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J. KEMP, M.A. 




" Faucis natua est, qui populum fetatis sure cogitat." -SEN. 



211 Fremont Street, 



































,C est le privilege du vrai genie, et surtout du genie qui ouvre une carriere 
de faire impuntknent de grandes fautes. Voltaire. 


IT is much easier to point out the faults and errors in the 
work of a great mind than to give a distinct and full 
exposition of its value. For the faults are particular and 
finite, and can therefore be fully comprehended ; while, on 
the contrary, the very stamp which genius impresses upon 
its works is that their excellence is unfathomable and in 
exhaustible. Therefore they do not grow old, but become 
the instructor of many succeeding centuries. The per 
fected masterpiece of a truly great mind will always pro 
duce a deep and powerful effect upon the whole human 
race, so much so that it is impossible to calculate to what 
distant centuries and lands its enlightening influence may 
extend. This is always the case ; for however cultivated 
and rich the age may be in which such a masterpiece 
appears, genius always rises like a palm-tree above the 
soil in which it is rooted. 

But a deep-reaching and widespread effect of this kind 
cannot take place suddenly, because of the great difference 
between the genius and ordinary men. The knowledge 
which that one man in one lifetime drew directly from 
life and the world, won and presented to others as won 
and arranged, cannot yet at once become the possession of 
mankind ; for mankind has not so much power to receive 
as the genius has power to give. But even after a suc 
cessful battle with unworthy opponents, who at its very 
birth contest the life of what is immortal and desire to 
nip in the bud the salvation of man (like the serpents 
in the cradle of Hercules), that knowledge must then 
traverse the circuitous paths of innumerable false con 
structions and distorted applications, must overcome the 


attempts to unite it with old errors, and so live in conflict 
till a new and unprejudiced generation grows up to meet 
it. Little by little, even in youth, this new generation 
partially receives the contents of that spring through a 
thousand indirect channels, gradually assimilates it, and 
so participates in the benefit which was destined to flow 
to mankind from that great mind. So slowly does the 
education of the human race, the weak yet refractory pupil 
of genius, advance. Thus with Kant s teaching also ; its 
full strength and importance will only be revealed through 
time, when the spirit of the age, itself gradually trans 
formed and altered in the most important and essential 
respects by, the influence of that teaching, will afford con 
vincing evidence of the power of that giant mind. I have, 
however, no intention of presumptuously anticipating the 
spirit of the age and assuming here the thankless rdle 
of Calchas and Cassandra. Only I must be allowed, in 
accordance with what has been said, to regard Kant s 
works as still very new, while many at the present day 
look upon them as already antiquated, and indeed have 
laid them aside as done with, or, as they express it, have 
left them behind^ and others, emboldened by this, ignore 
them altogether, and with brazen face go on philosophising 
about God and the soul on the assumption of the old 
realistic dogmatism and its scholastic teaching, which is 
as if one sought to introduce the doctrines of the alchemists 
into modern chemistry. For the rest, the works of Kant 
do not stand in need of my feeble eulogy, but will them 
selves for ever praise their author, and though perhaps 
not in the letter, yet in the spirit they will live for ever 
upon earth. 

Certainly, however, if we look back at the first result of 
his teaching, at the efforts and events in the sphere of 
philosophy during the period that has elapsed since he 
wrote, a very depressing saying of Goethe obtains con 
firmation : " As the water that is displaced by a ship 
immediately flows in again behind it, so when great minds 


have driven error aside and made room for themselves, 
it very quickly closes in behind them again by the law 
of its nature" (Walirlieit und Dichtung, Theil 3, s. 521). 
Yet this period has been only an episode, which is to 
be reckoned as part of the lot referred to above that 
befalls all new and great knowledge ; an episode which is 
now unmistakably near its end, for the bubble so long 
blown out yet bursts at last. Men generally are begin 
ning to be conscious that true and serious philosophy still 
stands where Kant left it. At any rate, I cannot see that 
between Kant and myself anything has been done in 
philosophy; therefore I regard myself as his immediate 

What I have in view in this Appendix to my work is 
really only a defence of the doctrine I have set forth in it, 
inasmuch as in many points that doctrine does not agree 
with the Kantian philosophy, but indeed contradicts it. 
A discussion of this philosophy is, however, necessary, for 
it is clear that my train of thought, different as its con 
tent is from that of Kant, is yet throughout under its 
influence, necessarily presupposes it, starts from it ; and I 
confess that, next to the impression of the world of per 
ception, I owe what is best in my own system to the 
impression made upon me by the works of Kant, by the 
sacred writings of the Hindus, and by Plato. But I can 
only justify the contradictions of Kant which are never 
theless present in my work by accusing him of error in 
these points, and exposing mistakes which he committed. 
Therefore in this Appendix I must proceed against Kant 
in a thoroughly polemical manner, and indeed seriously 
and with every effort ; for it is only thus that his doctrine 
can be freed from the error that clings to it, and its truth 
shine out the more clearly and stand the more firmly. 
It must not, therefore, be expected that the sincere rever 
ence for Kant which I certainly feel shall extend to his 
weaknesses and errors also, and that I shall consequently 
refrain from exposing these except with the most careful 


indulgence, whereby my language would necessarily be 
come weak and insipid through circumlocution. Towards 
a living writer such indulgence is needed, for human 
frailty cannot endure even the most just refutation of an 
error, unless tempered by soothing and flattery, and hardly 
even then ; and a teacher of the age and benefactor of 
mankind deserves at least that the human weakness he 
also has should be indulged, so that he may not be caused 
pain. But he who is dead has thrown off this weakness ; 
his merit stands firm ; time will purify it more and more 
from all exaggeration and detraction. His mistakes must 
be separated from it, rendered harmless, and then given 
over to oblivion. Therefore in the polemic against Kant 
I am about to begin, I have only his mistakes and weak 
points in view. I oppose them with hostility, and wage 
a relentless war of extermination against them, always 
mindful not to conceal them indulgently, but rather to 
place them in the clearest light, in order to extirpate them 
the more surely. For the reasons given above, I am not 
conscious either of injustice or ingratitude towards Kant 
in doing this. However, in order that, in the eyes of 
others also, I may remove every appearance of malice, I 
wish first to bring out clearly my sincere reverence for 
Kant and gratitude to him, by expressing shortly what in 
my eyes appears to be his chief merit ; and I shall do this 
.from a standpoint so general that I shall not require to 
touch upon the points in which I must afterwards contro 
vert him. 

Kant s greatest merit is the distinction of the phenomenon 
from the thing in itself, based upon the proof that between 
things and us there still always stands the intellect, so that 
they cannot be known as they may be in themselves. He 
was led into this path through Locke (see Prolegomena 
zu jcdcr Mctaph., 13, Anm. 2). The latter had shown 
that the secondary qualities of things, such as sound, 


smell, colour, hardness, softness, smoothness, and the like, 
as founded on the affections of the senses, do not belong 
to the objective body, to the thing in itself. To this he 
attributed only the primary qualities, i.e., such as only pre 
suppose space and impenetrability ; thus extension, figure, 
solidity, number, mobility. But this easily discovered 
Lockeian distinction was, as it were, only a youthful intro 
duction to the distinction of Kant. The latter, starting 
from an incomparably higher standpoint, explains all that 
Locke had accepted as primary qualities, i.e., qualities 
of the thing in itself, as also belonging only to its phe 
nomenal appearance in our faculty of apprehension, and 
this just because the conditions of this faculty, space, time, 
and causality, are known by us a priori. Thus Locke had 
abstracted from the thing in itself the share which the 
organs of sense have in its phenomenal appearance ; Kant, 
however, further abstracted the share of the brain-functions 
(though not under that name). Thus the distinction be 
tween the phenomenon and the thing in itself now received 
an infinitely greater significance, and a very much deeper 
meaning. For this end he was obliged to take in hand 

o o 

the important separation of our a priori from our a pos 
teriori knowledge, which before him had never been car 
ried out with adequate strictness and completeness, nor 
with distinct consciousness. Accordingly this now became 
the principal subject of his profound investigations. Now 
here we would at once remark that Kant s philosophy has a 
threefold relation to that of his predecessors. First, as we 
have just seen, to the philosophy of Locke, confirming and 
extending it ; secondly, to that of Hume, correcting and 
making use of it, a relation which is most distinctly ex 
pressed in the " Prolegomena " (that most beautiful and 
comprehensible of all Kant s important writings, which is 
far too little read, for it facilitates immensely the study of 
his philosophy) ; thirdly, a decidedly polemical and de 
structive relation to the Leibnitz-Wolfian philosophy. 
All three systems ought to be known before one proceeds 


to the study of the Kantian philosophy. If now, accord 
ing to the above, the distinction of the phenomenon from 
the thing in itself, thus the doctrine of the complete diver 
sity of the ideal and the real, is the fundamental character 
istic of the Kantian philosophy, then the assertion of the 
absolute identity of these two which appeared soon after 
wards is a sad proof of the saying of Goethe quoted above ; 
all the more so as it rested upon nothing but the empty 
boast of intellectual intuition, and accordingly was only 
a return to the crudeness of the vulgar opinion, masked 
under bombast and nonsense, and the imposing impression 
of an air of importance. It became the fitting starting- 
point for the still grosser nonsense of the clumsy and 
stupid Hegel. Now as Kant s separation of the pheno 
menon from the thing in itself, arrived at in the manner 
explained above, far surpassed all that preceded it in the 
depth and thoughtfulness of its conception, it was also 
exceedingly important in its results. For in it he pro 
pounded, quite originally, in a perfectly new way, found 
from a new side and on a new path, the same truth which 
Plato never wearies of repeating, and in his language 
generally expresses thus : This world which appears to 
the senses has no true being, but only a ceaseless becom 
ing ; it is, and it is not, and its comprehension is not so 
much knowledge as illusion. This is also what he ex 
presses mythically at the beginning of the seventh book 
of the Republic, the most important passage in all his 
writings, which has already been referred to in the third 
book of the present work. He says : Men, firmly chained 
in a dark cave, see neither the true original light nor 
real things, but only the meagre light of the fire in the 
cave and the shadows of real things which pass by the 
fire behind their backs ; yet they think the shadows are 
the reality, and the determining of the succession of these 
shadows is true wisdom. The same truth, again quite 
differently presented, is also a leading doctrine of the 
Vedas and Puranas, the doctrine of Maya, by which really 


nothing else is understood than what Kant calls the 
phenomenon in opposition to the thing in itself; for the 
work of Maya is said to be just this visible world in 
which we are, a summoned enchantment, an inconstant 
appearance without true being, like an optical illusion or 
a dream, a veil which surrounds human consciousness, . 
something of which it is equally false and true to say 
that it is and that it is not. But Kant not only expressed 
the same doctrine in a completely new and original way, 
but raised it to the position of proved and indisputable 
truth by means of the calmest and most temperate ex 
position ; while both Plato and the Indian philosophers 
had founded their assertions merely upon a general per 
ception of the world, had advanced them as the direct 
utterance of their consciousness, and presented them 
rather mythically and poetically than philosophically and 
distinctly. In this respect they stand to Kant in the 
same relation as the Pythagoreans Hicetas, Philolaus, 
and Aristarchus, who already asserted the movement of 
the earth round the fixed sun, stand to Copernicus. Such 
distinct knowledge and calm, thoughtful exposition of 
this dream-like nature of the whole world is really the 
basis of the whole Kantian philosophy; it is its soul 
and its greatest merit. He accomplished this by taking 
to pieces the whole machinery of our intellect by means 
of which the phantasmagoria of the objective world is 
brought about, and presenting it in detail with marvel 
lous insight and ability. All earlier Western philosophy, 
appearing in comparison with the Kantian unspeakably 
clumsy, had failed to recognise that truth, and had there 
fore always spoken just as if in a dream. Kant first 
awakened it suddenly out of this dream ; therefore the 
last sleepers (Mendelssohn) called him the " all-destroyer." 
He showed that the laws which reign with inviolable 
necessity in existence, i.e., in experience generally, are not 
to be applied to deduce and explain existence itself; that 
thus the validity of these laws is only relative, i.e., only 


arises after existence ; the world of experience in general 
is already established and present ; that consequently 
these laws cannot be our guide when we come to the 
explanation of the existence of the world and of our 
selves. All earlier Western philosophers had imagined 
that these laws, according to which the phenomena are 
combined, and all of which time and space, as well as 
causality and inference I comprehend under the expres 
sion " the principle of sufficient reason," were absolute 
laws conditioned by nothing, ceternce veritates ; that the 
world itself existed only in consequence of and in confor 
mity with them ; and therefore that under their guidance 
the whole riddle of the world must be capable of solution. 
The assumptions made for this purpose, which Kant criti 
cises under the name of the Ideas of the reason, only 
served to raise the mere phenomenon, the work of Maya, 
the shadow world of Plato, to the one highest reality, to 
put it in the place of the inmost and true being of things, 
and thereby to make the real knowledge of this impos 
sible ; that is, in a word, to send the dreamers still more 
soundly to sleep. Kant exhibited these laws, and there 
fore the whole world, as conditioned by the form of know 
ledge belonging to the subject; from which it followed, 
that however far one carried investigation and reasoning 
under the guidance of these laws, yet in the principal 
matter, i.e., in knowledge of the nature of the world in 
itself and outside the idea, no step in advance was made, 
but one only moved like a squirrel in its wheel. Thus, 
all the dogmatists may be compared to persons who sup 
posed that if they only went straight on long enough they 
would come to the end of the world ; but Kant then cir 
cumnavigated the world and showed that, because it is 
round, one cannot get out of it by horizontal movement, 
but that yet by perpendicular movement this is perhaps 
not impossible. We may also say that Kant s doctrine 
affords the insight that we must seek the end and beginning 
of the world, not without, but within us. 


All this, however, rests on the fundamental distinction 
between dogmatic and critical or transcendental philosophy. 
Whoever wishes to make this quite clear to himself, and 
realise it by means of an example, may do so very briefly 
by reading, as a specimen of dogmatic philosophy, an essay 
of Leibnitz entitled " DC Eerum Originatione Radicali," 
and printed for the first time in the edition of the philo 
sophical works of Leibnitz by Erdmann (vol. i. p. 147). 
Here the origin and excellence of the world is demon 
strated a priori, so thoroughly in the manner of realistic- 
dogmatism, on the ground of the veritates ceternce and 
with the assistance of the ontological and cosmological 
proofs. It is indeed once admitted, by the way, that ex 
perience shows the exact opposite of the excellence of 
the world here demonstrated ; but experience is therefore 
given to understand that it knows nothing of the matter, 
and ought to hold its tongue when philosophy has spoken 
a priori. Now, with Kant, the critical philosophy appeared 
as the opponent of this whole method. It takes for its 
problem just these veritates ceternce, which serve as the 
foundation of every such dogmatic structure, investigates 
their origin, and finds it in the human mind, where they 
spring from the peculiar forms which belong to it, and 
which it carries in itself for the purpose of comprehending 
an objective world. Thus, here, in the brain, is the quarry 
which supplies the material for that proud dogmatic edi 
fice. But because the critical philosophy, in order to attain 
to this result, was obliged to go beyond the veritates mternce 
upon which all the preceding dogmatism was founded, 
and make these truths themselves the objects of in 
vestigation, it became transcendental philosophy. From 
this, then, it also follows that the objective world, as we 
know it, does not belong to the true being of the thing in 
itself, but is merely its phenomenal appearance conditioned 
by those very forms which lie a priori in the intellect 
(i.e., the brain), therefore it cannot contain anything but 


Kant, indeed, did not attain to the knowledge that the 
phenomenon is the world as idea, and the thing in itself 
is the will. But he showed that the phenomenal world is 
conditioned just as much through the subject as through 
the object, and because he isolated the most universal 
forms of its phenomenal appearance, i.e., of the idea, he 
proved that we may know these forms and consider them 
in their whole constitution, not only by starting from the 
object, but also just as well by starting from the subject, 
because they are really the limits between object and 
subject which are common to them both; and he con 
cluded that by following these limits we never penetrate 
to the inner nature either of the object or of the subject, 
consequently never know the true nature of the world, 
the thing in itself. 

He did not deduce the thing in itself in the right 
way, as I shall show presently, but by means of an in 
consistency, and he had to pay the penalty of this in 
frequent and irresistible attacks upon this important part 
of his teaching. He did not recognise the thing in itself 
directly in the will; but he made a great initial step 
towards this knowledge in that he explained the undeni 
able moral significance of human action as quite different 
from and not dependent upon the laws of the pheno 
menon, nor even explicable in accordance with them, but 
as something which touches the thing in7 itself directly : 
this is the second important point of view for estimating 
his services. 

We may regard as the third the complete overthrow of 
the Scholastic philosophy, a name by which I wish here 
to denote generally the whole period beginning with 
Augustine, the Church Father, and ending just before 
Kant. .:.,. For the chief characteristic of Scholasticism is, 
indeed, that which is very correctly stated by Tennemann, 
the guardianship of the prevailing national religion over 
philosophy, which had really nothing left for it to do 
but to prove and embellish the cardinal dogmas prescribed 


to it by religion. The Schoolmen proper, down to Suarez, 
confess this openly; the succeeding philosophers do it 
more unconsciously, or at least unavowedly. It is held 
that Scholastic philosophy only extends to about a hun 
dred years before Descartes, and that then with him 
there begins an entirely new epoch of free investigation 
independent of all positive theological doctrine. Such 
investigation, however, is in fact not to be attributed to 
Descartes and his successors, 1 but only an appearance of it, 
and in any case an effort after it. Descartes was a man of 
supreme ability, and if we take account of the age he lived 
in, he accomplished a great deal. But if we set aside this 
consideration and measure him with reference to the free 
ing of thought from all fetters and the commencement of 
a new period of untrammelled original investigation with 
which he is credited, we are obliged to find that with 
his doubt still wanting in true seriousness, and therefore 
surrendering so quickly and so entirely, he has, indeed, 
the appearance of wishing to throw off at once all the 
early implanted opinions belonging to his age and nation, 
but does so only apparently and for a moment, to assume 
them again immediately and hold them all the more 
firmly ; and so is it with all his successors down to Kant. 

1 Bruno and Spinoza are here en- age, and he also shows a presenti- 

tirely to be excepted. They stand ment of his fate which led him to 

each for himself and alone, and delay the publication of his views, 

belong neither to their age nor their till that inclination to communicate 

quarter of the globe, which rewarded what one knows to be true, which 

the one with death and the other is so strong in noble minds, pre- 

with persecution and insult. Their vailed : 

miserable existence and death in I( A / . 

this Western world is like that of a Ad partum PP c r f c tu > 

tropical plant in Europe. The banks ~ 77 quld , bstat . ; , 

< iv. i /-i ii. oea/o luxe induino suit trwuenda 

of the sacred Ganges were their / . ? 

true spiritual home ; there they TT i j> t 

would have led a peaceful and Umlrarum flactu terras mcrgente, 

, j ,., r ... cacumcn 

honoured life among men of like A it n ? 

mind. In the following lines, with AdMhmdarum, rwster Olympe, 

which Bruno begins his book Delia 

Causa Principio et Uno, for which Whoever has read this his prin- 

he was brought to the stake, he cipal work, and also his other Italian 

expresses clearly and beautifully writings, which were formerly so 

how Jonely he felt himself in his rare, but are now accessible to all 


Goethe s lines are, therefore, very applicable to a free 
independent thinker of this kind : 

<: Saving Thy gracious presence, he to me 
A long-legged grasshopper appears to be, 
That springing flies, and flying springs, 
And in the grass the same old ditty sings." l 

Kant had reasons for assuming the air of also intending 
nothing more. But the pretended spring, which was per 
mitted because it was known that it leads back to the 
grass, this time became a flight, and now those who remain 
below can only look after him, and can never catch him 

Kant, then, ventured to show by his teaching that all 
those dogmas which had been so often professedly proved 
were incapable of proof. Speculative theology, and the 
rational psychology connected with it, received from him 
their deathblow. Since then they have vanished from 
German philosophy, and one must not allow oneself to be 
misled by the fact that here and there the word is retained 
after the thing has been given up, or some wretched pro 
fessor of philosophy has the fear of his master in view, 
and lets truth take care of itself. Only he who has ob 
served the pernicious influence of these conceptions upon 
natural science, and upon philosophy in all, even the best 
writers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, can 
estimate the extent of this service of Kant s. The change 
of tone and of metaphysical background which has ap 
peared in German writing upon natural science since Kant 

through a German edition, will find, this work of his, in the hands of 

as I have done, that he alone of all coarse, furious priests as his judges 

philosophers in some degree ap- and executioners, and thank Time 

preaches to Plato, in respect of the which brought a brighter and a 

strong blending of poetical power gentler age, so that the after-world 

and tendency along with the philo- whose curse was to fall on those 

sophical, and this he also shows espe- fiendish fanatics is the world we 

cially in a dramatic form. Imagine now live in. 

the tender, spiritual, thoughtful l Bayard Taylor s translation of 

being, as he shows himself to us in "Faust," vol. i. p. 14. TRB. 


is remarkable; before him it was in the same position as 
it still occupies in England. This merit of Kant s is con 
nected with the fact that the unreflecting pursuit of the 
laws of the phenomenon, the elevation of these to the 
position of eternal truths, and thus the raising of the 
fleeting appearance to the position of the real being of the 
world, in short, realism undisturbed in its illusion by any 
reflection, had reigned throughout all preceding philo 
sophy, ancient, mediaeval, and modern. Berkeley, who, 
like Malebranche before him, recognised its one-sidedness , 
and indeed falseness, was unable to overthrow it, for his 
attack was confined to one point. Thus it was reserved 
for Kant to enable the idealistic point of view to obtain 
the ascendancy in Europe, at least in philosophy; the 
point of view which throughout all non-Mohammedan 
Asia, and indeed essentially, is that of religion. Before 
Kant, then, we were in time ; now time is in us, and so on. 
Ethics also were treated by that realistic philosophy 
according to the laws of the phenomenon, which it re 
garded as absolute and valid also for the thing in itself. 
They were therefore based now upon a doctrine of hap 
piness, now upon the will of the Creator, and finally upon 
the conception of perfection ; a conception which, taken 
by itself, is entirely empty and void of content, for it 
denotes a mere relation that only receives significance 
from the things to which il is applied. " To be perfect " 
means nothing more than " to correspond to some concep 
tion which is presupposed and given," a conception which 
must therefore be previously framed, and without which 
the perfection is an unknown quantity, and consequently 
has no meaning when expressed alone. If, however, it is 
intended tacitly to presuppose the conception " humanity," 
and accordingly to make it the principle of morality to 
strive after human perfection, this is only saying : " Men 
ought to be as they ought to be," and we are just as 
wise as before. In fact " perfect " is very nearly a mere 
synonym of " complete," for it signifies that in one given 


case or individual, all the predicates which lie in the 
conception of its species appear, thus are actually present. 
Therefore the conception " perfection," if used absolutely 
and in the abstract, is a word void of significance, and this is 
also the case with the talk about the " most perfect being," 
and other similar expressions. All this is a mere jingle 
of words. Nevertheless last century this conception of per 
fection and imperfection had become current coin ; indeed 
it was the hinge upon which almost all speculation upon 
ethics, and even theology, turned. It was in every one s 
mouth, so that at last it became a simple nuisance. We 
see even the best writers of the time, for example Lessing, 
entangled in the most deplorable manner in perfections 
and imperfections, and struggling with them. At the 
same time, every thinking man must at least dimly have 
felt that this conception is void of all positive content, be 
cause, like an algebraical symbol, it denotes a mere relation 
in dbstracto. Kant, as we have already said, entirely 
separated the undeniably great ethical signiiicance of 
actions from the phenomenon and its laws, and showed 
that the former directly concerned the thing in itself, the 
inner nature of the world, while the latter, i.e., time, 
space, and all that fills them, and disposes itself in them 
according to the law of causality, is to be regarded as a 
changing and unsubstantial dream. 

The little I have said, which by no means exhausts the 
subject, may suffice as evidence of my recognition of the 
great merits of Kant, a recognition expressed here both 
for my own satisfaction, and because justice demands that 
those merits should be recalled to the memory of every 
one who desires to follow me in the unsparing exposure 
of his errors to which I now proceed. 

It may be inferred, upon purely historical grounds, that 
Kant s great achievements must have been accompanied 
by great errors. For although he effected the greatest 


revolution in philosophy and made an end of Scholasticism, 
Avhich, understood in the wider sense we have indicated, 
had lasted for fourteen centuries, in order to begin what 
was really the third entirely new epoch in philosophy 
which the world has seen, yet the direct result of his 
appearance was only negative, not positive. For since he 
did not set up a completely new system, to which his dis 
ciples could only have adhered for a period, all indeed 
observed that something very great had happened, but yet 
no one rightly knew what. They certainly saw that all 
previous philosophy had been fruitless dreaming, from 
which the new age had now awakened, but what they ought 
to hold to now they did not know. A great void was felt ; 
a great need had arisen ; the universal attention even of 
the general public was aroused. Induced by this, but not 
urged by inward inclination and sense of power (which 
find utterance even at unfavourable times, as in the case 
of Spinoza), men without any exceptional talent made 
various weak, absurd, and indeed sometimes insane, 
attempts, to which, however, the now interested public 
gave its attention, and with great patience, such as is only 
found in Germany, long lent its ear. 

The same thing must once have happened in Nature, 
when a great revolution had altered the whole surface of 
the earth, land and sea had changed places, and the scene 
was cleared for a new creation. It was then a long time 
before Nature could produce a new series of lasting forms 
all in harmony with themselves and with each other. 
Strange and monstrous organisations appeared which did 
not harmonise either with themselves or with each other, 
and therefore could not endure long, but whose still exist 
ing remains have brought down to us the tokens of that 
wavering and tentative procedure of Nature forming itself 

Since, now, in philosophy, a crisis precisely similar to 
this, and an age of fearful abortions, was, as we all know, 
introduced by Kant, it may be concluded that the ser- 



vices lie rendered were not complete, but must have been 
negative and one-sided, and burdened with great defects. 
These defects \ve now desire to search out. 

First of all we shall present to ourselves clearly and 
examine the fundamental thought in which the aim of 
the whole " Critique of Pure Reason " lies. Kant placed 
himself at the standpoint of his predecessors, the dog 
matic philosophers, and accordingly he started with them 
from the following assumptions: (i.) Metaphysics is the 
science of that which lies beyond the possibility of all 
experience. (2.) Such a science can never be attained by 
applying principles which must first themselves be drawn 
from experience (Prolegomena, i) ; but only what we 
know before, and thus independently of all experience, can 
reach further than possible experience. (3.) In our reason 
certain principles of this kind are actually to be found : 
they are comprehended under the name of Knowledge of 
pure reason. So far Kant goes with his predecessors, but 
here he separates from them. They say: "These prin 
ciples, or this knowledge of pure reason, are expressions 
of the absolute possibility of things, ceternce vcritatcs, 
sources of ontology ; they stand above the system of the 
world, as fate stood above the gods of the ancients." 
Kant says, they are mere forms of our intellect, laws, 
not of the existence of things, but of our idea of them ; 
they are therefore valid merely for our apprehension of 
things, and hence they cannot extend beyond the possi 
bility of experience, which, according to assumption i, 
is what was aimed at ; for the a priori nature of these 
forms of knowledge, since it can only rest on their sub 
jective origin, is just what cuts us off for ever from the 
knowledge of the nature of things in themselves, and con 
fines us to a world of mere phenomena, so that we cannot 
know things as they may be in themselves, even a pos 
teriori, not to speak of a priori. Accordingly metaphysics 


is impossible, and criticism of pure reason takes its place. 
As opposed to the old dogmatism, Kant is here completely 
victorious; therefore all dogmatic attempts which have 
since appeared have been obliged to pursue an entirely 
different path from the earlier systems ; and I shall now 
go on to the justification of my own system, according to 
the expressed intention of this criticism. A more care 
ful examination, then, of the reasoning given above will 
oblige one to confess that its first fundamental assumption 
is a petitio principii. It lies in the proposition (stated 
with particular clearness in the Prolegomena,^ i) : "The 
source of metaphysics must throughout be non-empirical ; 
its fundamental principles and conceptions must never 
be taken from either inner or outer experience." Yet 
absolutely nothing is advanced in proof of tins cardinal 
assertion except the etymological argument from the word 
metaphysic. In truth, however, the matter stands thus : 
The world and our own existence presents itself to us 
necessarily as a riddle. It is now assumed, without more 
.ado, that the solution of this riddle cannot be arrived at 
from a thorough understanding of the world itself, but 
must be sought in something entirely different from the 
world (for that is the meaning of " beyond the possibility 
of all experience ") ; and that everything must be excluded 
from that solution of which we can in any way have 
immediate knowledge (for that is the meaning of possible 
experience, both inner and outer) ; the solution must 
rather be sought only in that at which we can arrive 
merely indirectly, that is, by means of inferences from 
universal principles a priori. After the principal source 
of all knowledge has in this way been excluded, and the 
direct way to truth has been closed, we must not wonder 
that the dogmatic systems failed, and that Kant was able 
to show the necessity of this failure ; for metaphysics and 
knowledge a priori had been assumed beforehand to be 
identical. But for this it was first necessary to prove that 
the material for the solution of the riddle absolutely can- 


not be contained in the world itself, but must be sought 
for only outside the world in something we can only 
attain to under the guidance of those forms of which we 
are conscious a priori. But so long as this is not proved, 
we have no grounds for shutting ourselves off, in the case 
of the most important and most difficult of all questions, 
from the richest of all sources of knowledge, inner and 
outer experience, in order to work only with empty forms. 
I therefore say that the solution of the riddle of the world 
must proceed from the understanding of the world itself ; 
that thus the task of metaphysics is not to pass beyond 
the experience in which the world exists, but to understand 
it thoroughly, because outer and inner experience is at 
any rate the principal source of all knowledge ; that there 
fore the solution of the riddle of the world is only possible 
through the proper connection of outer with inner expe 
rience, effected at the right point, and the combination 
thereby produced of these two very different sources of 
knowledge. Yet this solution is only possible within cer 
tain limits which are inseparable from our finite nature, 
so that we attain to a right understanding of the world 
itself without reaching a final explanation of its existence 
abolishing all further problems. Therefore est guadam 
prodire tenus, and my path lies midway between the 
omniscience of the earlier dogmatists and the despair of 
the Kantian Critique. The important truths, however, 
which Kant discovered, and through which the earlier 
metaphysical systems were overthrown, have supplied my 
system with data and materials. Compare what I have 
said concerning my method in chap. xvii. of the Supple 
ments. So much for the fundamental thought of Kant ; 
we shall now consider his working out of it and its 

Kant s style bears throughout the stamp of a pre 
eminent mind, genuine strong individuality, and quite 


exceptional power of thought. Its characteristic quality 
may perhaps be aptly described as a brilliant dryness, by 
virtue of which he was able to grasp firmly and select the 
conceptions with great certainty, and then to turn them 
about with the greatest freedom, to the astonishment of the 
reader. I find the same brilliant dryness in the style of 
Aristotle, though it is much simpler. Nevertheless Kant s 
language is often indistinct, indefinite, inadequate, and 
sometimes obscure. Its obscurity, certainly, is partly 
excusable on account of the difficulty of the subject and 
the depth of the thought ; but he who is himself clear to 
the bottom, and knows with perfect distinctness what he 
thinks and wishes, will never write indistinctly, will never 
set up wavering and indefinite conceptions, compose most 
difficult and complicated expressions from foreign lan 
guages to denote them, and use these expressions constantly 
afterwards, as Kant took words and formulas from earlier 
philosophy, especially Scholasticism, which he combined 
with each other to suit his purposes; as, for example, 
" transcendental synthetic unity of apperception," and 
in general " unity of synthesis " (Einlicit dcr Synthesis}, 
always used where " union " ( V&r&inigung) would be quite 
sufficient by itself. Moreover, a man who is himself 
quite clear will not be always explaining anew what has 
once been explained, as Kant does, for example, in the 
case of the understanding, the categories, experience, and 
other leading conceptions. In general, such a man will 
not incessantly repeat himself, and yet in every new ex 
position of the thought already expressed a hundred times 
leave it in just the same obscure condition, but he will 
express his meaning once distinctly, thoroughly, and ex 
haustively, and then let it alone. " Quo enim melius rein 
aliquam concipimus co magis ddcrminati sumus- ad eaiu 
unico modo cxprimcndam" says Descartes in his fifth 
letter. But the most injurious result of Kant s occasion 
ally obscure language is, that it acted as exemplar vitiis 
imitabile ; indeed, it was misconstrued as a pernicious 


authorisation. The public was compelled to see that what 
is obscure is not always without significance ; conse 
quently, what was without significance took refuge behind 
obscure language. Fichte was the first to seize this new 
privilege and use it vigorously ; Schelling at least equalled 
him ; and a host of hungry scribblers, without talent 
and without honesty, soon outbade them both. But the 
height of audacity, in serving up pure nonsense, in string 
ing together senseless and extravagant mazes of words, 
such as had previously only been heard in madhouses, 
was finally reached in Hegel, and became the instrument 
of the most barefaced general mystification that has ever 
taken place, with a result which will appear fabulous to 
posterity, and will remain as a monument of German stu 
pidity. In vain, meanwhile, Jean Paul wrote his beautiful 
paragraph, " Higher criticism of philosophical madness in 
the professorial chair, and poetical madness in the theatre " 
(^Esthctisclie Naclischulc) ; for in vain Goethe had already 

" They prate and teach, and no one interferes ; 
All from the fellowship of fools are shrinking ; 
Man usually believes, if only words he hears, 
That also with them goes material for thinking." 1 

But let us return to Kant. We are compelled to admit 
that he entirely lacks grand, classical simplicity, na/ivctt, 
inyenultt, candeur. His philosophy has no analogy with 
Grecian architecture, which presents large simple propor 
tions revealing themselves at once to the glance; on the 
contrary, it reminds us strongly of the Gothic style of 
building. For a purely individual characteristic of Kant s 
mind is a remarkable love of symmetry, which delights in 
a varied multiplicity, so that it may reduce it to order, 
and repeat this order in subordinate orders, and so on 
indefinitely, just as happens in Gothic churches. Indeed, 
lie sometimes carries this to the extent of trifling, and 
from love of this tendency he goes so far as to do open 

1 "Faust," scene vi., Bayard Taylor ^ translation, vol. i. p. 134. TRS. 


violence to truth, and to deal with it as Nature was dealt 
with by the old-fashioned gardeners, whose work we see 
in symmetrical alleys, squares, and triangles, trees shaped 
like pyramids and spheres, and hedges winding in regular 
curves. I will support this with facts. 

After he has treated space and time isolated from every 
thing else, and has then 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 philoso])hy, 
the table of judgments. From this table he deduces an 
exact dozen of categories, symmetrically arranged under 
four heads, which afterwards become the fearful pro- 
crustean bed into which he violently forces all things in 
the world and all that goes on in man, shrinking from no 
violence and disdaining no sophistry if only he is able to 
repeat everywhere the symmetry of that table. The first 
that is symmetrically deduced from it is the pure physio 
logical table of the general principles of natural science 
the axioms of intuition, anticipations of perception, ana 
logies of experience, and postulates of empirical thought 
in general. Of these fundamental principles, the first two 
are simple; but each of the last two sends out symme 
trically three shoots. The mere categories were what he 
calls conceptions ; but these principles of natural science are 
judgments. Iii accordance with his highest guide to all 
wisdom, symmetry, the series must now prove itself fruit 
ful in the syllogisms, and this, indeed, is done symme 
trically and regularly. For, as by the application of the 
categories to sensibility, experience with all its a priori 
principles arose for the understanding, so by the applica 
tion of syllogisms to the categories, a task performed by 
the reason in accordance with its pretended principle of 
seeking the unconditioned, the Ideas of the reason arise. 
Now this takes place in the following manner : The three 
categories of relation supply to syllogistic reasoning the 


three only possible kinds of major premisses, and syllogistic 
reasoning accordingly falls into three kinds, each of which 

O O / 

is to be regarded as an egg out of which the reason 
hatches an Idea; out of the categorical syllogism the 
Idea of the soul, out of the hypothetical the Idea of the 
world, and out of the disjunctive the Idea of God. In the 
second of these, the Idea of the world, the symmetry of 
the table of the categories now repeats itself again, for 
its four heads produce four theses, each of which has its 
antithesis as a symmetrical pendant. 

We pay the tribute of our admiration to the really ex 
ceedingly acute combination which produced this elegant 
structure, but we shall none the less proceed to a thorough 
examination of its foundation and its parts. But the fol 
lowing remarks must come first. 

It is astonishing how Kant, without further reflection, 
pursues his way, following his symmetry, ordering every 
thing in accordance with it, without ever taking one of 
the subjects so handled into consideration on its own 
account. I will explain myself more fully. After he has 
considered intuitive knowledge in a mathematical refer 
ence only, he neglects altogether the rest of knowledge of 
perception in which the world lies before us, and confines 
himself entirely to abstract thinking, although this receives 
the whole of its significance and value from the world of 
perception alone, which is infinitely more significant, gene 
rally present, and rich in content than the abstract part 
of our knowledge. Indeed, and this is an important 
point, he has nowhere clearly distinguished perception 
from abstract knowledge, and just on this account, as we 
shall afterwards see, he becomes involved in irresolvable 
contradictions with himself. After he has disposed of the 
whole sensible world with the meaningless " it is given," 
he makes, as we have said, the logical table of judgments 
the foundation-stone of his building. But here again he 


does not reflect for a moment upon that which really lies 
before him. These forms of judgment are indeed words 
and combinations of words; yet it ought first to have 
been asked what these directly denote : it would have 
been found that they denote conceptions. The next question 
would then have been as to the nature of conceptions. It 
would have appeared from the answer what relation these 
have to the ideas of perception in which the world exists ; 
for perception and reflection would have been distin 
guished. It would now have become necessarv to examine, 


not merely how pure and merely formal intuition or per 
ception a priori, but also how its content, the empirical 
perception, comes into consciousness. But then it would 
have become apparent what part the understanding has in 
this, and thus also in general what the understanding is, and, 
on the other hand, what the reason properly is, the critique 
of which is being written. It is most remarkable that he 
does not once properly and adequately define the latter, 
but merely gives incidentally, and as the context in each 
case demands, incomplete and inaccurate explanations of 
it, in direct contradiction to the rule of Descartes given 
above. 1 For example, at p. 1 1 ; V. 24, of the " Critique of 
Pure Eeason," it is the faculty of principles a priori; but 
at p. 299; V. 356, it is said that reason is the faculty of 
principles, and it is opposed to the understanding, which is 
the faculty of rules ! One would now think that there 
must be a very wide difference between principles and 
rules, since it entitles us to assume a special faculty of 
knowledge for each of them. But this great distinction is 
made to lie merely in this, that what is known a priori 
through pure perception or through the forms of the 
understanding is a rule, and only what results from mere 

1 Observe here that I always quote sides this, I add the paging of the 

the " Kritik der reinen Vernunft " fifth edition, preceded by a V. ; all 

according to the paging of the first the other editions, from the second 

edition, for in Rosenkranz s edition onwards, are the same as the fifth, 

of Kant s collected works this pag- and so also is their paging, 
ing is always given in addition. Be- 


conceptions is a principle. We shall return to this arbi 
trary and inadmissible distinction later, when we come to 
the Dialectic. On p. 330 ; V. 386, reason is the faculty of 
inference ; mere judging (p. 69 ; V. 94) he often explains as 
the work of the understanding. Now, this really amounts 
to saying : Judging is the work of the understanding so 
long as the ground of the judgment is empirical, trans 
cendental, or metalogical (Essay on the Principle of 
Sufficient Beason, 31, 32, 33); but if it is logical, as is 
the case with the syllogism, then we are here concerned 
with a quite special and much more important faculty of 
knowledge the reason. Nay, what is more, on p. 303 ; 
V. 360, it is explained that what follows directly from a 
proposition is still a matter of the understanding, and that 
only those conclusions which are arrived at by the use of 
a mediating conception are the work of the reason, and the 
example given is this : From the proposition, " All men 
are mortal," the inference, " Some mortals are men," may 
be drawn by the mere understanding. On the other hand, 
to draw the conclusion, "All the learned are mortal," 
demands an entirely different and far more important 
faculty the reason. How was it possible for a great 
thinker to write the like of this! On p. 553; V. 581, 
reason is all at once the constant condition of all voluntary 
action. On p. 614; V. 642, it consists in the fact that 
we can give an account of our assertions ; on pp. 643, 
644; V. 671, 672, in the circumstance that it brings unity 
into the conceptions of the understanding by means of 
Ideas, as the understanding brings unity into the multi 
plicity of objects by means of conceptions. On p. 646 ; V. 
674, it is nothing else than the faculty which deduces the 
particular from the general. 

The understanding also is constantly being explained 
anew. In seven passages of the " Critique of Pure Bea 
son " it is explained in the following terms. On p. 5 1 ; 
V. 75, it is the faculty which of itself produces ideas of 
perception. On p. 69 ; Y. 94, it is the faculty of judging, 


i.e., of thinking, i.e., of knowing through conceptions. On 
p. 1 37 of the fifth edition, it is the faculty of knowledge 
generally. On p. 132; V. 171, it is the faculty of rules. 
On p. 158 ; V. 197, however, it is said : " It is not only the 
faculty of rules, but the source of principles (Grundsdtzc) 
according to which everything comes under rules ; " and 
yet above it was opposed to the reason because the latter 
alone was the faculty of principles (Principieri). On p. 
1 60; V. 199, the understanding is the faculty of concep 
tions ; but on p. 302 ; V. 359, it is the faculty of the unity 
of phenomena by means of rules. 

Against such really confused and groundless language 
on the subject (even though it comes from Kant) I shall 
have no need to defend the explanation which I have 
given of these two faculties of knowledge an explanation 
which is fixed, clearly defined, definite, simple, and in full 
agreement with the language of all nations and all ages. 
I have only quoted this language as a proof of my charge 
that Kant follows his symmetrical, logical system without 
sufficiently reflecting upon the subject he is thus handling. 

Now, as I have said above, if Kant had seriously 
examined how far two such different faculties of know 
ledge, one of which is the specific difference of man, may 
be known, and what, in accordance with the language of 
all nations and all philosophers, reason and understand 
ing are, he would never, without further authority than 
the intcllectus theoreticus and practicus of the Schoolmen, 
which is used in an entirely different sense, have divided 
the reason into theoretical and practical, and made the 
latter the source of virtuous conduct. In the same way, 
before Kant separated so carefully conceptions of the 
understanding (by which he sometimes means his cate 
gories, sometimes all general conceptions) and conceptions 
of the reason (his so-called Ideas), and made them both 
the material of his philosophy, which for the most part 
deals only with the validity, application, and origin of all 
these conceptions ; first, I say, he ought to have really 


examined what in general a conception is. But this very 
necessary investigation has unfortunately been also ne 
glected, and has contributed much to the irremediable 
confusion of intuitive and abstract knowledge which I 
shall soon refer to. The same want of adequate reflection 
with which he passed over the questions : what is per 
ception ? what is reflection ? what is conception ? what 
is reason ? what is understanding ? allowed him to pass 
over the following investigations, which were just as in 
evitably necessary : what is it that I call the object, which 
I distinguish from the idea ? what is existence ? what is 
object ? what is subject ? what is truth, illusion, error ? 
But he follows his logical schema and his symmetry with 
out reflecting or looking about him. The table of judg 
ments ought to, and must, be the key to all wisdom. 

I have given it above as the chief merit of Kant that he 
distinguished the phenomenon from the thing in itself, 
explained the whole visible world as phenomenon, and 
therefore denied all validity to its laws beyond the phe 
nomenon. It is certainly remarkable that he did not 
deduce this merely relative existence of the phenomenon 
from the simple undeniable truth which lay so near him, 
"No object without a subject," in order thus at the very 
root to show that the object, because it always exists 
merely in relation to a subject, is dependent upon it, 
conditioned by it, and therefore conditioned as mere 
phenomenon, which does not exist in itself nor uncon 
ditioned. Berkeley, to whose merits Kant did not do 
justice, had already made this important principle the 
foundation-stone of his philosophy, and thereby established 
an immortal reputation. Yet he himself did not draw the 
proper conclusions from this principle, and so he was 
both misunderstood and insufficiently attended to. In 
my first edition I explained Kant s avoidance of this 
Berkeleian principle as arising from an evident shrink- 


ing from decided idealism ; while, on the other hand, I 
found idealism distinctly expressed in many passages of 
the " Critique of Pure Reason," and accordingly I charged 
Kant with contradicting himself. And this charge was 
well founded, if, as was then my case, one only knew the 
" Critique of Pure Eeason " in the second or any of the five 
subsequent editions printed from it. But when later I 
read Kant s great work in the first edition, which is already 
so rare, I saw, to my great pleasure, all these contradic 
tions disappear, and found that although Kant does not 
use the formula, " No object without a subject," he yet ex 
plains, with just as much decision as Berkeley and I do, the 
outer world lying before us in space and time as the mere 
idea of the subject that knows it. Therefore, for example, 
he says there without reserve (p. 383): "If I take away 
the thinking subject, the whole material world must dis 
appear, for it is nothing but a phenomenon in the sensi 
bility of our subject, and a class of its ideas." But the 
whole passage from p. 348-392, in which Kant expounded 
his pronounced idealism with peculiar beauty and clear 
ness, was suppressed by him in the second edition, and 
instead of it a number of remarks controverting it were 
introduced. In this way then the text of the " Critique 
of Pure Eeason," as it has circulated from the year 1787 
to the year 1838, was disfigured and spoilt, and it became 
a self-contradictory book, the sense of which could not 
therefore be thoroughly clear and comprehensible to any 
one. The particulars about this, and also my conjectures 
as to the reasons and the weaknesses which may have 
influenced Kant so to disfigure his immortal work, I 
have given in a letter to Professor Piosenkranz, and he has 
quoted the principal passage of it in his preface to the 
second volume of the edition of Kant s collected works 
edited by him, to which I therefore refer. In consequence 
of my representations, Professor Eosenkranz was induced 
in the year 1838 to restore the "Critique of Pure Eeason" 
to its original form, for in the second volume referred to 


he had it printed according to ihe first edition of 1781, by 
which he has rendered an inestimable service to philo 
sophy ; indeed, he has perhaps saved from destruction the 
most important work of German literature ; and^this should 
always be remembered to his credit. But let no one 
imagine that he knows the " Critique of Pure Reason " 
and has a distinct conception of Kant s teaching if he has 
only read the second or one of the later editions. That 
is altogether impossible, for he has only read a mutilated, 
spoilt, and to a certain extent ungenuine text. It is my 
duty to say this here decidedly and for every one s warning. 
Yet the way in which Kant introduces the thing in 
itself stands in undeniable contradiction with the dis 
tinctly idealistic point of view so clearly expressed in the 
first edition of the " Critique of Pure Pteason," and without 
doubt this is the chief reason why, in the second edition, 
he suppressed the principal idealistic passage we have 
referred to, and directly declared himself opposed to the 
Berkeleian idealism, though by doing so he only intro 
duced inconsistencies into his work, without being able to 
remedy its principal defect. This defect, as is known, is 
the introduction of the thing in itself in the way chosen 
by him, the inadmissibleness of which was exposed at 
length by G. E. Schulze in " dSncsidemus" and was soon 
recognised as the untenable point of his system. The 
matter may be made clear in a very few words. Kant 
based the assumption of the thing in itself, though 
concealed under various modes of expression, upon an 
inference from the law of causality an inference that the 
empirical perception, or more accurately the sensation, in 
our organs of sense, from which it proceeds, must have an 
external cause. But according to his own account, which 
is correct, the law of causality is known to us a priori, 
consequently is a function of our intellect, and is thus of 
subjective origin ; further, sensation itself, to which we here 
apply the law of causality, is undeniably subjective; and 
finally, even space, in which, by means of this application, 


we place the cause of this sensation as object, is a form of 
our intellect given a priori, and is consequently subjective. 
Therefore the whole empirical perception remains always 
upon a subjective foundation, as a mere process in us, and 
nothing entirely different from it and independent of it 
can be brought in as a thing in itself, or shown to be a 
necessary assumption. The empirical perception actually 
is and remains merely our idea : it is the world as idea. 
An inner nature of this we can only arrive at on the 
entirely different path followed by me, by means of calling 
in the aid of self-consciousness, which proclaims the .will 
as the inner nature of our own phenomenon ; but then the 
thing in itself will be one which is toto genere different 
from the idea and its elements, as I have explained. 

The great defect of the Kantian system in this point, 
which, as has been said, was soon pointed out, is an illus 
tration of the truth of the beautiful Indian proverb : " No 
lotus without a stem." The erroneous deduction of the 
thing in itself is here the stem; yet only the method of 
the deduction, not the recognition of a thing in itself 
belonging to the given phenomenon. But this last was 
Fichte s misunderstanding of it, which could only happen 
because he was not concerned with truth, but with making 
a sensation for the furtherance of his individual ends. 
Accordingly he was bold and thoughtless enough to deny 
the thing in itself altogether, and to set up a system in 
which, not, as with Kant, the mere form of the idea, but 
also the matter, its whole content, was professedly deduced 
a priori from the subject. In doing this, he counted with 
perfect correctness upon the want of judgment and the 
stupidity of the public, which accepted miserable sophisms, 
mere hocus-pocus and senseless babble, for proofs ; so that 
he succeeded in turning its attention from Kant to himself, 
and gave the direction to German philosophy in which it 
was afterwards carried further by Schelling, and ultimately 
reached its goal in the mad sophistry of Hegel. 

I now return to the great mistake of Kant, already 


touched on above, that he has not properly separated 
perceptible and abstract knowledge, whereby an inextri 
cable confusion has arisen which we have now to consider 
more closely. If he had sharply separated ideas of per 
ception from conceptions merely thought in abstracto, he 
would have held these two apart, and in every case would 
have known with which of the two he had to do. This, 
however, was unfortunately not the case, although this 
accusation has not yet been openly made, and may thus 
perhaps be unexpected. His "object of experience," of 
which he is constantly speaking, the proper object of the 
categories, is not the idea of perception ; neither is it the 
abstract conception, but it is different from both, and yet 
both at once, and is a perfect chimera. For, incredible as 
it may seem, he lacked either the wisdom or the honesty 
to come to an understanding with himself about this, and 
to explain distinctly to himself and others whether his 
" object of experience, i.e., the knowledge produced by the 
application of the categories," is the idea of perception in 
space and time (my first class of ideas), or merely the 
abstract conception. Strange as it is, there always runs 
in his mind something between the two, and hence arises 
the unfortunate confusion which I must now bring to 
light. For this end I must go through the whole theory 
of elements in a general w T ay. 

The " Transcendental ^Esthetic " is a work of such extra 
ordinary merit that it alone would have been sufficient 
to immortalise the name of Kant. Its proofs carry such 
perfect conviction, that I number its propositions among 
incontestable 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 metaphysics. The fact, strictly 
proved by him, that a part of our knowledge is known to 
us a priori, admits of no other explanation than that this 


constitutes the forms of our intellect ; indeed, this is less 
an explanation than merely the distinct expression of the 
fact itself. For a priori means nothing else than " not 
gained on the path of experience, thus not come into us 
from without." But what is present in the intellect, and 
has not come from without, is just what belongs originally 
to the intellect itself, its own nature. Now if what is 
thus present in the intellect itself consists of the general 
mode or manner in which it must present all its objects to 
itself, this is just saying that what is thus present is the 
intellect s forms of knowing, i.e., the mode, fixed once for 
all, in which it fulfils this its function. Accordingly, 
" knowledge a priori " and " the intellect s own forms " are 
at bottom only two expressions for the same things thus 
to a certain extent synonyms. 

Therefore from the doctrine of the Transcendental 
^Esthetic I knew of nothing to take away, only of some 
thing to add. Kant did not carry out his thought to the 
end, especially in this respect, that he did not reject 
Euclid s whole method of demonstration, even after having 
said on p. 87 ; V. 1 20, that all geometrical knowledge 
has direct evidence from perception. It is most remark 
able that one of Kant s opponents, and indeed the acutest 
of them, G. E. Schulze (Kritik der theorctischen Philo 
sophic, ii. 241), draws the conclusion that from his doc 
trine an entirely different treatment of geometry from 
that which is actually in use would arise ; and thus he 
thought to bring an apagogical argument against Kant, 
but, in fact, without knowing it, he only began the war 
against the method of Euclid. Let me refer to 15 of 
the first book of this work. 

After the full exposition of the universal forms of per 
ception given in the Transcendental Esthetic, one neces 
sarily expects to receive some explanation as to its content, 
as to the way in \vhich the empirical perception comes 
into our consciousness, how the knowledge of this whole 
world, which is for us so real and so important, arises in 



us. But the whole teaching of Kant contains really 
nothing more about this than the oft-repeated meaning 
less expression : " The empirical element in perception is 
given from without." Consequently here also from the 
pure forms of perception Kant arrives with one spring at 
thinking at the Transcendental Logic. Just at the begin 
ning of the Transcendental Logic (Critique of Pure 
Eeason, p. 50 ; V. 74), where Kant cannot avoid touch 
ing upon the content of the empirical perception, he takes 
the first false step ; he is guilty of the Trpcorov -^euSo?. 
" Our knowledge," he says, " has two sources, receptivity 
of impressions and spontaneity of conceptions : the first is 
the capacity for receiving ideas, the second that of know 
ing an object through these ideas : through the first an 
object is given us, through the second it is thought." 
This is false ; for according to it the impression, for which 
alone we have mere receptivity, which thus comes from 
without and alone is properly " given," would be already 
an idea, and indeed an object. But it is nothing more 
than a mere sensation in the organ of sense, and only by 
the application of the understanding (i.e., of the law of 
causality) and the forms of perception, space and time, 
does our intellect change this mere sensation into an idea, 
which now exists as an object in space and time, and can 
not 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. I have explained this point fully 
in the essay on the principle of sufficient reason, 21. 
With this, however, the work of the understanding and of 
the faculty of perception is completed, and no conceptions 
and no thinking are required in addition; therefore the 
brute also has these ideas. If conceptions are added, if 
thinking is added, to which spontaneity may certainly be 
attributed, then knowledge of perception is entirely aban 
doned, and a completely different class of ideas comes into 
consciousness, non-perceptible abstract conceptions. This 
is the activity of the reason, which vet obtains the whole 


-content of its thinking only from the previous perception, 
and the comparison of it with other perceptions and con 
ceptions. But thus Kant brings thinking into the percep 
tion, and lays the foundation for the inextricable confusion 
of intuitive and abstract knowledge which I am now en 
gaged in condemning. He allows the perception, taken by 
itself, to be without understanding, purely sensuous, and 
thus quite passive, and only through thinking (category 
of the understanding) does he allow an object to be appre 
hended : thus he brings thought into the perception. But 
then, again, the object of thinking is an individual real 
object ; and in this way thinking loses its essential char 
acter of universality and abstraction, and instead of gene 
ral conceptions receives individual things as its object : 
thus again he brings perception into thinking. From this 
springs the inextricable confusion referred to, and the 
consequences of this first false step extend over his whole 
theory of knowledge. 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 know 
ledge experience. It is hard to believe that Kant really 
figured to himself something fully determined and really 
distinct in this object of the understanding ; I shall now 
prove this through the tremendous contradiction which 
runs through the whole Transcendental Logic, and is the 
real source of the obscurity in which it is involved. 

In the " Critique of Pure Reason," p. 67-69 ; V. 92-94 ; 
p. 89, 90; V. 122, 123; further, V. 135, 139, 153, he 
repeats and insists : the understanding is no faculty of 
perception, its knowledge is not intuitive but discursive ; 
the understanding is the faculty of judging (p. 69 ; V. 94), 
and a judgment is indirect knowledge, an idea of an idea 
(p. 68 ; V. 93) ; the understanding is the faculty of thinking, 
and thinking is knowledge through conceptions (p. 69 ; V. 
94) ; the categories of the understanding are by no means 


the conditions under which objects are given in percep 
tion (p. 89; V. 122), and perception in no way requires 
the functions of thinking (p. 91 ; V. 123) ; our under 
standing can only think, not perceive (V. pp. 135, 139). 
Further, in the "Prolegomena," 20, he says that percep 
tion, sensation, pcrceptio, belongs merely to the senses; 
judgment to the understanding alone ; and in 22, that 
the work of the senses is to perceive, that of the under 
standing to think, i.e., to judge. Finally, in the " Critique 
of Practical Eeason," fourth edition, p. 247 ; Eosenkranz s 
edition, p. 281, he says that the understanding is discur 
sive; its ideas are thoughts, not perceptions. All this is in 
Kant s own words. 

From this it follows that this perceptible world would 
exist for us even if we had no understanding at all ; that 
it comes into our head in a quite inexplicable manner, 
which he constantly indicates by his strange expression 
the perception is given, without ever explaining this in 
definite and metaphorical expression further. 

Now all that has been quoted is contradicted in the 
most glaring manner 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 Trans 
cendental Logic. Thus (Critique of Pure Eeason, p. 79 ; V. 
105), the understanding through its categories brings unity 
into the manifold of perception, and the pure conceptions 
of the understanding refer a priori to objects of per 
ception. P. 94 ; V. 1 26, the " categories are the condition 
of experience, whether of perception, which is found in 
it, or of thought." V. p. 127, the understanding is the 
originator of experience. V. p. 128, the categories deter 
mine the perception of objects. V. p. 130, all that we pre 
sent to ourselves as connected in the object (which is yet 
certainly something perceptible and not an abstraction), has 
been so connected by an act of the understanding. V. p.. 
135, the understanding is explained anew as the faculty of 
combining a priori, and of bringing the multiplicity of given. 


ideas under the unity of apperception ; but according to all 
ordinary use of words, apperception is not the thinking of 
a conception, but is perception. V. p. 136, we find a first 
principle of the possibility of all perception in connection 
with the understanding. V. p. 143, it stands as the 
heading, that all sense perception is conditioned by the 
categories. At the same place the logical function of the 
judgment also brings the manifold of given perceptions 
under an apperception in general, and the manifold of a 
given perception stands necessarily under the categories. 
V. p. 144, unity comes into perception, by means of the 
categories, through the understanding. V. p. 145, the 
thinking of the understanding is very strangely explained 
as synthetically combining, connecting, and arranging 
the manifold of perception. V. p. 161, experience is only 
possible through the categories, and consists in the con 
nection of sensations, which, however, are just perceptions. 
V. P- T 59> tne categories are a priori knowledge of the 
objects of perception in general. Further, here and at V. p. 
163 and 165, a chief doctrine of Kant s is given, this : tlmt 
the understanding first makes Nature possible, because it pre 
scribes laws for it a priori, and Nature adapts itself to the 
system of the understanding, and so on. Nature, however, 
is certainly perceptible and not an abstraction ; therefore, 
the understanding must be a faculty of perception. V. p. 
1 68, it is said, the conceptions of the understanding are the 
principles of the possibility of experience, and the latter is 
the condition of phenomena in space and time in general ; 
phenomena which, however, certainly exist in perception. 
Finally, p. 189-211 ; V. 232-265, the long proof is given 
(the incorrectness of which is shown in detail in my essay 
on the principle of sufficient reason, 23) that the ob 
jective succession and also the coexistence of objects of 
experience are not sensuously apprehended, but are only 
brought into Nature by the understanding, and that Nature 
itself first becomes possible in this way. Yet it is certain 
that Nature, the course of events, and the coexistence 


of states, is purely perceptible, and no mere abstract 

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 contra 
diction I have pointed out, which extends through the 
whole Transcendental Logic, is the real reason of the 
great obscurity of its language. Kant himself, in fact, 
was dimly conscious of the contradiction, inwardly com 
bated it, but yet either would not or could not bring it 
to distinct consciousness, and therefore veiled it from 
himself and others, and avoided it by all kinds of subter 
fuges. This is perhaps also the reason why he made out 
of the faculties of knowledge such a strange complicated 
machine, Avith so many wheels, as the twelve categories, 
the transcendental synthesis of imagination, of the inner 
sense, of the transcendental unity of apperception, also 
the schematism of the pure conceptions of the understand 
ing, &c., &c. And notwithstanding this great apparatus, 
not even an attempt is made to explain the perception of 
the external world, which is after all the principal fact in 
our knowledge; but this pressing claim is very meanly 
rejected, always through the same meaningless meta 
phorical expression : " The empirical perception is given 
us." On p. 145 of the fifth edition, we learn further that 
the perception is given through the object ; therefore the 
object must be something different from the perception. 

If, now, we endeavour to investigate Kant s inmost 
meaning, not clearly expressed by himself, we find that 
in reality such an object, different from the perception, 
but which is by no means a conception, is for him the 
proper object for the understanding ; indeed that it must 
be by means of the strange assumption of such an object, 
which cannot be presented in perception, that the per- 


ception first becomes experience. I believe that an old 
deeply-rooted prejudice in Kant, dead to all investigation, 
is the ultimate reason of the assumption of such an absolute 
object, which is an object in itself, i.e., without a subject. 
It is certainly not the perceived object, but through the 
conception it is added to the perception by thought, as 
something 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 exposition, according to which the con 
ception only receives value and truth from the perception). 
It is then the proper function of the categories to add on 
in thought to the perception this directly non-perceptible 
object. " The object is given only through perception, and 
is afterwards thought in accordance with the category " 
(Critique of Pure Beason, first edition, p. 399). This is 
made specially clear by a passage on p. 125 of the fifth 
edition : " Now the question arises whether conceptions a 
priori do not also come first as conditions under which 
alone a thing can be, not perceived certainly, but yet 
thought as an object in general," which he answers in the 
affirmative. Here the source of the error and the con 
fusion in which it is involved shows itself distinctly. For 
the object as such exists always only for perception and in 
it ; it may now be completed through the senses, or, when 
it is absent, through the imagination. What is thought, 
on the contrary, is always an universal non-perceptible 
conception, which certainly can be the conception of an 
object in general ; but only indirectly by means of con 
ceptions does thought relate itself to objects, which always 
are and remain perceptible. For our thinking is not able 
to impart reality to perceptions ; this they have, so far as 
they are capable of it (empirical reality) of themselves; 
but it serves to bring together the common element and 
the results of perceptions, in order to preserve them, and 
to be able to use them more easily. But Kant ascribes 
the objects themselves to thought, in order to make expe- 


rience and the objective world dependent upon under 
standing, yet without allowing understanding to be a 
faculty of perception. In this relation he certainly dis 
tinguishes perception from thought, but he makes par 
ticular things sometimes the object of perception and 
sometimes the object of thought. In reality, however, 
they are only the object of the former; our empirical 
perception is at once objective, just because it proceeds 
from the causal nexus. Things, not ideas different from 
them, are directly its object. Particular things as such 
are perceived in the understanding and through the senses; 
the one-sided impression upon the latter is at once com 
pleted by the imagination. But, on the contrary, as soon 
as we pass over to thought, we leave the particular things, 
and have to do with general conceptions, which cannot 
be presented in perception, although we afterwards apply 
the results of our thought to particular things. If we 
hold firmly to this, the inadmissibleness of the assumption 
becomes evident that the perception of things only obtains 
reality and becomes experience through the thought of 
these very things applying its twelve categories. Bather 
in perception itself the empirical reality, and consequently 
experience, is already given ; but the perception itself can 
only come into existence 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. 

Besides in the passages quoted, the assumption of Kant 
here criticised will be found expressed with admirable 
clearness in the " Critique of Judgment," 36, just at 
the beginning; also in the "Metaphysical Principles of 
Natural Science," in the note to the first explanation of 
" Phenomenology." But with a naivete which Kant ven 
tured upon least of all with reference to this doubtful 
point, it is to be found most distinctly laid down in the 
book of a Kantian, Kiesewetter s " Grundriss einer alge- 
meinen Logik" third edition, part i., p. 434 of the exposi- 


tion, and part ii., 52 and 53 of the exposition; similarly 
in Tieftrunk s " Denldehrc in rein Dcutschem Gewande" 
(1825). It there appears so clearly how those disciples 
who do not themselves think become a magnifying mirror 
of the errors of every thinker. Once having determined 
his doctrine of the categories, Kant was always cautious 
when expounding it, but his disciples on the contrary 
were quite bold, and thus exposed its falseness. 

According to what has been said, the object of the cate 
gories is for Kant, not indeed the thing in itself, but yet 
most closely akin to it. It is the object in itself ; it is an 
object that requires no subject; it is a particular thing, and 
yet not in space and time, because not perceptible ; it is 
an object of thought, and yet not an abstract conception. 
Accordingly Kant really makes a triple division: (i.) the 
idea ; (2.) the object of the idea ; (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 understand 
ing, which thinks it through its twelve categories. The 
third lies beyond the possibility of all knowledge. (In 
support of this, cf. Critique of Pure Reason, first edition, 
p. 1 08 and 109.) The distinction of the idea from the 
object of the idea is however unfounded ; this had already 
been proved by Berkeley, and it appears from my whole 
exposition in the first book, especially chap. i. of the sup 
plements; nay, even from Kant s own completely idea 
listic point of view in the first edition. But if we should 
not wish to count the object of the idea as belonging to 
the idea and identify it with the idea, it would be neces 
sary to attribute it to the thing in itself : this ultimately 
depends on the sense which is attached to the word object. 
This, however, always remains certain, that, when we 
think clearly, nothing more can be found than idea and 
thing in itself. The illicit introduction of that hybrid, the 
object of the idea, is the source of Kant s errors ; yet when 
it is taken away, the doctrine of the categories as concep- 


tions a priori also falls to the ground; for they bring 
nothing to the perception, and are not supposed to hold 
good of the thing in itself, but by means of them we only 
think those " objects of the ideas," and thereby change ideas 
into experience. For every empirical perception is already 
experience; but every perception which proceeds from 
sensation is empirical: this sensation is related by the 
understanding, by means of its sole function (knowledge 
a priori of the law of causality), to its cause, which just 
on this account presents itself in space and time (forms of 
pure perception) as object of experience, material object, 
enduring in space through all time, yet as such always 
remains idea, as do space and time themselves. If we 
desire to go beyond this idea, then we arrive at the ques 
tion as to the thing in itself, the answer to which is the 
theme of my whole work, as of all metaphysics in general. 
Kant s error here explained is connected with his mistake, 
which we condemned before, that he gives no theory of 
the origin of empirical perception, but, without saying 
more, treats it as given, identifying it with the mere sen 
sation, to which he only adds the forms of intuition or per 
ception, space and time, comprehending both under the 
name sensibility. But from these materials no objective 
idea arises : this absolutely demands the relation of the idea 
to its cause, thus the application of the law of causality, 
and thus understanding; for without this the sensation 
still remains always subjective, and does not take the 
form of an object in space, even if space is given with it. 
But according to Kant, the understanding must not be 
assigned to perception ; it is supposed merely to think, so 
as to remain within the transcendental logic. "With this 
again is connected another mistake of Kant s : that he 
left it to me to adduce the only valid proof of the a priori 
nature of the law of causality which he rightly recognised, 
the proof from the possibility of objective empirical per 
ception itself, and instead of it gives a palpably false one, 
as I have already shown in my essay on the principle of 


sufficient reason, 23. From the above it is clear that 
Kant s "object of the idea" (2) is made up of what 
he has stolen partly from the idea (i), and partly from 
the thing in itself (3 ). If, in reality, experience were 
only brought about by the understanding applying its 
twelve different functions in order to think through as 
many conceptions a priori, the objects which were pre 
viously merely perceived, then every real thing would 
necessarily as such have a number of determinations, 
which, as given a priori, absolutely could not be thought 
away, just like space and time, but would belong quite 
essentially to the existence of the thing, and yet could 
not be deduced from the properties of space and time. 
But only one such determination is to be found that of 
causality. Upon this rests materiality, for the essence of 
matter consists in action, and it is through and through 
causality (cf. Bk. II. ch. iv.) But it is materiality alone 
that distinguishes the real thing from the picture of the 
imagination, which is then only idea. For matter, as per 
manent, gives to the thing permanence through all time, 
in respect of its matter, while the forms change in con 
formity with causality. Everything else in the thing 
consists either of determinations of space or of time, or of 
its empirical properties, which are all referable to its 
activity, and are thus fuller determinations of causality. 
But causality enters already as a condition into the em 
pirical perception, and this is accordingly a thing of the 
understanding, which makes even perception possible, and 
yet apart from the law of causality contributes nothing to 
experience and its possibilty. What fills the old ontolo 
gies is, with the exception of what is given here, nothing 
more than relations of things to each other, or to our re 
flection, and a farrago of nonsense. 

The language in which the doctrine of the categories 
is expressed affords an evidence of its baselessness. What 
a difference in this respect between the Transcenden 
tal Esthetic and the Transcendental Analytic ! IQ the 


former, what clearness, definiteness, certainty, firm con 
viction which is freely expressed and infallibly com 
municates itself ! All is full of light, no dark lurking- 
places are left : Kant knows what he wants and knows 
that he is right. In the latter, on the other hand, all 
is obscure, confused, indefinite, wavering, uncertain, the 
language anxious, full of excuses and appeals to what is 
coming, or indeed of suppression. Moreover, the whole 
second and third sections of the Deduction of the Pure 
Conceptions of the Understanding are completely changed 
in the second edition, because they did not satisfy Kant 
himself, and they have become quite different from the 
first edition, though not clearer. We actually see Kant in 
conflict with the truth in order to carry out his hypothe 
sis which he has once fixed upon. In the Transcenden 
tal .^Esthetic all his propositions are really proved from 
undeniable facts of consciousness ; in the Transcenden 
tal Analytic, on the contrary, we find, if we consider it 
closely, mere assertions that thus it is and must be. Here, 
then, as everywhere, the language bears the stamp of the 
thought from which it has proceeded, for style is the 
physiognomy of the mind. We have still to remark, that 
whenever Kant wishes to give an example for the purpose 
of fuller explanation, he almost always takes for this end 
the category of causality, and then what he has said turns 
out correct ; for the law of causality is indeed the real 
form of the understanding, but it is also its only form, 
and the remaining eleven categories are merely blind 
windows. The deduction of the categories is simpler 
and less involved in the first edition than in the second. 
He labours to explain how, according to the perception 
given by sensibility, the understanding produces experi 
ence by means of thinking the categories. In doing so, 
the w r ords recognition, reproduction, association, appre 
hension, transcendental unity of apperception, are re 
peated to weariness, and yet no distinctness is attained. 
It is well worth noticing, however, that in this explana- 


tion he does not once touch upon what must nevertheless 
first occur to every one the relation of the sensation to 
its external cause. If he did not intend this relation to 
hold good, he ought to have expressly denied it ; but 
neither does he do this. Thus in this way he evades the 
point, and all the Kantians have in like manner evaded 
it. The secret motive of this is, that he reserves the 
causal nexus, under the name "ground of the phenome 
non," for his false deduction of the thing in itself ; and also 
that perception would become intellectual through the 
relation to the cause, which he dare not admit. Besides 
this, he seems to have been afraid that if the causal nexus 
were allowed to hold good between sensation and object, 
the latter would at once become the thing in itself, and 
introduce the empiricism of Locke. But this difficulty 
is removed by reflection, which shows us that the law of 
causality is of subjective origin, as well as the sensation 
itself ; and besides this, our own body also, inasmuch as 
it appears in space, already belongs to ideas. But Kant 
was hindered from confessing this by his fear of the 
Berkeleian idealism. 

" The combination of the manifold of perception " is 
repeatedly given as the essential operation of the under 
standing, by means of its twelve categories. Yet this is 
never adequately explained, nor is it shown what this 
manifold of perception is before it is combined by the 
understanding. But time and space, the latter in all its 
three dimensions, are contimia, i.e., all their parts are 
originally not separate but combined. Thus, then, every 
thing that exhibits itself in them (is given) appears origi 
nally as a continuum, i.e., its parts appear already com 
bined and require no adventitious combination of a 
manifold. If, however, some one should seek to interpret 
that combining of the manifold of perception by saying 
that I refer the different sense-impressions of one object 
to this one only thus, for example, perceiving a bell, I 
recognise that what affects my eye as yellow, my hand as 


smooth and hard, my ear as sounding, is yet only one and 
the same body, then I reply that this is rather a conse 
quence of the knowledge a priori of the causal nexus (this 
actual and only function of the understanding), by virtue 
of which all those different effects upon my different 
organs of sense yet lead me only to one common cause of 
them, the nature of the body standing before me, so that 
my understanding, in spite of the difference and multi 
plicity of the effects, still apprehends the unity of the 
cause as a single object, which just on that account ex 
hibits itself in perception. In the beautiful recapitulation 
of his doctrine which Kant gives at p. 719-726 or V. 
747-754 of the " Critique of Pure Eeason," he explains the 
categories, perhaps more distinctly than anywhere else, as 
" the mere rule of the synthesis of that which empirical 
apprehension has given a posteriori." It seems as if here 
he had something in his mind, such as that, in the construc 
tion of the triangle, the angles give the rule for the com 
position of the lines ; at least by this image one can best 
explain to oneself what he says of the function of the cate 
gories. The preface to the " Metaphysical First Principles 
of Natural Science " contains a long note which likewise 
gives an explanation of the categories, and says that they 
" differ in no respect from the formal acts of the under 
standing in judging," except that in the latter subject and 
predicate can always change places ; then the judgment 
in general is defined in the same passage as "an act 
through which given ideas first become knowledge of 
an object." According to this, the brutes, since they do 
not judge, must also have no knowledge of objects. In 
general, according to Kant, there are only conceptions of 
objects, no perceptions. I, on the contrary, say : Objects 
exist primarily only for perception, and conceptions are 
always abstractions from this perception. Therefore ab 
stract thinking must be conducted exactly according to 
the world present in perception, for it is only their rela 
tion to this that gives content to conceptions ; and we must 


assume for the conceptions no other a priori determined 
form than the faculty of reflection in general, the nature of 
which is the construction of conceptions, i.e., of abstract 
non-perceptible ideas, which constitutes the sole function of 
the reason, as I have shown in the first book. I therefore 
require that we should reject eleven of the categories, and 
only retain that of causality, and yet that we should 
see clearly that its activity is indeed the condition of 
empirical perception, which accordingly is not merely 
sensuous but intellectual, and that the object so per 
ceived, the object of experience, is one with the idea, 
from which there remains nothing to distinguish except 
the thing in itself. 

After repeated study of the " Critique of Pure Eeason " 
at different periods of my life, a conviction has forced 
itself upon me with regard to the origin of the Transcen 
dental Logic, which I now impart as very helpful to an 
understanding of it. Kant s only discovery, which is 
based upon objective comprehension and the highest 
human thought, is the appcr^u that time and space are 
known by us a priori. Gratified by this happy hit, he 
wished to pursue the same vein further, and his love of 
architectonic symmetry afforded him the clue. As he 
had found that a pure intuition or perception a priori 
underlay the empirical perception as its condition, he 
thought that in the same way certain pure conceptions 
as presuppositions in our faculty of knowledge must lie at 
the foundation of the empirically obtained conceptions, and 
that real empirical thought must be only possible through 
a pure thought a priori, which, however, would have no 
objects in itself, but would be obliged to take them from 
perception. So that as the Transcendental ^Esthetic estab 
lishes an a priori basis of mathematics, there must, he 
supposed, also be a similar basis for logic ; and thus, then 
for the sake of symmetry, the former received a pendant 
in a Transcendental Logic. From this point onwards Kant 
was no more free, no more in the position of purely, 


investigating and observing what is present in conscious 
ness; but he was guided by an assumption and pursued 
a purpose the purpose of finding what he assumed, in 
order to add to the Transcendental ^Esthetic so happily 
discovered a Transcendental Logic analogous to it, and 
thus symmetrically corresponding to it, as a second storey. 
Now for this purpose he 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 con 
ceptions, which are supposed to be the conditions of our 
thinking those very things the perception of which is con 
ditioned by the two a priori forms of sensibility : thus 
a pure understanding now corresponded symmetrically to 
a pure sensibility. Then another consideration occurred 
to him, which offered a means of increasing the plausi 
bility of the thing, by the assumption of the schematism 
of the pure conceptions of the understanding. But just 
through this the way in which his procedure had, uncon 
sciously indeed, originated betrayed itself most distinctly. 
For because he aimed at finding something a priori 
analogous to every empirical function of the faculty of 
knowledge, he remarked that between our empirical per 
ception and our empirical thinking, conducted in abstract 
non-perceptible conceptions, a connection very frequently, 
though not always, takes place, because every now and 
then we try to go back from abstract thinking to percep 
tion ; but try to do so merely in order really to convince 
ourselves that our abstract thought has not strayed far 
from the safe ground of perception, and perhaps become 
exaggeration, or, it may be, mere empty talk ; much in the 
same way as, when we are walking in the dark, we stretch 
out our hand every now and then to the guiding wall. 
We go back, then, to the perception only tentatively and 
for the moment, by calling up in imagination a perception 
corresponding to the conceptions which are occupying us 
at the time a perception which can yet never be quite 
adequate to the conception, but is merely a temporary 


representative of it. I have already adduced what is 
needful on this point in my essay on the principle of 
sufficient reason, 28. Kant calls a fleeting phantasy 
of this kind a schema, in opposition to the perfected 
picture of the imagination. He says it is like a mono 
gram of the imagination, and asserts that just as such 
a schema stands midway between our abstract thinking 
of empirically obtained conceptions, and our clear percep 
tion which comes to us through the senses, so there are 
a priori schemata of the pure conceptions of the under 
standing between the faculty of perception a priori of 
pure sensibility and the faculty of thinking a priori of 
the pure understanding (thus the categories). These 
schemata, as monograms of the pure imagination a priori, 
he describes one by one, and assigns to each of them its 
corresponding category, in the wonderful " Chapter on 
the Schematism of the Pure Conceptions of the Under 
standing," which is noted as exceedingly obscure, because 
no man has ever been able to make anything out of it. 
Its obscurity, however, vanishes if it is considered from 
the point of view here indicated, but there also comes 
out more clearly in it than anywhere else the intentional 
nature of Kant s procedure, and of the determination 
formed beforehand of finding what would correspond to 
the analogy, and could assist the architectonic symmetry ; 
indeed this is here the case to such a degree as to be 
almost comical. For when he assumes schemata of the 
pure (empty) a priori conceptions of the understanding 
(categories) analogous to the empirical schemata (or re 
presentatives through the fancy of our actual conceptions), 
he overlooks the fact that the end of such schemata is here 
entirely wanting. For the end of the schemata in the case 
of empirical (real) thinking is entirely connected with 
the material content of such conceptions. For since these 
conceptions are drawn from empirical perception, we assist 
and guide ourselves when engaged in abstract thinking 
by now and then casting a momentary glance back at 

VOL. II. 1> 


the perception out of which the conceptions are framed, in 
order to assure ourselves that our thought has still real 
content. This, however, necessarily presupposes that the 
conceptions which occupy us are sprung from perception, 
and it is merely a glance back at their material content, 
indeed a mere aid to our weakness. But in the case of 
a priori conceptions which as yet have no content at all, 
clearly this is necessarily omitted. For these conceptions 
are not sprung from perception, but come to it from 
within, in order to receive a content first from it. Thus 
they have as yet nothing on which they could look back. 
I speak fully upon this point, because it is just this that 
throws light upon the secret origin of the Kantian philo 
sophising, which accordingly consists in this, that Kant, 
after the happy discovery of the two forms of intuition 
or perception a priori, exerted himself, under the guidance 
of the analogy, to prove that for every determination of 
our empirical knowledge there is an a priori analogue, 
and this finally extended, in the schemata, even to a mere 
psychological fact. Here the apparent depth and the 
difficulty of the exposition just serve to conceal from 
the reader that its content remains a wholly undemon- 
strable and merely arbitrary assumption. But he who 
has penetrated at last to the meaning of such an ex 
position is then easily induced to mistake this under 
standing so painfully attained for a conviction of the 
truth of the matter. If, on the contrary, Kant had kept 
himself here as unprejudiced and purely observant as in 
the discovery of a priori intuition or perception, he must 
have found that what is added to the pure intuition or 
perception of space and time, if an empirical perception 
arises from it, is on the one hand the sensation, and on the 
other hand the knowledge of causality, which changes the 
mere sensation into objective empirical perception, but 
just on this account is not first derived and learned from 
sensation, but exists a priori, and is indeed the form and 
function of the pure understanding. It is also, however, 


its sole form and function, yet one so rich in results that 
all our empirical knowledge rests upon it. If, as has 
often been said, the refutation of an error is only complete 
when the way it originated has been psychologically 
demonstrated, I believe I have achieved this, with regard 
to Kant s doctrine of the categories and their schemata, 
in what I have said above. 

After Kant had thus introduced such great errors into 
the first simple outlines of a theory of the faculty of per 
ception, he adopted a variety of very complicated assump 
tions. To these belongs first of all the synthetic unity 
of apperception : a very strange thing, very strangely 
explained. "The / think must be able to accompany 
all my ideas." Must be able : this is a problem atic- 
apodictic enunciation; in plain English, a proposition 
which takes with one hand what it gives with the other. 
And what is the meaning of this carefully balanced 
.proposition ? That all knowledge of ideas is thinking ? 
That is not the case : and it would be dreadful ; there 
would then be nothing but abstract conceptions, or at any 
rate a pure perception free from reflection and will, such 
as that of the beautiful, the deepest comprehension of the 
true nature of things, i.e., of their Platonic Ideas. And 
besides, the brutes would then either think also, or else 
they would not even have ideas. Or is the proposition 
perhaps intended to mean: no object without a subject? 
That would be very badly expressed by it, and would 
come too late. If we collect Kant s utterances on the 
subject, we shall find that what he understands by the 
synthetic unity of apperception is, as it were, the exten- 
sionless centre of the sphere of all our ideas, whose radii 
converge to it. It is what I call the subject of knowing, 
the correlative of all ideas, and it is also that which I have 
fully described and explained in the 22d chapter of the 
Supplements, as the focus in which the rays of the activity 


of the brain converge. Therefore, to avoid repetition, I 
now refer to that chapter. 

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 
criticism given above ; and also from the proof of the con 
tradictions in the Transcendental Logic, which had their 
ground in the confusion of perception and abstract know 
ledge ; also further from the proof of the want of a distinct 
and definite conception of the nature of the understanding 
and of the reason, instead of which we found in Kant s writ 
ings only incoherent, inconsistent, insufficient, and incorrect 
utterances with regard to these two faculties of the mind. 
Finally, it results from the explanations which I myself 
have given of these faculties of the mind in the first book 
and its Supplements, and more fully in the essay on the 
principle of sufficient reason, 21, 26, and 34, explana 
tions which are very definite and distinct, which clearly 
follow from the consideration of the nature of our know 
ledge, and which completely agree with the conceptions 
of those two faculties of knowledge that appear in the 
language and writings of all ages and all nations, but 
were not brought to distinctness. Their defence against 
the very different exposition of Kant has, for the most 
part, been given already along with the exposure of the 
errors of that exposition. Since, however, the table of 
judgments, which Kant makes the foundation of his theory 
of thinking, and indeed of^his whole philosophy, has, in 
itself, as a whole, its correctness, it is still incumbent upon 
me to show how these universal forms of all judgment 
arise in our faculty of knowledge, and to reconcile them 
with my exposition of it. In this discussion I shall always- 
attach to the concepts understanding and reason the sense 
given them in my explanation, which I therefore assume- 
the reader is familiar with. 


An essential difference between Kant s method and that 
which I follow lies in this, that he starts from indirect, 
reflected knowledge, while I start from direct or intuitive 
knowledge. He 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. Therefore, for him philosophy is a science of con 
ceptions, but for me it is a science in conceptions, drawn 
from knowledge of perception, the one source of all evi 
dence, and comprehended and made permanent in general 
conceptions. He passes over this whole world of perception 
which surrounds us, so multifarious and rich in signi 
ficance, and confines himself to the forms of abstract 
thinking ; and, although he never expressly says so, this 
procedure is founded on the assumption that reflection is 
the ectype of all perception, that, therefore, all that is 
essential in perception must be expressed in reflection, 
and expressed in very contracted forms and outlines, 
which are thus easily surveyed. According to this, what 
is essential and conformable to law in abstract know 
ledge would, as it were, place in our hands all the threads 
by which the varied puppet-show of the world of per 
ception is set in motion before our eyes. If Kant had 
only distinctly expressed this first principle of his method, 
and then followed it consistently, he would at least have 
been obliged to separate clearly the intuitive from the 
abstract, and we would not have had to contend with 
inextricable contradictions and confusions. But from the 
way in which he solves his problem we see that that 
fundamental principle of his method was only very in 
distinctly present to his mind, and thus we have still to 
arrive at it by conjecture even after a thorough study of 
his philosophy. 

Now as concerns the specified method and fundamental 
maxim itself, there is much to be said for it, and it is a 
brilliant thought. The nature of all science indeed con 
sists in this, that we comprehend the endless manifold of 


perceptible phenomena under comparatively few abstract 
conceptions, and out of these construct a system by means 
of which we have all those phenomena completely in the 
power of our knowledge, can explain the past and deter 
mine the future. The sciences, however, divide the wide 
sphere of phenomena among them according to the special 
and manifold classes of the latter. Now it was a bold 
and happy thought to isolate what is absolutely essential 
to the conceptions as such and apart from their content, in 
order to discover from these forms of all thought found in 
this way what is essential to all intuitive knowledge also, 
and consequently to the world as phenomenon in general ; 
and because this would be found a priori on account of 
the necessity of those forms of thought, it would be of 
subjective origin, and would just lead to the ends Kant 
had in view. Here, however, before going further, the 
relation of reflection to knowledge of perception ought 
to have been investigated (which certainly presupposes 
the clear separation of the two, which was neglected by 
Kant). He ought to have inquired in what way the 
former really repeats and represents the latter, whether 
quite pure, or changed and to some extent disguised by 
being taken up into its special forms (forms of reflection) ; 
whether the form of abstract reflective knowledge becomes 
more determined through the form of knowledge of percep 
tion, or through the nature or constitution which unalter 
ably belongs to itself, i.e., to reflective knowledge, so that 
even what is very heterogeneous in intuitive knowledge can 
no longer be distinguished when it has entered reflective 
knowledge, and conversely many distinctions of which we 
are conscious in the reflective method of knowledge have 
also sprung from this knowledge itself, and by no means 
point to corresponding differences in intuitive knowledge. 
As the result of this investigation, however, it would have 
appeared that 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 recognised from the 
result they produce. Or (for this is going a little too far) 
at least it would have appeared that reflection is by no 
means related to knowledge of perception as the reflection 
in water is related to the reflected objects, but scarcely 
even as the mere shadow of these objects stands to the 
objects themselves ; which shadow repeats only a few 
external outlines, but also unites the most manifold in 
the same form and presents the most diverse through the 
same outline ; so that it is by no means possible, starting 
from it, to construe the forms of things with completeness 
and certainty. 

