of perception
and conception, of body and matter, which he formerly regarded
as intellectual in character, he now describes in terms of the bodily
organism. 2 The intellect is reduced to a tertiary position, being
the instrument necessitated by a complete organism, which is
secondary and is itself the embodiment of the one and only
Prius, the blind unconscious Will. The intellect is accordingly
a function of the brain, which, again, is the will-to-perceive-and-
think objectified, just as the stomach is the embodiment of the
will-to-digest, the hand, of the will-to-grasp, the generative
organs, of the will-to-beget, and so on. "The whole nervous
system constitutes, as it were, the antennae of the will, which it
stretches towards within and without." 3
The relation in which the development of knowledge stands
to the gradual objectification of the Will is conceived by Scho
penhauer with curious inconsistency. In this respect, there are
some apparent differences in point of view between certain pas
sages in Schopenhauer s earlier and later works; but there seems
to be no sufficient ground for maintaining any fundamental
change of attitude on Schopenhauer s part. Schopenhauer might
seem to hold two fundamentally opposite positions. On the
one hand, he says: "The organ of intelligence, the cerebral sys
tem, together with all the organs of sense, keep pace with the
increasing wants and the complication of the organism." 4 This
conclusion follows logically from Schopenhauer s theory of the
absolute bondage of intelligence; but it does not account for the
obvious facts of consciousness. Is the highest development of
intelligence always accompanied by a corresponding intensity of
will, in Schopenhauer s sense of that term? How is the dis
interestedness of thought at all possible on such a basis? Scho-
G., n, pp. 314-315; H.K., in, p. 2.
2 Schopenhauer s physiological-psychological method, which here manifests
itself in terms so extreme, is nevertheless implied in his very starting-point, i. e.,
in his distinction between perception and conception. Cf. Richter, op. cit., pp. 139 f.
3 G., II, p. 299; H.K., II, p. 482.
<G., II, p. 237; H.K., II, p. 416.
74 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
penhauer, evidently realizing the difficulty of the situation,
seems to shift his position. The gradual objectification of the
Will, he says, is accompanied by a gradual loosening of the
intellect from its will-ground. In the course of its development,
the intelligence gradually obtains freedom from the brute will-
impulse, and evolves an ideal world of its own, a world of knowl
edge, subject to universal laws of nature. This is the World as
Idea, which Schopenhauer regards as at once the manifestation
and the very antithesis of the World as Will. But the intellect
"may, in particular exceptionally favoured individuals, go so far
that, at the moment of its highest ascendancy, the secondary or
knowing part of consciousness detaches itself altogether from the
willing part, and passes into free activity for itself." 1 Thus, in
the man of genius, "knowledge can deliver itself from this
bondage, throw off its yoke, and, free from all the aims of will,
exist purely for itself, simply as a clear mirror of the world." 2
This is the aesthetic knowledge of the Platonic Ideas, a unique
consciousness of unity, different alike from the metaphysical
unity of the Will and from the abstract unity of conception.
