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Full text of "Schopenhauer's criticism of Kant's theory of experience"

No. 9 














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. 


May, 1911. 

. s 


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 
are self-explanatory. 



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 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. 


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. 


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 
predecessor. 3 

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. 


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 
of knowledge. 

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. 


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. 


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. 


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, 
P- 363- 

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- 


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 


. . . 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 
nected changes. 

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. 


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- 
* Ibid. 


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. 


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- 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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, 
possible. 6 

i Ibid. 

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. 


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- 


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. 


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. 


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 


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 
produced." 1 

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. 


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. 





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. 

2 Ibid. 

3 G., I, p. 573; H.K., II, p. 48. 

2 3 


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, 


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 


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- 


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- 


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. 


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. 


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. 
3 Ibid. 
<G., I, p. 610; H.K., II, .88. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 

5 Ibid. 

*Cf. G., Ill, p. 171; Hillebr., p. 182. 


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 
reason." 4 

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 
et ii. 

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. 


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. 


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 
satisfying." 2 

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- 


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 
in experience. 

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 


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 
of experience. 

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 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. 



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. 


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. 


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 
relation." 1 

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 

1 Ibid. 

*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. 


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- 

2 Ibid. 

3 G., I, p. 624; H.K., II, p. 103. 


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 

* ibid. 

2 G., I, p. 625; H.K., II, p. 104. 

3 Ibid. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


"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 
sentences." 4 

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 

2 G., 
3 G., 

4 G., 
6 G., 

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. 


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. 
6 Ibid. 


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. 


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. 


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 


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. 

* Ibid. 


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. 


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. 


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 

1 Ibid. 

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. 


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 



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. 



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 
known)." 2 

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. 


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 
of knowledge. 

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. 


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- 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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- 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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 
and noumena. 

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- 


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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University of Toronto 








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