The whole of reflective knowledge, or the reason, has 
only one chief form, and that is the abstract conception. It 
is proper to the reason itself, and has no direct necessary 
connection with the world of perception, which therefore 
exists for the brutes entirely without conceptions, and in 
deed, even if it were quite another world from what it is, 
that form of reflection would suit it just as well. But 
the combination of conceptions for the purpose of judging 
has certain definite and normal forms, which have been 
found by induction, and constitute the table of judgments. 
These forms are for the most part deducible from the 
nature of reflective knowledge itself, thus directly from 
the reason, because they spring from the four laws of 
thought (called by me metalogical truths) and the dictum 
de omni et nullo. Certain others of these forms, however, 
have their ground in the nature of knowledge of percep 
tion, thus in the understanding ; yet they by no means 
point to a like number of special forms of the under 
standing, but can all be fully deduced from the sole 
function which the understanding has the direct know 
ledge of cause and effect. Lastly, still others of these 
forms have sprung from the concurrence and combination 
of the reflective and intuitive modes of knowledge, or 
more properly from the assumption of the latter into the 


former. I shall now go through the moments of the 
judgment one by one, and point out the origin of each of 
them in the sources referred to ; and from this it follows 
of itself that a deduction of categories from them is want 
ing, and the assumption of this is just as groundless as 
its exposition was found to be entangled and self- con 

i. The so-called Quantity of judgments springs from the 
nature of concepts as such. It thus has its ground in the 
reason alone, and has absolutely no direct connection with 
the understanding and with knowledge of perception. It 
is indeed, as is explained at length in the first book, 
essential to concepts, as such, that they should have an 
extent, a sphere, and the wider, less determined concept 
includes the narrower and more determined. The latter 
can therefore be separated from the former, and this may 
happen in two ways, either the narrower concept may 
be indicated as an indefinite part of the wider concept in 
general, or it may be defined and completely separated by 
means of the addition of a special name. The judgment 
which carries out this operation is in the first case called 
a particular, and in the second case an universal judg 
ment. For example, one and the same part of the sphere 
of the concept tree may be isolated through a particular 
and through an universal judgment, thus " Some trees 
bear gall-nuts," or "All oaks bear gall-nuts." One sees 
that the difference of the two operations is very slight ; 
indeed, that the possibility of it depends upon the rich 
ness of the language. Nevertheless, Kant has explained 
this difference as disclosing two fundamentally different 
actions, functions, categories of the pure understanding, 
which determines experience a priori through them. 

Finally, a concept may also be used in order to arrive 
by means of it at a definite particular idea of perception, 
from which, as well as from many others, this concept 
itself is drawn; this happens in the singular judgment. 
Such a judgment merely indicates the boundary -line 


between abstract knowledge and knowledge of perception, 
and passes directly to the latter, "This tree here bears 
gall-nuts." Kant has made of this also a special cate 

After all that has been said there is no need of further 
polemic here. 

2. In the same way the Quality of the judgment lies 
entirely within the province of reason, and is not an 
adumbration of any law of that understanding which 
makes perception possible, i.e., it does not point to it. 
The nature of abstract concepts, which is just the nature 
of the reason itself objectively comprehended, carries with 
it the possibility of uniting and separating their spheres, 
as was already explained in the first book, and upon this 
possibility, as their presupposition, rest the universal laws 
of thought of identity and contradiction, to which I have 
given the name of mctalogical truths, because they spring 
purely from the reason, and cannot be further explained. 
They determine that what is united must remain united, 
and what is separated must remain separate, thus that 
what is established cannot at the same time be also 
abolished, and thus they presuppose the possibility of the 
combination and separation of spheres, i.e., of judgment. 
This, however, lies, according to its form, simply and 
solely in the reason, and this form has not, like the content 
of th^e judgments, been brought over from the perceptible 
knowledge of the understanding, and therefore there is no 
correlative or analogue of it to be looked for there. After 
the perception has been brought about through the under 
standing and for the understanding, it exists complete, 
subject to no doubt nor error, and therefore knows neither 
assertion nor denial ; for it expresses itself, and has not, 
like the abstract knowledge of the reason, its value and 
content in its mere relation to something outside of it, 
according to the principle of the ground of knowing. It 
is, therefore, pure reality; all negation is foreign to its 
nature, can only be added on through reflection, and just 


on this account remains always in the province of abstract 

To the affirmative and negative Kant adds the infinite 
judgment, making use of a crotchet of the old scholastics, 
an ingeniously invented stop-gap, which does not even 
require to be explained, a blind window, such as many 
others he made for the sake of his architectonic sym 

3. Under the very wide conception of Relation Kant has 
brought three entirely different properties of judgments, 
which we must, therefore, examine singly, in order to 
recognise their origin. 

(a.) The hypothetical judgment in general is the abstract 
expression of that most universal form of all our know 
ledge, the principle of sufficient reason. In my essay on 
this principle, I already showed in 1813 that it has four 
entirely different meanings, and in each of these originally 
originates in a different faculty of knowledge, and also 
concerns a different class of ideas. It clearly follows from 
this, that the source of the hypothetical judgment in 
general, of that universal form of thought, cannot be, as 
Kant wishes to make it, merely the understanding and its 
category of causality ; but that the law of causality which, 
according to my exposition, is the one form of knowledge 
of the pure understanding, is only one of the forms of that 
principle which embraces all pure or a priori knowledge 
the principle of sufficient reason which, on the other hand, 
in each of its meanings has this hypothetical form of judg 
ment as its expression. We see here, however, very dis 
tinctly how kinds of knowledge which are quite different 
in their origin and significance yet appear, if thought in 
abstracto by the reason, in one and the same form of com 
bination of concepts and judgments, and then in this form 
can no longer be distinguished, but, in order to distinguish 
them, we must go back to knowledge of perception, leaving 
abstract knowledge altogether. Therefore the path which 
was followed by Kant, starting from the point of view of 


abstract knowledge, to find the elements and the inmost 
spring of intuitive knowledge also, was quite a wrong one. 
For the rest, my whole introductory essay on the principle 
of sufficient reason is, to a certain extent, to be regarded 
merely as a thorough exposition of the significance of the 
hypothetical form of judgment ; therefore I do not dwell 
upon it longer here. 

(I.) The form of the categorical judgment is nothing but 
the form of judgment in general, in its strictest sense. 
Tor, strictly speaking, judging merely means thinking, 
the combination of, or the impossibility of combining, the 
spheres of the concepts. Therefore the hypothetical and 
the disjunctive combination are properly no special forms 
of the judgment; for they are only applied to already 
completed judgments, in which the combination of the 
concepts remains unchanged the categorical. But they 
again connect these judgments, for the hypothetical form 
expresses their dependence upon each other, and the dis 
junctive their incompatibility. Mere concepts, however, 
have only one class of relations to each other, those which 
are expressed in the categorical judgment. The fuller 
determination, or the sub-species of this relation, are 
the intersection and the complete separateness of the 
concept-spheres, i.e., thus affirmation and negation ; out of 
which Kant has made special categories, under quite a 
different title, that of quality. Intersection and separate- 
ness have again sub-species, according as the spheres 
He within each other entirely, or only in part, a deter 
mination which constitutes the quantity of the judg 
ments ; out of which Kant has again made a quite special 
class of categories. Thus he separates what is very closely 
related, and even identical, the easily surveyed modifica 
tions of the one possible relation of mere concepts to each 
other, and, on the other hand, unites what is very different 
under this title of relation. 

Categorical judgments have as their metalogical prin 
ciple the laws of thought of identity and contradiction. 


But the ground of the connection of the concept-spheres 
which gives truth to the judgment, which is nothing but 
this connection, may be of very different kinds; and, 
according to this, the truth of the judgment is either 
logical, or empirical, or metaphysical, or metalogical, as 
is explained in the introductory essay. 30-33, and does 
not require to be repeated here. But it is apparent from 
this how very various the direct cognitions may be, all 
of which exhibit themselves in the abstract, through the 
combination of the spheres of two concepts, as subject and 
predicate, and that we can by no means set up the sole 
function of the understanding as corresponding to them 
and producing them. For example, the judgments, "Water 
boils, the sine measures the angle, the will resolves, busi 
ness distracts, distinction is difficult," express through the 
same logical form the most different kinds of relations ; 
but from this we obtain the right, however irregular the 
beginning may be, of placing ourselves at the standpoint 
of abstract knowledge to analyse direct intuitive know 
ledge. For the rest, the categorical judgment springs 
from knowledge of the understanding proper, in my sense, 
only when causation is expressed by it ; this is, however, 
the case in all judgments which refer to a physical quality. 
For if I say, " This body is heavy, hard, fluid, green, sour, 
alkaline, organic, &c., &c.," this always refers to its effect, 
and thus is knowledge which is only possible through the 
pure understanding. Now, after this, like much which is 
quite different from it (for example, the subordination of 
very abstract concepts), has been expressed in the abstract 
through subject and predicate, these mere relations of 
concepts have been transferred back to knowledge of per 
ception, and it has been supposed that the subject and 
predicate of the judgment must have a peculiar and special 
correlative in perception, substance and accident. But I 
shall show clearly further on that the conception substance 
has no other true content than that of the conception 
matter. Accidents, however, are quite ^ synonymous with 


kinds of effects, so that the supposed knowledge of sub 
stance and accident is never anything more than the 
knowledge of cause and effect by the understanding. But 
the special manner in which the idea of matter arises is 
explained partly in 4 of the first book, and still more 
clearly in the essay on the principle of sufficient reason 
at the end of 21, p. 77 (3d ed., p. 82), and in some 
respects we shall see it still more closely when we in 
vestigate the principle of the permanence of substance. 

(c.) Disjunctive judgments spring from the law of 
thought of excluded third, which is a metalogical truth ; 
they are, therefore, entirely the property of the reason, 
and have not their origin in the understanding. The 
deduction of the category of community or reciprocity 
from them is, however, a glaring example of the violence 
which Kant sometimes allowed to be done to truth, 
merely in order to satisfy his love of architectonic sym 
metry. The illegitimacy of that deduction has already 
often been justly condemned and proved upon various 
grounds, especially by G. E. Schulze in his " Kritik der 
theoretischen Philosophic" and by Berg in his " Epikritik 
der Philosophic." What real analogy is there, indeed, 
between the problematical determination of a concept by 
disjunctive predicates and the thought of reciprocity? 
The two are indeed absolutely opposed, for in the dis 
junctive judgment the actual affirmation of one of the two 
alternative propositions is also necessarily the negation of 
the other ; if, on the other hand, we think two things in 
the relation of reciprocity, the affirmation of one is also 
necessarily the affirmation of the other, and vice versa. 
Therefore, unquestionably, 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 ban 
ished from metaphysics. For I now intend, quite seri 
ously, to prove that there is no reciprocity in the strict 


sense, and this conception, which people are so fond of 
using, just on account of the indefiniteness of the thought, 
is seen, if more closely considered, to be empty, false, 
and invalid. First of all, the reader must call to mind 
what causality really is, and to assist my exposition, see 
upon this subject 20 of the introductory essay, also my 
prize-essay on the freedom of the will, chap. iii. p. 27 scq., 
and lastly the fourth chapter of the second book of this 
work. Causality is the law according to which the con 
ditions or states of matter which appear determine their 
position in time. Causality has to do merely with con 
ditions or states, indeed, properly, only with changes, and 
neither with matter as such, nor with permanence with 
out change. Matter, as such, does not come under the 
law of causality, for it neither comes into being nor 
passes away; thus neither does the whole thing, as we 
commonly express ourselves, come under this law, but 
only the conditions or states of matter. Further, the law 
of causality has nothing to do with permanence, for where 
nothing changes there is no producing of effects and no 
causality, but a continuing quiet condition or state. But 
if, now, such a state is changed, then the new state is 
either again permanent or it is not, but immediately intro 
duces a third state, and the necessity with which this 
happens is just the law of causality, which is a form of 
the principle of sufficient reason, and therefore cannot 
be further explained, because the principle of sufficient 
reason is the principle of all explanation and of all neces 
sity. From this it is clear that cause and effect stand in 
intimate connection with, and necessary relation to, the 
course of time. Only because the state A. precedes in 
time the state B., and their succession is necessary and 
not accidental, i.e., no mere sequence but a consequence 
only because of this is the state A. cause and the state B. 
effect. The conception reciprocity, however, contains this, 
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. For 
that both states are simultaneous, and indeed necessarily 
simultaneous, cannot be admitted ; because, as necessarily 
belonging to each other and existing at the same time, 
they constitute only one state. For the permanence of 
this state there is. certainly required the continued exis 
tence of all its determinations, but we are then no longer 
concerned with change and causality, but with duration 
and rest, and nothing further is said than that if one 
determination of the whole state be changed, the new 
state which then appears cannot continue, but becomes 
the cause of the change of all the other determinations of 
the first state, so that a new third state appears ; which 
all happens merely in accordance with the simple law of 
causality, and does not establish a new law, that of reci 

I also definitely assert that the conception reciprocity 
cannot be supported by a single example. Everything 
that one seeks to pass off as such is either a state of rest, 
to which the conception of causality, which has only sig 
nificance with reference to changes, finds no application 
at all, or else it is an alternating succession of states 
of the same name which condition each other, for the 
explanation of which simple causality is quite sufficient. 
An example of the first class is afforded by a pair of 
scales brought to rest by equal weights. Here there is 
no effect produced, for there is no change; it is a state 
of rest; gravity acts, equally divided, as in every body 
which is supported at its centre of gravity, but it cannot 
show its force by any effect. That the taking away of 
one weight produces a second state, which at once be 
comes the cause of the third, the sinking of the other 
scale, happens according to the simple law of cause and 
effect, and requires no special category of the under 
standing, and not even a special name. An example of 
the second class is the continuous burning of a fire. The 
combination of oxygen with the combustible body is the 


cause of heat, and heat, again, is the cause of the renewed 
occurrence of the chemical combination. But this is 
nothing more than a chain of causes and effects, the links 
of which have alternately the same name. The burning, 
A., produces free heat, B., this produces new burning, C. 
(i.e., a new effect which has the same name as the cause 
A., but is not individually identical with it), this pro 
duces new heat, D. (which is not really identical with 
the effect B., but only according to the concept, i.e., it has 
the same name), and so on indefinitely. A good example 
of what in ordinary life is called reciprocity is afforded 
by a theory about deserts given by Humboldt (Ansichten 
dcr Natur, 2d ed., vol. ii. p. 79). In the sandy deserts 
it does not rain, but it rains upon the wooded mountains 
surrounding them. The cause is not the attraction of the 
clouds by the mountains ; but it is the column of heated 
air rising from the sandy plain which prevents the par 
ticles of vapour from condensing, and drives the clouds 
high into the heavens. On the mountains the perpen 
dicular rising stream of air is weaker, the clouds descend, 
and the rainfall ensues in the cooler air. Thus, want of 
rain and the absence of plants in the desert stand in the 
relation of reciprocity ; it does not rain because the heated 
sand-plain sends out more heat ; the desert does not be 
come a steppe or prairie because it does not rain. But 
clearly we have here again, as in the example given 
above, only a succession of causes and effects -of the same 
names, and throughout nothing essentially different from 
simple causality. This is also the case with the swinging 
of the pendulum, and indeed also with the self-conserva 
tion of the organised body, in which case likewise every 
state introduces a new one, which is of the same kind as 
that by which it was itself brought about, but indivi 
dually is new. Only here the matter is complicated, 
because the chain no longer consists of links of two 
kinds, but of many kinds, so that a link of the same name 
only recurs after several others have intervened. Bui we 


always see before us only an application of the single 
and simple law of causality which gives the rule to the 
sequence of states, but never anything which must be 
comprehended by means of a new and special function 
of the understanding. 

Or is it perhaps advanced in support of the conception 
of reciprocity that action and reaction are equal ? But the 
reason of this is what I urge so strongly and have fully 
explained in the essay on the principle of sufficient reason, 
that the cause and the effect are not two bodies, but two 
successive states of bodies, consequently each of the two 
states implicates all bodies concerned ; thus the effect, i.e., 
the newly appearing state, for example, in the case of an 
impulse, extends to both bodies in the same proportion ; 
therefore the body impelled produces just as great a 
change in the body impelling as it itself sustains (each 
in proportion to its mass and velocity). If one pleases to 
call this reciprocity, then absolutely every effect is a 
reciprocal effect, and no new conception is introduced on 
this account, still less does it require a new function of 
the understanding, but we only have a superfluous synonym 
for causality. But Kant himself, in a moment of thought 
lessness, exactly expressed this view in the " Metaphysical 
First Principles of Natural Science," at the beginning of the 
proof of the fourth principle of mechanics : " All external 
effect in the world is reciprocal effect." How then should 
different functions lie a priori in the understanding for 
simple causality and for reciprocity, and, indeed, how 
should the real succession of things only be possible and 
knowable by means of the first, and their co-existence by 
means of the second ? According to this, if all effect is 
reciprocal effect, succession and simultaneity would be the 
same thing, and therefore everything in the world would 
take place at the same moment. If there were true 
reciprocity, then perpetual motion would also be possible, 
and indeed a priori certain ; but it is rather the case that 
the a priori conviction that there is no true reciprocity, 
VOL. ir. E 


and no corresponding form of the understanding, is 
the ground of the assertion that perpetual motion is 

Aristotle also denies reciprocity in the strict sense ; for 
lie remarks that two things may certainly be reciprocal 
causes of each other, but only if this is understood in a 
different sense of each of them; for example, that one 
acts upon the other as the motive, but the latter acts 
iipon the former as the cause of its movement. We find 
in two passages the same words : Physic., lib. ii. c. 3, and 
Metaph., lib. v. c. 2. Eari Se rtva tcai aXX^Xcyy atria olov 
TO Troveiv ainov XT;? eye^ta?, teat avrr) TOV iroveiv aXX ov 
TOV aurov rpoirov, aXXa TO fjbev &>? TeXo?, TO Se &>? ap%Tj 
Kivrja-ecos. (Sunt prceterea qucc sibi sunt mutuo causes, ut 
exercitium bonce lidbitudinis, et hccc exercitii : at non eodem 
modo, sed hcec ut finis, aliud ut principium motus.) If, 
besides this, he had accepted a reciprocity proper, he 
would have introduced it here, for in both passages he is 
concerned with enumerating all the possible kinds of 
causes. In the Analyt. post., lib. ii. c. 1 1, he speaks of a 
circle of causes and effects, but not of reciprocity. 

4. The categories of Modality have this advantage over 
all others, that what is expressed through each of them 
really corresponds to the form of judgment from which it 
is derived; which with the other categories is scarcely 
ever the case, because for the most part they are deduced 
from the forms of judgment with the most capricious 

Thus that it is the conceptions of the possible, the actual, 
and the necessary which occasion the problematic, asserta- 
tory, and apodictic forms of judgment, is perfectly true ; 
but that those conceptions are special, original forms of 
knowledge of the understanding which cannot be further 
deduced is not true. On the contrary, they spring from 
the single original form of all knowledge, which is, there 
fore, known to us a priori, the principle of sufficient rea 
son; and indeed out of this the knowledge of necessity 


springs directly. On the other hand, it is only because 
reflection is applied to this that the conceptions of con 
tingency, possibility, impossibility, and actuality arise. 
Therefore all these do not by any means spring from one 
faculty of the mind, the understanding, but arise through 
the conflict of abstract and intuitive knowledge, as will be 
seen directly. 

I hold that to be necessary and to be the consequent 
of a given reason are absolutely interchangeable notions, 
and completely identical. We can never know, nor even 
think, anything as necessary, except so far as \ve regard 
it as the consequent of a given reason ; and the concep 
tion of necessity contains absolutely nothing more than 
this dependence, this being established through something 
else, and this inevitable following from it. Thus it arises 
and exists simply and solely [through the application of 
the principle of sufficient reason. Therefore, there is, 
according to the different forms of this principle, a physical 
necessity (the effect from the cause), a logical (through the 
ground of knowing, in analytical judgments, syllogisms, 
Ac.), a mathematical (according to the ground of being in 
time and space), and finally a practical necessity, by which 
we intend to signify not determination through a pre 
tended categorical imperative, but the necessary occurrence 
of an action according to the motives presented, in the 
case of a given empirical character. But everything 
necessary is only so relatively, that is, under the pre 
supposition of the reason from which it follows; there 
fore absolute necessity is a contradiction. With regard 
to the rest, I refer to 49 of the essay on the principle 
of sufficient reason. 

The contradictory opposite, i.e., the denial of necessity, 
is contingency. The content of this conception is, therefore, 
negative nothing more than this : absence of the con 
nection expressed by the principle of sufficient reason. 
Consequently the contingent is also always merely rela 
tive. It is contingent in relation to something which is 


not its reason. Every object, of whatever kind it may be 
for example, 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. For its contact in time and space 
with everything else is a mere coincidence without neces 
sary connection : hence also the words chance, crvfj.Trrco/jLa, 
contingens. Therefore an absolute contingency is just as 
inconceivable as an absolute necessity. For the former 
would be simply an object which stood to no other in the 
relation of consequent to its reason. But the incon 
ceivability of such a thing is just the content of the 
principle of sufficient reason negatively expressed, and 
therefore this principle must first be upset before we can 
think an absolute contingency; and even then it itself 
would have lost all significance, for the conception of con 
tingency has meaning only in relation to that principle, 
and signifies that two objects do not stand to each other 
in the relation of reason and consequent. 

In nature, which consists of ideas of perception, every 
thing that happens is necessary ; for it proceeds from its 
cause. If, however, we consider this individual with re 
ference to everything else which is not its cause, we 
know it as contingent ; but this is already an abstract 
reflection. Now, further, let us abstract entirely from a 
natural object its causal relation to everything else, thus 
its necessity and its contingency ; then this kind of know 
ledge comprehends the conception of the actual, in which 
one only considers the effect, without looking for the cause,, 
in relation to which one would otherwise have to call it 
necessary, and in relation to everything else contingent. 
All this rests ultimately upon the fact that the modality 
of the judgment does not indicate so much the objective 
nature of things as the relation of our knowledge to them. 
Since, however, in nature everything proceeds from a 
cause, everything actual is also necessary, yet only so far 
as it is at this time, in this place; for only so far does 


determination by the law of causality extend. Let us 
leave, however, concrete nature and pass over to abstract 
thinking; then we can present to ourselves in reflection 
all the natural laws which are known to us partly a 
priori, partly only a posteriori, and this abstract idea 
contains all that is in nature at any time, in any place, 
but with abstraction from every definite time and place ; 
and just in this way, through such reflection, we have 
entered the wide kingdom of the, possible. But what finds 
no place even here is the impossible. It is clear that 
possibility and impossibility exist only for reflection, for 
abstract knowledge of the reason, not for knowledge of 
perception ; although it is the pure forms of perception 
which supply the reason with the determination of the 
possible and impossible. According as the laws of nature, 
from which we start in the thought of the possible and 
impossible, are known a priori or a posteriori, is the pos 
sibility or impossibility metaphysical or physical. 

From this exposition, which requires no proof because 
it rests directly upon the knowledge of the principle of 
sufficient reason and upon the development of the concep 
tions of the necessary, the actual, and the possible, it is 
sufficiently evident how entirely groundless is Kant s 
assumption of three special functions of the understanding 
for these three conceptions, and that here again he has 
allowed himself to be disturbed by no reflection in the 
carrying out of his architectonic symmetry. 

To this, however, we have to add the other great mistake, 
that, certainly according to the procedure of earlier philo 
sophy, he has confounded the conceptions of necessity and 
contingency with each other. That earlier philosophy 
lias applied abstraction to the following mistaken use. It 
was clear that that of which the reason is given inevitably 
follows, i.e., cannot not be, and thus necessarily is. But 
that philosophy held to this last determination alone, and 
said that is necessary which cannot be otherwise, or the 
opposite of which is impossible. It left, however, the 


ground and root of such necessity out of account, over 
looked the relativity of all necessity which follows from 
it, and thereby made the quite unthinkable fiction of an 
absolute necessity, i.e., of something the existence of which 
would be as inevitable as the consequent of a reason, but 
which yet was not the consequent of a reason, and 
therefore depended upon nothing; an addition which is 
an absurd petitio, for it conflicts with the principle of 
sufficient reason. Now, starting from this fiction, it ex 
plained, in diametrical opposition to the truth, all that 
is established by a reason as contingent, because it looked 
at the relative nature of its necessity and compared this 
with that entirely imaginary absolute necessity, which 
is self-contradictory in its conception. 1 Now Kant ad 
heres to this fundamentally perverse definition of the 
contingent and gives it as explanation. (Critique of Pure 
Eeason, V. p. 289-291 ; 243. V. 301 ; 419. V. 447, 486, 
488.) He falls indeed into the most evident contra 
diction with himself upon this point, for on p. 301 he 
says : " Everything contingent has a cause," and adds, 
" That is contingent which might possibly not be." But 
whatever has a cause cannot possibly not be : thus it is 
necessary. For the rest, the source of the whole of this 
false explanation of the necessary and the contingent is 
to be found in Aristotle in "De Generatione et Corrupt-zone," 
lib. ii. c. 9 et n, where the necessary is explained as 
that which cannot possibly not be : there stands in opposi- 

1 Cf. Christian Wolf s "Vcrniin- matical truths. The reason he as- 

ftige Gcdanken von Gott, Welt und signs for this is, that only the law 

Seele" 577~579- It is strange of causality gives infinite series, 

that he only explains as contingent while the other kinds of grounds 

what is necessary according to the give only finite series. Yet this is 

principle of sufficient reason of be- by no means the case with the forms 

coming, i.e., what takes place from of the principle of sufficient reason 

causes, and on the contrary recog- in pure space and time, but only 

nises as necessary that which is so holds good of the logical ground of 

according to the other forms of the knowledge ; but he held mathe- 

principle of sufficient reason ; for matical necessity to be such also, 

example, what follows from the Compare the essay on the principle 

essentia (definition), thus analytical of sufficient reason, 50. 
judgments, and further also mathe- 


tion to it that which caiinot possibly be, and between these 
two lies that which can both be and not be, thus that 
which comes into being and passes away, and this would 
then be the contingent. In accordance with what has 
been said above, it is clear that this explanation, like so 
many of Aristotle s, has resulted from sticking to abstract 
conceptions without going back to the concrete and per 
ceptible, in which, however, the source of all abstract 
conceptions lies, and by which therefore they must al 
ways be controlled. " Something which cannot possibly 
not be " can certainly be thought in the abstract, but if 
we go with it to the concrete, the real, the perceptible 
we find nothing to support the thought, even as possible, 
as even merely the asserted consequent of a given 
reason, whose necessity is yet relative and conditioned. 

I take this opportunity of adding a few further remarks 
on these conceptions of modality. Since all necessity 
rests upon the principle of sufficient reason, and is on this 
account relative, all apodictic judgments are originally, 
and according to their ultimate significance, hypothetical. 
They become categorical only through the addition of an 
assertatory minor, thus in the conclusion. If this minor is 
still undecided, and this indecision is expressed, this gives 
the problematical judgment. 

What in general (as a rule) is apodictic (a law of nature), 
is in reference to a particular case only problematical, 
because the condition must actually appear which brings 
the case under the rule. And conversely, what in the 
particular as such is necessary (apodictic) (every particular 
change necessary through the cause), is again in general, 
and predicated universally, only problematical ; because 
the causes which appear only concern the particular case, 
and the apodictic, always hypothetical judgment, always 
expresses merely the general law, not the particular case 
directly. All this has its ground in the fact that possi 
bility exists only in the province of reflection and for the 
reason ; the actual, in the province of perception and for 


the understanding ; the necessary, for both. Indeed, the 
distinction between necessary, actual, and possible really 
exists only in the abstract and according to the concep 
tion ; in the real world, on the other hand, all three fall 
into one. For all that happens, happens necessarily, be 
cause it happens from causes ; but these themselves have 
again causes, so that the whole of the events of the world, 
great and small, are a strict concatenation of necessary 
occurrences. Accordingly everything actual is also neces 
sary, and in the real world there is no difference between 
actuality and necessity, and in the same way no difference 
between actuality and possibility ; for what has not hap 
pened, i.e., has not become actual, was also not possible, 
because the causes without which it could never appear not themselves appeared, nor could appear, in the 
great concatenation of causes ; thus it was an impossibility. 
Every event is therefore either necessary or impossible. 
All this holds good only of the empirically real world, 
i.e., the complex of individual things, thus of the whole 
particular as such. If, on the other hand, we consider 
things generally, comprehending them in abstracto, neces 
sity, actuality, and possibility are again separated; we 
then know everything which is in accordance with the a 
priori laws which belong to our intellect as possible in 
general ; that which corresponds to the empirical laws of 
nature as possible in this world, even if it has never become 
actual; thus we distinguish clearly the possible from the 
actual. The actual is in itself always also necessary, but 
is only comprehended as such by him who knows its cause ; 
regarded apart from this, it is and is called contingent. 
This consideration also gives us the key to that contentio 
irept, Swarwu between the Megaric Diodorus and Chry- 
sippus the Stoic which Cicero refers to in his book De 
Fato. Diodorus says : " Only what becomes actual was 
possible, and all that is actual is also necessary." Chry- 
sippus on the other hand says: "Much that is possible 
never becomes actual; for only the necessary becomes 


actual." We may explain this thus : Actuality is the 
conclusion of a syllogism to which possibility gives the 
premises. But for this is required not only the major but 
also the minor; only the two give complete possibility. 
The major gives a merely theoretical, general possibility 
in abstracto, but this of itself does not make anything 
possible, i.e., capable of becoming actual. For this the 
minor also is needed, which gives the possibility for the 
particular case, because it brings it under the rule, and 
thereby it becomes at once actual. For example : 

MaJ. All houses (consequently also my house) can be 
destroyed by fire. 

Min. My house is on fire. 

Concl. My house is being destroyed by fire. 

For every general proposition, thus every major, always 
determines things with reference to actuality only under 
a presupposition, therefore hypothetically ; for example, 
the capability of being burnt down has as a presupposition 
the catching fire. This presupposition is produced in the 
minor. The major always loads the cannon, but only if 
the minor brings the match does the shot, i.e., the con 
clusion, follow. This holds good throughout of the rela 
tion of possibility to actuality. Since now the conclusion, 
which is the assertion of actuality, always follows neces 
sarily, it is evident from this that all that is actual is 
also necessary, which can also be seen from the fact that 
necessity only means being the consequent of a given 
reason : this is in the case of the actual a cause : thus 
everything actual is necessary. Accordingly, we see here 
the conceptions of the possible, the actual, and the neces 
sary unite, and not merely the last presuppose the first, 
but also the converse. What keeps them apart is the limi 
tation of our intellect through the form of time ; for time is 
the mediator between possibility and actuality. The neces 
sity of the particular event may be fully seen from the 
knowledge of all its causes ; but the concurrence of the 
whole of these different and independent causes seems to 


us contingent ; indeed their independence of each other is 
just the conception of contingency. Since, however, each 
of them was the necessary effect of its causes, the chain of 
which has no beginning, it is evident that contingency is 
merely a subjective phenomenon, arising from the limita 
tion of the horizon of our understanding, and just as sub 
jective as the optical horizon at which the heavens touch 
the earth. 

Since necessity is the same thing as following from 
given grounds, it must appear in a special way in the case 
of every form of the principle of sufficient reason, and also 
have its opposite in the possibility and impossibility which 
always arises only through the application of the abstract 
reflection of the reason to the object. Therefore the 
four kinds of necessity mentioned above stand opposed to 
as many kinds of impossibility, physical, logical, mathe 
matical, and practical. It may further be remarked that 
if one remains entirely within the province of abstract 
concepts, possibility is always connected with the more 
general, and necessity with the more limited concept ; for 
example, " An animal may be a bird, a fish, an amphibious 
creature, &c." " A nightingale must be a bird, a bird must 
be an animal, an animal must be an organism, an organism 
must be a body." This is because logical necessity, the 
expression of which is the syllogism, proceeds from the 
general to the particular, and never conversely. In the 
concrete world of nature (ideas of the first class), on the 
contrary, everything is really necessary through the law of 
causality ; only added reflection can conceive it as also con 
tingent, comparing it with that which is not its cause, and 
also as merely and purely actual, by disregarding all causal 
connection. Only in this class of ideas does the concep 
tion of the actual properly occur, as is also shown by the 
derivation of the word from the conception of causality. 
In the third class of ideas, that of pure mathematical per 
ception or intuition, if we confine ourselves strictly to it, 
there is only necessity. Possibility occurs here also only 


through relation to the concepts of reflection : for example, 
" A triangle may be right-angled, obtuse-angled, or equi 
angular ; its three angles must be equal to two right-angles." 
Thus here we only arrive at the possible through the tran 
sition from the perceptible to the abstract. 

After this exposition, which presupposes the recollec 
tion of what was said both in the essay on the principle 
of sufficient reason and in the first book of the present 
work, there will, it is hoped, be no further doubt as to 
the true and very heterogeneous source of those forms 
which the table of judgments lays before us, nor as to the 
inadmissibility and utter groundlessness of the assump 
tion of twelve special functions of the understanding for 
the explanation of them. The latter point is also sup 
ported by a number of special circumstances very easily 
noted. Thus, for example, it requires great love of sym 
metry and much trust in a clue derived from it, to lead 
one to assume that an affirmative, a categorical, and an 
assertatory judgment are three such different things that 
they justify the assumption of an entirely special function 
of the understanding for each of them. 

Kant himself betrays his consciousness of the unten 
able nature of his doctrine of the categories by the fact 
that in the third chapter of the Analytic of Principles 
(phenomena et noumena) several long passages of the first 
edition (p. 241, 242, 244-246, 248-253) are omitted in 
the second passages which displayed the weakness of that 
doctrine too openly. So, for example, he says there (p. 
241) that he has not denned the individual categories, 
because he could not define them even if he had wished 
to do so, inasmuch as they were susceptible of no defini 
tion. In saying this he forgot that at p. 82 of the same 
first edition he had said : " I purposely dispense with the 
definition of the categories although I may be in possession 
of it." This then was, sit venia verbo, wind. But this 
last passage he has allowed to stand. And so all those 
passages wisely omitted afterwards betray the fact that 


nothing distinct can be thought in connection with the 
categories, and this whole doctrine stands upon a weak 

This table of the categories is now made the guiding 
clue according to which every metaphysical, and indeed 
every scientific inquiry is to be conducted (Prolegomena, 
39). And, in fact, it is not only the foundation of the 
whole Kantian philosophy and the type according to which 
its symmetry is everywhere carried out, as I have already 
shown above, but it has also really become the procrustean 
bed into which Kant forces every possible inquiry, by 
means of a violence which I shall now consider somewhat 
more closely. But with such an opportunity what must 
not the imitatores servumpecus have done ! We have seen. 
That violence then is applied in this way. The meaning 
of the expressions denoted by the titles, forms of judgment 
and categories, is entirely set aside and forgotten, and the 
expressions alone are retained. These have their source 
partly in Aristotle s Analyt. priora, i. 23 (irepi TrotoT^ro? 
Kai TTOCTOT^TO? T(av Tov av\\ojtcr/j,ov opwv . de qualitatc 
ct quantitate terminorum syllogismi), but are arbitrarily 
chosen ; for the extent of the concepts might certainly have 
been otherwise expressed than through the word quantity, 
though this word is more suited to its object than the 
rest of the titles of the categories. Even the word quality 
has obviously been chosen on account of the custom of 
opposing quality to quantity ; for the name quality is 
certainly taken arbitrarily enough for affirmation and 
negation. But now in every inquiry instituted by Kant, 
every quantity in time and space, and every possible 
quality of things, physical, moral, &c., is brought by him 
under those category titles, although between these things 
and those titles of the forms of judgment and of thought 
there is absolutely nothing in common except the acci 
dental and arbitrary nomenclature. It is needful to keep 
in mind all the respect which in other regards is due to 
Kant to enable one to refrain from expressing in hard 


terms one s repugnance to this procedure. The nearest 
example is afforded us at once by the pure physiological 
table of the general principles of natural science. What 
in all the world has the quantity of judgments to do with 
the fact that every perception has nn extensive magni 
tude ? What has the quality of judgments to do with 
the fact that every sensation has a degree ? The former 
rests rather on the fact that space is the form of our 
external perception, and the latter is nothing more than 
an empirical, and, moreover, entirely subjective feeling, 
drawn merely from the consideration of the nature of our 
organs of sense. Further, in the table which gives the 
basis of rational psychology (Critique of Pure Eeason, 
p. 344 ; V. 402), the simplicity of the soul is cited under 
quality ; but this is just a quantitative property, and has 
absolutely no relation to the affirmation or negation in 
the judgment. But quantity had to be completed by the 
unity of the soul, which is, however, already included in 
its simplicity. Then modality is forced in in an absurd 
way ; the soul stands in connection with possible objects ; 
but connection belongs to relation, only this is already 
taken possession of by substance. Then the four cosmo- 
logical Ideas, which are the material of the antinomies, 
are referred to the titles of the categories ; but of this we 
shall speak more fully further on, when we come to the 
examination of these antinomies. Several, if possible, still 
more glaring examples are to be found in the table of 
the Categories of Freedom ! in the " Critique of Practical 
Reason ; " also in the first book of the " Critique of 
Judgment," which goes through the judgment of taste 

O O O v O 

according to the four titles of the categories ; and, finally, 
in the " Metaphysical First Principles of Natural Science," 
which are entirely adapted to the table of the categories, 
whereby the false that is mingled here and there with 
what is true and excellent in this important work is for 
the most part introduced. See, for example, at the end of 
the first chapter how the unity, the multiplicity, and the 


totality of the directions of lines are supposed to corre 
spond to the categories, which are so named according to 
the quantity of judgments. 

The principle of the Permanence of Substance is deduced 
from the category of subsistence and inherence. This, 
however, we know only from the form of the categorical 
judgment, i.e., from the connection of two concepts as 
subject and predicate. With what violence then is that 
great metaphysical principle made dependent upon this 
simple, purely logical form ! Yet this is only done pro 
forma, and for the sake of symmetry. The proof of this 
principle, which is given here, sets entirely aside its sup 
posed origin in the understanding and in the category, and 
is based upon the pure intuition or perception of time. 
But this proof also is quite incorrect. It is false that in 
mere time there is simultaneity and duration; these ideas 
only arise from the union of space with time, as I have 
already shown in the essay on the principle of sufficient 
reason, 18, and worked out more fully in 4 of 
the present work. I must assume a knowledge of both 
these expositions for the understanding of what follows. 
It is false that time remains the same through all change ; 
on the contrary, it is just time itself that is fleeting; a 
permanent time is a contradiction. Kant s proof is un 
tenable, strenuously as he has supported it with sophisms; 
indeed, he falls into the most palpable contradictions. 
Thus, after he has falsely set up co-existence as a mode of 
time (p. 177; V. 219), he says, quite rightly (p. 183; V. 226), 
" Co-existence is not a mode of time, for in time there are 
absolutely no parts together, but all in succession." In 
truth, space is quite as much implicated in co-existence as 
time. For if two things are co-existent and yet not one, 
they are different in respect of space ; if two states of one 
thing are co-existent (e.g., the glow and the heat of iron), 
then they are two contemporaneous effects of one thing, 


therefore presuppose matter, and matter presupposes space. 
Strictly speaking, co-existence is a negative determination, 
which merely signifies that two things or states are not 
different in respect of time ; thus their difference is to be 
sought for elsewhere. But in any case, our knowledge of 
the permanence of substance, i.e., of matter, must be based 
upon insight a priori; for it is raised above all doubt, 
and therefore cannot be drawn from experience. I deduce 
it from the fact that the principle of all becoming and 
passing away, the law of causality, of which we are con 
scious a priori, is essentially concerned only with the 
changes, i.e., the successive states of matter, is thus limited 
to the form, and leaves the matter untouched, which 
therefore exists in our consciousness as the foundation of 
all things, which is not subject to becoming or passing 
away, which has therefore always been and will always 
continue to be. A deeper proof of the permanence of 
substance, drawn from the analysis of our perception of 
the empirical world in general, is to be found in the first 
book of this work, 4, where it is shown that the 
nature of matter consists in the absolute union of space and 
time, a union which is only possible by means of the idea of 
causality, consequently only for the understanding, which 
is nothing but the subjective correlative of causality. 
Hence, also, 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 signified 
by the word actuality. Intimate union of space and 
time causality, matter, actuality are thus one, and the 
subjective correlative of this one is the understanding. 
Matter must bear in itself the conflicting properties of 
both factors from which it proceeds, and it is the idea of 
causality which abolishes what is contradictory in both, 
and makes their co-existence conceivable by the under 
standing, through which and for which alone matter is, 
and whose whole faculty consists in the knowledge of 
cause and effect. Thus for the understanding there is 


united in matter the inconstant flux of time, appearing as 
change of the accidents, with the rigid immobility of space, 
which exhibits itself as the permanence of substance. For 
if the substance passed away like the accidents, the pheno 
menon would be torn away from space altogether, and 
would only belong to time ; the world of experience would 
be destroyed by the abolition of matter, annihilation. 
Thus from the share which space has in matter, i.e., in all 
phenomena of the actual in that it is the opposite and 
counterpart of time, and therefore in itself and apart from 
the union with the latter knows absolutely no change the 
principle of the permanence of substance, which recognises 
everything as a priori certain, had to be deduced and ex 
plained ; but not from mere time, to which for this purpose 
and quite erroneously Kant has attributed permanence. 

In the essay on the principle of sufficient reason, 23, 
I have fully explained the incorrectness of the following 
proof of the a priori nature and of the necessity of the 
law of causality from the mere succession of events in time ; 
I must, therefore, content myself here by referring to that 
passage. 1 This is precisely the case with the proof of 
reciprocity also, the concept of which I was obliged to 
explain above as invalid. What is necessary has also 
been said of modality, the working out of the principles of 
which now follows. 

There are still a few points in the further course of the 
transcendental analytic which I should have to refute were 
it not that I am afraid of trying the patience of the reader; 
I therefore leave them to his own reflection. But ever 
anew in the " Critique of Pure Eeason " we meet that prin 
cipal and fundamental error of Kant s, which I have 
copiously denounced above, the complete failure to dis 
tinguish abstract, discursive knowledge from intuitive. It 
is this that throws a constant obscurity over Kant s whole 

_ * With my refutation of the Kan- Zcit, Raum und Kausalitcit, 28 ; and 
tian proof may be compared the ear- by G. E. Schulze, Kritik der thcoret- 
lier attacks upon it by Feder, Ueber ischen Philosophic, Bd. ii. S. 422-442 


theory of the faculty of knowledge, and never allows the 
reader to know what he is really speaking about at any 
time, so that instead of understanding, he always merely 
conjectures, for he alternately tries to understand what is 
said as referring to thought and to perception, and remains 
always in suspense. In the chapter " On the Division of 
all Objects into Phenomena and ISToumena," Kant carries 
that incredible want of reflection as to the nature of the 
idea of perception and the abstract idea, as I shall explain 
more fully immediately, so far as to make the monstrous 
assertion that without thought, that is, without abstract 
conceptions, there is no knowledge of an object ; and that 
perception, because it is not thought, is also not know 
ledge, and, in general, is nothing but a mere affection of 
sensibility, mere sensation ! Nay, more, that perception 
without conception is absolutely void ; but conception 
without perception is yet always something (p. 253; V. 
309). Now this is exactly the opposite of the truth ; for 
concepts obtain all significance, all content, only from 
their relation to ideas of perception, from which they 
have been abstracted, derived, that is, constructed through 
the omission of all that is unessential : therefore if the 
foundation of perception is taken away from them, they 
are empty and void. Perceptions, on the contrary, have 
in themselves immediate and very great significance (in 
them, indeed, the thing in itself objectifies itself); they 
represent themselves, express themselves, have no mere 
borrowed content like concepts. For the principle of suf 
ficient reason governs them only as the law of causality, 
and determines as such only their position in space and 
time ; it does not, however, condition their content and 
their significance, as is the case with concepts, in which it 
appears as the principle of the ground of knowing. For 
the rest, it looks as if Kant really wished here to set about 
distinguishing the idea of perception and the abstract 
idea. He objects to Leibnitz and Locke that the former 
reduced everything to abstract ideas, and the latter every - 



thing to ideas of perception. But yet he arrives at no 
distinction ; and although Locke and Leibnitz really com 
mitted these errors, Kant himself is burdened with a third 
error which includes them both the error of having so 
mixed up knowledge of perception and abstract knowledge 
that a monstrous hybrid of the two resulted, a chimera of 
which no distinct idea is possible, and which therefore 
necessarily only confused and stupefied students, and set 
them at variance. 

Certainly thought and perception are separated more in 
the chapter referred to " On the Division of all Objects 
into Phenomena and Noumena " than anywhere else, but 
the nature of this distinction is here a fundamentally false 
one. On p. 253; V. 309, it is said: "If I take away all 
thought (through the categories) from empirical know 
ledge, there remains absolutely no knowledge of an object, 
for through mere perception nothing at all is thought, and 
that this affection of sensibility is in me establishes really 
no relation of such ideas to any object." This sentence 
contains, in some degree, all the errors of Kant in a nut 
shell ; for it brings out clearly that he has falsely con 
ceived the relation between sensation, perception, and 
thought, and accordingly identifies the perception, whose 
form he yet supposes to be space, and indeed space in all 
its three dimensions, with the mere subjective sensation 
in the organs of sense, but only allows the knowledge of 
an object to be given through thought, which is different 
from perception. I, on the contrary, say : Objects are 
first of all objects of perception, not of thought, and all 
knowledge of objects is originally and in itself perception. 
Perception, however, is by no means mere sensation, but 
the understanding is already active in it. The thought, 
which is added only in the case of men, not in the case of 
the brutes, is mere abstraction from perception, gives no 
fundamentally new knowledge, does not itself establish 
objects which were not before, but merely changes the 
form of the knowledge already won through perception, 


makes it abstract knowledge in concepts, whereby its con 
crete or perceptible character is lost, but, on the other 
hand, combination of it becomes possible, which immeasur 
ably extends the range of its applicability. The material 
of our thought is, on the other hand, nothing else than our 
perceptions themselves, and not something which the per 
ceptions did not contain, and which was added by the 
thought ; therefore the material of everything that appears 
in our thought must be capable of verification in our per 
ception, for otherwise it would be an empty thought. 
Although this material is variously manipulated and 
transformed by thought, it must yet be capable of being 
reduced to perception, and the thought traced back to 
this just as a piece of gold can be reduced from all 
its solutions, oxides, sublimates, and combinations, and 
presented pure and undiminished. This could not happen 
if thought itself had added something, and, indeed, the 
principal thing, to the object. 

The whole of the chapter on the Amphiboly, which fol 
lows this, is merely a criticism of the Leibnitzian philo 
sophy, and as such is on the whole correct, though the 
form or pattern on which it is constructed is chosen merely 
for the sake of architectonic symmetry, which here also is 
the guiding clue. Thus, to carry out the analogy with the 
Aristotelian Organon, a transcendental Topic is set up, 
which consists in this, that every conception is to be con 
sidered from four points of view, in order to make out to 
which faculty of knowledge it belongs. But these four 
points of view are quite arbitrarily selected, and ten others 
might be added to them with just as much right ; but 
their fourfold number corresponds to the titles of the 
categories, and therefore the chief doctrine of Leibnitz is 
divided among them as best it may be. By this critique, 
also, to some extent, certain errors are stamped as natural 
to the reason, whereas they were merely false abstractions 
of Leibnitz s, who, rather than learn from his great philo 
sophical contemporaries, Spinoza and Locke, preferred to 


serve up his own strange inventions. In the chapter on 
the Amphiboly of Eeflection it is finally said that there 
may possibly be a kind of perception entirely different 
from ours, to which, however, our categories are appli 
cable ; therefore the objects of that supposed perception 
would be noumena, things which can only be thought by 
us ; but since the perception which would give that thought 
meaning is wanting to us, and indeed is altogether quite 
problematical, the object of that thought would also merely 
be a wholly indefinite possibility. I have shown above by 
quotations that Kant, in utter contradiction with himself, 
sets up the categories now as the condition of knowledge of 
perception, now as the function of merely abstract thought. 
Here they appear exclusively in the latter sense, and it 
seems quite as if he wished to attribute them merely to 
discursive thought. But if this is really his opinion, then 
necessarily at the beginning of the Transcendental Logic, 
before specifying the different functions of thought at such 
length, he was necessarily bound to characterise thought 
in general, and consequently to distinguish it from per 
ception ; he ought to have shown what knowledge is given 
by mere perception, and what that is new is added by 
thought. Then we would have known what he was really 
speaking about ; or rather, he would then have spoken 
quite differently, first of perception, and then of thought ; 
instead of which, as it is, he is always dealing with some 
thing between the two, which is a mere delusion. There 
would not then be that great gap between the transcen 
dental ^Esthetic and the transcendental Logic, where, after 
the exposition of the mere form of perception, he simply 
dismisses its content, all that is empirically apprehended* 
with the phrase " It is given," and does not ask how it 
came about, ivhether with or without understanding ; but, 
with one spring, passes over to abstract thought ; and not 
even to thought in general, but at once to certain forms of 
thought, and does not say a word about what thought is, 
what the concept is, what is the relation of abstract and 


discursive to concrete and intuitive, what is the difference 
between the knowledge of men and that of brutes, and 
what is reason. 

Yet it was just this distinction between abstract know 
ledge and knowledge of perception, entirely overlooked 
by Kant, which the ancients denoted by fyaivopeva and 
voovpeva, 1 and whose opposition and incommensurability 
occupied them so much in the philosophemes of the 
Eleatics, in Plato s doctrine of Ideas, in the dialectic of 
the Megarics, and later the Scholastics in the controversy 
between Nominalism and Realism, the seed of which, so 
late in developing, was already contained in the opposite 
mental tendencies of Plato and Aristotle. But Kant, who, 
in an inexcusable manner, entirely neglected the thing 
to denote which the words <f)aivofj,eva and voovpeva had 
already been taken, took possession of the words, as if 
they were still unappropriated, in order to denote by 
them his thing in itself and his phenomenon. 

Since I have been obliged to reject Kant s doctrine of 
the categories, just as he rejected that of Aristotle, I wish 
here to indicate as a suggestion a third way of reaching 
what is aimed at. What both Kant and Aristotle sought 
for under the name of the categories were the most 
general conceptions under which all things, however 
different, must be subsumed, and through which therefore 
everything that exists would ultimately be thought. Just 
on this account Kant conceived them as the forms of all 

Grammar is related to logic as clothes to the body. 
Should not, therefore, these primary conceptions, the ground- 
bass of the reason, which is the foundation of all special 
thought, without whose application, therefore, no thought 
can take place, ultimately lie in those conceptions which 

1 See Sext. Empir. Pyrrhon. ky- vois avrtTidti \va.%OLyopa.s(inteUi<jibilia, 
l>otyp., lib. i. c. 13, vooviJ.(.va. ifiaivcfj.:- apparcntibus Ojijiosuit Amixagoras. 


just on account of their exceeding generality (transcen 
dentalism) have their expression not in single words, but 
in whole classes of words, because one of them is thought 
along with every word whatever it may be, whose de 
signation would therefore have to be looked for, not in 
the lexicon but in the grammar ? In fact, should they not 
be those distinctions of conceptions on account of which 
the word which expresses them is either a substantive or 
an adjective, a verb or an adverb, a pronoun, a preposition, 
or some other particle in short, the parts of speech ? For 
undoubtedly these denote the forms which all thought 
primarily assumes, and in which it directly moves; ac 
cordingly they are the essential forms of speech, the 
fundamental constituent elements of every language, so 
that we cannot imagine any language which would not 
consist of at least substantives, adjectives, and verbs. 
These fundamental forms would then have subordinated 
to them those forms of thought which are expressed 
through their inflections, that is, through declension and 
conjugation, and it is unessential to the chief concern 
whether in denoting them we call in the assistance of 
the article and the pronoun. We will examine the thing, 
however, somewhat more closely, and ask the question 
anew : What are the forms of thought ? 

(l.) Thought consists throughout of judging ; judgments 
are the threads of its whole web, for without making use 
of a verb our thought does not move, and as often as we 
use a verb we judge. 

(2.) Every judgment consists in the recognition of the 
relation between subject and predicate, which it separates 
or unites with various restrictions. It unites them from 
the recognition of the actual identity of the two, which 
can only happen in the case of synonyms; then in the 
recognition that the one is always thought along with the 
other, though the converse does not hold in the universal 
affirmative proposition; up to the recognition that the 
one is sometimes thought along with the other, in the 


particular affirmative proposition. The negative propo 
sitions take the opposite course. Accordingly in every 
judgment the subject, the predicate, and the copula, the 
latter affirmative or negative, must be to be found ; even 
although each of these is not denoted by a word of its 
own, as is however generally the case. The predicate 
and the copula are often denoted by one word, as " Caius 
ages ; " sometimes one word denotes all three, as con- 
curritur, i.e., "the armies engage." From this it is evi 
dent that the forms of thought are not to be sought for 
precisely and directly in words, nor even in the parts of 
speech, for even in the same language the same judgment 
may be expressed in different words, and indeed in 
different parts of speech, yet the thought remains the 
same, and consequently also its form ; for the thought 
could not be the same if the form of thought itself were 
different. But with the same thought and the same form 
of thought the form of words may very well be different, 
for it is merely the outward clothing of the thought, 
which, on the other hand, is inseparable from its form. 
Thus grammar only explains the clothing of the forms of 
thought. The parts of speech can therefore be deduced 
from the original forms of thought themselves which are 
independent of all language ; their work is to express 
these forms of thought in all their modifications. They 
are the instrument and the clothing of the forms of 
thought, and must be accurately adapted to the structure 
of the latter, so that it may be recognised in them. 

(3.) These real, unalterable, original forms of thought 
are certainly those of Kant s logical table of judgments ; only 
that in this table are to be found blind windows for the sake 
of symmetry and the table of the categories ; these must 
all be omitted, and also a false arrangement. Thus : 

(a.) Quality : affirmation and negation, i.e., combination 
and separation of concepts : two forms. It depends on 
the copula. 

(6.) Quantity : the subject-concept is taken either in 


whole or in part : totality or multiplicity. To the first 
belong also individual subjects : Socrates means " all 
Socrateses." Thus two forms. It depends on the subject. 

(c.) Modality : has really three forms. It determines 
the quality as necessary, actual, or contingent. It con 
sequently depends also on the copula. 

These three forms of thought spring from the laws 
of thought of contradiction and identity. But from the 
principle of sufficient reason and the law of excluded 
middle springs 

(d.) Edation. It only appears if we judge concerning 
completed judgments, and can only consist in this, that 
it either asserts the dependence of one judgment upon 
another (also in the plurality of both), and therefore 
combines them in the hypothetical proposition ; or else 
asserts that judgments exclude each other, and therefore 
separates them in the disjunctive proposition. It depends 
on the copula, which here separates or combines the 
completed judgments. 

The parts of speech and grammatical forms are ways of 
expressing the three constituent parts of the judgment, 
the subject, the predicate, and the copula, and also of the 
possible relations of these ; thus of the forms of thought 
just enumerated, and the fuller determinations and modi 
fications of these. Substantive, adjective, and verb are 
therefore essential fundamental constituent elements of 
language in general ; therefore they must be found in all 
languages. Yet it is possible to conceive a language in 
which adjective and verb would always be fused together, 
us is sometimes the case in all languages. Provisionally 
it may be said, for the expression of the subject are 
intended the substantive, the article, and the pronoun ; 
for the expression of the predicate, the adjective, the ad 
verb, and the preposition ; for the expression of the copula, 
the verb, which, however, with the exception of the verb 
to be, also contains the predicate. It is the task of the 
philosophy of grammar to teach the precise mechanism of 


the expression of the forms of thought, as it is the task of 
logic to teach the operations with the forms of thought 

Note. As a warning against a false path and to illus 
trate the above, I mention S. Stern s " Vorlaufige Grund- 
laye zur Sprachpliilosopliie" 1835, which is an utterly 
abortive attempt to construct the categories out of the 
grammatical forms. He has entirely confused thought 
with perception, and therefore, instead of the categories of 
thought, he has tried to deduce the supposed categories 
of perception from the grammatical forms, and conse 
quently has placed the grammatical forms in direct rela 
tion to perception. He is involved in the great error that 
language is immediately related to perception, instead of 
being directly related only to thought as such, thus to 
the abstract concepts, and only by means of these to per 
ception, to which they, however, have a relation which 
introduces an entire change of the form. What exists 
in perception, thus also the relations which proceed 
from time and space, certainly becomes an object of 
thought; thus there must also be forms of speech to 
express it, yet always merely in the abstract, as concepts. 
Concepts are always the primary material of thought, and 
the forms of logic are always related to these, never 
directly to perception. Perception always determines only 
the material, never the formal truth of the proposition, 
for the formal truth is determined according to the logical 
rules alone. 

I return to the Kantian philosophy, and come now to 
the Transcendental Dialectic. Kant opens it with the 
explanation of reason, the faculty which is to play the 
principal part in it, for hitherto only sensibility and 
understanding were on the scene. When considering his 
different explanations of reason, I have already spoken 
above of the explanation he gives here that "it is the 


faculty of principles." It is now taught here that all the 
a priori knowledge hitherto considered, which makes pure 
mathematics and pure natural science possible, affords 
only rules, and no principles; because it proceeds from 
perceptions and forms of knowledge, and not from mere 
conceptions, which is demanded if it is to be called a 
principle. Such a principle must accordingly be know 
ledge from pure conceptions and yet synthetical. But this 
is absolutely impossible. From pure conceptions nothing 
but analytical propositions can ever proceed. If concep 
tions are to be synthetically and yet a priori combined, 
this combination must necessarily be accomplished by 
some third thing, through a pure perception of the formal 
possibility of experience, just as synthetic judgments 
a posteriori are brought about through empirical percep 
tion ; consequently a synthetic proposition a priori can 
never proceed from pure conceptions. In general, how 
ever, we are a priori conscious of nothing more than the 
principle of sufficient reason in its different forms, and 
therefore no other synthetic judgments a priori are pos 
sible than those which proceed from that which receives 
its content from that principle. 

However, Kant finally comes forward with a pretended 
principle of the reason answering to his demand, yet only 
with this one, from which others afterwards follow as 
corollaries. It is the principle which Chr. Wolf set up 
and explained in his " Cosmologia" sect. i. c. 2, 93, and 
in his " Ontologia," 178. As now above, under the title 
of the Amphiboly, mere Leibnitzian philosophemes were 
taken for natural and necessary aberrations of the reason, 
and were criticised as such, so here precisely the same 
thing happens with the philosophemes of Wolf. Kant 
still presents this principle of the reason in an obscure 
light, through indistinctness, indefiniteness, and breaking 
of it up (p. 307; V. 361, and 322; V. 379). Clearly ex 
pressed, however, it is 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." We become most vividly 
aware of the apparent truth of this proposition if we 
imagine the conditions and the conditioned as the links 
of a suspended chain, the upper end of which, however, is 
not visible, so that it might extend ad infinitum; since, how 
ever, the chain does not fall, but hangs, there must be above 
one link which is the first, and in some way is fixed. Or, 
more briefly : the reason desires to have a point of attach 
ment for the causal chain which reaches back to infinity ; 
it would be convenient for it. But we will examine the 
proposition, not in figures, but in itself. Synthetic it cer 
tainly is ; for, analytically, nothing more follows from the 
conception of the conditioned than that of the condition. It 
has not, however, a priori truth, nor even a posteriori, but 
it surreptitiously obtains its appearance of truth in a very 
subtle way, which I must now point out. Immediately, 
and a priori, we have the knowledge which the principle 
of sufficient reason in its four forms expresses. From 
this immediate knowledge all abstract expressions of the 
principle of sufficient reason are derived, and they are 
thus indirect ; still more, however, is this the case with 
inferences or corollaries from them. I have already ex 
plained above how abstract knowledge often unites a 
variety of intuitive cognitions in one form or one concept 
in such a way that they can no longer be distinguished ; 
therefore abstract knowledge stands to intuitive knowledge 
as the shadow to the real objects, the great multiplicity of 
which it presents through one outline comprehending them 
all. Now the pretended principle of the reason makes use 
of this shadow. In order to deduce from the principle of 
sufficient reason the unconditioned, which directly contra 
dicts it, it prudently abandons the immediate concrete 
knowledge of the content of the principle of sufficient 
reason in its particular forms, and only makes use of 
abstract concepts which are derived from it, and have 
value and significance only through it, in order to smuggle 


its unconditioned somehow or other into the wide sphere 
of those concepts. Its procedure becomes most distinct 
when clothed in dialectical form ; for example, thus : " If 
the conditioned exists, its condition must also be given, 
and indeed all given, thus completely, thus the totality of its 
conditions ; consequently, if they constitute a series, the 
M hole series, consequently also its first beginning, thus 
the unconditioned." Here it is false that the conditions 
of a conditioned can constitute a series. Bather must the 
totality of the conditions of everything conditioned be 
contained in its nearest ground or reason from which it 
directly proceeds, and which is only thus a sufficient ground 
or reason. For example, the different determinations of the 
state which is the cause, all of which must be present 
together before the effect can take place. But the series, 
for example, the chain of causes, arises merely from the 
fact that we regard what immediately before was the con 
dition as now a conditioned ; but then at once the whole 
operation begins again from the beginning, and the prin 
ciple of sufficient reason appears anew with its claim. 
But there can never be for a conditioned a properly suc 
cessive scries of conditions, which exist merely as such, 
and on account of that which is at last conditioned ; it is 
always an alternating series of conditioneds and condi 
tions ; 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. Thus the principle of sufficient reason 
always demands only the completeness of the immediate 
or next condition, never the completeness of a series. But 
just this conception of the completeness of the condition 
leaves it undetermined whether this completeness should 
be simultaneous or successive ; and since the latter is 
chosen, the demand now arises for a complete series of 
conditions following each other. Only through an arbi 
trary abstraction 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. From closer and more intelligent consideration, 
and by rising from the indefinite generality of abstraction 
to the particular definite reality, it appears, on the con 
trary, that the demand for a sufficient reason extends only 
to the completeness of the determinations of the immediate 
cause, not to the completeness of a series. The demand 
of the principle of sufficient reason is completely extin 
guished in each sufficient reason given. It arises, however, 
immediately anew, because this reason is again regarded 
as a consequent ; but it never demands directly a series of 
reasons. If, on the other hand, instead of going to the 
thing itself, we confine ourselves to the abstract concepts, 
these distinctions vanish. Then a chain of alternating 
causes and effects, or of alternating logical reasons and 
consequents, is given out as simply a chain of causes of 
the last effect, or reasons of the last consequent, and the 
completeness of the conditions, through which alone a reason 
becomes sufficient, appears as the completeness of that as 
sumed series of reasons alone, which only exist on account 
of the last consequent. There then appears the abstract 
principle of the reason very boldly with its demand for 
the unconditioned. But, in order to recognise the in 
validity of this claim, there is no need of a critique of 
reason by means of antinomies and their solution, but 
only of a critique of reason understood in my sense, an 
examination of the relation of abstract knowledge to 
direct intuitive knowledge, by means of ascending from 
the indefinite generality of the former to the fixed de- 
finiteness of the latter. From such a critique, then, it 
here appears that the nature of the reason by no means 
consists in the demand for an unconditioned ; for, when 
ever it proceeds with full deliberation, it must itself find 
that an unconditioned is an absurdity. The reason as a 
faculty of knowledge can always have to do only with 
objects ; but every object for the subject is necessarily 
and irrevocably subordinated to the principle of sufficient 


reason, both a parte ante and a parte post. The validity of 
the principle of sufficient reason is so involved in the 
form of consciousness that we absolutely cannot imagine 
anything objective of which no why could further be de 
manded ; thus we cannot imagine an absolute absolute, 
like a blind wall in front of us. That his convenience 
should lead this or that person to stop at some point, and 
assume such an absolute at pleasure, is of no avail against 
that incontestable certainty a priori, even if he should put 
on an air of great importance in doing so. In fact, the 
whole talk about the absolute, almost the sole theme of 
philosophies since Kant, is nothing but the cosmological 
proof incognito. This proof, in consequence of the case 
brought against it by Kant, deprived of all right and 
declared outlawed, dare no longer show itself in its true 
form, and therefore appears in all kinds of disguises now 
in distinguished form, concealed under intellectual intui 
tion or pure thought ; now as a suspicious vagabond, half 
begging, half demanding what it wants in more unpre 
tending philosophemes. If an absolute must absolutely 
be had, then I will give one which is far better fitted to 
meet all the demands which are made on such a thing 
than these visionary phantoms ; it is matter. It has no 
beginning, and it is imperishable ; thus it is really inde 
pendent, and quod per se est et per se concipitur ; from its 
womb all proceeds, and to it all returns ; what more can 
be desired of an absolute ? But to those with whom no 
critique of reason has succeeded, we should rather say 

" Are not ye like unto women, who ever 
Return to the point from which they set out, 
Though reason should have been talked by the hour 1 " 

That the return to an unconditioned cause, to a first 
beginning, by no means lies in the nature of reason, is, 
moreover, practically proved by the fact that the primi 
tive religions of our race, which even yet have the 
greatest number of followers upon earth, Brahmanism and 


Buddhaism, neither know nor admit such assumptions, 
but carry the series of phenomena conditioning each 
other into infinity. Upon this point, I refer to the note 
appended to the criticism of the first antinomy, which 
occurs further on ; and the reader may also see Upham s 
" Doctrine of Buddhaism" (p. 9), and in general all genuine 
accounts of the religions of Asia. Judaism and reason 
ought not to be identified. 

Kant, who by no means desires to maintain his pre 
tended principle of reason as objectively valid, but merely 
as subjectively necessary, deduces it even as such only by 
means of a shallow sophism, p. 307 ; V. 364. He says 
that because we seek to subsume every truth known to us 
under a more general truth, as far as this process can be 
carried, this is nothing else than the pursuit of the uncon 
ditioned, which we already presuppose. But, in truth, in 
this endeavour we do nothing more than apply reason, and 
intentionally make use of it to simplify our knowledge by 
enabling us to survey it reason, which is that faculty of 
abstract, general knowledge that distinguishes the reflec 
tive, thinking man, endowed with speech, from the brute, 
which is the slave of the present. For the use of reason 
just consists in this, that we know the particular through 
the universal, the case through the rule, the rule through 
the more general rule ; thus that we seek the most general 
points of view. Through such survey or general view 
our knowledge is so facilitated and perfected that from it 
arises the great difference between the life of the brutes 
and that of men, and again between the life of educated 
and that of uneducated men. Now, certainly the series of 
grounds of knowledge, which exist only in the sphere of 
the abstract, thus of reason, always finds an end in what 
is indemonstrable, i.e., in an idea which is not further 
conditioned according to this form of the principle of 
sufficient reason, thus in the a priori or a posteriori 
directly perceptible ground of the first proposition of the 
train of reasoning. I have already shown in the essay on 


the principle of sufficient reason, 50, that here the series 
of grounds of knowledge really passes over into grounds 
of becoming or of being. But one can only desire to make 
this circumstance hold good as a proof of an unconditioned 
according to the law of causality, or even of the mere 
demand for such an unconditioned, if one has not yet dis 
tinguished the forms of the principle of sufficient reason 
at all, but, holding to the abstract expression, has con 
founded them all. Kant, however, seeks to establish that 
confusion, through a mere play upon words, with Univer- 
salitas and Universitas, p. 322 ; V. 379. Thus it is fun 
damentally false that our search for higher grounds of 
knowledge, more general truths, springs from the pre 
supposition of an object unconditioned in its being, or 
has anything whatever in common with this. Moreover, 
how should it be essential to the reason to presuppose 
something which it must know to be an absurdity as soon 
as it reflects ? The source of that conception of the un 
conditioned is rather to be found only in the indolence of 
the individual who wishes by means of it to get rid of all 
further questions, whether his own or of others, though 
entirely without justification. 

Now Kant himself denies objective validity to this 
pretended principle of reason ; he gives it, however, as a 
necessary subjective assumption, and thus introduces an 
irremediable split into our knowledge, which he soon 
allows to appear more clearly. With this purpose he 
unfolds that principle of reason further, p. 322; V, 379, 
in accordance with the method of architectonic symmetry 
of which he is so fond. From the three categories of 
relation spring three kinds of syllogisms, each of which 
gives the clue for the discovery of a special unconditioned, 
of which again there are three : the soul, the world (as an 
object in itself and absolute totality), and God. Now here 
we must at once note a great contradiction, of which 
Kant, however, takes no notice, because it would be very 
dangerous to the symmetry. Two of these unconditioneds 


are themselves conditioned by the third, the soul and the 
world by God, who is the cause of their existence. Thus 
the two former have by no means the predicate of uncon- 
ditionedness in common with the latter, though this is 
really the point here, but only that of inferred being 
according to the principles of experience, beyond the 
sphere of the possibility of experience. 

Setting this aside, we recognise in the three uncon- 
ditioneds, to which, according to Kant, reason, following 
its essential laws, must come, the three principal subjects 
round which the whole of philosophy under the influence 
of Christianity, from the Scholastics down to Christian 
Wolf, has turned. Accessible and familiar as these con 
ceptions have become through all these philosophers, and 
now also through the philosophers of pure reason, this by 
no means shows that, without revelation, they would 
necessarily have proceeded from the development of all 
reason as a production peculiar to its very nature. In 
order to prove this it would be necessary to call in the 
aid of historical criticism, and to examine whether the 
ancient and non-European nations, especially the peoples 
of Hindostan and many of the oldest Greek philosophers, 
really attained to those conceptions, or whether it is only 
we who, by quite falsely translating the Brahma of the 
Hindus and the Tien of the Chinese as "God," good- 
naturedly attribute such conceptions to them, just as the 
Greeks recognised their gods everywhere ; whether it is 
not rather the case that theism proper is only to be found 
in the religion of the Jews, and in the two religions which 
have proceeded from it, whose followers just on this 
account comprise the adherents of all other religions on 
earth under the name of heathen, which, by the way, is 
a most absurd and crude expression, and ought to be 
banished at least from the writings of the learned, because 
it identifies and jumbles together Brahmanists, Buddhists, 
Egyptians, Greeks, Eomans, Germans, Gauls, Iroquois, 
Patagonians, Caribbeans, Otaheiteans, Australians, and 



many others. Such an expression is all very well for 
priests, but in the learned world it must at once be 
shown the door: it can go to England and take up its 
abode at Oxford. It is a thoroughly established fact that 
Buddhism, the religion which numbers more followers 
than any other on earth, contains absolutely no theism, 
indeed rejects it. As regards Plato, it is my opinion that 
he owes to the Jews the theism with which he is 
periodically seized. On this account Numenius (accord 
ing to Clem. Alex., Strom., i. c. 22, Euseb. prcep. cvang., 
xiii. 12, and Suidas under Numenius) called him the 
Moses grcccisans : Ti jap eari HXarwv, rj Ma)ar)$ arriKi^tov ; 
and he accuses him of having stolen (aTroa-vX.fjo-a^) his 
doctrine of God and the creation from the Mosaical 
writings. Clemens often repeats that Plato knew and 
made use of Moses, e.g., Strom., i. 25. v. c. 14, 90, &c., 
&c. ; Pccdarjog., ii. IO, and iii. n; also in the Cohortatio 
ad gentes, c. 6, where, after he has bitterly censured and 
derided the whole of the Greek philosophers in the pre 
ceding chapter because they were not Jews, he bestows 
on Plato nothing but praise, and breaks out into pure 
exultation that as Plato had learnt his geometry from 
the Egyptians, his astronomy from the Babylonians, 
magic from the Thracians, and much also from the 
Assyrians, so he had learnt his theism from the Jews : 
OiSa crov TOU? SiSaavcaAou?, /cav aTTOKpVTrreiv e0e\.f)$, . . . 
o%av TIJV rov deov Trap aviwv co^eXtjaet rcov Efipaiwv (Tuos 
Qiiayistros novi, licet cos celare velis, . . . ilia de Deo sentcntia 
wppeditata tibi est db Hebrcels). A pathetic scene of 
recognition. But I see a remarkable confirmation of the 
matter in what follows. According to Plutarch (in Mario), 
and, better, according to Lactantius (i. 3, 19), Plato 
thanked Nature that he had been born a human being 
and not a brute, a man and not a woman, a Greek and 
not a barbarian. Now in Isaac Euchel s " Prayers of the 
Jews," from the Hebrew, second edition, 1799, p. 7, there 
is a morning prayer in which God is thanked and praised 


that the worshipper was born a Jew and not a heathen, 
a free man and not a slave, a man and not a woman. 
Such an historical investigation would have spared Kant 
an unfortunate necessity in which he now becomes 
involved, in that he makes these three conceptions spring 
necessarily from the nature of reason, and yet explains 
that they are untenable and unverifiable by the reason, 
and thus makes the reason itself a sophisticator ; for he 
says, p. 339; V. 397: "There are sophistications, not of 
man, but of pure reason itself, from which even the wisest 
cannot free himself, and although after much trouble he 
may be able to avoid error, yet he never can escape from 
the illusion which unceasingly torments and mocks him." 
Therefore these Kantian " Ideas of the Reason " might 
be compared to the focus in which the converging re 
flected rays from a concave mirror meet several inches 
before its surface, in consequence of which, by an inevit 
able process of the understanding, an object presents itself 
to us there which is a thing without reality. 

But the name " Idea " is very unfortunately chosen for 
these pretended necessary productions of the pure theo 
retical reason, and violently appropriated from Plato, who 
used it to denote the eternal forms which, multiplied 
through space and time, become partially visible in the 
innumerable individual fleeting things. Plato s " Ideas " 
are accordingly throughout perceptible, as indeed the 
word which he chose so definitely signifies, for it could 
only be adequately translated by means of perceptible or 
visible things; and Kant has appropriated it to denote 
that which lies so far from all possibility of perception 
that even abstract thought can only half attain to it. 
The word " Idea," which Plato first introduced, has, more 
over, since then, through two-and-t\venty centuries, always 
retained the significance in which he used it; for not 
only all ancient philosophers, but also all the Scholastics, 
and indeed the Church Fathers and the theologians of 


the Middle Ages, used it only in that Platonic sense, the 


sense of the Latin word exemplar, as Suarez expressly 
mentions in his twenty-fifth Disputation, sect. i. That 
Englishmen and Frenchmen were later induced by the 
poverty of their languages to misuse this word is bad 
enough, but not of importance. Kant s misuse of the 
word idea, by the substitution of a new significance 
introduced by means of the slender clue of not being 
object of experience, which it has in common with Plato s 
ideas, but also in common with every possible chimera, is 
thus altogether unjustifiable. Now, since the misuse of a 
few years is not to be considered against the authority of 
many centuries, I have always used the word in its old, 
original, Platonic significance. 

The refutation of rational psychology is much fuller 
and more thorough in the first edition of the " Critique of 
Pure Pieason " than in the second and following editions, 
and therefore upon this point we must make use of the 
first edition exclusively. This refutation has as a whole 
very great merit and much truth. Yet I am clearly of 
opinion that it was merely from his love of symmetry 
that Kant deduced as necessary the conception of the 
soul from the paralogism of substantiality by applying 
the demand for the unconditioned to the conception 
substance, which is the first category of relation, and 
accordingly maintained that the conception of a soul 
arose in this way in every speculative reason. If this 
conception really had its origin in the presupposition of a 
final subject of all predicates of a thing, one would have 
assumed a soul not in men alone, but also just as neces 
sarily in every lifeless thing, for such a thing also requires 
a final subject of all its predicates. Speaking generally, 
however. Kant makes use of a quite inadmissible ex 
pression when he talks of something which can exist 
only as subject and not as predicate (e.g., Critique of 
Pure Reason, p. 323; V. 412; Prolegomena, 4 and 


47) ; though a precedent for this is to be found in 
Aristotle s " Metaphysics," iv. ch. 8. Nothing whatever 
exists as subject and predicate, for these expressions 
belong exclusively to logic, and denote the relations of 
abstract conceptions to each other. Now their correlative 
or representative in the world of perception must be 
substance and accident. But then we need not look 
further for that which exists always as substance and 
never as accident, but have it directly in matter. It is 
the substance corresponding to all properties of things 
which are their accidents. It is, in fact, if one wishes to 
retain the expression of Kant which has just been con 
demned, the final subject of all predicates of that empiri 
cally given thing, that which remains after the abstraction 
of all its properties of every kind. And this holds good 
of man as of a brute, a plant, or a stone, and is so evident, 
that in order not to see it a determined desire not to see 
is required. That it is really the prototype of the con 
ception substance, I will show soon. But subject and 
predicate are related to substance and accident rather as 
the principle of sufficient reason in logic to the law of 
causality in nature, and the substitution or identification 
of the former is just as inadmissible as that of the latter. 
Yet in the " Prolegomena," 46, Kant carries this sub 
stitution and identification to its fullest extent in order 
to make the conception of the soul arise from that of the 
final subject of all predicates and from the form of the 
categorical syllogism. In order to discover the sophistical 
nature of this paragraph, one only needs to reflect that 
subject and predicate are purely logical determinations, 
which concern abstract conceptions solely and alone, and 
that according to their relation in the judgment. Sub 
stance and accident, on the other hand, belong to the 
world of perception and its apprehension in the under 
standing, and are even there only as identical with matter 
and form or quality. Of this more shortly. 

The antithesis which has given occasion for the assump- 


tion of two fundamentally different substances, body and 
soul, is in truth that of objective and subjective. If a 
man apprehends himself objectively in external percep 
tion, he finds a being extended in space and in general 
merely corporeal ; but if, on the other hand, he apprehends 
himself in mere self-consciousness, thus purely subjectively, 
he finds himself a merely willing and perceiving being, 
free from all forms of perception, thus also without a 
single one of the properties which belong to bodies. Now 
he forms the conception of the soul, like all the trans 
cendental conceptions called by Kant Ideas, by applying 
the principle of sufficient reason, the form of all objects, 
to that which is not an object, and in this case indeed to 
the subject of knowing and willing. He treats, in fact, 
knowing, thinking, and willing as effects of which he 
seeks the cause, and as he cannot accept the body as their 
cause, he assumes a cause of them entirely different from 
the body. In this manner the first and the last of the 
dogmatists proves the existence of the soul : Plato in the 
" Phsedrus " and also Wolf : from thinking and willing as 
the effects which lead to that cause. Only after in this 
way, by hypostatising a cause corresponding to the effect, 
the conception of an immaterial, simple, indestructible 
being had arisen, the school developed and demonstrated 
this from the conception of substance. But this conception 
itself they had previously constructed specially for this 
purpose by the following artifice, which is worthy of 

With the first class of ideas, i.e., the real world of per 
ception, the idea of matter is also given ; because the law 
governing this class of ideas, the law of causality, deter 
mines the change of the states or conditions, and these 
conditions themselves presuppose something permanent, 
whose changes they are. When speaking above of the 
principle of the permanence of substance, I showed, by 
reference to earlier passages, that this idea of matter 
arises because in the understanding, for which alone it 


exists, time and space are intimately united, and the 
share of space in this product exhibits itself as the per 
manence of matter, while the share of time appears as the 
change of states. Purely in itself, matter can only be 
thought in dbstracto, and not perceived ; for to perception 
it always appears already in form and quality. From 
this conception of matter, substance is again an abstraction, 
consequently a higher genus, and arose in this way. Of 
the conception of matter, only the predicate of permanence 
was allowed to remain, while all its other essential pro 
perties, extension, impenetrability, divisibility, &c., were 
thought away. Like every higher genus, then, 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 realised and receives a proof. 
Thus the aim with which in other cases the reason pro 
duces by abstraction a higher conception, in order that in 
it several subordinate species may be thought at once 
through common determinations, has here no place ; con 
sequently that abstraction is either undertaken idly and 
entirely without aim, or it has a secret secondary purpose. 
This secret purpose is now brought to light ; for under 
the conception substance, along with its true sub-species 
matter, a second species is co-ordinated the immaterial, 
simple, indestructible substance, soul. But the surrep 
titious introduction of this last concept arose from the 
fact that the higher concept substance was framed illogi- 
cally, and in a manner contrary to law. In its legitimate 
procedure the reason always frames the concept of a higher 
genus by placing together the concepts of several species, 
and now comparing them, proceeds discursively, and by 
omitting their differences and retaining the qualities in 
which they agree, obtains the generic concept which 
includes them all but has a smaller content. From this 


it follows that the concepts of the species must always 
precede the concept of the genus. But, in the present 
case, the converse is true. Only the concept matter 
existed before the generic concept substance. The latter 
was without occasion, and consequently without justifica 
tion, as it were aimlessly framed from the former by the 
arbitrary omission of all its determinations except one. 
Not till afterwards was the second ungenuine species 
placed beside the concept matter, and so foisted in. But 
for the framing of this second concept nothing more was 
now required than an express denial of what had already 
been tacitly omitted in the higher generic concept, exten 
sion, impenetrability, arid divisibility. Thus the concept 
substance was framed merely to be the vehicle for the sur 
reptitious introduction of the concept of the immaterial 
substance. Consequently, it is very far from being capable 
of holding good as a category or necessary function of the 
understanding ; rather is it 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 immaterial substance ; and, indeed, it 
was solely for the purpose of containing this that it was 
framed. Accordingly, in strictness, the concept substance 
must be entirely rejected, and the concept matter every 
where put in its place. 

The categories were a procrustean bed for every possible 
thing, but the three kinds of syllogisms are so only for the 
three so-called Ideas. The Idea of the soul was compelled 
to find its origin in the form of the categorical syllogism. 
It is now the turn of the dogmatic ideas concerning the 
universe, so far as it is thought as an object in itself, be 
tween two limits that of the smallest (atom), and that of 
the largest (limits of the universe in time and space). These 
must now proceed from the form of the hypothetical 


syllogism. Nor for this in itself is any special violence 
necessary. For the hypothetical judgment has its form 
from the principle of sufficient reason, and not the cosmo- 
logical alone but all those so-called Ideas really have 
their origin in the inconsiderate and unrestricted applica 
tion of that principle, and the laying aside of it at pleasure. 
For, 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; and thus it is lost sight of that every object, and 
indeed the whole chain of objects and the principle of 
sufficient reason itself, stand in a far closer and greater 
dependence, the dependence upon the knowing subject, 
for whose objects alone, i.e., ideas, that principle is valid, 
for their mere position in space and time is determined 
by it. Thus, since the form of knowledge from which 
here merely the cosmological Ideas are derived, the 
principle of sufficient reason, is the source of all subtle 
hypostases, in this case no sophisms need be resorted 
to ; but so much the more is sophistry required in order 
to classify those Ideas according to the four titles of the 

( i .) The cosmological Ideas with regard to time and space, 
thus of the limits of the world in both, are boldly regarded 
as determined through the category of quantity, with which 
they clearly have nothing in common, except the accidental 
denotation in logic of the extent of the concept of the 
subject in the judgment by the word quantity, a pictorial 
expression instead of which some other might just as well 
have been chosen. But for Kant s love of symmetry this 
is enough. He takes advantage of the fortunate accident 
of this nomenclature, and links to it the transcendent 
dogmas of the world s extension. 

(2.) Yet more boldly does Kant link to quality, i.e., the 
affirmation or negation in a judgment, the transcendent 
Ideas concerning matter; a procedure which has not even 
an accidental similarity of words as a basis. For it is just 


to the quantity, and not to the quality of matter that its 
mechanical (not chemical) divisibility is related. But, 
M hat is more, this whole idea of divisibility by no means 
belongs to those inferences according to the principle of 
sufficient reason, from which, however, as the content of 
the hypothetical form, all cosmological Ideas ought to 
flow. For the assertion upon which Kant there relies, 
that the relation of the parts to the whole is that of the 
condition to the conditioned, thus a relation according to 
the principle of sufficient reason, is certainly an ingenious 
but yet a groundless sophism. That relation is rather based 
upon the principle of contradiction ; for the whole is not 
through the part, nor the parts through the whole, but 
both are necessarily together because they are one, and 
their separation is only an arbitrary act. It depends upon 
this, according to the principle of contradiction, that if the 
parts are thought away, the whole is also thought away, 
and conversely ; and by no means upon the fact that the 
parts as the reason conditioned the whole as the consequent, 
and that therefore, in accordance with the principle of suf 
ficient reason, we were necessarily led to seek the ultimate 
parts, in order, as its reason, to understand from them the 
whole. Such great difficulties are here overcome by the 
love of symmetry. 

(3.) The Idea of the first cause of the world would now 
quite properly come under the title of relation ; but Kant 
must reserve this for the fourth title, that of modality, for 
which otherwise nothing would remain, and under which 
he forces this idea to come by saying that the contingent 
(i.e., according to his explanation, which is diametrically 
opposed to the truth, every consequent of its reason) 
becomes the necessary through the first cause. Therefore, 
for the sake of symmetry, the conception vt freedom appears 
here as the third Idea. By this conception, however, as 
is distinctly stated in the observations on the thesis 
of the third conflict, what is really meant is only that 
Idea of the cause of the world which alone is admissible 


here. The third and fourth conflicts are at bottom tauto 

About all this, however, I find and assert that the whole 
antinomy is a mere delusion, a sham fight. Only the as 
sertions of the antitheses really rest upon the forms of our 
faculty of knowledge, i.e., if we express it objectively, on 
the necessary, a priori certain, most universal laws of 
nature. Their proofs alone are therefore drawn from 
objective grounds. On the other hand, the assertions and 
proofs of the theses have no other than a subjective 
ground, rest solely on the weakness of the reasoning 
individual ; for his imagination becomes tired with an 
endless regression, and therefore he puts an end to it by 
arbitrary assumptions, which he tries to smooth over as 
well as he can ; and his judgment, moreover, is in this 
case paralysed by early and deeply imprinted prejudices. 
On this account the proof of the thesis in all the four 
conflicts is throughout a mere sophism, while that of the 
antithesis is a necessary inference of the reason from the 
laws of the world as idea known to us a priori. It is, 
moreover, only with great pains and skill that Kant is 
able to sustain the thesis, and make it appear to attack 
its opponent, which is endowed with native power. Now 
in this regard his first and constant artifice is, that he 
does not render prominent the nervus argumentationis, and 
thus present it in as isolated, naked, and distinct a manner 
as he possibly can ; but rather introduces the same argu 
ment on both sides, concealed under and mixed up with 
a mass of superfluous and prolix sentences. 

The theses and antitheses which here appear in such 
conflict remind one of the SIKO.IOS and aSiKos \oyos which 
Socrates, in the " Clouds " of Aristophanes, brings forward 
as contending. Yet this resemblance extends only to the 
form and not to the content, though this would gladly be 
asserted by those who ascribe to these most speculative of 
all questions of theoretical philosophy an influence upon 
morality, and therefore seriously regard the thesis as the 


&tfcaio<;, and the antithesis as the aSio? \oyos. I shall 
not, however, accommodate myself here with reference 
to such small, narrow, and perverse minds; and, giving 
honour not to them, but to the truth, I shall show that 
the proofs which Kant adduced of the individual theses 
are sophisms, while those of the antitheses are quite fairly 
and correctly drawn from objective grounds. I assume 
that in this examination the reader has always before him 
the Kantian antinomy itself. 