No discussion of the problems raised by Schopenhauer s
Theory of Art seems to be called for here, inasmuch as it has
no direct bearing upon his criticism of Kant. It should be
noted, however, that Schopenhauer finds himself obliged to
reassert the autonomy of the intellect, which his metaphysic
has put under the bondage of the ultimate Will. This autonomy
of the intellect, in the passionless contemplation of works of art,
is, nevertheless, only a passing phase. The real solution of the
world-riddle is stated by Schopenhauer, not in aesthetic, but in
ethical terms. The liberation of intelligence from the tyrant
Will becomes complete and final only when the will is denied in
the supreme act of self-renunciation. This denial of the will,
to be sure, involves the cessation of consciousness, the total
effacement of all phenomenal multiplicity, and the sinking into
the nothingness of Nirvana. Enlightened by intelligence, the
will of man may be led to realize the brute-like character of its
1 G., II, p. 238; H.K., II, p. 417-
1 G., I, p. 214; H.K., I, p. 199.
EXPERIENCE AND REALITY. 75
nature, and, directing itself against itself, achieve its own self-
annihilation. The denial of the will is really the denial of its
striving towards multiplicity; it is the denial of that impulse
in it which leads to its objectification in phenomena, the denial
of the will-to-self-perpetuation, of the will-to-become-manifest,
of the will-to-live. This is what Schopenhauer means when he
says, at the end of The World as Will and Idea: "We freely ac
knowledge that what remains after the entire abolition of will
is for all those who are still full of will certainly nothing; but,
conversely, to those in whom the will has turned and has denied
itself, this our world, which is so real, with all its suns and milky
ways is nothing." 1
How are the seemingly incompatible elements of this many-
sided philosophy to be reconciled? Phenomenalistic idealism
and voluntaristic materialism, aesthetic quietism and ethical
nihilism, are advocated one after another; and, while the criticism
of Kant s principles often lays bare the concealed inconsistencies
of the Critical system, the solutions offered are as often inade
quate. Is not the real explanation of the situation to be found
in the fact that Schopenhauer is not the true successor of Kant
at all? Instead of being a neo-rationalist, as Kant, on the whole,
remained, he is fundamentally an irrationalist, so far as his
attitude towards ultimate reality is concerned. He is keen in
perceiving and criticising Kant s confusion of various aspects
and elements of experience; but, instead of tracing their imma
nent organic unity, which Kant imperfectly realizes and formu
lates, he goes so far, in almost every case, as to assert their actual
separation. This was seen to be true of his treatment of per
ception and conception, understanding and reason. Instead of
recognizing their unity in the concrete process of knowledge,
Schopenhauer dogmatically separates them in a scholastic man
ner, thus substituting a lucidly wrong theory for Kant s con
fusedly right one. Similarly, in the case of the categories,
Schopenhauer rightly shows the artificiality of Kant s deduc
tion ; but, while correctly insisting upon the unitary character
of the organization of experience, he expresses this unitary char-
iG., I, p. 527; H.K., I, p. 532.
7 6 SCHOPENHAUER S CRITICISM OF KANT.
acter in terms of one category for every kind of knowledge:
causa essendi, fiendi, agendi, cognoscendi. He fails to realize the
essentially instrumental character of all categories, and the ideal
nature of the reality which they interpret. Thus, in his criticism
of the Transcendental Dialectic, while clearly showing the im
possibility of expressing the nature of the thing-in-itself in terms
of the mechanical categories, he misses what, after all, is the chief
result of the Dialectic, the truth, namely, that the mechan
ical categories are not the only categories, that experience has
phases which demand explanation in terms of teleological prin
ciples of organization. Schopenhauer points out the confusion
and error of Kant s proposed transcendental solution of the
problem of the thing-in-itself by means of the postulates of
Practical Reason, and correctly insists on finding the solution
of the problem of experience in terms of experience itself. But,
instead of showing that the mechanical categories cannot by
themselves embody the ultimate solution, and therefore need
to be supplemented by other organizing principles, Schopenhauer
declares the causally connected world to be a world of mere
appearance and illusion, and proceeds to seek reality in some
other sphere of experience. He finds this metaphysical Real in
the conative experience. Here, again, had Schopenhauer satis
fied himself with asserting the deeper significance of the conative,
as compared with the merely cognitive experience, his position
would have been fairly defensible. But he goes on to deny of
his Will-Reality everything which he had affirmed of the World
as Idea, with the result that the conative, no longer dynamically
rational, is described as ceaseless irrational striving. In short,
Schopenhauer s World as Idea and World as Will are at least as
incompatible philosophically as Kant s two worlds of phenomena
Thus Schopenhauer fails to profit by his own criticism of
Kant. He censures his master for attempting to explain the
world of experience by reference to a transcendent world of
things-in-themselves; but he does not realize that it is just as
futile to attempt an ultimate explanation of experience in terms
of any one of its many aspects. In what sense can the Will-
EXPERIENCE AND REALITY. 77
Reality be consistently described as the inmost essence of ex
perience, when it negates essential features of the only experience
we know? The Will is of paramount significance for experience;
no philosopher can ignore it without making his system static,
fatally lacking in concreteness and vitality. But, if taken in
abstract isolation as a hypostatized Weltprincip, it is not only
incapable of explaining all the problems of experience, but is
itself quite meaningless for any consistent epistemology. Expe
rience must be interpreted in terms of its own self-organizing
totality. In the solution of its problems we can ignore no one
of +* elements or aspects. Cognition is an essential aspect of
experience, but cognition is not all ; this is the lesson to be learned
from the Critique of Pure Reason, and especially from the Dialec
tic. The same is true of Will. Will finds its meaning only in
the concrete whole of experience, only in relation to the many
factors which constitute its cosmic process. There are contrasts
in experience, oppositions and antitheses; but ultimately these
must be capable of mutual organization, ultimately experience
must be unitary and intelligible. This is the only basis on which
any consistent philosophy is at all possible, and this is the real
significance of Kant s epistemological method. Schopenhauer s
philosophy, on the other hand, represents an endless conflict,
in which now one aspect of experience, now another, is unduly
emphasized and set over against the rest of experience. His
every problem is stated in the form of a dilemma: either Per
ception or Conception, either Understanding or Reason, either
Knowledge or Will, either Egoism or Self-Renunciation. He
never fully comprehended the immanent unity of experience,
in reference to which all its various aspects must find their real
significance. And this is the fundamental defect of his philos
ophical system, which makes him incapable of grasping the real
problems of Kant s philosophy, and of indicating a consistent
method for their solution.
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