If the proof of the thesis in the first conflict is to be 
held as valid, then it proves too much, for it would be 
just as applicable to time itself as to change in time, and 
would therefore prove that time itself must have had a 
beginning, which is absurd. Besides, the sophism consists 
in this, that instead of the beginninglessness of the series 
of states, which was at first the question, suddenly the 
endlessness (infinity) of the series is substituted ; and now 
it is proved that this is logically contradicted by com 
pleteness, and yet every present is the end of the past, 
which no one doubted. The end of a beginningless series 
can, however, always be tJwught, without prejudice to the 
fact that it has no beginning ; just as, conversely, the be 
ginning of an endless series can also be thought. But 
against the real, true argument of the antithesis, that the 
changes of the world necessarily presuppose an infinite 
series of changes backwards, absolutely nothing is ad 
vanced. We can think the possibility that the causal 
chain will some day end in an absolute standstill, but 
we can by no means think the possibility of an absolute 
beginning. 1 

1 That the assumption of a limit this fleeting and baseless web of 

of the world in time is certainly not Maya, for they at once bring out 

a necessary thought of the reason very ingeniously the relativity of all 

may be also proved historically, for periods of time in the following my- 

the Hindus teach nothing of the thus (Polier, Mythologie des Jndous, 

kind, even in the religion of the vol. ii. p. 585). The four ages, in 

people, much less in the Vedas, but the last of which we live, embrace 

try to express mythologically by together 4,320,000 years. Each day 

means of a monstrous chronology the of the creating Brahma has looo 

infinity of this phenomenal world, such periods of four ages, and his 


With reference to the spatial limits of the world, it is 
proved that, if it is to he regarded as a given whole, it must 
necessarily have limits. The reasoning is correct, only 
it was just the first link of it that was to be proved, and 
that remains unproved. Totality presupposes limits, and 
limits presuppose totality ; but here both together are 
arbitrarily presupposed. For this second point, however, 
the antithesis affords no such satisfactory proof as for the 
first, because the law of causality provides us with neces 
sary determinations only with reference to time, not to 
space, and 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, but not 
that an occupied space can have no empty space beside 
it. So far no a priori decision on the latter point would 
be possible ; yet the difficulty of conceiving the world in 
space as limited lies in the fact that space itself is neces 
sarily infinite, and therefore a limited finite world in space, 
however large it may be, becomes an infinitely small 
magnitude ; and in this incongruity the imagination finds 
an insuperable stumbling-block, because there remains 
for it only the choice of thinking the world either as 
infinitely large or infinitely small. This was already seen 
by the ancient philosophers : MyrpoScopos, 6 
Ejrucovpov, (f>r]<7iv aroTrov etvai ev fj^e^aXw TreSib) e 
<yevvr]dr]vai, /cat eva Kocrpov ev ry aTreipat (MetrodoTUS, caput 
scliolcc Epicuri, absurdum ait, in magno campo spicam unam 
produci, et unum in infinite munduni) Stob. Eel., i. c. 23. 
Therefore many of them taught (as immediately follows), 
aTret/aoi"? Kocrpovs ev rw aTreipw (infinites mundos in inftnito). 
This is also the sense of the Kantian argument for the 

nights have also 1000. His year Polier s work, vol. ii. p. 594, from 

has 365 days and as many nights, the Puranas. In it a Kajah, after a 

He lives 100 of his years, always visit of a few seconds to Vishnu in 

creating ; and if he dies, at once a his heaven, finds on his return to 

new Brahma is born, and so on from earth that several millions of years 

eternity to eternity. The same re- have elapsed, and a new age has 

lativity of time is also expressed in begun ; for every day of Vishnu is 

the special myth which is quoted in 100 recurrences of the four ages. 


antithesis, only he has disfigured it by a scholastic and 
ambiguous expression. The same argument might be 
used against the limitation of the world in time, only we 
have a far better one under the guidance of causality. In 
the case of the assumption of a world limited in space, 
there arises further the unanswerable question, What 
advantage has the filled part of space enjoyed over the 
infinite space that has remained empty ? In the fifth 
dialogue of his book, "Del Infinite, Univcrso e Mondi," 
Giordano Bruno gives a full account of the arguments for 
and against the finiteness of the world, which is very 
well worth reading. For the rest, Kant himself asserts 
seriously, and upon objective grounds, the infinity of the 
world in space in his " Natural History of the Theory of 
the Heavens," part ii. ch. 7. Aristotle also acknow 
ledges the same, " Phys.," iii. ch. 4, a chapter which, 
together with the following one, is very well worth reading 
with reference to this antinomy. 

In the second conflict the thesis is at once guilty of a 
very palpable petitio principii, for it commences, " Every 
compound substance consists of simple parts." From the 
compoundness here arbitrarily assumed, no doubt it after 
wards very easily proves the simple parts. But the pro 
position, "All matter is compound," which is just the 
point, remains unproved, because it is simply a groundless 
assumption. The opposite of simple is not compound, 
but extended, that which has parts and is divisible. Here, 
however, it is really tacitly assumed that the parts existed 
before the whole, and were brought together, whence the 
whole has arisen : for this is the meanin^ of the word 


" compound." Yet this can just as little be asserted as 
the opposite. Divisibility means merely the possibility 
of separating the whole into parts, and not that the whole 
is compounded out of parts and thus came into being. 
Divisibility merely asserts the parts a parte post; com 
poundness asserts them a parte ante. For there is essen 
tially no temporal relation between the parts and the 


whole ; they rather condition each other reciprocally, and 
thus always exist at the same time, for only so far as both 
are there is there anything extended in space. Therefore 
what Kant says in the observations on the thesis, " Space 
ought not to be called a compositum, but a totum" &c., 
holds good absolutely of matter also, which is simply 
space become perceptible. On the other hand, the infinite 
divisibility of matter, which the antithesis asserts, follows 
a priori and incontrovertibly from that of space, which it 
fills. This proposition has absolutely nothing against it ; 
and therefore Kant also (p. 513 ; V. 541), when he speaks 
seriously and in his own person, no longer as the mouth 
piece of the aSt/co? ^0709, presents it as objective truth ; 
and also in the " Metaphysical First Principles of Natural 
.Science" (p. 108, first edition), the proposition, "Matter is 
infinitely divisible," is placed at the beginning of the proof 
of the first proposition of mechanics as established truth, 
having appeared and been proved as the fourth proposition 
in the Dynamics. But here Kant spoils the proof of the 
antithesis by the greatest obscurity of style and useless 
accumulation of words, with the cunning intention that 
the evidence of the antithesis shall not throw the sophisms 
of the thesis too much into the shade. Atoms are no 
necessary thought of the reason, but merely an hypothesis 
for the explanation of the difference of the specific gravity 
of bodies. But Kant himself has shown, in the dynamics 
of his " Metaphysical First Principles of Natural Science," 
that this can be otherwise, and indeed better and more 
simply explained than by atomism. In this, however, he 
was anticipated by Priestley, " On Matter and Spirit," 
sect. i. Indeed, even in Aristotle, " Phys." iv. 9, the 
fundamental thought of this is to be found. 

The argument for the third thesis is a very fine 
sophism, and is really Kant s pretended principle of pure 
reason itself entirely unadulterated and unchanged. It 
tries to prove the finiteness of the series of causes by 
saying that, in order to be sufficient, a cause must contain 


the complete sum of the conditions from which the suc 
ceeding state, the effect, proceeds. For the completeness 
of the determinations present together in the state which is 
the cause, the argument now substitutes the completeness 
of the series of causes by which that state itself was brought 
to actuality; and because completeness presupposes the 
condition of being rounded off or closed in, and this again 
presupposes finiteness, the argument infers from this a 
first cause, closing the series and therefore unconditioned. 
But the juggling is obvious. In order to conceive the 
state A. as the sufficient cause of the state B., I assume 
that it contains the sum of the necessary determinations 
from the co-existence of which the estate B. inevitably 
follows. Now by this my demand upon it as a sufficient 
cause is entirely satisfied, and has no direct connection 
with the question how the state A. itself came to be ; 
this rather belongs to an entirely different consideration, 
in which I regard the said state A. no more as cause, but 
as itself an effect ; in which case another state again 
must be related to it, just as it was related to B. The 
assumption of the finiteness of the series of causes and 
effects, and accordingly of a first beginning, appears 
nowhere in this as necessary, any more than the present- 
ness of the present moment requires us to assume a 
beginning of time itself. It only comes to be added on 
account of the laziness of the speculating individual. 
That this assumption lies in the acceptance of a cause as 
a sufficient reason is thus unfairly arrived at and false, as 
I have shown at length above when considering the 
Kantian principle of pure reason which coincides with 
this thesis. In illustration of the assertion of this false 
thesis, Kant is bold enough in his observations upon it to 
give as an example of an unconditioned be^innino- his 

o j. o o 

rising from his chair ; as if it were not just as impossible 
for him to rise without a motive as for a ball to roll 
without a cause. I certainly do not need to prove the 
baselessness of the appeal which, induced by a sense of 


weakness, he makes to the philosophers of antiquity, by 
quoting from Ocellus Lucanus, the Eleatics, &c., not to 
speak of the Hindus. Against the proof of this anti 
thesis, as in the case of the previous ones, there is nothing 
to advance. 

The fourth conflict is, as I have already remarked, 
really tautological with the third ; and the proof of the 
thesis is also essentially the same as that of the preceding 
one. His assertion that every conditioned presupposes 
a complete series of conditions, and therefore a series 
which ends with an unconditioned, is a petitio principii, 
which must simply be denied. Everything conditioned 
presupposes nothing but its condition ; that this is again 
conditioned raises a new consideration which is not 
directly contained in the first. 

A certain appearance of probability cannot be denied 
to the antinomy ; yet it is remarkable that no part of 
the Kantian philosophy has met so little contradiction, 
indeed has found so much acceptance, as this exceed 
ingly paradoxical doctrine. Almost all philosophical 
parties and text-books have regarded it as valid, and 
have also repeatedly reconstructed it; while nearly all 
Kant s other doctrines have been contested, and indeed 
there have never been wanting some perverse minds 
which rejected even the transcendental aesthetic. The 
undivided assent which the antinomy, on the other hand, 
has met with may ultimately arise from the fact that 
certain persons regard with inward satisfaction the point 
at which the understanding is so thoroughly brought to 
a standstill, having hit upon something which at once is 
and is not, so that they actually have before them here the 
sixth trick of Philadelphia in Lichtenberg s broadsheet. 

If we examine the real meaning of Kant s Critical Solu 
tion of the cosmological problem which now follows, we 
find that it is not what he gives it out to be, the solution 
of the problem by the disclosure that both sides, starting 
from false assumptions, are wrong in the first and second 



conflicts, and that in the third and fourth both, are right. 
It is really the confirmation of the antitheses by the ex 
planation of their assertions. 

First Kant asserts, in this solution, obviously wrongly, 
that both sides started from the assumption, as their first 
principle, that with the conditioned the completed (thus 
rounded off) series of its conditions is given. Only the 
thesis laid down this proposition, Kant s principle of pure 
reason, as the ground of its assertions ; the antithesis, on 
the other hand, expressly denied it throughout, and asserted 
the contrary. Further, Kant charges both sides with this 
assumption, that the world exists in itself, i.e., indepen 
dently of being known and of the forms of this knowledge, 
but this assumption also is only made by the thesis ; in 
deed, it is so far from forming the ground of the assertions 
of the antithesis that it is absolutely inconsistent with 
them. For that it should all be given is absolutely con 
tradictory of the conception of an infinite series. It is 
therefore essential to it that it should always exist only 
with reference to the process of going through it, and not 
independently of this. On the other hand, in the assump 
tion of definite limits also lies that of a whole which 
exists absolutely and independently of the process of 
completely measuring it. Thus it is only the thesis that 
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. The 
antithesis from the outset combats this assumption abso 
lutely ; for the infinity of the series which it asserts merely 
under the guidance of the principle of sufficient reason 
can only exist if the regressus is fully carried out, but 
not independently of it. As the object in general pre 
supposes the subject, so also the object which is determined 
as an endless chain of conditions necessarily presupposes 
in the subject the kind of knowledge corresponding to 
this, that is, the constant folloiving of the links of that 
chain. But this is just what Kant gives as the solution 


of the problem, and so often repeats : " The infinity of the 
world is only through the regressus, not "before it." This 
his solution of the conflict is thus really only the decision 
in favour of the antithesis in the assertion of which this 
truth already lies, while it is altogether inconsistent with 
the assertions of the thesis. If the antithesis had asserted 
that the world consisted of infinite series of reasons and 
consequents, and yet existed independently of the idea 
and its regressive series, thus in itself, and therefore con 
stituted a given whole, it would have contradicted not 
only the thesis but also itself. For an infinite can never 
be given as a whole, nor an endless series exist, except as 
an endless progress ; nor can what is boundless constitute 
.a whole. Thus this assumption, of which Kant asserts 
that it led both sides into error, belongs only to the thesis. 

It is already a doctrine of Aristotle s that an infinity 
can never be actu, i.e., actual and given, but only potentid. 
OVK ecmi> evepyeta etvai ro aireipov , . . a\X abvvaTov TO 
evTe\^eta ov cnreipov (infinitum non potest esse actu: . . . 
sed impossibile, actu esse infinitum), Metaph. K. i o. Further : 
KCUT evepyeiav pev yap ovbev ecrriv cnreipov, SvvctfMei Se eiri, 
TTJV Siaipeaiv (nihil cnim actu infinitum est, sed potentia 
tantum, nempe divisione ipsa). De generat, et corrupt., 
i., 3. He develops this fully in the "Physics," iii. 5 and 
6, where to a certain extent he gives the perfectly correct 
solution of the whole of the antinomies. He expounds 
the antinomies in his short way, and then says, " A medi 
ator (SiaiTijTov) is required;" upon which he gives the 
solution that the infinite, both of the world in space and 
in time and in division, is never before the regressus, or 
progressus, but in it. Tiiis truth lies then in the rightly 
apprehended conception of the infinite. Thus one mis 
understands himself if he imagines that he can think the 
infinite, of whatever kind it may be, as something objec 
tively present and complete, and independent of the re 

Indeed 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. Thus : if the world is not an unconditioned 
whole and does not exist absolutely but only in the idea, 
and if its series of reasons and consequents do not exist 
before the regressus of the ideas of them but only through 
this regressus, then the world cannot contain determined 
and finite series, because their determination and limita 
tion would necessarily be independent of the idea, which 
would then only come afterwards ; but all its series must 
be infinite, i.e., inexhaustible by any idea. 

On p. 506; V. 534, Kant tries to prove from the 
falseness of both sides the transcendental ideality of 
the phenomenon, and begins, " If the world is a whole 
existing by itself, it is either finite or infinite." But this 
is false ; a whole existing of itself cannot possibly be 
infinite. That ideality may rather be concluded from 
the infinity of the series in the world in the following 
manner : If the series of reasons and consequents in 
the world are absolutely without end, the world cannot 
be a given whole independent of the idea ; for such a 
world always presupposes definite limits, just as on the 
contrary infinite series presuppose an infinite regressus. 
Therefore, the presupposed infinity of the series must be 
determined through the form of reason and consequent, 
and this again through the form of knowledge of the 
subject ; thus the world as it is known must exist only 
in the idea of the subject. 

Now whether Kant himself was aware or not that his 
critical solution of the problem is really a decision in 
favour of the antithesis, I am unable to decide. For it 
depends upon whether what Schelling has somewhere 
very happily called Kant s system of accommodation 
extended so far; or whether Kant s mind was here- 
already involved in an unconscious accommodation to 
the influence of his time and surroundings. 


The solution of the third antinomy, the subject of 
which was the Idea of freedom, deserves a special con 
sideration, because it is for us very well worth notice that 
it is just here in connection with the Idea of freedom 
that Kant is obliged to speak more fully of the thing in 
itself, which was hitherto only seen in the background. 
This is very explicable to us since we have recognised 
the thing in itself as the will. Speaking generally, this 
is the point at which the Kantian philosophy leads to 
mine, or at which mine springs out of his as its parent 
stem. One will be convinced of this if one reads with 
attention pp. 536 and 537; V. 564 and 565, of the 
" Critique of Pure Reason," and, further, compares these 
passages with the introduction to the " Critique of Judg 
ment," pp. xviii. and xix. of the third edition, or p. 13 of 
liosenkranz s edition, where indeed it is said : " The 
conception of freedom can in its object (that is then the 
will) present to the mind a thing in itself, but not in 
perception ; the conception of nature, on the other hand, 
can present its object to the mind in perception, but not 
as a thing in itself." But specially let any one read con 
cerning the solution of the antinomies the fifty-third 
paragraph of the Prolegomena, and then honestly answer 
the question whether all that is said there does not sound 
like a riddle to which my doctrine is the answer. Kant 
never completed his thought ; I have merely carried out 
his work. Accordingly, what Kant says only of the 
human phenomenon I have extended to all phenomena 
in general, as differing from the human phenomenon only 
in degree, that their true being is something absolutely 
free, i.e., a will. It appears from my work how fruitful 
this insight is in connection with Kant s doctrine of the 
ideality of space, time, and causality. 

Kant has nowhere made the thing in itself the subject 
of a special exposition or distinct deduction ; but, when 
ever he wants it, he introduces it at once by means of the 
conclusion 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 expe 
rience. He does this after having assiduously insisted 
that the categories, and thus causality also, had a use 
which was absolutely confined to possible experience ; 
that they were merely forms of the understanding, which, 
served to spell out the phenomena of the world of sense, 
beyond which, on the other hand, they had no signifi 
cance, &c., &c. Therefore, he denies in the most uncom 
promising manner their application to things beyond 
experience, and rightly explains and at once rejects all 
earlier dogmatism as based upon the neglect of this law. 
The incredible inconsistency which Kant here fell into 
was soon noticed, and used by his first opponents to 
make attacks on his philosophy to which it could offer no 
resistance. For certainly we apply the law of causality 
entirely a priori and before all experience to the changes 
felt in our organs of sense. But, on this very account, 
this law is just as much of subjective origin as these 
sensations themselves, and thus does not lead to a thing 
in itself. The truth is, that 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 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. But Kant s inference to the thing in itself, 
contrary as it is to his own teaching, obtains some excuse 
from the following circumstance. 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 the appearance of the object is conditioned 
by the forms of knowledge of the subject, which, there 
fore, also 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 phenomenon only in its passage through these 
forms which are given a priori. From this point of view 
it is to some extent explicable how it could escape him 
that objectivity in general belongs to the form of the 
phenomenon, and is just as much conditioned by subjec 
tivity 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 neces 
sarily lie in a sphere toto genere different from the idea 
(from knowing and being known), and therefore could 
least of all be arrived at through the laws of the com 
bination of objects among themselves. 

With the proof of the thing in itself it has happened to 
Kant precisely as with that of the a priori nature of the 
law of causality. Both doctrines are true, but their proof 
is false. They thus belong to the class of true conclu 
sions from false premises. I have retained them both, 
but have proved them in an entirely different way, and 
with certainty. 

The thing in itself I have neither introduced surrepti 
tiously nor inferred according to laws which exclude it, 
because they really belong to its phenomenal appearance ; 
nor, in general, have I arrived at it by roundabout ways. 
On the contrary, I have shown it directly, there where it 
lies immediately, in the will, which reveals itself to every 
one directly as the in-itself of his own phenomenal being. 

And it is also this immediate knowledge of his own 
will out of which in human consciousness the concep 
tion of freedom springs ; for certainly the will, as world- 
creating, as thing in itself, is free from the principle of 
sufficient reason, and therewith from all necessity, thus is 
completely independent, free, and indeed almighty. Yet, 
in truth, this only holds good of the will in itself, not of 
its manifestations, the individuals, who, just through the 


will itself, are unalterably determined as its manifestations 
in time. But in the ordinary consciousness, unenlightened 
by philosophy, the will is at once confused with its mani 
festation, and what belongs only to the former is attributed 
to the latter, whence arises the illusion of the uncondi 
tioned freedom of the individual. Therefore Spinoza says 
rightly that if the projected stone had consciousness, it 
would believe that it flew of its own free will. For cer 
tainly the in-itself of the stone also is the will, which alone 
is free ; but, as in all its manifestations, here also, where it 
appears as a stone, it is already fully determined. But of 
all this enough has already been said in the text of this 

Kant fails to understand and overlooks this immediate 
origin of the conception of freedom in every human con 
sciousness, and therefore he now places (p. 533 ; V. 561) 
the source of that conception in a very subtle speculation, 
through which the unconditioned, to which the reason must 
always tend, leads us to hypostatise the conception of free 
dom, and it is only upon this transcendent Idea of freedom 
that the practical conception of it is supposed to be founded. 
In the " Critique of Practical Eeason," 6, and p. 158 of 
the fourth and 235 of Rosenkranz s edition, he yet deduces 
this last conception differently by saying that the cate 
gorical imperative presupposes it. The speculative Idea 
is accordingly only the primary source of the conception 
of freedom for the sake of this presupposition, but here 
it obtains both significance and application. Neither, 
however, is the case. For the delusion of a perfect 
freedom of the individual in his particular actions is most 
lively in the conviction of the least cultivated man who 
has never reflected, and it is thus founded on no specula 
tion, although often assumed by speculation from without. 
Thus only philosophers, and indeed only the most profound 
of them, are free from it, and also the most thoughtful and 
enlightened of the writers of the Church. 

It follows, then, from all that has been said, that the 


true source of the conception of freedom is in no way 
essentially an inference, either from the speculative Idea 
of an unconditioned cause, nor from the fact that it is 
presupposed by the categorical imperative. But it springs 
directly from the consciousness in which each one recog 
nises himself at once as the will, i.e., as that which, as the 
thing in itself, has not the principle of sufficient reason 
for its form, and which itself depends upon nothing, but 
on which everything else rather depends. Every one, how 
ever, does not recognise himself at once with the critical 
and reflective insight of philosophy as a determined mani 
festation of this will which has already entered time, as we 
might say, an act of will distinguished from that will to 
live itself ; and, therefore, instead of recognising his whole 
existence as an act of his freedom, he rather seeks for 
freedom in his individual actions. Upon this point I 
refer the reader to my prize-essay on the freedom of the 

Now if Kant, as he here pretends, and also apparently 
did in earlier cases, had merely inferred the thing in itself, 
and that with the great inconsistency of an inference 
absolutely forbidden by himself, what a remarkable acci 
dent would it then be that here, where for the first time 
he approaches the thing in itself more closely and explains 
it, he should recognise in it at once the will, the free will 
showing itself in the world only in temporal manifesta 
tions ! I therefore really assume, though it cannot be 
proved, that whenever Kant spoke of the thing in itself, 
in the obscure depths of his mind he already always in 
distinctly thought of the will. This receives support from 
a passage in the preface to the second edition of the 
" Critique of Pure Ixeason," pp. xxvii. and xxviii., in liosen- 
kranz s edition, p. 677 of the Supplement. 

For the rest, it is just this predetermined solution of the 
sham third conflict that affords Kant the opportunity of 
expressing very beautifully the deepest thoughts of his 
whole philosophy. This is the case in the whole of the 


" Sixth Section of the Antinomy of Pure Eeason ; " but, 
above all, in the exposition of the opposition between the 
empirical and the intelligible character, p. 534-550; V. 
562-578, which I number among the most admirable 
things that have ever been said by man. (As a supple 
mental explanation of this passage, compare a parallel 
passage in the Critique of Practical Eeasou, p. 169-179 
of the fourth edition, or p. 224-231 of Eosenkranz s edi 
tion.) It is yet all the more to be regretted that this is 
here not in its right place, partly because it is not found 
in the way which the exposition states, and therefore 
could be otherwise deduced than it is, partly because it 
does not fulfil the end for which it is there the solution 
of the sham antinomy. The intelligible character, the 
thing in itself, is inferred from the phenomenon by the 
inconsistent use of the category of causality beyond the 
sphere of all phenomena, which has already been suffi 
ciently condemned. In this case the will of man (which 
Kant entitles reason, most improperly, and with an un 
pardonable breach of all use of language) is set up as the 
thing in itself, with an appeal to an unconditioned ought, 
the categorical imperative, which is postulated without 
more ado. 

Now, instead of all this, the plain open procedure would 
have been to start directly from the will, and prove it to 
be the in-itself of our own phenomenal being, recognised 
without any mediation ; and then to give that exposition of 
the empirical and the intelligible character to explain how 
all actions, although necessitated by motives, yet, both by 
their author and by the disinterested judge, are necessarily 
and absolutely ascribed to the former himself and alone, as 
depending solely upon him, to whom therefore guilt and 
merit are attributed in respect of them. This alone was 
the straight path to the knowledge of that which is not 
phenomenon, and therefore will not be found by the help 
of the laws of the phenomenon, but is that which reveals 
itself through the phenomenon, becomes knowable, objec- 


tifies itself the will to live. It would then have had to 
be exhibited merely by analogy as the inner nature of 
every phenomenon. Then, however, it certainly could not 
have been said that in lifeless or even animal nature no 
faculty can be thought except as sensuously conditioned 
(p. 546; V. 574), which in Kant s language is simply 
saying that the explanation, according to the law of 
causality, exhausts the inner nature of these phenomena, 
and thus in their case, very inconsistently, the thing in 
itself disappears. Through the false position and the 
roundabout deduction according with it which the exposi 
tion of the thing in itself has received from Kant, the 
whole conception of it has also become falsified. For the 
will or the thing in itself, found through the investigation 
of an unconditioned cause, appears here related to the 
phenomenon as cause to effect. But this relation exists 
only within the phenomenal world, therefore presupposes 
it, and cannot connect the phenomenal world itself with 
what lies outside it, and is toto gencre different from it. 

Further, the intended end, the solution of the third 
antinomy by the decision that both sides, each in a diffe 
rent sense, are right, is not reached at all. For neither the 
thesis nor the antithesis have anything to do with the 
thing in itself, but entirely with the phenomenon, the 
objective world, the world as idea. This it is, and abso 
lutely nothing else, of which the thesis tries to show, by 
means of the sophistry we have laid bare, that it contains 
unconditioned causes, and it is also this of which the 
antithesis rightly denies that it contains such causes. 
Therefore the whole exposition of the transcendental free 
dom of the will, so far as it is a thing in itself, which is 
given here in justification of the thesis, excellent as it is 
in itself, is yet here entirely a ^era/Sacri? eta a\\o <yevo$. 
For the transcendental freedom of the will which is ex 
pounded is by no means the unconditioned causality of a 
cause, which the thesis asserts, because it is of the essence 
of a cause that it must be a phenomenon, and not some- 


thing which lies beyond all phenomena and is toto genere 

If what is spoken of is cause and effect, the relation 
of the will to the manifestation (or of the intelligible 
character to the empirical) must never be introduced, as 
happens here : for it is entirely different from causal re 
lation. However, here also, in this solution of the anti 
nomy, it is said with truth that the empirical character of 
man, like that of every other cause in nature, is unalterably 
determined, and therefore that his actions necessarily take 
place in accordance with the external influences; therefore 
also, in spite of all transcendental freedom (i.e., indepen 
dence of the will in itself of the laws of the connection of 
its manifestation), no man has the power of himself to 
begin a series of actions, which, however, was asserted by 
the thesis. Thus also freedom has no causality ; for only 
the will is free, and it lies outside nature or the pheno 
menon, which is just its objectification, but does not stand 
in a causal relation to it, for this relation is only found 
within the sphere of the phenomenon, thus presupposes 
it, and cannot embrace the phenomenon itself and connect 
it with what is expressly not a phenomenon. The world 
itself can only be explained through the will (for it is the 
will itself, so far as it manifests itself), and not through 
causality. But in the world, causality is the sole principle 
of explanation, and everything happens simply according 
to the laws of nature. Thus the right lies entirely on the 
side of the antithesis, which sticks to the question in 
hand, and uses that 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 some 
thing quite different from the question at issue, and then 
assumes a principle of explanation which is inapplicable 
to it. 

The fourth conflict is, as has already been said, in its 
real meaning tautological with the third. In its solution 


Kant develops still more the untenable nature of the thesis ; 
while for its truth, on the other hand, and its pretended 
consistency with the antithesis, he advances no reason, as 
conversely he is able to bring no reason against the anti 
thesis. The assumption of the thesis he introduces quite 
apologetically, and yet calls it himself (p. 562 ; V. 590) 
an arbitrary presupposition, the object of which might 
well in itself be impossible, and shows merely an utterly 
impotent endeavour to find a corner for it somewhere 
where it will be safe from the prevailing might of the 
antithesis, only to avoid disclosing the emptiness of the 
whole of his once-loved assertion of the necessary anti 
nomy in human reason. 

Now follows the chapter on the transcendental ideal, 
which carries us back at once to the rigid Scholasticism 
of the Middle Ages. One imagines one is listening to 
Anselm of Canterbury himself. The ens realissimum, the 
essence of all realities, the content of all affirmative pro 
positions, appears, and indeed claims to be a necessary 
thought of the reason. I for rny part must confess that 
to my reason such a thought is impossible, and that I am 
not able to think anything definite in connection with the 
words which denote it. 

Moreover, I do not doubt that Kant was compelled to 
write this extraordinary chapter, so unworthy of him, 
simply by his fondness for architectonic symmetry. The 
three principal objects of the Scholastic philosophy (which, 
as we have said, if understood in the wider sense, may be 
regarded as continuing down to Kant), the soul, the world, 
and God, are supposed to be deduced from the three pos 
sible major propositions of syllogisms, though it is plain 
that they have arisen, and can arise, simply and solely 
through the unconditioned application of the principle of 
sufficient reason. Kow, after the soul had been forced 
into the categorical judgment, and the hypothetical was 


set apart for the world, there remained for the third 
Idea nothing but the disjunctive major. Fortunately 
there existed a previous work in this direction, the ens 
rcalissimum of the Scholastics, together with the onto- 
logical proof of the existence of God set up in a rudi 
mentary form by Anselm of Canterbury and then per 
fected by Descartes. This was joyfully made use of by 
Kant, with some reminiscence also of an earlier Latin 
work of his youth. However, the sacrifice which Kant 
makes to his love of architectonic symmetry in this 
chapter is exceedingly great. In defiance of all truth, 
what one must regard as the grotesque idea of an essence 
of all possible realities is made an essential and necessary 
thought of the reason. For the deduction of this Kant 
makes use of the false assertion that our knowledge of 
particular things arises from a progressive limitation of 
general conceptions ; thus also of a most general concep 
tion of all which contains all reality in itself. In this he 
stands just as much in contradiction with his own teach 
ing as with the truth, for exactly the converse is the case. 
Our knowledge starts with the particular and is extended 
to the general, and all general conceptions arise by abstrac 
tion from real, particular things known by perception, and 
this can be carried on to the most general of all concep 
tions, which includes everything under it, but almost 
nothing in it. Thus Kant has here placed the procedure 
of our faculty of knowledge just upside down, and thus 
might well be accused of having given occasion to a philo 
sophical charletanism that has become famous in our 
day, which, instead of recognising that conceptions are 
thoughts abstracted from things, makes, on the contrary 
the conceptions first, and sees in things only concrete 
conceptions, thus bringing to market the world turned 
upside down as a philosophical buffoonery, which of 
course necessarily found great acceptance. 

Even if we assume that every reason must, or at least 
can, attain to the conception of God, even without revela- 


tion, this clearly takes place only under the guidance of 
causality. This is so evident that it requires no proof. 
Therefore Chr. Wolf says (Oosmologia Generates, prcef., 
p. i) : Sane in theologia naturdli existentiam Numinis e 
principiis cosmologicis demonstramus. Contingentia uni- 
versi ct ordinis natures, una cum impossibilitate casus, sunt 
scala, per quam a mundo hoc adspectabili ad Dcum asccn- 
ditur. And, before him, Leibnitz said, in connection 
with the law of causality : Sans ce grand principe on nc 
saurait venir a la preuve de I existence de Dieu. On the 
other hand, the thought which is worked out in this 
chapter is so far from being essential and necessary to 
reason, that it is rather to be regarded as a veritable 
masterpiece of the monstrous productions of an age 
which, through strange circumstances, fell into the most 

* o o * 

singular aberrations and perversities, such as the age of 
the Scholastics was an age which is unparalleled in the 
history of the world, and can never return again. This 
Scholasticism, as it advanced to its final form, certainly 
derived the principal proof of the existence of God from 
the conception of the ens realissimum, and only then used 
the other proofs as accessory. This, however, is mere 
methodology, and proves nothing as to the origin of 
theology in the human mind. Kant has here taken the 
procedure of Scholasticism for that of reason a mistake 
which indeed he has made more than once. If it were 
true that according to the essential laws of reason the Idea 
of God proceeds from the disjunctive syllogism under the 
form of an Idea of the most real being, this Idea would 
also have existed in the philosophy of antiquity ; but of 
the ens realissimum there is nowhere a trace in any of 
the ancient philosophers, although some of them certainly 
teach that there is a Creator of the world, yet only as the 
giver of form to the matter which exists without him, 
Sepiovp yos, a being whom they yet infer simply and solely 
in accordance with the law of causality. It is true that 
Sextus Empiricus (adv. Math., ix. 88) quotes an argu- 


ment of Cleanthes, which some have held to be the 
ontological proof. This, however, it is not, but merely an 
inference from analogy ; because experience teaches that 
upon earth one being is always better than another, and 
man, indeed, as the best, closes the series, but yet has 
many faults ; therefore there must exist beings who are still 
better, and finally one being who is best of all ( 
apia-rov), and this would be God. 

On the detailed refutation of speculative theology which 
now follows I have only briefly to remark that it, and in 
general the whole criticism of the three so-called Ideas of 
reason, thus the whole Dialectic of Pure Eeason, is indeed 
to a certain extent the goal and end of the whole work ; 
yet this polemical part has not really an absolutely uni 
versal, permanent, and purely philosophical interest, such 
as is possessed by the preceding doctrinal part, i.e., the 
aesthetic and analytic ; but rather a temporary and local 
interest, because it stands in a special relation to the 
leading points of the philosophy which prevailed in Europe 
up till the time of Kant, the complete overthrow of which 
was yet, to his immortal credit, achieved by him through 
this polemic. He has eliminated theism from philosophy; 
for in it, as a science and not a system of faith, only that 
can find a place which is either empirically given or estab 
lished by valid proofs. Naturally we only mean here the 
real seriously understood philosophy which is concerned 
with the truth, and nothing else ; and by no means the 
jest of philosophy taught in the universities, in which, after 
Kant as before him, speculative theology plays the principal 
part, and where, also, after as before him, the soul appears 
without ceremony as a familiar person. For it is the philo 
sophy endowed with salaries and fees, and, indeed, also 
with titles of Hofrath, which, looking proudly down from 
its height, remains for forty years entirely unaware of the 
existence of little people like me, and would be thoroughly 


glad to be rid of the old Kant with his Critiques, that 
they might drink the health of Leibnitz with all their 
hearts. It is further to be remarked here, that as Kant 
was confessedly led to his doctrine of the a priori nature 
of the conception of causality by Hume s scepticism with 
regard to that conception, it may be that in the same way 
Kant s criticism of all speculative theology had its occasion 
in Hume s criticism of all popular theology, which he had 
given in his " Natural History of Eeligion," a book so well 
worth reading, and in the " Dialogues on Natural Eeligion." 
Indeed, it may be that Kant wished to a certain extent to 
supplement this. For the first-named work of Hume is 
really a critique of popular theology, the pitiable condi 
tion of which it seeks to show ; while, on the other hand, 
it points to rational or speculative theology as the genuine, 
and that which is worthy of respect. But Kant now dis 
closes the groundlessness of the latter, and leaves, on the 
other hand, popular theology untouched, nay, even estab 
lishes it in a nobler form as a faith based upon moral 
feeling. This was afterwards distorted by the philoso- 
phasters into rational apprehensions, consciousness of 
God, or intellectual intuitions of the supersensible, of the 
divine, &c., &c. ; while Kant, as he demolished old and 
revered errors, and knew the danger of doing so, rather 
wished through the moral theology merely to substitute a 
few weak temporary supports, so that the ruin might not 
fall on him, but that he might have time to escape. 

Now, as regards the performance of the task, 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 con 
viction. There is a chapter in the "Organon " of Aristotle 
which suffices as fully for the refutation of the ontological 
proof as if it had been written intentionally with that 
purpose. It is the seventh chapter of the second book of 



the " Analyt. Post" Among other things, it is expressly 
said there : " TO Se etvai OVK ovcna ovbevi," i.e., existentia 
nunquam ad essentiam rei pertinct. 

The refutation of the cosmological proof is an applica 
tion to a given case of the doctrine of the Critique as 
expounded up to that point, and there is nothing to be 
said against it. The physico-theological proof is a mere 
amplification of the cosmological, which it presupposes, 
and it finds its full refutation only in the " Critique of 
Judgment." I refer the reader in this connection to the 
rubric, " Comparative Anatomy," in my work on the Will 
in Nature. 

In the criticism of this proof Kant has only to do, 
as we have already said, with speculative theology, and 
limits himself to the School. If, on the contrary, he had 
had life and popular theology also in view, he would have 
been obliged to add a fourth proof to the three he has 
considered that proof which is really the effective one 
with the great mass of men, and which in Kant s technical 
language might best be called the keraunological. It is 
the proof which is founded upon the needy, impotent, and 
dependent condition of man as opposed to natural forces, 
which are infinitely superior, inscrutable, and for the most 
part threatening evil ; to which is added man s natural 
inclination to personify everything, and finally the hope 
of effecting something by prayers and flattery, and even 
by gifts. In every human undertaking there is something 
which is not in our power and does not come within our 
calculations ; the wish to win this for oneself is the origin 
of the gods. " Primus in orbe Deos fecit timor " is an old 
and true saying of Petronius. It is principally this proof 
which is criticised by Hume, who throughout appears as 
Kant s forerunner in the writings referred to above. But 
those whom Kant has placed in a position of permanent 
embarrassment by his criticism of speculative theology 
are the professors of philosophy. Salaried by Christian 
governments, they dare not give up the chief article of 


faith. 1 Now, how do these gentlemen help themselves ? 
They simply declare that the existence of God is self- 
evident. Indeed ! After the ancient world, at the expense 
of its conscience, had worked miracles to prove it, and 
the modern world, at the expense of its understanding, 
had brought into the field ontological, cosmological, and 
physico-theological proofs to these gentlemen it is self- 
evident. And from this self-evident God they then explain 
the world : that is their philosophy. 

Till Kant came there was a real dilemma between 
materialism and theism, i.e., between the assumption that 
a blind chance, or that an intelligence working from with 
out in accordance with purposes and conceptions, had 
brought about the world, neque dabaiur tertium. There 
fore atheism and materialism were the same ; hence the 
doubt whether there really could be an atheist, i.e., a man 
who really could attribute to blind chance the disposition 
of nature, so full of design, especially organised nature. 
See, for example, Bacon s Essays (sermones fideles), Essay 
1 6, on Atheism. In the opinion of the great mass of 
men, and of the English, who in such things belong 
entirely to the great mass (the mob), this is still the case, 
even with their most celebrated men of learning. One 
has only to look at Owen s " Ostfologie Compare e," of 1855, 
preface, p. 11, 12, where he stands always before the old 
dilemma between Democritus and Epicurus on the one 
side, and an intelligence on the other, in which la con- 

1 Kant said, " It is very absurd the late Professor Bachmann who, 
to expect enlightenment from rea- in the Jena Littcraturzcitung for 
son, and yet to prescribe to her July 1840, No. 126, so indiscreetly 
beforehand which side she must blurted out the maxim of all his 
necessarily take " ("Critique of Pure colleagues. However, it is worth 
Reason," p. 747; V. 775)- On the noticing, as regards the character- 
other hand, the following is the istics of the University philosophy, 
naive assertion of a professor of how here the truth, if it will not 
philosophy in our own time : " If a suit and adapt itself, is shown the 
philosophy denies the reality of the door without ceremony, with, " Be 
fundamental ideas of Christianity, off, truth ! we cannot make use of 
it is either false, or, even if true, it you. Do we owe you anything? 
is yet useless." That is to say, for Do you pay us? Then be off !" 
professors of philosophy. It was 


naissance dun 6tre tel que I homme a exists avant que 
I homme Jit son apparition. All design must have pro 
ceeded from an intelligence ; he has never even dreamt of 
doubting this. Yet in the lecture based upon this now 
modified preface, delivered in the Academic des Sciences on 
the 5th September 1853, he says, with childish naivete: 
"La iiUologie, ou la the"ologie scientiftque" (Comptes Rendus, 
Sept. 1853), that is for him precisely the same thing! Is 
anything in nature designed ? then it is a work of inten 
tion, of reflection, of intelligence. Yet, certainly, what 
has such an Englishman and the Academic des Sciences 
to do with the " Critique of Judgment," or, indeed, with 
my book upon the Will in Nature ? These gentlemen 
do not see so far below them. These illustres confreres 
disdain metaphysics and the philosophic allemande: they 
confine themselves to the old woman s philosophy. The 
validity of that disjunctive major, that dilemma between 
materialism and theism, rests, however, upon the assump 
tion that the present given world is the world of things in 
themselves ; that consequently there is no other order of 
things than the empirical. But after the world and its 
order had through Kant become mere phenomenon, the 
laws of which rest principally upon the forms of our 
intellect, the existence and nature of things and of the 
world no longer required to be explained according to the 
analogy of the changes perceived or effected by us in the 
world ; nor must that which we comprehend as means and 
end have necessarily arisen as the consequence of a similar 
knowledge Thus, inasmuch as Kant, through his impor 
tant distinction between phenomenon and thing in itself, 
withdrew the foundation from theism, he opened, on the 
other hand, the way to entirely different and more profound 
explanations of existence. 

In the chapter on the ultimate aim of the natural dia 
lectic of reason it is asserted that the three transcendent 
Ideas are of value as regulative principles for the advance 
ment of the knowledge of nature. But Kant can barelv 


have been serious in making this assertion. At least its 
opposite, that these assumptions are restrictive and fatal 
to all investigation of nature, is to every natural philo 
sopher beyond doubt. To test this by an example, let any 
one consider whether the assumption of the soul as an 
immaterial, simple, thinking substance would have been 
necessarily advantageous or in the highest degree impeding 
to the truths which Cabanis has so beautifully expounded, 
or to the discoveries of Flourens, Marshall Hall, and Ch. 
Bell. Indeed Kant himself says (Prolegomena, -M), 
" The Ideas of the reason are opposed and hindering to 
the maxims of the rational knowlege of nature." 

It is certainly not the least merit of Frederick the 
Great, that under his Government Kant could develop 
himself, and dared to publish the " Critique of Pure 
Eeason." Hardly under any other Government would a 
salaried professor have ventured such a thing. Kant was 
obliged to promise the immediate successor of the greac 
kins that he would write no more. 

I might consider that I could dispense with the criticism 
of the ethical part of the Kantian philosophy here because 
I have given a detailed and thorough criticism of it 
twenty-two years later than the present work in the 
" Beiden Grundprollemcn der Ethik." However, what is 
here retained from the first edition, and for the sake of 
completeness must not be omitted, may serve as a suitable 
introduction to that later and much more thorough criti 
cism, to which in the main I therefore refer the reader. 

On account of Kant s love of architectonic symmetry, 
the theoretical reason had also to have a pendant. The 
intcllectus pradicus of the Scholastics, which again springs 
from the vovs irpaKTUcos of Aristotle (De Anima, iii. 10, 
and Polit., vii. c. 14: o t*ev yap irpaKTiKos ecrrt \oyos, o Se 
6Q)pr)TiKo<i), provides the word ready made. Yet here 
something quite different is denoted by it not as there, 


the reason directed to technical skill. Here the practical 
reason appears as the source and origin of the undeniable 
ethical significance of human action, and of all virtue, all 
nobleness, and every attainable degree of holiness. All 
this accordingly should come from mere reason, and de 
mand nothing but this. To act rationally and to act vir 
tuously, nobly, holily, would be one and the same ; and 
to act selfishly, wickedly, viciously, would be merely to 
act irrationally. However, all times and peoples and 
languages have distinguished the two, and held them to be 
quite different things ; and so does every one even at the 
present day who knows nothing of the language of the new 
school, i.e., the whole world, with the exception of a small 
company of German savants. Every one but these last 
understands by virtuous conduct and a rational course of 
life two entirely different things. To say that the sublime 
founder of the Christian religion, whose life is presented 
to us as the pattern of all virtue, was the most rational of 
all men would be called a very unbecoming and even a 
blasphemous way of speaking ; and almost as much so 
if it were said that His precepts contained all the best 
directions for a perfectly rational life. Further, that he 
who, in accordance with these precepts, instead of taking 
thought for his own future needs, always relieves the 
greater present wants of others, without further motive, 
nay, gives all his goods to the poor, in order then, desti 
tute of all means of subsistence, to go and preach to 
others also the virtue which he practises himself; this 
every one rightly honours ; but who ventures to extol it 
as the highest pitch of reasonableness? And finally, who 
praises it as a rational deed that Arnold von Winkelried, 
with surpassing courage, clasped the hostile spears against 
his own body in order to gain victory and deliverance for 
his countrymen ? On the other hand, if we see a man 
who from his youth upwards deliberates with exceptional 
foresight how he may procure for himself an easy compe 
tence, the means for the support of wife and children, a 


good name among men, outward honour and distinction, 
and in doing so never allows himself to be led astray or 
induced to lose sight of his end by the charm of present 
pleasures or the satisfaction of defying the arrogance of 
the powerful, or the desire of revenging insults and un 
deserved humiliations he has suffered, or the attractions of 
useless aesthetic or philosophical occupations of the mind, 
or travels in interesting lands, but with great consistency 
works towards his one end, who ventures to deny that 
such a philistine is in quite an extraordinary degree rational, 
even if he has made use of some means which are not praise 
worthy but are yet without danger ? Nay, more, if a bad 
man, with deliberate shrewdness, through a well-thought- 
out plan attains to riches and honours, and even to thrones 
and crowns, and then with the acutest cunning gets the 
better of neighbouring states, overcomes them one by 
one, and now becomes a conqueror of the world, and in 
doing so is not led astray by any respect for right, any 
sense of humanity, but with sharp consistency tramples 
down and dashes to pieces everything that opposes his 
plan, without compassion plunges millions into misery of 
every kind, condemns millions to bleed and die, yet royally 
rewards and always protects his adherents and helpers, 
never forgetting anything, and thus reaches his end, who 
does not see that such a man must go to work in a most, 
rational manner ? that, as a powerful understanding was 
needed to form the plans, their execution demanded the 
complete command of the reason, and indeed properly ot 
practical reason ? Or are the precepts which the pru 
dent and consistent, the thoughtful and far-seeing Machia- 
velli prescribes to the prince irrational? 1 

1 By the way, Machiavelli s prob- purely the political one how, if he so 

lem was the solution of the question wills, he can carry it out. And the 

how the prince, as a prince, was to solution of this problem he gives just 

keep himself on the throne in spite of as one writes directions for playing 

internal and external enemies. His chess, with which it would be folly 

problem was thus by no means the to mix up the answer to the ques- 

ethical problem whether a prince, as tion whether from an ethical point 

a man, ought to will such things, but of view it is advisable to play chess 


As wickedness is quite consistent with reason, and in 
deed only becomes really terrible in this conjunction, so, 
conversely, nobleness is sometimes joined with want of 
reason. To this may be attributed the action of Corio- 
lanus, who, after he had applied all his strength for years 
to the accomplishment of his revenge upon the Romans, 
when at length the time came, allowed himself to be 
softened by the prayers of the Senate and the tears of his 
mother and wife, gave up the revenge he had so long and 
so painfully prepared, and indeed, by thus bringing on 
himself the just anger of the Volscians, died for those 
very Eomans whose thanklessness he knew and desired 
so intensely to punish. Finally, for the sake of complete 
ness, it may be mentioned that reason may very well exist 
along with want of understanding. This is the case when 
a foolish maxim is chosen, but is followed out consistently. 
An example of this is afforded by the case of the Princess 
Isabella, daughter of Philip II., who vowed that she would 
not put on a clean chemise so long as Ostend remained 
unconquered, and kept her word through three years. In 
general all vows are of this class, whose origin is a want 
of insight as regards the law of causality, i.e., want of 
understanding; nevertheless it is rational to fulfil them 
if one is of such narrow understanding as to make them. 

In agreement with what we have said, we see the 
writers who appeared just before Kant place the con 
science, as the seat of the moral impulses, in opposition to 
the reason. Thus Eousseau, in the fourth book of " Umile," 
says : " La raison nous trompe, mais la conscience ne trompe 
jamais;" and further on: "II est impossible d expliquer par 
les consciences de notre nature leprincipe imme diat de la con 
science indepcndant de la raison meme." Still further : " Mes 
sentimens naturds parlaient pour I inte ret commun, ma raison 
rapportait tout a moi. . . . On a beau ixniloir etablir la vertu 

at all. To reproach Machiavelli not begin his instructions with a, 

with the immorality of his writ- moral lecture against murder and 

ing is just the same as to reproach slaughter. 
a fencing-master because he does 


par la raison seul, quelle solide base peut-on lui donner ? " In 
the " Reveries du Promeneur," prom. 4 erne, he says : " Dans 
toutes les questions de morale difficilesje me suis toujours lien 
trouve" de les resoudre par le dictamen de la conscience, plutot 
que par les lumieres de la raison." Indeed Aristotle already 
says expressly (Eih. Magna, i. 5) that the virtues have 
their seat in the aXoyw p,opiw T??? ^1/^779 (in parte irra- 
tionali animi], and not in the \oyov e^ovrt (in parte 
rationali). In accordance with this, Stobseus says (Ed., 
ii., c. 7), speaking of the Peripatetics : " Trjv rjOiKyv aperrjv 
epi TO a\oyov /iepo<? yi yveadai TT?? "^f^S", 
Trpos TIJV Trapovcrav Oewpiav inreOevTO TTJV 
, TO ftev \OJIKOV e%ovcrav, TO 8 aXoyov. Kat irept, 
fiev TO \oyifcoi> Tffv KaXotcayaOiav ^i^veadav, icai Trjv (j)povr]- 
<riv, Kai Tfjv a^^ivoiav, /cat crotyiav, KCLI evp.a6eiav, Kai 
[jbvrifjLr)v, Kai Ta? o/iotof? -nepi 8e TO a\oyov, ( 
Kai SiKaioo-vvrjV, Kai av&petav, Kat Ta? aXXa? Ta? 
Ka\ovp. ej^a? apeTa?." (Ethicam virtutem circa partem animce 
ratione carentem vcrsari putant, cum duplicem, ad hanc 
disqitisitionem, animam ponant, ratione prccditam, et ea 
carentem. In parte vero ratione prcedita collocant inyenui- 
tatem, prudentiam, perspicacitatem, sapientiam, docilitatem, 
memoriam et reliqua ; in parte vero ratione, destituta tem- 
perantiam,justitiam,fortitudinem, et reliquas virtutes, quas 
ethicas vocant.) And Cicero (De Nat. Deor., iii., c. 26-31) 
explains at length that reason is the necessary means, the 
tool, of all crime. 

I have explained reason to be the faculty of framing 
concepts. It is this quite special class of general non- 
perceptible ideas, which are symbolised and fixed only 
by words, that distinguishes man from the brutes and 
gives him the pre-eminence upon earth. While the brute 
is the slave of the present, and knows only immediate 
sensible motives, and therefore when they present them 
selves to it is necessarily attracted or repelled by them, 
as iron is by the magnet, in man, on the contrary, de 
liberation has been introduced through the gift of reason. 


This enables him easily to survey as a whole his life and 
the course of the world, looking before and after ; it makes 
him independent of the present, enables him to go to 
work deliberately, systematically, and with foresight, to 
do evil as well as to do good. But what he does he does 
with complete self-consciousness ; he knows exactly how 
his will decides, what in each case he chooses, and what 
other choice was in the nature of the case possible ; and 
from this self-conscious willing he comes to know himself 
and mirrors himself in his actions. In all these relations 
to the conduct of men reason is to be called practical; 
it is only theoretical so far as the objects with which 
it is concerned have no relation to the action of the 
thinker, but have purely a theoretical interest, which 
very few men are capable of feeling. What in this sense 
is called practical reason is very nearly what is signi 
fied by the Latin word prudentia, which, according to 
Cicero (De Nat. Deor. ii., 22), is a contraction of provi- 
dentia ; while, on the other hand, ratio, if used of a faculty 
of the mind, signifies for the most part theoretical reason 
proper, though the ancients did not observe the distinction 
strictly. In nearly all men reason has an almost exclusively 
practical tendency ; but if this also is abandoned thought 
loses the control of action, so that it is then said, " Scio 
meliora, proboque, deteriora sequor," or " Le matin je fais 
des projets, et le soirjefais des sottises." Thus the man does 
not allow his conduct to be guided by his thought, but by 
the impression of the moment, after the manner of the 
brute ; and so he is called irrational (without thereby im 
puting to him moral turpitude), although he is not really 
wanting in reason, but in the power of applying it to his 
action ; and one might to a certain extent say his reason is 
theoretical and not practical. He may at the same time 
be a really good man, like many a one who can never see 
any one in misfortune without helping him, even making 
sacrifices to do so, and yet leaves his debts unpaid. Such an 
irrational character is quite incapable of committing great 


crimes, because the systematic planning, the discrimina 
tion and self-control, which this always requires are quite 
impossible to him. Yet, on the other hand, he will hardly 
attain to a very high degree of virtue, for, however much 
inclined to good he may be by nature, those single vicious 
and wicked emotions to which every one is subject can 
not be wanting ; and where reason does not manifest it 
self practically, and oppose to them unalterable maxims 
and firm principles, they must become deeds. 

Finally, reason manifests itself very specially as practi 
cal in those exceedingly rational characters who on this 
account are called in ordinary life practical philosophers, 
and who are distinguished by an unusual equanimity in 
disagreeable as in pleasing circumstances, an equable 
disposition, and a determined perseverance in resolves 
once made. In fact, it is the predominance of reason in 
them, i.e., the more abstract than intuitive knowledge, and 
therefore the survey of life by means of conceptions, in 
general and as a whole, which has enabled them once for 
all to recognise the deception of the momentary impres 
sion, the fleeting nature of all things, the shortness of life, 
the emptiness of pleasures, the fickleness of fortune, and 
the great and little tricks of chance. Therefore nothing 
comes to them unexpectedly, and what they know in the 
abstract does not surprise nor disturb them when it meets 
them in the actual and in the particular case, though it 
does so in the case of those less reasonable characters 
upon whom the present, the perceptible, the actual, exerts 
such an influence that the cold, colourless conceptions are 
thrown quite into the background of consciousness, and 
forgetting principles and maxims, they are abandoned 
to emotions and passions of every kind. I have already 
explained at the end of the first book that in my opinion 
the ethics of Stoicism were simply a guide to a truly 
reasonable life, in this sense. Such a life is also re 
peatedly praised by Horace in very many passages. This 
is the significance of his nil admirari, and also of the 


Delphic Mri^ev ayav. To translate nil admirari "to 
admire nothing" is quite wrong. This Horatian rnaxim 
does not concern the theoretical so much as the practical, 
and its real meaning is : " Prize no object unconditionally. 
Do not fall in love with anything ; do not believe that the 
possession of anything can give you happiness. Every 
intense longing for an object is only a delusive chimera, 
which one may just as well, and much more easily, get 
quit of by fuller knowledge as by attained possession." 
Cicero also uses admirari in this sense (De Divinatione, 
ii. 2). What Horace means is thus the aOa/j,/3ca and 
aKara jr Xr]^, also a6av/^acria, which Democritus before 
him prized as the highest good (see Clem. Alex. Strom., ii. 
21, and cf. Strabo, i. p. 98 and 105). Such reasonableness 
of conduct has properly nothing to do with virtue and 
vice ; but this practical use of reason is what gives man 
his pre-eminence over the brute, and only in this sense 
has it any meaning and is it permissible to speak of a 
dignity of man. 

In all the cases given, and indeed in all conceivable 
cases, the distinction between rational and irrational 
action runs back to the question whether the motives are 
abstract conceptions or ideas of perception. Therefore 
the explanation which I have given of reason agrees 
exactly with the use of language at all times and among 
all peoples a circumstance which will not be regarded as 
merely accidental or arbitrary, but will be seen to arise 
from the distinction of which every man is conscious, of 
the different faculties of the mind, in accordance with 
which consciousness he speaks, though certainly he does 
not raise it to the distinctness of an abstract definition. 
Our ancestors did not make the words without attaching 
to them a definite meaning, in order, perhaps, that they 
might lie ready for philosophers who might possibly 
come centuries after and determine what ought to be 
thought in connection with them ; but they denoted by 
them quite definite conceptions. Thus the words are no 


longer unclaimed, and to attribute to them an entirely dif 
ferent sense from that which they have hitherto had means 
to misuse them, means to introduce a licence in accordance 
with which every one might use any word in any sense 
he chose, and thus endless confusion would necessarily 
arise. Locke has already shown at length that most dis 
agreements in philosophy arise from a false use of words. 
For the sake of illustration just glance for a moment at 
the shameful misuse which philosophers destitute of 
thoughts make at the present day of the words substance, 
consciousness, truth, and many others. Moreover, the 
utterances and explanations concerning reason of all philo 
sophers of all ages, with the exception of the most modern, 
agree no less with my explanation of it than the concep 
tions which prevail among all nations of that prerogative 
of man. Observe what Plato, in the fourth book of the 
Republic, and in innumerable scattered passages, calls the 
\oyi/M)v, or \o<yioriKov TT?? ^u^?, what Cicero says (De 
Nat. Deor., iii. 2631), what Leibnitz and Locke say upon 
this in the passages already quoted in the first book. There 
would be no end to the quotations here if one sought to show 
how all philosophers before Kant have spoken of reason in 
general in my sense, although they did not know how to 
explain its nature with complete definiteness and distinct 
ness by reducing it to one point. What was understood 
by reason shortly before Kant s appearance is shown in 
general by two essays of Sulzer in the first volume of 
his miscellaneous philosophical writings, the one entitled 
" Analysis of the Conception of Reason," the other, " On 
the Reciprocal Influence of Reason and Language." If, 
on the other hand, we read how reason is spoken about in 
the most recent times, through the influence of the 
Kantian error, which after him increased like an ava 
lanche, we are obliged to assume that the whole of the 
wise men of antiquity, and also all philosophers before 
Kant, had absolutely no reason at all ; for the immediate 
perceptions, intuitions, apprehensions, presentiments of the 


reason now discovered were as utterly unknown to them 
as the sixth sense of the bat is to us. And as far as I am 
concerned, I must confess that I also, in my weakness, can 
not comprehend or imagine that reason which directly 
perceives or apprehends, or has an intellectual intuition of 
the super-sensible, the absolute, together with long yarns 
that accompany it, in any other way than as the sixth 
sense of the bat. This, however, must be said in favour 
of the invention or discovery of such a reason, which at 
once directly perceives whatever you choose, that it is an 
incomparable expedient for withdrawing oneself from the 
affair in the easiest manner in the world, along with one s 
favourite ideas, in spite of all Kants, with their Critiques 
of Reason. The invention and the reception it has met 
with do honour to the age. 

Thus, although what is essential in reason (TO Xoyi/jiov, 77 
<j}povr]ai$, ratio, raison, Vernuuft) was, on the whole and 
in general, rightly understood by all philosophers of all 
ages, though not sharply enough defined nor reduced to 
one point, yet it was not so clear to them what the 
understanding (you?, Siavoia, intellectus, esprit, Verstand) is. 
Therefore they often confuse it with reason, and just on 
this account they did not attain to a thoroughly complete, 
pure, and simple explanation of the nature of the latter. 
With the Christian philosophers the conception of reason 
received an entirely extraneous, subsidiary meaning through 
the opposition of it to revelation. Starting, then, from this, 
many are justly of opinion that the knowledge of the duty of 
virtue is possible from mere reason, i.e., without revelation. 
Indeed this aspect of the matter certainly had influence 
upon Kant s exposition and language. But this opposition 
is properly of positive, historical significance, and is there 
fore for philosophy a foreign element, from which it must 
keep itself free. 

We might have expected that in his critiques of theo 
retical and practical reason Kant would have started with 
an exposition of the nature of reason in general, and, after 


he had thus defined the genus, would have gone on to the 
explanation of the two species, showing how one and the 
same reason manifests itself in two such different ways, 
and yet, hy retaining its principal characteristic, proves 
itself to be the same. But we find nothing of all this. I 
have already shown how inadequate, vacillating, and in 
consistent are the explanations of the faculty he is criti 
cising, which he gives here and there by the way in the 
" Critique of Pure Eeason." The practical reason appears 
in the " Critique of Pure Reason " without any introduction, 
and afterwards stands in the " Critique " specially devoted 
to itself as something already established. No further 
account of it is given, and the use of language of all times 
and peoples, which is treated with contempt, and the defini 
tions of the conception given by the greatest of earlier 
philosophers, dare not lift up their voices. In general, 
we may conclude from particular passages that Kant s 
opinion amounts to this : the knowledge of principles 
a priori is the essential characteristic of reason : since 
now the knowledge of the ethical significance of action is 
not of empirical origin, it also is an a priori principle, and 
accordingly proceeds from the reason, and therefore thus 
far the reason is practical. I have already spoken enough 
of the incorrectness of this explanation of reason. But, 
independently of this, how superficial it is, and what a 
want of thoroughness it shows, to make use here of the 
single quality of being independent of experience in order 
to combine the most heterogeneous things, while over 
looking their most essential and immeasurable difference 
in other respects. For, even assuming, though we do not 
admit it, that the knowledge of the ethical significance of 
action springs from an imperative lying in us, an uncon 
ditioned ought, yet how fundamentally different would 
such an imperative be from those universal forms of know 
ledge of which, in the " Critique of Pure Reason," Kant 
proves that we are conscious a priori, and by virtue of 
which consciousness we can assert beforehand an uncoil- 


ditioned must, valid for all experience possible for us. 
But the difference between this must, this necessary form 
of all objects which is already determined in the subject, 
and that ought of morality is so infinitely great and 
palpable that the mere fact that they agree in the one 
particular that neither of them is empirically known 
may indeed be made use of for the purpose of a witty 
comparison, but not as a philosophical justification for 
regarding their origin as the same. 

Moreover, the birthplace of this child of practical reason, 
the absolute ought or the categorical imperative, is not in 
the " Critique of Practical Eeason," but in that of " Pure 
Eeason," p. 802 ; V. 830. The birth is violent, and is only 
accomplished by means of the forceps of a therefore, which 
stands boldly and audaciously, indeed one might say 
shamelessly, between two propositions which are utterly 
foreign to each other and have no connection, in order to 
combine them as reason and consequent. Thus, that not 
merely perceptible but also abstract motives determine 
us, is the proposition from which Kant starts, expressing 
it in the following manner : " Not merely what excites, 
i.e., what affects the senses directly, determines human 
will, but we have a power of overcoming the impressions 
made upon our sensuous appetitive faculty through ideas 
of that which is itself in a more remote manner useful 
or hurtful. These deliberations as to what is worthy of 
desire, with reference to our whole condition, i.e., as to 
what is good and useful, rest upon reason." (Perfectly 
right; would that he only always spoke so rationally of 
reason !) " Eeason therefore gives ! also laws, which are 
imperatives, i.e., objective laws of freedom, and say what 
ought to take place, though perhaps it never does take 
place" ! Thus, without further authentication, the cate 
gorical imperative comes into the world, in order to rule 
there with its unconditioned ought a sceptre of wooden 
iron. For in the conception " ought " there lies always 
and essentially the reference to threatened punishment, or 


promised reward, as a necessary condition, and cannot be 
separated from it without abolishing the conception itself 
and taking all meaning from it. Therefore an uncondi 
tioned ought is a contradictio in adj ecto. It was necessary 
to censure this mistake, closely as it is otherwise con 
nected with Kant s great service to ethics, which consists 
in this, that he has freed ethics from all principles of the 
world of experience, that is, from all direct or indirect 
doctrines of happiness, and has shown in a quite special 
manner that the kingdom of virtue is not of this world. 
This service is all the greater because all ancient philo 
sophers, with the single exception of Plato, thus the Peri 
patetics, the Stoics, and the Epicureans, sought by very 
different devices either to make virtue and happiness de 
pendent on each other in accordance with the principle of 
sufficient reason, or to identify them in accordance with the 
principle of contradiction. This charge applies with equal 
force to all modern philosophers down to Kant. His 
merit in this respect is therefore very great ; yet justice 
demands that we should also remember here first that his 
exposition and elaboration often does not correspond with 
the tendency and spirit of his ethics, and secondly that, 
even so, he is not really the first who separated virtue 
from all principles of happiness. For Plato, especially in 
the " Republic," the principal tendency of which is just 
this, expressly teaches that virtue is to be chosen for itself 
alone, even if unhappiness and ignominy are inevitably 
connected with it. Still more, however, Christianity 
preaches a perfectly unselfish virtue, which is practised 
not on account of the reward in a life after death, but 
quite disinterestedly from love to God, for works do not 
justify, but only faith, which accompanies virtue, so to 
speak, as its symptom, and therefore appears quite irre 
spective of reward and of its own accord. See Luther s 
" De Libertate Christiana" I will not take into account at 
all the Indians, in whose sacred books the hope of a re 
ward for our works is everywhere described as the way 



of darkness, which can never lead to blessedness. Kant s 
doctrine of virtue, however, we do not find so pure ; or 
rather the exposition remains far behind the spirit of it, 
and indeed falls into inconsistency. In his highest good, 
which he afterwards discussed, we find virtue united to 
happiness. The ought originally so unconditioned does yet 
afterwards postulate one condition, in order to escape from 
the inner contradiction with which it is affected and with 
which it cannot live. Happiness in the highest good is 
not indeed really meant to be the motive for virtue ; yet 
there it is, like a secret article, the existence of which 
reduces all the rest to a mere sham contract. It is not 
really the reward of virtue, but yet it is a voluntary gift 
for which virtue, after work accomplished, stealthily opens 
the hand. One may convince oneself of this from the 
" Critique of Practical Beason" (p. 223-266 of the fourth, 
or p. 264-295 of Eosenkranz s, edition). The whole of 
Kant s moral theology has also the same tendency, and 
just on this account morality really destroys itself through 
moral theology. For I repeat that all virtue which in any 
way is practised for the sake of a reward is based upon a 
prudent, methodical, far-seeing egoism. 

The content of the absolute ought, the fundamental 
principle of the practical reason, is the famous : " So act 
that the maxim of your will might always be also valid 
as the principle of a universal legislation." This principle 
presents to him who desires a rule for his own will the 
task of seeking such a rule for the wills of all. Then the 
question arises how such a rule is to be found. Clearly, 
in order to discover the rule of my conduct, I ought not 
to have regard to myself alone, but to the sum of all in 
dividuals. Then, instead of my own well-being, the well- 
being of all without distinction becomes my aim. Yet 
the aim still always remains well-being. I find, then, that 
all can be equally well off only if each limits his own 
egoism by that of others. From this it certainly follows 
that I must injure no one, because, since this principle is 


assumed to be universal, I also will not be injured. This, 
however, is the sole ground on account of which I, who 
do not yet possess a moral principle, but am only seeking 
one, can wish this to be a universal law. But clearly in 
this way the desire of well-being, i.e., egoism, remains the 
source of this ethical principle. As the basis of politics 
it would be excellent, as the basis of ethics it is worthless. 
For he who seeks to establish a rule for the wills of all, 
as is demanded by that moral principle, necessarily stands 
in need of a rule himself ; otherwise everything would be 
alike to him. But this rule can only be his own egoism, 
since it is only this that is affected by the conduct of 
others ; and therefore it is only by means of this egoism, 
and with reference to it, that each one can have a will 
concerning the conduct of others, and that it is not a 
matter of indifference to him. Kant himself very naively 
intimates this (p. 123 of the "Critique of Practical 
Eeason ; Eosenkranz s edition, p. 192), where he thus 
prosecutes the search for maxims for the will : " If every 
one regarded the need of others with complete indiffe- 
ence, and thou also didst belong to such an order of things, 
wouldst thou consent thereto ? " Quam temere in nosmet 
legem sancimus iniquam I would be the rule of the consent 
inquired after. So also in the " Fundamental Principles of 
the Metaphysic of Morals " (p. 56 of the third, and p. 50 
of Eosenkranz s, edition) : " A will which resolved to assist 
no one in distress would contradict itself, for cases might 
arise in which it required the love and sympathy of others" 
&c. &c. This principle of ethics, which when light is 
thrown upon it is therefore nothing else than an indirect 
and disguised expression of the old, simple principle, 
" Quod tibi fieri non vis, alteri ne feceris," is related first 
and directly to passivity, suffering, and then only by means 
of this to action. Therefore, as we have said, it would be 
thoroughly serviceable as a guide for the constitution of 
the State, which aims at the prevention of the suffering of 
wrong, and also desires to procure for all and each the 


greatest sum of well-being. But in ethics, where the object 
of investigation is action as action, and in its direct signifi 
cance for the actor not its consequences, suffering, or its 
relation to others in this reference, I say, it is altogether 
inadmissible, because at bottom it really amounts to a 
principle of happiness, thus to egoism. 

We cannot, therefore, share Kant s satisfaction that his 
principle of ethics is not a material one, i.e., one which 
sets up an object as a motive, but merely formal, whereby 
it corresponds symmetrically to the formal laws with which 
the " Critique of Pure Eeason " has made us familiar. 
Certainly it is, instead of a law, merely a formula for find 
ing such a law. But, in the first place, we had this 
formula already more briefly and clearly in the " Quod tibi 
fieri non vis, alteri nefeceris ; " and, secondly, the analysis 
of this formula shows that it is simply and solely the 
reference to one s own happiness that gives it content, 
and therefore it can only be serviceable to a rational 
egoism, to which also every legal constitution owes its 

Another mistake which, because it offends the feelings of 
every one, has often been condemned, and was satirised by 
Schiller in an epigram, is the pedantic rule that for an act 
to be really good and meritorious it must be done simply and 
solely out of respect for the known law and the conception 
of duty, and in accordance with a maxim known to the 
reason in dbstracto, and not from any inclination, not from 
benevolence felt towards others, not from tender-hearted 
compassion, sympathy, or emotion of the heart, which 
(according to the " Critique of Practical Eeason," p. 213; 
Eosenkranz s edition, p. 257) to right-thinking persons 
are indeed very burdensome, as confusing their deliberate 
maxims. The act must be performed unwillingly and with 
self-compulsion. Eemember that nevertheless the hope 
of reward is not allowed to enter, and estimate the great 
absurdity of the demand. But, what is saying more, this 
is directly opposed to the true spirit of virtue ; not the 


act, but the willingness to do it, the love from which it 
proceeds, and without which it is a dead work, consti 
tutes its merit. Therefore Christianity rightly teaches 
that all outward works are worthless if they do not pro 
ceed from that genuine disposition which consists in true 
goodwill and pure love, and that what makes blessed and 
saves is not the works done (opera operata), but the faith, 
the genuine disposition, which is the gift of the Holy 
Ghost alone, and which the free, deliberative will, having 
only the law in view, does not produce. This demand of 
Kant s, that all virtuous conduct shall proceed from pure, 
deliberate respect for the law and in accordance with its 
abstract maxims, coldly and without inclination, nay, 
opposed to all inclination, is just the same thing as if 
he asserted that every work of art must be accomplished 
by a well-considered application of aesthetical rules. The 
one is just as perverse as the other. The question, already 
handled by Plato and Seneca, whether virtue can be taught, 
is to be answered in the negative. We must finally make 
up our minds to see, what indeed was the source of the 
Christian doctrine of election by grace, that as regards 
its chief characteristic and its inner nature, virtue, like 
genius, is to a certain extent inborn ; and that just as 
little as all the professors of aesthetics could impart to any 
one the power of producing works of genius, i.e., genuine 
works of art, so little could all the professors of ethics 
and preachers of virtue transform an ignoble into a vir 
tuous and noble character, the impossibility of which is 
very much more apparent than that of turning lead into 
gold. The search for a system of ethics and a first prin 
ciple of the same, which would have practical influence 
and would actually transform and better the human race, 
is just like the search for the philosopher s stone. Yet I 
have spoken at length at the end of the fourth book of 
the possibility of an entire change of mind or conversion 
of man (new birth), not by means of abstract (ethics) but 
of intuitive knowledge (the work of grace). The contents 


of that book relieve me generally of the necessity of dwell 
ing longer upon this point. 

That Kant by no means penetrated to the real signifi 
cance of the ethical content of actions is shown finally by 
his doctrine of the highest good as the necessary combina 
tion of virtue and happiness, a combination indeed in 
which virtue would be that which merits happiness. He 
is here involved in the logical fallacy that the conception 
of merit, which is here the measure or test, already pre 
supposes a theory of ethics as its own measure, and thus 
could not be deducible from it. It appeared in our fourth 
book that all genuine virtue, after it has attained to its 
highest grade, at last leads to a complete renunciation in 
which all willing finds an end. Happiness, on the other 
hand, is a satisfied wish ; thus the two are essentially in 
capable of being combined. He who has been enlightened 
by my exposition requires no further explanation of the 
complete perverseness of this Kantian view of the highest 
good. And, independent of my positive exposition, I have 
no further negative exposition to give. 

Kant s love of architectonic symmetry meets us also in 
the " Critique of Practical Eeason," for he has given it the 
shape of the " Critique of Pure Eeason," and has again 
introduced the same titles and forms with manifest inten 
tion, which becomes specially apparent in the table of the 
categories of freedom. 

The " Philosophy of Law " is one of Kant s latest works, 
and is so poor that, although I entirely disagree with it, I 
think a polemic against it is superfluous, since of its own 
weakness it must die a natural death, just as if it were 
not the work of this great man, but the production of an 
ordinary mortal. Therefore, as regards the " Philosophy of 
Law," I give up the negative mode of procedure and refer 
to the positive, that is, to the short outline of it given in 
the fourth book. Just one or two general remarks on 


Kant s " Philosophy of Law " may be made here. The 
errors which I have condemned in considering the " Cri 
tique of Pure Eeason," as clinging to Kant throughout, 
appear in the " Philosophy of Law " in such excess that 
one often believes he is reading a satirical parody of the 
Kantian style, or at least that he is listening to a Kantian. 
Two principal errors, however, are these. He desires (and 
many have since then desired) to separate the Philosophy 
of Law sharply from ethics, and yet not to make the 
former dependent upon positive legislation, i.e., upon arbi 
trary sanction, but to let the conception of law exist for 
itself pure and a priori. But this is not possible ; because 
conduct, apart from its ethical significance, and apart from 
the physical relation to others, and thereby from external 
sanction, does not admit even of the possibility of any 
third view. Consequently, when he says, " Legal obliga 
tion is that which can be enforced," this can is either to 
be understood physically, and then all law is positive and 
arbitrary, and again all arbitrariness that achieves its end 
is law ; or the can is to be understood ethically, and we are 
again in the province of ethics. With Kant the conception 
of legal right hovers between heaven and earth, and has no 
ground on which to stand ; with me it belongs to ethics. 
Secondly, his definition of the conception law is entirely 
negative, and thereby inadequate. 1 Legal right is that 
which is consistent with the compatibility of the respec 
tive freedom of individuals together, according to a general 
law." Freedom (here the empirical, i.e., physical, not the 
moral freedom of the will) signifies not being hindered or 
interfered with, and is thus a mere negation ; compati 
bility, again, has exactly the same significance. Thus we 
remain with mere negations and obtain no positive concep 
tion, indeed do not learn at all, what is really being spoken 
about, unless we know it already from some other source. 

1 Although the conception of legal planation of these conceptions must 
right is properly negative in opposi- not on this account be entirely nega 
tion to that of wrong, which is the tive. 
positive starting-point, yet the ex- 


In the course of the exposition the most perverse views 
afterwards develop themselves, such as that in the state 
of nature, i.e., outside the State, there is no right to pro 
perty at all, which really means that all right or law is 
positive, and involves that natural law is based upon 
positive law, instead of which the case ought to be reversed. 
Further, the founding of legal acquisition on possession ; 
the ethical obligation to establish the civil constitution ; 
the ground of the right of punishment, &c., &c., all of 
which, as I have said, I do not regard as worth a special 
refutation. However, these Kantian errors have exercised 
a very injurious influence. They have confused and ob 
scured truths long known and expressed, and have occa 
sioned strange theories and much writing and controversy. 
This certainly cannot last, and we see already how truth 
and sound reason again make way for themselves. Of the 
latter, the " Naturrecht " of J. C. F. Meister specially bears 
evidence, and is thus a contrast to many a preposterous 
theory, though I do not regard it as on this account a 
pattern of perfection. 

On the " Critique of Judgment " also, after what has 
been said, I must be very short. We cannot but be sur 
prised that Kant, to whom art certainly was very foreign, 
and who to all appearance had little susceptibility for 
the beautiful, indeed probably never had the opportunity 
of seeing an important work of art, and who seems, finally, 
to have had no knowledge of Goethe, the only man of his 
century and nation who was fit to be placed by his side 
as his giant equal. it is, I say, surprising how, notwith 
standing all this, Kant was able to render a great and 
permanent service to the philosophical consideration of 
art and the beautiful. His merit lies in this, that much 
as men had reflected upon the beautiful and upon art, 
they had yet really always considered it only from the 
empirical point of view, and had investigated upon a basis 


of facts what quality distinguished the object of any kind 
which was called beautiful from other objects of the same 
kind. On this path they first arrived at quite special 
principles, and then at more general ones. They sought 
to separate true artistic beauty from false, and to discover 
marks of this genuineness, which could then serve again 
as rules. What gives pleasure as beautiful and what 
does not, what therefore is to be imitated, what is to be 
striven against, what is to be avoided, what rules, at least 
negative rules, are to be established, in short, what are 
the means of exciting aesthetic satisfaction, i.e., what are 
the conditions of this residing in the object this was 
almost exclusively the theme of all treatises upon art. 
This path was followed by Aristotle, and in the most re 
cent times we find it chosen by Home, Burke, Winckel- 
inann, Lessing, Herder, and many others. It is true that 
the universality of the sesthetical principles discovered 
finally led back to the subject, and it was observed that 
if the effect upon the subject were adequately known we 
would then also be able to determine a priori the causes 
of this which lie in the object, and thus alone this method 
of treatment could attain to the certainty of a science. 
This occasioned once and again psychological disquisitions. 
Specially however, Alexander Baumgarten produced with 
this intention a general aesthetic of all beauty, in which 
he started from the conception of the perfection of sensu 
ous knowledge, that is, of knowledge of perception. With 
him also, however, the subjective part is done with as 
soon as this conception has been established, and he passes 
on to the objective part and to the practical, which is con 
nected with it. But here also the merit was reserved for 
Kant of investigating seriously and profoundly the feeling 
itself, in consequence of which we call the object occasioning 
it beautiful, in order to discover, wherever it was possible, 
the constituent elements and conditions of it in our nature. 
His investigation, therefore, took an entirely subjective 
direction. This path was clearly the right one, for iu 


order to explain a phenomenon which is given in its 
effects, one must know accurately this effect itself, if one 
is to determine thoroughly the nature of the cause. Yet 
Kant s merit in this regard does not really extend much 
further than this, that he has indicated the right path, and 
by a provisional attempt has given an example of how, 
more or less, it is to be followed. For what he gave can 
not be regarded as objective truth and as a real gain. He 
gave the method for this investigation, he broke ground 
in the right direction, but otherwise he missed the mark. 

In the " Critique of ^Esthetical Judgment " the observa 
tion first of all forces itself upon us that Kant retains the 
method which is peculiar to his whole philosophy, and which 
I have considered at length above I mean the method of 
starting from abstract knowledge in order to establish 
knowledge of perception, so that the former serves him, so 
to speak, as a camera obscura in which to receive and sur 
vey the latter. As in the " Critique of Pure Reason" the 
forms of judgment are supposed to unfold to him the 
knowledge of our whole world of perception, so in this 
" Critique of JEsthetical Judgment " he does not start 
from the beautiful itself, from the perceptible and imme 
diately beautiful, but from the judgment of the beautiful, 
the so-called, and very badly so-called, judgment of taste. 
This is his problem. His attention is especially aroused 
by the circumstance that such a judgment is clearly the 
expression of something that takes place in the subject, 
but yet is just as universally valid as if it concerned a 
quality of the object. It is this that struck him, not the 
beautiful itself. He starts always merely from the asser 
tions of others, from the judgment of the beautful, not 
from the beautiful itself. It is therefore as if he knew it 
simply from hearsay, not directly. A blind man of high 
understanding could almost in the same way make up a 
theory of colours from very accurate reports which he had 
heard concerning them. And really we can only venture 
to regard Kant s philosophemes concerning the beautiful as 


in almost the same position. Then we shall find that 
his theory is very ingenious indeed, that here and there 
telling and true observations are made ; but his real solu 
tion of the problem is so very insufficient, remains so far 
below the dignity of the subject, that it can never occur 
to us to accept it as objective truth. Therefore I consider 
myself relieved from the necessity of refuting it ; and 
here also I refer to the positive part of my work. 

With regard to the form of his whole book, it is to be 
observed that it originated in the idea of finding in the 
teleological conception the key to the problem of the 
beautiful. This inspiration is deduced, which is always a 
matter of no difficulty, as we have learnt from Kant s suc 
cessors. Thus there now arises the strange combination 
of the knowledge of the beautiful with that of the teleology 
of natural bodies in one faculty of knowledge called judg 
ment, and the treatment of these two heterogeneous sub 
jects in one book. With these three powers of knowledge, 
reason, judgment, and understanding, a variety of sym 
metrical-architectonic amusements are afterwards under 
taken, the general inclination to which shows itself in 
many ways in this book ; for example, in the forcible 
adaptation of the whole of it to the pattern of the " Critique 
of Pure Season," and very specially in the antinomy of 
the sesthetical judgment, which is dragged in by the hair. 
One might also extract a charge of great inconsistency 
from the fact that after it has been incessantly repeated 
in the " Critique of Pure Reason " that the understanding 
is the faculty of judgment, and after the forms of its judg 
ment have been made the foundation-stone of all philo 
sophy, a quite special faculty of judgment now appears, 
which is completely different from the former. For the 
rest, what I call the faculty of judgment, the capacity for 
translating knowledge of perception into abstract know 
ledge, and again of applying the latter correctly to the 
former, is explained in the positive part of my work. 

By far the best part of the " Critique of ^Esthetical Judg- 


merit" is the theory of the sublime. It is incomparably 
more successful than that of the beautiful, and does not 
only give, as that does, the general method of investiga 
tion, but also a part of the right way to it so much so 
that even though it does not give the real solution of the 
problem, it yet touches very closely upon it. 

In the " Critique of the Teleological Judgment," on ac 
count of the simplicity of the matter, we can recognise 
perhaps more than anywhere else Kant s rare talent of 
turning a thought this way and that way, and expressing 
it in a multitude of different ways, until out of it there 
grows a book. The whole book is intended to say this 
alone : although organised bodies necessarily appear to us 
as if they were constructed in accordance with a conceived 
design of an end which preceded them, yet we are not 
justified in assuming that this is objectively the case. 
For our intellect, to which things are given from without 
and indirectly, which thus never knows their inner nature 
through which they arise and exist, but merely their out 
ward side, cannot otherwise comprehend a certain quality 
peculiar to organised productions of nature than by 
analogy, for it compares it with the intentionally accom 
plished works of man, the nature of which is determined 
by a design and the conception of this design. This 
analogy is sufficient to enable us to comprehend the 
agreement of all the parts with the whole, and thus indeed 
to give us the clue to their investigation ; but it must by 
no means on this account be made the actual ground of 
explanation of the origin and existence of such bodies. 
For the necessity of so conceiving them is of subjective 
origin. Somewhat in this way I would epitomise Kant s 
doctrine on this question. In its most important aspect he 
had expounded it already in the "Critique of Pure Eeason," 
p. 692-702; V., 720-730. But in the knowledge of this 
truth also we find David Hume to be Kant s worthy fore 
runner. He also had keenly controverted that assumption 
in the second part of his " Dialogues concerning Natural 


Religion." The difference between Hume s criticism of 
that assumption and Kant s is principally this, that Hume 
criticised it as an assumption based upon experience, while 
Kant, on the other hand, criticised it as an a priori assump 
tion. Both are right, and their expositions supplement each 
other. Indeed what is really essential in the Kantian 
doctrine on this point we find already expressed in the 
commentary of Simplicius on Aristotle s Physics : " 77 Se 
Tr\avr) yeyovev avrois CLTCO TOV rjyeicrdai, Travra ra eve/ca 
rov yivojAeva Kara Trpoaipecriv yeve&Oai KCLI \o r yia/j.ov ) ra 
Be (frvcrei /JLTJ oirrco? opav <yivo/jieva" {Error Us ortus est ex eo, 
quod credebant, omnia, quce propter finem aliquem fierent, ex 
proposito et ratiocinio fieri, dam videbant, naturce opera non 
ita fieri.) Schol. in Arist., ex edit. Berol., p. 354. Kant 
is perfectly right in the matter ; and it was necessary that 
after it had been shown that the conception of cause and 
effect is inapplicable to the whole of nature in general, in 
respect of its existence, it should also be shown that in 
respect of its qualities it is not to be thought of as the 
effect of a cause guided by motives (designs). If we con 
sider the great plausibility of the physico-theological proof, 
which even Voltaire held to be irrefragable, it was clearly 
of the greatest importance to show that what is subjective 
in our comprehension, to which Kant had relegated space, 
time, and causality, extends also to our judgment of 
natural bodies ; and accordingly the compulsion which we 
feel to think of them as having arisen as the result of pre 
meditation, according to designs, thus in such a way that 
the idea of them preceded their existence, is just as much of 
subjective origin as the perception of space, which presents 
itself so objectively, and that therefore it must not be set 
up as objective truth. Kant s exposition of the matter, 
apart fron its tedious prolixity and repetitions, is excel 
lent. He rightly asserts that we can never succeed in 
explaining the nature of organised bodies from merely 
mechanical causes, by which he understands the unde 
signed and regular effect of all the universal forces of 


nature. Yet I find here another flaw. He denies the 
possibility of such an explanation merely with regard to 
the teleology and apparent adaptation of organised bodies. 
But we find that even where there is no organisation the 
grounds of explanation which apply to one province of 
nature cannot be transferred to another, but forsake us as 
soon as we enter a new province, and new fundamental 
laws appear instead of them, the explanation of which is 
by no means to be expected from the laws of the former 
province. Thus in the province of the mechanical, properly 
so called, the laws of gravitation, cohesion, rigidity, fluidity, 
and elasticity prevail, which in themselves (apart from my 
explanation of all natural forces as lower grades of the 
objectification of will) exist as manifestations of forces 
which cannot be further explained, but themselves consti 
tute the principles of all further explanation, which merely 
consists in reduction to them. If we leave this province 
and come to the phenomena of chemistry, of electricity, 
magnetism, crystallisation, the former principles are ab 
solutely of no use, indeed the former laws are no longer 
valid, the former forces are overcome by others, and the 
phenomena take place in direct contradiction to them, 
according to new laws, which, just like the former ones, 
are original and inexplicable, i.e., cannot be reduced to 
more general ones. Thus, for example, no one will ever 
succeed in explaining even the dissolving of a salt in 
water in accordance with the laws proper to mechanics, 
much less the more complicated phenomena of chemistry. 
All this has already been explained at length in the second 
book of the present work. An exposition of this kind 
would, as it seems to me, have been of great use in the 
" Critique of the Teleological Judgment," and would have 
thrown much light upon what is said there. Such an 
exposition would have been especially favourable to his 
excellent remark that a more profound knowledge of the 
real being, of which the things of nature are the manifes 
tation, would recognise both in the mechanical (according 


to law) and the apparently intentional effects of nature 
one and the same ultimate principle, which might serve 
a3 the more general ground of explanation of them both. 
Such a principle I hope I have given by establishing the 
will as the real thing in itself; and in accordance with it 
generally in the second book and the supplements to it, 
but especially in my work " On the Will in Nature," the 
insight into the inner nature of the apparent design and 
of the harmony and agreement of the whole of nature has 
perhaps become clearer and deeper. Therefore I have 
nothing more to say about it here. 

The reader whom this criticism of the Kantian philo 
sophy interests should not neglect to read the supplement 
to it which is given in the second essay of the first volume 
of my " Parerga and Paralipomena," under the title " Nock 
einige Erlauterungcn zur Kantischen Philosophic " (Some 
Further Explanations of the Kantian Philosophy). For it 
must be borne in mind that my writings, few as they are, 
were not composed all at once, but successively, in the 
course of a long life, and with long intervals between 
them. Accordingly, it must not be expected that all I 
have said upon one subject should stand together in one 

Supplements to tfjc jfirst Book, 

1 Warum willst du dich von uns Allen 
Und unsrer Meinung entfernen ? 
Teh schreibe nicht ench zu gefallen, 
Ihr sollt was lernen." 




JFirst f&ali 

(To 1-7 of the First Volume.} 



IN boundless space countless shining spheres, about each 
of which, and illuminated by its light, there revolve a 
dozen or so of smaller ones, hot at the core and covered 
with a hard, cold crust, upon whose surface there have 
been generated from a mouldy film beings which live and 
know this is what presents itself to us in experience as 
the truth, the real, the world. Yet for a thinking being 
it is a precarious position to stand upon one of those 
numberless spheres moving freely in boundless space 
without knowing whence or whither, and to be only one 
of innumerable similar beings who throng and press and 
toil, ceaselessly and quickly arising and passing away in 
time, which has no beginning and no end ; moreover, 
nothing permanent but matter alone and the recurrence 
of the same varied organised forms, by means of certain 
ways and channels which are there once for all. All that 
empirical science can teach is only the more exact nature 
and law of these events. But now at last modern philo 
sophy, especially through Berkeley and Kant, has called 


to mind that all this is first of all merely a phenomenon 
of the brain, and is affected with such great, so many, 
and such different subjective conditions that its supposed 
absolute reality vanishes away, and leaves room for an 
entirely different scheme of the world, which consists of 
what lies at the foundation of that phenomenon, i.e., what 
is related to it as the thing in itself is related to its mere 

" The world is my idea " is, like the axioms of Euclid, 
a proposition which every one must recognise as true as 
soon as he understands it ; although it is not a propo 
sition which every one understands as soon as he hears 
it. To have brought this proposition to clear conscious 
ness, and in it the problem of the relation of the ideal 
and the real, i.e., of the world in the head to the world 
outside the head, together with the problem of moral 
freedom, is the distinctive feature of modern philosophy. 
For it was only after men had spent their labour for 
thousands of years upon a mere philosophy of the object 
that they discovered that among the many things that 
make the world so obscure and doubtful the first and 
chiefest is this, that however immeasurable and massive 
it may be, its existence yet hangs by a single thread ; and 
this is the actual consciousness in which it exists. This 
condition, to which the existence of the world is irrevocably 
subject, marks it, in spite of all empirical reality, with 
the stamp of ideality, and therefore of mere phenomenal 
appearance. Thus on one side at least the world must be 
recognised as akin to dreams, and indeed to be classified 
along with them. For the same function of the brain 
which, during sleep, conjures up before us a completely 
objective, perceptible, and even palpable world must have 
just as large a share in the presentation of the objective 
world of waking life. Both worlds, although different as 
regards their matter, are yet clearly moulded in the one 
form. This form is the intellect, the function of the brain. 
Descartes was probably the first who attained to the 


degree of reflection which this fundamental truth de 
mands, and consequently he made it the starting-point 
of his philosophy, though provisionally only in the 
form of a sceptical doubt. When he took his cogito 
ergo sum as alone certain, and provisionally regarded the 
existence of the world as problematical, he really dis 
covered the essential and only right starting-point of all 
philosophy, and at the same time its true foundation. 
This foundation is essentially and inevitably the subjective, 
the individual consciousness. For this alone is and remains 
immediate ; everything else, whatever it may be, is medi 
ated and conditioned through it, and is therefore depen 
dent upon it. Therefore modern philosophy is rightly 
regarded as starting with Descartes, who was the father 
of it. Not long afterwards Berkeley followed the same 
path further, and attained to idealism proper, i.e., to the 
knowledge that the world which is extended in space, 
thus the objective, material world in general, exists as 
such simply and solely in our idea, and that it is false, 
and indeed absurd, to attribute to it, as such, an existence 
apart from all idea and independent of the knowing sub 
ject, thus to assume matter as something absolute and 
possessed of real being in itself. But his correct and pro 
found insight into this truth really constitutes Berkeley s 
whole philosophy ; in it he had exhausted himself. 

Thus true philosophy must always be idealistic ; indeed, 
it must be so in order to be merely honest. For nothin^ 
is more certain than that no man ever came out of him 
self in order to identify himself directly with things 
which are different from him ; but everything of which 
he has certain, and therefore immediate, knowledge lies 
within his own consciousness. Beyond this consciousness, 
therefore, there can be no immediate certainty ; but the 
first principles of a science must have such certainty. 
For the empirical standpoint of the other sciences it is 
quite right to assume the objective world as something 
absolutely given ; but not so for the standpoint of philo- 


sophy, which has to go back to what is first and original. 
Only consciousness is immediately given; therefore the 
basis of philosophy is limited to facts of consciousness, i.e., 
it is essentially idealistic. Realism which commends it 
self to the crude understanding, by the appearance which 
it assumes of being matter-of-fact, really starts from an 
arbitrary assumption, and is therefore an empty castle in 
the air, for it ignores or denies the first of all facts, that 
all that we know lies within consciousness. For that 
the objective existence of things is conditioned through a 
subject whose ideas they are, and consequently that the 
objective world exists only as idea, is no hypothesis, and 
still less a dogma, or even a paradox set up for the sake 
of discussion ; but it is the most certain and the simplest 
truth ; and the knowledge of it is only made difficult by 
the fact that it is indeed so simple, and that it is not 
every one who has sufficient power of reflection to go back 
to the first elements of his consciousness of things. There 
can never be an absolute and independent objective exis 
tence ; indeed such an existence is quite unintelligible. 
For the objective, as such, always and essentially has its 
existence in the consciousness of a subject, is thus the 
idea of this subject, and consequently is conditioned by it, 
and also by its forms, the forms of the idea, which depend 
upon the subject and not on the object. 

That the objective world would exist even if there existed 
no conscious being certainly seems at the first blush to 
be unquestionable, because it can be thought in the ab 
stract, without bringing to light the contradiction which 
it carries within it. But if we desire to realise this abstract 
thought, that is, to reduce it to ideas of perception, from 
which alone (like everything abstract) it can have con 
tent and truth, and if accordingly we try to imagine an 
objective world ivithout a knowing subject, we become aware 
that what we then imagine is in truth the opposite of 
what we intended, is in fact nothing else than the process 
in the intellect of a knowing subject who perceives an 


objective world, is thus exactly what we desired to exclude. 
For this perceptible and real world is clearly a pheno 
menon of the brain ; therefore there lies a contradiction 
in the assumption that as such it ought also to exist in 
dependently of all brains. 

The principal objection to the inevitable and essential 
ideality of all objects, the objection which, distinctly or in 
distinctly, arises in every one, is certainly this : My own 
person also is an object for some one else, is thus his idea, 
and yet I know certainly that I would continue to exist 
even if he no longer perceived me. But all other objects 
also stand in the same relation to his intellect as I do ; 
consequently they also would continue to exist \vithout 
being perceived by him. The answer to this is: That 
other being as whose object I now regard my person is 
not absolutely the subject, but primarily is a knowing 
individual. Therefore, if he no longer existed, nay, even 
if there existed no other conscious being except myself, 
yet the subject, in whose idea alone all objects exist, 
would by no means be on that account abolished. For I 
myself indeed am this subject, as every conscious being 
is. Consequently, in the case assumed, my person would 
certainly continue to exist, but still as idea, in my own 
knowledge. For even by me myself it is always known 
only indirectly, never immediately ; because all existence 
as idea is indirect. As object, i.e., as extended, occupying 
space and acting, I know my body only in the perception 
of my brain. This takes place by means of the senses, 
upon data supplied by which the percipient understanding- 
performs its function of passing from effect to cause, and 
thereby, in that the eye sees the body or the hands touch 
it, it constructs that extended figure which presents itself in 
space as my body. By no means, however, is there directly 
given me, either in some general feeling of bodily existence 
or in inner self-consciousness, any extension, form, or 
activity, which would then coincide with my nature itself, 
which accordingly, in order so to exist, would require no 


other being in whose knowledge it might exhibit itself. On 
the contrary, that general feeling of bodily existence, and 
also self-consciousness, exists directly only in relation to the 
will, that is, as agreeable or disagreeable, and as active in 
the acts of will, which for external perception exhibit 
themselves as actions of the body. From this it follows 
that the existence of my person or body as something 
extended and acting always presupposes a Jcnoiving being 
distinct from it ; because it is essentially an existence in 
apprehension, in the idea, thus an existence for another. 
In fact, it is a phenomenon of brain, just as much whether 
the brain in which it exhibits itself is my own or belongs 
to another person. In the first case one s own person 
divides itself into the knowing and the known, into object 
and subject, which here as everywhere stand opposed to 
each other, inseparable and irreconcilable. If, then, my 
own person, in order to exist as such, always requires a 
knowing subject, this will at least as much hold good of 
the other objects for which it was the aim of the above 
objection to vindicate an existence independent of know 
ledge and its subject. 

However, it is evident that the existence which is con 
ditioned through a knowing subject is only the existence 
in space, and therefore that of an extended and active 
being. This alone is always something known, and con 
sequently an existence for another. On the other hand, 
every being that exists in this way may yet have an 
existence for itself, for which it requires no subject. Yet 
this existence for itself cannot be extension and activity 
(together space-occupation), but is necessarily a being of 
another kind, that of a thing in itself, which, as such, can 
never be an object. This, then, would be the answer to the 
leading objection set forth above, which accordingly does not 
overthrow the fundamental truth that the objectively given 
world can only exist in the idea, thus only for a subject. 

We have further to remark here that Kant also, so Ion*? 


at least as he remained consistent, can have thought no 


objects among his things in themselves. For this follows 
from the fact that he proves that space, and also time, are 
mere forms of our perception, which consequently do not 
belong to things in themselves. What is neither in space 
nor in time can be no object ; thus the being of things in 
themselves cannot be objective, but of quite a different 
kind, a metaphysical being. Consequently that Kantian 
principle already involves this principle also, that the 
objective world exists only as idea. 

In spite of all that one may say, nothing is so per 
sistently and ever anew misunderstood as Idealism, because 
it is interpreted as meaning that one denies the empirical 
reality of the external world. Upon this rests the per 
petual return to the appeal to common sense, which 
appears in many forms and guises ; for example, as an 
" irresistible conviction " in the Scotch school, or as 
Jacobi s faith in the reality of the external world. The 
external world by no means presents itself, as Jacobi 
declares, upon credit, and is accepted by us upon trust 
and faith. It presents itself as that which it is, and per 
forms directly what it promises. It must be remembered 
that Jacobi, who set up such a credit or faith theory of the 
world, and had the fortune to impose it upon a few pro 
fessors of philosophy, who for thirty years have philoso 
phised upon the same lines lengthily and at their ease, is 
the same man who once denounced Lessing as a Spino/ist, 
and afterwards denounced Schelling as an atheist, and 
who received from the latter the well-known and well- 
deserved castigation. In keeping with such zeal, when he 
reduced the external world to a mere matter of faith he 
only wished to open the door to faith in general, and to 
prepare belief for that which was afterwards really to be 
made a matter of belief ; as if, in order to introduce a 
paper currency, one should seek to appeal to the fact that 
the value of the ringing coin also depends merely on the 
stamp which the State has set upon it. Jacobi, in his 
doctrine that the reality of the external world is assumed 


upon faith, is just exactly " the transcendental realist who 
plays the empirical idealist" censured by Kant in the 
" Critique of Pure Reason," first edition, p. 369. 

The true idealism, on the contrary, is not the empirical 
but the transcendental. This leaves the empirical reality of 
the world untouched, but holds fast to the fact that every 
object, thus the empirically real in general, is conditioned 
in a twofold manner by the subject ; in the first place 
materially or as object generally, because an objective 
existence is only conceivable as opposed to a subject, and 
as its idea; in the second place formally, because the 
mode of existence of an object, i.e., its being perceived 
(space, time, causality), proceeds from the subject, is pre 
arranged in the subject. Therefore with the simple or 
Berkeleian idealism, which concerns the object in general, 
there stands in immediate connection the Kantian idealism, 
which concerns the specially given mode or manner of 
objective existence. This proves that the whole material 
world, with its bodies, which are extended in space and, 
by means of time, have causal relations to each other, and 
everything that depends upon this that all this is not 
something which is there independently of our head, but 
essentially presupposes the functions of our brain by means 
of which and in which alone such an objective arrangement 
of things is possible. For time, space, and causality, upon 
which all those real and objective events rest, are them 
selves nothing more than functions of the brain ; so that 
thus the unchangeable order of things which affords the 
criterion and clue to their empirical reality itself proceeds 
only from the brain, and has its credentials from this alone. 
All this Kant has expounded fully and thoroughly ; only 
he does not speak of the brain, but calls it " the faculty 
of knowledge." Indeed he has attempted to prove that 
when that objective order in time, space, causality, matter, 
&c., upon which all the events of the real world ultimately 
rest, is properly considered, it cannot even be conceived 
as a self-existing order, i.e., an order of the thing in itself, 


or as something absolutely objective and unconditionally 
given, for if one tries to think this out it leads to contra 
dictions. To accomplish this was the object of the anti 
nomies, but in the appendix to my work I have proved 
the failure of the attempt. On the other hand, the Kantian 
doctrine, even without the antinomies, leads to the insight 
that things and the whole mode of their existence are 
inseparably bound up with our consciousness of them. 
Therefore whoever has distinctly grasped this soon attains 
to the conviction that the assumption that things also 
exist as such, apart from and independently of our con 
sciousness, is really absurd. That we are so deeply in 
volved in time, space, causality, and the whole regular 
process of experience which rests upon them, that we (and 
indeed the brutes) are so perfectly at home, and know 
how to find our way from the first this would not be 
possible if our intellect were one thing and things another, 
but can only be explained from the fact that both con 
stitute one whole, the intellect itself creates that order, 
and exists only for things, while they, on the other hand, 
exist only for it. 

But even apart from the deep insight, which only 
the Kantian philosophy gives, the inadmissibility of the 
assumption of absolute realism which is so obstinately 
clung to may be directly shown, or at least made capable 
of being felt, by the simple exhibition of its meaning in the 
light of such considerations as the following. According 
to realism, the world is supposed to exist, as we know it, 
independently of this knowledge. Let us once, then, remove 
all percipient beings from it, and leave only unorganised 
and vegetable nature. Rock, tree, and brook are there, and 
the blue heaven ; sun, moon, and stars light this world, as 
before ; yet certainly in vain, for there is no eye to see it. 
Let us now in addition place in it a percipient being. Now 
that world presents itself again in his brain, and repeats 
itself within it precisely as it was formerly without it. Thus 
to the first world a second has been added, which, although 


completely separated from it, resembles it to a nicety. And 
now the subjective world of this perception is precisely so 
constituted in subjective, known space as the objective world 
in objective, infinite space. But the subjective world has 
this advantage over the objective, the knowledge that that 
space, outside there, is infinite ; indeed it can also give 
beforehand most minutely and accurately the whole con 
stitution or necessary properties of all relations which are 
possible, though not yet actual, in that space, and does not 
require to examine them. It can tell just as much with 
regard to the course of time, and also with regard to the 
relation of cause and effect which governs the changes in 
that external world. I think all this, when closely con 
sidered, turns out absurd enough, and hence leads to the 
conviction that that absolute objective world outside the 
head, independent of it and prior to all knowledge, which 
at first we imagined ourselves to conceive, is really no 
other than the second, the world which is known sub 
jectively, the world of idea, as which alone we are actually 
able to conceive it. Thus of its own accord the assumption 
forces itself upon us, that the world, as we know it, exists 
also only for our knowledge, therefore in the idea alone, 
and not a second time outside of it. 1 In accordance, then, 
with this assumption, the thing in itself, i.e., that which 
exists independently of our knowledge and of every know 
ledge, is to be regarded as something completely different 
from the idea and all its attributes, thus from objectivity in 
general. What this is will be the subject of our second book. 
On the other hand, the controversy concerning the 
reality of the external world considered in 5 of the first 

1 I specially recommend here the expression, but I must confess that 

passage in Lichtenberg s " Miscel- it has never been easy for me com- 

laneous Writings " (Gothingen, 1801, pletely to comprehend it. It always 

vol. ii. p. 12) : " Euler says, in his seems to me as if the conception 

letters upon various subjects in con- being were something derived from 

nection with natural science (vol. ii. our thought, and thus, if there are 

p. 228), that it would thunder and no longer any sentient and thinking 

lighten just as well if there were no creatures, then there is nothing more 

man present whom the lightning whatever." 
might strike. It is a very common 


volume rests upon the assumption, which has just been 
criticised, of an objective and a subjective world both in 
space, and upon the impossibility which arises in con 
nection with this presupposition of a transition from, one 
to the other, a bridge between the two. Upon this con 
troversy I have still to add the following remarks. 

The subjective and the objective do not constitute a con 
tinuous whole. That of which we are immediately con 
scious is bounded by the skin, or rat her by the extreme 
ends of the nerves which proceed from the cerebral sys 
tem. Beyond this lies a world of which we have no 
knowledge except through pictures in our head. Now the 
question is, whether and how far there is a world inde 
pendent of us which corresponds to these pictures. The 
relation between the two could only be brought about by 
means of the law of causality ; for this law alone leads 
from what is given to something quite different from it. 
But this law itself has first of all to prove its validity. 
Now it must either be of objective or of subjective origin ; 
but in either case it lies upon one or the other side, and 
therefore cannot supply the bridge between them. If, as 
Locke and Hume assume, it is a posteriori, thus drawn 
from experience, it is of objective, origin, and belongs then 
itself to the external world which is in question. There 
fore it cannot attest the reality of this world, for then, 
according to Locke s method, causality would be proved 
from experience, and the reality of experience from causa 
lity. If, on the contrary, it is given a priori, as Kant has 
more correctly taught us, then it is of subjective origin, and 
in that case it is clear that with it we remain always in the 
subjective sphere. For all that is actually given empiri 
cally in perception is the occurrence of a sensation in the 
organ of sense ; and the assumption that this, even in 
general, must have a cause rests upon a law which is 
rooted in the form of our knowledge, i.e., in the functions 
of our brain. The origin of this law is therefore just as 
subjective as that of the sensation itself. The cause of the 


given sensation, which is assumed in consequence of this 
law, presents itself at once in perception as an object, 
which has space and time for the form of its manifesta 
tion. But these forms themselves again are entirely of 
subjective origin ; for they are the mode or method of our 
faculty of perception. That transition from the sensation 
to its cause which, as I have repeatedly pointed out, lies 
at the foundation of all sense-perception is certainly suf 
ficient to give us the empirical presence in space and 
time of an empirical object, and is therefore quite enough 
for the practical purposes of life ; but it is by no means 
sufficient to afford us any conclusion as to the existence 
and real nature, or rather as to the intelligible substratum, 
of the phenomena which in this way arise for us. Thus 
that on the occasion of certain sensations occurring in my 
organs of sense there arises in my head a perception of 
things which are extended in space, permanent in time, 
and causally efficient by no means justifies the assump 
tion that they also exist in themselves, i.e., that such 
things with these properties belonging absolutely to them 
selves exist independently and outside of my head. This 
is the true outcome of the Kantian philosophy. It coin 
cides with an earlier result of Locke s, which is just as 
true, but far more easily understood. For although, as 
Locke s doctrine permits, external things are absolutely 
assumed as the causes of sensations, yet there can be no 
resemblance between the sensation in which the effect con 
sists and the objective nature of the cause which occasions 
it. For the sensation, as organic function, is primarily 
determined by the highly artificial and complicated 
nature of our organs of sense. It is therefore merely 
excited by the external cause, but is then perfected en 
tirely in accordance with its own laws, and thus is com 
pletely subjective. Locke s philosophy was the criticism 
of the functions of sense ; Kant has given us the criticism 
of the functions of the brain. But to all this we have yet 
to add the Berkeleian result, which has been revised by me, 


that every object, whatever its origin may be, is as object 
already conditioned by the subject, is in fact merely its 
idea. The aim of realism is indeed the object without 
subject ; but it is impossible even to conceive such an 
object distinctly. 

From this whole inquiry it follows with certainty and 
distinctness that it is absolutely impossible to attain to the 
comprehension of the inner nature of things upon the path 
of mere knowledge and perception. For knowledge always 
comes to things from without, and therefore must for ever 
remain outside them. This end would only be reached if 
we could find ourselves in the inside of things, so that 
their inner nature would be known to us directly. Now, 
how far this is actually the case is considered in my 
second book. But so long as we are concerned, as in this 
first book, with objective comprehension, that is, with know 
ledge, the world is, and remains for us, a mere idea, for here 
there is no possible path by which we can cross over to it. 

But, besides this, a firm grasp of the point of view of 
idealism is a necessary counterpoise to that of materialism. 
The controversy concerning the real and the ideal may also 
be regarded as a controversy concerning the existence of 
matter. For it is the reality or ideality of this that is 
ultimately in question. Does matter, as such, exist only 
in our idea, or does it also exist independently of it ? In 
the latter case it would be the thing in itself ; and who 
ever assumes a self-existent matter must also, consistently, 
be a materialist, i.e., he must make matter the principle 
of explanation of all things. Whoever, on the contrary, 
denies its existence as a thing in itself is eo ipso an 
idealist. Among the moderns only Locke has definitely 
and without ambiguity asserted the reality of matter ; and 
therefore his teaching led, in the hands of Condillac, 
to the sensualism and materialism of the French. Only 
Berkeley directly and without modifications denies matter. 
The complete antithesis is thus that of idealism and ma 
terialism, represented in its extremes by Berkeley and the 


French materialists (Hollbach). Fichte is not to be men 
tioned here : he deserves no place among true philosophers ; 
among those elect of mankind who, with deep earnestness, 
seek not their own things but the truth, and therefore must 
not be confused with those who, under this pretence, have 
only their personal advancement in view. Fichte is the 
father of the sham philosophy, of the disingenuous method 
which, through ambiguity in the use of words, incompre 
hensible language, and sophistry, seeks to deceive, and 
tries, moreover, to make a deep impression by assuming 
an air of importance in a word, the philosophy which 
seeks to bamboozle and humbug those who desire to learn. 
After this method had been applied by Schelling, it reached 
its height, as every one knows, in Hegel, in whose hands 
it developed into pure charlatanism. But whoever even 
names this Fichte seriously along with Kant shows that 
he has not even a dim notion of what Kant is. On the 
other hand, materialism also has its warrant. It is just 
as true that the knower is a product of matter as that 
matter is merely the idea of the knower ; but it is also 
just as one-sided. For materialism is the philosophy of 
the subject that forgets to take account of itself. And, 
accordingly, as against the assertion that I am a mere 
modification of matter, this must be insisted upon, that 
all matter exists merely in my idea; and it is no less 
right. A knowledge, as yet obscure, of these relations 
seems to have been the origin of the saying of Plato, " v\ij 
a\T]0ivov tyevbos " (materiel mendacium verax). 

Realism necessarily leads, as we have said, to material 
ism. For if empirical perception gives us things in them 
selves, as they exist independently of our knowledge, 
experience also gives us the order of things in themselves, 
i.e., the true and sole order of the world. But this path 
leads to the assumption that there is only one thing in 
itself, matter; of which all other things are modifications; 
for the course of nature is here the absolute and only order 
of the world. To escape from these consequences, while 


realism remained in undisputed acceptance, spiritualism 
was set up, that is, the assumption of a second substance 
outside of and along with matter, an immaterial substance. 
This dualism and spiritualism, equally unsupported by 
experience and destitute of proof and comprehensibility, 
was denied by Spinoza, and was proved to be false by 
Kant, who dared to do so because at the same time he 
established idealism in its rights. For with realism ma 
terialism, as the counterpoise of which spiritualism had 
been devised, falls to the ground of its own accord, because 
then matter and the course of nature become mere pheno 
mena, which are conditioned by the intellect, as they have 
their existence only in its idea. Accordingly spiritualism 
is the delusive and false safeguard against materialism, 
while the real and true safeguard is idealism, which, by 
making the objective world dependent upon us, gives the 
needed counterpoise to the position of dependence upon 
the objective world, in which we are placed by the course 
of nature. The world from which I part at death is, in 
another aspect, only my idea. The centre of gravity of 
existence falls back into the subject. What is proved is 
not, as in spiritualism, that the knower is independent of 
matter, but that all matter is dependent on him. Cer 
tainly this is not so easy to comprehend or so convenient 
to handle as spiritualism, with its two substances ; but 
^aXe-Tro. ra Ka\a. 

In opposition to the subjective starting-point, " the world 
is my idea," there certainly stands provisionally with 
equal justification the objective starting-point, " the world 
is matter," or " matter alone is absolute " (since it alone is 
not subject to becoming and passing away), or " all that 
exists is matter." This is the starting-point of Democritus, 
Leucippus, and Epicurus. But, more closely considered, 
the departure from the subject retains a real advantage ; 
it has the start by one perfectly justified step. For con 
sciousness alone is the immediate: but we pass over this 
if we go at once to matter and make it our starting-point. 



On the other hand, it would certainly be possible to con 
struct the world from matter and its properties if these 
were correctly, completely, and exhaustively known to us 
(which is far from being the case as yet). For all that 
has come to be has become actual through causes, which 
could operate and come together only by virtue of the 
fundamental forces of matter. But these must be perfectly 
capable of demonstration at least objectively, even if sub 
jectively we never attain to a knowledge of them. But 
such an explanation and construction of the world would 
not only have at its foundation the assumption of an exist 
ence in itself of matter (while in truth it is conditioned 
by the subject), but it would also be obliged to allow all 
the original qualities in this matter to pass current and 
remain absolutely inexplicable, thus as gualitates occultce. 
(Of. 26, 27 of the first volume.) For matter is only the 
vehicle of these forces, just as the law of causality is only 
the arranger of their manifestations. Therefore such an 
explanation of the world would always remain merely 
relative and conditioned, properly the work of a physical 
science, which at every step longed for a metapliysic. On 
the other hand, there is also something inadequate about 
the subjective starting-point and first principle, " the world 
is my idea," partly because it is one-sided, since the world 
is far more than that (the thing in itself, will), and indeed 
its existence as idea is to a certain extent only accidental 
to it ; but partly also because it merely expresses the fact 
that the object is conditioned by the subject, without at 
the same time saying that the subject, as such, is also con 
ditioned by the object. For the assertion, " the subject 
would still remain a knowing being if it had no object, i.e., 
if it had absolutely no idea," is just as false as the asser 
tion of the crude understanding, " the world, the object, 
would still exist, even if there were no subject." A con 
sciousness without an object is no consciousness. A think 
ing subject has conceptions for its object; a subject of 
sense perception has objects with the qualities correspond- 


ing to its organisation. If we rob the subject of all special 
characteristics and forms of its knowledge, all the pro 
perties of the object vanish also, and nothing remains but 
matter without form and quality, which can just as little 
occur in experience as a subject without the forms of its 
knowledge, but which remains opposed to the naked sub 
ject as such, as its reflex, which can only disappear along 
with it, Although materialism pretends to postulate 
nothing more than this matter for instance, atoms yet 
it unconsciously adds to it not only the subject, but also 
space, time, and causality, which depend upon special pro 
perties of the subject. 

The world as idea, the objective world, has thus, as it 
were, two poles ; the simple knowing subject without the 
forms of its knowledge, and crude matter without form 
and quality. Both are completely unknowable ; the sub 
ject because it is that which knows, matter because with 
out form and quality it cannot be perceived. Yet both 
are fundamental conditions of all empirical perception. 
Thus the knowing subject, merely as such, which is a 
presupposition of all experience, stands opposed as its 
pure counterpart to the crude, formless, and utterly dead 
(i.e., will-less) matter, which is given in no experience, 
but which all experience presupposes. This subject is 
not in time, for time is only the more definite form of 
all its ideas. The matter which stands over against it 
is, like it, eternal and imperishable, endures through all 
time, but is, properly speaking, not extended, for exten 
sion gives form, thus it has no spatial properties. Every 
thing else is involved in a constant process of coming 
into being and passing away, while these two repre 
sent the unmoved poles of the world as idea. The per 
manence of matter may therefore be regarded as the 
reflex of the timelessness of the pure subject, which is 
simply assumed as the condition of all objects. Both 
belong to phenomena, not to the thing in itself, but they 
are the framework of the phenomenon. Both are arrived 


at only by abstraction, and are not given immediately, 
pure and for themselves. 

The fundamental error of all systems is the failure to 
understand this truth. Intelligence and matter are corre 
lates, i.e., the one exists only for the other, both stand and 
fall together, the one is only the reflex of the other. In 
deed they are really one and the same thing regarded from 
two opposite points of view ; and this one thing, I am here 
anticipating, is the manifestation of the will, or the thing 
in itself. Consequently both are secondary, and therefore 
the origin of the world is not to be sought in either of the 
two. But because of their failure to understand this, all 
systems (with the exception perhaps of that of Spinoza) 
sought the origin of all things in one of these two. Some 
of them, on the one hand, suppose an intelligence, vovs, 
as the absolutely First and STj/j^ovpyo^, and accordingly in 
this allow an idea of things and of the world to precede 
their actual existence; consequently they distinguish the 
real world from the world of idea ; which is false. There 
fore matter now appears as that through which the two 
are distinguished, as the thing in itself. Hence arises the 
difficulty of procuring this matter, the v\r], so that when 
added to the mere idea of the world it may impart reality 
to it. That original intelligence must now either find it 
ready to hand, in which case it is just as much an absolute 
First as that intelligence itself, and we have then two 
absolute Firsts, the Sr)/j,ioupyos and the v\r) ; or the abso 
lute intelligence must create this matter out of nothing, 
an assumption which our understanding refuses to make, 
for it is only capable of comprehending changes in matter, 
and not that matter itself should come into being or pass 
away. This rests ultimately upon the fact that matter is 
essential, the correlate of the understanding. On the other 
hand, the systems opposed to these, which make the other 
of the two correlates, that is, matter, the absolute First, 
suppose a matter which would exist without being per 
ceived ; and it has been made sufficiently clear by all that 


has been said above that this is a direct contradiction, for 
by the existence of matter we always mean simply its 
being perceived. But here they encounter the difficulty 
of bringing to this matter, which alone is their absolute 
First, the intelligence which is finally to experience it. 
I have shown this weak side of materialism in 7 of 
the first volume. For me, on the contrary, matter and 
intelligence are inseparable correlates, which exist only 
for each other, and therefore merely relatively. Matter 
is the idea of the intelligence ; the intelligence is that in 
whose idea alone matter exists. The two together con 
stitute the world as idea, which is just Kant s phenomenon, 
and consequently something secondary. What is primary 
is that which manifests itself, the thing in itself, which we 
shall afterwards discover is the will. This is in itself 
neither the perceiver nor the perceived, but is entirely 
different from the mode of its manifestation. 

As a forcible conclusion of this important and difficult 
discussion I shall now personify these two abstractions, 
and present them in a dialogue after the fashion of Pra- 
bodha Tschandro Daya. It may also be compared with a 
similar dialogue between matter and form in the "Duodccim 
Principia Philosophies, " of Eaymund Lully, c. I and 2. 

The Subject. 

I am, and besides me there is nothing. For the world 
is my idea. 


Presumptuous delusion ! I, I am, and besides me there 
is nothing, for the world is my fleeting form. Thou art a 
mere result of a part of this form and altogether acci 

The Subject. 

What insane arrogance ! Neither thou nor thy form 
would exist without me ; ye are conditioned by me. 
Whosoever thinks me away, and believes he can still think 


ye there, is involved in gross delusion, for your existence 
apart from my idea is a direct contradiction, a meaningless 
form of words. Ye are simply means ye are perceived by 
me. My idea is the sphere of your existence; therefore I 
am its first condition. 


Fortunately the audacity of your assertion will soon be 
put to silence in reality and not by mere words. Yet a 
few moments and thou actually art no more. With all 
thy boasting thou hast sunk into nothing, vanished like a 
shadow, and shared the fate of all my transitory forms. 
But I, I remain, unscathed and undiminished, from age to 
age, through infinite time, and behold unshaken the play 
of mv changing form. 

/ o o 

The Subject. 

This infinite time through which thou boastest that 
thou livest, like the infinite space which thou fillest, exists 
only in my idea. Indeed it is merely the form of my 
idea which I bear complete in myself, and in which thou 
exhibitest thyself, which receives thee, and through which 
thou first of all existest. But the annihilation with which 
thou threatenest me touches me not ; were it so, then 
wouldst thou also be annihilated. It merely affects the 
individual, which for a short time is my vehicle, and 
which, like everything else, is my idea. 


And if I concede this, and go so far as to regard thy 
existence, which is yet inseparably linked to that of these 
fleeting individuals, as something absolute, it yet remains 
dependent upon mine. For thou art subject only so far 
as thou hast an object ; and this object I am. I am its 
kernel and content, that which is permanent in it, that 
which holds it together, and without which it would be as 
disconnected, as wavering, and unsubstantial as the dreams 


and fancies of thy individuals, which have yet borrowed 
from me even the illusive content they possess. 

The Subject. 

Thou dost well to refrain from contesting my existence 
on the ground that it is linked to individuals ; for, as in 
separably as I am joined to them, thou art joined to thy 
sister, Form, and hast never appeared without her. No 
eye hath yet seen either thee or me naked and isolated ; 
for we are both mere abstractions. It is in reality one 
being that perceives itself and is perceived by itself, but 
whose real being cannot consist either in perceiving or in 
being perceived, since these are divided between us two. 


We are, then, inseparably joined together as necessary 
parts of one whole, which includes us both and exists 
through us. Only a misunderstanding can oppose us two 
hostilely to each other, and hence draw the false conclu 
sion that the one contests the existence of the other, with 
which its own existence stands or falls. 

This whole, which comprehends both, is the world as 
idea, or the world of phenomena. When this is taken 
away there remains only what is purely metaphysical, the 
thing in itself, which in the second book we shall recognise 
as the will 

1 84 



WITH all transcendental ideality the objective world re 
tains empirical reality ; the object is indeed not the 
thing in itself, but as an empirical object it is real. It is 
true that space is only in iny head ; but empirically my 
head is in space. The law of causality can certainly 
never enable us to get quit of idealism by building a 
bridge between things in themselves and our knowledge 
of them, and thus certifying the absolute reality of the 
world, which exhibits itself in consequence of its applica 
tion ; but this by no means does away with the causal 
relation of objects to each other, thus it does not abolish 
the causal relation which unquestionably exists between 
the body of each knowing person and all other material 
objects. But the law of causality binds together only 
phenomena, and does not lead beyond them. With that 
law we are and remain in the world of objects, i.e., the 
world of phenomena, or more properly the world of ideas. 
Yet the whole of such a world of experience is primarily 
conditioned by the knowledge of a subject in general as 
its necessary presupposition, and then by the special forms 
of our perception and apprehension, thus necessarily be 
longs to the merely phenomenal, and has no claim to pass 
for the world of things in themselves. Indeed the subject 
itself (so far as it is merely the knowing subject) belongs 
to the merely phenomenal, of which it constitutes the 
complementary half. 

Without application of the law of causality, however, 
perception of an objective world could never be arrived at ; 


for this perception is, as I have often explained, essentially 
matter of the intellect, and not merely of the senses. The 
senses afford us mere sensation, which is far from being 
perception. The part played by sensations of the senses 
in perception was distinguished by Locke under the 
name secondary qualities, which he rightly refused to 
ascribe to things in themselves. But Kant, carrying 
Locke s method further, distinguished also, and refused 
to ascribe to things in themselves what belongs to the 
working up of this material (the sensations) by the brain. 
The result was, that in this was included all that Locke 
had left to things in themselves as primary qualities 
extension, form, solidity, &c. so that with Kant the 
thing in itself was reduced to a completely unknown 
quantity = x. With Locke accordingly the thing in itself 
is certainly without colour, sound, smell, taste, neither 
warm nor cold, neither soft nor hard, neither smooth nor 
rough ; yet it has still extension and form, it is impene 
trable, at rest or in motion, and has mass and number. 
With Kant, on the other hand, it has laid aside all these 
latter qualities also, because they are only possible by 
means of time, space, and causality, and these spring from 
an intellect (brain), just as colours, tones, smells, &c., 
originate in the nerves of the organs of sense. The thing 
in itself has with Kant become spaceless, unextended, and 
incorporeal. Thus what the mere senses bring to the 
perception, in which the objective world exists, stands to 
what is supplied by the functions of the brain (space, time, 
causality) as the mass of the nerves of sense stand to the 
mass of the brain, after subtracting that part of the latter 
which is further applied to thinking proper, i.e., to abstract 
ideas, and is therefore not possessed by the brutes. Eor 
as the nerves of the organs of sense impart to the pheno 
menal objects colour, sound, taste, smell, temperature, &c., 
so the brain imparts to them extension, form, impenetra 
bility, the power of movement, &c., in short all that can 
only be presented in perception by means of time, space, 


and causality. How small is the share of the senses in 
perception, compared with that of the intellect, is also 
shown by a comparison of the nerve apparatus for receiv 
ing impressions with that for working them up. The mass 
of the nerves of sensation of the whole of the organs of 
sense is very small compared with that of the brain, even 
in the case of the brutes, whose brain, since they do not, 
properly speaking, i.e., in the abstract, think, is merely 
used for effecting perception, and yet when this is com 
plete, thus in the case of mammals, has a very considerable 
mass, even after the cerebellum, whose function is the 
systematic guidance of movements, has been taken away. 

That excellent book by Thomas Eeid, the " Inquiry into 
the Human Mind" (first edition, 1764; 6th edition, 1810), 
as a negative proof of the Kantian truths, affords us a very 
thorough conviction of the inadequacy of the senses to pro 
duce the objective perception of things, and also of the non- 
empirical origin of the perception of space and time. Eeid 
refutes Locke s doctrine that perception is a product of 
the senses, by a thorough and acute demonstration that the 
collective sensations of the senses do not bear the least re 
semblance to the world as known in perception, and espe 
cially that the five primary qualities of Locke (extension, 
form, solidity, movement, and number) absolutely could not 
be afforded us by any sensation of the senses. Accordingly 
he gives up the question as to the mode of origination 
and the source of perception as completely insoluble ; and 
although altogether unacquainted with Kant, he gives us, 
as it were, according to the regula falsi, a thorough proof of 
the intellectual nature of perception (really first explained 
by me as a consequence of the Kantian doctrine), and also 
of the a priori source, discovered by Kant, of its consti 
tuent elements, space, time, and causality, from which 
those primary qualities of Locke first proceed, but by 
means of which they are easily constructed. Thomas 
Eeid s book is very instructive and well worth reading 
ten times more so than all the philosophy together that has 


been written since Kant. Another indirect proof of the 
same doctrine, though in the way of error, is afforded by 
the French sensational philosophers, who, since Condillac 
trod in the footsteps of Locke, have laboured to show 
once for all that the whole of our perception and thinking 
can be referred to mere sensations (penser cest sentir), 
which, after Locke s example, they call iddes simples, and 
through the mere coming together and comparison of which 
the whole objective world is supposed to build itself up 
in our heads. These gentlemen certainly have des ide es 
lien simples. It is amusing to see how, lacking alike 
the profundity of the German and the honesty of the 
English philosopher, they turn the poor material of sensa 
tion this way and that way, and try to increase its impor 
tance, in order to construct out of it the deeply significant 
phenomena of the world of perception and thought. But 
the man constructed by them would necessarily be an 
Anencephalus, a T6te de crapaud, with only organs of sense 
and without a brain. To take only a couple of the better 
attempts of this sort out of a multitude of others, I may 
mention as examples Condorcet at the beginning of hi* 
book, "Des Progress de V Esprit Humain" and Tourtual 
on Sight, in the second volume of the " Scriptores Ophthal- 
mologici Minores" edidit Justus Radius (1828). 

The feeling of the insufficiency of a purely sensational- 
istic explanation of perception is in like manner shown in 
the assertion which was made shortly before the appear 
ance of the Kantian philosophy, that we not only have 
ideas of things called forth by sensation, but apprehend 
the things themselves directly, although they lie outside us 
which is certainly inconceivable. And this was not 
meant in some idealistic sense, but was said from the 
point of view of common realism. This assertion is well 
and pointedly put by the celebrated Euler in his " Letters 
to a German Princess," vol. ii. p. 68. He says : " I there 
fore believe that the sensations (of the senses) contain 
something more than philosophers imagine. They are not 


merely empty perceptions of certain impressions made in 
the brain. They do not give the soul mere ideas of things, 
but actually place before it objects which exist outside 
it, although we cannot conceive how this really hap 
pens." This opinion is explained by the following facts. 
Although, as I have fully proved, perception is brought 
about by application of the law of causality, of which we 
are conscious a priori, yet in sight the act of the under 
standing, by means of which we pass from the effect to 
the cause, by no means appears distinctly in conscious 
ness ; and therefore the sensation does not separate itself 
clearly from the idea which is constructed out of it, as the 
raw material, by the understanding. Still less can a dis 
tinction between object and idea, which in general does 
not exist, appear in consciousness ; but we feel the things 
themselves quite directly, and indeed as lying outside us, 
although it is certain that what is immediate can only be 
the sensation, and this is confined to the sphere of the body 
enclosed by our skin. This can be explained from the fact 
that outside us is exclusively a spatial determination. But 
space itself is a form of our faculty of perception, i.e., a 
function of our brain. Therefore that externality to us to 
which we refer objects, on the occasion of sensations of 
sight, is itself really within our heads ; for that is its 
whole sphere of activity. Much as in the theatre we see 
the mountains, the woods, and the sea, but yet everything 
is inside the house. From this it becomes intelligible that 
we perceive things in the relation of externality, and yet 
in every respect immediately, but have not within us an 
idea of the things which lie outside us, different from these 
things. For things are in space, and consequently also 
external to us only in so far as we perceive them. There 
fore those things which to this extent we perceive directly, 
and not mere images of them, are themselves only our 
ideas, and as such exist only in our heads. Therefore we 
do not, as Euler says, directly perceive the things them 
selves which are external to us, but rather the things 


which are perceived by us as external to us are only our 
ideas, and consequently are apprehended by us imme 
diately. The whole observation given above in Euler s 
words, and which is quite correct, affords a fresh proof of 
Kant s Transcendental ^Esthetic, and of my theory of per 
ception which is founded upon it, as also of idealism in 
general. The directness and unconsciousness referred to 
above, with which in perception we make the transition 
from the sensation to its cause, may be illustrated by an 
analogous procedure in the use of abstract ideas or think 
ing. When we read or hear we receive mere words, but 
we pass from these so immediately to. the conceptions de 
noted by them, that it is as if we received the conceptions 
directly ; for we are absolutely unconscious of the tran 
sition from the words to the conceptions. Therefore it 
sometimes happens that we do not know in what language 
it was that we read something yesterday which we now 
remember. Yet that such a transition always takes place 
becomes apparent if it is once omitted, that is, if in a fit of 
abstraction we read without thinking, and then become 
aware that we certainly have taken in all the words but 
no conceptions. Only when we pass from abstract con 
ceptions to pictures of the imagination do we become 
conscious of the transposition we have made. 

Further, it is really only in perception in the narrowest 
sense, that is, in sight, that in empirical apprehension the 
transition from the sensation to its cause takes place quite 
unconsciously. In every other kind of sense perception, 
on the contrary, the transition takes place with more 
or less distinct consciousness; therefore, in the case of 
apprehension through the four coarser senses, its reality is 
capable of being established as an immediate fact. Thus 
in the dark we feel a thing for a long time on all 
sides until from the different effects upon our hands 
we are able to construct its definite form as their cause. 
Further, if something feels smooth we sometimes reflect 
whether we may not have fat or oil upon our hands; and 


again, if something feels cold we ask ourselves whether it 
may not be that we have very warm hands. When we 
hear a sound we sometimes doubt whether it was really 
an affection of our sense of hearing from without or merely 
an inner affection of it ; then whether it sounded near and 
weak or far off and strong, then from what direction it 
came, and finally whether it was the voice of a man or of 
a brute, or the sound of an instrument ; thus we investi 
gate the cause of each effect we experience. In the case 
of smell and taste uncertainty as to the objective nature 
of the cause of the effect felt is of the commonest oc 
currence, so distinctly are the two separated here. The 
fact that in sight the transition from the effect to the 
cause occurs quite unconsciously, and hence the illusion 
arises that this kind of perception is perfectly direct, and 
consists simply in the sensation alone without any opera 
tion of the understanding this has its explanation partly 
in the great perfection of the organ of vision, and partly 
in the exclusively rectilineal action of light. On account 
of the latter circumstance the impression itself leads 
directly to the place of the cause, and since the eye is 
capable of perceiving with the greatest exactness and at a 
glance all the fine distinctions of light and shade, colour 
and outline, and also the data in accordance with which 
the understanding estimates distance, it thus happens that 
in the case of impressions of this sense the operation of 
the understanding takes place with such rapidity and 
certainty that we are just as little conscious of it as of 
spelling when we read. Hence arises the delusion that 
the sensation itself presents us directly with the objects. 
Yet it is just in sight that the operation of the under 
standing, consisting in the knowledge of the cause from 
the effect, is most significant. By means of it what is felt 
doubly, with two eyes, is perceived as single ; by means of 
it the impression which strikes the retina upside down, in 
consequence of the crossing of the rays in the pupils, is 
put right by following back the cause of this in the same 


direction, or as we express ourselves, we see things upright 
although their image in the eye is reversed ; and finally 
by means of the operation of the understanding magni 
tude and distance are estimated by us in direct perception 
from five different data, which are very clearly and beau 
tifully described by Dr. Thomas Reid. I expounded all 
this, and also the proofs which irrefutably establish the 
intellectual nature of perception, as long ago as 1 8 1 6, in my 
essay "On Sight and Colour" (second edition, 1854; third 
edition, 1870), and with important additions fifteen years 
later in the revised Latin version of it which is given 
under the title, " Theoria Colorum Physiologica Eademque 
Primaria," in the third volume of the " Script&res Oplithal- 
mologici Minores" published by Justus Eadius in 1830 ; yet 
most fully and thoroughly in the second (and third) edition 
of my essay " On the Principle of Sufficient Reason," 21. 
Therefore on this important subject I refer to these works, 
so as not to extend unduly the present exposition. 

On the other hand, an observation which trenches on 
the province of aesthetics may find its place here. It 
follows from the proved intellectual nature of perception 
that the sight of beautiful objects for example, of a 
beautiful view is also a phenomenon of the brain. Its 
purity and completeness, therefore, depends not merely on 
the object, but also upon the quality of the brain, its form 
and size, the fineness of its texture, and the stimulation 
of its activity by the strength of the pulse of the arteries 
which supply it. Accordingly the same view appears in 
different heads, even when the eyes are equally acute, as 
different as, for example, the first and last impressions of 
a copper plate that has been much used. This is the 
explanation of the difference of capacity for enjoying 
natural beauty, and consequently also for reproducing it, 
i.e., for occasioning a similar phenomenon of the brain by 
means of an entirely different kind of cause, the arrange 
ment of colours on a canvas. 

The apparent immediacy of perception, depending on 


its entire intellectuality, by virtue of which, as Euler 
says, we apprehend the thing itself, and as external to us, 
finds an analogy in the way in which we feel the parts of 
our own bodies, especially when they suffer pain, which 
when we do feel them is generally the case. Just as we 
imagine that we perceive things where they are, while 
the perception really takes place in the brain, we believe 
that we feel the pain of a limb in the limb itself, while 
in reality it also is felt in the brain, to which it is con 
ducted by the nerve of the affected part. Therefore, only 
the affections of those parts whose nerves go to the brain 
are felt, and not those of the parts whose nerves belong to 
the sympathetic system, unless it be that an unusually 
strong affection of these parts penetrates by some round 
about way to the brain, where yet for the most part it 
only makes itself known as a dull sense of discomfort, 
and always without definite determination of its locality. 
Hence, also, it is that we do not feel injuries to a limb 
whose nerve-trunk has been severed or ligatured. And 
hence, finally, the man who has lost a limb still some 
times feels pain in it, because the nerves which go to the 
brain are still there. Thus, in the two phenomena here 
compared, what goes on in the brain is apprehended as 
outside of it ; in the case of perception, by means of the 
understanding, which extends its feelers into the outer 
world ; in the case of the feeling of our limbs, by means of 
the nerves. 

( 193 ) 



IT is not the object of my writings to repeat what has 
been said by others, and therefore I only make here some 
special remarks of my own on the subject of the senses. 

The senses are merely the channels through which the 
brain receives from without (in the form of sensations) 
the materials which it works up into ideas of perception. 
Those sensations which principally serve for the objective 
comprehension of the external world must in themselves 
be neither agreeable nor disagreeable. This really means 
that they must leave the will entirely unaffected. Other 
wise the sensation itself would attract our attention, and 
we would remain at the effect instead of passing to the 
cause, which is what is aimed at here. For it would 
bring with it that marked superiority, as regards our 
consideration, which the will always has over the mere 
idea, to which we only turn when the will is silent. 
Therefore colours and sounds are in themselves, and so 
long as their impression does not pass the normal degree, 
neither painful nor pleasurable sensations, but appear 
with the indifference that fits them to be the material 
of pure objective perception. This is as far the case as 
was possible in a body which is in itself through and 
through will; and just in this respect it is worthy of 
admiration. Physiologically it rests upon the fact that 
in the organs of the nobler senses, thus in sight and hear 
ing, the nerves which have to receive the specific outward 
impression are quite insusceptible to any sensation of pain, 
"VOL. n. 


and know no other sensation than that which is specifi 
cally peculiar to them, and which serves the purpose of 
mere apprehension. Thus the retina, as also the optic 
nerve, is insensible to every injury; and this is also the 
case with the nerve of hearing. In both organs pain is 
only felt in their other parts, the surroundings of the 
nerve of sense which is peculiar to them, never in this 
nerve itself. In the case of the eye such pain is felt 
principally in the conjunctiva ; in the case of the ear, in 
the meatus auditorius. Even with the brain this is the 
case, for if it is cut into directly, thus from above, it has 
no feeling. Thus only on account of this indifference 
with regard to the will which is peculiar to them are the 
sensations of the eye capable of supplying the understand 
ing with such multifarious and finely distinguished data, 
out of which it constructs in our head the marvellous ob 
jective world, by the application of the law of causality 
upon the foundation of the pure perceptions of space and 
time. Just that freedom from affecting the will which is 
characteristic of sensations of colour enables them, when 
their energy is heightened by transparency, as in the glow 
of an evening sky, in painted glass, and the like, to raise 
us very easily into the state of pure objective will-less 
perception, which, as I have shown in my third book, is 
one of the chief constituent elements of the aesthetic im 
pression. Just this indifference with regard to the will 
fits sounds to supply the material for denoting the in 
finite multiplicity of the conceptions of the reason. 

Outer sense, that is, receptivity for external impressions 
as pure data for the understanding, is divided into Jive 
senses, and these accommodate themselves to the four 
elements, i.e., the four states of aggregation, together with 
that of imponderability. Thus the sense for what is firm 
(earth) is touch ; for what is fluid (water), taste ; for what 
is in the form of vapour, i.e., volatile (vapour, exhalation), 
smell; for what is permanently elastic (air), hearing; for 
what is imponderable (fire, light), sight. The second im- 


ponderable, heat, is not properly an object of the senses, 
but of general feeling, and therefore always affects the 
will directly, as agreeable or disagreeable. From this 
classification there also follows the relative dignity of the 
senses. Sight has the highest rank, because its sphere is 
the widest and its susceptibility the finest. This rests 
upon the fact that what affects it is an imponderable, 
that is, something which is scarcely corporeal, but is quasi 
spiritual. Hearing has the second place, corresponding 
to air. However, touch is a more thorough and well- 
informed sense. For while each of the other senses gives 
us only an entirely one-sided relation to the object, as its 
sound, or its relation to light, touch, which is closely 
bound up with general feeling and muscular power, sup 
plies the understanding with the data at once for the form, 
magnitude, hardness, softness, texture, firmness, tempera 
ture, and weight of bodies, and all this with the least 
possibility of illusion and deception, to which all the 
other senses are far more subject. The two lowest senses, 
smell and taste, are no longer free from a direct affection 
of the will, that is, they are always agreeably or disagree 
ably affected, and are therefore more subjective than 

Sensations of hearing are exclusively in time, and there 
fore the whole nature of music consists in degrees of time, 
upon which depends both the quality or pitch of tones, 
by means of vibrations, and also their quantity or duration, 
by means of time. The sensations of sight, on the other 
hand, are primarily and principally in space; but secon 
darily, by reason of their duration, they are also in time. 

Sight is the sense of the understanding which perceives ; 
hearing is the sense of the reason which thinks and ap 
prehends. Words are only imperfectly represented by 
visible signs ; and therefore I doubt whether a deaf and 
dumb man, who can read, but has no idea of the sound of 
the words, works as quickly in thinking with the mere 
visible signs of conceptions as we do with the real, i.e., 


the audible words. If he cannot read, it is well known 
that he is almost like an irrational animal, while the man 
born blind is from the first a thoroughly rational being. 

Sight is an active, hearing a passive sense. Therefore 
sounds affect our mind in a disturbing and hostile manner, 
and indeed they do so the more in proportion as the 
mind is active and developed ; they distract all thoughts 
and instantly destroy the power of thinking. On the 
other hand, there is no analogous disturbance through the 
eye, no direct effect of what is seen, as such, upon the 
activity of thought (for naturally we are not speaking 
here of the influence which the objects looked at have 
upon the will) ; but the most varied multitude of things 
before our eyes admits of entirely unhindered and quiet 
thought. Therefore the thinking mind lives at peace with 
the eye, but is always at war with the ear. This oppo 
sition of the two senses is also confirmed by the fact that 
if deaf and dumb persons are cured by galvanism they 
become deadly pale with terror at the first sounds they 
hear (Gilbert s " Annalen der PkysiJc," vol. x. p. 382), 
while blind persons, on the contrary, who have been 
operated upon, behold with ecstasy the first light, and 
unwillingly allow the bandages to be put over their eyes 
again. All that has been said, however, can be explained 
from the fact that hearing takes place by means of a 
mechanical vibration of the nerve of hearing which is at 
once transmitted to the brain, while seeing, on the other 
hand, is a real action of the retina which is merely stimu 
lated and called forth by light and its modifications ; as I 
have shown at length in my physiological theory of 
colours. But this whole opposition stands in direct con 
flict with that coloured-ether, drum-beating theory which 
is now everywhere unblushingly served up, and which 
seeks to degrade the eye s sensation of light to a mechanical 
vibration, such as primarily that of hearing actually is, 
while nothing can be more different than the still, gentle 
effect of light and the alarm-drum of hearing. If we add 


to this the remarkable circumstance that although we 
hear with two ears, the sensibility of which is often very 
different, yet we never hear a sound double, as we often 
see things double with our two eyes, we are led to the 
conjecture that the sensation of hearing does not arise 
in the labyrinth or in the cochlea, but deep in the brain 
where the two nerves of hearing meet, and thus the im 
pression becomes simple. But this is where the pons 
Varolii encloses the medulla oblongata, thus at the ab 
solutely lethal spot, by the injury of which every animal 
is instantly killed, and from which the nerve of hearing 
has only a short course to the labyrinth, the seat of 
acoustic vibration. Now it is just because its source is 
here, in this dangerous place, in which also all movement 
of the limbs originates, that we start at a sudden noise ; 
which does not occur in the least degree when we sud 
denly see a light ; for example, a flash of lightning. The 
optic nerve, on the contrary, proceeds from its thalami 
much further forward (though perhaps its source lies 
behind them), and throughout its course is covered by the 
anterior lobes of the brain, although always separated 
from them till, having extended quite out of the brain, 
it is spread out in the retina, upon which, on stimulation 
by light, the sensation first arises, and where it is really 
localised. This is shown in my essay upon sight and 
colour. This origin of the auditory nerve explains, then, 
the great disturbance which the power of thinking suffers 
from sound, on account of which thinking men, and in 
general all people of much intellect, are without excep 
tion absolutely incapable of enduring any noise. For it 
disturbs the constant stream of their thoughts, interrupts 
and paralyses their thinking, just because the vibration 
of the auditory nerve extends so deep into the brain, the 
whole mass of which feels the oscillations set up through 
this nerve, and vibrates along with them, and because the 
brains of such persons are more easily moved than those 
of ordinary men. On the same readiness to be set in 


motion, and capacity for transmission, which characterises 
their brains depends the fact that in the case of persons 
like these every thought calls forth so readily all those 
analogous or related to it whereby the similarities, ana 
logies, and relations of things in general come so quickly 
and easily into their minds ; that the same occasion which 
millions of ordinary minds have experienced before brings 
them to the thought, to the discovery, that other people 
are subsequently surprised they did not reach themselves, 
for they certainly can think afterwards, but they cannot 
think before. Thus the sun shone on all statues, but 
only the statue of Memnon gave forth a sound. For 
this reason Kant, Gcethe, and Jean Paul were highly 
sensitive to every noise, as their biographers bear wit 
ness. 1 Gcethe in his last years bought a house which had 
fallen into disrepair close to his own, simply in order that 
he might not have to endure the noise that would be 
made in repairing it. Thus it was in vain that in his 
youth he followed the drum in order to harden himself 
against noise. It is not a matter of custom. On the 
other hand, the truly stoical indifference to noise of 
ordinary minds is astonishing. No noise disturbs them 
in their thinking, reading, writing, or other occupations, 
while the finer mind is rendered quite incapable by it. 
But just that which makes them so insensible to noise of 
every kind makes them also insensible to the beautiful 
in plastic art, and to deep thought or fine expression in 
literary art; in short, to all that does not touch their 
personal interests. The following remark of Lichtenberg s 
applies to the paralysing effect which noise has upon 
highly intellectual persons : " It is always a good sign 
\vhen an artist can be hindered by trifles from exercising 

his art. ~F used to stick his fingers into sulphur if 

he wished to play the piano. . . . Such things do not 

1 Lichtenberg says in his " Xach- " I am extremely sensitive to all 

richtcn und Bcmerkungcn von und noise, but it entirely loses its dis- 

iiber sich sclbst " ( Vermisckte Schrif- agreeable character as soon as it is 

ten, Gottinyen, 1800, vol. i. p. 43) : associated with a rational purpose." 


interfere with the average mind ; ... it acts like a coarse 
sieve" (Vermischte Schriften, vol. i. p. 398). I have long 
really held the opinion that the amount of noise which 
any one can bear undisturbed stands in inverse propor 
tion to his mental capacity, and therefore may be regarded 
as a pretty fair measure of it. Therefore, if I hear the 
dogs barking for hours together in the court of a house 
without being stopped, I know what to think of the intel 
lectual capacity of the inhabitants. The man who habitu 
ally slams the door of a room, instead of shutting it with 
his hand, or allows this to go on in his house, is not only 
ill-bred, but is also a coarse and dull-minded fellow. 
That in English " sensible " also means gifted with under 
standing is based upon accurate and fine observation. 
We shall only become quite civilised when the ears are 
no longer unprotected, and when it shall no longer be 
the right of everybody to sever the consciousness of each 
thinking being, in its course of a thousand steps, with 
whistling, howling, bellowing, hammering, whip-cracking, 
barking, &c. &c. The Sybarites banished all noisy trades 
without the town; the honourable sect of the Shakers 
in North America permit no unnecessary noise in their 
villages, and the Moravians have a similar rule. Some 
thing more is said upon this subject in the thirtieth 
chapter of the second volume of the " Parerga." 

The effect of music upon the mind, so penetrating, so 
direct, so unfailing, may be explained from the passive 
nature of hearing which has been discussed; also the 
after effect which sometimes follows it, and which consists 
in a specially elevated frame of mind. The vibrations of 
the tones following in rationally combined numerical 
relations set the fibre of the brain itself in similar vibra 
tion. On the other hand, the active nature of sight, 
opposed as it is to the passive nature of hearing, makes 
it intelligible why there can be nothing analogous to 
music for the eye, and the piano of colours was an absurd 
mistake. Further, it is just on account of the active 


nature of the sense of sight that it is remarkably acute in 
the case of Leasts that hunt, i.e., beasts of prey, while 
conversely the passive sense of hearing is specially acute 
in those beasts that are hunted, that flee, and are timid, 
so that it may give them timely warning of the pursuer 
that is rushing or creeping upon them. 

Just as we have recognised in sight the sense of the 
understanding, and in hearing the sense of the reason, so 
we might call smell the sense of the memory, because it 
recalls to us more directly than any other the specific 
impression of an event or a scene even from the most 
distant past. 

( 201 ) 



FROM the fact that we are able spontaneously to assign 
and determine the laws of relations in space without 
having recourse to experience, Plato concludes (Meno, 
p. 353, Bip.) that all learning is mere recollection. Kant, 
on the other hand, concludes that space is subjectively 
conditioned, and merely a form of the faculty of know 
ledge. How far, in this regard, does Kaut stand above 

Cogito, ergo sum, is an analytical judgment. Indeed 
Parrnenides held it to be an identical judgment : " TO <yap 
avro voeiv ean re KO.I eivat " (nam intelliyere et esse idem 
est, Clem. Alex. Strom., vi. 2, 23). As such, however, or 
indeed even as an analytical judgment, it cannot contain 
any special wisdom ; nor yet if, to go still deeper, we 
seek to deduce it as a conclusion from the major premise, 
non-entis nulla sunt prcedicata. But with this proposition 
what Descartes really wished to express was the great 
truth that immediate certainty belongs only to self- 
consciousness, to what is subjective. To what is objective, 
OTI the other hand, thus to everything else, only indirect 
certainty belongs ; for it is arrived at through self- 
consciousness ; and being thus merely at second hand, it 
is to be regarded as problematical. Upon this depends 
the value of this celebrated proposition. As its opposite 
we may set up, in the sense of the Kantian philosophy, 
cogito, ergo est, that is, exactly as I think certain relations 
iu things (the mathematical), they must always occur in 


all possible experience ; this was an important, profound, 
and a late appergu, which appeared in the form of the 
problem as to the possibility of synthetic judgments a priori, 
and has actually opened up the way to a deeper know 
ledge. This problem is the watchword of the Kantian 
philosophy, as the former proposition is that of the 
Cartesian, and shows ef olwv et? ola. 

Kant very fitly places his investigations concerning 
time and space at the head of all the rest. For to the 
speculative mind these questions present themselves before 
all others : what is time ? what is this that consists of 
mere movement, without anything that moves it? and 
what is space? this omnipresent nothing, out of which 
nothing that exists can escape without ceasing to be 
anything at all ? 

That time and space depend on the subject, are the 
mode in which the process of objective apperception is 
brought about in the brain, has already a sufficient proof 
in the absolute impossibility of thinking away time and 
space, while we can very easily think away everything 
that is presented in them. The hand can leave go of 
everything except itself. However, I wish here to illus 
trate by a few examples and deductions the more exact 
proofs of this truth which are given by Kant, not for 
the purpose of refuting stupid objections, but for the 
use of those who may have to expound Kant s doctrine 
in future. 

" A right-angled equilateral triangle " contains no logical 
contradiction ; for the predicates do not by any means 
cancel the subject, nor are they inconsistent with each 
other. It is only when their object is constructed in pure 
perception that the impossibility of their union in it 
appears. Now if on this account we were to regard 
this as a contradiction, then so would every physical 
impossibility, only discovered to be such after the lapse 
of centuries, be a contradiction; for example, the com 
position of a metal from its elements, or a mammal with 


more or fewer than seven cervical vertebra, 1 or horns 
and upper incisors in the same animal. But only logical 
impossibility is a contradiction, not physical, and just as 
little mathemathical. Equilateral and rectangled do not 
contradict each other (they coexist in the square), nor 
does either of them contradict a triangle. Therefore the 
incompatibility of the above conceptions can never be 
known by mere thinking, but is only discovered by percep 
tion merely mental perception, however, which requires 
no experience, no real object. We should also refer here 
to the proposition of Giordano Bruno, which is also found 
in Aristotle : " An infinitely large body is necessarily im 
movable" a proposition which cannot rest either upon 
experience or upon the principle of contradiction, since it 
speaks of things which cannot occur in any experience, and 
the conceptions " infinitely large " and " movable " do not 
contradict each other ; but it is only pure perception that 
informs us that motion demands a space outside the body, 
while its infinite size leaves no space over. Suppose, now. 
it should be objected to the first mathematical example 
that it is only a question of how complete a conception 
of a triangle the person judging has : if the conception 
is quite complete it will also contain the impossibility 
of a triangle being rectangular and also equilateral. The 
answer to this is : assume that his conception is not so 
complete, yet without recourse to experience he can, by 
the mere construction of the triangle in his imagination, 
extend his conception of it and convince himself for ever 
of the impossibility of this combination of these con 
ceptions. This process, however, is a synthetic judgment 
a priori, that is, a judgment through which, independently 
of all experience, and yet with validity for all experience, 
we form and perfect our conceptions. For, in general, 
whether a given judgment is analytical or synthetical can 
only be determined in the particular case according as 

1 That the three-toed sloth has yet Owen still states this, " Osteologie 
nine must be regarded as a mistake ; Comp." p. 405. 


the conception of the subject in the mind of the person 
judging is more or less complete. The conception " cat " 
contains in the mind of a Cuvier a hundred times more 
than in that of his servant ; therefore the same judg 
ments about it will be synthetical for the latter, and only 
analytical for the former. But if we take the conceptions 
objectively, and now wish to decide whether a given 
judgment is analytical or synthetical, we must change the 
predicate into its contradictory opposite, and apply this to 
the subject without a copula. If this gives a contradictio 
in adjecto, then the judgment was analytical ; otherwise it 
was synthetical. 

That Arithmetic rests on the pure intuition or perception 
of time is not so evident as that Geometry is based upon 
that of space. 1 It can be proved, however, in the following 
manner. All counting consists in the repeated affirmation 
of unity. Only for the purpose of always knowing how 
often we have already affirmed unity do we mark it each 
time with another word : these are the numerals. Now 
repeti tion is only possible through succession. But suc 
cession, that is, being after one another, depends directly 
upon the intuition or perception of time. It is a con 
ception which can only be understood by means of this ; 

1 This, however, does not excuse the end to condemn without cere- 
a professor of philosophy who, sitting mony the fundamental teaching of 
in Kant s chair, expresses himself a great genius in a tone of peremptory 
thus : " That mathematics as such decision, just as if it were Hegelian 
contains arithmetic and geometry is foolery. We must not, however, fail 
correct. It is incorrect, however, to notice that these little people 
to conceive arithmetic as the science struggle to escape from the track of 
of time, really for no other reason great thinkers. They would there- 
than to give a pendant (sic) to fore have done better not to attack 
geometry as the science of space " Kant, but to content themselves 
(Rosenkranz in the " Deutschen with giving their public full details 
Museum," 1857, May 14, No. 20). about God, the soul, the actual free- 
This is the fruit of Hegelism. If dom of the will, and whatever be- 
the mind is once thoroughly de- longs to that sort of thing, and then 
bauched with its senseless jargon, to have indulged in a private luxury 
serious Kantian philosophy will no in their dark back-shop, the philo- 
longer enter it. The audacity to sephical journal ; there they may 
talk at random about what one does do whatever they like without con- 
not understand has been inherited straint, for no one sees it. 
from the master, and one comes in 


and thus counting also is only possible by means of time. 
This dependence of all counting upon time is also be 
trayed by the fact that in all languages multiplication 
is expressed by " time," thus by a time-concept : sexies, 
ega/cis, sixfois, sex mal. But simple counting is already a 
multiplication by one, and for this reason in Pestalozzi s 
educational establishment the children are always made 
to multiply thus : " Two times two is four times one." 
Aristotle already recognised the close relationship of 
number and time, and expounded it in the fourteenth 
chapter of the fourth book of the " Physics." Time is for 
him " the number of motion " (" 6 xpovos api0/j,os eart K.W- 
Tjcreco?"). He very profoundly suggests the question whether 
time could be if the soul were not, and answers it in the 
negative. If arithmetic had not this pure intuition or 
perception of time at its foundation, it would be no science 
a priori, and therefore its propositions would not have 
infallible certainty. 

Although time, like space, is the form of knowledge of 
the subject, yet, just like space, it presents itself as inde 
pendent of the subject and completely objective. Against 
our will, or without our knowledge, it goes fast or slow. 
We ask what o clock it is ; we investigate time, as if it 
were something quite objective. And what is this objec 
tive existence ? Not the progress of the stars, or of the 
clocks, which merely serve to measure the course of time 
itself, but it is something different from all things, and 
yet, like them, independent of our will and knowledge. 
It exists only in the heads of percipient beings, but the 
uniformity of its course and its independence of the will 
give it the authority of objectivity. 

Time is primarily the form of inner sense. Anticipat 
ing the following book, I remark that the only object of 
inner sense is the individual will of the knowing subject. 
Time is therefore the form by means of which self-con 
sciousness becomes possible for the individual will, which 
originally and in itself is without knowledge. In it the 


nature of the will, which in itself is simple and identical, 
appears drawn out into a course of life. But just on 
account of this original simplicity and identity of what 
thus exhibits itself, its character remains always precisely 
the same, and hence also the course of life itself retains 
throughout the same key-note, indeed its multifarious 
events and scenes are at bottom just like variations of one 
and the same theme. 

The a priori nature of the law of causality has, by Eng 
lishmen and Frenchmen, sometimes not been seen at all, 
sometimes not rightly conceived of ; and therefore some 
of them still prosecute the earlier attempts to find for it 
an empirical origin. Maine de Biran places this in the 
experience that the act of will as cause is followed by the 
movement of the body as effect. But this fact itself is 
untrue. We certainly do not recognise the really imme 
diate act of will as something different from the action of 
the body, and the two as connected by the bond of causa 
lity ; but both are one and indivisible. Between them there 
is no succession ; they are simultaneous. They are one and 
the same thing, apprehended in a double manner. That 
which makes itself known to inner apprehension (self-con 
sciousness) as the real act of will exhibits itself at once in 
external perception, in which the body exists objectively 
as an action of the body. That physiologically the action 
of the nerve precedes that of the muscle is here imma 
terial, for it does not come within self-consciousness; and 
we are not speaking here of the relation between muscle 
and nerve, but of that between the act of will and the action 
of the body. Now this does not present itself as a causal 
relation. If these two presented themselves to us as 
cause and effect their connection would not be so incom 
prehensible to us as it actually is ; for what we under 
stand from its cause we understand as far as there is an 
understanding of things generally. On the other hand, 
the movement of our limbs by means of mere acts of will 
is indeed a miracle of such common occurrence that we 


no longer observe it ; but if we once turn our attention to 
it we become keenly conscious of the incomprehensibility 
of the matter, just because in this we have something 
before us which we do not understand as the effect of a 
cause. This apprehension, then, could never lead us to 
the idea of causality, for that never appears in it at all. 
Maine de Biran himself recognises the perfect simultane- 
ousness of the act of will and the movement (Nouvelles 
Considerations des Rapports du Physique au Moral, p. 
377> 37 8 )- I n England Thomas Eeid (On the First 
Principles of Contingent Truths, Essay IV. c. 5) already 
asserted that the knowledge of the causal relation has 
its ground in the nature of the faculty of knowledge it 
self. Quite recently Thomas Brown, in his very tediously 
composed book, " Inquiry into the Eelation of Cause and 
Effect," 4th edit, 1835, says much the same thing, that 
that knowledge springs from an innate, intuitive, and 
instinctive conviction ; thus he is at bottom upon the 
right path. Quite unpardonable, however, is the crass 
ignorance on account of which in this book of 476 pages, 
of which 130 are devoted to the refutation of Hume, 
absolutely no mention is made of Kant, who cleared up 
the question more than seventy years ago. If Latin had 
remained the exclusive language of science such a thing 
would not have occurred. In spite of Brown s exposition, 
which in the main is correct, a modification of the doctrine 
set up by Maine de Biran, of the empirical origin of the 
fundamental knowledge of the causal relation, has yet 
found acceptance in England ; for it is not without a 
certain degree of plausibility. It is this, that we abstract 
the law of causality from the perceived effect of our own 
body upon other bodies. This was already refuted by 
Hume. I, however, have shown that it is untenable in 
my work, " Ueber den Willen in dcr Natur" (p. 75 of the 
second edition, p. 82 of the third), from the fact that since 
we apprehend both our own and other bodies objectively 
in spatial perception, the knowledge of causality must 


already be there, because it is a condition of such percep 
tion. The one genuine proof that we are conscious of 
the law of causalty before all experience lies in the neces 
sity of making a transition from the sensation, which is 
only empirically given, to its cause, in order that it may 
become perception of the external world. Therefore I 
have substituted this proof for the Kantian, the incorrect 
ness of which I have shown. A most full and thorough 
exposition of the whole of this important subject, which 
is only touched on here, the a priori nature of the law of 
causality and the intellectual nature of empirical percep 
tion, will be found in my essay on the principle of suffi 
cient reason, 21, to which I refer, in order to avoid the 
necessity of repeating here what is said there. I have 
also shown there the enormous difference between the 
mere sensation of the senses and the perception of an 
objective world, and discovered the wide gulf that lies 
between the two. The law of causality alone can bridge 
across this gulf, and it presupposes for its application the 
two other forms which are related to it, space and time. 
Only by means of these three combined is the objective 
idea attained to. Now whether the sensation from which 
we start to arrive at apprehension arises through the 
resistance which is suffered by our muscular exertion, or 
through the impression of light upon the retina, or of 
sound upon the nerves of the brain, &c. &c., is really a 
matter of indifference. The sensation always remains a 
mere datum for the understanding, which alone is capable 
of apprehending it as the effect of a cause different from 
itself, which the understanding now perceives as external, 
i.e., as something occupying and filling space, which is 
also a form inherent in the intellect prior to all experi 
ence. Without this intellectual operation, for which the 
forms must lie ready in us, the perception of an objective, 
external world could never arise from a mere sensation 
within our skin. How can it ever be supposed that the 
mere feeling of being hindered in intended motion, which 


occurs also in lameness, could be sufficient for this ? We 
may add to this that before I attempt to affect external 
things they must necessarily have affected me as motives. 
But this almost presupposes the apprehension of the ex 
ternal world. According to the theory in question (as I 
have remarked in the place referred to above), a man 
born without arms and legs could never attain to the 
idea of causality, and consequently could never arrive at 
the apprehension of the external world. But that this 
is not the case is proved by a fact communicated in 
Froriep s Notizen, July 1838, No. 133 the detailed 
account, accompanied by a likeness, of an Esthonian girl, 
Eva Lauk, then fourteen years old, who was born entirely 
without arms or legs. The account concludes with these 
words : " According to the evidence of her mother, her 
mental development had been quite as quick as that of 
her brothers and sisters ; she attained just as soon as they 
did to a correct judgment of size and distance, yet without 
the assistance of hands. Dorpat, ist March 1838, Dr. A. 

Hume s doctrine also, that the conception of causality 
arises from the custom of seeing two states constantly 
following each other, finds a practical refutation in the 
oldest of all successions, that of day and night, which no 
one has ever held to be cause and effect of each other. 
And the same succession also refutes Kant s false asser 
tion that the objective reality of a succession is only 
known when we apprehend the two succeeding events as 
standing in the relation of cause and effect to each other. 
Indeed the converse of this doctrine of Kant s is true. 
We know which of the two connected events is the cause 
and which the effect, empirically, only in the succession. 
Again, on the other hand, the absurd assertion of several 
professors of philosophy in our own day that cause and 
effect are simultaneous can be refuted by the fact that in 
cases in which the succession cannot be perceived on 
account of its great rapidity, we yet assume it with 



certainty a priori, and with it the lapse of a certain time. 
Thus, for example, we know that a certain time must 
elapse between the falling of the flint and the projection 
of the bullet, although we cannot perceive it, and that 
this time must further be divided between several events 
that occur in a strictly determined succession the fall 
ing of the flint, the striking of the spark, ignition, the 
spread of the fire, the explosion, and the projection of the 
bullet. No man ever perceived this succession of events ; 
but because we know which is the cause of the others, we 
thereby also know which must precede the others in time, 
and consequently also that during the course of the whole 
series a certain time must elapse, although it is so short 
that it escapes our empirical apprehension ; for no one 
will assert that the projection of the bullet is actually 
simultaneous with the falling of the flint. Thus not only 
the law of causality, but also its relation to time, and the 
necessity of the succession of cause and effect, is known to 
us a priori. If we know which of two events is the cause 
and which is the effect, we also know which precedes the 
other in time ; if, on the contrary, we do not know which 
is cause and which effect, but only know in general that 
they are causally connected, we seek to discover the suc 
cession empirically, and according to that we determine 
which is the cause and which the effect. The falseness of 
the assertion that cause and effect are simultaneous further 
appears from the following consideration. An unbroken 
chain of causes and effects fills the whole of time. (For 
if this chain were broken the world would stand still, or 
in order to set it in motion again an effect without a cause 
would have to appear.) Now if every effect were simul 
taneous with its cause, then every effect would be moved 
up into the time of its cause, and a chain of causes and 
effects containing as many links as before would fill no 
time at all, still less an infinite time, but would be all 
together in one moment. Thus, under the assumption that 
cause and effect are simultaneous, the course of the world 


shrinks up into an affair of a moment. This proof is 
analogous to the proof that every sheet of paper must 
have a certain thickness, because otherwise the whole 
book would have none. To say when the cause ceases 
and the effect begins is in almost all cases difficult, and 
often impossible. For the changes (i.e., the succession of 
states) are continuous, like the time which they fill, and 
therefore also, like it, they are infinitely divisible. But 
their succession is as necessarily determined and as un 
mistakable as that of the moments of time itself, and each 
of them is called, w r ith reference to the one which precedes 
it, " effect," and with reference to the one which follows 
it, " cause." 

Every change in the material world can only take place be 
cause another has immediately preceded it: this is the true and 
the whole content of the law of causality. But no concep 
tion has been more misused in philosophy than that of cause, 
by means of the favourite trick or blunder of conceiving it 
too widely, taking it too generally, through abstract think 
ing. Since Scholasticism, indeed properly since Plato and 
Aristotle, philosophy has been for the most part a systematic 
misuse of general conceptions. Such, for example, are sub 
stance, ground, cause, the good, perfection, necessity, and 
very many others. A tendency of the mind to work with 
such abstract and too widely comprehended conceptions 
has shown itself almost at all times. It may ultimately 
rest upon a certain indolence of the intellect, which finds 
it too difficult a task to be constantly controlling thought 
by perception. By degrees such unduly wide conceptions 
come to be used almost like algebraical symbols, and tossed 
about like them, and thus philosophy is reduced to a mere 
process of combination, a kind of reckoning which (like all 
calculations) employs and demands only the lower facul 
ties. Indeed there finally results from this a mere juggling 
with words, of which the most shocking example is afforded 
us by the mind-destroying Hegelism, in which it is carried 
to the extent of pure nonsense. But Scholasticism also 


often degenerated into word-juggling. Nay, even the 
" Topi " of Aristotle very abstract principles, conceived 
with absolute generality, which one could apply to the 
most different kinds of subjects, and always bring into the 
field in arguing either pro or contra have also their origin 
in this misuse of general conceptions. We find innumer 
able examples of the way the Schoolmen worked with such 
abstractions in their writings, especially in those of Thomas 
Aquinas. But philosophy really pursued the path which 
was entered on by the Schoolmen down to the time of 
Locke and Kant, who at last bethought themselves as to 
the origin of conceptions. Indeed we find Kant himself, 
in his earlier years, still upon that path, in his " Proof of 
the Existence of God" (p. 191 of the first volume of 
Eosenkranz s edition), where the conceptions substance, 
ground, reality, are used in such a way as would never 
have been possible if he had gone back to the source of 
these conceptions and to their true content which is deter 
mined thereby. For then he would have found as the 
source and content of substance simply matter, of ground 
(if things of the real world are in question) simply cause, 
that is, the prior change which brings about the later 
change, &c. It is true that in this case such an investi 
gation would not have led to the intended result. But 
everywhere, as here, such unduly wide conceptions, under 
which, therefore, more was subsumed than their true con 
tent would have justified, there have arisen false principles, 
and from these false systems. Spinoza s whole method 
of demonstration rests upon such uninvestigated and too 
widely comprehended conceptions. Now here lies the 
great merit of Locke, who, in order to counteract all that 
dogmatic unreality, insisted upon the investigation of the 
origin of the conceptions, and thus led back to perception 
and experience. Bacon had worked in a similar frame of 
mind, yet more with reference to Physics than to Meta 
physics. Kant followed the path entered upon by Locke, 
but in a higher sense and much further, as has already been 


mentioned above. To the men of mere show who succeeded 
in diverting the attention of the public from Kant to 
themselves the results obtained by Locke and Kant were 
inconvenient. But in such a case they know how to 
ignore both the dead and the living. Thus without 
hesitation they forsook the only right path which had 
at last been found by those wise men, and philosophised 
at random with all kinds of indiscriminately collected 
conceptions, unconcerned as to their origin and content, 
till at last the substance of the Hegelian philosophy, wise 
beyond measure, was that the conceptions had no origin 
at all, but were rather themselves the origin and source of 
things. But Kant has erred in this respect. He has too 
much neglected empirical perception for the sake of pure 
perception a point which I have fully discussed in my 
criticism of his philosophy. With me perception is through 
out the source of all knowledge. I early recognised the 
misleading and insidious nature of abstractions, and in 
1813, in my essay on the principle of sufficient reason, I 
pointed out the difference of the relations which are thought 
under this conception. General conceptions must indeed be 
the material in which philosophy deposits and stores up 
its knowledge, but not the source from which it draws 
it ; the terminus ad quern, not a quo. It is not, as Kant 
defines it, a science drawn from conceptions, but a science 
in conceptions. Thus the conception of causality also, 
with which we are here concerned, has always been taken 
far too widely by philosophers for the furtherance of their 
dogmatic ends, and much was imported into it which does 
not belong to it at all. Hence arose propositions such as 
the following : " All that is has its cause " " the effect 
cannot contain more than the cause, thus nothing that 
was not also in the cause " " causa est ndbilior suo effectu" 
and many others just as unwarranted. The following 
subtilty of that insipid gossip Proclus affords an elaborate 
and specially lucid example of this. It occurs in his 
" Institutio Thcologica," 76 : " Hav ro airo aKivr^rov ycyvo- 


ama?, a^era^Krjrov e^ei TIJV vTrapfyv irav Se TO CLTCO 
, fj,6ra(3\r)Tr)v ei jap a/avrjTOV e<JTi TcavTrj TO 
TTotovv, ov 8ia Kiwrjcreays, a\\ avrw T&> eivai Trapayei TO 
SevTepov a<f> eavTov." (Quidquid db immobili causa manat, 
immutdbilem habet essentiam [substantiam"]. Quidquid vero 
a mobili causa manat, essentiam habet mutdbilem. Si enim 
illud, quod aliquid facit, est prorsus immobile, non per 
inotum, sed per ipsum Esse producit ipsum secundum ex se 
ipso.~) Excellent ! But just show me a cause which is not 
itself set in motion : it is simply impossible. But here, 
as in so many cases, abstraction has thought away all 
determinations down to that one which it is desired to 
make use of without regard to the fact that the latter 
cannot exist without the former. The only correct ex 
pression of the law of causality is this : Every change has 
its cause in another change which immediately precedes it. 
If something happens, i.e., if a new state of things appears, 
i.e., if something is changed, then something else must 
have changed immediately before, and something else again 
before this, and so on ad infinitum, for a first cause is as 
impossible to conceive as a beginning of time or a limit 
of space. More than this the law of causality does not 
assert. Thus its claims only arise in the case of changes. 
So long as nothing changes there can be no question of 
a cause. For there is no a priori ground for inferring 
from the existence of given things, i.e., states of matter, 
their previous non-existence, and from this again their 
coming into being, that is to say, there is no a priori 
ground for inferring a change. Therefore the mere exist 
ence of a thing does not justify us in inferring that it 
has a cause. Yet there may be a posteriori reasons, 
that is, reasons drawn from previous experience, for the 
assumption that the present state or condition did not 
always exist, but has only come into existence in con 
sequence of another state, and therefore by means of a 
change, the cause of which is then to be sought, and also 
the cause of this cause. Here then we are involved in 


the infinite regressus to which the application of the law 
of causality always leads. We said above : " Things, i.e., 
states or conditions of matter" for change and causality 
have only to do with states or conditions. It is these 
states which we understand by form, in the wider sense ; 
and only the forms change, the matter is permanent. 
Thus it is only the form which is subject to the law of 
causality. But the form constitutes the thing, i.e., it is 
the ground of the difference of things ; while matter must 
be thought as the same in all. Therefore the School 
men said, "Forma dat esse rei;" more accurately this 
proposition would run : Forma dat rei essentiam, materia 
existentiam. Therefore the question as to the cause of a 
thing always concerns merely its form, i.e., its state or 
quality, and not its matter, and indeed only the former so 
far as we have grounds for assuming that it has not always 
existed, but has come into being by means of a change. The 
union of form and matter, or of essentia and existentia, gives 
the concrete, which is always particular ; thus, the thing. 
And it is the forms whose union with matter, i.e., whose 
appearance in matter by means of a change, are subject to 
the law of causality. By taking the conception too widely 
in the abstract the mistake slipped in of extending causality 
to the thing absolutely, that is, to its whole inner nature 
and existence, thus also to matter, and ultimately it was 
thought justifiable to ask for a cause of the world itself. 
This is the origin of the cosmological proof. This proof 
begins by inferring from the existence of the world its 
non-existence, which preceded its existence, and such an 
inference is quite unjustifiable ; it ends, however, with the 
most fearful inconsistency, for it does away altogether with 
the law of causality, from which alone it derives all its 
evidencing power, for it stops at a first cause, and will not 
go further ; thus ends, as it were, by committing parricide, 
as the bees kill the drones after they have served their 
end. All the talk about the absolute is referable to a 
shaniefast, and therefore disguised cosmological proof, 


which, in the face of the " Critique of Pure Reason," has 
passed for philosophy in Germany for the last sixty years. 
What does the absolute mean ? Something that is, and of 
which (under pain of punishment) we dare not ask further 
whence and why it is. A precious rarity for professors of 
philosophy ! In the case, however, of the honestly ex 
pressed cosmological proof, through the assumption of a 
first cause, and therefore of a first beginning in a time 
which has absolutely no beginning, this beginning is always 
pushed further back by the question : Why not earlier ? 
And so far back indeed that one never gets down from 
it to the present, but is always marvelling that the present 
itself did not occur already millions of years ago. In 
general, then, the law of causality applies to all things in 
the world, but not to the world itself, for it is immanent 
in the world, not transcendent ; with it it comes into 
action, and with it it is abolished. This depends ultimately 
upon the fact that it belongs to the mere form of our 
understanding, like the whole of the objective world, 
which accordingly is merely phenomenal, and is con 
ditioned by the understanding. Thus the law of causality 
has full application, without any exception, to all things in 
the world, of course in respect of their form, to the variation 
of these forms, and thus to their changes. It is valid for 
the actions of men as for the impact of a stone, yet, as we 
have said always, merely with regard to events, to changes. 
But if we abstract from its origin in the understanding 
and try to look at it as purely objective, it will be found 
in ultimate analysis to depend upon the fact that every 
thing that acts does so by virtue of its original, and 
therefore eternal or timeless, power ; therefore its present 
effect would necessarily have occurred infinitely earlier, 
that is, before all conceivable time, but that it lacked the 
temporal condition. This temporal condition is the occa 
sion, i.e., the cause, on account of which alone the effect 
only takes place now, but now takes place necessarily ; 
the cause assigns it its place in time. 


But in consequence of that unduly wide view in abstract 
thought of the conception cause, which was considered 
above, it has been confounded with the conception offeree. 
This is something completely different from the cause, 
but yet is that which imparts to every cause its causality, 
i.e., the capability of producing au effect. I have ex 
plained this fully and thoroughly in the second book of 
the first volume, also in " The Will in Nature," and 
finally also in the second edition of the essay on the prin 
ciple of sufficient reason, 20, p. 44 (third edition, p. 45). 
This confusion is to be found in its most aggravated form 
in Maine de Biran s book mentioned above, and this is 
dealt with more fully in the place last referred to ; but 
apart from this it is also very common ; for example, when 
people seek for the cause of any original force, such as 
gravitation. Kant himself (Uber den Einzig Moglichen 
Beweisgrund, vol. i. p. 211-215 of Eosenkranz s edition) 
calls the forces of nature "efficient causes," and says 
" gravity is a cause." Yet it is impossible to see to the 
bottom of his thought so long as force and cause are not 
distinctly recognised as completely different. But the 
use of abstract conceptions leads very easily to their con 
fusion if the consideration of their origin is set aside. The 
knowledge of causes and effects, always perceptive, which 
rests on the form of the understanding, is neglected in 
order to stick to the abstraction cause. In this way alone 
is the conception of causality, with all its simplicity, so 
very frequently wrongly apprehended. Therefore even 
in Aristotle (" Metaph.," iv. 2) we find causes divided into 
four classes which are utterly falsely, and indeed crudely 
conceived. Compare with it my classification of causes 
as set forth for the first time in my essay on sight and 
colour, chap. I , and touched upon briefly in the sixth para 
graph of the first volume of the present work, but ex 
pounded at full length in my prize essay on the freedom 
of the will, p. 30-33. Two things in nature remain un 
touched by that chain of causality which stretches into 


infinity in both directions ; these are matter and the forces 
of nature. They are both conditions of causality, while 
everything else is conditioned by it. For the one (matter) 
is that in which the states and their changes appear ; the 
other (forces of nature) is that by virtue of which alone 
they can appear at all. Here, however, one must remem 
ber that in the second book, and later and more thoroughly 
in " The Will in Nature," the natural forces are shown to 
be identical with the will in us; but matter appears as 
the mere visibility of the will ; so that ultimately it also 
may in a certain sense be regarded as identical with the 

On the other hand, not less true and correct is what is ex 
plained in 4 of the first book, and still better in the second 
edition of the essay on the principle of sufficient reason 
at the end of 21, p. 77 (third edition, p. 82), that matter 
is causality itself objectively comprehended, for its entire 
nature consists in acting in general, so that it itself is thus 
the activity (evepyeut = reality) of things generally, as it 
were the abstraction of all their different kinds of acting. 
Accordingly, since the essence, essentia, of matter consists 
in action in general, and the reality, existentia, of things 
consists in their materiality, which thus again is one with 
action in general, it may be asserted of matter that in it 
existentia and essentia unite and are one, for it has no 
other attribute than existence itself in general and inde 
pendent of all fuller definitions of it. On the other hand, 
all empirically given matter, thus all material or matter 
in the special sense (which our ignorant materialists at 
the present day confound with matter), has already entered 
the framework of the forms and manifests itself onlv 

v */ 

through their qualities and accidents, because in experience 
every action is of quite a definite and special kind, and is 
never merely general. Therefore pure matter is an object 
of thought alone, not of perception, which led Plotinus 
(Enneas II., lib. iv., c. 8 & 9) and Giordano Bruno (Delia 
Causa, dial. 4) to make the paradoxical assertion that 


matter has no extension, for extension is inseparable from 
the form, and that therefore it is incorporeal. Yet Aristotle 
had already taught that it is not a body although it is 
corporeal : "crcof^a /j,ev OVK av eirj, aco/nart/cr] Se" (Stob. Ed., 
lib. i., c. 12, 5). In reality we think under pure matter 
only action, in the abstract, quite independent of the kind 
of action, thus pure causality itself; and as such it is not 
an object but a condition of experience, just like space and 
time. This is the reason why in the accompanying table 
of our pure a priori knowledge matter is able to take the 
place of causality, and therefore appears along with space 
and time as the third pure form, and therefore as de 
pendent on our intellect. 

This table contains all the fundamental truths which 
are rooted in our perceptive or intuitive knowledge a priori, 
expressed as first principles independent of each other. 
What is special, however, what forms the content of 
arithmetic and geometry, is not given here, nor yet what 
only results from the union and application of those 
formal principles of knowledge. This is the subject of 
the "Metaphysical First Principles of Natural Science" 
expounded by Kant, to which this table in some measure 
forms the propsedutic and introduction, and with which it 
therefore stands in direct connection. In this table I have 
primarily had in view the very remarkable parallelism of 
those a priori principles of knowledge which form the 
framework of all experience, but specially also the fact 
that, as I have explained in 4 of the first volume, matter 
(and also causality) is to be regarded as a combination, or 
if it is preferred, an amalgamation, of space and time. In 
agreement with this, we find that what geometry is for the 
pure perception or intuition of space, and arithmetic for 
that of time, Kant s plwronomy is for the pure perception 
or intuition of the two united. For matter is primarily 
that which is movable in space. The mathematical point 
cannot even be conceived as movable, as Aristotle has 
shown ("Physics," vi. 10). This philosopher also himself 


provided the first example of such a science, for in the 
fifth and sixth books of his " Physics " he determined 
a priori the laws of rest and motion. 

Now this table may be regarded at pleasure either as a 
collection of the eternal laws of the world, and therefore 
as the basis of our ontology, or as a chapter of the physio 
logy of the brain, according as one assumes the realistic 
or the idealistic point of view ; but the second is in the 
last instance right. On this point, indeed, we have already 
come to an understanding in the first chapter ; yet I wish 
further to illustrate it specially by an example. Aristotle s 
book "De Xenophane" &c., commences with these weighty 
words of Xenophanes : " A iSiov eivai tyrja-iv, ei TI ea-nv, 
enrep //,?; evBe-^erai yeveadai jjurj^ev etc fjujSevos" (Sternum 
esse, inquit, quicquid est, siquidem fieri non potest, ut ex 
nihilo quippiam existat.) Here, then, Xenophanes judges 
as to the origin of things, as regards its possibility, and 
of this origin he can have had no experience, even by 
analogy; nor indeed does he appeal to experience, but 
judges apodictically, and therefore a priori. How can 
he do this if as a stranger he looks from without into a 
world that exists purely objectively, that is, independently 
of his knowledge ? How can he, an ephemeral being 
hurrying past, to whom only a hasty glance into such a 
world is permitted, judge apodictically, a priori and 
without experience concerning that world, the possibility 
of its existence and origin ? The solution of this riddle 
is that the man has only to do with his own ideas, which 
as such are the work of his brain, and the constitution 
of which is merely the manner or mode in which alone 
the function of his brain can be fulfilled, i.e., the form 
of his perception. He thus judges only as to the pheno 
mena of his own brain, and declares what enters into its 
forms, time, space, and causality, and what does not. In 
this he is perfectly at home and speaks apodictically. 
In a like sense, then, the following table of the Prcedica- 
liilia a priori of time, space, and matter is to be taken : 




Of Time. 

Of Space. 

Of Matter. 

(i) There is only one 

(i) There is only one 

(i) There is only one Mat 

Time, and all different 

Space, and all different 

ter, and all different mate 

times are parts of it. 

spaces are parts of it. 

rials are different states of 

matter ; as such it is called 


(2) Different times 

(2) Different spaces 

(2) Different matters (ma 

are not simultaneous 

are not successive but 

terials) are not so through 

but successive. 


substance but through acci 


(3) Time cannot be 

(3) Space cannot be 

(3) Annihilation of matter 

thought away, but 

ihought away, but 

is inconceivable, but anni 

everything can be 

everything can be 

hilation of all its forms and 

thought away from it. 

thought away from it. 

qualities is conceivable. 

(4) Time has three 

(4) Space has three 

(4) Matter exists, i.e., acts 

divisions, the past, the 

dimensions height, 

in all the dimensions of 

present, and the future, 

breadth, and length. 

space and throughout the 

which constitute two 

whole length of time, and 

directions and a centre 

thus these two are united 

of indifference. 

and thereby filled. In this 

consists the true nature of 

matter : thus it is through 

and through causality. 

(5) Time is infinitely 

(5) Space is infinitely 

(5) Matter is infinitely di 




(6) Time is homogene 

(6) Space is homo 

(6) Matter is homogeneous 

ous and a Continuum, 

geneous and a Continu 

and a Continuum, i.e., it 

i.e., no one of its parts 

um, i.e., no one of its 

does not consist of originally 

is different from the 

parts is different from 

different (homoiomeria) or 

rest, nor separated from 

the rest, nor separated 

originally separated parts 

it by anything that is 

from it by anything 

(atoms) ; it is therefore not 

not time. 

that is not space. 

composed of parts, which 

would necessarily be sepa 

rated by something that was 

not matter. 

(7) Time has no be 

(7) Space has no lim 

(7) Matter has no origin 

ginning and no end, but 

its, but all limits are 

and no end, but all coming 

all beginning and end 

in it. 

into being and passing away 

is in it. 

are in it. 

(8) By reason of time 

(8) By reason of space 

(8) 15y reason of matter 

we count. 

we measure. 

we weigh. 

(9) Rhythm is only 

(9) Symmetry is only 

(9) Equilibrium is only in 

in time. 

in space. 


(10) We know the 

(10) We know the 

(10) We know the laws of 

laws of time a priori. 

laws of space a priori. 

the substance of all acci 

dents a priori. 



Of Time. 

Of Space. 

Of Matter. 

(n) Time can be per 

(n) Space is imme 

(n) Matter can only be 

ceived a priori, al 

diately perceptible a 

thought a priori. 

though only in the 


form of a line. 

(12) Time has no per 

(12) Space can never 

(12) The accidents change; 

manence, but passes 

pass away, but endures 

the substance remains. 

away as soon as it is 

through all time. 


(13) Time never rests. 

(13) Space is immov 

(13) Matter is indifferent 


to rest and motion ; i. e. , it 

is originally disposed to 

wards neither of the two. 

(14) Everything that 

(14) Everything that 

(14) Everything material 

exists in time has dura 

exists in space has a 

has the capacity for action. 



(15) Time has no dura 

(15) Space has no mo 

(15) Matter is what is per 

tion, but all duration 

tion, but all motion is 

manent in time and mov 

is in it, and is the 

in it, and it is the 

able in space ; by the com 

persistence of what is 

change of position of 

parison of what rests with 

permanent in contrast 

what is moved, in con 

what is moved we measure 

with its restless course. 

trast with its unbroken 



(16) All motion is 

(16) All motion is 

(16) All motion is only 

only possible in time. 

only possible in space. 

possible to matter. 

(17) Velocity is, in 

(17) Velocity is, in 

(17) The magnitude of the 

equal spaces, in inverse 

equal times, in direct 

motion, the velocity being 

proportion to the time. 

proportion to the space. 

equal, is in direct geometri 

cal proportion to the matter 


(18) Time is not meas 

(18) Space is measur 

(18) Matter as such (mass) 

urable directly through 

able directly through 

is measurable, i.e., deter- 

itself, but only indirect 

itself, and indirectly 

minable as regards its quan 

ly through motion, 

through motion, which 

tity only indirectly, only 

which is in space and 

is in time and space 

through the amount of the 

time together : thus 

together : hence, for 

motion which it receives 

the motion of the sun 

example, an hour s 

and imparts when it is re 

and of the clock meas 

journey, and the dis 

pelled or attracted. 

ure time. 

tance of the fixed stars 

expressed as the tra 

velling of light for so 

many years. 

(19) Time is omni 

(19) Space is eternal. 

(19) Matter is absolute. 

present. Every part 

Every part of it exists 

That is, it neither comes 

of time is everywhere, 


into being nor passes away, 

i.e., in all space, at 

and thus its quantity can 


neither be increased nor 




Of Time. 

Of Space. 

Of Matter. 

(20) In time taken 

(20) In space taken 

(20, 21) Matter unites the 

by itself everything 

by itself everything 

ceaseless flight of time with 

would be in succession. 

would be simultane 

the rigid immobility of 


space ; therefore it is the 

(21) Time makes the 

(21) Space makes the 

permanent substance of the 

change of accidents pos 

permanence of sub 

changing accidents. Causa 


stance possible. 

lity determines this change 

for every place at every 

time, and thereby combines 

time and space, and consti 

tutes the whole nature of 


(22) Every part of 

(22) No part of space 

(22) For matter is both 

time contains all parts 

contains the same mat 

permanent and impene 

of matter. 

ter as another. 


(23) Time is the prin- 

(23) Space is the prin- 

(23) Individuals are ma 

cipium individuationis. 

cipiumindii iduationis. 


(24) The now has no 

(24) The point has no 

(24) The atom has no 




(25) Time in itself is 

(25) Space in itself is 

(25) Matter in itself is 

empty and without pro 

empty and without pro 

without form and quality, 



and likewise inert, i.e., in 

different to rest or motion, 

thus without properties. 

(26) Every moment 

(26) By the position 

(26) Every change in mat 

is conditioned by the 

of every limit in space 

ter can take place only on 

preceding moment, and 

with reference to any 

account of another change 

is only because the lat 

other limit, its position 

which preceded it ; and 

ter has ceased to be. 

with reference to every 

therefore a first change, 

(Principle of sufficient 

possible limit is pre 

and thus also a first state 

reason of existence in 

cisely determined. 

of matter, is just as incon 

time. See my essay on 

(Principle of sufficient 

ceivable as a beginning of 

the principle of suffi 

reason of existence in 

time or a limit of space. 

cient reason. ) 

space. ) 

(Principle of sufficient reason 

of becoming.) 

(27) Time makes ar 

(27) Space makes geo 

(27) Matter, as that which 

ithmetic possible. 

metry possible. 

is movable in space, makes 

phoronomy possible. 

(28) The simple ele 

(28) The simple ele 

(28) The simple element 

ment in arithmetic is 

ment in geometry is 

in phoronomy is the atom. 


the point. 



(i) To No. 4 of Matter. 

The essence of matter is acting, it is acting itself, in the abstract, thus 
acting in general apart from all difference of the kind of action : it is through 
and through causality. On this account it is itself, as regards its existence, 
not subject to the law of causality, and thus has neither come into being 
nor passes away, for otherwise the law of causality would be applied to 
itself. Since now causality is known to us a priori, the conception of 
matter, as the indestructible basis of all that exists, can so far take its place 
in the knowledge we possess a priori, inasmuch as it is only the realisation 
of an a priori form of our knowledge. For as soon as we see anything that 
acts or is causally efficient it presents itself eo ipso as material, and con 
versely anything material presents itself as necessarily active or causally 
efficient. They are in fact interchangeable conceptions. Therefore the 
word "actual " is used as synonymous with "material ; " and also the Greek 
KCIT evepyeiav, in opposition to Kara Svvafuv, reveals the same source, for 
evepyeia signifies action in general ; so also with actu in opposition to po- 
tentia, and the English "actually " for " wirklich." What is called space- 
occupation, or impenetrability, and regarded as the essential predicate of 
body (i.e. of what is material), is merely that kind of action which belongs to 
all bodies without exception, the mechanical. It is this universality alone, 
by virtue of which it belongs to the conception of body, and follows a priori 
from this conception, and therefore cannot be thought away from it without 
doing away with the conception itself it is this, I say, that distinguishes it 
from any other kind of action, such as that of electricity or chemistry, or 
light or heat. Kant has very accurately analysed this space-occupation of 
the mechanical mode of activity into repulsive and attractive force, just as 
a given mechanical force is analysed into two others by means of the parallelo 
gram of forces. But this is really only the thoughtful analysis of the phe 
nomenon into its two constituent parts. The two forces in conjunction 
exhibit the body within its own limits, that is, in a definite volume, while 
the one alone would diffuse it into infinity, and the other alone would con 
tract it to a point. Notwithstanding this reciprocal balancing or neutralisa 
tion, the body still acts upon other bodies which contest its space with the 
first force, repelling them, and with the other force, in gravitation, attracting 
all bodies in general. So that the two forces are not extinguished in their 
product, as, for instance, two equal forces acting in different directions, or 
+ E and E, or oxygen and hydrogen in water. That impenetrability and 
gravity really exactly coincide is shown by their empirical inseparableness, 
in that the one never appears without the other, although we can separate 
them in thought. 

I must not, however, omit to mention that the doctrine of Kant referred 
to, which forms the fundamental thought of the second part of his "Meta 
physical First Principles of Natural Science," thus of the Dynamics, was 
distinctly and fully expounded before Kant by Priestley, in his excellent 
"Disquisitions on Matter and Spirit, i and 2, a book which appeared 


in 1777, and the second edition in 1782, while Kant s work was published in 
1786. Unconscious recollection may certainly be assumed in the case of 
subsidiary thoughts, flashes of wit, comparisons, &c., but not in the case of 
the principal and fundamental thought. Shall we then believe that Kant 
silently appropriated such important thoughts of another man? and this 
from a book which at that time was new? Or that this book was unknown 
to him, and that the same thoughts sprang up in two minds within a short 
time? The explanation, also, which Kant gives, in the "Metaphysical First 
Principles of Natural Science " (first edition, p. 88 ; Rosenkranz s edition, 
p. 384), of the real difference between fluids and solids, is in substance already 
to be found in Kaspar Freidr. "Wolffs "Theory of Generation," Berlin 1764, 
p. 132. But what are we to say if we find Kant s most important and 
brilliant doctrine, that of the ideality of space and the merely phenomenal 
existence of the corporeal world, already expressed by Maupertuis thirty 
years earlier ? This will be found more fully referred to in Frauenstiidt s 
letters on my philosophy, Letter 14. Maupertuis expresses this paradoxical 
doctrine so decidedly, and yet without adducing any proof of it, that one 
must suppose that he also took it from somewhere else. It is very desirable 
that the matter should be further investigated, and as this would demand 
tiresome and extensive researches, some German Academy might very well 
make the question the subject of a prize essay. Now in the same relation 
as that in which Kant here stands to Priestley, and perhaps also to Kaspar 
Wolff, and Maupertuis or his predecessor, Laplace stands to Kant. For 
the principal and fundamental thought of Laplace s admirable and certainly 
correct theory of the origin of the planetary system, which is set forth in 
his "Exposition du Systeme du Monde," liv. v. c. 2, was expressed by Kant 
nearly fifty years before, in 1755, in his " Naturgeschichte und Theorie des 
Himmels," and more fully in 1763 in his " Einzig moglichen Beiccisgrund des 
Daseyns Gottes" ch. 7. Moreover, in the later work he gives us to under 
stand that Lambert in his " Kosmologischcn Briefen," 1761, tacitly adopted 
that doctrine from him, and these letters at the same time also appeared in 
French (Lettres sur la Constitution de VUntiers}. We are 
therefore obliged to assume that Laplace knew that Kantian doctrine. 
Certainly he expounds the matter more thoroughly, strikingly, and full} , 
and at the same time more simply than Kant, as is natural from his more 
profound astronomical knowledge ; yet in the main it is to be found clearly 
expressed in Kant, and on account of the importance of the matter, would 
alone have been sufficient to make his name immortal. It cannot but 
disturb us very much if we find minds of the first order under suspicion of 
dishonesty, which would be a scandal to those of the lowest order. For we 
feel that theft is even more inexcusable in a rich man than in a poor one. 
We dare not, however, be silent ; for here we are posterity, and must be just, 
as we hope that posterity will some day be just to us. Therefore, as a third 
example, I will add to these cases, that the fundamental thoughts of the 
"Metamorphosis of Plants," by Goethe, were already expressed by Kaspar 
Wolff in 1764 in his "Theory of Generation," p. 148, 229, 243, &c. Indeed, 
is it otherwise with the system of gravitation ? the discovery of which is on 
the Continent of Europe always ascribed to Newton, while in England the 
learned at least know very well that it belongs to Robert Hooke, who in 
the year 1666, in a "Communication to the Royal Society," expounds it 
quite distinctly, although only as an hypothesis and without proof. The 


principal passage of this communication is quoted in Dugalcl Stewart s 
Philosophy of the Human Mind, " and is probably taken from Robert Hooke s 
Posthumous Works. The history of the matter, and how Newton got into 
difficulty by it, is also to be found in the "Biographic UniverseUe," article 
Newton. Hooke s priority is treated as an established fact in a short 
history of astronomy, Quarterly Review, August 1828. Further details on 
this subject are to be found in my " Parerga," vol. ii., 86 (second edition, 
88). The story of the fall of an apple is a fable as groundless as it is 
popular, and is quite without authority. 

(2) To No. 1 8 of Matter. 

The quantity of a motion (quantitas motus, already in Descartes) is the 
product of the mass into the velocity. 

This law is the basis not only of the doctrine of impact in mechanics, but 
also of that of equilibrium in statics. From the force of impact which two 
bodies with the same velocity exert the relation of their masses to each 
other may be determined. Thus of two hammers striking with the same 
velocity, the one which has the greater mass will drive the nail deeper into 
the wall or the post deeper into the earth. For example, a hammer weigh 
ing six pounds with a velocity = 6 effects as much as a hammer weighing 
three pounds with a velocity = 12, for in both cases the quantity of motion 
or the momentum = 36. Of two balls rolling at the same pace, the one 
which has the greater mass will impel a third ball at rest to a greater 
distance than the ball of less mass can. For the mass of the first multiplied 
by the same velocity gives a greater quantity of motion, or a greater momen 
tum. The cannon carries further than the gun, because an equal velocity 
communicated to a much greater mass gives a much greater quantity of 
motion, which resists longer the retarding effect of gravity. For the same 
reason, the same arm will throw a lead bullet further than a stone one of 
equal magnitude, or a large stone further than quite a small one. And 
therefore also a case-shot does not carry so far as a ball-shot. 

The same law lies at the foundation of the theory of the lever and of the 
balance. For here also the smaller mass, on the longer arm of the lever or 
beam of the balance, has a greater velocity in falling ; and multiplied by 
this it may be equal to, or indeed exceed, the quantity of motion or the 
momentum of the greater mass at the shorter arm of the lever. In the state 
of rest brought about by equilibrium this velocity exists merely in intention 
or virtually, potentid, not actu ; but it acts just as well as actu, which is very 

The following explanation will be more easily understood now that these 
truths have been called to mind. 

The quantity of a given matter can only be estimated in general according 
to its force, and its force can only be known in its expression. Now when 
we are considering matter only as regards its quantity, not its quality, this 
expression can only be mechanical, i.e., it can only consist in motion which 
it imparts to other matter. For only in motion does the force of matter 
become, so to speak, alive ; hence the expression vis viva for the manifesta 
tion of force of matter in motion. Accordingly the only measure of the 
quantity of a given matter is the quantity of its motion, or its momentum. 
In this, however, if it is given, the quantity of matter still appears in cou- 


junction and amalgamated with its other factor, velocity. Therefore if we 
waut to know the quantity of matter (the mass) this other factor must be 

C 1 

eliminated. Now the velocity is known directly ; for it is y. But the other 
factor, which remains when this is eliminated, can always be known only 
relatively in comparison with other masses, which again can only be known 
themselves by means of the quantity of their motion, or their momentum, 
thus in their combination with velocity. "We must therefore compare one 
quantity of motion with the other, and then subtract the velocity from both, 
in order to see how much each of them owed to its mass. This is done by 
weighing the masses against each other, in which that quantity of motion is 
compared which, in each of the two masses, calls forth the attractive power 
of the earth that acts upon both only in proportion to their quantity. 
Therefore there are two kinds of weighing. Either we impart to the two 
masses to be compared equal velocity, in order to find out which of the two 
now communicates motion to the other, thus itself has a greater quantity of 
motion, which, since the velocity is the same on both sides, is to be ascribed 
to the other factor of the quantity of motion or the momentum, thus to the 
mass (common balance). Or we weigh, by investigating how much more 
velocity the one mass must receive than the other has, in order to be equal 
to the latter in quantity of motion or momentum, and therefore allow no 
more motion to be communicated to itself by the other ; for then in propor 
tion as its velocity must exceed that of the other, its mass, i.e. , the quantity 
of its matter, is less than that of the other (steelyard). This estimation of 
masses by weighing depends upon the favourable circumstance that the 
moving force, in itself, acts upon both quite equally, and each of the two is 
in a position to communicate to the other directly its surplus quantity of 
motion or momentum, so that it becomes visible. 

The substance of these doctrines has long ago been expressed by Newton 
and Kant, but through the connection and the clearness of this exposition 
I believe I have made it more intelligible, so that that insight is possible for 
all which I regarded as necessary for the justification of proposition No. 18. 

( 228 ), 

ScconU f&aif. 



IT must be possible to arrive at a complete knowledge of 
the consciousness of tlie brutes, for we can construct it 
by abstracting certain properties of our own consciousness. 
On the other hand, there enters into the consciousness of 
the brute instinct, which is much more developed in all of 
them than in man, and in some of them extends to what 
we call mechanical instinct. 

The brutes have understanding without having reason, 
and therefore they have knowledge of perception but no 
abstract knowledge. They apprehend correctly, and also 
grasp the immediate causal connection, in the case of the 
higher species even through several links of its chain, but 
they do not, properly speaking, think. For they lack con 
ceptions, that is, abstract ideas. The first consequence of 
this, however, is the want of a proper memory, which 
applies even to the most sagacious of the brutes, and it 
is just this which constitutes the principal difference be 
tween their consciousness and that of men. Perfect in 
telligence depends upon the distinct consciousness of the 

1 This chapter, along with the one which follows it, is connected with 
8 and 9 of the first book. 


past and of the eventual future, as such, and in connection 
with the present. The special memory which this de 
mands is therefore an orderly, connected, and thinking 
retrospective recollection. This, however, is only possible 
by means of general conceptions, the assistance of which is 
required by what is entirely individual, in order that it 
may be recalled in its order and connection. For the 
boundless multitude of things and events of the same 
and similar kinds, in the course of our life, does not admit 
directly of a perceptible and individual recollection of 
each particular, for which neither the powers of the most 
comprehensive memory nor our time would be sufficient. 
Therefore all this can only be preserved by subsuming it 
under general conceptions, and the consequent reference to 
relatively few principles, by means of which we then have 
always at command an orderly and adequate survey of 
our past. We can only present to ourselves in perception 
particular scenes of the past, but the time that has passed 
since then and its content we are conscious of only in the 
abstract by means of conceptions of things and numbers 
which now represent days and years, together with their 
content. The memory of the brutes, on the contrary, like 
their whole intellect, is confined to what they perceive, and 
primarily consists merely in the fact that a recurring im 
pression presents itself as having already been experienced, 
for the present perception revivifies the traces of an earlier 
one. Their memory is therefore always dependent upon 
what is now actually present. Just on this account, how 
ever, this excites anew the sensation and the mood which 
the earlier phenomenon produced. Thus the dog recog 
nises acquaintances, distinguishes friends from enemies, 
easily finds again the path it has once travelled, the houses 
it has once visited, and at the sight of a plate or a stick 
is at once put into the mood associated with them. All 
kinds of training depend upon the use of this perceptive 
memory and on the force of habit, which in the case of 
animals is specially strong. It is therefore just as diffe- 


rent from human education as perception is from thinking. 
We ourselves are in certain cases, in which memory proper 
refuses us its service, confined to that merely perceptive 
recollection, and thus we can measure the difference be 
tween the two from our own experience. For example, 
at the sight of a person whom it appears to us we know, 
although we are not able to remember when or where 
we saw him ; or again, when we visit a place where we 
once were in early childhood, that is, while our reason 
was yet undeveloped, and which we have therefore 
entirely forgotten, and yet feel that the present impres 
sion is one which we have already experienced. This 
is the nature of all the recollections of the brutes. We 
have only to add that in the case of the most saga 
cious this merely perceptive memory rises to a certain 
degree of phantasy, which again assists it, and by virtue 
of which, for example, the image of its absent master 
floats before the mind of the dog and excites a longing 
after him, so that when he remains away long it seeks for 
him everywhere. Its dreams also depend upon this phan 
tasy. The consciousness of the brutes is accordingly a 
mere succession of presents, none of which, however, exist 
as future before they appear, nor as past after they have 
vanished; which is the specific difference of human con 
sciousness. Hence the brutes have infinitely less to suffer 
than we have, because they know no other pains but those 
which the present directly brings. But the present is with 
out extension, while the future and the past, which contain 
most of the causes of our suffering, are widely extended, 
and to their actual content there is added that which is 
merely possible, which opens up an unlimited field for 
desire and aversion. The brutes, on the contrary, undis 
turbed by these, enjoy quietly and peacefully each present 
moment, even if it is only bearable. Human beings of 
very limited capacity perhaps approach them in this. 
Further, the sufferings which belong purely to the present 
can only be physical. Indeed the brutes do not properly 


speaking feel death : they can only know it when it ap 
pears, and then they are already no more. Thus then the 
life of the brute is a continuous present. It lives on 
without reflection, and exists wholly in the present ; even 
the great majority of men live with very little reflection. 
Another consequence of the special nature of the intellect 
of the brutes, which we have explained is the perfect 
accordance of their consciousness with their environment. 
Between the brute and the external world there is 
nothing, but between us and the external world there is 
always our thought about it, which makes us often inap 
proachable to it, and it to us. Only in the case of children 
and very primitive men is this wall of partition so thin 
that in order to see what goes on in them we only need to 
see what goes on round about them. Therefore the brutes 
are incapable alike of purpose and dissimulation ; they 
reserve nothing. In this respect the dog stands to the 
man in the same relation as a glass goblet to a metal one, 
and this helps greatly to endear the dog so much to us, 
for it affords us great pleasure to see all those inclinations 
and emotions which we so often conceal displayed simply 
and openly in him. In general, the brutes always play, as 
it were, with their hand exposed ; and therefore we con 
template with so much pleasure their behaviour towards 
each other, both when they belong to the same and to 
different species. It is characterised by a certain stamp 
of innocence, in contrast to the conduct of men, which is 
withdrawn from the innocence of nature by the entrance 
of reason, and with it of prudence or deliberation. Hence 
human conduct has throughout the stamp of intention or 
deliberate purpose, the absence of which, and the conse 
quent determination by the impulse of the moment, is the 
fundamental characteristic of all the action of the brutes. 
No brute is capable of a purpose properly so-called. To 
conceive and follow out a purpose is the prerogative of man, 
and it is a prerogative which is rich in consequences. 
Certainly an instinct like that of the bird of passage or the 


bee, still more a permanent, persistent desire, a longing like 
that of the dog for its absent master, may present the 
appearance of a purpose, with which, however, it must 
not be confounded. Now all this has its ultimate ground 
in the relation between the human and the brute in 
tellect, which may also be thus expressed : The brutes 
have only direct knowledge, while we, in addition to 
this, have indirect knowledge ; and the advantage which 
in many things for example, in trigonometry and 
analysis, in machine work instead of hand work, &c. 
indirect has over direct knowledge appears here also. 
Thus again we may say : The brutes have only a single 
intellect, we a double intellect, both perceptive and thinking, 
and the operation of the two often go on independently of 
each other. We perceive one thing, and we think another. 
Often, again, they act upon each other. This way of put 
ting the matter enables us specially to understand that 
natural openness and naivete of the brutes, referred to 
above, as contrasted with the concealment of man. 

However, the law natura nonfacit saltus is not entirely 
suspended even with regard to the intellect of the brutes, 
though certainly the step from the brute to the human 
intelligence is the greatest which nature has made in the 
production of her creatures. In the most favoured indi 
viduals of the highest species of the brutes there certainly 
sometimes appears, always to our astonishment, a faint 
trace of reflection, reason, the comprehension of words, of 
thought, purpose, and deliberation. The most striking 
indications of this kind are afforded by the elephant, whose 
highly developed intelligence is heightened and supported 
by an experience of a lifetime which sometimes extends 
to two hundred years. He has often given unmistakable 
signs, recorded in well-known anecdotes, of premeditation, 
which, in the case of brutes, always astonishes us more 
than anything else. Such, for instance, is the story of the 
tailor on whom an elephant revenged himself for pricking 
him with a needle. I wish, however, to rescue from 


oblivion a parallel case to this, because it has the advan 
tage of being authenticated by judicial investigation. On 
the 2/th of August 1830 there was held at Morpeth, in 
England, a coroner s inquest on the keeper, Baptist Bern- 
hard, who was killed by his elephant. It appeared from 
the evidence that two years before he had offended the 
elephant grossly, and now, without any occasion, but on 
a favourable opportunity, the elephant had seized him and 
crushed him. (See the Spectator and other English papers 
of that day.) For special information on the intelligence 
of brutes I recommend Leroy s excellent book, " Sur 
V Intelligence des Animaux" nouv. ed. 1802. 



THE outward impression upon the senses, together with 
the mood which it alone awakens in us, vanishes with 
the presence of the thing. Therefore these two cannot of 
themselves constitute experience proper, whose teaching is 
to guide our conduct for the future. The image of that 
impression which the imagination preserves is originally 
weaker than the impression itself, and becomes weaker 
and weaker daily, until in time it disappears altogether. 
There is only one thing which is not subject either to the 
instantaneous vanishing of the impression or to the gradual 
disappearance of its image, and is therefore free from the 
power of time. This is the conception. In it, then, the teach 
ing of experience must be stored up, and it alone is suited 
to be a safe guide to our steps in life. Therefore Seneca 
says rightly, "Si vis tibi omnia siibjicere, te subjice rationi" 
(Ep. 37). And I add to this that the essential condition of 
surpassing others in actual life is that we should reflect 
or deliberate. Such an important tool of the intellect as 
the concept evidently cannot be identical with the word, 
this mere sound, which as an impression of sense passes 
with the moment, or as a phantasm of hearing dies away 
with time. Yet the concept is an idea, the distinct con 
sciousness and preservation of which are bound up with 
the word. Hence the Greeks called word, concept, rela 
tion, thought, and reason by the name of the first, 6 \oyos. 
Yet the concept is perfectly different both from the word, 


to which it is joined, and from the perceptions, from which 
it has originated. It is of an entirely different nature 
from these impressions of the senses. Yet it is able to 
take up into itself all the results of perception, and give 
them back again unchanged and undiminished after the 
longest period of time ; thus alone does experience arise. 
But the concept preserves, not what is perceived nor what 
is then felt, but only what is essential in these, in an 
entirely altered form, and yet as an adequate representa 
tive of them. Just as flowers cannot be preserved, but 
their ethereal oil, their essence, with the same smell and 
the same virtues, can be. The action that has been guided 
by correct conceptions will, in the result, coincide with the 
real object aimed at. We may judge of the inestimable i 
value of conceptions, and consequently of the reason, if we i 
glance for a moment at the infinite multitude and variety 
of the things and conditions that coexist and succeed each 
other, and then consider that speech and writing (the 
signs of conceptions) are capable of affording us accurate 
information as to everything and every relation when 
and wherever it may have been ; for comparatively few 
conceptions can contain and represent an infinite number 
of things and conditions. In our own reflection abstrac 
tion is a throwing off of useless baggage for the sake 
of more easily handling the knowledge which is to be 
compared, and has therefore to be turned about in all 
directions. We allow much that is unessential, and 
therefore only confusing, to fall away from the real 
things, and work with few but essential determinations 
thought in the abstract. But just because general con 
ceptions are only formed by thinking away and leaving 
out existing qualities, and are therefore the emptier the 
more general they are, the use of this procedure is confined 
to the working iip of knowledge which we have already 
acquired. This working up includes the drawing of con 
clusions from premisses contained in our knowledge. New 
insight, on the contrary, can only be obtained by the help 


of the faculty of judgment, from perception, which alone 
is complete and rich knowledge. Further, because the 
content and the extent of the concepts stand in inverse 
relation to each other, and thus the more is thought un 
der a concept, the less is thought in it, concepts form a 
graduated series, a hierarchy, from the most special to the 
most general, at the lower end of which scholastic realism 
is almost right, and at the upper end nominalism. For the 
most special conception is almost the individual, thus 
almost real ; and the most general conception, e.g., being 
(i.e., the infinitive of the copula), is scarcely anything but 
a word. Therefore philosophical systems which confine 
themselves to such very general conceptions, without 
going down to the real, are little more than mere jug 
gling with words. For since all abstraction consists in 
thinking away, the further we push it the less we have 
left over. Therefore, if I read those modern philoso- 
phemes which move constantly in the widest abstrac 
tions, I am soon quite unable, in spite of all attention, 
to think almost anything more in connection with them ; 
for I receive no material for thought, but am supposed to 
work with mere empty shells, which gives me a feeling like 
that which we experience when we try to throw very light 
bodies; the strength and also the exertion are there, but 
there is no object to receive them, so as to supply the other 
moment of motion. If any one wants to experience this 
let him read the writings of the disciples of Schelling, or 
still better of the Hegelians. .ffLffljifc -iwtircj^rV??" would 
necessarily be such as could not be broken up. Accordingly 
they could never be the subject of an analytical judgment. 
This I hold to be impossible, for if we think a conception 
we must also be able to give its content. What are com 
monly adduced as examples of simple conceptions are really 
not conceptions at all, but partly mere sensations as, for 
instance, those of some special colour ; partly the forms 
of perception which are known to us a priori, thus pro 
perly the ultimate elements of perceptive knowledge. But 


this itself is for the whole system of our thought what 
granite is for geology, the ultimate firm basis which sup 
ports all, and beyond which we cannot go. The distinct 
ness of a conception demands not only that we should be 
able to separate its predicates, but also that we should be 
able to analyse these even if they are abstractions, and so 
on until we reach knowledge of perception, and thus refer 
to concrete things through the distinct perception of which 
the final abstractions are verffiecT and reality guaran 
teed to them, as well as to all the higher abstractions 
which rest upon them. Therefore the ordinary explana 
tion that the conception is distinct as soon as we can 
give its predicates is not sufficient. For the separating 
of these predicates may lead perhaps to more concep 
tions ; and so on again without there being that ultimate 
basis of perceptions which imparts reality to all those 
conceptions. Take, for example, the conception " spirit," 
and analyse it into its predicates : " A thinking, will 
ing, immaterial, simple, indestructible being that does 
not occupy space." Nothing is yet distinctly thought 
about it, because the elements of these conceptions 
cannot be verified by means of perceptions, for a thinking 
being without a brain is like a digesting being without 
a stomach. Only perceptions are, properly speaking, 
clear, not conceptions ; these at the most can only be 
distinct. Hence also, absurd as it was, " clear and con 
fused" were coupled together and used as synonymous 
when knowledge of perception was explained as merely 
a confused abstract knowledge, because the latter kind 
of knowledge alone was distinct. This was first done 
by Duns Scotus, but Leibnitz has substantially the same 
view, upon which his "Identitas Indiscernibilium" depends. 
(See Kant s refutation of this, p. 275 of the first edition 
of the Critique of Pure Eeason.) 

The close connection of the conception with the word, 
thus of speech with reason, which was touched on above 
rests ultimately upon the following ground. Time is 
throughout the form of our whole consciousness, with its 


inward and outward apprehension. Conceptions, on the 
other hand, which originate through abstraction and are 
perfectly general ideas, different from all particular things, 
have in this property indeed a certain measure of objec 
tive existence, which does not, however, belong to any 
series of events in time. Therefore in order to enter the 
immediate present of an individual consciousness, and 
thus to admit of being introduced into a series of events 
in time, they must to a certain extent be reduced again 
to the nature of individual things, individualised, and 
therefore linked to an idea of sense. Such an idea is the 
word. It is accordingly the sensible sign of the concep 
tion, and as such the necessary means of fixing it, that is, 
of presenting it to the consciousness, which is bound up 
with the form of time, and thus establishing a connection 
between the reason, whose objects are merely general 
universals, knowing neither place nor time, and con 
sciousness, which is bound up with time, is sensuous, and 
so far purely animal. Only by this means is the repro 
duction at pleasure, thus the recollection and preserva 
tion, of conceptions possible and open to us ; and only 
by means of this, again, are the operations which are 
undertaken with conceptions possible judgment, infer 
ence, comparison, limitation, &c. It is true it sometimes 
happens that conceptions occupy consciousness without 
their signs, as when we run through a train of reasoning 
so rapidly that we could not think the words in the time. 
But such cases are exceptions, which presuppose great 
exercise of the reason, which it could only have obtained 
by means of language. How much the use of reason is 
bound up with speech we see in the case of the deaf 
and dumb, who, if they have learnt no kind of language, 
show scarcely more intelligence than the ourang-outang 
or the elephant. For their reason is almost entirely 
potential, not actual. 

"Words and speech are thus the indispensable means 
of distinct thought. But as every means, every machine, 


at once burdens and hinders, so also does language ; 
for it forces the fluid and modifiable thoughts, with 
their infinitely fine distinctions of difference, into certain 
rigid, permanent forms, and thus in fixing also fetters 
them. This hindrance is to some extent got rid of by 
learning several languages. For in these the thought 
is poured from one mould into another, and somewhat 
alters its form in each, so that it becomes more and more 
freed from all form and clothing, and thus its own proper 
nature comes more distinctly into consciousness, and it 
recovers again its original capacity for modification. The 
ancient languages render this service very much better 
than the modern, because, on account of their great dif 
ference from the latter, the same thoughts are expressed 
in them in quite another way, and must thus assume 
a very different form ; besides which the more perfect 
grammar of the ancient languages renders a more artistic 
and more perfect construction of the thoughts and their 
connection possible. Thus a Greek or a Roman might 
perhaps content himself with his own language, but he 
who understands nothing but some single modern patois 
will soon betray this poverty in writing and speaking ; 
for his thoughts, firmly bound to such narrow stereotyped 
forms, must appear awkward and monotonous. Genius 
certainly makes up for this as for everything else, for 
example in Shakespeare. 

Burke, in his " Inquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful," 
p. 5, 4 and 5, has given a perfectly correct and very 
elaborate exposition of what I laid down in 9 of the first 
volume, that the words of a speech are perfectly under 
stood without calling up ideas of perception, pictures in 
our heads. But he draws from this the entirely false con 
clusion that we hear, apprehend, and make use of words 
without connecting with them any idea whatever; whereas 
he ought to have drawn the conclusion that all ideas are 
not perceptible images, but that precisely those ideas which 
must be expressed by means of words are abstract notions 


or conceptions, and these from their very nature are not 
perceptible. Just because words impart only general 
conceptions, which are perfectly different from ideas of 
perception, when, for example, an event is recounted all 
the hearers will receive the same conceptions ; but if after 
wards they wish to make the incident clear to themselves, 
each of them will call up in his imagination a different 
image of it, which differs considerably from the correct 
image that is possessed only by the eye-witness. This is 
the primary reason (which, however, is accompanied by 
others) why every fact is necessarily distorted by being 
repeatedly told. The second recounter communicates con 
ceptions which he has abstracted from the image of his 
own imagination, and from these conceptions the third 
now forms another image differing still more widely from 
the truth, and this again he translates into conceptions, 
and so the process goes on. Whoever is sufficiently matter 
of fact to stick to the conceptions imparted to him, and 
repeat them, will prove the most truthful reporter. 

The best and most intelligent exposition of the essence 
and nature of conceptions which I have been able to find 
is in Thomas Keid s " Essays on the Powers of Human 
Mind," vol. ii., Essay 5, ch. 6. This was afterwards con 
demned by Dugald Stewart in his " Philosophy of the 
Human Mind." Not to waste paper I will only briefly 
remark with regard to the latter that he belongs to 
that large class who have obtained an undeserved repu 
tation through favour and friends, and therefore I can 
only advise that not an hour should be wasted over the 
scribbling of this shallow writer. 

The princely scholastic Pico de Mirandula already saw 
that reason is the faculty of abstract ideas, and under 
standing the faculty of ideas of perception. For in his 
book, " De Imaginatione," ch. u, he carefully distinguishes 
understanding and reason, and explains the latter as the 
discursive faculty peculiar to man, and the former as the 
intuitive faculty, allied to the kind of knowledge which is 


proper to the angels, and indeed to God. Spinoza also 
characterises reason quite correctly as the faculty of 
framing general conceptions (Eth., ii. prop. 40, schol. 2). 
Such facts would not need to be mentioned if it were not 
for the tricks that have been played in the last fifty years 
by the whole of the philosophasters of Germany with the 
conception reason. For they have tried, with shameless 
audacity, to smuggle in under this name an entirely 
spurious faculty of immediate, metaphysical, so-called 
super-sensuous knowledge. The reason proper, on the 
other hand, they call understanding, and the understand 
ing proper, as something quite strange to them, they over 
look altogether, and ascribe its intuitive functions to 

In the case of all things in this world new drawbacks 
or disadvantages cleave to every source of aid, to every 
gain, to every advantage ; and thus reason also, which gives 
to man such great advantages over the brutes, carries with 
it its special disadvantages, and opens for Mm paths of 
error into which the brutes can never stray. Through 
it a new species of motives, to which the brute is not 
accessible, obtains power over his will. These are the 
abstract motives, the mere thoughts, which are by no 
means always drawn from his own experience, but often 
come to him only through the talk and example of others, 
through tradition and literature. Having become accessible 
to thought, he is at once exposed to error. But every error 
must sooner or later do harm, and the greater the error 
the greater the harm it will do. The individual error 
must be atoned for by him who cherishes it, and often he 
has to pay dearly for it. And the same thing holds good 
on a large scale of the common errors of whole nations. 
Therefore it cannot too often be repeated that every error 
wherever we meet it, is to be pursued and rooted out as 
an enemy of mankind, and that there can be no such 
thing as privileged or sanctioned error. The thinker 
ought to attack it, even if humanity should cry out with 



pain, like a sick man whose ulcer the physician touches. 
The brute can never stray far from the path of nature ; 
for its motives lie only in the world of perception, where 
only the possible, indeed only the actual, finds room. On 
the other hand, all that is only imaginable, and therefore 
also the false, the impossible, the absurd, and senseless, 
enters into abstract conceptions, into thoughts and words. 
Since now all partake of reason, but few of judgment, the 
consequence is that man is exposed to delusion, for he is 
abandoned to every conceivable chimera which any one 
talks him into, and which, acting on his will as a motive, 
may influence him to perversities and follies of every kind, 
to the most unheard-of extravagances, and also to actions 
most contrary to his animal nature. True culture, in 
which knowledge and judgment go hand in hand, can 
only be brought to bear on a few ; and still fewer are 
capable of receiving it. For the great mass of men 
a kind of training everywhere takes its place. It is 
effected by example, custom, and the very early and firm 
impression of certain conceptions, before any experience, 
understanding, or judgment were there to disturb the 
work. Thus thoughts are implanted, which afterward 
cling as firmly, and are as incapable of being shaken 
by any instruction as if they were inborn; and indeed 
they have often been regarded, even by philosophers, 
as such. In this way we can, with the same trouble, 
imbue men with what is right and rational, or with 
what is most absurd. For example, we can accustom 
them to approach this or that idol with holy dread, and at 
the mention of its name to prostrate in the dust not only 
their bodies but their whole spirit ; to sacrifice their pro 
perty and their lives willingly to words, to names, to the 
defence of the strangest whims ; to attach arbitrarily the 
greatest honour or the deepest disgrace to this or that, and 
to prize highly or disdain everything accordingly with 
full inward conviction ; to renounce all animal food, as in 
Hindustan, or to devour still warm and quivering pieces, 


cut from the living animal, as in Abyssinia ; to eat men, as 
in New Zealand, or to sacrifice their children to Moloch ; 
to castrate themselves, to fling themselves voluntarily on 
the funeral piles of the dead in a word, to do anything 
we please. Hence the Crusades, the extravagances of 
fanatical sects ; hence Chiliasts and Flagellants, persecu 
tions, autos da fe, and all that is offered by the long 
register of human perversities. Lest it should be thought 
that only the dark ages afford such examples, I shall add 
a couple of more modern instances. In the year 1818 
there went from "Wurtemberg 7000 Chiliasts to the neigh 
bour 1 ""^, of Ararat, because the new kingdom of God, 
specially announced by Jung Stilling, was to appear there. 1 
Gall relates that in his time a mother killed her child and 
roasted it in order to cure her husband s rheumatism with 
its fat. 2 The tragical side of error lies in the practical, the 
comical is reserved for the theoretical. For example, if 
we could firmly persuade three men that the sun is not 
the cause of daylight, we might hope to see it soon 
established as the general conviction. In Germany it 
was possible to proclaim as the greatest philosopher of all 
ages Hegel, a repulsive, mindless charlatan, an unparalleled 
scribbler of nonsense, and for twenty years many thou 
sands have believed it stubbornly and firmly ; and indeed, 
outside Germany, the Danish Academy entered the lists 
against myself for his fame, and sought to have him re 
garded as a summits philosophus. (Upon this see the 
preface to my Grundproblemen der Ethik) These, then, 
are the disadvantages which, on account of the rarity of 
judgment, attach to the existence of reason. We must 
add to them the possibility of madness. The brutes do 
not go mad, although the carnivora are subject to fury, 
and the ruminants to a sort of delirium. 

1 Illgen s " Zcitschrift far His- 2 Gall et Spurzhcim, " Des Dis- 
torische Theoloyic," 1839, part i. positions Inntes," 1811, p. 253. 
p. 182. 




IT has been shown that conceptions derive their material 

from knowledge of perception, and therefore the entire 

structure of our world of thought rests upon the world 

of perception. We must therefore be able to go back 

from every conception, even if only indirectly through 

intermediate conceptions, to the perceptions from which it 

is either itself directly derived or those conceptions are 

derived of which it is again an abstraction. That is to 

say, we must be able to support it with perceptions which 

stand to the abstractions in the relation of examples. 

These perceptions thus afford the real content of all our 

thought, and whenever they are wanting we have not had 

conceptions but mere words in our heads. In this respect 

our intellect is like a bank, which, if it is to be sound, 

must have cash in its safe, so as to be able to meet all 

the notes it has issued, in case of demand ; the perceptions 

are the cash ; the conceptions are the notes. In this sense 

the perceptions might very appropriately be called primary, 

and the conceptions, on the other hand, secondary ideas. 

Not quite so aptly, the Schoolmen, following the example 

of Aristotle (MctapJi., vi. n, xi. i), called real things 

substantial primes, and the conceptions substantice secundce. 

Books impart only secondary ideas. MRI^ Conceptions of 

a thing without perception give only a general knowledge 

of it. We only have a thorough understanding of things 

and their relations so far as we are able to represent them 

1 This chapter is connected with 12 of the first volume. 


to ourselves in pure, _distinct perceptions, without the aid 
of words. To explain words by words, to compare concepts 
with concepts, in which most philosophising consists, is a 
trivial shifting about of the concept-spheres in order to 
see which goes into the other and which does not. At the 
best we can in this way only arrive at conclusions ; but 
even conclusions give no really new knowledge, but only 
show us all that lay in the knowledge we already pos 
sessed, and what part of it perhaps might be applicable 
to the particular case. On the other hand, to perceive, to 
allow the things themselves to speak to us, to apprehend 
new relations of them, and then to take up and deposit all 
this in conceptions, in order to possess it with certainty 
that gives new knowledge. But, while almost every one is 
capable of comparing conceptions with conceptions, to com 
pare conceptions with perceptions is a gift of the select few. 
It is the condition, according to the degree of its perfection, 
of wit, judgment, ingenuity, genius. The former faculty, 
on the contrary, results in little more than possibly rational 
reflections. The inmost kernel of all genuine and actual 
knowledge is a perception ; and every new truth is the 
profit or gain yielded by a perception. All original think 
ing takes place in images, and this is why imagination is 
so necessary an instrument of thought, and minds that 
lack imagination will never accomplish much, unless it 
be in mathematics. On the other hand, merely abstract 
thoughts, which have no kernel of perception, are like 
cloud-structures, without reality. Even writing and speak 
ing, whether didactic or poetical, has for its final aim to 
guide the reader to the same concrete knowledge from 
which the author started ; if it has not this aim it is bad. 
This is why the contemplation and observing of every 
real thing, as soon as it presents something new to 
the observer, is more instructive than any reading or 
hearing. For indeed, if we go to the bottom of the matter, 
all truth and wisdom, nay, the ultimate secret of things, is 
contained in each real object, yet certainly only in concrete, 


just as gold lies hidden iii the ore ; the difficulty is to ex 
tract it. From a book, on the contrary, at the best we only 
receive the truth at second hand, and oftener not at all. 

In most books, putting out of account those that are 
thoroughly bad, the author, when their content is not 
altogether empirical, has certainly thought but not per 
ceived ; he has written from reflection, not from intuition, 
and it is this that makes them commonplace and tedious. 
For what the author has thought could always have been 
thought by the reader also, if he had taken the same 
trouble ; indeed it consists simply of intelligent thought, 
full exposition of what is implicite contained in the theme. 
But no actually new knowledge comes in this way into 
the world ; this is only created in the moment of percep 
tion, of direct comprehension of a new side of the thing. 
When, therefore, on the contrary, sight has formed the 
foundation of an author s thought, it is as if he wrote 
from a land where the reader has never been, for all is 
fresh and new, because it is drawn directly from the 
original source of all knowledge. Let me illustrate the 
distinction here touched upon by a perfectly easy and 
simple example. Any commonplace writer might easily 
describe profound contemplation or petrifying astonish 
ment by saying : " He stood like a statue ; " but Cervantes 
says : " Like a clothed statue, for the wind moved his gar 
ments" (Don Quixote, book vi. ch. 19). It is thus that all 
great minds have ever thought in presence of the perception, 
and kept their gaze steadfastly upon it in their thought. 
We recognise this from this fact, among others, that even 
the most opposite of them so often agree and coincide 
in some particular ; because they all speak of the same 
thing which they all had before their eyes, the world, the 
perceived reality; indeed in a certain degree they all say 
the same thing, and others never believe them. We 
recognise it further in the appropriateness and originality 
of the expression, which is always perfectly adapted to 
the subject because it has been inspired by perception, in 


the naivete of the language, the freshness of the imagery, 
and the impressiveness of the similes, all of which quali 
ties, without exception, distinguish the works of great 
minds, and, on the contrary, are always wanting in the 
works of others. Accordingly only commonplace forms 
of expression and trite figures are at the service of the 
latter, and they never dare to allow themselves to be 
natural, under penalty of displaying their vulgarity in all 
its dreary barrenness ; instead of this they are affected 
mannerists. Hence Buffon says : " Le style est I homme 
menu." If men of commonplace mind write poetry they 
have certain traditional conventional opinions, passions, 
noble sentiments, &c., which they have received in the 
abstract, and attribute to the heroes of their poems, who 
are in this way reduced to mere personifications of those 
opinions, and are thus themselves to a certain extent 
abstractions, and therefore insipid and tiresome. If they 
philosophise, they have taken in a few wide abstract 
conceptions, which they turn about in all directions, as if 
they had to do with algebraical equations, and hope that 
something will come of it ; at the most we see that they 
have all read the same things. Such a tossing to and fro 
of abstract conceptions, after the manner of algebraical 
equations, which is now-a-days called dialectic, does not, 
like real algebra, afford certain results ; for here the con 
ception which is represented by the word is not a fixed 
and perfectly definite quality, such as are symbolised by 
the letters in algebra, but is wavering and ambiguous, 
and capable of extension and contraction. Strictly speak 
ing, all thinking, i.e., combining of abstract conceptions, 
has at the most the recollections of earlier perceptions for 
its material, and this only indirectly, so far as it consti 
tutes the foundation of all conceptions. Real knowledge, 
on the contrary, that is, immediate knowledge, is percep 
tion alone, new, fresh perception itself. Now the concepts 
which the reason has framed and the memory has pre 
served cannot all be present to consciousness at once, but 


only a very small number of them at a time. On the other 
hand, the energy with which we apprehend what is present 
in perception, in which really all that is essential in all 
things generally is virtually contained and represented, is 
apprehended, fills the consciousness in one moment with 
its whole power. Upon this depends the infinite superiority 
of genius to learning ; they stand to each other as the text 
of an ancient classic to its commentary. All truth and 
all wisdom really lies ultimately in perception. But this 
unfortunately can neither be retained nor communicated. 
The objective, conditions of such communication can cer 
tainly be presented to others purified and illustrated 
through plastic and pictorial art, and even much more 
directly through poetry ; but it depends so much upon sub 
jective conditions, which are not at the command of every 
one, and of no one at all times, nay, indeed in the higher 
degrees of perfection, are only the gift of the favoured 
few. Only the worst knowledge, abstract, secondary 
knowledge, the conception, the mere shadow of true know 
ledge, is unconditionally communicable. If perceptions 
were communicable, that would be a communication worth 
the trouble ; but at last every one must remain in his o\vn 
skin and skull, and no one can help another. To enrich 
the conception from perception is the unceasing endeavour 
of poetry and philosophy. However, the aims of man are 
essentially practical ; and for these it is sufficient that 
what he has apprehended through perception should leave 
traces in him, by virtue of which he will recognise it in 
the next similar case ; thus he becomes possessed of 
worldly wisdom. Thus, as a rule, the man of the world 
cannot teach his accumulated truth and wisdom, but 
only make use of it ; he rightly comprehends each event 
as it happens, and determines what is in conformity with 
it. That books will not take the place of experience nor 
learning of genius are two kindred phenomena. Their 
common ground is that the abstract can never take the 
place of the concrete. Books therefore do not take the 


place of experience, because conceptions always remain 
general, and consequently do not get down to the par 
ticular, which, however, is just what has to be dealt with 
in life ; and, besides this, all conceptions are abstracted 
from what is particular and perceived in experience, and 
therefore one must have come to know these in order 
adequately to understand even the general conceptions 
which the books communicate. Learning cannot take the 
place of genius, because it also affords merely conceptions, 
but the knowledge of genius consists in the apprehension 
of the (Platonic) Ideas of things, and therefore is essentially 
intuitive. Thus in the first of these phenomena the 
objective condition of perceptive or intuitive knowledge is 
wanting ; in the second the subjective ; the former may 
be attained, the latter cannot. 

Wisdom and genius, these two summits of the Parnassus 
of human knowledge, have their foundation not in the 
abstract and discursive, but in the perceptive faculty. 
Wisdom proper is something intuitive, not something 
abstract. It does not consist in principles and thoughts, 
which one can carry about ready in his mind, as results of 
his own research or that of others ; but it is the whole 
manner in which the world presents itself in his mind. 
This varies so much that on account of it the wise man 
lives in another world from the fool, and the genius sees 
another world from the blockhead. That the w r orks of the 
man of genius immeasurably surpass those of all others 
arises simply from the fact that the world which he sees, 
and from which he takes his utterances, is so much clearer, 
as it were more profoundly worked out, than that in the 
minds of others, which certainly contains the same objects, 
but is to the world of the man of genius as the Chinese 
picture without shading and perspective is to the finished 
oil-painting. The material is in all minds the same ; but 
the difference lies in the perfection of the form which 
it assumes in each, upon which the numerous grades 
of intelligence ultimately depend. These grades thus 


exist in the root, in the perceptive or intuitive appre 
hension, and do not first appear in the abstract. Hence 
original mental superiority shows itself so easily when 
the occasion arises, and is at once felt and hated by 

In practical life the intuitive knowledge of the under 
standing is able to guide our action and behaviour directly, 
while the abstract knowledge of the reason can only do so 
by means of the memory. Hence arises the superiority of 
intuitive knowledge in all cases which admit of no time 
for reflection ; thus for daily intercourse, in which, just on 
this account, women excel. Only those who intuitively 
know the nature of men as they are as a rule, and thus 
comprehend the individuality of the person before them, 
will understand how to manage him with certainty and 
rightly. Another may know by heart all the three hun 
dred maxims of Gracian, but this will not save him from 
stupid mistakes and misconceptions if he lacks that in 
tuitive knowledge. For all abstract knowledge affords 
us primarily mere general principles and rules ; but the 
particular case is almost never to be carried out exactly 
according to the rule ; then the rule itself has to be pre 
sented to us at the right time by the memory, which 
seldom punctually happens ; then the propositio minor has 
to be formed out of the present case, and finally the con 
clusion drawn. Before all this is done the opportunity 
has generally turned its back upon us, and then those 
excellent principles and rules serve at the most to enable 
us to measure the magnitude of the error we have com 
mitted. Certainly with time we gain in this way experi 
ence and practice, which slowly grows to knowledge of 
the world, and thus, in connection with this, the abstract 
rules may certainly become fruitful. On the other hand, 
the intuitive knowledge, which always apprehends only the 
particular, stands in immediate relation to the present 
case. Rule, case, and application are for it one, and action 
follows immediately upon it. This explains why in real 


life the scholar, whose pre-eminence lies in the province 
of abstract knowledge, is so far surpassed by the man of 
the world, whose pre-eminence consists in perfect intuitive 
knowledge, which original disposition conferred on him, 
and a rich experience has developed. The two kinds of 
knowledge always stand to each other in the relation of 
paper money and hard cash ; and as there are many cases 
and circumstances in which the former is to be preferred 
to the latter, so there are also things and situations for 
which abstract knowledge is more useful than intuitive. 
If, for example, it is a conception that in some case guides 
our action, when it is once grasped it has the advantage 
of being unalterable, and therefore under its guidance we go 
to work with perfect certainty and consistency. But this 
certainty which the conception confers on the subjective 
side is outweighed by the uncertainty which accompanies 
it on the objective side. The whole conception may be 
false and groundless, or the object to be dealt with may 
not come under it, for it may be either not at all or not 
altogether of the kind which belongs to it. Now if in the 
particular case we suddenly become conscious of some 
thing of this sort, we are put out altogether ; if we do not 
become conscious of it, the result brings it to light. There 
fore Vauvenargue says: "Personne nest suj et a plus def antes, 
que ceux qui nagissent que par reflexion." If, on the con 
trary, it is direct perception of the objects to be dealt with 
and their relations that guides our action, we easily hesitate 
at every step, for the perception is always modifiable, is am 
biguous, has inexhaustible details in itself, and shows many 
sides in succession ; we act therefore without full confi 
dence. But the subjective uncertainty is compensated by 
the objective certainty, for here there is no conception 
between the object and us, we never lose sight of it ; if 
therefore we only see correctly what we have before us 
and what we do, we shall hit the mark. Our action then 
is perfectly sure only when it is guided by a conception 
the right ground of which, its completeness, and applica- 


bility to the given cause is perfectly certain. Action 
in accordance with conceptions may pass into pedantry, 
action in accordance with the perceived impression into 
levity and folly. 

Perception is not only the source of all knowledge, but 
is itself knowledge KCLT e^o^rjv, is the only unconditionally 
true, genuine knowledge completely worthy of the name. 
For it alone imparts insight properly so called, it alone is 
actually assimilated by man, passes into his nature, and 
can with full reason be called his ; while the conceptions 
merely cling to him. In the fourth book we see indeed 
that true virtue proceeds from knowledge of perception or 
intuitive knowledge ; for only those actions which are 
directly called forth by this, and therefore are performed 
purely from the impulse of our own nature, are properly 
symptoms of our true and unalterable character; not so 
those which, resulting from reflection and its dogmas, 
are often extorted from the character, and therefore have 
no unalterable ground in us. But wisdom also, the true 
view of life, the correct eye, and the searching judgment, 
proceeds from the way in which the man apprehends the 
perceptible world, but not from his mere abstract know 
ledge, i.e., not from abstract conceptions. The basis or 
ultimate content of every science consists, not in proofs, 
nor in what is proved, but in the unproved foundation 
of the proofs, which can finally be apprehended only 
through perception. So also the basis of the true wisdom 
and real insight of each man does not consist in concep 
tions and in abstract rational knowledge, but in what is 
perceived, and in the degree of acuteness, accuracy, and 
profundity with which he has apprehended it. He who 
excels here knows the (Platonic) Ideas of the world and 
life ; every case he has seen represents for him innumer 
able cases ; he always apprehends each being according 
to its true nature, and his action, like his judgment, 
corresponds to his insight. By degrees also his coun 
tenance assumes the expression of penetration, of true 


intelligence, and, if it goes far enough, of wisdom. For 
it is pre-eminence in knowledge of perception alone that 
stamps its impression upon the features also ; while 
pre-eminence in abstract knowledge cannot do this. In 
accordance with what has been said, we find in all classes 
men of intellectual superiority, and often quite without 
learning. Natural understanding can take the place of 
almost every degree of culture, but no culture can take 
the place of natural understanding. The scholar has the 
advantage of such men in the possession of a wealth of 
cases and facts (historical knowledge) and of causal 
determinations (natural science), all in well-ordered con 
nection, easily surveyed ; but yet with all this he has not 
a more accurate and profound insight into what is truly 
essential in all these cases, facts, and causations. The 
unlearned man of acuteness and penetration knows how 
to dispense with this wealth ; we can make use of much ; 
we can do with little. One case in his own experience 
teaches him more than many a scholar is taught by a 
thousand cases which he knows, but does not, properly 
speaking, understand. For the little knowledge of that 
unlearned man is living, because every fact that is known 
to him is supported by accurate and well-apprehended 
perception, and thus represents for him a thousand 
similar facts. On the contrary, the much knowledge of 
the ordinary scholar is dead, because even if it does not 
consist, as is often the case, in mere words, it consists en 
tirely in abstract knowledge. This, however, receives its 
value only through the perceptive knowledge of the indivi 
dual with which it must connect itself, and which must ulti 
mately realise all the conceptions. If now this perceptive 
knowledge is very scanty, such a mind is like a bank with 
liabilities tenfold in excess of its cash reserve, whereby in 
the end it becomes bankrupt. Therefore, while the right 
apprehension of the perceptible world has impressed the 
stamp of insight and wisdom on the brow of many an un 
learned man, the face of many a scholar bears no other 


trace of his much study than that of exhaustion and 
weariness from excessive and forced straining of the 
memory in the unnatural accumulation of dead concep 
tions. Moreover, the insight of such a man is often so 
puerile, so weak and silly, that we must suppose that the 
excessive strain upon the faculty of indirect knowledge, 
which is concerned with abstractions, directly weakens 
the power of immediate perceptive knowledge, and the 
natural and clear vision is more and more blinded by the 
light of books. At any rate the constant streaming in of 
the thoughts of others must confine and suppress our 
own, and indeed in the long run paralyse the power of 
thought if it has not that high degree of elasticity which 
is able to withstand that unnatural stream. Therefore 
ceaseless reading and study directly injures the mind 
the more so that completeness and constant connection of 
the system of our own thought and knowledge must pay 
the penalty if we so often arbitrarily interrupt it in order 
to gain room for a line of thought entirely strange to us. 
To banish my own thought in order to make room for 
that of a book would seem to me like what Shakespeare 
censures in the tourists of his time, that they sold their 
own land to see that of others. Yet the inclination for 
reading of most scholars is a kind of fuga vacui, from the 
poverty of their own minds, which forcibly draws in the 
thoughts of others. In order to have thoughts they must 
read something; just as lifeless bodies are only moved 
from without ; while the man who thinks for himself is 
like a living body that moves of itself. Indeed it is dan 
gerous to read about a subject before we have thought 
about it ourselves. For along with the new material the 
old point of view and treatment of it creeps into the mind, 
all the more so as laziness and apathy counsel us to accept 
what has already been thought, and allow it to pass for 
truth. This now insinuates itself, and henceforward our 
thought on the subject always takes the accustomed path, 
like brooks that are guided by ditches ; to find a thought 


of our own, a new thought, is then doubly difficult. This 
contributes much to the want of originality on the part of 
scholars. Add to this that they supposethat, like other people, 
they must divide their time between pleasure and work. 
Now they regard reading as their work and special calling, 
and therefore they gorge themselves with it, beyond what 
they can digest. Then reading no longer plays the part of 
the mere initiator of thought, but takes its place altogether ; 
for they think of the subject just as long as they are read 
ing about it, thus with the mind of another, not with their 
own. But when the book is laid aside entirely different 
things make much more lively claims upon their interest ; 
their private affairs, and then the theatre, card-playing, 
skittles, the news of the day, and gossip. The man of 
thought is so because such things have no interest for 
him. He is interested only in his problems, with which 
therefore he is always occupied, by himself and without 
a book. To give ourselves this interest, if we have not 
got it, is impossible. This is the crucial point. And 
upon this also depends the fact that the former always 
speak only of what they have read, while the latter, on 
the contrary, speaks of what he has thought, and that they 
are, as Pope says : 

"For ever reading, never to be read." 

The mind is naturally free, not a slave ; only what it 
does willingly, of its own accord, succeeds. On the other 
hand, the compulsory exertion of a mind in studies for 
which it is not qualified, or when it has become tired, or 
in general too continuously and invita Minerva, dulls the 
brain, just as reading by moonlight dulls the eyes. This is 
especially the case with the straining of the immature 
brain in the earlier years of childhood. I believe that the 
learning of Latin and Greek grammar from the sixth to the 
twelfth year lays the foundation of the subsequent stupidity 
of most scholars. At any rate the mind requires the 
nourishment of materials from without. All that we eat 
is not at once incorporated in the organism, but only so 


much of it as is digested ; so that only a small part of it 
is assimilated, and the remainder passes away ; and thus 
to eat more than we can assimilate is useless and injurious. 
It is precisely the same with what we read. Only so far 
as it gives food for thought does it increase our insight 
and true knowledge. Therefore Heracleitus says : " TTO\V- 

o / 

fj,a0ia vow ov StSacr/cet." (multiscitia non dat intellectum) . 
It seems, however, to me that learning may be compared 
to a heavy suit of armour, which certainly makes the 
strong man quite invincible, but to the weak man is a 
burden under which he sinks altogether. 

The exposition given in our third book of the knowledge 
of the (Platonic) Ideas, as the highest attainable by man, 
and at the same time entirely perceptive or intuitive know 
ledge, is a proof that the source of true wisdom does not 
lie in abstract rational knowledge, but in the clear and 
profound apprehension of the world in perception. There 
fore wise men may live in any age, and those of the past 
remain wise men for all succeeding generations. Learn 
ing, on the contrary, is relative ; the learned men of the 
past are for the most part children as compared with us, 
and require indulgence. 

But to him who studies in order to gain insight books 
and studies are only steps of the ladder by which he 
climbs to the summit of knowledge. As soon as a round 
of the ladder has raised him a step, he leaves it behind 
him. The many, on the other hand, who study in order 
to fill their memory do not use the rounds of the ladder 
to mount by, but take them off, and load themselves with 
them to carry them away, rejoicing at the increasing 
weight of the burden. They remain always below, be 
cause they bear what ought to have borne them. 

Upon the truth set forth here, that the kernel of all 
knowledge is the perceptive or intuitive apprehension, de 
pends the true and profound remark of Helvetius, that 
the really characteristic and original views of which a 
gifted individual is capable, and the working up, develop- 


ment, and manifold application of which is the material 
of all his works, even if written much later, can arise in 
him only up to the thirty-fifth or at the latest the fortieth 
year of his life, and are really the result of combinations 
he has made in his early youth. For they are not mere 
connections of abstract conceptions, but his own intuitive 
comprehension of the objective world and the nature of 
things. Now, that this intuitive apprehension must have 
completed its work by the age mentioned above depends 
partly on the fact that by that time the ectypes of all 
(Platonic) Ideas must have presented themselves to the 
man, and therefore cannot appear later with the strength 
of the first impression ; partly on this, that the highest 
energy of brain activity is demanded for this quintessence 
of all knowledge, for this proof before the letter of the 
apprehension, and this highest energy of the brain is depen 
dent on the freshness and flexibility of its fibres and the 
rapidity with which the arterial blood flows to the brain. 
But this again is at its strongest only as long as the arte 
rial system has a decided predominance over the venous 
system, which begins to decline after the thirtieth year, 
until at last, after the forty-second year, the venous 
system obtains the upper hand, as Cabanis has admirably 
and instructively explained. Therefore the years between 
twenty and thirty and the first few years after thirty are 
for the intellect what May is for the trees ; only then do 
the blossoms appear of which all the later fruits are the 
development. The world of perception has made its 
impression, and thereby laid the foundation of all the 
subsequent thoughts of the individual. He may by 
reflection make clearer what he has apprehended ; he 
may yet acquire much knowledge as nourishment for the 
fruit which has once set ; he may extend his views, correct 
his conceptions and judgments, it may be only through 
endless combinations that he becomes completely master 
of the materials he has gained ; indeed he will generally 
produce his best works much later, as the greatest heat 
VOL. n. it 


begins with the decline of the day, but he can no longer 
hope for new original knowledge from the one living foun 
tain of perception. It is this that Byron feels when he 
breaks forth into his wonderfully beautiful lament : 

" No more no more oh ! never more on me 
The freshness of the heart can fall like dew, 

Which out of all the lovely things we see 
Extracts emotions beautiful and new, 

Hived in our bosoms like the bag o the bee : 
Think st thou the honey with those objects grew 1 

Alas ! twas not in them, but in thy power 

To double even the sweetness of a flower." 

Through all that I have said hitherto I hope I have 
placed in a clear light the important truth that since all 
abstract knowledge springs from knowledge of perception, 
it obtains its whole value from its relation to the latter, 
thus from the fact that its conceptions, or the abstractions 
which they denote, can be realised, i.e., proved, through 
perceptions ; and, moreover, that most depends upon the 
quality of these perceptions. Conceptions and abstrac 
tions which do not ultimately refer to perceptions are 
like paths in the wood that end without leading out of it. 
The great value of conceptions lies in the fact that by 
means of them the original material of knowledge is more 
easily handled, surveyed, and arranged. But although 
many kinds of logical and dialectical operations are pos 
sible with them, yet no entirely original and new know 
ledge will result from these ; that is to say, no knowledge 
whose material neither lay already in perception nor was 
drawn from self-consciousness. This is the true meaning 
of the doctrine attributed to Aristotle : Nihil est in in- 
tdlectu, nisi quod antea fuerit in sensu. It is also the 
meaning of the Lockeian philosophy, which made for ever 
an epoch in philosophy, because it commenced at last the 
serious discussion of the question as to the origin of our 
knowledge. It is also principally what the " Critique of 
Pure Eeason " teaches. It also desires that we should not 


remain at the conceptions, but go back to their source, thus 
to perception ; only with the true and important addition 
that what holds good of the perception also extends to its 
subjective conditions, thus to the forms which lie pre 
disposed in the perceiving and thinking brain as its 
natural functions ; although these at least virtualiter 
precede the actual sense-perception, i.e., are a priori, and 
therefore do not depend upon sense-perception, but it upon 
them. For these forms themselves have indeed no other 
end, nor service, than to produce the empirical perception 
on the nerves of sense being excited, as other forms are 
determined afterwards to construct thoughts in the ab 
stract from the material of perception. The " Critique 
of Pure Eeason" is therefore related to the Lockeian 
philosophy as the analysis of the infinite to elementary 
geometry, but is yet throughout to be regarded as the 
continuation of the Lockeian philosophy. The given mate 
rial of every philosophy is accordingly nothing else than 
the empirical consciousness, which divides itself into the 
consciousness of one s own self (self-consciousness) and 
the consciousness of other things (external perception). 
For this alone is what is immediately and actually given. 
Every philosophy which, instead of starting from this, 
takes for its starting-point arbitrarily chosen abstract 
conceptions, such as, for example, absolute, absolute sub 
stance, God, infinity, finitude, absolute identity, being, 
essence, &c., &c., moves in the air without support, and 
can therefore never lead to a real result. Yet in all ages 
philosophers have attempted it with such materials ; and 
hence even Kant sometimes, according to the common 
usage, and more from custom than consistency, defines 
philosophy as a science of mere conceptions. But such 
a science would really undertake to extract from the 
partial ideas (for that is what the abstractions are) what 
is not to be found in the complete ideas (the perceptions), 
from which the former were drawn by abstraction. The 
possibility of the syllogism leads to this mistake, because 


here the combination of the judgments gives a new result, 
although more apparent than real, for the syllogism only 
brings out what already lay in the given judgments ; for 
it is true the conclusion cannot contain more than the 
premisses. Conceptions are certainly the material of 
philosophy, but only as marble is the material of the 
sculptor. It is not to work out of them but in them ; that 
is to say, it is to deposit its results in them, but not to 
start from them as what is given. Whoever wishes to 
see a glaring example of such a false procedure from 
mere conceptions may look at the " Institutio Theologica " 
of Proclus in order to convince himself of the vanity 
of that whole method. There abstractions such as " ev, 
, ayaOov, Trapayov Kat, Trapayopevov, avTapKes, aircov, 
v,KivriTov, aKivr)Tov,KivovfAevov"(unum, multa, bonum, 
producens et produdum, sibi sufficiens, causa, melius, mobile, 
immobile, motum), &c., are indiscriminately collected, but 
the perceptions to which alone they owe their origin 
and content ignored and contemptuously disregarded. A 
theology is then constructed from these conceptions, but 
its goal, the 0eo<?, is kept concealed ; thus the whole pro 
cedure is apparently unprejudiced, as if the reader did not 
know at the first page, just as well as the author, what 
it is all to end in. I have already quoted a fragment of 
this above. This production of Proclus is really quite 
peculiarly adapted to make clear how utterly useless and 
illusory such combinations of abstract conceptions are, for 
we can make of them whatever we will, especially if we 
further take advantage of the ambiguity of many words, 
such, for example, as /cpeiTrov. If such an architect of 
conceptions w r ere present in person we would only have 
to ask naively where all the things are of which he has 
so much to tell us, and whence he knows the laws from 
which he draws his conclusions concerning them. He 
would then soon be obliged to turn to empirical percep 
tion, in which alone the real world exhibits itself, from 
which those conceptions are drawn. Then we would only 


have to ask further why he did not honestly start from 
the given perception of such a world, so that at every 
step his assertions could be proved by it, instead of opera 
ting with conceptions, which are yet drawn from percep 
tion alone, and therefore can have no further validity 
than that which it imparts to them. But of course this 
is just his trick. Through such conceptions, in which, 
by virtue of abstraction, what is inseparable is thought 
as separate, and what cannot be united as united, he goes 
far beyond the perception which was their source, and thus 
beyond the limits of their applicability, to an entirely 
different world from that which supplied the material 
for building, but just on this account to a world of 
chimeras. I have here referred to Proclus because in him 
this procedure becomes specially clear through the frank 
audacity with which he carries it out. But in Plato also 
we find some examples of this kind, though not so glar 
ing; and in general the philosophical literature of all 
ages affords a multitude of instances of the same thing. 
That of our own time is rich in them. Consider, for ex 
ample, the writings of the school of Schelling, and observe 
the constructions that are built up out of abstractions like 
finite and infinite being, non-being, other being activity, 
hindrance, product determining, being determined, deter- 
minateness limit, limiting, being limited unity, plurality, 
multiplicity identity, diversity, indifference thinking, 
being, essence, &c. Not only does all that has been said 
above hold good of constructions out of such materials, 
but because an infinite amount can be thought through 
such wide abstractions, only very little indeed can be 
thought in them ; they are empty husks. But thus the 
matter of the whole philosophising becomes astonishingly 
trifling and paltry, and hence arises that unutterable and 
excruciating tediousness which is characteristic of all such 
writings. If indeed I now chose to call to mind the way 
in which Hegel and his companions have abused such 
wide and empty abstractions, I should have to fear that 


"both the reader and I myself would be ill ; for the most 
nauseous tediousness hangs over the empty word-juggling 
of this loathsome philophaster. 

That in practical philosophy also no wisdom is brought 
to light from mere abstract conceptions is the one thing 
to be learnt from the ethical dissertations of the theologian 
Schleiermacher, with the delivery of which he has wearied 
the Berlin Academy for a number of years, and which are 
shortly to appear in a collected form. In them only 
abstract conceptions, such as duty, virtue, highest good, 
moral law, &c., are taken as the starting-point, without 
further introduction than that they commonly occur in 
ethical systems, and are now treated as given realities. 
He then discusses these from all sides with great subtilty, 
but, on the other hand, never makes for the source of these 
conceptions, for the thing itself, the actual human life, to 
which alone they are related, from which they ought to 
be drawn, and with which morality has, properly speaking, 
to do. On this account these diatribes are just as unfruit 
ful and useless as they are tedious, which is saying a great 
deal. At all times we find persons, like this theologian, 
who is too fond of philosophising, famous while they are 
alive, afterwards soon forgotten. My advice is rather to 
read those whose fate has been the opposite of this, for 
time is short and valuable. 

Now although, in accordance with all that has been 
said, wide, abstract conceptions, which can be realised in 
no perception, must never be the source of knowledge, the 
starting-point or the proper material of philosophy, yet 
sometimes particular results of philosophy are such as can 
only be thought in the abstract, and cannot be proved by 
any perception. Knowledge of this kind will certainly 
only be half knowledge ; it will, as it were, only point 
out the place where what is to be known lies ; but this 
remains concealed. Therefore we should only be satisfied 
with such conceptions in the most extreme case, and when 
we have reached the limit of the knowledge possible to 


our faculties. An example of this might perhaps be the 
conception of a being out of time ; such as the proposi 
tion : the indestructibility of our true being by death is 
not a continued existence of it. With conceptions of this 
sort the firm ground which supports our whole knowledge, 
the perceptible, seems to waver. Therefore philosophy 
may certainly at times, and in case of necessity, extend to 
such knowledge, but it must never begin with it. 

The working with wide abstractions, which is con 
demned above, to the entire neglect of the perceptive 
knowledge from which they are drawn, and which is 
therefore their permanent and natural controller, was at 
all times the principal source of the errors of dogmatic 
philosophy. A science constructed from the mere com 
parison of conceptions, that is, from general principles, 
could only be certain if all its principles were synthetical 
a priori, as is the case in mathematics : for only such 
admit of no exceptions. If, on the other hand, the prin 
ciples have any empirical content, we must keep this con 
stantly at hand, to control the general principles. For no 
truths which are in any way drawn from experience are 
ever unconditionally true. They have therefore only an 
approximately universal validity ; for here there is no 
rule without an exception. If now I link these principles 
together by means of the intersection of their concept- 
spheres, one conception might very easily touch the other 
precisely where the exception lies. But if this happens 
even only once in the course of a long train of reasoning, 
the whole structure is loosed from its foundation and 
moves in the air. If, for example, I say, " The ruminants 
have no front incisors," and apply this and what follows 
from it to the camel, it all becomes false, for it only holds 
good of horned ruminants. What Kant calls das Ver- 
nunfteln, mere abstract reasoning, and so often condemns, 
is just of this sort. For it consists simply in subsuming 
conceptions under conceptions, without reference to their 
origin, and without proof of the correctness and exclusive- 


ness of such subsumption a method whereby we can 
arrive by longer or shorter circuits at almost any result 
we choose to set before us as our goal. Hence this mere 
abstract reasoning differs only in degree from sophistica 
tion strictly so called. But sophistication is in the theo 
retical sphere exactly what chicanery is in the practical. 
Yet even Plato himself has very frequently permitted 
such mere abstract reasoning; and Proclus, as we have 
already mentioned, has, after the manner of all imitators, 
carried this fault of his model much further. Dionysius the 
Areopagite, " De Divinis Nominibus" is also strongly af 
fected with this. But even in the fragments of the Eleatic 
Melissus we already find distinct examples of such mere 
abstract reasoning (especially 2-5 in Brandis " Comment. 
Meat.) His procedure with the conceptions, which never 
touch the reality from which they have their content, but, 
moving in the atmosphere of abstact universality, pass 
away beyond it, resembles blows which never hit the mark. 
A good pattern of such mere abstract reasoning is the " De 
Diis et Mundo " of the philosopher Sallustius Biichelchen ; 
especially chaps. 7, 12, and 17. But a perfect gem of 
philosophical mere abstract reasoning passing into decided 
sophistication is the following reasoning of the Platonist, 
Maximus of Tyre, which I shall quote, as it is short : 
" Every injustice is the taking away of a good. There is 
no other good than virtue : but virtue cannot be taken 
away : thus it is not possible that the virtuous can suffer 
injustice from the wicked. It now remains either that 
no injustice can be suffered, or that it is suffered by the 
wicked from the wicked. But the wicked man possesses 
no good at all, for only virtue is a good ; therefore none 
can be taken from him. Thus he also can suffer no in 
justice. Thus injustice is an impossible thing." The 
original, which is less concise through repetitions, runs 
thus : " ABiKia ecm a<j)aipecris ayadov TO Be a^aOov n av 
etrj a\\o 77 apery ; f) 8e apery ava(f>aiperov. OVK a 
rai TOLVVV o rrjv aperrjv e^a>v, f] OVK eariv aSircia 


ayadov ovSev <yap cvyadov a(f>ai,peTov, ov^ -^aTro^XTjTOV, ov 
eXerov, ov8e \7)icnov. Etev ovv, ouS aSifceir 
To?, ovS VTTO TOV fjto%0i)pov ava(j)aipeTO<> yap. 
TOLVVV TJ fjLrjSeva aSiKeicrdat, Kada7ra, 77 rov no^drjpov VTTO 
TOV o/Jbotov aXXa -T&) fjio^drjpa) ofSe^o? /ierecrrty ayadow 
TI Se aSiKta rjv ajadov affxtipecris 6 Se /j,rj e^cof o, ri a<f>ai,- 
peadij, ovSe ei? 6, TI aSifcrjcrOrj, e^et" (Scrmo 2). I shall 
add further a modern example of such proofs from 
abstract conceptions, by means of which an obviously 
absurd proposition is set up as the truth, and I shall take 
it from the works of a great man, Giordano Bruno. In 
his book, "Del Infinite* Universo & Mondi" (p. 87 of the 
edition of A. Wagner), he makes an Aristotelian prove 
(with the assistance and exaggeration of the passage 
of Aristotle s De Casio, i. 5) that there can space 
beyond the world. The world is enclosed by the eight 
spheres of Aristotle, and beyond these there can be 
no space. For if beyond these there were still a body, 
it must either be simple or compound. It is now 
proved sophistically, from principles which are obviously 
begged, that no simple body could be there ; and therefore, 
also, no compound body, for it would necessarily be com 
posed of simple ones. Thus in general there can be no 
body there but if not, then no space. For space is defined 
as " that in which bodies can be ; " and it has just been 
proved that no body can be there. Thus there is also 
there no space. This last is the final stroke of this proof 
from abstract conceptions. It ultimately rests on the 
fact that the proposition, " Where no space is, there can 
be no body " is taken as a universal negative, and there 
fore converted simply, " Where no body can be there is no 
space." But the former proposition, when properly re 
garded, is a universal affirmative : " Everything that has 
no space has no body," thus it must not be converted 
simply. Yet it is not every proof from abstract con 
ceptions, with a conclusion which clearly contradicts 
perception (as here the fmiteness of space), that can thus 


be referred to a logical error. For the sophistry does not 
always lie in the form, but often in the matter, in the 
premisses, and in the indefiniteness of the conceptions and 
their extension. We find numerous examples of this in 
Spinoza, whose method indeed it is to prove from concep 
tions. See, for example, the miserable sophisms in his 
" Ethics," P. iv., prop. 29-31, by means of the ambiguity of 
the uncertain conceptions convenire and commune habere, 
Yet this does not prevent the neo-Spinozists of our own 
day from taking all that he has said for gospel. Of these 
the Hegelians, of whom there are actually still a few, are 
specially amusing on account of their traditional reverence 
for his principle, omnis determinatio est negatio, at which, 
according to the charlatan spirit of the school, they put 
on a face as if it was able to unhinge the world ; whereas 
it is of no use at all, for even the simplest can see for 
himself that if I limit anything by determinations, I 
thereby exclude and thus negate what lies beyond these 

Thus in all mere reasonings of the above kind it be 
comes very apparent what errors that algebra with mere 
conceptions, uncontrolled by perception, is exposed to, 
and that therefore perception is for our intellect what the 
firm ground upon which it stands is for our body : if we 
forsake perception everything is instabilis tellus, innabilis 
unda. The reader will pardon the fulness of these exposi 
tions and examples on account of their instructiveness. I 
have sought by means of them to bring forward and 
support the difference, indeed the opposition, between per 
ceptive and abstract or reflected knowledge, which has 
hitherto been too little regarded, and the establishment of 
which is a fundamental characteristic of my philosophy. 
For many phenomena of our mental life are only ex 
plicable through this distinction. The connecting link 
between these two such different kinds of knowledge 
is the faculty of judgment, as I have shown in 14 of 
the first volume. This faculty is certainly also active 


in the province of mere abstract knowledge, in which 
it compares conceptions only with conceptions ; therefore 
every judgment, in the logical sense of the word, is cer 
tainly a work of the faculty of judgment, for it always 
consists in the subsumption of a narrower conception under 
a wider one. Yet this activity of the faculty of judgment, 
in which it merely compares conceptions with each other, 
is a simpler and easier task than when it makes the transi 
tion from what is quite particular, the perception, to the 
essentially general, the conception. For by the analysis 
of conceptions into their essential predicates it must be 
possible to decide upon purely logical grounds whether 
they are capable of being united or not, arid for this the 
mere reason which every one possesses is sufficient. The 
faculty of judgment is therefore only active here in short 
ening this process, for he who is gifted with it sees at a 
glance what others only arrive at through a series of re 
flections. But its activity in the narrower sense really 
only appears when what is known through perception, 
thus the real experience, has to be carried over into distinct 
abstract knowledge, subsumed under accurately corre 
sponding conceptions, and -thus translated into reflected 
rational knowledge. It is therefore this faculty which 
has to establish the firm basis of all sciences, which always 
consists of what is known directly and cannot be further 
denied. Therefore here, in the fundamental judgments, 
lies the difficulty of the sciences, not in the inferences 
from these. To infer is easy, to judge is difficult. False 
inferences are rare, false judgments are always the order 
of the day. Not less in practical life has the faculty of 
judgment to give the decision in all fundamental conclu 
sions and important determinations. Its office is in the 
main like that of the judicial sentence. As the burning- 
glass brings to a focus all the sun s rays, so when the 
understanding works, the intellect has to bring together 
all the data which it has upon the subject so closely that 
the understanding comprehends them at a glance, which 


it now rightly fixes, and then carefully makes the result 
distinct to itself. Further, the great difficulty of judging 
in most cases depends upon the fact that we have to 
proceed from the consequent to the reason, a path which 
is always uncertain ; indeed I have shown that the source 
of all error lies here. Yet in all the empirical sciences, 
and also in the affairs of real life, this way is for the most 
part the only one open to us. The experiment is an 
attempt to go over it again the other way; therefore it 
is decisive, and at least brings out error clearly ; provided 
always that it is rightly chosen and honestly carried out; not 
like Newton s experiments in connection with the theory 
of colours. But the experiment itself must also again be 
judged. The complete certainty of the a priori sciences, 
logic and mathematics, depends principally upon the fact 
that in them the path from the reason to the consequent 
is open to us, and it is always certain. This gives them 
the character of purely objective sciences, i.e., sciences with 
regard to whose truths all who understand them must 
judge alike ; and this is all the more remarkable as they 
are the very sciences which rest on the subjective forms 
of the intellect, while the empirical sciences alone have 
to do with what is palpably objective. 

Wit and ingenuity are also manifestations of the faculty 
of judgment; in the former its activity is reflective, in the 
latter subsuming. In most men the faculty of judgment 
is only nominally present ; it is a kind of irony that it is 
reckoned with the normal faculties of the mind, instead 
of being only attributed to the monstris per excessum. 
Ordinary men show even in the smallest affairs want of 
confidence in their own judgment, just because they know 
from experience that it is of no service. With them pre 
judice and imitation take its place ; and thus they are kept 
in a state of continual non-age, from which scarcely one in 
many hundreds is delivered. Certainly this is not avowed, 
for even to themselves they appear to judge ; but all the 
time they are glancing stealthily at the opinion of others, 


which is their secret standard. While each one would be 
ashamed to go about in a borrowed coat, hat, or mantle, 
they all have nothing but borrowed opinions, which they 
eagerly collect wherever they can find them, and then 
strut about giving them out as their own. Others borrow 
them again from them and do the same thing. This ex 
plains the rapid and wide spread of errors, and also the 
fame of what is bad ; for the professional purveyors of 
opinion, such as journalists and the like, give as a rule 
only false wares, as those who hire out masquerading 
dresses give only false jewels. 

( 270 ) 



MY theory of the ludicrous also depends upon the op 
position explained in the preceding chapters between 
perceptible and abstract ideas, which I have brought into 
such marked prominence. Therefore what has still to be 
said in explanation of this theory finds its proper place 
here, although according to the order of the text it would 
have to come later. 

The problem of the origin, which is everywhere the 
same, and hence of the peculiar significance of laughter, 
was already known to Cicero, but only to be at once 
dismissed as insoluble (De Orat., ii. 58). The oldest 
attempt known to me at a psychological explanation of 
laughter is to be found in Hutcheson s " Introduction 
into Moral Philosophy," Bk. I., ch. i. 14. A somewhat 
later anonymous work, " TraiU des Causes Physiques et 
Morals du Hire," 1768, is not without merit as a ventila 
tion of the subject. Platner, in his " Anthropology," 
894, has collected the opinions of the philosophers from 
Home to Kant who have attempted an explanation of 
this phenomenon peculiar to human nature. Kant s and 
Jean Paul s theories of the ludicrous are well known. 
I regard it as unnecessary to prove their incorrectness, 
for whoever tries to refer given cases of the ludicrous 
to them will in the great majority of instances be at 
once convinced of their insufficiency. 

According to my explanation given in the first volume, 

1 This chapter is connected with 13 of the first volume. 


the source of the ludicrous is always the paradoxical, and 
therefore unexpected, subsumption of an object under a 
conception which in other respects is different from it, 
and accordingly the phenomenon of laughter always 
signifies the sudden apprehension of an incongruity 
between such a conception and the real object thought 
under it, thus between the abstract and the concrete 
object of perception. The greater and more unexpected, 
in the apprehension of the laugher, this incongruity is, 
the more violent will be his laughter. Therefore in 
everything that excites laughter it must always be 
possible to show a conception and a particular, that is, a 
thing or event, which certainly can be subsumed under 
that conception, and therefore thought through it, yet 
in another and more predominating aspect does not 
belong to it at all, but is strikingly different from every 
thing else that is thought through that conception. If, 
as often occurs, especially in witticisms, instead of such 
a real object of perception, the conception of a sub 
ordinate species is brought under the higher conception 
of the genus, it will yet excite laughter only through 
the fact that the imagination realises it, i.e., makes a 
perceptible representative stand for it, and thus the con 
flict between what is thought and what is perceived takes 
place. Indeed if we wish to understand this perfectly 
explicitly, it is possible to trace everything ludicrous to 
a syllogism in the first figure, with an undisputed major 
and an unexpected minor, which to a certain extent 
is only sophistically valid, in consequence of which con 
nection the conclusion partakes of the quality of the 

In the first volume I regarded it as superfluous to illus 
trate this theory by examples, for every one can do this 
for himself by a little reflection upon cases of the ludicrous 
which he remembers. Yet, in order to come to the assist 
ance of the mental inertness of those readers who prefer 
always to remain in a passive condition, I will accommodate 


myself to them. Indeed in tins third edition I wish to 
multiply and accumulate examples, so that it may be 
indisputable that here, after so many fruitless earlier 
attempts, the true theory of the ludicrous is given, and 
the problem which was proposed and also given up by 
Cicero is definitely solved. 

If we consider that an angle requires two lines meeting 
so that if they are produced they will intersect each other ; 
on the other hand, that the tangent of a circle only 
touches it at one point, but at this point is really parallel 
to it ; and accordingly have present to our minds the 
abstract conviction of the impossibility of an angle be 
tween the circumference of a circle and its tangent ; and 
if now such an angle lies visibly before us upon paper, 
this will easily excite a smile. The ludicrousness in this 
case is exceedingly weak ; but yet the source of it in the 
incongruity of what is thought and perceived appears in 
it with exceptional distinctness. When we discover such 
an incongruity, the occasion for laughter that thereby 
arises is, according as we pass from the real, i.e., the 
perceptible, to the conception, or conversely from the 
conception to the real, either a witticism or an absurdity, 
which in a higher degree, and especially in the practical 
sphere, is folly, as was explained in the text. Now to 
consider examples of the first case, thus of wit, we shall 
first of all take the familiar anecdote of the Gascon at 
whom the king laughed when he saw him in light summer 
clothing in the depth of winter, and who thereupon said 
to the king : " If your Majesty had put on what I have, 
you would find it very warm ; " and on being asked what 
he had put on, replied : " My whole wardrobe ! " Under 
this last conception we have to think both the unlimited 
wardrobe of a king and the single summer coat of a poor 
devil, the sight of which upon his freezing body shows its 
great incongruity with the conception. The audience in 
a theatre in Paris once called for the " Marseillaise " to be 
played, and as this was not done, began shrieking and 


howling, so that at last a commissary of police in uniform 
came upon the stage and explained that it was not allowed 
that anything should be .given in the theatre except what 
was in the playbill. Upon this a voice cried : " Et vous, 
Monsieur, etes-vous aussi sur Hafficke, ? " a hit which 
was received with universal laughter. For here the sub- 
sumption of what is heterogeneous is at once distinct and 
unforced. The epigramme : 

" Bav is the true shepherd of whom the Bible spake : 
Though his flock be all asleep, he alone remains awake : " 

subsumes, under the conception of a sleeping flock and a 
waking shepherd, the tedious preacher who still bellows 
on unheard when he has sent all the people to sleep. 
Analogous to this is the epitaph on a doctor : " Here lies 
he like a hero, and those he has slain lie around him ; " it 
subsumes under the conception, honourable to the hero, 
of " lying surrounded by dead bodies," the doctor, who is 
supposed to preserve life. Very commonly the witticism 
consists in a single expression, through which only the 
conception is given, under which the case presented can 
be subsumed, though it is very different from everything 
else that is thought under it. So is it in " Romeo " when 
the vivacious Mercutio answers his friends who promise 
to visit him on the morrow : " Ask for me to-morrow, and 
you shall find me a grave man." Under this conception 
a dead man is here subsumed ; but in English there is also 
a play upon the words, for " a grave man " means both a 
serious man and a man of the grave. Of this kind is 
also the well-known anecdote of the actor Unzelmaun. 
In the Berlin theatre he was strictly forbidden to im 
provise. Soon afterwards he had to appear on the stage 
on horseback, and just as he came on the stage the horse 
dunged, at which the audience began to laugh, but laughed 
much more when Unzelmann said to the horse : " What 
are you doing ? Don t you know we are forbidden to 
improvise ? " Here the subsumption of the heterogeneous 
VOL. ii. s 


under the more general conception is very distinct, but 
the witticism is exceedingly happy, and the ludicrous effect 
produced by it excessively strong. To this class also 
belongs the following announcement from Hall in a news 
paper of March 1851: " The band of Jewish swindlers to 
which we have referred were again delivered over to us 
with obligate accompaniment." This subsuming of a 
police escort under a musical term is very happy, though 
it approaches the mere play upon words. On the other 
hand, it is exactly a case of the kind we are considering 
when Saphir, in a paper-war with the actor Angeli, de 
scribes him as " Angeli, who is equally great in mind and 
body." The small statue of the actor was known to the 
whole town, and thus under the conception " great " 
unusual smallness was presented to the mind. Also when 
the same Saphir calls the airs of a new opera " good old 
friends," and so brings the quality which is most to be 
condemned under a conception which is usually employed 
to commend. Also, if we should say of a lady whose 
favour could be influenced by presents, that she knew 
how to combine the utile with the dulci. For here we 
bring the moral life tinder the conception of a rule 
which Horace has recommended in an aesthetical refer 
ence. Also if to signify a brothel we should call it the 
" modest abode of quiet joys." Good society, in order to 
be thoroughly insipid, has forbidden all decided utter 
ances, and therefore all strong expressions. Therefore it 
is wont, when it has to signify scandalous or in any 
way indecent things, to mitigate or extenuate them by 
expressing them through general conceptions. But in this 
way it happens that they are more or less incongruously 
subsumed, and in a corresponding degree the effect of 
the ludicrous is produced. To this class belongs the use 
of utile dulci referred to above, and also such expressions 
as the following : " He had unpleasantness at the ball 
when he w as thrashed and kicked out ; or, " He has done 
too well " when he is drunk ; and also, " The woman has 


weak moments " if she is unfaithful to her husband, &c. 
Equivocal sayings also belong to the same class. They 
are conceptions which in themselves contain nothing 
improper, but yet the case brought under them leads to 
an improper idea. They are very common in society. 
But a perfect example of a full and magnificent equi 
vocation is Shenstone s incomparable epitaph on a justice 
of the peace, which, in its high-flown lapidary style, seems 
to speak of noble and sublime things, while under each of 
their conceptions something quite different is to be sub 
sumed, which only appears in the very last word as the 
unexpected key to the whole, and the reader discovers 
with loud laughter that he has only read a very obscene 
equivocation. In this smooth-combed age it is altogether 
impossible to quote this here, not to speak of translating 
it ; it will be found in Shenstone s poetical works, under 
the title " Inscription." Equivocations sometimes pass 
over into mere puns, about which all that is necessary has 
been said in the text. 

Further, the ultimate subsumption, ludicrous to all, of 
what in one respect is heterogeneous, under a conception 
which in other respects agrees with it, may take place 
contrary to our intention. Eor example, one of the free 
negroes in North America, who take pains to imitate the 
whites in everything, quite recently placed an epitaph 
over his dead child which begins, " Lovely, early broken 
lily." If, on the contrary, something real and perceptible 
is, with direct intention, brought under the conception 
of its opposite, the result is plain, common irony. For 
example, if when it is raining hard we say, " Nice weather 
we are having to-day ; " or if we say of an ugly bride, 
" That man has found a charming treasure ; " or of a knave, 
" This honest man," &c. &c. Only children and quite un 
educated people will laugh at such things ; for here the 
incongruity between what is thought and what is per 
ceived is total. Yet just in this direct exaggeration in 
the production of the ludicrous its fundamental character, 


incongruity, appears very distinctly. This species of the 
ludicrous is, on account of its exaggeration and distinct 
intention, in some respects related to parody. The pro 
cedure of the latter consists in this. It substitutes for the 
incidents and words of a serious poem or drama insignifi 
cant low persons or trifling motives and actions. It thus 
subsumes the commonplace realities which it sets forth 
under the lofty conceptions given in the theme, under 
which in a certain respect they must come, while in other 
respects they are very incongruous ; and thereby the con 
trast between what is perceived and what is thought 
appears very glaring. There is no lack of familiar ex 
amples of this, and therefore I shall only give one, from 
the " Zobeide " of Carlo Gozzi, act iv., scene 3, where the 
famous stanza of Ariosto (Orl. Fur., i. 22), " Oh gran bonta 
de cavalicri antichi," &c., is put word for word into the 
mouth of two clowns who have just been thrashing each 
other, and tired with this, lie quietly side by side. This 
is also the nature of the application so popular in Ger 
many of serious verses, especially of Schiller, to trivial 
events, which clearly contains a subsumption of hetero 
geneous things under the general conception which the 
verse expresses. Thus, for example, when any one has 
displayed a very characteristic trait, there will rarely be 
wanting some one to say, " From that I know with whom 
I have to do." But it was original and very witty of a 
man who was in love with a young bride to quote to the 
newly married couple (I know not how loudly) the con 
cluding words of Schiller s ballad, " The Surety : " 

" Let me be, I pray you, 
In your bond the third." 

The effect of the ludicrous is here strong and inevitable, 
because under the conceptions through which Schiller 
presents to the mind a moral and noble relation, a for 
bidden and immoral relation is subsumed, and yet cor 
rectly and without change, thus is thought through it. 


In all the examples of wit given here we find that under 
a conception, or in general an abstract thought, a real 
thing is, directly, or by means of a narrower conception, 
subsumed, which indeed, strictly speaking, comes under 
it, and yet is as different as possible from the proper and 
original intention and tendency of the thought. Accord 
ingly wit, as a mental capacity, consists entirely in a 
facility for finding for every object that appears a concep 
tion under which it certainly can be thought, though it is 
very different from all the other objects which come under 
this conception. 

The second species of the ludicrous follows, as we have 
mentioned, the opposite path from the abstract conception 
to the real or perceptible things thought through it. But 
this now brings to light any incongruity with the concep 
tion which was overlooked, and hence arises an absurdity, 
and therefore in the practical sphere a foolish action. 
Since the play requires action, this species of the ludicrous 
is essential to comedy. Upon this depends the observa 
tion of Voltaire : " J*ai cru remarquer aux spectacles, qu il 
ne s e leve presque jamais de ccs Eclats de rire universels, qu a 
I occasion d une M^PRISE" (Preface de I! Enfant Prodiyue). 
The following may serve as examples of this species of the 
ludicrous. When some one had declared that he was fond 
of walking alone, an Austrian said to him : " You like 
walking alone ; so do I : therefore we can go together." 
He starts from the conception, "A pleasure which two 
love they can enjoy in common," and subsumes under 
it the very case which excludes community. Further, 
the servant who rubbed a worn sealskin in his master s 
box with Macassar oil, so that it might become covered 
with hair again ; in doing which he started from the con 
ception, " Macassar oil makes hair grow." The soldiers in 
the guard-room who allowed a prisoner who was brought 
in to join in their game of cards, then quarrelled with 
him for cheating, and turned him out. They let them 
selves be led by the general conception, " Bad companions 


are turned out," and forget that he is also a prisoner, i.e., 
one whom they ought to hold fast. Two young peasants 
had loaded their gun with coarse shot, which they wished 
to extract, in order to substitute fine, without losing the 
powder. So one of them put the mouth of the barrel in 
his hat, which he took between his legs, and said to the 
other : " Now you pull the trigger slowly, slowly, slowly ; 
then the shot will come first." He starts from the concep 
tion, " Prolonging the cause prolongs the effect." Most of 
the actions of Don Quixote are also cases in point, for he 
subsumes the realities he encounters under conceptions 
drawn from the romances of chivalry, from which they 
are very different. For example, in order to support the 
oppressed he frees the galley slaves. Properly all Munch- 
hausenisms are also of this nature, only they are not 
actions which are performed, but impossibilities, which are 
passed off upon the hearer as having really happened. In 
them the fact is always so conceived that when it is 
thought merely in the abstract, and therefore compara 
tively a priori, it appears possible and plausible ; but 
afterwards, if we come down to the perception of the parti 
cular case, thus a posteriori the impossibility of the thing, 
indeed the absurdity of the assumption, is brought into 
prominence, and excites laughter through the evident 
incongruity of what is perceived and what is thought. 
For example, when the melodies frozen up in the post- 
horn are thawed in the warm room when Miinchhausen, 
sitting upon a tree during a hard frost, draws up his 
knife which has dropped to the ground by the frozen jet 
of his own water, &c. Such is also the story of the two 
lions who broke down the partition between them during 
the night and devoured each other in their rage, so that in 
the morning there was nothing to be found but the two 

There are also cases of the ludicrous where the concep 
tion under which the perceptible facts are brought does 
not require to be expressed or signified, but comes into 


consciousness itself through the association of ideas. The 
laughter into which Garrick burst in the middle of playing 
tragedy because a butcher in the front of the pit, who 
had taken off his wig to wipe the sweat from his head, 
placed the wig for a while upon his large dog, who stood 
facing the stage with his fore paws resting on the pit 
railings, was occasioned by the fact that Garrick started 
from the conception of a spectator, which was added in. 
his own mind. This is the reason why certain animal 
forms, such as apes, kangaroos, jumping-hares, &c., some 
times appear to us ludicrous because something about 
them resembling man leads us to subsume them under 
the conception of the human form, and starting from this 
we perceive their incongruity with it. 

Now the conceptions whose observed incongruity with 
the perceptions moves us to laughter are either those of 
others or our own. In the first case we laugh at others, 
in the second we feel a surprise, often agreeable, at 
the least amusing. Therefore children and uneducated 
people laugh at the most trifling things, even at misfor 
tunes, if they were unexpected, and thus convicted their 
preconceived conception of error. As a rule laughing is 
a pleasant condition ; accordingly the apprehension of the 
incongruity between what is thought and what is perceived, 
that is, the real, gives us pleasure, and we give ourselves 
up gladly to the spasmodic convulsions which this ap 
prehension excites. The reason of this is as follows. In 
every suddenly appearing conflict between what is per 
ceived and what is thought, what is perceived is always 
unquestionably right ; for it is not subject to error at all, 
requires no confirmation from without, but answers for 
itself. Its conflict with what is thought springs ultimately 
from the fact that the latter, with its abstract concep 
tions, cannot get down to the infinite multifariousness and 
fine shades of difference of the concrete. This victory of 
knowledge of perception over thought affords us pleasure. 
For perception is the original kind of knowledge insepar- 


able from animal nature, in which everything that gives 
direct satisfaction to the will presents itself. It is the 
medium of the present, of enjoyment and gaiety ; more 
over it is attended with no exertion. With thinking the 
opposite is the case ; it is the second power of knowledge, 
the exercise of which always demands some, and often 
considerable, exertion. Besides, it is the conceptions of 
thought that often oppose the gratification of our imme 
diate desires, for, as the medium of the past, the future, and 
of seriousness, they are the vehicle of our fears, our re 
pentance, and all our cares. It must therefore be divert 
ing to us to see this strict, untiring, troublesome governess, 
the reason, for once convicted of insufficiency. On this 
account then the mien or appearance of laughter is very 
closely related to that of joy. 

On account of the want of reason, thus of general con 
ceptions, the brute is incapable of laughter, as of speech. 
This is therefore a prerogative and characteristic mark of 
man. Yet it may be remarked in passing that his one 
friend the dog has an analogous characteristic action 
peculiar to him alone in distinction from all other brutes, 
the very expressive, kindly, and thoroughly honest fawning 
and wagging of its tail. But how favourably does this 
salutation given him by nature compare with the bows 
and simpering civilities of men. At least for the present, 
it is a thousand times more reliable than their assurance 
of inward friendship and devotion. 

The opposite of laughing and joking is seriousness. 
Accordingly it consists in the consciousness of the perfect 
agreement and congruity of the conception, or thought, 
with what is perceived, or the reality. The serious man 
is convinced that he thinks the things as they are, and 
that they are as he thinks them. This is just why the 
transition from profound seriousness to laughter is so easy, 
and can be effected by trifles. For the more perfect that 
agreement assumed by seriousness may seem to be, the 
more easily is it destroyed by the unexpected discovery 


of even a slight incongruity. Therefore the more a man 
is capable of entire seriousness, the more heartily can he 
laugh. Men whose laughter is always affected and forced 
are intellectually and morally of little worth ; and in 
general the way of laughing, and, on the other hand, the 
occasions of it, are very characteristic of the person. That 
the relations of the sexes afford the easiest materials for 
jokes always ready to hand and within the reach of the 
weakest wit, as is proved by the abundance of obscene 
jests, could not be if it were not that the deepest serious 
ness lies at their foundation. 

That the laughter of others at what we do or say seri 
ously offends us so keenly depends on the fact that it 
asserts that there is a great incongruity between our con 
ceptions and the objective realities. For the same reason, 
the predicate " ludicrous " or " absurd " is insulting. The 
laugh of scorn announces with triumph to the baffled 
adversary how incongruous were the conceptions he 
cherished with the reality which is now revealing itself 
to him. Our own bitter laughter at the fearful disclosure 
of the truth through which our firmly cherished expecta 
tions are proved to be delusive is the active expression of 
the discovery now made of the incongruity between the 
thoughts which, in our foolish confidence in man or fate, 
we entertained, and the truth which is now unveiled. 

The intentionally ludicrous is the joke. It is the effort 
to bring about a discrepancy between the conceptions of 
another and the reality by disarranging one of the two ; 
while its opposite, seriousness, consists in the exact con 
formity of the two to each other, which is at least aimed 
at. But if now the joke is concealed behind serious 
ness, then we have irony. For example, if with apparent 
seriousness we acquiesce in the opinions of another which 
are the opposite of our own, and pretend to share them 
with him, till at last the result perplexes him both as to 
us and them. This is the attitude of Socrates as opposed 
to Hippias, Protagoras, Gorgias, and other sophists, and 


indeed often to his collocutors in general. The converse 
of irony is accordingly seriousness concealed behind a 
joke, and this is humour. It might be called the double 
counterpoint of irony. Explanations such as " Humour is 
the interpenetration of the finite and the infinite " express 
nothing more than the entire incapacity for thought of 
those who are satisfied with such empty phrases. Irony 
is objective, that is, intended for another ; but humour is 
subjective, that is, it primarily exists only for one s own 
self. Accordingly we find the masterpieces of irony among 
the ancients, but those of humour among the moderns. 
For, more closely considered, humour depends upon a 
subjective, yet serious and sublime mood, which is in 
voluntarily in conflict with a common external world 
very different from itself, which it cannot escape from and 
to which it will not give itself up ; therefore, as an accom 
modation, it tries to think its own point of view and that 
external world through the same conceptions ; and thus a 
double incongruity arises, sometimes on the one side, 
sometimes on the other, between these concepts and the 
realities thought through them. Hence the impression of 
the intentionally ludicrous, thus of the joke, is produced, 
behind which, however, the deepest seriousness is con 
cealed and shines through. Irony begins with a serious 
air and ends with a smile ; with humour the order is 
reversed. The words of Mercutio quoted above may 
serve as an example of humour. Also in "Hamlet" 
Polonius : " My honourable lord, I will most humbly take 
my leave of you. Hamlet : You cannot, sir, take from 
me anything that I will more willingly part withal, except 
my life, except my life, except my life." Again, before 
the introduction of the play at court, Hamlet says to 
Ophelia : " What should a man do but be merry ? for, 
look you, how cheerfully my mother looks, and my father 
died within these two hours. Ophelia: Nay, tis twice 
two months, my lord. Hamlet : So long ? Nay, then let 
the devil wear black, for I ll have a suit of sables." 


Again, in Jean Paul s " Titan," when Schoppe, melancholy 
and now brooding over himself, frequently looking at his 
hands, says to himself, " There sits a lord in bodily reality, 
and I in him ; but who is such ? " Heinrich Heine 
appears as a true humourist in his " Romancero." Behind 
all his jokes and drollery we discern a profound serious 
ness, which is ashamed to appear unveiled. Accordingly 
humour depends upon a special kind of mood or temper 
(German, Laune, probably from Luna) through which 
conception in all its modifications, a decided predomi 
nance of the subjective over the objective in the appre 
hension of the external world, is thought. Moreover, 
every poetical or artistic presentation of a comical, or 
indeed even a farcical scene, through which a serious 
thought yet glimmers as its concealed background, is a 
production of humour, thus is humorous. Such, for 
example, is a coloured drawing of Tischbein s, which 
represents an empty room, lighted only by the blazing 
fire in the grate. Before the fire stands a man with his 
coat off, in such a position that his shadow, going out 
from his feet, stretches across the whole room. Tischbein 
comments thus on the drawing : " This is a man who has 
succeeded in nothing in the world, and who has made 
nothing of it; now he rejoices that he can throw such 
a large shadow." Now, if I had to express the serious 
ness that lies concealed behind this jest, I could best 
do so by means of the following verse taken from the 
Persian poem of Anwari Soheili : 

" If them hast lost possession of a world, 

Be not distressed, for it is nought ; 
Or hast thou gained possession of a world, 

Be not o erjoyed, for it is nought. 
Our pains, our gains, all pass away ; 

Get thee beyond the world, for it is nought." 

That at the present day the word homorous is generally 
iised in German literature in the sense of comical arises 
from the miserable desire to give things a more distin- 


guished name than belongs to them, the name of a class 
that stands above them. Thus every inn must be called 
a hotel, every money-changer a banker, every concert a 
musical academy, the merchant s counting-house a bureau, 
the potter an artist in clay, and therefore also every clown 
a humourist. The word humour is borrowed from the 
English to denote a quite peculiar species of the ludicrous, 
which indeed, as was said above, is related to the sublime, 
and which was first remarked by them. But it is not 
intended to be used as the title for all kinds of jokes and 
buffoonery, as is now universally the case in Germany, 
without opposition from men of letters and scholars ; for 
the true conception of that modification, that tendency of 
the mind, that child of the sublime and the ridiculous, 
would be too subtle and too high for their public, to 
please which they take pains to make everything flat and 
vulgar. Well, "high words and a low meaning" is in 
general the motto of the noble present, and accordingly 
now-a-days he is called a humourist who was formerly 
called a buffoon. 



LOGIC, Dialectic, and Ehetoric go together, because they 
make up the whole of a technic of reason, and under this 
title they ought also to be taught Logic as the technic 
of our own thinking, Dialectic of disputing with others, 
and Ehetoric of speaking to many (concionatio) ; thus cor 
responding to the singular, dual, and plural, and to the 
monologue, the dialogue, and the panegyric. 

Under Dialectic I understand, in agreement with Aris 
totle (Metaph., iii. 2, and Analyt. Post., i. n), the art of 
conversation directed to the mutual investigation of truth, 
especially philosophical truth. But a conversation of this 
kind necessarily passes more or less into controversy ; 
therefore dialectic may also be explained as the art of 
disputation. We have examples and patterns of dialectic 
in the Platonic dialogues ; but for the special theory of it, 
thus for the technical rules of disputation, eristics, very 
little has hitherto been accomplished. I have worked 
out an attempt of the kind, and given an example of it, 
in the second volume of the " Parerga," therefore I shall 
pass over the exposition of this science altogether here. 

In Ehetoric the rhetorical figures are very much what 
the syllogistic figures are in Logic ; at all events they are 
worth considering. In Aristotle s time they seem to have 
not yet become the object of theoretical investigation, for 
he does not treat of them in any of his rhetorics, and in 

1 This chapter and the one which follows it are connected with 9 of 
the first volume. 


this reference we are referred to Eutilius Lupus, the epito- 
miser of a later Gorgias. 

All the three sciences have this in common, that with 
out having learned them we follow their rules, which 
indeed are themselves first abstracted from this natural 
employment of them. Therefore, although they are of 
great theoretical interest, they are of little practical use ; 
partly because, though they certainly give the rule, they 
do not give the case of its application ; partly because in 
practice there is generally no time to recollect the rules. 
Thus they teach only what every one already knows and 
practises of his own accord ; but yet the abstract know 
ledge of this is interesting and important. Logic will not 
easily have a practical value, at least for our own thinking. 
For the errors of our own reasoning scarcely ever lie in 
the inferences nor otherwise in the form, but in the judg 
ments, thus in the matter of thought. In controversy, on 
the other hand, we can sometimes derive some practical 
use from logic, by taking the more or less intentionally 
deceptive argument of our opponent, which he advances 
under the garb and cover of continuous speech, and 
referring it to the strict form of regular syllogisms, and 
thus convicting it of logical errors ; for example, simple 
conversion of universal affirmative judgments, syllogisms 
with four terms, inferences from the consequent to the 
reason, syllogisms in the second figure with merely affir 
mative premisses, and many such. 

It seems to me that the doctrine of the laws of thought 
might be simplified if we were only to set up two, the 
law of excluded middle and that of sufficient reason. The 
former thus : " Every predicate can either be affirmed or 
denied of every subject." Here it is already contained in 
the " either, or " that both cannot occur at once, and con 
sequently just what is expressed by the laws of identity 
and contradiction. Thus these would be added as corol 
laries of that principle which really says that every two 
concept-spheres must be thought either as united or as 


separated, but never as both at once ; and therefore, even 
although words are brought together which express the 
latter, these words assert a process of thought which can 
not be carried out. The consciousness of this infeasibility 
is the feeling of contradiction. The second law of thought, 
the principle of sufficient reason, would affirm that the 
above attributing or denying must be determined by some 
thing different from the judgment itself, which may be a 
(pure or empirical) perception, or merely another judg 
ment. This other and different thing is then called the 
ground or reason of the judgment. So far as a judgment 
satisfies the first law of thought, it is thinkable ; so far as 
it satisfies the second, it is true, or at least in the case in 
which the ground of a judgment is only another judgment 
it is logically or formally true. But, finally, material or 
absolute truth is always the relation between a judgment 
and a perception, thus between the abstract and the con 
crete or perceptible idea. This is either an immediate 
relation or it is brought about by means of other judg 
ments, i.e., through other abstract ideas. From this it is 
easy to see that one truth can never overthrow another, 
but all must ultimately agree ; because in the concrete or 
perceptible, which is their common foundation, no contra 
diction is possible. Therefore no truth has anything to 
fear from other truths. Illusion and error have to fear 
every truth, because through the logical connection of all 
truths even the most distant must some time strike its 
blow at every error. This second law of thought is there 
fore the connecting link between logic and what is no 

o o 

longer logic, but the matter of thought. Consequently 
the agreement of the conceptions, thus of the abstract 
idea with what is given in the perceptible idea, is, on 
the side of the object truth, and on the side of the subject 

To express the union or separation of two concept- 
spheres referred to above is the work of the copula, " is 
is not." Through this every verb can be expressed by 


means of its participle. Therefore all judging consists in 
the use of a verb, and vice versd. Accordingly the signi 
ficance of the copula is that the predicate is to be thought 
in the subject, nothing more. Now, consider what the 
content of the infinitive of the copula " to be " amounts 
to. But this is a principal theme of the professors of 
philosophy of the present time. However, we must not 
be too strict with them ; most of them wish to express 
by it nothing but material things, the corporeal world, to 
which, as perfectly innocent realists at the bottom of their 
hearts, they attribute the highest reality. To speak, how 
ever, of the bodies so directly appears to them too vulgar ; 
and therefore they say " being," which they think sounds 
better, and think in connection with it the tables and 
chairs standing before them. 

" For, because, why, therefore, thus, since, although, in 
deed, yet, but, if, then, either, or," and more like these, are 
properly logical particles, for their only end is to express 
the form of the thought processes. They are therefore a 
valuable possession of a language, and do not belong to all 
in equal numbers. Thus "zwar" (the contracted " es ist 
wahr ") seems to belong exclusively to the German lan 
guage. It is always connected with an "aler" which 
follows or is added in thought, as " if " is connected with 
" then." 

The logical rule that, as regards quantity, singular judg 
ments, that is, judgments which have a singular conception 
(notio singularis) for their subject, are to be treated as 
universal judgments, depends upon the circumstance that 
they are in fact universal judgments, which have merely 
the peculiarity that their subject is a conception which 
can only be supported by a single real object, and there 
fore only contains a single real object under it ; as when 
the conception is denoted by a proper name. This, how 
ever, has really only to be considered when we proceed 
from the abstract idea to the concrete or perceptible, thus 
seek to realise the conceptions. In thinking itself, in 


operating with judgments, this makes no difference, simply 
because between singular and universal conceptions there 
is no logical difference. " Immanuel Kant " signifies logi 
cally, " all Immanuel Kant." Accordingly the quantity 
of judgments is really only of two kinds universal and 
particular. An individual idea cannot be the subject of a 
judgment, because it is not an abstraction, it is not some 
thing thought, but something perceived. Every concep 
tion, on the other hand, is essentially universal, and every 
judgment must have a conception as its subject. 

The difference between particular judgments (proposi- 
tiones particulares) and universal judgments often depends 
merely on the external and contingent circumstance that 
the language has no word to express by itself the part 
that is here to be separated from the general conception 
which forms the subject of such a judgment. If there 
were such a word many a particular judgment would be 
universal. For example, the particular judgment, " Some 
trees bear gall-nuts," becomes a universal judgment, be 
cause for this part of the conception, " tree," we have a 
special word, " All oaks bear gall-nuts." In the same way 
is the judgment, " Some men are black," related to the 
judgment, " All negroes are black." Or else this differ 
ence depends upon the fact that in the mind of him who 
judges the conception which he makes the subject of the 
particular judgment has not become clearly separated 
from the general conception as a part of which he defines 
it ; otherwise he could have expressed a universal instead 
of a particular judgment. For example, instead of the 
judgment, " Some ruminants have upper incisors," this, 
" All unhorned ruminants have upper incisors." 

The liyijotlictical and disjunctive judgments are assertions 
as to the relation of two (in the case of the disjunctive 
judgment even several) categorical judgments to each other. 
The hypothetical judgment asserts that the truth of the 
second of the two categorical judgments here linked to 
gether depends upon the truth of the first, arid the 

VOL. n. T 


falseness of the first depends upon the falseness of the 
second; thus that these two propositions stand in direct 
community as regards truth and falseness. The disjunctive 
judgment, on the other hand, asserts that upon the truth 
of one of the categorical judgments here linked together 
depends the falseness of the others, and conversely ; thus 
that these propositions are in conflict as regards truth and 
falseness. The question is a judgment, one of whose three 
parts is left open : thus either the copula, " Is Caius a 
Roman or not ? " or the predicate, " Is Caius a Roman 
or something else ? " or the subject, " Is Caius a Roman 
or is it some one else who is a Roman ? " The place of 
the conception which is left open may also remain quite 
empty ; for example, " What is Caius ? " " Who is a 
Roman ? " 

The e7ra7&>7?7, inductio, is with Aristotle the opposite 
of the aTraycayr}. The latter proves a proposition to be 
false by showing that what would follow from it is not 
true ; thus by the instantia in contrarium. The eTraywyr), 
on the other hand, proves the truth of a proposition by 
showing that what would follow from it is true. Thus it 
leads by means of examples to our accepting something 
while the cnrarywyr) leads to our rejecting it. Therefore 
the eTraywyrj, or induction, is an inference from the con 
sequents to the reason, and indeed modo ponente ; for from 
many cases it establishes the rule, from which these cases 
then in their turn follow. On this account it is never 
perfectly certain, but at the most arrives at very great 
probability. However, this formal uncertainty may yet 
leave room for material certainty through the number of 
the sequences observed ; in the same way as in mathe 
matics the irrational relations are brought infinitely 
near to rationality by means of decimal fractions. The 
aTrajwyTj, on the contrary, is primarily an inference from 
the reason to the consequents, though it is afterwards 
carried out modo tollente, in that it proves the non- 
existence of a necessary consequent, and thereby destroys 


the truth of the assumed reason. On this account it is 
always perfectly certain, and accomplishes more by a 
single example in contrarium than the induction does by 
innumerable examples in favour of the proposition pro 
pounded. So much easier is it to refute than to prove, to 
overthrow than to establish. 

( 292 ) 



ALTHOUGH it is very hard to establish a new and correct 
view of a subject which for more than two thousand 
years has been handled by innumerable writers, and 
which, moreover, does not receive additions through the 
growth of experience, yet this must not deter me from 
presenting to the thinker for examination the following 
attempt of this kind. 

An inference is that operation of our reason by virtue of 
which, through the comparison of two judgments a third 
judgment arises, without the assistance of any knowledge 
otherwise obtained. The condition of this is that these 
two judgments have one conception in common, for other 
wise they are foreign to each other and have no com 
munity. But under this condition they become the father 
and mother of a child that contains in itself something of 
both. Moreover, this operation is no arbitrary act, but 
an act of the reason, which, when it has considered such 
judgments, performs it of itself according to its own laws. 
So far it is objective, not subjective, and therefore subject 
to the strictest rules. 

We may ask in passing whether he who draws an infer 
ence really learns something new from the new propo 
sition, something previously unknown to him ? Not 
absolutely; but yet to a certain extent he does. What 
he learns lay in what he knew : thus he knew it also, but 
he did not know that he knew it ; which is as if he had 
something, but did not know that he had it, and this is 


just the same as if he had it not. He knew it only im- 
plicite, now he knows it explicite ; but this distinction 
may be so great that the conclusion appears to him a 
new truth. For example : 

All diamonds are stones ; 
All diamonds are combustible : 
Therefore some stones are combustible. 
The nature of inference consequently consists in this, that 
we bring it to distinct consciousness that we have already 
thought in the premisses what is asserted in the con 
clusion. It is therefore a means of becoming more dis 
tinctly conscious of one s own knowledge, of learning 
more fully, or becoming aware of what one knows. The 
knowledge which is afforded by the conclusion was latent, 
and therefore had just as little effect as latent heat has 
on the thermometer. Whoever has salt has also chlorine ; 
but it is as if he had it not, for it can only act as chlorine 
if it is chemically evolved ; thus only, then, does he really 
possess it. It is the same with the gain which a mere 
conclusion from already known premisses affords : a previ 
ously bound or latent knowledge is thereby set/ree. These 
comparisons may indeed seem to be somewhat strained, but 
yet they really are not. For because we draw many of the 
possible inferences from our knowledge very soon, very 
rapidly, and without formality, and therefore have no dis 
tinct recollection of them, it seems to us as if no premisses 
for possible conclusions remained long stored up unused, 
but as if we already had also conclusions prepared for all 
the premisses within reach of our knowledge. But this is 
not always the case ; on the contrary, two premisses may 
have for a long time an isolated existence in the same mind, 
till at last some occasion brings them together, and then 
the conclusion suddenly appears, as the spark conies from 
the steel and the stone only when they are struck together. 
In reality the premisses assumed from without, both for 
theoretical insight and for motives, which bring about re 
solves, often lie for a long time in us, and become, partly 


through half-conscious, and even inarticulate, processes of 
thought, compared with the rest of our stock of knowledge, 
reflected upon, and, as it were, shaken up together, till at 
last the right major finds the right minor, and these imme 
diately take up their proper places, and at once the conclu 
sion exists as a light that has suddenly arisen for us, without 
any action on our part, as if it were an inspiration ; for we 
cannot comprehend how we and others have so long been 
in ignorance of it. It is true that in a happily organised 
mind this process goes on more quickly and easily than in 
ordinary minds ; and just because it is carried on spon 
taneously and without distinct consciousness it cannot be 
learned. Therefore Goethe says : " How easy anything is 
he knows who has discovered it, he knows who has attained 
to it." As an illustration of the process of thought here 
described we may compare it to those padlocks which con 
sist of rings with letters ; hanging on the box of a travelling 
carriage, they are shaken so long that at last the letters of 
the word come together in their order and the lock opens. 
For the rest, we must also remember that the syllogism 
consists in the process of thought itself, and the words 
and propositions through which it is expressed only 
indicate the traces it has left behind it they are related 
to it as the sound-figures of sand are related to the notes 
whose vibrations they express. When we reflect upon 
something, we collect our data, reduce them to judgments, 
which are all quickly brought together and compared, and 
thereby the conclusions which it is possible to draw from 
them are instantly arrived at by means of the use of all 
the three syllogistic figures. Yet on account of the great 
rapidity of this operation only a few words are used, and 
sometimes none at all, and only the conclusion is formally 
expressed. Thus it sometimes happens that because in 
this way, or even merely intuitively, i.e., by a happy 
apperqu, we have brought some new truth to consciousness, 
we now treat it as a conclusion and seek premisses for it, 
that is, we desire to prove it, for as a rule knowledge 


exists earlier than its proofs. We then go through our 
stock of knowledge in order to see whether we can find 
some truth in it in which the newly discovered truth was 
already implicitly contained, or two propositions which 
would give this as a result if they were brought together 
according to rule. On the other hand, every judicial 
proceeding affords a most complete and imposing syllo 
gism, a syllogism in the first figure. The civil or criminal 
transgression complained of is the minor ; it is established 
by the prosecutor. The law applicable to the case is the 
major. The judgment is the conclusion, which therefore, 
as something necessary, is "merely recognised" by the 

But now I shall attempt to give the simplest and most 
correct exposition of the peculiar mechanism of inference. 

Judging, this elementary and most important process 
of thought, consists in the comparison of two concep 
tions ; inference in the comparison of two judgments. Yet 
ordinarily in text-books inference is also referred to 
the comparison of conceptions, though of three, because 
from the relation which two of these conceptions have 
to a third their relation to each other may be known. 
Truth cannot be denied to this view also ; and since it 
affords opportunity for the perceptible demonstration of 
syllogistic relations by means of drawn concept-spheres, 
a method approved of by me in the text, it has the 
advantage of making the matter easily comprehensible. 
But it seems to me that here, as in so many cases, com- 
prehensibility is attained at the cost of thoroughness. 
The real process of thought in inference, with which the 
three syllogistic figures and their necessity precisely agree, 
is not thus recognised. In inference we operate not with 
mere conceptions but with whole judgments, to which 
quality, which lies only in the copula and not in the 
conceptions, and also quantity are absolutely essential, 
and indeed we have further to add modality. That 
exposition of inference as a relation of three conceptions 


fails in this, that it at once resolves the judgments into 
their ultimate elements (the conceptions), and thus the 
means of combining these is lost, and that which is 
peculiar to the judgments as such and in their complete 
ness, which is just what constitutes the necessity of the 
conclusion which follows from them, is lost sight of. It 
thus falls into an error analogous to that which organic 
chemistry would commit if, for example, in the analysis 
of plants it were at once to reduce them to their ultimate 
elements, when it would find in all plants carbon, hydro 
gen, and oxygen, but would lose the specific differences, to 
obtain which it is necessary to stop at their more special 
elements, the so-called alkaloids, and to take care to 
analyse these in their turn. From three given concep 
tions no conclusion can as yet be drawn. It may certainly 
be said : the relation of two of them to the third must 
be given with them. But it is just the judgments which 
combine these conceptions, that are the expression of 
this relation; thus judgments, not mere conceptions, are 
the material of the inference. Accordingly inference is 
essentially a comparison of two judgments. The process 
of thought in our mind is concerned with these and the 
thoughts expressed by them, not merely with three con 
ceptions. This is the case even when this process is 
imperfectly or not at all expressed in words ; and it is 
as such, as a bringing together of the complete and un- 
analysed judgments, that we must consider it in order 
properly to understand the technical procedure of infer 
ence. From this there will then also follow the necessity 
for three really rational syllogistic figures. 

As in the exposition of syllogistic reasoning by means 
of concept- spheres these are presented to the mind under 
the form of circles, so in the exposition by means of 
entire judgments we have to think these tinder the form 
of rods, which, for the purpose of comparison, are held 
together now by one end, now by the other. The different 
ways in which this can take place give the three figures. 


Since now every premiss contains its subject and its 
predicate, these two conceptions are to be imagined as 
situated at the two ends of each rod. The two judgments 
are now compared with reference to the two different 
conceptions in them ; for, as has already been said, the 
third conception must be the same in both, and is there 
fore subject to no comparison, but is that with which, that 
is, in reference to which, the other two are compared ; it 
is the middle. The latter is accordingly always only the 
means and not the chief concern. The two different con 
ceptions, on the other hand, are the subject of reflection, 
and to find out their relation to each other by means of 
the judgments in which they are contained is the aim of 
the syllogism. Therefore the conclusion speaks only of 
them, not of the middle, which was only a means, a 
measuring rod, which we let fall as soon as it has served 
its end. Now if this conception which is identical in both 
propositions, thus the middle, is the subject of one pre 
miss, the conception to be compared with it must be the 
predicate, and conversely. Here at once is established a 
priori the possibility of three cases ; either the subject of 
one premiss is compared with the predicate of the other, 
or the subject of the one with the subject of the other, 
or, finally, the predicate of the one with the predicate of 
the other. Hence arise the three syllogistic figures of 
Aristotle ; the fourth, which was added somewhat im 
pertinently, is ungenuine and a spurious form. It is attri 
buted to Galenus, but this rests only on Arabian authority. 
Each of the three figures exhibits a perfectly different, cor 
rect, and natural thought-process of the reason in inference. 
If in the two judgments to be compared the relation be 
tween the predicate of the one and the subject of the other 
is the object of the comparison, the first figure appears. 
This figure alone has the advantage that the conceptions 
which in the conclusion are subject and predicate both 
appear already in the same character in the premisses ; 
while in the two other figures one of them must always 


change its roll in the conclusion. But thus in the first 
figure the result is always less novel and surprising than 
in the other two. Now this advantage in the first figure is 
obtained by the fact that the predicate of the major is 
compared with the subject of the minor, but not conversely, 
which is therefore here essential, and involves that the 
middle should assume both the positions, i.e., it is the sub 
ject in the major and the predicate in the minor. And from 
this again arises its subordinate significance, for it appears 
as a mere weight which we lay at pleasure now in one 
scale and now in the other. The course of thought in 
this figure is, that the predicate of the major is attributed 
to the subject of the minor, because the subject of the 
major is the predicate of the minor, or, in the negative 
case, the converse holds for the same reason. Thus here a 
property is attributed to the things thought through a con 
ception, because it depends upon another property which 
we already know they possess ; or conversely. Therefore 
here the guiding principle is : Nota notcc est nota rei ipsius, 
et repugnans notce repugnat rei ipsi. 

If, on the other hand, we compare two judgments with 
the intention of bringing out the relation which the sub 
jects of both may have to each other, we must take as the 
common measure their predicate. This will accordingly 
be here the middle, and must therefore be the same in 
both judgments. Hence arises the second figure. In it 
the relation of two subjects to each other is determined 
by that which they have as their common predicate. But 
this relation can only have significance if the same predi 
cate is attributed to the one subject and denied of the 
other, for thus it becomes an essential ground of distinc 
tion between the two. For if it were attributed to both 
the subjects this could decide nothing as to their relation 
to each other, for almost every predicate belongs to innu 
merable subjects. Still less would it decide this relation 
if the predicate were denied of both the subjects. From 
this follows the fundamental characteristic of the second 


figure, that the premisses must be of opposite quality ; the 
one must affirm and the other deny. Therefore here the 
principal rule is : Sit altcra neyans ; the corollary of which 
is : E meris affirmativis nihil sequiter; a rule which is some 
times transgressed in a loose argument obscured by many 
parenthetical propositions. The course of thought which 
this figure exhibits distinctly appears from what has been 
said. It is the investigation of two kinds of things with 
the view of distinguishing them, thus of establishing that 
they are not of the same species ; which is here decided by 
showing that a certain property is essential to the one 
kind, which the other lacks. That this course of thought 
assumes the second figure of its own accord, and ex 
presses itself clearly only in it, will be shown by an 
example : 

All fishes have cold blood ; 
No whale has cold blood : 
Thus no whale is a fish. 

In the first figure, on the other hand, this thought ex 
hibits itself in a weak, forced, and ultimately patched-up 
form : 

Nothing that has cold blood is a whale ; 
All fishes have cold blood : 
Thus no fish is a whale, 
And consequently no whale is a fish. 
Take also an example with an affirmative minor : 
No Mohamedan is a Jew ; 
Some Turks are Jews : 
Therefore some Turks are not Mohamedans. 
As the guiding principle for this figure I therefore 
give, for the mood with the negative minor : Cui repugnat 
nota, etiam rcpugnat notatum; and for the mood with the 
affirmative minor : Notato rcpugnat id cui nota repugnat. 
Translated these may be thus combined : Two subjects 
which stand in opposite relations to one predicate have a 
negative relation to each other. 

The third case is that in which we place two judgments 


together in order to investigate the relation of their predi 
cates. Hence arises the third figure,in which accordingly the 
middle appears in both premisses as the subject. It is also 
here the tertium comparationis, the measure which is ap 
plied to both the conceptions which are to be investigated, 
or, as it were, a chemical reagent, with which we test 
them both in order to learn from their relation to it what 
relation exists between themselves. Thus, then, the con 
clusion declares whether a relation of subject and predi 
cate exists between the two, and to what extent this is 
the case. Accordingly, what exhibits itself in this figure 
is reflection concerning two properties which we are in 
clined to regard either as incompatible, or else as insepa 
rable, and in order to decide this we attempt to make 
them the predicates of one subject in two judgments. 
From this it results either that both properties belong 
to the same thing, consequently their compatibility, or else 
that a thing has the one but not the other, consequently 
their separableness. The former in all moods with two 
affirmative premisses, the latter in all moods with one 
negative ; for example : 

Some brutes can speak ; 

All brutes are irrational : 

Therefore some irrational beings can speak. 
According to Kant (Die Falsche Spitzfiniglceit, 4) this 
inference would only be conclusive if we added in thought : 
" Therefore some irrational beings are brutes." But this 
seems to be here quite superfluous and by no means the 
natural process of thought. But in order to carry out the 
same process of thought directly by means of the first 
figure I must say : 

" All brutes are irrational ; 

Some beings that can speak are brutes," 
which is clearly not the natural course of thought; in 
deed the conclusion which would then follow, " Some 
beings that can speak are irrational," would have to be 
converted in order to preserve the conclusion which the 


third figure gives of itself, and at which the whole course 
of thought has aimed. Let us take another example : 
All alkalis float in water ; 
All alkalis are metals : 
Therefore some metals float in water. 
When this is transposed into the first figure the minor 
must be converted, and thus runs : " Some metals are 
alkalis." It therefore merely asserts that some metals lie 

in the sphere "alkalis," thus I Aikaii B .( ) Metais. ), while our 
actual knowledge is that all alkalis lie in the sphere 

/ Metala. >. 

" metals," thus : ( / . ] It follows that if the first 

figure is to be regarded as the only normal one, in order 
to think naturally we would have to think less than we 
know, and to think indefinitely while we know definitely. 
This assumption has too much against it. Thus in general 
it must be denied that when we draw inferences in the 
second and third figures we tacitly convert a proposition. 
On the contrary, the third, and also the second, figure 
exhibits just as rational a process of thought as the first. 
Let us now consider another example of the other class 
of the third figure, in which the separableness of two 
predicates is the result ; on account of which one premiss 
must here be negative : 

No Buddhist believes in a God ; 

Some Buddhists are rational : 

Therefore some rational beings do not believe in a God. 

As in the examples given above the compatibility of 
two properties is the problem of reflection, now their 
separableness is its problem, which here also must be de 
cided by comparing them with one subject and showing 


that one of tliern is present in it without the other. Thus 
the end is directly attained, while by means of the first 
figure it could only be attained indirectly. For in order 
to reduce the syllogism to the first figure we must convert 
the minor, and therefore say : " Some rational beings are 
Buddhists," which would be only a faulty expression of 
its meaning, which really is : " Some Buddhists are yet 
certainly rational." 

As the guiding principle of this figure I therefore give : 
for the affirmative moods: Ejusdem rei notce, modo sit 
altera univcrsalis, sibi invicem sunt notce particular -es ; and 
for the negative moods : Nota rei competens, notce eidem 
repugnanti, particulariter repugnat, modo sit altera univer- 
salis. Translated : If two predicates are affirmed of one 
subject, and at least one of them universally, they are 
also affirmed of each other particularly ; and, on the con 
trary, they are denied of each other particularly when 
ever one of them contradicts the subject of which the 
other is affirmed ; provided always that either the con 
tradiction or the affirmation be universal. 

In the fourth figure the subject of the major has to 
be compared with the predicate of the minor; but in 
the conclusion they must both exchange their value and 
position, so that what was the subject of the major appears 
as the predicate of the conclusion, and what was the 
predicate of the minor appears as the subject of the con 
clusion. By this it becomes apparent that this figure is 
merely the first, wilfully turned upside down, and by no 
means the expression of a real process of thought natural 
to the reason. 

On the other hand, the first three figures are the ectypes 
of three real and essentially different operations of thought. 
They have this in common, that they consist in the com 
parison of two judgments ; but such a comparison only 
becomes fruitful when these judgments have one con 
ception in common. If we present the premisses to our 
imagination under the sensible form of two rods, we can 


think of this conception as a clasp that links them to 
each other ; indeed in lecturing one might provide oneself 
with such rods. On the other hand, the three figures are 
distinguished by this, that those judgments are compared 
either with reference to the subjects of both, or to the pre 
dicates of both, or lastly, with reference to the subject of 
the one and the predicate of the other. Since now every 
conception has the property of being subject or predicate 
only because it is already part of a judgment, this con 
firms my view that in the syllogism only judgments are 
primarily compared, and conceptions only because they 
are parts of judgments. In the comparison of two judg 
ments, however, the essential question is, in respect of 
what are they compared ? not ly what means are they 
compared ? The former consists of the concepts which 
are different in the two judgments ; the latter consists of 
the middle, that is, the conception which is identical in 
both. It is therefore not the right point of view which 
Lambert, and indeed really Aristotle, and almost all the 
moderns have taken in starting from the middle in the 
analysis of syllogisms, and making it the principal matter 
and its position the essential characteristic of the syllo 
gisms. On the contrary, its roll is only secondary, and 
its position a consequence of the logical value of the 
conceptions which are really to be compared in the syllo 
gism. These may be compared to two substances which 
are to be chemically tested, and the middle to the reagent 
by which they are tested. It therefore always takes the 
place which the conceptions to be compared leave vacant, 
and does not appear again in the conclusion. It is selected 
according to our knowledge of its relation to both the 
conceptions and its suitableness for the place it has to 
take up. Therefore in many cases we can change it at 
pleasure for another without affecting the syllogism. For 
example, in the syllogism : 

All men are mortal ; 
Caius is a man : 


I can exchange the middle " man " for " animal exist 
ence." In the syllogism : 

All diamonds are stones ; 
All diamonds are combustible : 

I can exchange the middle " diamond " for " anthracite." 
As an external mark by which we can recognise at once 
the figure of a syllogism the middle is certainly very 
useful. But as the fundamental characteristic of a thing 
which is to be explained, we must take what is essential 
to it ; and what is essential here is, whether we place two 
propositions together in order to compare their predicates 
or their subjects, or the predicate of the one and the 
subject of the other. 

Therefore, in order as premisses to yield a conclusion, 
two judgments must have a conception in common ; 
further, they must not both be negative, nor both parti 
cular ; and lastly, in the case in which the conceptions to 
be compared are the subjects of both, they must not both 
be affirmative. 

The voltaic pile may be regarded as a sensible image of 
the syllogism. Its point of indifference, at the centre, 
represents the middle, which holds together the two pre 
misses, and by virtue of which they have the power of 
yielding a conclusion. The two different conceptions, on 
the other hand, which are really what is to be compared, 
are represented by the two opposite poles of the pile. 
Only because these are brought together by means of 
their two conducting wires, which represent the copulas 
of the two judgments, is the spark emitted upon their 
contact the new lidit of the conclusion. 



ELOQUENCE is the faculty of awakening in others our 
view of a thing, or our opinion about it, of kindling in 
them our feeling concerning it, and thus putting them 
in sympathy with us. And all this by conducting the 
stream of our thought into their minds, through the 
medium of words, with such force as to carry their 
thought from the direction it has already taken, and 
sweep it along witli ours in its course. The more their 
previous course of thought differs from ours, the greater 
is this achievement. From this it is easily understood 
how personal conviction and passion make a man elo 
quent ; and in general, eloquence is more the gift of 
nature than the work of art; yet here, also, art will 
support nature. 

In order to convince another of a truth which conflicts 
with an error he firmly holds, the first rule to be observed, 
is an easy and natural one : let the premisses come first, and 
the conclusion follow. Yet this rule is seldom observed, 
but reversed ; for zeal, eagerness, and dogmatic positive- 
ness urge us to proclaim the conclusion loudly and noisily 
against him who adheres to the opposed error. This easily 
makes him shy, and now he opposes his will to all reasons 
and premisses, knowing already to what conclusion they 
lead. Therefore we ought rather to keep the conclusion 
completely concealed, and only advance the premisses 

1 This chapter is connected with the conclusion of 9 of the first volume. 


distinctly, fully, and in different lights. Indeed, if possible, 
we ought not to express the conclusion at all. It will 
come necessarily and regularly of its own accord into the 
reason of the hearers, and the conviction thus born in 
themselves will be all the more genuine, and will also 
be accompanied by self-esteem instead of shame. In 
difficult cases we may even assume the air of desiring to 
arrive at a quite opposite conclusion from that which we 
really have in view. An example of this is the famous 
speech of Antony in Shakspeare s " Julius Csesar." 

In defending a thing many persons err by confidently 
advancing everything imaginable that can be said for it, 
mixing up together what is true, half true, and merely 
plausible. But the false is soon recognised, or at any rate 
felt, and throws suspicion also upon the cogent and true 
arguments which were brought forward along with it. 
Give then the true and weighty pure and alone, and 
beware of defending a truth with inadequate, and there 
fore, since they are set up as adequate, sophistical reasons ; 
for the opponent upsets these, and thereby gains the 
appearance of having upset the truth itself which was 
supported by them, that is, he makes argumenta ad 
hominem hold good as argumenta ad rem. The Chinese 
go, perhaps, too far the other way, for they have the 
saying : " He who is eloquent and has a sharp tongue 
may always leave half of a sentence unspoken ; and he 
who has right on his side may confidently yield three- 
tenths of his assertion." 

( 307 ) 



FROM the analysis of the different functions of our intellect 
given in the whole of the preceding chapters, it is clear 
that for a correct use of it, either in a theoretical or a 
practical reference, the following conditions are demanded: 
(i.) The correct apprehension through perception of the 
real things taken into consideration, and of all their 
essential properties and relations, thus of all data. (2.) 
The construction of correct conceptions out of these ; thus 
the connotation of those properties under correct abstrac 
tions, which now become the material of the subsequent 
thinking. (3.) The comparison of those conceptions both 
with the perceived object and among themselves, and 
with the rest of our store of conceptions, so that correct 
judgments, pertinent to the matter in hand, and fully 
comprehending and exhausting it, may proceed from them ; 
thus the right estimation of the matter. (4.) The placing 
together or combination of those judgments as the premisses 
of syllogisms. This may be done very differently accord 
ing to the choice and arrangement of the judgments, and 
yet the actual result of the whole operation primarily 
depends upon it. What is really of importance here is 
that from among so many possible combinations of those 
different judgments which have to do with the matter 
free deliberation should hit upon the very ones which 
serve the purpose and are decisive. But if in the first 
function, that is, in the apprehension through perception 

1 This chapter is connected with 14 of the first volume. 


of the things and relations, any single essential point lias 
been overlooked, the correctness of all the succeeding 
operations of the mind cannot prevent the result from 
being false; for there lie the data, the material of the 
whole investigation. Without the certainty that these are 
correctly and completely collected, one ought to abstain, 
iu important matters, from any definite decision. 

A conception is correct ; a judgment is true; a body is 
real; and a relation is evident. A proposition of immedi 
ate certainty is an axiom. Only the fundamental principles 
of logic, and those of mathematics drawn a priori from in 
tuition or perception, and finally also the law of causality, 
have immediate certainty. A proposition of indirect 
certainty is a maxim, and that by means of which it 
obtains its certainty is the proof. If immediate certainty 
is attributed to a proposition which has no such certainty, 
this is a petitio principii. A proposition which appeals 
directly to the empirical perception is an assertion: to 
confront it with such perception demands judgment. 
Empirical perception can primarily afford us only par 
ticular, not universal truths. Through manifold repetition 
and confirmation such truths indeed obtain a certain uni 
versality also, but it is only comparative and preca 
rious, because it is still always open to attack. But if a 
proposition has absolute universality, the perception to 
which it appeals is not empirical but a priori. Thus 
Logic and Mathematics alone are absolutely certain 
sciences ; but they really teach us only what we already 
knew beforehand. For they are merely explanations of 
that of which we are conscious a priori, the forms of our 
own knowledge, the one being concerned with the forms 
of thinking, the other with those of perceiving. Therefore 
we spin them entirely out of ourselves. All other scien 
tific knowledge is empirical. 

A proof proves too much if it extends to things or cases 
of which that which is to be proved clearly does not hold 
good ; therefore it is refuted apagogically by these. The 


dedudio ad dbsurdum properly consists in this, that we 
take a false assertion which has been made as the major 
proposition of a syllogism, then add to it a correct minor, 
and arrive at a conclusion which clearly contradicts facts 
of experience or unquestionable truths. But by some 
round-about way such a refutation must be possible of 
every false doctrine. For the defender of this will yet 
certainly recognise and admit some truth or other, and 
then the consequences of this, and on the other hand 
those of the false assertion, must be followed out until 
we arrive at two propositions which directly contradict 
each other. We find many examples in Plato of this 
beautiful artifice of genuine dialectic. 

A correct hypothesis is nothing more than the true and 
complete expression of the present fact, which the origi 
nator of the hypothesis has intuitively apprehended in 
its real nature and inner connection. For it tells us only 
what really takes place here. 

The opposition of the analytical and synthetical methods 
we find already indicated by Aristotle, yet perhaps first 
distinctly described by Proclus, who says quite correctly : 
" M edoSoc Se TrapaSiSovrai KaXXiarr] p.ev 1} Sta TTJS ava- 
Xucreo)? e-Tr ap^v 6/J,o\oyov/J.evrjv avayovcra TO fyrov^evov 
r]v KCLI nXcnwv, a>9 fyacn, Aao8a/j,avri -TrapeSw/cev. K. r. \." 
(Methodi tradunlur sequences : pulcherrima quidem ea, qua; 
per analysin qucesitum refert ad principium, de quo jam 
convenit ; quam etiain Plato Laodamanti tradidisse dicitur.") 
" In Primuin Eaclidis Librum," L. iii. Certainly the ana 
lytical method consists in referring what is given to an 
admitted principle ; the synthetical method, on the con 
trary, in deduction from such a principle. They are there 
fore analogous to the eTra^cojTj and aTra^ojyt] explained 
in chapter ix. ; only the latter are not used to establish 
propositions, but always to overthrow them. The analy 
tical method proceeds from the facts ; the particular, to the 
principle or rule ; the universal, or from the consequents 
to the reasons ; the other conversely. Therefore it would 


be much more correct to call them the inductive and the 
deductive methods, for the customary names are unsuitable 
and do not fully express the things. 

If a philosopher tries to begin by thinking out the 
methods in accordance with which he will philosophise, 
he is like a poet who first writes a system of aesthetics in 
order to poetise in accordance with it. Both of them may 
be compared to a man who first sings himself a tune and 
afterwards dances to it. The thinking mind must find 
its way from original tendency. Rule and application, 
method and achievement, must, like matter and form, 
be inseparable. But after we have reached the goal we 
may consider the path we have followed. ^Esthetics and 
methodology are, from their nature, younger than poetry 
and philosophy ; as grammar is younger than language, 
thorough bass younger than music, and logic younger than 

This is a fitting place to make, in passing, a remark by 
means of which I should like to check a growing evil 
while there is yet time. That Latin has ceased to be the 
language of all scientific investigations has the disad 
vantage that there is no longer an immediately common 
scientific literature for the whole of Europe, but national 
literatures. And thus every scholar is primarily limited 
to a much smaller public, and moreover to a public ham 
pered with national points of view and prejudices. Then 
he must now learn the four principal European languages, 
as well as the two ancient languages. In this it will be a 
great assistance to him that the termini technici of all 
sciences (with the exception of mineralogy) are, as an in 
heritance from our predecessors, Latin or Greek. Therefore 
all nations wisely retain these. Only the Germans have 
hit upon the unfortunate idea of wishing to Germanise 
the termini technici of all the sciences. This has two 
great disadvantages. First, the foreign and also the Ger 
man scholar is obliged to learn all the technical terms 
of his science twice, which, when there are many for 


example, in Anatomy is an incredibly tiresome and 
lengthy business. If the other nations were not in this 
respect wiser than the Germans, we would have the 
trouble of learning every terminus technicus five times. 
If the Germans carry this further, foreign men of learning 
will leave their books altogether unread ; for besides this 
fault they are for the most part too diffuse, and are writ 
ten in a careless, bad, and often affected and objectionable 
style, and besides are generally conceived with a rude 
disregard of the reader and his requirements. Secondly, 
those Germanised forms of the termini technici are almost 
throughout long, patched-up, stupidly chosen, awkward, 
jarring words, not clearly separated from the rest of the 
language, which therefore impress themselves with diffi 
culty upon the memory, while the Greek and Latin ex 
pressions chosen by the ancient and memorable founders 
of the sciences possess the whole of the opposite good 
qualities, and easily impress themselves on the memory 
by their sonorous sound. What an ugly, harsh-sound 
ing word, for instance, is " Stickstoff" instead of azot ! 
" Verbum," " siibstantiv" " adjectiv" are remembered and 
distinguished more easily than " Zeitwort," " Nennwort" 
" Beiwort" or even " Umstandswort " instead of " adver- 
bium." In Anatomy it is quite unsupportable, and more 
over vulgar and low. Even " Pidsader " and " Blutader " 
are more exposed to momentary confusion than " Arterie " 
and " Vene ; " but utterly bewildering are such expressions 
as " Fruchthdlter," " Fruclitgang" and " Fruchtleiter " in 
stead of " uterus," " vagina" and " tuba Faloppii" which yet 
every doctor must know, and which he will find sufficient 
in all European languages. In the same way "Speiche " and 
" Ellcnbogenrohre " instead of " radius " and " ulna," which 
all Europe has understood for thousands of years. Where 
fore then this clumsy, confusing, drawling, and awkward 
Germanising ? Not less objectionable is the translation 
of the technical terms in Logic, in which our gifted profes 
sors of philosophy are the creators of a new terminology, 


and almost every one of them has his own. With 
G. E. Schulze, for example, the subject is called " Grund- 
legriff" the predicate " Beilegunysbegriff ; " then there are 
" Beilegungsschlusse" " Voraussctzungssclilusse," and "Untge- 
gensetzungsschlilsse ; " the judgments have " Grosse," " Be- 
schaffenheit," " Verhaltniss" and " Zuverldssigkeit" i.e., 
quantity, quality, relation, and modality. The same per 
verse influence of this Germanising mania is to be found 
in all the sciences. The Latin and Greek expressions have 
the further advantage that they stamp the scientific con 
ception as such, and distinguish it from the words of 
common intercourse, and the ideas which cling to them 
through association ; while, for example, " Speisebrei " in 
stead of chyme seems to refer to the food of little children, 
arid " Lungensack " instead of pleura, and " Herzbeutel " 
instead of pericardium seem to have been invented by 
butchers rather than anatomists. Besides this, the most 
immediate necessity of learning the ancient languages de 
pends upon the old termini technici, and they are more 
and more in danger of being neglected through the use of 
living languages in learned investigations. But if it comes 
to this, if the spirit of the ancients bound up with their 
languages disappears from a liberal education, then coarse 
ness, insipidity, and vulgarity will take possession of the 
whole of literature. For the works of the ancients are 
the pole-star of every artistic or literary effort ; if it sets 
they are lost. Even now we can observe from the miser 
able and puerile style of most writers that they have 
never written Latin. 1 The study of the classical authors 
is very properly called the study of Humanity, for through 
it the student first becomes a man again, for he enters 

1 A principal use of the study of Therefore we ought to pursue the 

the ancients is that it preserves study of the ancients all our life, 

us from verbosity ; for the ancients although reducing the time devoted 

always take pains to write concisely to it. The ancients knew that we 

and pregnantly, and the error of al- ought not to write as we speak, 

most all moderns is verbosity, which The moderns, on the other hand, 

the most recent try to make up for are not even ashamed to print lec- 

by suppressing syllables and letters, tures they have delivered. 


into the world which was still free from all the absurdities 
of the Middle Ages and of romanticism, which afterwards 
penetrated so deeply into mankind in Europe that even 
now every one comes into the world covered with it, and 
has first to strip it off simply to become a man again. 
Think not that your modern wisdom can ever supply the 
place of that initiation into manhood ; ye are not, like 
the Greeks and Eomans, born freemen, unfettered sons of 
nature. Ye are first the sous and heirs of the barbarous 
Middle Ages and of their madness, of infamous priestcraft, 
and of half-brutal, half-childish chivalry. Though both 
now gradually approach their end, yet ye cannot yet stand 
on your own feet. Without the school of the ancients 
your literature will degenerate into vulgar gossip and dull 
philistinism. Thus for all these reasons it is my well- 
intended counsel that an end be put at once to the 
Germanising mania condemned above. 

I shall further take the opportunity of denouncing here 
the disorder which for some years has been introduced 
into German orthography in an unprecedented manner. 
Scribblers of every species have heard something of 
conciseness of expression, but do not know that this 
consists in the careful omission of everything super 
fluous (to which, it is true, the whole of their writings 
belong), but imagine they can arrive at it by clipping the 
words as swindlers clip coin ; and every syllable which 
appears to them superfluous, because they do not feel its 
value, they cut off without more ado. For example, our 
ancestors, with true tact, said " Beweis" and " Verweis;" 
but, on the other hand, " Nacliweisung." The fine distinc 
tion analogous to that between " Versuch" and " Versu- 
chung" "Betraclit " and "etrachtung" is not perceptible to 
dull ears and thick skulls ; therefore they have invented 
the word " Nachiucis," which has come at once into gene 
ral use, for this only requires that an idea should be 
thoroughly awkward and a blunder very gross. Accord 
ingly a similar amputation has already been proposed in in- 


numerable words; for example, instead of " Dnter&uchung" 
is written " Untersuch ; " nay, even instead of " allmdlig" 
* mdlig;" instead of "beinahe," "nahe;" instead of " be- 
stdndig" " standig." If a Frenchman took npon himself 
to write "pres" instead of "presque," or if an Englishman 
wrote " most " instead of " almost," they would be laughed 
at by every one as fools ; but in Germany whoever does 
this sort of thing passes for a man of originality. Chemists 
already write " loslich" and " unloslich " instead of " ujiauf- 
loslich," and if the grammarians do not rap them over 
the knuckles they will rob the language of a valuable 
word. Knots, shoe-strings, and also conglomerates of 
which the cement is softened, and all analogous things 
are " loslich " (can be loosed) ; but what is " aufloslick" 
(soluble), on the other hand, is whatever vanishes in a 
liquid, like salt in water. " Aufloscn " (to dissolve) is the 
terminus ad hoc, which says this and nothing else, marking 
out a definite conception ; but our acute improvers of the 
language wish to empty it into the general rinsing-pan 
" losen " (to loosen) ; they would therefore in consistency be 
obliged to make " losen " also take the place everywhere 
of "ablosen" (to relieve, used of guards), " auslosen " (to 
release), " einlosen" (to redeem), &c., and in these, as in 
the former case, deprive the language of definiteness of 
expression. But to make the language poorer by a word 
means to make the thought of the nation poorer by a 
conception. Yet this is the tendency of the united efforts 
of almost all our writers of books for the last ten or 
twenty years. For what I have shown here by one ex 
ample can be supported by a hundred others, and the 
meanest stinting of syllables prevails like a disease. The 
miserable wretches actually count the letters, and do not 
hesitate to mutilate a word, or to use one in a false sense, 
whenever by doing so they can gain two letters. He 
who is capable of no new thoughts will at least bring new 
words to market, and every ink-slinger regards it as his 
vocation to improve the language. Journalists practise 


this most shamelessly ; and since their papers, on account 
of the trivial nature of their contents, have the largest 
public, indeed a public which for the most part reads 
nothing else, a great danger threatens the language 
through them. I therefore seriously advise that they 
should be subjected to an orthographical censorship, or 
that they should be made to pay a fine for every unusual 
or mutilated word; for what could be more improper 
than that changes of language should proceed from the 
lowest branch of literature ? Language, especially a 
relatively speaking original language like German, is the 
most valuable inheritance of a nation, and it is also an 
exceedingly complicated work of art, easily injured, and 
which cannot again be restored, therefore a noli me tangere. 
Other nations have felt this, and have shown great piety 
towards their languages, although far less complete than 
German. Therefore the language of Dante and Petrarch 
differs only in trifles from that of to-day; Montaigne is 
still quite readable, and so also is Shakspeare in his 
oldest editions. For a German indeed it is good to have 
somewhat long words in his mouth ; for he thinks slowly, 
and they give him time to reflect. But this prevailing 
economy of language shows itself in yet more character 
istic phenomena. For example, in opposition to all logic 
and grammar, they use the imperfect for the perfect and 
pluperfect ; they often stick the auxiliary verb in their 
pocket ; they use the ablative instead of the genitive ; for 
the sake of omitting a couple of logical particles they 
make such intricate sentences that one has to read them 
four times over in order to get at the sense ; for it is only 
the paper and not the reader s time that they care to 
spare. In proper names, after the manner of Hotten 
tots, they do not indicate the case either by inflection or 
article : the reader may guess it. But they are specially 
fond of contracting the double vowel and dropping the 
lengthening h, those letters sacred to prosody ; which is 
just the same thing as if we wanted to banish 77 and to 


from Greek, and make e and o take their place. Whoever 
writes Scham, Mdrchcn, Mass, Spass, ought also to write 
Lon, Son, Stat, Sat, Jar, Al, &c. But since writing is the 
copy of speech, posterity will imagine that one ought 
to speak as one writes; and then of the German language 
there will only remain a narrow, mouth-distorting, jarring 
noise of consonants, and all prosody will be lost. The 
spelling " Literatur " instead of the correct "Litteratur" 
is also very much liked, because it saves a letter. In 
defence of this the participle of the verb linere is given 
as the root of the word. But linere means to smear; 
therefore the favoured spelling might actually be correct 
for the greater part of German bookmaking ; so that one 
could distinguish a very small " Litteratur " from a very 
extensive " Literatur! In order to \vrite concisely let a 
man improve his style and shun all useless gossip and 
chatter, and then he will not need to cut out syllables 
and letters on account of the dearness of paper. But 
to write so many useless pages, useless sheets, useless 
books, and then to want to make up this waste of 
time and paper at the cost of the innocent syllables and 
letters that is truly the superlative of what is called 
in English being penny wise and pound foolish. It is to 
be regretted that there is no German Academy to take 
charge of the language against literary sans-culottism, 
especially in an age when even those who are ignorant 
of the ancient language venture to employ the press. 
I have expressed my mind more fully on the whole sub 
ject of the inexcusable mischief being done at the present 
day to the German language in my " Parerga," vol. ii. 
chap. 23. 

In my essay on the principle of sufficient reason, 51, 
I already proposed a first classification of the sciences in 
accordance with the form of the principle of sufficient 
reason which reigns in them ; and I also touched upon 
it again in 7 and 1 5 of the first volume of this work. 

Ot) * 

I will give here a small attempt at such a classification, 


which will yet no doubt be susceptible of much improve 
ment and perfecting : 

I. Pure a priori Sciences. 

1. The doctrine of the ground of being. 

(a.) In space : Geometry. 

(&.) In time : Arithmetic and Algebra. 

2. The doctrine of the ground of knowing : Logic. 

II. Empirical or a posteriori Sciences. All based upon 
the ground of becoming, i.e., the law of causalty, and upon 
the three modes of that law. 

1. The doctrine of causes. 

(a.) Universal : Mechanics, Hydrodynamics, 
Physics, Chemistry. 

(&.) Particular : Astronomy, Mineralogy, Geo 
logy, Technology, Pharmacy. 

2. The doctrine of stimuli. 

(a.) Universal : Physiology of plants and 

animals, together with the ancillary 

science, Anatomy. 
(?>.) Particular : P>otany, Zoology, Zootomy, 

Comparative Physiology, Pathology, 


3. The doctrine of motives. 

(a.) Universal : Ethics, Psychology. 
(&.) Particular : Jurisprudence, History. 

Philosophy or Metaphysics, as the doctrine of conscious 
ness and its contents in general, or of the whole of expe 
rience as such, does not appear in the list, because it does 
not at once pursue the investigation which the principle 
of sufficient reason prescribes, but first has this principle 
itself as its object. It is to be regarded as the thorough 
bass of all sciences, but belongs to a higher class than 
they do, and is almost as much related to art as to science. 
As in music every particular period must correspond to 
the tonality to which thorough bass has advanced, so every 


author, in proportion to the line he follows, must bear the 
stamp of the philosophy which prevails in his time. But 
besides this, every science has also its special philosophy ; 
and therefore we speak of the philosophy of botany, of zo 
ology, of history, &c. By this we must reasonably under 
stand nothing more than the chief results of each science 
itself, regarded and comprehended from the highest, that is 
the most general, point of view which is possible within 
that science. These general results connect themselves 
directly with general philosophy, for they supply it with 
important data, and relieve it from the labour of seeking 
these itself in the philosophically raw material of the 
special sciences. These special philosophies therefore 
stand as a mediating link between their special sciences 
and philosophy proper. For since the latter has to give 
the most general explanations concerning the whole of 
things, these must also be capable of being brought down 
and applied to the individual of every species of thing. 
The philosophy of each science, however, arises indepen 
dently of philosophy in general, from the data of its own 
science itself. Therefore it does not need to wait till that 
philosophy at last be found ; but if worked out in advance 
it will certainly agree with the true universal philosophy. 
This, on the other hand, must be capable of receiving 
confirmation and illustration from the philosophies of 
the particular sciences ; for the most general truth must 
be capable of being proved through the more special 
truths. Goethe has afforded a beautiful example of 
the philosophy of zoology in his reflections on Dalton s 
and Pander s skeletons of rodents (Hefte zur Morphologic, 
1824). And like merit in connection with the same science 
belongs to Kielmayer, Delamark, Geoffroy St. Hilaire, 
Cuvier, and many others, in that they have all brought 
out clearly the complete analogy, the inner relation 
ship, the permanent type, and systematic connection of 
animal forms. Empirical sciences pursued purely for 
their own sake and without philosophical tendency are 


like a face without eyes. They are, however, a suitable 
occupation for men of good capacity who yet lack the 
highest faculties, which would even be a hindrance to 
minute investigations of such a kind. Such men concen 
trate their whole power and their whole knowledge upon 
one limited field, in which, therefore, on condition of re 
maining in entire ignorance of everything else, they can 
attain to the most complete knowledge possible; while 
the philosopher must survey all fields of knowledge, and 
indeed to a certain extent be at home in them; and 
thus that complete knowledge which can only be at 
tained by the study of detail is necessarily denied him. 
Therefore the former may be compared to those Geneva 
workmen of whom one makes only wheels, another only 
springs, and a third only chains. The philosopher, on 
the other hand, is like the watchmaker, who alone pro 
duces a whole out of all these which has motion and 
significance. They may also be compared to the musi 
cians of an orchestra, each of whom is master of his own 
instrument ; and the philosopher, on the other hand, to the 
conductor, who must know the nature and use of every 
instrument, yet without being able to play them, all, or 
even one of them, with great perfection. Scotus Erigena 
includes all sciences under the name Scientia, in opposi 
tion to philosophy, which he calls Sapientia. The same 
distinction was already made by the Pythagoreans ; as 
may be seen from Stobseus (Floril, vol. i. p. 20), where 
it is very clearly and neatly explained. But a much 
happier and more piquant comparison of the relation of 
the two kinds of mental effort to each other has been 
so often repeated by the ancients that we no longer know 
to whom it belongs. Diogenes Laertius (ii. 79) attributes 
it to Aristippus, Stobseus {Floril., tit. iv. no) to Aristo of 
Chios ; the Scholiast of Aristotle ascribes it to him (p. 8 of 
the Berlin edition), but Plutarch (De Puer. Educ., c. 10) 
attributes it to Bio " Qui ajebat, sicut Penelopes prod, 


quum non possent cum Penelope concumbere, rem cum ejus 
ancillis habuissent ; ita qui philosophiam nequeunt appre- 
hendere eos in alliis nullius pretii diciplinis sese conterere." 
In our predominantly empirical and historical age it can 
do no harm to recall this. 

( 321 ) 



EUCLID S method of demonstration has brought forth from 
its own womb its most striking parody and caricature in 
the famous controversy on the theory of parallels, and 
the attempts, which are repeated every year, to prove the 
eleventh axiom. This axiom asserts, and indeed supports 
its assertion by the indirect evidence of a third inter 
secting line, that two lines inclining towards each other 
(for that is just the meaning of "less than two right 
angles ") if produced far enough must meet a truth 
which is supposed to be too complicated to pass as self- 
evident, and therefore requires a demonstration. Such a 
demonstration, however, cannot be produced, just because 
there is nothing that is not immediate. This scruple of 
conscience reminds me of Schiller s question of law : 

" For years I have used my nose for smelling. Have I, 
then, actually a right to it that can be proved ? " Indeed 
it seenis to me that the logical method is hereby reduced 
to absurdity. Yet it is just through the controversies 
about this, together with the vain attempts to prove what 
is directly certain as merely indirectly certain, that the 
self-sufficingness and clearness of intuitive evidence ap 
pears in contrast with the uselessness and difficulty of 
logical proof a contrast which is no less instructive than 
amusing. The direct certainty is not allowed to be valid 
here, because it is no mere logical certainty following from 
the conceptions, thus resting only upon the relation of the 

1 This chapter is connected with 15 of the first volume. 


predicate to the subject, according to the principle of 
contradiction. That axiom, however, is a synthetical 
proposition a priori, and as such has the guarantee of 
pure, not empirical, perception, which is just as immediate 
and certain as the principle of contradiction itself, from 
which all demonstrations first derive their certainty. 
Ultimately this holds good of every geometrical theorem, 
and it is quite arbitrary where we draw the line between 
what is directly certain and what has first to be demon 
strated. It surprises me that the eighth axiom is not 
rather attacked. "Figures which coincide with each 
other are equal to each other." For " coinciding with 
each other " is either a mere tautology or something 
purely empirical which does not belong to pure percep 
tion but to external sensuous experience. It presupposes 
that the figures may be moved ; but only matter is mov 
able in space. Therefore this appeal to coincidence leaves 
pure space the one element of geometry in order to 
pass over to what is material and empirical. 

The reputed motto of the Platonic lecture-room, " Ayeca- 
fjieTptyros /i^Sei? eicrmo," of which mathematicians are so 
proud, was no doubt inspired by the fact that Plato re 
garded the geometrical figures as intermediate existences 
between the eternal Ideas and particular things, as 
Aristotle frequently mentions in his " Metaphysics " (espe 
cially i. c. 6, p. 887, 998, d Scholia, p. 827, ed. Berol.) 
Moreover, the opposition between those self-existent 
eternal forms, or Ideas, and the transitory individual 
things, was most easily made comprehensible in geometri 
cal figures, and thereby laid the foundation of the doc 
trine of Ideas, which is the central point of the philosophy 
of Plato, and indeed his only serious and decided theo 
retical dogma. In expounding it, therefore, he started from 
geometry. In the same sense we are told that he regarded 
geometry as a preliminary exercise through which the 
mind of the pupil accustomed itself to deal with incorpo 
real objects, having hitherto in practical life had only to 


do with corporeal things (Sclwl. inAristot., p. 12, 15). This, 
then, is the sense in which Plato recommended geometry 
to the philosopher; and therefore one is not justified in 
extending it further. I rather recommend, as an investi 
gation of the influence of mathematics upon our mental 
powers, and their value for scientific culture in general, 
a very thorough and learned discussion, in the form of 
a review of a book by Whewell in the Edinburgh Review 
of January 1836. Its author, who afterwards published 
it with some other discussions, with his name, is Sir W. 
Hamilton, Professor of Logic and Metaphysics in Scot 
land. This work has also found a German translator, 
and has appeared by itself under the title, " Ueber den 
Werth und Univerth dcr Matliematik " aus detn Englishen, 
1836. The conclusion the author arrives at is that the 
value of mathematics is only indirect, and lies in the 
application to ends which are only attainable through 
them; but in themselves mathematics leave the mind 
where they find it, and are by no means conducive to 
its general culture and development, nay, even a decided 
hindrance. This conclusion is not only proved by tho 
rough dianoiological investigation of the mathematical 
activity of the mind, but is also confirmed by a very 
learned accumulation of examples and authorities. The 
only direct use which is left to mathematics is that it 
can accustom restless and unsteady minds to fix their 
attention. Even Descartes, who was yet himself famous 
as a mathematician, held the same opinion with regard 
to mathematics. In the " Vie de Descartes par Baillet" 
1693, it is said, Liv. ii. c. 6, p. 54: " Sa propre experience 
I avait convaincu du pen dutilite" des mathe matiques, surtout 
lorsqu on ne les cultive que pour dies memes. . . . II ne 
voyait rien de moins solide, que de soccuper de noinbres tout 
simples et de figures imaginaires" &c. 

( 324 ) 



THE presence of ideas and thoughts in our consciousness 
is as strictly subordinated to the principle of sufficient 
reason in its different forms as the movement of bodies 
to the law of causality. It is just as little possible that 
a thought can appear in the mind without an occasion 
as that a body can be set in motion without a cause. 
Now this occasion is either external, thus an impression 
of the senses, or internal, thus itself also a thought which 
introduces another thought by means of association. This 
again depends either upon a relation of reason and con 
sequent between the two ; or upon similarity, even mere 
analogy ; or lastly upon the circumstance that they were 
both first apprehended at the same time, which again 
may have its ground in the proximity in space of their 
objects. The last two cases are denoted by the word 
a propos. The predominance of one of these three bonds 
of association of thoughts over the others is characteristic 
of the intellectual worth of the man. The first named 
will predominate in thoughtful and profound minds, the 
second in witty, ingenious, and poetical minds, and the 
third in minds of limited capacity. Not less characteristic 
is the degree of facility with which one thought recalls 
others that stand in any kind of relation to it ; this 
constitutes the activeness of the mind. But the im 
possibility of the appearance of a thought without its 
sufficient occasion, even when there is the strongest desire 
to call it up, is proved by all the cases in which we weary 


ourselves in vain to recollect something, and go through 
the whole store of our thoughts in order to find any one 
that may be associated with the one we seek; if we 
find the former, the latter is also found. Whoever wishes 
to call up something in his memory first seeks for a 
thread with which it is connected by the association 
of thoughts. Upon this depends mnemonics : it aims at 
providing us with easily found occasioners or causes for 
all the conceptions, thoughts, or words which are to be 
preserved. But the worst of it is that these occasioners 
themselves have first to be recalled, and this again re 
quires an occasioner. How much the occasion accom 
plishes in memory may be shown in this way. If we have 
read in a book of anecdotes say fifty anecdotes, and then 
have laid it aside, immediately afterwards we will some 
times be unable to recollect a single one of them. But 
if the occasion comes, or if a thought occurs to us which 
has any analogy with one of those anecdotes, it imme 
diately comes back to us ; and so with the whole fifty 
as opportunity offers. The same thing holds good of 
all that we read. Our immediate remembrance of 
words, that is, our remembrance of them without the 
assistance of mnemonic contrivances, and with it our 
whole faculty of speech, ultimately depends upon the 
direct association of thoughts. For the learning of lan 
guage consists in this, that once for all we so connect a 
conception with a word that this word will always occur 
to us along with this conception, and this conception will 
always occur to us along with this word. We have after 
wards to repeat the same process in learning every new 
language ; yet if we learn a language for passive and not 
for active use that is, to read, but not to speak, as, for 
example, most of us learn Greek then the connection is 
one-sided, for the conception occurs to us along with the 
word, but the word does not always occur to us along with 
the conception. The same procedure as in language be 
comes apparent in the particular case, in the learning of 


every new proper name. But sometimes we do not trust 
ourselves to connect directly the name of this person, or 
town, river, mountain, plant, animal, &c., with the thought 
of each so firmly that it will call each of them up of it 
self ; and then we assist ourselves mnemonically, and con 
nect the image of the person or thing with any perceptible 
quality the name of which occurs in that of the person 
or thing. Yet this is only a temporary prop to lean on ; 
later we let it drop, for the association of thoughts be 
comes an immediate support. 

The search of memory for a clue shows itself in a 
peculiar manner in the case of a dream which we have 
forgotten on awaking, for in this case we seek in vain for 
that which a few minutes before occupied our minds with 
the strength of the clearest present, but now has entirely 
disappeared. We grasp at any lingering impression by 
which may hang the clue that by virtue of association 
would call that dream back again into our conscious 
ness. According to Kieser, " Tellurismus," Bd. ii. 271, 
memory even of what passed in magnetic-somnambular 
sleep may possibly sometimes be aroused by a sensible 
sign found when awake. It depends upon the same 
impossibility of the appearance of a thought without 
its occasion that if we propose to do anything at a defi 
nite time, this can only take place if we either think of 
nothing else till then, or if at the determined time we 
are reminded of it by something, which may either be 
an external impression arranged beforehand or a thought 
which is itself again brought about in the regular way. 
Both, then, belong to the class of motives. Every morning 
when w r e awake our consciousness is a tabula rasa, which, 
however, quickly fills itself again. First it is the sur 
roundings of the previous evening which now reappear, 
and remind us of what we thought in these surroundings ; 
to this the events of the previous day link themselves on ; 
and so one thought rapidly recalls the others, till all that 
occupied us yesterday is there again. Upon the fact that 


this takes place properly depends the health of the mind, 
as opposed to madness, which, as is shown in the third 
book, consists in the existence of great blanks in the 
memory of past events. But how completely sleep breaks 
the thread of memory, so that each morning it has to be 
taken up again, we see in particular cases of the incom 
pleteness of this operation. For example, sometimes we 
cannot recall in the morning a melody which the night 
before ran in our head till we were tired of it. 

The cases in which a thought or a picture of the fancy 
suddenly came into our mind without any conscious occa 
sion seem to afford an exception to what has been said. 
Yet this is for the most part an illusion, which rests on 
the fact that the occasion was so trifling and the thought 
itself so vivid and interesting, that the former is instantly 
driven out of consciousness. Yet sometimes the cause of 
such an instantaneous appearance of an idea may be an 
internal physical impression either of the parts of the 
brain on each other or of the organic nervous system upon 
the brain. 

In general our internal process of thought is in reality 
not so simple as the theory of it ; for here it is involved in 
many ways. To make the matter clear to our imagination, 
let us compare our consciousness to a sheet of water of 
some depth. Then the distinctly conscious thoughts are 
merely the surface ; while, on the other hand, the indis 
tinct thoughts, the feelings, the after sensation of percep 
tions and of experience generally, mingled with the special 
disposition of our own will, which is the kernel of our 
being, is the mass of the water. Now the mass of the 
whole consciousness is more or less, in proportion to the 
intellectual activity, in constant motion, and what rise to 
the surface, in consequence of this, are the clear pictures 
of the fancy or the distinct, conscious thoughts expressed 
in words and the resolves of the will. The whole process 
of our thought and purpose seldom lies on the surface, 
that is, consists in a combination of distinctly thought 


judgments ; although we strive against this in order that we 
may be able to explain our thought to ourselves and others. 
But ordinarily it is in the obscure depths of the mind that 
the rumination of the materials received from without takes 
place, through which they are worked up into thoughts ; 
and it goes on almost as unconsciously as the conversion of 
nourishment into the humours and substance of the body. 
Hence it is that we can often give no account of the origin 
of our deepest thoughts. They are the birth of our myste 
rious inner life. Judgments, thoughts, purposes, rise from 
out that deep unexpectedly and to our own surprise. A 
letter brings us unlooked-for and important news, in con 
sequence of which our thoughts and motives are disordered ; 
we get rid of the matter for the present, and think no 
more about it ; but next day, or on the third or fourth 
day after, the whole situation sometimes stands distinctly 
before us, with what we have to do in the circumstances. 
Consciousness is the mere surface of our mind, of which, 
as of the earth, we do not know the inside, but only the 

But in the last instance, or in the secret of our inner 
being, what sets in activity the association of thought 
itself, the laws of which were set forth above, is the will, 
which urges its servant the intellect, according to the 
measure of its powers, to link thought to thought, to re 
call the similar, the contemporaneous, to recognise reasons 
and consequents. For it is to the , interest of the will 
that, in general, one should think, so that one may be 
well equipped for all cases that may arise. Therefore the 
form of the principle of sufficient reason which governs 
the association of thoughts and keeps it active is ulti 
mately the law of motivation. For that which rules the 
sensorium, and determines it to follow the analogy or other 
association of thoughts in this or that direction, is the 
will of the thinking subject. Now just as here the laws 
of the connection of ideas subsist only upon the basis of 
the will, so also in the real world the causal connection 


cf bodies really subsists only upon the basis of the will, 
which manifests itself in the phenomena of this world. 
On this account the explanation from causes is never 
absolute and exhaustive, but leads back to forces of nature 
as their condition, and the inner being of the latter is just 
the will as thing in itself. In saying this, however, I 
have certainly anticipated the following book. 

But because now the outward (sensible) occasions of 
the presence of our ideas, just as well as the inner occa 
sions (those of association), and both independently of 
each other, constantly affect the consciousness, there arise 
from this the frequent interruptions of our course of 
thought, which introduce a certain cutting up and con 
fusion of our thinking. This belongs to its imperfections 
which cannot be explained away, and which we shall now 
consider in a separate chapter. 

( 330 ) 



OUR self-consciousness has not space but only time as its 
form, and therefore we do not think in three dimensions, 
as we perceive, but only in one, thus in a line, without 
breadth or depth. This is the source of the greatest of 
the essential imperfections of our intellect. We can know 
all things only in succession, and can become conscious 
of only one at a time, indeed even of this one only under 
the condition that for the time we forget everything else, 
thus are absolutely unconscious of everything else, so that 
for the time it ceases to exist as far as we are concerned. 
In respect of this quality our intellect may be compared 
to a telescope with a very narrow field of vision; just 
because our consciousness is not stationary but fleeting. 
The intellect apprehends only successively, and in order 
to grasp one thing must let another go, retaining nothing 
but traces of it, which are ever becoming weaker. The 
thought which is vividly present to me now must after a 
little while have escaped me altogether ; and if a good 
night s sleep intervene, it may be that I shall never find 
it again, unless it is connected with my personal interests, 
that is, with my will, which always commands the field. 

Upon this imperfection of the intellect depends the 
disconnected and often fragmentary nature of our course 
of thought, which I have already touched on at the close 
of last chapter ; and from this again arises the unavoidable 
distraction of our thinking. Sometimes external iinpres- 


sions of sense throng in upon it, disturbing and interrupt 
ing it, forcing different kinds of things upon it every 
moment ; sometimes one thought draws in another by the 
bond of association, and is now itself dislodged by it ; 
sometimes, lastly, the intellect itself is not capable of 
fixing itself very long and continuously at a time upon 
one thought, but as the eye when it gazes long at one 
object is soon unable to see it any more distinctly, because 
the outlines run into each other and become confused, 
until finally all is obscure, so through long-continued 
reflection upon one subject our thinking also is gradually 
confused, becomes dull, and ends in complete stupor. 
Therefore after a certain time, which varies with the 
individual, we must for the present give up every medita 
tion or deliberation which has had the fortune to remain 
undisturbed, but yet has not been brought to an end, 
even if it concerns a matter which is most important and 
pertinent to us ; and we must dismiss from our conscious 
ness the subject which interests us so much, however 
heavily our anxiety about it may weigh upon us, in order 
to occupy ourselves now with insignificant and indifferent 
things. During this time that important subject no 
longer exists for us; it is like the heat in cold water, 
latent. If now we resume it again at another time, we 
approach it like a new thing, with which we become 
acquainted anew, although more quickly, and the agree 
able or disagreeable impression of it is also produced 
anew upon our will. We ourselves, however, do not 
come back quite unchanged. For with the physical 
composition of the humours and tension of the nerves, 
which constantly changes with the hours, days, and years, 
our mood and point of view also changes. Moreover, the 
different kinds of ideas which have been there in the 
meantime have left an echo behind them, the tone of 
which influences the ideas which follow. Therefore the 
same thing appears to us at different times, in the morn 
ing, in the evening, at mid-day, or on another day, often 


very different; opposite views of it now press upon each 
other and increase our doubt. Hence we speak of sleeping 
upon a matter, and for important determinations we de 
mand a long time for consideration. Now, although this 
quality of our intellect, as springing from its weakness, 
has its evident disadvantages, yet, on the other hand, it 
affords the advantage that after the distraction and the 
physical change we return to our subject as comparatively 
new beings, fresh and strange, and thus are able to see 
it repeatedly in very different lights. From all this it 
is plain that human consciousness and thought is in its 
nature necessarily fragmentary, on account of which the 
theoretical and practical results which are achieved by 
piecing together such fragments are for the most part 
defective. In this our thinking consciousness is like a 
magic lantern, in the focus of which only one picture can 
appear at a time, and each, even if it represents the 
noblest objects, must yet soon pass away in order to make 
room for others of a different, and even most vulgar, 
description. In practical matters the most important 
plans and resolutions are formed in general; but others 
are subordinated to these as means to an end, and others 
again are subordinated to these, and so on down to the 
particular case that has to be carried out in concrete. 
They do not, however, come to be carried out in the order 
of their dignity, but while we are occupied with plans 
which are great and general, we have to contend with the 
most trifling details and the cares of the moment. In 
this way our consciousness becomes still more desultory. 
In general, theoretical occupations of the mind unfit us 
for practical affairs, and vice versd. 

In consequence of the inevitably distracted and frag 
mentary nature of all our thinking, which has been pointed 
out, and the mingling of ideas of different kinds thereby 
introduced, to which even the noblest human minds are 
subject, we really have only half a consciousness with 
which to grope about in the labyrinth of our life and the 


obscurity of our investigations ; bright moments some 
times illuminate our path like lightning. But what is 
to be expected of heads of which even the wisest is every 
night the scene of the strangest and most senseless dreams, 
and which has to take up its meditations again on awaken 
ing from these ? Clearly a consciousness which is subject 
to such great limitations is little suited for solving the 
riddle of the world ; and such an endeavour would neces 
sarily appear strange and pitiful to a being of a higher 
order whose intellect had not time as its form, and whose 
thinking had thus true completeness and unity. Indeed 
it is really wonderful that we are not completely confused 
by the very heterogeneous mixture of ideas and fragments 
of thought of every kind which are constantly crossing eacli 
other in our minds, but are yet always able to see our 
way again and make everything agree together. Clearly 
there must exist a simpler thread upon \vhich everything 
ranges itself together : but what is this ? Memory alone 
is not sufficient, for it has essential limitations of which 
I shall speak shortly, and besides this, it is exceedingly 
imperfect and untrustworthy. The logical ego or even 
the transcendental synthetic unity of apperception are ex 
pressions and explanations which will not easily serve 
to make the matter comprehensible; they will rather 
suggest to many : 

" Tis true your beard is curly, yet it will not draw you the bolt." 

Kant s proposition, "The / think must accompany all 
our ideas," is insufficient ; for the " I " is an unknown 
quantity, i.e., it is itself a secret. That which gives unity 
and connection to consciousness in that it runs through 
all its ideas, and is thus its substratum, its permanent 
supporter, cannot itself be conditioned by consciousness, 
therefore cannot be an idea. Rather it must be the prius 
of consciousness, and the root of the tree of which that 
is the fruit. This, I say, is the will. It alone is un 
changeable and absolutely identical, and has brought 


forth consciousness for its own ends. Therefore it is also 
the will which gives it imity and holds together all its 
ideas and thoughts, accompanying them like a continuous 
harmony. Without it the intellect would no longer have 
the unity of consciousness, as a mirror in which now this 
and now that successively presents itself, or at the most 
only so much as a convex mirror whose rays unite in an 
imaginary point behind its surface. But the will alone is 
that which is permanent and unchangeable in conscious 
ness. It is the will which holds together all thoughts 
and ideas as means to its ends, and tinges them with the 
colour of its own character, its mood, and its interests, 
commands the attention, and holds in its hand the train 
of motives whose influence ultimately sets memory and 
the association of ideas in activity ; at bottom it is the 
will that is spoken of whenever " I " appears in a judg 
ment. Thus it is the true and final point of unity of 
consciousness, and the bond of all its functions and acts ; 
it does not itself, however, belong to the intellect, but is 
only its root, source, and controller. 

From the form of time and the single dimension of 
the series of ideas, on account of which, in order to take 
up one, the intellect must let all the others fall, there 
follows not only its distraction, but also its foryetfulness. 
Most of what it lets fall it never takes up again ; especi 
ally since the taking up again is bound to the principle 
of sufficient reason, and thus demands an occasion which 
the association of thoughts and motivation have first to 
supply; an occasion, however, which may be the more 
remote and smaller in proportion as our sensibility for 
it is heightened by our interest in the subject. But 
memory, as I have already shown in the essay on the 
principle of sufficient reason, is not a store-house, but 
merely a faculty acquired by practice of calling up ideas 
at pleasure, which must therefore constantly be kept 
in practice by use; for otherwise it will gradually be 
lost. Accordingly the knowledge even of the learned 


man exists only virtualiter as an acquired facility in 
calling up certain ideas ; actualiter, on the other hand, 
it also is confined to one idea, and is only conscious of 
this one at a time. Hence arises a strange contrast 
between what he knows potentid and what he knows 
actu ; that is, between his knowledge and what he thinks 
at any moment : the former is an immense and always 
somewhat chaotic mass, the latter is a single distinct 
thought. The relation resembles that between the in 
numerable stars of the heavens and the limited field of 
vision of the telescope ; it appears in a striking manner 
when upon some occasion he wishes to call distinctly 
to his remembrance some particular circumstance in his 
knowledge, and time and trouble are required to produce 
it from that chaos. Rapidity in doing this is a special 
gift, but is very dependent upon day and hour ; therefore 
memory sometimes refuses us its service, even in things 
which at another time it has readily at hand. This 
consideration calls us in our studies to strive more to 
attain to correct insight than to increase our learning, 
and to lay it to heart that the quality of knowledge is 
more important than its quantity. The latter imparts to 
books only thickness, the former thoroughness and also 
style ; for it is an intensive quantity, while the other is 
merely extensive. It consists in the distinctness and com 
pleteness of the conceptions, together with the purity and 
accuracy of the knowledge of perception which forms 
their foundation ; therefore the whole of knowledge in 
all its parts is penetrated by it, and in proportion as it is 
so is valuable or trifling. With a small quantity, but of 
good quality, one achieves more than with a very large 
quantity of bad quality. 

The most perfect and satisfactory knowledge is that of 
perception, but it is limited absolutely to the particular, 
the individual. The combination of the many and the 
different in one, idea is only possible through the conception, 
that is, through the omission of the differences ; therefore 


this is a very imperfect manner of presenting things to 
the mind. Certainly the particular also can be directly 
comprehended as a universal, if it is raised to the (Pla 
tonic) Idea ; but in this process, which I have analysed 
in the third book, the intellect already passes beyond 
the limits of individuality, and therefore of time ; more 
over it is only an exception. 

These inner and essential imperfections of the intellect 
are further increased by a disturbance which, to a certain 
extent, is external to it, but yet is unceasing the influence 
exerted by the will upon all its operations whenever it 
is in any way concerned in their result. Every passion, 
indeed every inclination and aversion, tinges the objects 
of knowledge with its colour. Of most common occurrence 
is the falsifying of knowledge which is brought about 
by wishes and hopes, for they picture to us the scarcely 
possible as probable and well nigh certain, and make 
us almost incapable of comprehending what is opposed 
to it : fear acts in a similar way ; and every preconceived 
opinion, every partiality, and, as has been said, every 
interest, every emotion and inclination of the will, acts in 
an analogous manner. 

To all these imperfections of the intellect we have 
finally to add this, that it grows old with the brain, that 
is, like all physiological functions, it loses its energy in 
later years, whereby all its imperfections are then much 

The defective nature of the intellect here set forth 
will not, however, surprise us if we look back at its origin 
and destiny as established by me in the second book. 
Nature has produced it for the service of an individual 
will. Therefore it is only designed to know things so far 
as they afford the motives of such a will, but not to 
fathom them or comprehend their true being. Human 
intellect is only a higher gradation of the intellect of 
the brutes ; and as this is entirely confined to the present, 
our intellect also bears strong traces of this limitation. 


Therefore our memory and recollection is something very 
imperfect. How little of all that we have done, experi 
enced, learnt, or read, can we recall ! And even this 
little for the most part only laboriously and imperfectly. 
For the same reasons is it so very difficult for us to keep 
ourselves free from the impressions of the present. Un 
consciousness is the original and natural condition of all 
things, and therefore also the basis from which, in par 
ticular species of beings, consciousness results as their 
highest efflorescence ; wherefore even then unconscious 
ness always continues to predominate. Accordingly most 
existences are without consciousness ; but yet they act 
according to the laws of their nature, i.e., of their will. 
Plants have at most a very weak analogue of conscious 
ness ; the lowest species of animals only the dawn of it. 
But even after it has ascended through the whole series 
of animals to man and his reason, the unconsciousness of 
plants, from which it started, still remains the foundation, 
and may be traced in the necessity for sleep, and also in 
all those essential and great imperfections, here set forth, 
of every intellect produced through physiological functions; 
and of another intellect we have no conception. 

The imperfections here proved to be essential to the 
intellect are constantly increased, however, in particular 
cases, by non-essential imperfections. The intellect is 
never in every respect what it possibly might be. The 
perfections possible to it are so opposed that they exclude 
each other. Therefore no man can be at once Plato and 
Aristotle, or Shakspeare and Newton, or Kant and Goethe. 
The imperfections of the intellect, on the contrary, consort 
very well together ; therefore in reality it for the most part 
remains far below what it might be. Its functions depend 
upon so very many conditions, which we can only compre 
hend as anatomical and physiological, in the phenomenon 
in which alone they are given us, that a decidedly excelling 
intellect, even in one respect alone, is among the rarest of 
natural phenomena. Therefore the productions of such an 



intellect are preserved through thousands of years, indeed 
every relic of such a highly favoured individual becomes 
a most valuable treasure. From such an intellect down 
to that which approaches imbecility the gradations are 
innumerable. And primarily, in conformity with these 
gradations, the mental horizon of each of us varies very 
much from the mere comprehension of the present, which 
even the brute has, to that which also embraces the next 
hour, the day, even the morrow, the week, the year, the 
life, the century, the thousand years, up to that of the con 
sciousness which has almost always present, even though 
obscurely dawning, the horizon of the infinite, and whose 
thoughts therefore assume a character in keeping with 
this. Further, that difference among intelligences shows 
itself in the rapidity of their thinking, which is very im 
portant, and which may be as different and as finely gradu 
ated as that of the points in the radius of a revolving disc. 
The remoteness of the consequents and reasons to which 
any one s thought can extend seems to stand in a certain 
relation to the rapidity of his thinking, for the greatest 
exertion of thought-power in general can only last quite 
a short time, and yet only while it lasts can a thought be 
thought out in its complete unity. It therefore amounts 
to this, how far the intellect can pursue it in so short a 
time, thus what length of path it can travel in it. On 
the other hand, in the case of some, rapidity may be made 
up for by the greater duration of that time of perfectly 
concentrated thought. Probably the slow and lasting 
thought makes the mathematical mind, while rapidity of 
thought makes the genius. The latter is a flight, the 
former a sure advance upon firm ground, step by step. 
Yet even in the sciences, whenever it is no longer a 
question of mere quantities, but of understanding the 
nature of phenomena, this last kind of thinking is in 
adequate. This is shown, for example, by Newton s theory 
of colour, and later by Biot s nonsense about colour rings, 
which yet agrees with the whole atomistic method of 


treating light among the French, with its molecules de 
lumiere, and in general with their fixed idea of reducing 
everything in nature to mere mechanical effects. Lastly, 
the great individual diversity of intelligence we are 
speaking about shows itself excellently in the degrees 
of the clearness of understanding, and accordingly in 
the distinctness of the whole thinking. To one man that 
is to understand which to another is only in some 
degree to observe ; the one is already done and at the 
goal while the other is only at the beginning ; to the 
one that is the solution which to the other is only the 
problem. This depends on the quality of thought and 
knowledge, which was already referred to above. As 
in rooms the degree of light varies, so does it in minds. 
We can detect this quality of the whole thought as soon 
as we have read only a few pages of an author. For 
in doing so we have been obliged to understand both 

o o 

with his understanding and in his sense ; and there 
fore before we know all that he has thought we see 
already how he thinks, what is the formal nature, the 
texture of his thinking, which remains the same in every 
thing about which he thinks, and whose expression is 
the train of thought and the style. In this we feel at 
once the pace, the flexibleness and lightness, even indeed 
the soaring power of his mind; or, on the contrary, its 
dulness, formality, lameness and leaden quality. For, as 
language is the expression of the mind of a nation, style 
is the more immediate expression of the mind of an 
author than even his physiognomy. We throw a book 
aside when we observe that in it we enter an obscurer 
region than our own, unless we have to learn from it 
mere facts, not thoughts. Apart from mere facts, only 
that author will afford us profit whose understanding 
is keener and clearer than our own, who forwards our 
thinking instead of hindering it, like the dull mind that 

O o 

will force us to keep pace with the toad-like course of 
its thought ; thus that author with whose mind it gives 


us sensible relief and assistance sometimes to think, by 
whom we feel ourselves borne where we could not have 
gone alone. Goethe once said to me that if he read a 
page of Kant he felt as if he entered a brightly lighted 
room. Inferior minds are so not merely because they 
are distorted, and therefore judge falsely, but primarily 
through the indistinctness of their whole thinking, which 
may be compared to seeing through a bad telescope, 
when all the outlines appear indistinct and as if ob 
literated, and the different objects run into each other. 
The weak understanding of such minds shrinks from 
the demand for distinctness of conceptions, and therefore 
they do not themselves make this claim upon it, but put 
up with haziness ; and to satisfy themselves with this they 
gladly have recourse to words, especially such as denote 
indefinite, very abstract, unusual conceptions which are 
hard to explain ; such, for example, as infinite and finite, 
sensible and supersensible, the Idea of being, Ideas of 
the reason, the absolute, the Idea of the good, the 
divine, moral freedon, power of spontaneous generation, 
the absolute Idea, subject-object, &c. The like of these 
they confidently fling about, imagine they really express 
thoughts, and expect every one to be content with them ; 
for the highest summit of wisdom which they can see is 
to have at command such ready-made words for every 
possible question. This immense satisfaction in words is 
thoroughly characteristic of inferior minds. It depends 
simply upon their incapacity for distinct conceptions, 
whenever these must rise above the most trivial and 
simple relations. Hence upon the weakness and indolence 
of their intellect, and indeed upon the secret conscious 
ness of this, which in the case of scholars is bound up 
with the early learnt and hard necessity of passing them 
selves off as thinking beings, to meet which demand in 
all cases they keep such a suitable store of ready-made 
words. It must really be amusing to see a professor of 
philosophy of this kind in the chair, who bond fide delivers 


such a juggle of words destitute of thoughts, quite sin 
cerely, under the delusion that they are really thoughts, 
and in front of him the students, who just as land fide, i.e., 
under the same delusion, listen attentively and take notes, 
while yet in reality neither the one nor the other goes 
beyond the words, but rather these words themselves, to 
gether with the audible scratching of pens, are the only 
realities iu the whole matter. This peculiar satisfaction in 
words has more than anything else to do with the per 
petuation of errors. For, relying on the words and phrases 
received from his predecessors, each one confidently passes 
over obscurities and problems, and thus these are pro 
pagated through centuries from book to book ; and the 
thinking man, especially in youth, is in doubt whether it 
may be that he is incapable of understanding it, or that 
there is really nothing here to understand ; and similarly, 
whether for others the problem which they all slink past 
with such comical seriousness by the same path is no 
problem at all, or whether it is only that they will not 
see it. Many truths remain undiscovered simply on this 
account, that no one has the courage to look the problem 
in the face and grapple with it. On the contrary, the 
distinctness of thought and clearness of conceptions 
peculiar to eminent minds produces the effect that even 
known truths when brought forward by them gain new 
light, or at least a new stimulus. If we hear them or read 
them, it is as if we exchanged a bad telescope for a good 
one. Let one only read, for example, in Euler s " Letters 
to the Princess," his exposition of the fundamental truths 
of mechanics and optics. Upon this rests the remark of 
Diderot in the Neveu de Earneau, that only the perfect 
masters are capable of teaching really well the elements of 
a science ; just because it is only they who really under 
stand the questions, and for them words never take the 
place of thoughts. 

But we ought to know that inferior minds are the 
rule, good minds the exception, eminent minds very rare, 


and genius a portent. How otherwise could a human 
race consisting of about eight hundred million individuals 
have left so much after six thousand years to discover, to 
invent, to think out, and to say ? The intellect is calcu 
lated for the support of the individual alone, and as a rule 
it is only barely sufficient even for this. But nature has 
wisely been very sparing of conferring a larger measure ; 
for the man of limited intelligence can survey the few 
and simple relations which lie within reach of his narrow 
sphere of action, and can control the levers of them with 
much greater ease than could the eminently intellectual 
man who commands an incomparably larger sphere and 
works with long levers. Thus the insect sees everything 
on its stern or leaf with the most minute exactness, and 
better than we, and yet is not aware of the man who 
stands within three steps of it. This is the reason of the 
slyness of half-witted persons, and the ground of the 
paradox : II y a un mystere dans I esprit des gens qui 
n en ont pas. For practical life genius is about as useful 
as an astral telescope in a theatre. Thus, with regard 
to the intellect nature is highly aristocratic. The dis 
tinctions which it has established are greater than those 
which are made in any country by birth, rank, wealth, 
or caste. But in the aristocracy of intellect, as in other 
aristocracies, there are many thousands of plebeians for 
one nobleman, many millions for one prince, and the great 
multitude of men are mere populace, mob, rabble, la 
canaille. Now certainly there is a glaring contrast be 
tween the scale of rank of nature and that of convention, 
and their agreement is only to be hoped for in a golden 
age. Meanwhile those who stand very high in the one 
scale of rank and in the other have this in common, that 
for the most part they live in exalted isolation, to which 
Byron refers when he says : 

" To feel me in the solitude of kings 
Without the power that makes them bear a crown." 

Proph. of Dante, c. I. 


For intellect is a differentiating, and therefore a separating 
principle. Its different grades, far more than those of 
mere culture, give to each man different conceptions, in 
consequence of which each man lives to a certain extent 
in a different world, in which he can directly meet those 
only who are like himself, and can only attempt to speak 
to the rest and make himself understood by them from 
a distance. Great differences in the grade and in the 
cultivation of the understanding fix a wide gulf between 
man and man, which can only be crossed by benevolence ; 
for it is, on the contrary, the unifying principle, which 
identifies every one else with its own self. Yet the con 
nection remains a moral one ; it cannot become intellectual. 
Indeed, when the degree of culture is about the same, 
the conversation between a man of great intellect and an 
ordinary man is like the journey together of two men, one 
of whom rides on a spirited horse and the other goes on 
foot. It soon becomes very trying to both of them, and 
for any length of time impossible. For a short way the 
rider can indeed dismount, in order to walk with the 
other, though even then the impatience of his horse will 
give him much to do. 

But the public could be benefited by nothing so much 
as by the recognition of that intellectual aristocracy of 
nature. By virtue of such recognition it would compre 
hend that when facts are concerned, thus when the 
matter has to be decided from experiments, travels, codes, 
histories, and chronicles, the normal mind is certainly 
sufficient; but, on the other hand, when mere thoughts 
are in question, especially those thoughts the material or 
data of which are within reach of every one, thus when it 
is really only a question of thinking before others, decided 
reflectiveness, native eminence, which only nature bestows, 
and that very seldom, is inevitably demanded, and no one 
deserves to be heard who does not at once give proofs 
of this. If the public could be brought to see this for 
itself, it would no longer waste the time which is sparingly 


measured out to it for its culture on the productions of 
ordinary minds, thus on the innumerable botches of poetry 
and philosophy which are produced every day. It would 
no longer seize always what is newest, in the childish 
delusion that books, like eggs, must be enjoyed while 
they are fresh, but would confine itself to the works of 
the few select and chosen minds of all ages and nations, 
would strive to learn to know and understand them, and 
might thus by degrees attain to true culture. And then, 
also, those thousands of uncalled-for productious which, 
like tares, hinder the growth of the good wheat would 
be discontinued. 

( 345 ) 



IN the seventh chapter I have shown that, in the theo 
retical sphere, procedure based upon conceptions suffices 
for mediocre achievements only, while great achievements, 
on the other hand, demand that we should draw from 
perception itself as the primary source of all knowledge. 
In the practical sphere, however, the converse is the case. 
Here determination by what is perceived is the way of 
the brutes, but is unworthy of man, who has conceptions 
to guide his conduct, and is thus emancipated from the 
power of what is actually perceptibly present, to which 
the brute is unconditionally given over. In proportion 
as a man makes good this prerogative his conduct may 
be called rational, and only in this sense can we speak 
of practical reason, not in the Kantian sense, the inadmis- 
sibility of which I have thoroughly exposed in my prize 
essay on the foundation of morals. 

It is not easy, however, to let oneself be determined 
by conceptions alone; for the directly present external 
world, with its perceptible reality, intrudes itself forcibly 
even on the strongest mind. But it is just in con 
quering this impression, in destroying its illusion, that 
the human spirit shows its worth and greatness. Thus 
if incitements to lust and pleasure leave it unaffected, 
if the threats and fury of enraged enemies do not shake 
it, if the entreaties of erring friends do not make its 

1 This chapter is connected with 16 of the first volume. 


purpose waver, and the delusive forms with which pre 
concerted plots surround it leave it unmoved, if the scorn 
of fools and of the vulgar herd does not disturb it nor 
trouble it as to its own worth, then it seems to stand 
under the influence of a spirit-world, visible to it alone 
(and this is the world of conceptions), before which that 
perceptibly present world which lies open to all dissolves 
like a phantom. But, on the other hand, what gives to 
the external world and visible reality their great power 
over the mind is their nearness and directness. As the 
magnetic needle, which is kept in its position by the 
combined action of widely distributed forces of nature 
embracing the whole earth, can yet be perturbed and set 
in violent oscillation by a small piece of iron, if only it 
comes quite close to it, so even a great mind can some 
times be disconcerted and perturbed by trifling events and 
insignificant men, if only they affect it very closely, and 
the deliberate purpose can be for the moment shaken 
by a trivial but immediately present counter motive. 
For the influence of the motives is subject to a law which 
is directly opposed to the law according to which weights 
act on a balance, and in consequence of it a very small 
motive, which, however, lies very near to us, can out 
weigh one which in itself is much stronger, but which 
only affects us from, a distance. But it is this quality 
of the mind, by reason of which it allows itself to be 
determined in accordance with this law, and does not 
withdraw itself from it by the strength of actual practical 
reason, which the ancients denoted by animi impotentia, 
which really signifies ratio regendce voluntatis impotens. 
Every emotion (animi perturbatio) simply arises from the 
fact that an idea which affects our will comes so exces 
sively near to us that it conceals everything else from 
us, and we can no longer see anything but it, so that 
for the moment we become incapable of taking account 
of things of another kind. It would be a valuable safe 
guard against this if we were to bring ourselves to regard 


the present, by the assistance of imagination, as if it 
were past, and should thus accustom our apperception 
to the epistolary style of the Romans. Yet conversely 
we are very well able to regard what is long past as so 
vividly present that old emotions which have long been 
asleep are thereby reawakened in their full strength. 
Thus also no one would be irritated or disconcerted 
by a misfortune, a disappointment, if reason always kept 
present to him what man really is : the most needy of 
creatures, daily and hourly abandoned to innumerable 
misfortunes, great and small, TO BeiXoTarov faov, who has 
therefore to live in constant care and fear. Herodotus 
already says, " Hav <TTI avOpwnos avpfyopa " (homo totus 
cst calamitas). 

The application of reason to practice primarily ac 
complishes this. It reconstructs what is one-sided and 
defective in knowledge of mere perception, and makes 
use of the contrasts or oppositions which it presents, to 
correct each other, so that thus the objectively true 
result is arrived at. For example, if we look simply 
at the bad action of a man we will condemn him ; on 
the other hand, if we consider merely the need that 
moved him to it, we will compassionate him : reason, by 
means of its conceptions, weighs the two, and leads to 
the conclusion that he must be restrained, restricted, and 
curbed by a proportionate punishment. 

I am again reminded here of Seneca s saying : " Si vis 
tibi omnia subjicere, te siibjice rationi." Since, however, 
as was -shown in the fourth book, the nature of suffering 
is positive, and that of pleasure negative, he who takes 
abstract or rational knowledge as the rule of his conduct, 
and therefore constantly reilects on its consequences and 
on the future, will very frequently have to practise 
sustine et abstine, for in order to obtain the life that is 
most free from pain he generally sacrifices its keenest 
joys and pleasures, mindful of Aristotle s " o <ppovt/jios TO 
$i(0Ki, ov TO ijov" (quod dolore vacat, non quod 


suave est, persequitur vir prudens). Therefore with him 
the future constantly borrows from the present, instead 
of the present borrowing from the future, as is the case 
with a frivolous fool, who thus becomes impoverished and 
finally bankrupt. In the case of the former reason must, 
for the most part, assume the role of a churlish mentor, 
and unceasingly call for renunciations, without being able 
to promise anything in return, except a fairly painless 
existence. This rests on the fact that reason, by means 
of its conceptions, surveys the whole of life, whose outcome, 
in the happiest conceivable case, can be no other than 
what we have said. 

When this striving after a painless existence, so far as 
it might be attainable by the application of and strict 
adherence to rational reflection and acquired knowledge 
of the true nature of life, was carried out with the greatest 
consistency and to the utmost extreme, it produced cyni 
cism, from which stoicism afterwards proceeded. I wish 
briefly here to bring this out more fully for the sake of 
establishing more firmly the concluding exposition of our 
first book. 

All ancient moral systems, with the single exception of 
that of Plato, were guides to a happy life. Accordingly 
in them the end of virtue was entirely in this life, not 
beyond death. For to them it is only the right path to 
a truly happy life ; and on this account the wise choose 
it. Hence arise those lengthy debates chiefly preserved 
for us by Cicero, those keen and constantly renewed 
investigations, whether virtue quite alone and in itself 
is really sufficient for a happy life, or whether this 
further requires some external condition ; whether the 
virtuous and wise may also be happy on the rack and the 
wheel, or in the bull of Phalaris ; or whether it does not 
go as far as this. For certainly this would be the touch 
stone of an ethical system of this kind ; the practice of 
it must give happiness directly and unconditionally. If 
it cannot do this it does not accomplish what it ought, 


and must be rejected. It is therefore with truth and 
in accordance with the Christian point of view that 
Augustine prefaces his exposition of the moral systems 
of the ancients (De Civ. Dei, Lib. xix. c. i) with the 
explanation : " Exponenda sunt ndbis argumenta morta- 
lium, quibus sibi ipsi beatitudinem facere IN HUJUS VlT^E 
INFELIGITATE moliti sunt ; ut ab eorum rebus vanis spes 
nostra quid differ at clarescat. De finibus bonorum et 
malorum multa inter se philosophi disputarunt ; quam 
quccstionem maxima intentione versantes, invenire conati 
sunt, quid efficiat liominem beatum: illud enim est finis 
bonorum." I wish to place beyond all doubt the eu- 
dsemonistic end which we have ascribed to all ancient 
ethics by several express statements of the ancients them 
selves. Aristotle says in the " Uth. Magna," i. 4: " H 

ev rw ev tyjv eari, TO Se ev fyv ev TCO Kara ra<? 

" (Felicitas in bene vivendo posita est : verum 
bene vivere est in eo positum, ut secundum virtutem vivamus), 
with which may be compared " Eth. Nicom." i. 5. " Cic. 
Tusc." v. i : " Nam, quum ea causa impulerit eos, qui primi 
se ad philosophies studia contulerunt,ut, omnibus rebus post- 
habitis, totos se in optima vitas, statu exquirendo collocarent ; 
profecto spe beate vivendi tantam in eo studio curam operam- 
que posuemnt. According to Plutarch (De Eepugn. Stoic., 
c. xviii.) Chrysippus said : " To Kara Kaiciav tyv rw fca/co- 
&aifj,ov(as tyjv ravrov eari." ( Vitiose vivere idem est quod 
vivcre infeliciter.} Ibid., c. 26 : " JET fypovrjais ov% erepov 
ecrTi TT;? evSai/jiovcas /cad kavro, a\\ ev8ai/j,ovia." (Pru- 
dentia nihil differt a felicitate, estque ipsa adeo felicitas.) 
" Stob. Eel.," Lib. ii. c. 7 : " TeXo? Se (fraaiv eivai TO evBai- 
fjioveiv, 6u eveica, Travra irparrerai." (Finem esse dicunt 
felicitatem, cvjus causa fiunt omnia.) " EvSatpoviav a-vvw- 
vvpew TW re\ei \eyovai,." (Finem bonorum et felicita 
tem synonyma esse dicunt.} " Arrian Diss. Epict.," i. 4 : " H 
aperr) ravTijv e^et TTJV eTrayje^iav, evSatfj-oviav Troirjcrai." 
(Virtus profitetur, se felicitatem prwstare.) Sen., Ep. 90: 
" Ceterum (sapientia) ad beatum statum tendit, illo ducit, 


illo vias aperit." Id., Ep. 108 : " Illud admoneo audit ionem 
philosophorum, lectionemque, ad proposition beatce vitce tra- 

The ethics of the C} r nics also adopted this end of the 
happiest life, as the Emperor Julian expressly testifies 
(Orat. vi.) : " Trjs Kuvi/crj<; Se (^iXocro^ta? CT/COTTO? fjuev ecrn 
teat reXo?, axnrep 8ij Kai Tracnjs <f)i\oa o<j)ia<;, TO evbai/Aoveiv 
ro Sc ev8ai/jtoveiv ev ru> fyv Kara (frvaiv, d\Xa p.rj Trpo? ra? 
rwv 7To\\(ov Soa?." (Cynicce philosophic ut etiam omnis 
philosophic^, scopus et finis est feliciter vivere : felicitas vitce 
autem in eo posita est, ut secundum naturam vivatur, nee 
vero secundum opiniones multitudinis.) Only the Cynics 
followed quite a peculiar path to this end, a path directly 
opposed to the ordinary one the path of extreme priva 
tion. They start from the insight that the motions of the 
will which are brought about by the objects which attract 
and excite it, and the wearisome, and for the most part 
vain, efforts to attain these, or, if they are attained, the 
fear of losing them, and finally the loss itself, produce far 
greater pain than the want of all these objects ever can. 
Therefore, in order to attain to the life that is most free 
from pain, they chose the path of the extremest desti 
tution, and fled from all pleasures as snares through 
which one was afterwards handed over to pain. But 
after this they could boldly scorn happiness and its 
caprices. This is the spirit of cynicism. Seneca dis 
tinctly expresses it in the eighth chapter, " De Tranquili- 
tate Animi : " " Cogitandum est, quanto levior dolor sit, non 
habere, quam perdere : et intelligemus paupertati eo mino- 
rem tormentorum, quo minorem damnorum esse materiam." 
Then : " Tolerabilius est, faciliusque, non acquirere, quam 
amittere. . . . Diogenes effecit, ne quid sibi eripi posset, . . . 
qui se fortuitis omnibus exuit. . . . Videtur mihi dixisse ; 
age tuum ner/otium, fortuna : nihil apud Diogenem jam 
tuum est." The parallel passage to this last sentence is 
the quotation of Stobasus (Eel. ii. /) : "Aioyevr]? e^ vofju- 
%eiv opav rrjv Tvyr,v evopwcrav avrov Kai Xeyovcrav TOVTOV 


S ov Svva/jiai fBaXeeiv Kvva Xvcra^rrj pa." (Diogenes credere 
se dixit, videre Fortunam, ipsum intuentem, ac dicentem : 
aut hunc non potui tetiyisse canem rabiosum.) The same 
spirit of cynicism is also shown in the epitaph on Diogenes, 
in Suidas, under the word ^iTuoveo?, and in " Diogenes 
Laertius," vi. 2 : 

" TrjpaffKfi fjifv %aXos VTTO XP OVOV 

KvSos a was aiuv, Aioyevij^, 
M owes firei pioTris avrapKea 5oac eSetfas 
QVTJTOLS, /ecu fco?;s OI/JLOV f\a.(j)pora.rt)V," 

{JEra quidem absumit tempus, sed tempore numquam 

Interitura tua est gloria, Diogenes : 
Quandoquidem ad vitam miseris mortalibus cequam 

Monstrata estfacilis, te duce, et ampla via.) 

Accordingly the fundamental thought of cynicism is that 
life in its simplest and nakedest form, with the hardships 
that belong to it by nature, is the most endurable, and is 
therefore to be chosen ; for every assistance, convenience, 
gratification, and pleasure by means of which men seek to 
make life more agreeable only brings with it new and 
greater ills than originally belonged to it. Therefore we 
may regard the following sentence as the expression of the 
kernel of the doctrine of cynicism: " Awyevris efioq TTO\- 
\a/a<? Xeyayv, rov iwv avOwjrwv ftiov pa&iov inro TWV decov 
&6$oa6ai, aTro/ceKpv(J)9ai 8e avrov ^rjTowroov fJ,\L7rrjKTa 
Kat fjivpa teat ra 7rapcnr\r)aria." (Diogenes clamabat sccpius, 
hominum vitam facilcm a diis dari, verum occultari illam 
qucerentibus mellita cibaria, ungucnta et his similia. (Diog., 
Laert., vi. 2.) And further : " Aeov, avrt, rwv a^prjarcav 
TTOVCOV, TOU? Kara (j>v<riv e\o(j,evovs, "C^v euSat/Ltoyo)? jrapa rrjv 
avoiav Ka/toScufiovovcn. . . rov avrov %apa/crr)pa rov ftiov 
\e<ya)v Siej^aryeiv, ovrrep Kat, HpaKkys, firj&ev eXevdijpia? 
rrpoKpivwv" (Quum igitur, repudiatis inutilibus laborious, 
naturales insequi, ac vivere beate dcbcamus, per summam de- 
mentiam infelices sumus. . . . eandem vitce formam, quam 
Hercules, se vivere affirmans, nihil libertati prccferens. 
Ibid.) Therefore the old, genuine Cynics, Antisthenes, 


Diogenes, Krates, and their disciples had once for all re 
nounced every possession, all conveniences and pleasures, 
in order to escape for ever from the troubles and cares, 
the dependence and the pains, which are inevitably 
bound up with them and are not counterbalanced by 
them. Through the bare satisfaction of the most press 
ing wants and the renunciation of everything superfluous 
they thought they would come off best. Accordingly they 
contented themselves with what in Athens or Corinth 
was to be had almost for nothing, such as lupines, water, 
an old threadbare cloak, a wallet, and a staff. They 
begged occasionally, as far as was necessary to supply 
such wants, but they never worked. Yet they accepted 
absolutely nothing that exceeded the wants referred to 
above. Independence in the widest sense was their aim. 
They occupied their time in resting, going about, talking 
with all men, and much mocking, laughing, and joking ; 
their characteristic was carelessness and great cheerful 
ness. Since now in this manner of life they had no aims 
of their own, no purposes or ends to pursue, thus were 
lifted above the sphere of human action, and at the same 
time always enjoyed complete leisure, they were admir 
ably fitted, as men of proved strength of mind, to be the 
advisers and admonishers of the rest. Therefore Apuleius 
says (Florid., iv.) : " Crates, ut lar familiaris apud homines 
suoe cctatis cultus est. Nulla domus ei unquam clausa erat : 
nee erat patrisfamilias tarn absconditum secretum, quin co 
tempestive Crates interveniret, litium omnium et jurgiorum 
inter propinquos disceptator et arbiter" Thus in this, as in 
so many other respects, they show a great likeness to the 
mendicant friars of modern times, that is, to the better 
and more genuine among them, whose ideal may be seen 
in the Capucine Christoforo in Manzoni s famous romance. 
Yet this resemblance lies only in the effects, not in the 
cause. They agree in the result, but the fundamental 
thought of the two is quite different. With the friars, as 
with the Sannyasis, who are akin to them, it is an aim 


which transcends life ; but with the Cynics it is only the 
conviction that it is easier to reduce their wishes and 
their wants to the minimum, than to attain to the maxi 
mum in their satisfaction, which indeed is impossible, for 
with their satisfaction the wishes and wants grow ad 
infinitum; therefore, in order to reach the goal of all 
ancient ethics, the greatest happiness possible in this 
life, they took the path of renunciation as the shortest 
and easiest : " odev /cat rov Kvvt,cr[j.ov eiprjKaaiv (rvvro^ov 
GTT apeTTjv o&ov." (Unde Cynismum dixere compendiosam 
ad virtutem viam.} Diog. Laert., vi. 9. The fundamental 
difference between the spirit of cynicism and that of 
asceticism comes out very clearly in the humility which 
is essential to the ascetic, but is so foreign to the Cynic 
that, on the contrary, he is distinguished beyond every 
thing else for pride and scorn : 

" Sapiens uno minor est Jove, dives, 
Liber, honoratua, pulcher, rex denique regum." Hor. 

On the other hand, the view of life held by the Cynics 
agrees in spirit w y ith that of J. J. Eousseau as he expounds 
ijb in the " Discours sur I Origine de I Indgalitt" For he 
also would wish to lead us back to the crude state of 
nature, and regards the reduction of our wants to the 
minimum as the surest path to happiness. For the rest, 
the Cynics were exclusively practical philosophers : at 
least no account of their theoretical philosophy is known 
to me. 

Now the Stoics proceeded from them in this way they 
changed the practical into the theoretical. They held 
that the actual dispensing with everything that can be 
done without is not demanded, but that it is sufficient 
that we should regard possessions and pleasures constantly 
as dispensable, and as held in the hand of chance ; for 
then the actual deprivation of them, if it should chance 
to occur, would neither be unexpected nor fall heavily. 
One might always have and enjoy everything ; only one 



must ever keep present the conviction of the worthless- 
ness and dispensableness of these good things on the one 
hand, and of their uncertainty and perishableness on the 
other, and therefore prize them all very little, and be 
always ready to give them up. Nay more, he who must 
actually dispense with these things in order not to be 
moved by them, thereby shows that in his heart he 
holds them to be truly good things, which one must put 
quite out of sight if one is not to long after them. The 
wise man, on the other hand, knows that they are not 
good things at all, but rather perfectly indifferent things, 
aSia^opa, in any case Trpoiyy/j.eva. Therefore if they 
present themselves he will accept them, but yet is always 
ready to let them go again, if chance, to which they be 
long, should demand them back ; for they are TWV OVK e</> 
rj/jiiv. In this sense, Epictetus, chap, vii., says that the 
wise man, like one who has landed from a ship, &c., will 
also let himself be comforted by a wife or a child, but yet 
will always be ready, whenever the captain calls, to let 
them go again. Thus the Stoics perfected the theory of 
equanimity and independence at the cost of the practice, 
for they reduced everything to a mental process, and by 
arguments, such as are presented in the first chapter of 
Epictetus, sophisticated themselves into all the amenities 
of life. But in doing so they left out of account that 
everything to which one is accustomed becomes a need, 
and therefore can only be given up with pain ; that the 
will does not allow itself to be played with, cannot enjoy 
without loving the pleasures ; that a dog does not remain 
indifferent if one draws a piece of meat through its mouth, 
and neither does a wise man if he is hungry; and that 
there is no middle path between desiring and renouncing. 
But they believed that they satisfied their principles if, 
sitting at a luxurious Roman table, they left no dish 
untasted, yet at the same time protested that they were 
each and all of them mere Trpoiufieva, not ajaOa ; or in 
plain English, if they eat, drank, and were merry, yet 


gave no thanks to God for it all, but rather made fastidious 
faces, and persisted in boldly asserting that they gained 
nothing whatever from the whole feast. This was the 
expedient of the Stoics ; they were therefore mere brag 
garts, and stand to the Cynics in much the same relation 
as well-fed Benedictines and Augustines stand to Francis 
cans and Capucines. Now the more they neglected 
practice, the more they refined the theory. I shall here 
add a few proofs and supplementary details to the exposi 
tion of it given at the close of our first book. 

If we search in the writings of the Stoics which re 
main to us, all of which are unsystematically composed, 
for the ultimate ground of that irrefragible equanimity 
which is unceasingly demanded of us, we find no other 
than the knowledge that the course of the world is entirely 
independent of our will, and consequently, that the evil 
which befalls us is inevitable. If we have regulated our 
claims by a correct insight into this, then mourning, 
rejoicing, fearing, and hoping are follies of which we are 
no longer capable. Further, especially in the commen 
taries of Arrian, it is surreptitiously assumed that all that 
is OVK <f> r^jiiv (i.e., does not depend upon us) is at once 
also ov 7r/3o<? r}/jLas (i.e., does not concern us). Yet it 
remains true that all the good things of life are in the 
power of chance, and therefore whenever it makes use of 
this power to deprive us of them, we are unhappy if we 
have placed our happiness in them. From this unworthy 
fate we are, in the opinion of the Stoics, delivered by the 
right use of reason, by virtue of which we regard all these 
things, never as ours, but only as lent to us for an in 
definite time ; only thus can we never really lose them. 
Therefore Seneca says (Ep. 98) : " Si, quid humanarum 
rerum varietas possit, cogitaverit, ante quam senserit," and 
Diogenes Laertius (vii. I. 87) : " Icrov Se ecrrt TO KCLT aperrjv 
%r)v TO) Ka-f fj,TTipiav ra)v (ucra av^aivovrwu "C^v" (Secun 
dum virtutem vivere idem est, quod secundum experientiam 
eorum, quce secundum naturam accidunt, vivere.~) The pas- 


sage in Arrian s "Discourses of Epictetus," B. iii., c. 24, 
84-89, is particularly in point here; and especially, as 
a proof of what I have said in this reference in 16 of 
the first volume, the passage : " TOVTO 709 ecrrt TO airiov 
TOL<? avOpoTTOLS TTavrwv Twv KdKWV TO T<Z? TrpoX.rjtyeis Ta<? 
icoLvas fjiT) &vvacr0ai e<f)ap/j,ot,6iv rot? 67U /jiepovs," Ibid, iv., 
I. 42. (If ax enim causa est hominibus omnium malorum, 
quod anticipationes generates rebus singularibus accom- 
modare non possuntS) Similarly the passage in " Marcus 
Aurelius " (iv. 29) : " Et %evo<; KOO-/JLOV 6 fjii 
TO, v avro) ovra, ov% rjrrov evo<; /cat o ^ 
ra ryLyvofieva ; " that is : " If he is a stranger to the 
universe who does not know what is in it, no less 
is he a stranger who does not know how things go 
on in it." Also Seneca s eleventh chapter, " De Tran- 
guilitate Animi," is a complete proof of this view. The 
opinion of the Stoics amounts on the whole to this, 
that if a man has watched for awhile the juggling illusion 
of happiness and then uses his reason, he must recognise 
both the rapid changes of the dice and the intrinsic worth- 
lessness of the counters, and therefore must henceforth 
remain unmoved. Taken generally the Stoical point of 
view may be thus expressed : our suffering always arises 
from the want of agreement between our wishes and the 
course of the world. Therefore one of these two must 
be changed and adapted to the other. Since now the 
course of things is not in our power (OVK <$> ^^iv), we 
must direct our volitions and desires according to the 
course of things : for the will alone is e< TJ^IV. This 
adaptation of volition to the course of the external world, 
thus to the nature of things, is very often understood 
under the ambiguous Kara fyvanv %gv. See the " Discourses 
of Epictetus," ii. 17, 21, 22. Seneca also denotes this 
point of view (E^. 119) when he says: " Nihil interest, 
utrum non desideres, an habeas. Summa rei in utroque est 
eadem: non torqueberis." Also Cicero (Tusc. iv. 26) by 
the words : " Solum halere velle, summa dementia est," 


Similarly Arrian (iv. i. 175): " Ov yap eKTrXrjpcoa-ei rtav 
7ridvfj,ov/jiei 0)v e\.6v0epia irapaaKeva^erai, aXka avaarcevr) 
TT;? 7ri6v/ALa<;." (Non cnim explcndis desideriis libertas 
comparatur, sed tollenda cupiditate.) 

The collected quotations in the " Historia Philosophies 
Grceco-Romance" of Hitter and Preller may be taken as 
proofs of what I have said, in the place referred to above, 
about the o/j,o\o<yoviievws tyv of the Stoics. Also the 
saying of Seneca (Ep. 31, and again Ep. 74): " Perfecta 
virtus cst cequalitas et tenor mice per omnia consonans sibi." 
The following passage of Seneca s indicates the spirit 
of the Stoa generally (Ep. 92) : " Quid est beata vita ? 
Securitas et perpetua tranquillitas. Hanc dabit animi 
magnitude, dabit constantia bene judicati tenax" A sys 
tematical study of the Stoics will convince every one that 
the end of their ethics, like that of the ethics of Cynicism 
from which they sprang, is really nothing else than a life 
as free as possible from pain, and therefore as happy as 
possible. Whence it follows that the Stoical morality 
is only a special form of Eudccmonism. It has not, like 
the Indian, the Christian, and even the Platonic ethics, 
a metaphysical tendency, a transcendental end, but a 
completely immanent end, attainable in this life; the 
steadfast serenity (arapa^ta) and unclouded happiness of 
the wise man, whom nothing can disturb. Yet it cannot 
be denied that the later Stoics, especially Arrian, some 
times lose sight of this end, and show a really ascetic 
tendency, which is to be attributed to the Christian and 
Oriental spirit in general which was then already spreading. 
If we consider closely and seriously the goal of Stoicism, 
that arapa^ia, we find in it merely a hardening and in 
sensibility to the blow of fate which a man attains to 
because he keeps ever present to his mind the short 
ness of life, the emptiness of pleasure, the instability of 
happiness, and has also discerned that the difference be 
tween happiness and unhappiness is very much less than 
our anticipation of both is wont to represent. But this is 


yet no state of happiness ; it is only the patient endur 
ance of sufferings which one has foreseen as irremedi 
able. Yet magnanimity and worth consist in this, that 
one should bear silently and patiently what is irremedi 
able, in melancholy peace, remaining always the same, 
while others pass from rejoicing to despair and from des 
pair to rejoicing. Accordingly one may also conceive of 
Stoicism as a spiritual hygiene, in accordance with which, 
just as one hardens the body against the influences of 
wind and weather, against fatigue and exertion, one has 
also to harden one s mind against misfortune, danger, loss, 
injustice, malice, perfidy, arrogance, and the folly of men. 
I remark further, that the KaOyrcovra of the Stoics, 
which Cicero translates officia, signify as nearly as pos 
sible Oblicgenheiten, or that which it befits the occasion 
to do ; English, incumbencies ; Italian, quel che tocca a me di 
fare, o di lasciare, thus what it behoves a reasonable man 
to do. Cf. Diog. Laert, vii. i. 109. Finally, the panthe 
ism of the Stoics, though absolutely inconsistent with 
many an exhortation of Arrian, is most distinctly ex 
pressed by Seneca : " Quid est Deus ? Mens universi. Quid 
est Deus ? Quod vides totum, et quod non vides totum. Sic magnitudo sua illi redditur, qua nihil majus ex- 
cogitari potest : si solus est omnia, opus suum et extra et 
intra tenet." (Qucest. Natur. i,prcefatio 12.) 

( 359 ) 



WITH the exception of man, no being wonders at its own 
existence ; but it is to them all so much a matter of course 
that they do not observe it. The wisdom of nature speaks 
out of the peaceful glance of the brutes ; for in them, the 
will and the intellect are not yet so widely separated 
that they can be astonished at each other when they meet 
again. Thus here the whole phenomenon is still firmly 
attached to the stem of nature from which it has come, 
and is partaker of the unconscious omniscience of the 
great mother. Only after the inner being of nature (the 
will to live in its objectification) has ascended, vigorous 
and cheerful, through the two series of unconscious exist 
ences, and then through the long and broad series of ani 
mals, does it attain at last to reflection for the first time 
on the entrance of reason, thus in man. Then it marvels 
at its own works, and asks itself what it itself is. Its 
wonder however is the more serious, as it here stands for 
the first time consciously in the presence of death, and 
besides the finiteness of all existence, the vanity of all 
effort forces itself more or less upon it. With this reflec 
tion and this wonder there arises therefore for man alone, 
the need for a mdaphysic ; he is accordingly an animal 
metapJiysicum. At the beginning of his consciousness cer 
tainly he also accepts himself as a matter of course. This 
does not last long however, but very early, with the first 
dawn of reflection, that wonder already appears, which is 

1 This chapter is connected with 15 of the first volume. 


some day to become the mother of metaphysics. In agree 
ment with this Aristotle also says at the beginning of his 
metaphysics : " Ata <yap TO Oavfj,a^eiv olavOpwjroi, Kai vvv /cat 
TO TTpatTov r)pavTO <f}iXocro(f)eiv." (Propter admirationem 
enim et nunc et primo inceperunt homines philosophari.} 
Moreover, the special philosophical disposition consists 
primarily in this, that a man is capable of wonder beyond 
the ordinary and everyday degree, and is thus induced to 
make the universal of the phenomenon his problem, while 
the investigators in the natural sciences wonder only at 
exquisite or rare phenomena, and their problem is merely 
to refer these to phenomena which are better known. 
The lower a man stands in an intellectual regard the less 
of a problem is existence itself for him ; everything, how 
it is, and that it is, appears to him rather a matter of 
course. This rests upon the fact that his intellect still 
remains perfectly true to its original destiny of being ser 
viceable to the will as the medium of motives, and therefore 
is closely bound up with the world and nature, as an inte 
gral part of them. Consequently it is very far from com 
prehending the world in a purely objective manner, freeing 
itself, so to speak, from the whole of things, opposing 
itself to this whole, and so for a while becoming as if self- 
existent. On the other hand, the philosophical wonder 
which springs from this is conditioned in the individual 
by higher development of the intellect, yet in general not 
by this alone; but without doubt it is the knowledge 
of death, and along with this the consideration of the 
suffering and misery of life, which gives the strongest 
impulse to philosophical reflection and metaphysical 
explanation of the world. If our life were endless and 
painless, it would perhaps occur to no one to ask why the 
world exists, and is just the kind of world it is ; but 
everything would just be taken as a matter of course. In 
accordance with this we find that the interest which 
philosophical and also religious systems inspire has 
always its strongest hold in the dogma of some kind of 


existence after death ; and although the most recent 
systems seem to make the existence of their gods the 
main point, and to defend this most zealously, yet in 
reality this is only because they have connected their 
special dogma of immortality with this, and regard the one 
as inseparable from the other : only on this account is it 
of importance to them. For if one could establish their 
doctrine of immortality for them in some other way, their 
lively zeal for their gods would at once cool, and it would 
give place almost to complete indifference if, conversely, 
the absolute impossibility of immortality were proved to 
them ; for the interest in the existence of the gods would 
vanish with the hope of a closer acquaintance with 
them, to the residuum which might connect itself with 
their possible influence on the events of this present life. 
But if one could prove that continued existence after 
death is incompatible with the existence of gods, because, 
let us say, it pre-supposes originality of being, they would 
soon sacrifice the gods to their own immortality and be 
come zealous for Atheism. The fact that the materialistic 
systems, properly so-called, and also absolute scepticism, 
have never been able to obtain a general or lasting in 
fluence, depends upon the same grounds. 

Temples and churches, pagodas and mosques, in all 
lands and in all ages, in splendour and vastness, testify to 
the metaphysical need of man, which, strong and ineradic 
able, follows close upon his physical need. Certainly 
whoever is satirically inclined might add that this meta 
physical need is a modest fellow who is content with poor 
fare. It sometimes allows itself to be satisfied with 
clumsy fables and insipid tales. If only imprinted early 
enough, they are for a man adequate explanations of his 
existence and supports of his morality. Consider, for 
example, the Koran. This wretched book was sufficient 
to found a religion of the world, to satisfy the metaphysical 
need of innumerable millions of men for twelve hundred 
years, to become the foundation of their morality, and of 


no small contempt for death, and also to inspire them to 
bloody wars and most extended conquests. We find in it 
the saddest and the poorest form of Theism. Much may 
be lost through the translations ; but I have not been able 
to discover one single valuable thought in it. Such things 
show that metaphysical capacity does not go hand in hand 
with the metaphysical need. Yet it will appear that in 
the early ages of the present surface of the earth this was 
not the case, and that those who stood considerably nearer 
than we do to the beginning of the human race and the 
source of organic nature, had also both greater energy of 
the intuitive faculty of knowledge, and a truer disposition 
of mind, so that they were capable of a purer, more direct 
comprehension of the inner being of nature, and were 
thus in a position to satisfy the metaphysical need in a 
more worthy manner. Thus originated in the primitive 
ancestors of the Brahmans, the Eishis, the almost super 
human conceptions which were afterwards set down in the 
Upanishads of the Vedas. 

On the other hand, there have never been wanting 
persons who were interested in deriving their living from 
that metaphysical need, and in making the utmost they 
could out of it. Therefore among all nations there are 
monopolists and farmers-general of it the priests. Yet 
their trade had everywhere to be assured to them in this 
way, that they received the right to impart their meta 
physical dogmas to men at a very early age, before the 
judgment has awakened from its morning slumber, thus in 
early childhood; for then every well-impressed dogma, 
however senseless it may be, remains for ever. If they 
had to wait till the judgment is ripe, their privileges could 
not continue. 

A second, though not a numerous class of persons, who 
derive their support from the metaphysical need of man, 
is constituted by those who live by philosophy. By the 
Greeks they were called Sophists, by the moderns they 
are called Professors of Philosophy. Aristotle (Metaph., 


ii. 2) without hesitation numbers Aristippus among the 
Sophists. In Diogenes Laertius (ii. 65) we find that the 
reason of this is that he was the first of the Socratics 
who accepted payment for his philosophy ; on account of 
which Socrates also returned him his present. Among 
the moderns also those who live "by philosophy are not 
only, as a rule, and with the rarest exceptions, quite 
different from those who live for philosophy, but they 
are very often the opponents, the secret and irreconcilable 
enemies of the latter. For every true and important 
philosophical achievement will overshadow their own too 
much, and, moreover, cannot adapt itself to the views and 
limitations of their guild. Therefore it is always their 
endeavour to prevent such a work from making its way ; 
and for this purpose, according to the age and circum 
stances in each case, the customary means are suppressing, 
concealing, hushing up, ignoring and keeping secret, or 
denying, disparaging, censuring, slandering and distorting, 
or, finally, denouncing and persecuting. Hence many a 
great man has had to drag himself wearily through life 
unknown, unhonoured, unrewarded, till at last, after his 
death, the world became undeceived as to him and as to 
them. In the meanwhile they had attained their end, 
had been accepted by preventing him from being accepted, 
and, with wife and child, had lived "by philosophy, while 
he lived for it. But if he is dead, then the thing is 
reversed ; the new generation of the former class, which 
always exists, now becomes heir to his achievements, cuts 
them down to its own measure, and now lives "by him. 
That Kant could yet live both "by and for philosophy 
depended on the rare circumstance that, for the first time 
since Divus Antoninus and Divus Julianus, a philosopher 
sat on the throne. Only under such auspices could the 
" Critique of Pure Reason " have seen the light. Scarcely 
was the king dead than we see that Kant also, seized with 
fear, because he belonged to the guild, modified, expur 
gated, and spoiled his masterpiece in the second edition, 


and yet was soon in danger of losing bis place ; so that 
Campe invited him to come to him, in Brunswick, and 
live with him as the instructor of his family (Iling., 
Ansichten aus Kant s Leben, p. 68). University philosophy 
is, as a rule, mere juggling. Its real aim is to impart to 
the students, in the deepest ground of their thought, that 
tendency of mind which the ministry that appoints to the 
professorships regards as consistent with its views. The 
ministry may also be perfectly right in this from a states 
man s point of view; only the result of it is that such 
philosophy of the chair is a nervis alienis mobile lignum, 
and cannot be regarded as serious philosophy, but as the 
mere jest of it. Moreover, it is at any rate just that such 
inspection or guidance should extend only to the philo 
sophy of the chair, and not to the real philosophy that is 
in earnest. For if anything in the world is worth wishing 
for so well worth wishing for that even the ignorant and 
dull herd in its more reflective moments would prize it 
more than silver and gold it is that a ray of light should 
fall on the obscurity of our being, and that we should gain 
some explanation of our mysterious existence, in which 
nothing is clear but its misery and its vanity. But even 
if this is in itself attainable, it is made impossible by 
imposed and compulsory solutions. 

We shall now subject to a general consideration the 
different ways of satisfying this strong metaphysical need. 

By metaphysics I understand all knowledge that pre 
tends to transcend the possibility of experience, thus to 
transcend nature or the given phenomenal appearance of 
things, in order to give an explanation of that by which, 
in some sense or other, this experience or nature is con 
ditioned ; or, to speak in popular language, of that which 
is behind nature, and makes it possible. But the great 
original diversity in the power of understanding, besides 
the cultivation of it, which demands much leisure, makes 
so great a difference between men, that as soon as a people 
has emerged from the state of savages, no one metaphysic 


can serve for them all. Therefore among civilised nations 
we find throughout two different kinds of metaphysics, 
which are distinguished by the fact that the one has its 
evidence in itself, the other outside itself. Since the meta 
physical systems of the first kind require reflection, culture, 
and leisure for the recognition of their evidence, they can 
be accessible only to a very small number of men ; and, 
moreover, they can only arise and maintain their existence 
in the case of advanced civilisation. On the other hand, 
the systems of the second kind exclusively are for the great 
majority of men who are not capable of thinking, but only 
of believing, and who are not accessible to reasons, but only 
to authority. fThese systems may therefore be called 
metaphysics of the people, after the analogy of poetry of 
the people, and also wisdom of the people, by which is 
understood proverbs. These systems, however, are known 
under the name of religions, and are found among all na 
tions, not excepting even the most savage. Their evidence 
is, as has been said, external, and as such is called revela 
tion, which is authenticated by signs and miracles. Their 
arguments are principally threats of eternal, and indeed 
also temporal evils, directed against unbelievers, and even 
against mere doubters. As ultima ratio theologorum, we 
find among many nations the stake or things similar to it. 
If they seek a different authentication, or if they make use 
of other arguments, they already make the transition into 
the systems of the first kind, and may degenerate into a 
mixture of the two, which brings more danger than advan 
tage, for their invaluable prerogative of being imparted to 
children gives them the surest guarantee of the permanent 
possession of the mind, for thereby their dogmas grow into 
a kind of second inborn intellect, like the twig upon the 
grafted tree ; while, on the other hand, the systems of the 
first kind only appeal to grown-up people, and in them 
always find a system of the second kind already in pos 
session of their convictions. Both kinds of metaphysics, 
whose difference may be briefly expressed by the words 


reasoned conviction and faith, have this in common, that 
every one of their particular systems stands in a hostile re 
lation to all the others of its kind. Between those of the 
first kind war is waged only with word and pen ; between 
those of the second with fire and sword as well. Several 
of the latter owe their propagation in part to this last 
kind of polemic, and all have by degrees divided the earth 
between them, and indeed with such decided authority 
that the peoples of the earth are distinguished and sepa 
rated more according to them than according to nation 
ality or government. They alone reign, each in its own 
province. The systems of the first kind, on the contrary, 
are at the most tolerated, and even this only because, on 
account of the small number of their adherents, they are 
for the most part not considered worth the trouble of com 
bating with fire and sword although, where it seemed 
necessary, these also have been employed against them 
with effect ; besides, they occur only in a sporadic form. 
Yet in general they have only been endured in a tamed 
and subjugated condition, for the system of the second 
kind which prevailed in the country ordered them to con 
form their teaching more or less closely to its own. Some 
times it not only subjugated them, but even employed 
their services and used them as a support, which is how 
ever a dangerous experiment. For these systems of the 
first kind, since they are deprived of power, believe they 
may advance themselves by craft, and never entirely lay 
aside a secret ill-will which at times comes unexpectedly 
into prominence and inflicts injuries which are hard to heal. 
For they are further made the more dangerous by the fact 
that all the real sciences, not even excepting the most 
innocent, are their secret allies against the systems of the 
second kind, and without themselves being openly at war 
with the latter, suddenly and unexpectedly do great mis 
chief in their province. Besides, the attempt which is 
aimed at by the enlistment referred to of the services of 
the systems of the first kind by the second the attempt 


to add an inner authentication to a system whose original 
authentication was external, is in its nature perilous ; for, 
if it were capable of such an authentication, it would never 
have required an external one. And in general it is 
always a hazardous thing to attempt to place a new foun 
dation under a finished structure. Moreover, how should 
a religion require the suffrage of a philosophy ? It has 
everything upon its side revelation, tradition, miracles, 
prophecies, the protection of the government, the highest 
rank, as is due to the truth, the consent and reverence of 
all, a thousand temples in which it is proclaimed and 
practised, bands of sworn priests, and, what is more than 
all, the invaluable privilege of being allowed to imprint 
its doctrines on the mind at the tender age of childhood, 
whereby they became almost like innate ideas. With 
such wealth of means at its disposal, still to desire the 
assent of poor philosophers it must be more covetous, or 
to care about their contradiction it must be more fearful, 
than seems to be compatible with a good conscience. 

To the distinction established above between metaphy 
sics of the first and of the second kind, we have yet to add 
the following : A system of the first kind, thus a philo 
sophy, makes the claim, and has therefore the obligation, 
in everything that it says, sensu strict o et proprio, to be 
true, for it appeals to thought and conviction. A religion, 
on the other hand, being intended for the innumerable 
multitude who, since they are incapable of examination 
and thought, would never comprehend the profoundest 
and most difficult truths sensu proprio, has only the obli 
gation to be true sensu alleyorico. Truth cannot appear 
naked before the people. A symptom of this allegorical 
nature of religions is the mysteries which are to be found 
perhaps in them all, certain dogmas which cannot even be 
distinctly thought, not to speak of being literally true. 
Indeed, perhaps it might be asserted that some absolute 
contradictions, some actual absurdities, are an essential 
ingredient in a complete religion, for these are just the 


stamp of its allegorical nature, and the only adequate 
means of making the ordinary mind and the uncultured 
understanding feel what would be incomprehensible to it, 
that religion has ultimately to do with quite a different 
order of things, with an order of things in themselves, in 
the presence of which the laws of this phenomenal world, 
in conformity with which it must speak, vanish ; and that 
therefore not only the contradictory but also the compre 
hensible dogmas are really only allegories and accommo 
dations to the human power of comprehension. It seems 
to me that it was in this spirit that Augustine and even 
Luther adhered to the mysteries of Christianity in opposi- 
sition to Pelagianism, which sought to reduce everything 
to the dull level of comprehensibility. From this point of 
view it is also conceivable how Tertullian could say in all 
seriousness : "Prorsus credibile est, quia ineptum est : . . . cer- 
tum est, quia impossible " (De Carne Christi, c. 5). This alle 
gorical nature of religions makes them independent of the 
proofs which are incumbent on philosophy, and in general 
withdraws them from investigation. Instead of this 
they require faith, that is, a voluntary admission that 
such is the state of the case. Since, then, faith guides 
action, and the allegory is always so framed that, as 
regards the practical, it leads precisely to that which 
the truth sensu proprio would also lead to, religion is 
justified in promising to those who believe eternal salva 
tion. Thus we see that in the main, and for the great ma 
jority, who cannot apply themselves to thought, religions 
very well supply the place of metaphysics in general, the 
need of which man feels to be imperative. They do this 
partly in a practical interest, as the guiding star of their 
action, the unfurled standard of integrity and virtue, as 
Kant admirably expresses it ; partly as the indispensable 
comfort in the heavy sorrows of life, in which capacity 
they fully supply the place of an objectively true meta- 
physic, because they lift man above himself and his exist 
ence in time, as well perhaps as such a metaphysic ever 


could. In this their great value and indeed necessity 
shows itself very clearly. For Plato says, and says rightly, 
" <f>i\6ao(f)ov 7r\r)6o<? aSvvarov elvai " (vulgus philosophum 
esse impossible est. De Rep., vi. p. 89, Bip.} On the other 
hand, the only stumbling-stone is this, that religions never 
dare to confess their allegorical nature, but have to assert 
that they are true sensu proprio. They thereby encroach 
on the province of metaphysics proper, and call forth the 
antagonism of the latter, which has therefore expressed 
itself at all times when it was not chained up. The con 
troversy which is so perseveringly carried on in our own 
day between supernaturalists and rationalists also rests on 
the failure to recognise the allegorical nature of all religion. 

o o o 

Both wish to have Christianity true sensu proprio ; in this 
sense the former wish to maintain it without deduction, 
as it were with skin and hair ; and thus they have a hard 
stand to make against the knowledge and general culture 
of the age. The latter wish to explain away all that 
is properly Christian ; whereupon they retain something 
which is neither sensu proprio nor sensu allegorico true, 
but rather a mere platitude, little better than Judaism, 
or at the most a shallow Pelagianism, and, what is worst, 
an abject optimism, absolutely foreign to Christianity 
proper. Moreover, the attempt to found a religion upon 
reason removes it into the other class of metaphysics, 
that which has its authentication in itself, thus to the 
foreign ground of the philosophical systems, and into the 
conflict which these wage against each other in their own 
arena, and consequently exposes it to the light fire of 
scepticism and the heavy artillery of the " Critique of 
Pure Eeason ; " but for it to venture there would be clear 

It would be most beneficial to both kinds of meta 
physics that each of them should remain clearly separated 
from the other and confine itself to its own province, that 
it may there be able to develop its nature fully. Instead 
of which, through the whole Christian era, the endeavour 

VOL. n. 2 A 


has been to bring about a fusion of the two, for the dogmas 
and conceptions of the one have been carried over into the 
other, whereby both are spoiled. This has taken place in 
the most open manner in our own day in that strange her 
maphrodite or centaur, the so-called philosophy of religion, 
which, as a kind of gnosis, endeavours to interpret the 
given religion, and to explain what is true sensu allegorico 
through something which is true sensu proprio. But for 
this we would have to know and possess the truth sensu 
proprio already ; and in that case such an interpretation 
would be superfluous. For to seek first to find meta 
physics, i.e., the truth sensu proprio, merely out of religion 
by explanation and interpretation would be a doubtful 
and dangerous undertaking, to which one would only 
make up one s mind if it were proved that truth, like 
iron and other base metals, could only be found in a 
mixed, not in a pure form, and therefore one could only 
obtain it by reduction from the mixed ore. 

Eeligions are necessary for the people, and an inestim 
able benefit to them. But if they oppose themselves to 
the progress of mankind in the knowledge of the truth, 
they must with the utmost possible forbearance be set 
aside. And to require that a great mind a Shakspeare ; 
a Goethe should make the dogmas of any religion im 
plicitly, bond fide et sensu proprio, his conviction is to 
require that a giant should put on the shoe of a dwarf. 

Eeligions, being calculated with reference to the power 
of comprehension of the great mass of men, can only have 
indirect, not immediate truth. To require of them the 
latter is as if one wished to read the letters set up in the 
form-chase, instead of their impression. The value of a 
religion will accordingly depend upon the greater or less 
content of truth which it contains under the veil of alle 
gory, and then upon the greater or less distinctness with 
which it becomes visible through this veil, thus upon the 
transparency of the latter. It almost seems that, as the 
oldest languages are the most perfect, so also are the oldest 


religions. If I were to take the results of my philosophy 
as the standard of truth, I would be obliged to concede to 
Buddhism the pre-eminence over the rest. In any case 
it must be a satisfaction to me to see my teaching in such 
close agreement with a religion which the majority of 
men upon the earth hold as their own; for it numbers 
far more adherents than any other. This agreement, 
p however, must be the more satisfactory to me because 
in my philosophising I have certainly not been under 
its influence. For up till 1818, when my work appeared, 
there were very few, exceedingly incomplete and scanty, 
accounts of Buddhism to be found in Europe, which were 
almost entirely limited to a few essays in the earlier 
volumes of "Asiatic Eesearches," and were principally 
concerned with the Buddhism of the Burmese. Only 
since then has fuller information about this religion 
gradually reached us, chiefly through the profound and 
instructive essays of the meritorious member of the St. 
Petersburg Academy, J. J. Schmidt, in the proceedings 
of his Academy, and then little by little through several 
English and French scholars, so that I was able to give 
a fairly numerous list of the best works on this religion 
in my work, " Ueber den Willen in der Natur" under the 
heading Sinologie. Unfortunately Csoma Korosi, that per 
severing Hungarian, who, in order to study the language 
and sacred writings of Buddhism, spent many years in 
Tibet, and for the most part in Buddhist monasteries, 
was carried off by death just as he was beginning to work 
out for us the results of his researches. I cannot, how 
ever, deny the pleasure with which I read, in his pro 
visional accounts, several passages cited directly from the 
Kahgyur itself; for example, the following conversation 
of the dying Buddha with Brahma, who is doing him 
homage : " There is a description of their conversation on 
the subject of creation, by whom was the world made ? 
Shakya asks several questions of Brahma, whether was 
it he who made or produced such and such things, and 


endowed or blessed them with such and such virtues or 
properties, whether was it he who caused the several 
revolutions in the destruction and regeneration of the 
world. He denies that he had ever done anything to 
that effect. At last he himself asks Shaky a how the 
world was made, by whom ? Here are attributed all 
changes in the world to the moral works of the animal 
beings, and it is stated that in the world all is illusion, 
there is no reality in the things ; all is empty. Brahma, 
being instructed in his doctrine, becomes his follower" 
(Asiatic Researches, vol. xx. p. 434). 

I cannot place, as is always done, the fundamental 
difference of all religions in the question whether they 
are monotheistic, polytheistic, pantheistic, or atheistic, 
but only in the question whether they are optimistic or 
pessimistic, that is, whether they present the existence of 
the world as justified by itself, and therefore praise and 
value it, or regard it as something that can only be con 
ceived as the consequence of our guilt, and therefore 
properly ought not to be, because they recognise that 
pain and death cannot lie in the eternal, original, and 
immutable order of things, in that which in every respect 
ought to be. The power by virtue of which Christianity 
was able to overcome first Judaism, and then the heathen 
ism of Greece and Rome, lies solely in its pessimism, in 
the confession that our state is both exceedingly wretched 
and sinful, \vhile Judaism and heathenism were opti 
mistic. That truth, profoundly and painfully felt by all, 
penetrated, and bore in its train the need of redemption. 

I turn to a general consideration of the other kind of 
metaphysics, that which has its authentication in itself, 
and is called philosophy. I remind the reader of its origin, 
mentioned above, in a wonder concerning the world and 
our own existence, inasmuch as these press upon the intel 
lect as a riddle, the solution of which therefore occupies 
mankind without intermission. Here, then, I wish first 
of all to draw attention to the fact that this could not be 


the case if, in Spinoza s sense, which in our own day has 
so often been brought forward again under modern forms 
and expositions as pantheism, the world were an " absolute 
substance," and therefore an absolutely necessary existence. 
For this means that it exists with so great a necessity 
that beside it every other necessity comprehensible to our 
understanding as such must appear as an accident. It 
would then be something which comprehended in itself 
not only all actual but also all possible existence, so that, 
as Spinoza indeed declares, its possibility and its actuality 
would be absolutely one. Its non-being would therefore 
be impossibility itself; thus it would be something the 
non-being or other-being of which must be completely 
inconceivable, and which could therefore just as little be 
thought away as, for example, space or time. And since, 
further, loe ourselves would be parts, modes, attributes, or 
accidents of such an absolute substance, which would be 
the only thing that, in any sense, could ever or anywhere 
exist, our and its existence, together with its properties, 
would necessarily be very far from presenting itself to us 
as remarkable, problematical, and indeed as an unfathom 
able and ever-disquieting riddle, but, on the contrary, 
would be far more self-evident than that two and two 
make four. For we would necessarily be incapable of 
thinking anything else than that the world is, and is, 
as it is ; and therefore we would necessarily be as little 
conscious of its existence as such, i.e., as a problem for 
reflection, as we are of the incredibly fast motion of our 

All this, however, is absolutely not the case. Only to 
the brutes, who are without thought, does the world and 
existence appear as a matter of course; to man, on the 
contrary, it is a problem, of which even the most unedu 
cated and narrow-minded becomes vividly conscious in 
certain brighter moments, but which enters more distinctly 
and more permanently into the consciousness of each one 
of us the clearer and more enlightened that conscious- 


ness is, and the more material for thought it has acquired 
through culture, which all ultimately rises, in minds that 
are naturally adapted for philosophising, to Plato s " dav^a- 
%ew, yu-aXa <f)i\o<ro<f)iKov TraOos " (mirari, valde philosophicus 
affectus), that is, to that wonder which comprehends in its 
whole magnitude that problem which unceasingly occupies 
the nobler portion of mankind in every age and in every 
land, and gives it no rest. In fact, the pendulum which 
keeps in motion the clock of metaphysics, that never runs 
down, is the consciousness that the non-existence of this 
world is just as possible as its existence. Thus, then, the 
Spinozistic view of it as an absolutely necessary existence, 
that is, as something that absolutely and in every sense 
ought to and must be, is a false one. Even simple Theism, 
since in its cosmological proof it tacitly starts by inferring 
the previous non-existence of the world from its existence, 
thereby assumes beforehand that the world is something 
contingent. Nay, what is more, we very soon apprehend 
the world as something the non-existence of which is not 
only conceivable, but indeed preferable to its existence. 
Therefore our wonder at it easily passes into a brooding 
over the fatcdity which could yet call forth its existence, 
arid by virtue of which such stupendous power as is de 
manded for the production and maintenance of such a 
world could be directed so much against its own interest. 
The philosophical astonishment is therefore at bottom per 
plexed and melancholy ; philosophy, like the overture to 
" Don Juan," commences with a minor chord. It follows 
from this that it can neither be Spinozism nor optimism. 
The more special nature, which has just been indicated, 
of the astonishment which leads us to philosophise clearly 
springs from the sight of the suffering and the wickedness 
in the world, which, even if they were in the most just 
proportion to each other, and also were far outweighed 
by good, are yet something which absolutely and in gene 
ral ought not to be. But since now nothing can come 
out of nothing, these also must have their germ in the 


origin or in the kernel of the world itself. It is hard for 
us to assume this if we look at the magnitude, the order 
and completeness, of the physical world, for it seems to us 
that what had the power to produce such a world must 
have been able to avoid the suffering and the wickedness. 
That assumption (the truest expression of which is Or- 
muzd and Ahrimines), it is easy to conceive, is hardest of 
all for Theism. Therefore the freedom of the will was 
primarily invented to account for wickedness. But this 
is only a concealed way of making something out of 
nothing, for it assumes an Operari that proceeded from 
no Esse (see Die beiden Grrundprobleme der Ethik, p. 58, 
et seq. ; second edition, p. 57 et seq.) Then it was sought to 
get rid of evil by attributing it to matter, or to unavoid 
able necessity, whereby the devil, who is really the right 
Expedicns ad hoc, was unwillingly set aside. To evil also 
belongs death; but wickedness is only the throwing of the 
existing evil from oneself on to another. Thus, as was said 
above, it is wickedness, evil, and death that qualify and 
intensify the philosophical astonishment. Not merely 
that the world exists, but still more that it is such a 
wretched world, is the punctum pruriens of metaphysics, 
the problem which awakens in mankind an unrest that 
cannot be quieted by scepticism nor yet by criticism. 

We find physics also (in the widest sense of the word) 
occupied with the explanation of the phenomena in the 
world. But it lies in the very nature of its explanations 
themselves that they cannot be sufficient. Physics cannot 
stand on its own feet, but requires a metaphysic to lean 
upon, whatever airs it may give itself towards the latter. 
For it explains the phenomena by something still more 
unknown than they are themselves ; by laws of nature, 
resting upon forces of nature, to which the power of life 
also belongs. Certainly the whole present condition of 
all things in the world, or in nature, must necessarily be 
explicable from purely physical causes. But such an ex 
planation supposing one actually succeeded so far as to 


be able to give it must always just as necessarily be 
tainted with two imperfections (as it were with two sores, 
or like Achilles with the vulnerable heel, or the devil 
with the horse s hoof), on account of which everything so 
explained really remains still unexplained. First with 
this imperfection, that the beginning of every explanatory 
chain of causes and effects, i.e., of connected changes, can 
absolutely never be reached, but, just like the limits of the 
world in space and time, unceasingly recedes in infinite. 
Secondly with this, that the whole of the efficient causes 
out of which everything is explained constantly rest upon 
something which is completely inexplicable, the original 
qualities of things and the natural forces which play a 
prominent part among them, by virtue of which they pro 
duce a specific kind of effect, e.g., weight, hardness, impul 
sive force, elasticity, warmth, electricity, chemical forces 
&c., and which now remain in every explanation which is 
given, like an unknown quantity, which absolutely cannot 
be eliminated, in an otherwise perfectly solved algebraical 
equation. Accordingly there is no fragment of clay, how 
ever little worth, that is not entirely composed of inex 
plicable qualities. Thus these .two inevitable defects in 
every purely physical, i.e., causal, explanation show that 
such an explanation can only be relative, and that its 
whole method and nature cannot be the only one, the 
ultimate and thus the sufficient one, i.e., cannot be the 
method of explanation that can ever lead to the satis 
factory solution of the difficult riddle of things, and to the 
true understanding of the world and existence ; but that 
the physical explanation in general and as such requires 
further a metaphysical explanation, which affords us the 
key to all its assumptions, but just on this account must 
necessarily follow quite a different path. The first step 
to this is that one should bring to distinct consciousness 
and firmly retain the difference of the two, hence the 
difference between physics and metaphysics. It rests in 
general on the Kantian distinction between phenomenon 


and thing in itself. Just because Kant held the latter to 
be absolutely unknowable, there was, according to him, 
no metaphysics, but merely immanent knowledge, i.e., phy 
sics, which throughout can speak only of phenomena, and 
also a critique of the reason which strives after metaphy 
sics. Here, however, in order to show the true point of 
connection between my philosophy and that of Kant, I 
shall anticipate the second book, and give prominence to 
the fact that Kant, in his beautiful exposition of the com 
patibility of freedom and necessity (Critique of Pure 
Eeason, first edition, p. 532-554; and Critique of Prac 
tical Pieason, p. 224-231 of Rosenkranz s edition), shows 
how one and the same action may in one aspect be per 
fectly explicable as necessarily arising from the character 
of the man, the influence to which he has been subject in 
the course of his life, and the motives which are now pre 
sent to him, but yet in another aspect must be regarded 
as the work of his free will ; and in the same sense he 
says, 53 of the " Prolegomena :" " Certainly natural neces 
sity will belong to every connection of cause and effect in 
the world of sense ; yet, on the other hand, freedom will be 
conceded to that cause which is not itself a phenomenon 
(though indeed it is the ground of phenomena), thus 
nature and freedom may without contradiction be attri 
buted to the same thing, but in a different reference in 
the one case as a phenomenon, in the other case as a thing 
in itself." 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. This proceeding is justified first of all 
by the fact that it must not be assumed that man is 
specifically toto genere radically different from the other 
beings and things in nature, but rather that he is different 
only in degree. I turn back from this premature digres 
sion to our consideration of the inadequacy of physics to 
afford us the ultimate explanation of things. I say, then, 
everything certainly is physical, but yet nothing is explic- 


able physically. As for the motion of the projected bullet, so 
also for the thinking of the brain, a physical explanation 
must ultimately be in itself possible, which would make the 
latter just as comprehensible as is the former. But even 
the former, which we imagine we understand so perfectly, 
is at bottom as obscure to us as the latter ; for what the 
inner nature of expansion in space may be of impenetra 
bility, mobility, hardness, elasticity, and gravity remains, 
after all physical explanations, a mystery, just as much as 
thought. But because in the case of thought the inexplic 
able appears most immediately, a spring was at once made 
here from physics to metaphysics, and a substance of quite 
a different kind from all corporeal substances was hypos- 
tatised a soul was set up in the brain. But if one had 
not been so dull as only to be capable of being struck by 
the most remarkable of phenomena, one would have had 
to explain digestion by a soul in the stomach, vegetation 
by a soul in the plant, affinity by a soul in the reagents, 
nay, the falling of a stone by a soul in the stone. For the 
quality of every unorganised body is just as mysterious as 
the life in the living body. In the same way, therefore, 
the physical explanation strikes everywhere upon what is 
metaphysical, by which it is annihilated, i.e., it ceases to 
be explanation. Strictly speaking, it may be asserted that 
no natural science really achieves anything more than 
what is also achieved by Botany : the bringing together of 
similars, classification. A physical system which asserted 
that its explanations of things in the particular from 
causes, and in general from forces were really sufficient, 
and thus exhausted the nature of the world, would be 
the true Naturalism. From Leucippus, Dernocritus, and 
Epicurus down to the Systeme de la Nature, and further, 
to Delamark, Cabanis, and to the materialism that has 
again been warmed up in the last few years, we can trace 
the persistent attempt to set up a system of physics without 
metaphysics, that is, a system which would make the 
phenomenon the thing in itself. But all their explana- 


tions seek to conceal from the explainers themselves and 
from others that they simply assume the principal matter 
without more ado. They endeavour to show that all 
phenomena, even those of mind, are physical. And they 
are right ; only they do not see that all that is physical is 
in another aspect also metaphysical. But, without Kant, 
this is indeed difficult to see, for it presupposes the dis 
tinction of the phenomenon from the thing in itself. Yet 
without this Aristotle, much as he was inclined to empiri 
cism, and far as he was removed from the Platonic hyper- 
physics, kept himself free from this limited point of view. 
He says : " Ei /ACV ovv pi) can T*<? erepa ovaia Trapa ret? 
(f>vai avveo-Trj/cvias, rj (frvcriKi} av eirj TrpUtTTj eTTiarrj/j-Tf] et Be 
eari T*$ ovcria afctvrjTos, avrr) TT pore pa Kai <f>i\ocro(f>ia Trpayrfj, 
Kai Kado\ov euro)?, <m irpatTr) KCLI irept, TOV ovros 77 ov, 
TCIVTIJS av en) OeatpTja-ai." (Si igitur non est aliqua alia sub- 
stantia, prceter eas, quce natura consistunt, physica profecto 
prima scientia esset : quodsi autem est aliqua substantia 
immobilis, hcec prim* et philosopliia prima, et universalis sic, 
quod prima ; et de ente, prout ens est, speculari hujus est), 
"Metaph.,"v. I. Such an absolute system of physics as is 
described above, which leaves room for no metaphysics, 
would make the Natura naturata into the Natura natu- 
rans ; it would be physics established on the throne of 
metaphysics, yet it would comport itself in this high 
position almost like Holberg s theatrical would-be poli 
tician who was made burgomaster. Indeed behind the 
reproach of atheism, in itself absurd, and for the most 
part malicious, there lies, as its inner meaning and truth, 
which gives it strength, the obscure conception of such an 
absolute system of physics without metaphysics. Certainly 
such a system would necessarily be destructive of ethics ; 
and while Theism has falsely been held to be inseparable 
from morality, this is really true only of metaphysics in 
general, i.e., of the knowledge that the order of nature is 
not the only and absolute order of things. Therefore we 
may set up this as the necessary Credo of all just and 


good men : " I believe in metaphysics." In this respect it 
is important and necessary that one should convince one 
self of the untenable nature of an absolute system of physics, 
all the more as this, the true naturalism, is a point of view 
which of its own accord and ever anew presses itself upon 
a man, and can only be done away with through profound 
speculation. In this respect, however, all kinds of systems 
and faiths, so far and so long as they are accepted, certainly 
serve as a substitute for such speculation. But that a 
fundamentally false view presses itself upon man of its 
own accord, and must first be skilfully removed, is explic 
able from the fact that the intellect is not originally 
intended to instruct us concerning the nature of things, 
but only to show us their relations, with reference to our 
will ; it is, as we shall find in the second book, only the 
medium of motives. Now, that the world schematises 
itself in the intellect in a manner which exhibits quite a 
different order of things from the absolutely true one, 
because it shows us, not their kernel, but only their outer 
shell, happens accidentally, and cannot be used as a 
reproach to the intellect; all the less as it nevertheless 
finds in itself the means of rectifying this error, in that it 
arrives at the distinction between the phenomenal appear 
ance and the inner being of things, which distinction 
existed in substance at all times, only for the most part 
was very imperfectly brought to consciousness, and there 
fore was inadequately expressed, indeed often appeared in 
strange clothing. The Christian mystics, when they call 
it the light of nature, declare the intellect to be inadequate 
to the comprehension of the true nature of things. It is, 
as it were, a mere surface force, like electricity, and does 
not penetrate to the inner being. 

The insufficiency of pure naturalism appears, as we have 
said, first of all, on the empirical path itself, through the 
circumstance that every physical explanation explains the 
particular from its cause ; but the chain of these causes, as 
we know a priori, and therefore with perfect certainty, 


runs back to infinity, so that absolutely no cause could 

ever be the first. Then, however, the effect of every cause 

is referred to a law of nature, and this finally to a force of 

nature, which now remains as the absolutely inexplicable. 

But this inexplicable, to which all phenomena of this so 

clearly given and naturally explicable world, from the 

highest to the lowest, are referred, just shows that the 

whole nature of such explanation is only conditional, as 

it were only ex concessis, and by no means the true and 

sufficient one ; therefore I said above that physically 

everything and nothing is explicable. That absolutely 

inexplicable element which pervades all phenomena, which 

is most striking in the highest, e.g., in generation, but yet 

is just as truly present in the lowest, e.g., in mechanical 

phenomena, points to an entirely different kind of order 

of things lying at the foundation of the physical order, 

which is just what Kant calls the order of things in 

themselves, and which is the goal of metaphysics. But, 

secondly, the insufficiency of pure naturalism comes out 

clearly from that fundamental philosophical truth, which 

we have fully considered in the first half of this book, and 

which is also the theme of the " Critique of Pure Eeason ;" 

the truth that every object, both as regards its objective 

existence in general and as regards the manner (forms) of 

this existence, is throughout conditioned by the knowing 

subject, hence is merely a phenomenon, not a thing in 

itself. This is explained in 7 of the first volume, and it 

is there shown that nothing can be more clumsy than that, 

after the manner of all materialists, one should blindly take 

the objective as simply given in order to derive everything 

from it without paying any regard to the subjective, through 

which, however, nay, in which alone the former exists. 

Samples of this procedure are most readily afforded us 

by the fashionable materialism of our own day, which 

has thereby become a philosophy well suited for barbers 

and apothecaries apprentices. For it, in its innocence, 

matter, assumed without reflection as absolutely real, is 


the thing in self, and the one capacity of a thing in itself 
is impulsive force, for all other qualities can only be mani 
festations of this. 

With naturalism, then, or the purely physical way of 
looking at things, we shall never attain our end ; it is like 
a sum that never comes out. Causal series without begin 
ning or end, fundamental forces which are inscrutable, 
endless space, beginningless time, infinite divisibility of 
matter, and all this further conditioned by a knowing 
brain, in which alone it exists just like a dream, and 
without which it vanishes constitute the labyrinth in 
which naturalism leads us ceaselessly round. The height 
to which in our time the natural sciences have risen in 
this respect entirely throws into the shade all previous 
centuries, and is a summit which mankind reaches for the 
first time. But however great are the advances which 
physics (understood in the wide sense of the ancients) 
may make, not the smallest step towards metaphysics is 
thereby taken, just as a plane can never obtain cubical 
content by being indefinitely extended. For all such 
advances will only perfect our knowledge of the pheno 
menon; while metaphysics strives to pass beyond the 
phenomenal appearance itself, to that which so appears. 
And if indeed it had the assistance of an entire and com 
plete experience, it would, as regards the main point, be 
in no way advantaged by it. Nay, even if one wandered 
through all the planets and fixed stars, one would thereby 
have made no step in metaphysics. It is rather the case 
that the greatest advances of physics will make the need 
of metaphysics ever more felt ; for it is just the corrected, 
extended, and more thorough knowledge of nature which, 
on the one hand, always undermines and ultimately over 
throws the metaphysical assumptions which till then have 
prevailed, but, on the other hand, presents the problem 
of metaphysics itself more distinctly, more correctly, and 
more fully, and separates it more clearly from all that 
is merely physical; moreover, the more perfectly and 


accurately known nature of the particular thing more 
pressingly demands the explanation of the whole and the 
general, which, the more correctly, thoroughly, and com 
pletely it is known empirically, only presents itself as the 
more mysterious. Certainly the individual, simple inves 
tigator of nature, in a special branch of physics, does not at 
once become clearly conscious of all this ; he rather sleeps 
contentedly by the side of his chosen maid, in the house 
of Odysseus, banishing all thoughts of Penelope (cf. ch. 12 
at the end). Hence we see at the present day the husk 
of nature investigated in its minutest details, the intes 
tines of intestinal worms and the vermin of vermin known 
to a nicety. But if some one comes, as, for example, I 
do, and speaks of the kernel of nature, they will not listen ; 
they even think it has nothing to do with the matter, and 
go on sifting their husks. One finds oneself tempted to 
call that over-microscopical and micrological investigator 
of nature the cotquean of nature. But those persons who 
believe that crucibles and retorts are the true and only 
source of all wisdom are in their own way just as per 
verse as were formerly their antipodes the Scholastics. 
As the latter, absolutely confined to their abstract con 
ceptions, used these as their weapons, neither knowing 
nor investigating anything outside them, so the former, 
absolutely confined to their empiricism, allow nothing to 
be true except what their eyes behold, and believe they 
can thus arrive at the ultimate ground of things, not 
discerning that between the phenomenon and that which 
manifests itself in it, the thing in itself, there is a deep 
gulf, a radical difference, which can only be cleared up by 
the knowledge and accurate delimitation of the subjective 
element of the phenomenon, and the insight that the 
ultimate and most important conclusions concerning the 
nature of things can only be drawn from self-conscious 
ness ; yet without all this one cannot advance a step 
beyond what is directly given to the senses, thus can get 
no further than to the problem. Yet, on the other hand, 


it is to be observed that the most perfect possible know 
ledge of nature is the corrected statement of the problem of 
metaphysics. Therefore no one ought to venture upon 
this without having first acquired a knowledge of all the 
branches of natural science, which, though general, shall 
be thorough, clear, and connected. For the problem must 
precede its solution. Then, however, the investigator 
must turn his glance inward ; for the intellectual and 
ethical phenomena are more important than the physical, 
in the same proportion as, for example, animal magnetism 
is a far more important phenomenon than mineral mag 
netism. The last fundamental secret man carries within 
himself, and this is accessible to him in the most imme 
diate manner ; therefore it is only here that he can hope 
to find the key to the riddle of the world and gain a clue 
to the nature of all things. The special province of meta 
physics thus certainly lies in what has been called mental 

" The ranks of living creatures thou dost lead 
Before me, teaching me to know my brothers 
In air and water and the silent wood : 

Then to the cave secure thou leadest me, 

Then show st me mine own self, and in my breast 

The deep, mysterious miracles unfold." 1 

Finally, then, as regards the source or the foundation of 
metaphysical knowledge, I have already declared myself 
above to be opposed to the assumption, which is even re 
peated by Kant, that it must lie in mere conceptions. In 
no knowledge can conceptions be what is first ; for they 
are always derived from some perception. What has 
led, however, to that assumption is probably the example 
of mathematics. Mathematics can leave perception alto 
gether, and, as is especially the case in algebra, trigono 
metry, and analysis, can operate with purely abstract 
conceptions, nay, with conceptions which are represented 

: [Bayard Taylor s translation of Faust, vol. i. 180. Trs.] 


only by signs instead of words, and can yet arrive at a 
perfectly certain result, which is still so remote that any 
one who adhered to the firm ground of perception could 
not arrive at it. But the possibility of this depends, as 
Kant has clearly shown, on the fact that the conceptions 
of mathematics are derived from the most certain and 
definite of all perceptions, from the a priori and yet in 
tuitively known relations of quantity, and can therefore 
be constantly realised again and controlled by these, either 
arithmetically, by performing the calculations which are 
merely indicated by those signs, or geometrically, by means 
of what Kant calls the construction of the conceptions. 
This advantage, on the other hand, is not possessed by the 
conceptions out of which it was believed metaphysics could 
be built up ; such, for example, as essence, being, substance, 
perfection, necessity, reality, finite, infinite, absolute, ground, 
&c. For such conceptions are by no means original, as 
fallen from heaven, or innate ; but they also, like all con 
ceptions, are derived from perceptions ; and as, unlike the 
conceptions of mathematics, they do not contain the mere 
form of perception, but more, empirical perceptions must 
lie at their foundation. Thus nothing can be drawn from 
them which the empirical perceptions did not also contain, 
that is, nothing which was not a matter of experience, and 
which, since these conceptions are very wide abstractions, 
we would receive with much greater certainty at first 
hand from experience. For from conceptions nothing 
more can ever be drawn than the perceptions from which 
they are derived contain. If we desire pure conceptions, 
i.e., such as have no empirical source, the only ones that 
can be produced are those which concern space and time, 
i.e., the merely formal part of perception, consequently 
only the mathematical conceptions, or at most also the 
conception of causality, which indeed does not originate 
in experience, but yet only comes into consciousness by 
means of it (first in sense-perception) ; therefore experience 
indeed is only possible by means of it ; but it also is only 

VOL. II. 2 B 


valid in the sphere of experience, on which account Kant 
has shown that it only serves to communicate the connec 
tion of experience, and not to transcend it ; that thus it 
admits only of physical application, not of metaphysical. 
Certainly only its a priori origin can give apodictic certainty 
to any knowledge ; but this limits it to the mere form of 
experience in general, for it shows that it is conditioned 
by the subjective nature of the intellect. Such knowledge, 
then, far from taking us beyond experience, gives only one 
part of experience itself, the formal part, which belongs 
to it throughout, and therefore is universal, consequently 
mere form without content. Since now metaphysics can 
least of all be confined to this, it must have also empirical 
sources of knowledge ; therefore that preconceived idea of 
a metaphysic to be found purely a priori is necessarily vain. 
It is really a petitio principii of Kant s, which he expresses 
most distinctly in i of the Prolegomena, that metaphysics 
must not draw its fundamental conceptions and principles 
from experience. In this it is assumed beforehand that 
only what we knew before all experience can extend 
beyond all possible experience. Supported by this, Kant 
then comes and shows that all such knowledge is nothing 
more than the form of the intellect for the purpose of 
experience, and consequently can never lead beyond ex 
perience, from which he then rightly deduces the impossi 
bility of all metaphysics. But does it not rather seem 
utterly perverse that in order to discover the secret of 
experience, i.e., of the world which alone lies before us, we 
should look quite away from it, ignore its content, and 
take and use for its material only the empty forms of 
which we are conscious a priori ? Is it not rather in 
keeping with the matter that the science of experience in 
general, and as such, should also be drawn from experience ? 
Its problem itself is given it empirically; why should 
not the solution of it call in the assistance of experience ? 
Is it not senseless that he who speaks of the nature of 
things should not look at things themselves, but should 


confine himself to certain abstract conceptions ? The task 
of metaphysics is certainly not the observation of particular 
experiences, but yet it is the correct explanation of experi 
ence as a whole. Its foundation must therefore, at any 
rate, be of an empirical nature. Indeed the a priori 
nature of a part of human knowledge will be apprehended 
by it as a given fact, from which it will infer the sub 
jective origin of the same. Only because the conscious 
ness of its a priori nature accompanies it is it called by 
Kant transcendental as distinguished from transcendent, 
which signifies " passing beyond all possibility of experi 
ence," and has its opposite in immanent, i.e., remaining 
within the limits of experience. I gladly recall the 
original meaning of this expression introduced by Kant, 
with which, as also with that of the Categories, and many 
others, the apes of philosophy carry on their game at the 
present day. Now, besides this, the source of the know 
ledge of metaphysics is not outer experience alone, but 
also inner. Indeed, what is most peculiar to it, that by 
which the decisive step which alone can solve the great 
question becomes possible for it, consists, as I have fully 
and thoroughly proved in " Ueber den Willen in der Natur" 
under the heading, " Physische Astronomie" in this, that 
at the right place it combines outer experience with inner, 
and uses the latter as a key to the former. 

The origin of metaphysics in empirical sources of 
knowledge, which is here set forth, and which cannot 
fairly be denied, deprives it certainly of that kind of 
apodictic certainty which is only possible through know 
ledge a priori. This remains the possession of logic and 
mathematics sciences, however, which really only teach 
what every one knows already, though not distinctly. At 
most the primary elements of natural science may also be 
deduced from knowledge a priori. By this confession 
metaphysics only surrenders an ancient claim, which, 
according to what has been said above, rested upon mis 
understanding, and against which the great diversity and 


changeableness of metaphysical systems, and also the con 
stantly accompanying scepticism, in every age has testified. 
Yet against the possibility of metaphysics in general this 
changeableness cannot be urged, for the same thing affects 
just as much all branches of natural science, chemistry, 
physics, geology, zoology, &c., and even history has not 
remained exempt from it. But when once, as far as the 
limits of human intellect allow, a true system of meta 
physics shall have been found, the unchangeableuess of a 
science which is known a priori will yet belong to it ; for 
its foundation can only be experience in general, and not 
the particular and special experiences by which, on the 
other hand, the natural sciences are constantly modified 
and new material is always being provided for history. 
For experience as a whole and in general will never 
change its character for a new one. 

The next question is : How can a science drawn from 
experience pass beyond it and so merit the name of meta 
physics ? It cannot do so perhaps in the same way as we 
find a fourth number from three proportionate ones, or a 
triangle from two sides and an angle. This was the way 
of the pre-Kantian dogmatism, which, according to certain 
laws known to us a priori, sought to reason from the given 
to the not given, from the consequent to the reason, thus 
from experience to that which could not possibly be given 
in any experience. Kant proved the impossibility of a 
metaphysic upon this path, in that he showed that although 
these laws were not drawn from experience, they were only 
valid for experience. He therefore rightly taught that in 
such a way we cannot transcend the possibility of all ex 
perience. But there are other paths to metaphysics. The 
whole of experience is like a cryptograph, and philosophy 
the deciphering of it, the correctness of which is proved 
by the connection appearing everywhere. If this whole 
is only profoundly enough comprehended, and the inner 
experience is connected with the outer, it must be capable 
of being interpreted, explained from itself. Since Kant 


has irrefutably proved to us that experience in general 
proceeds from two elements, the forms of knowledge and 
the inner nature of things, and that these two may be dis 
tinguished in experience from each other, as that of which 
we are conscious a priori and that which is added a pos 
teriori, it is possible, at least in general, to say, what in 
the given experience, which is primarily merely phenome 
nal, belongs to the form of this phenomenon, conditioned 
by the intellect, and what, after deducting this, remains 
over for the thing in itself. And although no one can dis 
cern the thing in itself through the veil of the forms of 
perception, on the other hand every one carries it in him 
self, indeed is it himself; therefore in self-consciousness 
it must be in some way accessible to him, even though 
only conditionally. Thus the bridge by which meta 
physics passes beyond experience is nothing else than 
that analysis of experience into phenomenon and thing 
in itself in which I have placed Kant s greatest merit. 
For it contains the proof of a kernel of the phenomenon 
different from the phenomenon itself. This can indeed 
never be entirely separated from the phenomenon and 
regarded in itself as an ens extramundanum, but is always 
known only in its relations to and connections with the 
phenomenon itself. But the interpretation and explana 
tion of the latter, in relation to the former, which is its 
inner kernel, is capable of affording us information with 
regard to it which does not otherwise come into conscious 
ness. In this sense, then, metaphysics goes beyond the 
phenomenon, i.e., nature, to that which is concealed in or 
behind it (TO //.era TO (fivaiKov), always regal-ding it, how 
ever, merely as that which manifests itself in the pheno 
menon, not as independent of all phenomenal appearance ; 
it therefore remains immanent, and does not become tran 
scendent. For it never disengages itself entirelv from 

o o / 

experience, but remains merely its interpretation and 
explanation, since it never speaks of the thing in itself 
otherwise than in its relation to the phenomenon. This 


at least is the sense in which I, with reference through 
out to the limitations of human knowledge proved by 
Kant, have attempted to solve the problem of metaphysics. 
Therefore his Prolegomena to future metaphysics will be 
valid and suitable for mine also. Accordingly it never 
really goes beyond experience, but only discloses the true 
understanding of the world which lies before it in experi 
ence. It is neither, according to the definition of meta 
physics which even Kant repeats, a science of mere con 
ceptions, nor is it a system of deductions from a priori 
principles, the uselessness of which for the end of meta 
physics has been shown by Kant. But it is rational 
knowledge, drawn from perception of the external actual 
world and the information which the most intimate fact 
of self-consciousness affords us concerning it, deposited in 
distinct conceptions. It is accordingly the science of ex 
perience ; but its subject and its source is not particular 
experiences, but the totality of all experience. I com 
pletely accept Kant s doctrine that the world of experience 
is merely phenomenal, and that the a priori knowledge is 
valid only in relation to phenomena ; but I add that just 
as phenomenal appearance, it is the manifestation of that 
which appears, and with him I call this the thing in itself. 
This must therefore express its nature and character in 
the world of experience, and consequently it must be 
possible to interpret these from this world, and indeed 
from the matter, not the mere form, of experience. Accord 
ingly philosophy is nothing but the correct and universal 
understanding of experience itself, the true exposition of its 
meaning and content. To this the metaphysical, i.e., that 
which is merely clothed in the phenomenon and veiled in 
its forms, is that which is related to it as thought to words. 
Such a deciphering of the world with reference to that 
which manifests itself in it must receive its confirmation 
from itself, through the agreement with each other in 
which it places the very diverse phenomena of the world, 
and which without it we do not perceive. If we find a 


document the alphabet of which is unknown, we endea 
vour to make it out until we hit upon an hypothesis as to 
the significance of the letters in accordance with which 
they make up comprehensible words and connected sen 
tences. Then, however, there remains no doubt as to the 
correctness of the deciphering, because it is not possible 
that the agreement and connection in which all the letters 
of that writing are placed by this explanation is merely 
accidental, and that by attributing quite a different value 
to the letters we could also recognise words and sentences 
in this arrangement of them. In the same way the de 
ciphering of the world must completely prove itself from 
itself. It must throw equal light upon all the phenomena 
of the world, and also bring the most heterogeneous into 
agreement, so that the contradiction between those which 
are most in contrast may be abolished. This proof from 
itself is the mark of genuineness. For every false de 
ciphering, even if it is suitable for some phenomena, will 
conflict all the more glaringly with the rest. So, for 
example, the optimism of Leibnitz conflicts with the pal 
pable misery of existence ; the doctrine of Spinoza, that 
the world is the only possible and absolutely necessary 
substance, is incompatible with our wonder at its exist 
ence and nature ; the Wolfian doctrine, that man obtains 
his Existentia and Essentia from a will foreign to himself, 
is contradicted by our moral responsibility for the actions 
which proceed with strict necessity from these, in conflict 
with the motives ; the oft-repeated doctrine of the progres 
sive development of man to an ever higher perfection, or 
in general of any kind of becoming by means of the pro 
cess of the world, is opposed to the a priori knowledge 
that at any point of time an infinite time has already run 
its course, and consequently all that is supposed to come 
with time would necessarily have already existed ; and in 
this way an interminable list might be given of the con 
tradictions of dogmatic assumptions with the given reality 
of things. On the other hand, I must deny that any doc- 


trine of my philosophy could fairly be added to such a 
list, because each of them has been thought out in the 
presence of the perceived reality, and none of them has 
its root in abstract conceptions alone. There is yet in it 
a fundamental thought which is applied to all the phe 
nomena of the world as their key ; but it proves itself 
to be the right alphabet at the application of which all 
words and sentences have sense and significance. The 
discovered answer to a riddle shows itself to be the right 
one by the fact that all that is said in the riddle is 
suitable to it. In the same way my doctrine introduces 
agreement and connection into the confusion of the con 
trasting phenomena of this world, and solves the innume 
rable contradictions which, when regarded from any other 
point of view, it presents. Therefore, so far, it is like 
a sum that comes out right, yet by no means in the 
sense that it leaves no problem over to solve, no possible 
question unanswered. To assert anything of that sort 
would be a presumptuous denial of the limits of human 
knowledge in general. Whatever torch we may kindle, 
and whatever space it may light, our horizon will always 
remain bounded by profound night. For the ultimate 
solution of the riddle of the world must necessarily be 
concerned with the things in themselves, no longer with 
the phenomena. But all our forms of knowledge are 
adapted to the phenomena alone ; therefore we must com 
prehend everything through coexistence, succession, and 
causal relations. These forms, however, have meaning 
and significance only with reference to the phenomenon ; 
the things in themselves and their possible relations can 
not be apprehended by means of those forms. Therefore 
the actual, positive solution of the riddle of the world 
must be something that human intellect is absolutely 
incapable of grasping and thinking ; so that if a being of 
a higher kind were to come and take all pains to impart 
it to us, we would be absolutely incapable of understand 
ing anything of his expositions. Those, therefore, who pro- 


fess to know the ultimate, i.e., the first ground of things, 
thus a primordial being, an absolute, or whatever else 
they choose to call it, together with the process, the 
reasons, motives, or whatever it may be, in consequence 
of which the world arises from it, or springs, or falls, or 
is produced, set in existence, "discharged," and ushered 
forth, are playing tricks, are vain boasters, when indeed 
they are not charlatans. 

I regard it as a great excellence of my philosophy that all 
its truths have been found independently of each other, by 
contemplation of the real world ; but their unity and agree 
ment, about which I had been unconcerned, has always 
afterwards appeared of itself. Hence also it is rich, and 
has wide-spreading roots in the ground of perceptible 
reality, from which all nourishment of abstract truths 
springs ; and hence, again, it is not wearisome a quality 
which, to judge from the philosophical writings of the last 
fifty years, one might regard as essential to philosophy. If, 
on the other hand, all the doctrines of a philosophy are 
merely deduced the one out of the other, and ultimately 
indeed all out of one first principle, it must be poor and 
meagre, and consequently wearisome, for nothing can follow 
from a proposition except what it really already says itself. 
Moreover, in this case everything depends upon the cor 
rectness of one proposition, and by a single mistake in the 
deduction the truth of the whole would be endangered. 
Still less security is given by the systems which start 
from an intellectual intuition, i.e., a kind of ecstasy or 
clairvoyance. All knowledge so obtained must be rejected 
as subjective, individual, and consequently problematical. 
Even if it actually existed it would not be communicable, 
for only the normal knowledge of the brain is communi 
cable ; if it is abstract, through conceptions and words ; if 
purely perceptible or concrete, through works of art. 

If, as so often happens, metaphysics is reproached with 
having made so little progress, it ought also to be con 
sidered that no other science has grown up like it under 


constant oppression, none has been so hampered and 
hindered from without as it has always been by the 
religion of every land, which, everywhere in possession of 
a monopoly of metaphysical knowledge, regards meta 
physics as a weed growing beside it, as an unlicensed 
worker, as a horde of gipsies, and as a rule tolerates it 
only under the condition that it accommodates itself to 
serve and follow it. For where has there ever been true 
freedom of thought ? It has been vaunted sufficiently ; 
but whenever it wishes to go further than perhaps to 
differ about the subordinate dogmas of the religion of the 
country, a holy shudder seizes the prophets of tolerance, 
and they say : " Not a step further ! " What progress of 
metaphysics was possible under such oppression ? Nay, 
this constraint which the privileged metaphysics exercises 
is not confined to the communication of thoughts, but 
extends to thinking itself, for its dogmas are so firmly 
imprinted in the tender, plastic, trustful, and thoughtless 
age of childhood, with studied solemnity and serious airs, 
that from that time forward they grow with the brain, and 
almost assume the nature of innate thoughts, which some 
philosophers have therefore really held them to be, and 
still more have pretended to do so. Yet nothing can so 
firmly resist the comprehension of even the problem of 
metaphysics as a previous solution of it intruded upon 
and early implanted in the mind. For the necessary 
starting-point for all genuine philosophy is the deep 
feeling of the Socratic : " This one thing I know, that I 
know nothing." The ancients were in this respect in a 
better position than we are, for their national religions 
certainly limited somewhat the imparting of thoughts ; but 
they did not interfere with the freedom of thought itself, 
because they were not formally and solemnly impressed 
upon children, and in general were not taken so seriously. 
Therefore in metaphysics the ancients are still our 

Whenever metaphysics is reproached with its small pro- 


gress, and with not having yet reached its goal in spite 
of such sustained efforts, one ought further to consider 
that in the meanwhile it has constantly performed the in 
valuable service of limiting the boundless claims of the 
privileged metaphysics, and yet at the same time combat 
ing naturalism and materialism proper, which are called 
forth by it as an inevitable reaction. Consider to what a 
pitch the arrogance of the priesthood of every religion 
would rise if the belief in their doctrines was as firm and 
blind as they really wish. Look back also at the wars, 
disturbances, rebellions, and revolutions in Europe from 
the eighth to the eighteenth century; how few will be 
found that have not had as their essence, or their pre 
text, some controversy about beliefs, thus a metaphysical 
problem, which became the occasion of exciting nations 
against each other. Yet is that whole thousand years a 
continual slaughter, now on the battlefield, now on the 
scaffold, now in the streets, in metaphysical interests ! 
I wish I had an authentic list of all crimes which Chris 
tianity has really prevented, and all good deeds it has 
really performed, that I might be able to place them in the 
other scale of the balance. 

Lastly, as regards the obligations of metaphysics, it has 
only one ; for it is one which endures no other beside it 
the obligation to be true. If one would impose other obli 
gations upon it besides this, such as to be spiritualistic, 
optimistic, monotheistic, or even only to be moral, one 
cannot know beforehand whether this would not interfere 
with the fulfilment of that first obligation, without which 
all its other achievements must clearly be worthless. A 
given philosophy has accordingly no other standard of its 
value than that of truth. For the rest, philosophy is essen 
tially world-wisdom : its problem is the world. It has to 
do with this alone, and leaves the gods in peace expects, 
however, in return, to be left in peace by them. 

" Ihr folget falscher Spur, 

Denkt nicht, wir scherzen ! 
1st nicht der Kern der Natur 
Menschen im Herzen ? : 





IN 1836 I already published, under the title " Ueber den 
Willen in der Naiur" (second ed., 1854 ; third ed., 1867), 
the most essential supplement to this book, which contains 
the most peculiar and important step in my philosophy, 
the transition from the phenomenon to the thing in itself, 
which Kant gave up as impossible. It would be a great 
mistake to regard the foreign conclusions with which I 
have there connected my expositions as the real material 
and subject of that work, which, though small as regards 
its extent, is of weighty import. These conclusions are 
rather the mere occasion starting from which I have there 
expounded that fundamental truth of my philosophy with 
so much greater clearness than anywhere else, and brought 
it down to the empirical knowledge of nature. And in 
deed this is done most exhaustively and stringently under 
the heading "Physisclie Astronomic;" so that I dare not hope 
ever to find a more correct or accurate expression of that 
core of my philosophy than is given there. Whoever desires 
to know my philosophy thoroughly and to test it seriously 
must therefore give attention before everything to that 
section. Thus, in general, all that is said in that little 
work would form the chief content of these supplements, 
if it had not to be excluded on account of having preceded 

1 This chapter is connected with 18 of the first volume. 


them; but, on the other hand, I here take for granted 
that it is known, for otherwise the very best would be 

I wish now first of all to make a few preliminary obser 
vations from a general point of view as to the sense in 
which we can speak of a knowledge of the thing in itself 
and of its necessary limitation. 

What is knowledge? It is primarily and essentially 
idea. What is idea ? A very complicated physiological 
process in the brain of an animal, the result of which is 
the consciousness of a picture there. Clearly the relation 
between such a picture and something entirely different 
from the animal in whose brain it exists can only be a very 
indirect one. This is perhaps the simplest and most com 
prehensible way of disclosing the deep gulf between the ideal 
and the real. This belongs to the things of which, like the 
motion of the earth, we are not directly conscious ; there 
fore the ancients did not observe it, just as they did not 
observe the motion of the earth. Once pointed out, on 
the other hand, first by Descartes, it has ever since given 
philosophers no rest. But after Kant had at last proved 
in the most thorough manner the complete diversity of the 
ideal and the real, it was an attempt, as bold as it was 
absurd, yet perfectly correctly calculated with reference 
to the philosophical public in Germany, and consequently 
crowned with brilliant results, to try to assert the absolute 
identity of the two by dogmatic utterances, on the strength 
of a pretended intellectual intuition. In truth, on the 
contrary, a subjective and an objective existence, a being 
for self and a being for others^ a consciousness of one s 
own self, and a consciousness of other things, is given us 
directly, and the two are given in such a fundamentally 
different manner that no other difference can compare 
with this. About himself every one knows directly, about 
all others only very indirectly. This is the fact and the 

Whether, on the other hand, through further processes 


in the interior of a brain, general conceptions ( Unwersalia) 
are abstracted from the perceptible ideas or images that 
have arisen within it, for the assistance of further com 
binations, whereby knowledge becomes rational, and is 
now called thinking this is here no longer the essential 
question, but is of subordinate significance. For all such 
conceptions receive their content only from the perceptible 
idea, which is therefore primary knowledge, and has con 
sequently alone to be taken account of in an investigation 
of the relation between the ideal and the real. It there 
fore shows entire ignorance of the problem, or at least 
it is very inept, to wish to define that relation as that 
between being and thinking. Thinking has primarily only 
a relation to perceiving, but perception has a relation to the 
real Icing of what is perceived, and this last is the great 
problem with which we are here concerned. Empirical 
being, on the other hand, as it lies before us, is nothing 
else than simply being given in perception; but the 
relation of the latter to thinking is no riddle, for the con 
ceptions, thus the immediate materials of thought, are 
obviously abstracted from perception, which no reason 
able man can doubt. It may be said in passing that one can 
see how important the choice of expressions in philosophy 
is from the fact that that inept expression condemned 
above, and the misunderstanding which arose from it, 
became the foundation of the whole Hegelian pseudo- 
philosophy, which has occupied the German public for 
twenty-five years. 

If, however, it should be said : " The perception is itself 
the knowledge of the thing in itself: for it is the effect of that 
which is outside of us, and as this acts, so it is : its action 
is just its being;" to this we reply: (i.) that the law of 
causality, as has been sufficiently proved, is of subjective 
origin, as well as the sensation from which the perception 
arises ; (2.) that at any rate time and space, in which the 
object presents itself, are of subjective origin ; (3.) that if 
the being of the object consists simply in its action, this 

VOL. II. 2 C 


means that it consists merely in the changes which it 
brings about in others ; therefore itself and in itself it is 
nothing at all. Only of matter is it true, as I have said in 
the text, and worked out in the essay on the principle of 
sufficient reason, at the end of 21, that its being consists 
in its action, that it is through and through only causa 
lity, thus is itself causality objectively regarded ; hence, 
however, it is also nothing in itself (77 V\T} TO a\rjdivov 
\|ret>So9, materiel mendacium verax), but as an ingredient 
in the perceived object, is a mere abstraction, which 
for itself alone can be given in no experience. It will 
be fully considered later on in a chapter of its own. 
But the perceived object must be something in itself, 
and not merely something for others. For otherwise it 
would be altogether merely idea, and we would have an 
absolute idealism, which would ultimately become theo 
retical egoism., with which all reality disappears and the 
world becomes a mere subjective phantasm. If, however, 
without further question, we stop altogether at the world 
as idea, then certainly it is all one whether I explain 
objects as ideas in my head or as phenomena exhibiting 
themselves in time and space ; for time and space them 
selves exist only in my head. In this sense, then, an 
identity of the ideal and the real might always be affirmed ; 
only, after Kant, this would not be saying anything new. 
Besides this, however, the nature of things and of the phe 
nomenal world would clearly not be thereby exhausted ; 
but with it we would always remain still upon the ideal 
side. The real side must be something toto genere diffe 
rent from the world as idea, it must be that which things 
are in themselves; and it is this entire diversity between 
the ideal and the real which Kant has proved in the most 
thorough manner. 

Locke had denied to the senses the knowledge of things 
as they are in themselves ; but Kant denied this also to 
the perceiving understanding, under which name I here 
comprehend what he calls the pure sensibility, and, as it 


is given a priori, the law of causality which brings abcmt 
the empirical perception. Not only are both right, but we 
can also see quite directly that a contradiction lies in the 
assertion that a thing is known as it is in and for itself, i.e., 
outside of knowledge. For all knowing is, as we have said, 
essentially a perceiving of ideas ; but my perception of ideas, 
just because it is mine, can never be identical with the inner 
nature of the thing outside of me. The being in and for 
itself, of everything, must necessarily be subjective ; in the 
idea of another, however, it exists just as necessarily as 
objective a difference which can never be fully reconciled. 
For by it the whole nature of its existence is fundamentally 
changed ; as objective it presupposes a foreign subject, as 
whose idea it exists, and, moreover, as Kant has shown, 
has entered forms which are foreign to its own nature, 
just because they belong to that foreign subject, whose 
knowledge is only possible by means of them. If I, ab 
sorbed in this reflection, perceive, let us say lifeless bodies, 
of easily surveyed magnitude and regular, comprehensible 
form, and now attempt to conceive this spatial existence, 
in its three dimensions, as their being in itself, consequently 
as the existence which to the things is subjective, the im 
possibility of the thing is at once apparent to me, for I can 
never think those objective forms as the being which to 
the things is subjective, rather I become directly conscious 
that what I there perceive is only a picture produced in 
my brain, and existing only for me as the knowing subject, 
which cannot constitute the ultimate, and therefore sub 
jective, being in and for itself of even these lifeless bodies. 
But, on the other hand, I must not assume that even these 
lifeless bodies exist only in my idea, but, since they have 
inscrutable qualities, and, by virtue of these, activity, I 
must concede to them a being in itself of some kind. But 
this very inscrutableness of the properties, while, on the 
one hand, it certainly points to something which exists 
independently of our knowledge, gives also, on the other 
hand, the empirical proof that our knowledge, because it 


consists simply in framing ideas by means of subjective 
forms, affords us always mere phenomena, not the true 
being of things. This is the explanation of the fact that 
in all that we know there remains hidden from us a certain 
something, as quite inscrutable, and we are obliged to con 
fess that we cannot thoroughly understand even the com 
monest and simplest phenomena. For it is not merely the 
highest productions of nature, living creatures, or the com 
plicated phenomena of the unorganised world that remain 
inscrutable to us, but even every rock-crystal, every iron- 
pyrite, by reason of its crystallographical, optical, chemical, 
and electrical properties, is to the searching consideration 
and investigation an abyss of incomprehensibilities and 
mysteries. This could not be the case if we knew things 
as they are in themselves ; for then at least the simpler phe 
nomena, the path to whose qualities was not barred for us 
by ignorance, would necessarily be thoroughly compre 
hensible to us, and their whole being and nature would 
be able to pass over into our knowledge. Thus it lies not 
in the defectiveness of our acquaintance with things, but 
in the nature of knowledge itself. For if our perception, 
and consequently the whole empirical comprehension of 
the things that present themselves to us, is already essen 
tially and in the main determined by our faculty of know 
ledge, and conditioned by its forms and functions, it can 
not but be that things exhibit themselves in a manner 
which is quite different from their own inner nature, and 
therefore appear as in a mask, which allows us merely 
to assume what is concealed beneath it, but never to 
know it ; hence, then, it gleams through as an inscrutable 
mystery, and never can the nature of anything entire and 
without reserve pass over into knowledge ; but much less 
can any real thing be construed a priori, like a mathema 
tical problem. Thus the empirical inscrutableness of all 
natural things is a proof a posteriori of the ideality and 
merely phenomenal-actuality of their empirical existence. 
According to all this, upon the path of objective know- 


ledge, hence starting from the idea, one will never get be 
yond the idea, i.e., the phenomenon. One will thus remain 
at the outside of things, and will never be able to penetrate 
to their inner nature and investigate what they are in them 
selves, i.e., for themselves. So far I agree with Kant. But, 
as the counterpart of this truth, I have given prominence to 
this other truth, that we are not merely the knowing subject, 
but, in another aspect, we ourselves also belong to the inner 
nature that is to be known, we ourselves are the thing in 
itself; that therefore a way from within stands open for 
us to that inner nature belonging to things themselves, 
to which we cannot penetrate from without, as it were a 
subterranean passage, a secret alliance, which, as if by 
treachery, places us at once within the fortress which it 
was impossible to take by assault from without. 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. Everything objective is idea, therefore 
appearance, mere phenomenon of the brain. 

Kant s chief result may in substance be thus concisely 
stated : " All conceptions which have not at their founda 
tion a perception in space and time (sensuous intuition), 
that is to say then, whi h have not been drawn from 
such a perception, are absolutely empty, i.e., give no 
knowledge. But since now perception can afford us only 
phenomena, not things in themselves, we have also abso 
lutely no knowledge of things in themselves." I grant 
this of everything, with the single exception of the know 
ledge which each of us has of his own willing: this is 
neither a perception (for all perception is spatial) nor is it 
empty ; rather it is more real than any other. Further, it 
is not a priori, like merely formal knowledge, but entirely 
a posteriori; hence also we cannot anticipate it in the 
particular case, but are hereby often convicted of error 
concerning ourselves. In fact, our willing is the one 
opportunity which we have of understanding from within 


any event which exhibits itself without, consequently the 
one thing which is known to us immediately, and not, like 
all the rest, merely given in the idea. Here, then, lies the 
datum which alone is able to become the key to everything 
else, or, as I have said, the single narrow door to the truth. 
Accordingly we must learn to understand nature from our 
selves, not conversely ourselves from nature. What is 
known to us immediately must give us the explanation of 
what we only know indirectly, not conversely. Do we 
perhaps understand the rolling of a ball when it has re 
ceived an impulse more thoroughly than our movement 
when we feel a motive ? Many may imagine so, but I 
say it is the reverse. Yet we shall attain to the know 
ledge that what is essential in both the occurrences just 
mentioned is identical; although identical in the same 
way as the lowest audible note of harmony is the same as 
the note of the same name ten octaves higher. 

Meanwhile it should be carefully observed, and I have 
always kept it in mind, that even the inward experience 
which we have of our own will by no means affords us an 
exhaustive and adequate knowledge of the thing in itself. 
This would be the case if it were entirely an immediate 
experience ; but it is effected in this way : the will, with 
and by means of the corporisation, provides itself also with 
an intellect (for the sake of its relations to the external 
world), and through this now knows itself as will in self- 
consciousness (the necessary counterpart of the external 
world); this knowledge therefore of the thing in itself 
is not fully adequate. First of all, it is bound to the 
form of the idea, it is apprehension, and as such falls 
asunder into subject and object. For even in self-con 
sciousness the I is not absolutely simple, but consists of a 
knower, the intellect, and a known, the will. The former 
is not known, and the latter does not know, though both 
unite in the consciousness of an I. But just on this 
account that I is not thoroughly intimate with itself, as it 
were transparent, but is opaque, and therefore remains a 


riddle to itself, thus even in inner knowledge there also 
exists a difference between the true being of its object and 
the apprehension of it in the knowing subject. Yet inner 
knowledge is free from two forms which belong to outer 
knowledge, the form of space and the form of causality, 
which is the means of effecting all sense-perception. On 
the other hand, there still remains the form of time, and 
that of being known and knowing in general. Accord 
ingly in this inner knowledge the thing in itself has 
indeed in great measure thrown off its veil, but still does 
not yet appear quite naked. In consequence of the form 
of time which still adheres to it, every one knows his will 
only in its successive acts, and not as a whole, in and for 
itself: therefore no one knows his character a priori, but 
only learns it through experience and always incom 
pletely. But yet the apprehension, in which we know 
the affections and acts of our own will, is far more imme 
diate than any other. It is the point at which the thing 
in itself most directly enters the phenomenon and is most 
closely examined by the knowing subject ; therefore the 
event thus intimately known is alone fitted to become the 
interpreter of all others. 

For in every emergence of an act of will from the ob 
scure depths of our inner being into the knowing con 
sciousness a direct transition occurs of the thing in itself, 
which lies outside time, into the phenomenal world. Ac 
cordingly the act of will is indeed only the closest and 
most distinct manifestation of the thing in itself ; yet it 
follows from this that if all other manifestations or phe 
nomena could be known by us as directly and inwardly, 
we would be obliged to assert them to be that which the 
will is in us. Thus in this sense I teach that the inner 
nature of everything is will, and I call will the thing in 
itself. Kant s doctrine of the unknowableness of the 
thing in itself is hereby modified to this extent, that the 
thing in itself is only not absolutely and from the very 
foundation knowable, that yet by far the most immediate 


of its phenomena, which by this immediateness is toto 
genere distinguished from all the rest, represents it for us ; 
and accordingly we have to refer the whole world of phe 
nomena to that one in which the thing in itself appears 
in the very thinnest of veils, and only still remains pheno 
menon in so far as my intellect, which alone is capable 
of knowledge, remains ever distinguished from me as the 
willing subject, and moreover does not even in inner per 
fection put off the form of knowledge of time. 

Accordingly, even after this last and furthest step, the 
question may still be raised, what that will, which ex 
hibits 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., in general is known. This question 
can never be answered : because, as we have said, becom 
ing 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 the will, may 
have, entirely outside all possible phenomenal appearance, 
ways of existing, determinations, qualities, which are abso 
lutely unknowable and incomprehensible to us, and which 
remain as the nature of the thing in itself, when, as is 
explained in the fourth book, it has voluntarily abrogated 
itself as will, and has therefore retired altogether from the 
phenomenon, and for our knowledge, i.e., as regards the 
world of phenomena, has passed into empty nothingness. 
If the will were simply and absolutely the thing in itself 
this nothing would also be absolute, instead of which it 
expressly presents itself to us there as only relative. 

I now proceed to supplement with a few considerations 
pertinent to the subject the exposition given both in our 
second book and in the work " Ueber den Willen in der 
Natur" of the doctrine that what makes itself known to 
us in the most immediate knowledge as will is also that 
which objectifies itself at different grades in all the phe- 


nomena of this world ; and I shall begin by citing a num 
ber of psychological facts which prove that first of all in 
our own consciousness the will always appears as primary 
and fundamental, and throughout asserts its superiority to 
the intellect, which, on the other hand, always presents 
itself as secondary, subordinate, and conditioned. This 
proof is the more necessary as all philosophers before 
me, from the first to the last, place the true being or 
the kernel of man in the knowing consciousness, and 
accordingly have conceived and explained the I, or, 
in the case of many of them, its transcendental hypo- 
stasis called soul, as primarily and essentially knowing, 
nay, thinking, and only in consequence of this, secondarily 
and derivatively, as willing. This ancient and universal 
radical error, this enormous wpwrov tyevSos and fundamen 
tal varepov irporepov, must before everything be set aside, 
and instead of it the true state of the case must be 
brought to perfectly distinct consciousness. Since, how 
ever, this is done here for the first time, after thousands of 
years of philosophising, some fulness of statement will be 
appropriate. The remarkable phenomenon, that in this 
most essential point all philosophers have erred, nay, have 
exactly reversed the truth, might, especially in the case 
of those of the Christian era, be partly explicable from the 
fact that they all had the intention of presenting man as 
distinguished as widely as possible from the brutes, yet at 
the same time obscurely felt that the difference between 
them lies in the intellect, not in the will ; whence there 
arose unconsciously within them an inclination to make 
the intellect the essential and principal thing, and even 
to explain volition as a mere function of the intellect. 
Hence also the conception of a soul is not only inadmis 
sible, because it is a transcendent hypostasis, as is proved 
by the " Critique of Pure Eeason," but it becomes the 
source of irremediable errors, because in its " simple sub 
stance " it establishes beforehand an indivisible unity of 
knowledge and will, the separation of which is just the 


path to the truth. That conception must therefore appear 
no more in philosophy, but may be left to German doc 
tors and physiologists, who, after they have laid aside 
scalpel and spattle, amuse themselves by philosophising 
with the conceptions they received when they were con 
firmed. They might certainly try their luck in England. 
The Trench physiologists and zootomists have (till lately) 
kept themselves free from that reproach. 

The first consequence of their common fundamental 
error, which is very inconvenient to all these philosophers, 
is this : since in death the knowing consciousness obvi 
ously perishes, they must either allow death to be the 
annihilation of the man, to which our inner being is op 
posed, or they must have recourse to the assumption of 
a continued existence of the knowing consciousness, which 
requires a strong faith, for his own experience has suffi 
ciently proved to every one the thorough and complete 
dependence of the knowing consciousness upon the brain, 
and one can just as easily believe in digestion without a 
stomach as in a knowing consciousness without a brain. 
My philosophy alone leads out of this dilemma, for it for 
the first time places the true being of man not in the con 
sciousness but in the will, which is not essentially bound 
up with consciousness, but is related to consciousness, i.e., 
to knowledge, as substance to accident, as something illu 
minated to the light, as the string to the resounding-board, 
and which enters consciousness from within as the cor 
poreal world does from without. Now we can compre 
hend the indestructibleness of this our real kernel and true 
being, in spite of the evident ceasing of consciousness in 
death, and the corresponding non-existence of it before 
birth. For the intellect is as perishable as the brain, 
whose product or rather whose action it is. But the brain, 
like the whole organism, is the product or phenomenon, 
in short, the subordinate of the will, which alone is 



THE will, as the thing in itself, constitutes the inner, true, 
and indestructible nature of man ; in itself, however, it 
is unconscious. For consciousness is conditioned by the 
intellect, and the intellect is a mere accident of our being ; 
for it is a function of the brain, which, together with the 
nerves and spinal cord connected with it, is a mere fruit, a 
product, nay, so far, a parasite of the rest of the organism ; 
for it does not directly enter into its inner constitution, 
but merely serves the end of self-preservation by regulat 
ing the relations of the organism to the external world. 
The organism itself, on the other hand, is the visibility, 
the objectivity, of the individual will, the image of it as 
it presents itself in that very brain (which in the first 
book we learned to recognise as the condition of the objec 
tive world in general), therefore also brought about by its 
forms of knowledge, space, time, and causality, and conse 
quently presenting itself as extended, successively acting, 
and material, i.e., as something operative or efficient. The 
members are both directly felt and also perceived by 
means of the senses only in the brain. According to this 
one may say : The intellect is the secondary phenomenon ; 
the organism the primary phenomenon, that is, the imme 
diate manifestation of the will ; the will is metaphysi 
cal, the intellect physical ; the intellect, like its objects, 
is merely phenomenal appearance ; the will alone is the 
thing in itself. Then, in a more and more figurative sense, 

1 This chapter is coonected with 19 of the first volume. 


thus by way of simile : The will is the substance of man, 
the intellect the accident ; the will is the matter, the 
intellect is the form ; the will is warmth, the intellect 
is light. 

We shall now first of all verify and also elucidate this 
thesis by the following facts connected with the inner 
life of man ; and on this opportunity perhaps more will be 
done for the knowledge of the inner man than is to be 
found in many systematic psychologies. 

I. Not only the consciousness of other things, i.e., the 
apprehension of the external world, but also self-conscious 
ness, contains, as was mentioned already above, a knower 
and a known ; otherwise it would not be consciousness. 
For consciousness consists in knowing; but knowing re 
quires a knower and a known ; therefore there could be 
no self-consciousness if there were not in it also a known 
opposed to the knower and different from it. As there 
can be no object without a subject, so also there can 
be no subject without an object, i.e., no knower without 
something different from it which is known. Therefore 
a consciousness which is through and through pure in 
telligence is impossible. The intelligence is like the sun, 
which does not illuminate space if there is no object from 
which its rays are reflected. The knower himself, as such, 
cannot be known ; otherwise he would be the known of 
another knower. But now, as the knoivn in self-conscious 
ness we find exclusively the will. For not 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, is clearly only affection of the will, is a mov 
ing, a modification of willing and not-willing, is just that 
which, if it takes outward effect, exhibits itself as an act of 
will proper. 1 In all knowledge, however, the known is first 

1 It is remarkable that Augustine preceding book he had brought under 

already knew this. In the fourteenth four categories, cupiditas, timor, lat- 

book, "De Civ. Dei c. 6, he speaks of titia, tristitia, and says : " Voluntas est 

the affectionibus animi, which in the quippe in omnibus, imo omncs nihil 


and essential, not the knower ; for the former is the irpw- 
TOTVTTOS, the latter the KTVTTO<S. Therefore in self-con 
sciousness also the known, thus the will, must be what is 
first and original ; the knower, on the other hand, only what 
is secondary, that which has been added, the mirror. They 
are related very much as the luminous to the reflecting 
body ; or, again, as the vibrating strings to the resounding- 
board, in which case the note produced would be conscious 
ness. We may also regard the plant as a like symbol of 
consciousness. It has, we know, two poles, the root and the 
corona : the former struggling into darkness, moisture, and 
cold, the latter into light, dryness, and warmth; then, 
as the point of indifference of the two poles, where they 
part asunder, close to the ground, the collum (rhizoma, le 
collet}. The root is what is essential, original, perennial, 
the death of which involves that of the corona, is thus the 
primary ; the corona, on the other hand, is the ostensible, 
but it has sprung from something else, and it passes away 
without the root dying ; it is thus secondary. The root 
represents the will, the corona the intellect, and the point . 
of indifference of the two, the collum, would be the /, 
which, as their common termination, belongs to both. This 
I is the pro tempore identical subject of knowing and will 
ing, whose identity I called in my very first essay (on the 
principle of sufficient reason), and in rny first philosophical 
wonder, the miracle KO.T eo%7?f. It is the temporal start 
ing-point and connecting-link of the whole phenomenon, 
i.e., of the objectification of the will : it conditions indeed 
the phenomenon, but is also conditioned by it. This com 
parison may even be carried to the individual nature of 
men. As a large corona commonly springs only from a 
large root, so the greatest intellectual capabilities are only 
found in connection with a vehement and passionate will. 
A genius of a phlegmatic character and weak passions 

aliud, quam voluntates sunt: nam volumus? et quid est mctus atque tris- 
quid est cupiditas et Icetitia, nisi vo- titia, nisi voluntas in dissensionem ab 
luntan in eorum consensionem, quce his, qua nolumus? cet." 


would resemble those succulent plants that, with a con 
siderable corona consisting of thick leaves, have very small 
roots ; will not, however, be found. That vehemence of 
will and passionateness of character are conditions of 
heightened intelligence exhibits itself physiologically 
through the fact that the activity of the brain is condi 
tioned by the movement which the great arteries running 
towards the basis cerebri impart to it with each pulsation ; 
therefore an energetic pulse, and even, according to Bichat, 
a short neck, is a requisite of great activity of the brain. 
But the opposite of the above certainly occurs : vehement 
desires, passionate, violent character, along with weak in 
tellect, i.e., a small brain of bad conformation in a thick 
skull. This is a phenomenon as common as it is repulsive : 
we might perhaps compare it to beetroot. 

2. But in order not merely to describe consciousness 
figuratively, but to know it thoroughly, we have first of 
all to find out what appears in the same way in every 
consciousness, and therefore, as the common and constant 
element, will also be the essential. Then we shall consider 
what distinguishes one consciousness from another, which 
accordingly will be the adventitious and secondary element. 

Consciousness is positively only known to us as a pro 
perty of animal nature ; therefore we must not, and indeed 
cannot, think of it otherwise than as animal consciousness, 
so that this expression is tautological. Now, that which 
in every animal consciousness, even the most imperfect 
and the weakest, is always present, nay, lies at its founda 
tion, is an immediate sense of longing, and of the alternate 
satisfaction and non-satisfaction of it, in very different 
degrees. This we know to a certain extent a priori. For 
marvellously different as the innumerable species of animals 
are, and strange as some new form, never seen before, 
appears to us, we yet assume beforehand its inmost nature, 
with perfect certainty, as well known, and indeed fully 
confided to us. We know that the animal wills, indeed 
also what it wills, existence, well-being, life, and propaga- 


tion ; and since in this we presuppose with perfect certainty 
identity with us, we do not hesitate to attribute to it un 
changed all the affections of will which we know in our 
selves, and speak at once of its desire, aversion, fear, anger, 
hatred, love, joy, sorrow, longing, &c. On the other hand, 
whenever phenomena of mere knowledge come to be spoken 
of we fall at once into uncertainty. We do not venture 
to say that the animal conceives, thinks, judges, knows : 
we only attribute to it with certainty ideas in general; 
because without them its will could not have those emo 
tions referred to above. But with regard to the definite 
manner of knowing of the brutes and the precise limits of 
it in a given species, we have only indefinite conceptions, 
and make conjectures. Hence our understanding with 
them is also often difficult, and is only brought about by 
skill, in consequence of experience and practice. Here 
then lie distinctions of consciousness. On the other hand, 
a longing, desiring, wishing, or a detesting, shunning, and 
not wishing, is proper to every consciousness: man has 
it in common with the polyp. This is accordingly the 
essential element in and the basis of every consciousness. 
The difference of the manifestations of this in the different 
species of animal beings depends upon the various exten 
sion of their sphere of knowledge, in which the motives of 
those manifestations lie. We understand directly from 
our own nature all actions and behaviour of the brutes 
which express movements of the will ; therefore, so far, 
we sympathise with them in various ways. On the other 
hand, the gulf between us and them results simply and 
solely from the difference of intellect. The gulf which 
lies between a very sagacious brute and a man of very 
limited capacity is perhaps not much greater than that 
which exists between a blockhead and a man of genius ; 
therefore here also the resemblance between them in 
another aspect, which springs from the likeness of their 
inclinations and emotions, and assimilates them again 
to each other, sometimes appears with surprising promi- 


nence, and excites astonishment. This consideration makes 
it clear that in all animal natures the will is what is 
primary and substantial, the intellect again is secondary, 
adventitious, indeed a mere tool for the service of the 
former, and is more or less complete and complicated, 
according to the demands of this service. As a species of 
animals is furnished with hoofs, claws, hands, wings, horns, 
or teeth according to the aims of its will, so also is it fur 
nished with a more or less developed brain, whose function 
is the intelligence necessary for its endurance. The more 
complicated the organisation becomes, in the ascending 
series of animals, the more numerous also are its wants, 
and the more varied and specially determined the objects 
which are capable of satisfying them ; hence the more com 
plicated and distant the paths by which these are to be 
obtained, which must now be all known and found : there 
fore in the same proportion the ideas of the animal must 
be more versatile, accurate, definite, and connected, and 
also its attention must be more highly strung, more sus 
tained, and more easily roused, consequently its intellect 
must be more developed and perfect. Accordingly we 
see the organ of intelligence, the cerebral system, together 
with all the organs of sense, keep pace with the increasing 
wants and the complication of the organism ; and the in 
crease of the part of consciousness that has to do with 
ideas (as opposed to the willing part) exhibits itself in a 
bodily form in the ever-increasing proportion of the brain 
in general to the rest of the nervous system, and of the 
cerebrum to the cerebellum ; for (according to Flourens) 
the former is the workshop of ideas, while the latter is the 
disposer and orderer of movements. The last step which 
nature has taken in this respect is, however, dispropor 
tionately great. For in man not only does the faculty 
of ideas of perception, which alone existed hitherto, 
reach the highest degree of perfection, but the abstract 
idea, thought, i.e., reason, and with it reflection, is added. 
Through this important advance of the intellect, thus 


of the secondary part of consciousness, it now gains a 
preponderance over the primary part, in so far as it 
becomes henceforward the predominantly active part. 
While in the brute the immediate sense of its satisfied 
or unsatisfied desire constitutes by far the most important 
part of its consciousness, and the more so indeed the 
lower the grade of the animal, so that the lowest animals 
are only distinguished from plants by the addition of a 
dull idea, in man the opposite is the case. Vehement as are 
his desires, even more vehement than those of any brute, 
rising to the level of passions, yet his consciousness 
remains continuously and predominantly occupied and 
filled with ideas and thoughts. Without doubt this has 
been the principal occasion of that fundamental error of 
all philosophers on account of which they make thought 
that which is essential and primary in the so-called soul, 
i.e., in the inner or spiritual life of man, always placing it 
first, but will, as a mere product of thought, they regard 
as only a subordinate addition and consequence of it. 
But if willing merely proceeded from knowing, how could 
the brutes, even the lower grades of them, with so very 
little knowledge, often show such an unconquerable and 
vehement will ? Accordingly, since that fundamental 
error of the philosophers makes, as it were, the accident 
the substance, it leads them into mistaken paths, which 
there is afterwards no way of getting out of. Now this 
relative predominance of the knowing consciousness over 
the desiring, consequently of the secondary part over 
the primary, which appears in man, may, in particular 
exceptionally favoured individuals, go so far that at the 
moments 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, 
i.e., untouched by the will, and consequently no longer 
serving it. Thus it becomes purely objective, and the clear 
mirror of the world, and from it the conceptions of genius 
then arise, which are the subject of our third book. 

VOL. II. 2 D 


3. If we run through the series of grades of animals 
downwards, we see the intellect always becoming weaker 
and less perfect, but we by no means observe a corre 
sponding degradation of the will. Eather it retains every 
where its identical nature and shows itself in the form of 
great attachment to life, cave for the individual and the 
species, egoism and regardlessness of all others, together 
with the emotions that spring from these. Even in the 
smallest insect the will is present, complete and entire ; it 
wills what it wills as decidedly and completely as the 
man. The difference lies merely in what it wills, i.e., in 
the motives, which, however, are the affair of the intellect. 
It indeed, as the secondary part of consciousness, and 
bound to the bodily organism, has innumerable degrees of 
completeness, and is in general essentially limited and 
imperfect. The will, on the contrary, as original and the 
thing in itself, can never be imperfect, but every act of 
will is all that it can be. On account of the simplicity 
which belongs to the will as the thing in itself, the meta 
physical in the phenomenon, its nature admits of no 
degrees, but is always completely itself. Only its excite 
ment has degrees, from the weakest inclination to the 
passion, and also its susceptibility to excitement, thus its 
vehemence from the phlegmatic to the choleric tempera 
ment. The intellect, on the other hand, has not merely 
degrees of excitement, from sleepiness to being in the vein, 
and inspiration, but also degrees of its nature, of the com 
pleteness of this, which accordingly rises gradually from 
the lowest animals, which can only obscurely apprehend, 
up to man, and here again from the fool to the genius. 
The will alone is everywhere completely itself. For its 
function is of the utmost simplicity ; it consists in willing 
and not willing, which goes on with the greatest ease, 
without effort, and requires no practice. Knowing, on the 
contrary, has multifarious functions, and never takes 
place entirely without effort, which is required to fix the 
attention and to make clear the object, and at a higher 


stage is certainly needed for thinking and deliberation ; 
therefore it is also capable of great improvement through 
exercise and education. If the intellect presents a simple, 
perceptible object to the will, the latter expresses at once 
its approval or disapproval of it, and this even if the 
intellect has laboriously inquired and pondered, in order 
from numerous data, by means of difficult combinations, 
ultimately to arrive at the conclusion as to which of the 
two seems to be most in conformity with the interests of 
the will. The latter has meanwhile been idly resting, and 
when the conclusion is arrived at it enters, as the Sultan 
enters the Divan, merely to express again its monotonous 
approval or disapproval, which certainly may vary in 
degree, but in its nature remains always the same. 

This fundamentally different nature of the will and the 
intellect, the essential simplicity and originality of the 
former, in contrast to the complicated and secondary char 
acter of the latter, becomes still more clear to us if we 
observe their remarkable interaction within us, and now 
consider in the particular case, how the images and 
thoughts which arise in the intellect move the will, and 
how entirely separated and different are the parts which 
the two play. We can indeed perceive this even in 
actual events which excite the will in a lively manner, 
while primarily and in themselves they are merely objects 
of the intellect. But, on the one hand, it is here not so 
evident that this reality primarily existed only in the 
intellect; and, on the other hand, the change does not 
generally take place so rapidly as is necessary if the thing 
is to be easily surveyed, and thereby become thoroughly 
comprehensible. Both of these conditions, however, are 
fulfilled if it is merely thoughts and phantasies which we 
allow to act on the will. If, for example, alone with our 
selves, we think over our personal circumstances, and now 
perhaps vividly present to ourselves the menace of an 
actually present danger and the possibility of an unfortu 
nate issue, anxiety at once compresses the heart, and the 


blood ceases to circulate in the veins. But if then the 
intellect passes to the possibility of an opposite issue, and 
lets the imagination picture the long hoped for happiness 
thereby attained, all the pulses quicken at once with joy 
and the heart feels light as a feather, till the intellect 
awakes from its dream. Thereupon, suppose that an occa 
sion should lead the memory to an insult or injury once 
suffered long ago, at once anger and bitterness pour into 
the breast that was but now at peace. But then arises, 
called up by accident, the image of a long-lost love, with 
which the whole romance and its magic scenes is con 
nected; then that auger will at once give place to pro 
found longing and sadness. Finally, if there occurs to us 
some former humiliating incident, we shrink together 
would like to sink out of sight, blush with shame, and 
often try forcibly to distract and divert our thoughts by 
some loud exclamation, as if to scare some evil spirit. 
One sees, the intellect plays, and the will must dance to 
it. Indeed the intellect makes the will play the part of a 
child which is alternately thrown at pleasure into joyful 
or sad moods by the chatter and tales of its nurse. This 
depends upon the fact that the will is itself without 
knowledge, and the understanding which is given to it is 
without will. Therefore the former is like a body which 
is moved, the latter like the causes which set it in motion, 
for it is the medium of motives. Yet in all this the pri 
macy of the will becomes clear again, if this will, which, 
as we have shown, becomes the sport of the intellect as 
soon as it allows the latter to control it, once makes its 
supremacy in the last instance felt by prohibiting the 
intellect from entertaining certain ideas, absolutely pre 
venting certain trains of thought from arising, because 
it knows, i.e., learns from 4 that very intellect, that they 
would awaken in it some one of the emotions set forth 
above. It now bridles the intellect, and compels it to turn 
to other things. Hard as this often may be, it must yet 
be accomplished as soon as the will is in earnest about it, 


for the resistance in this case does not proceed from the 
intellect, which always remains indifferent, but from the 
will itself, which in one respect has an inclination towards 
an idea that in another respect it abhors. It is in itself 
interesting to the will simply because it excites it, but at 
the same time abstract knowledge tells it that this idea 
will aimlessly cause it a shock of painful or unworthy 
emotion : it now decides in conformity with this abstract 
knowledge, and compels the obedience of the intellect. 
This is called " being master of oneself." Clearly the 
master here is the will, the servant the intellect, for in the 
last instance the will always keeps the upper hand, and 
therefore constitutes the true core, the inner being of 
man. In this respect the title Hye^ovifcov would belong 
to the will ; yet it seems, on the other hand, to apply to the 
intellect, because it is the leader and guide, like the valet 
de place who conducts a stranger. In truth, however, the 
happiest figure of the relation of the two is the strong 
blind man who carries on his shoulders the lame man who 
can see. 

The relation of the will to the intellect here explained 
may also be further recognised in the fact that the intel 
lect is originally entirely a stranger to the purposes of the 
will. It supplies the motives to the will, but it only learns 
afterwards, completely a posteriori, how they have affected 
it, as one who makes a chemical experiment applies the 
reagents and awaits the result. Indeed the intellect 
remains so completely excluded from the real decisions 
and secret purposes of its own will that sometimes it can 
only learn them like those of a stranger, by spying upon 
them and surprising them, and must catch the will in 
the act of expressing itself in order to get at its real 
intentions. For example, I have conceived a plan, about 
which, however, I have still some scruple, but the feasible 
ness of which, as regards its possibility, is completely 
uncertain, for it depends upon external and still unde 
cided circumstances. It would therefore certainly be un- 


necessary to come to a decision about it at present, and so 
for the time I leave the matter as it is. Now in such a case 
I often do not know how firmly I am already attached to 
that plan in secret, and how much, in spite of the scruple, 
I wish to carry it out : that is, my intellect does not 
know. But now only let me receive news that it is prac 
ticable, at once there rises within me a jubilant, irresis 
tible gladness, that passes through my whole being and 
takes permanent possession of it, to my own astonishment. 
For now my intellect learns for the first time how firmly 
my will had laid hold of that plan, and how thoroughly 
the plan suited it, while the intellect had regarded it as 
entirely problematical, and had with difficulty been able 
to overcome that scruple. Or in another case, I have 
entered eagerly into a contract which I believed to be 
very much in accordance with my wishes. But as the 
matter progresses the disadvantages and burdens of it are 
felt, and I begin to suspect that I even repent of what I 
so eagerly pursued ; yet I rid myself of this feeling by 
assuring myself that even if I were not bound I would 
follow the same course. Now, however, the contract is 
unexpectedly broken by the other side, and I perceive with 
astonishment that this happens to my great satisfaction 
and relief. Often we don t know what we wish or what 
we fear. We may entertain a wish for years without even 
confessing it to ourselves, or even allowing it to come to 
clear consciousness ; for the intellect must know nothing 
about it, because the good opinion which we have of our 
selves might thereby suffer. But if it is fulfilled we learn 
from our joy, not without shame, that we have wished this. 
For example, the death of a near relation whose heir we 
are. And sometimes we do not know what we really fear, 
because we lack the courage to bring it to distinct con- 
sciousnesss. Indeed we are often in error as to the real 
motive from which we have done something or left it 
undone, till at last perhaps an accident discovers to us the 
secret, and we know that what we have held to be the 


motive was not the true one, but another which we had 
not wished to confess to ourselves, because it by no means 
accorded with the good opinion we entertained of our 
selves. For example, we refrain from doing something 
on purely moral grounds, as we believe, but afterwards we 
discover that we were only restrained by fear, for as soon 
as all danger is removed we do it. In particular cases 
this may go so far that a man does not even guess the 
true motive of his action, nay, does not believe himself 
capable of being influenced by such a motive ; and yet it 
is the true motive of his action. We may remark in 
passing that in all this we have a confirmation and ex 
planation of the rule of Larochefoucauld : " L amour-propre 
est plus habile que le plus habile homme du monde;" nay, 
even a commentary on the Delphic yvcoOi, aavrov and its 
difficulty. If now, on the contrary, as all philosophers 
imagine, the intellect constituted our true nature and the 
purposes of the will were a mere result of knowledge, then 
only the motive from which we imagined that we acted 
would be decisive of our moral worth ; in analogy with 
the fact that the intention, not the result, is in this respect 
decisive. But really then the distinction between imagined 
and true motive would be impossible. Thus all cases here 
set forth, to which every one who pays attention may 
observe analogous cases in himself, show us how the 
intellect is so strange to the will that it is sometimes 
even mystified by it : for it indeed supplies it with 
motives, but does not penetrate into the secret workshop 
of its purposes. It is indeed a confidant of the will, but 
a confidant that is not told everything. This is also 
further confirmed by the fact, which almost every one will 
some time have the opportunity of observing in himself, 
that sometimes the intellect does not thoroughly trust the 
will. If we have formed some great and bold purpose, 
which as such is yet really only a promise made by the 
will to the intellect, there often remains within us a slight 
unconfessed doubt whether we are quite in earnest about 


it, whether in carrying it out we will not waver or draw 
back, but will have sufficient firmness and persistency to 
fulfil it. It therefore requires the deed to convince us 
ourselves of the sincerity of the purpose. 

All these facts prove the absolute difference of the will 
and the intellect, the primacy of the former and the sub 
ordinate position of the latter. 

4. The intellect becomes tired ; the will is never tired. 
After sustained work with the head we feel the tiredness 
of the brain, just like that of the arm after sustained 
bodily work. All knowing is accompanied with effort ; 
willing, on the contrary, is our very nature, whose mani 
festations take place without any weariness and entirely 
of their own accord. Therefore, if our will is .strongly 
excited, as in all emotions, thus in anger, fear, desire, 
grief, &c., and we are now called upon to know, perhaps 
with the view of correcting the motives of that emotion, 
the violence which we must do ourselves for this purpose 
is evidence of the transition from the original natural 
activity proper to ourselves to the derived, indirect, and 
forced activity. For the will alone is avroparos, and 
therefore a/co/taro? Kai ayrjparos y^ara, Travra (lassitu- 
dinis et senii expers in sempiternum). It alone is active 
without being called upon, and therefore often too early 
and too much, and it knows no weariness. Infants who 
scarcely show the first weak trace of intelligence are 
already full of self-will : through unlimited, aimless roar 
ing and shrieking they show the pressure of will with 
which they swell, while their willing has yet no object, 
i.e., they will without knowing what they will. What 
Cabanis has observed is also in point here : " Toutes ces 
passions, qui se succedent d une manniere si rapide, et se 
peignent avec tant de naivete", sur le visage mobile des enfants. 
Tandis que les foibles muscles de leurs bras et de leurs jambes 
savent encore a peine former quelque mouvemens inde cis, les 
muscles dc la face expriment deja par des mouvemens dis- 
tincts presque toute la suite des affections ge ne rales propres a 


la nature humaine: etVobscrvateurattentifreconnaitfacile- 
ment dans ce tableau les traits caracte ristiques de I homme 
futur " (Rapports du Physique et Moral, vol. i. p. 1 23). The 
intellect, on the contrary, develops slowly, following the 
completion of the brain and the maturity of the whole 
organism, which are its conditions, just because it is 
merely a somatic function. It is because the brain 
attains its full size in the seventh year that from that 
time forward children become so remarkably intelligent, 
inquisitive, and reasonable. But then comes puberty ; to 
a certain extent it affords a support to the brain, or a 
resounding-board, and raises the intellect at once by a 
large step, as it were by an octave, corresponding to the 
lowering of the voice by that amount. But at once the 
animal desires and passions that now appear resist the 
reasonableness that has hitherto prevailed and to which 
they have been added. Further evidence is given of the 
indefatigable nature of the will by the fault which is, 
more or less, peculiar to all men by nature, and is only 
overcome by education precipitation. It consists in this, 
that the will hurries to its work before the time. This 
work is the purely active and executive part, which ought 
only to begin when the explorative and deliberative part, 
thus the work of knowing, has been completely and 
thoroughly carried out. But this time is seldom waited 
for. Scarcely are a few data concerning the circumstances 
before us, or the event that has occurred, or the opinion 
of others conveyed to us, superficially comprehended and 
hastily gathered together by knowledge, than from the 
depths of our being the will, always ready and never weary, 
comes forth unasked, and shows itself as terror, fear, hope, 
joy, desire, envy, grief, zeal, anger, or courage, and leads 
to rash words and deeds, which are generally followed by 
repentance when time has taught us that the hegemoni- 
con, the intellect, has not been able to finish half its work 
of comprehending the circumstances, reflecting on their 
connection, and deciding what is prudent, because the will 


did not wait for it, but sprang forward long before its 
time with " Now it is my turn ! " and at once began the 
active work, without the intellect being able to resist, as 
it is a mere slave and bondman of the will, and not, like 
it, avTofMaros, nor active from its own power and its own 
impulse ; therefore it is easily pushed aside and silenced 
by a nod of the will, while on its part it is scarcely able, 
with the greatest efforts, to bring the will even to a brief 
pause, in order to speak. This is why the people are so 
rare, and are found almost only among Spaniards, Turks, 
and perhaps Englishmen, who even under circumstances 
of provocation keep the head uppermost, imperturbably pro 
ceed to comprehend and investigate the state of affairs, 
and when others would already be beside themselves, con 
mucho sosiego, still ask further questions, which is some 
thing quite different from the indifference founded upon 
apathy and stupidity of many Germans and Dutchmen. 
Iffland used to give an excellent representation of this 
admirable quality, as Hetmann of the Cossacks, in Ben- 
jowski, when the conspirators have enticed him into their 
tent and hold a rifle to his head, with the warning that 
they will fire it if he utters a cry, Iffland blew into the 
mouth of the rifle to try whether it was loaded. Of ten 
things that annoy us, nine would not be able to do so if 
we understood them thoroughly in their causes, and there 
fore knew their necessity and true nature ; but we would 
do this much oftener if we made them the object of re 
flection before making them the object of wrath and 
indignation. For what bridle and bit are to an unmanage 
able horse the intellect is for the will in man ; by this 
bridle it must be controlled by means of instruction, 
exhortation, culture, &c., for in itself it is as wild and 
impetuous an impulse as the force that appears in the 
descending waterfall, nay, as we know, it is at bottom 
identical with this. In the height of anger, in intoxica 
tion, in despair, it has taken the bit between its teeth, has 
run away, and follows its original nature. In the Mania 


sincjdelirio it has lost bridle and bit altogether, and shows 
now most distinctly its original nature, and that the in 
tellect is as different from it as the bridle from the horse. 
In this condition it may also be compared to a clock 
which, when a certain screw is taken away, runs down 
without stopping. 

Thus this consideration also shows us the will as that 
which is original, and therefore metaphysical ; the intel 
lect, on the other hand, as something subordinate and 
physical. For as such the latter is, like everything physi 
cal, subject to vis inertice, consequently only active if it is 
set agoing by something else, the will, which rules it, 
manages it, rouses it to effort, in short, imparts to it the 
activity which does not originally reside in it. Therefore 
it willingly rests whenever it is permitted to do so, often 
declares itself lazy and disinclined to activity; through 
continued effort it becomes weary to the point of complete 
stupefaction, is exhausted, like the voltaic pile, through 
repeated shocks. Hence all continuous mental work de 
mands pauses and rest, otherwise stupidity and incapacity 
ensue, at first of course only temporarily ; but if this rest 
is persistently denied to the intellect it will become ex 
cessively and continuously fatigued, and the consequence 
is a permanent deterioration of it, which in an old man 
may pass into complete incapacity, into childishness, im 
becility, and madness. It is not to be attributed to age 
in and for itself, but to long-continued tyrannical over- 
exertion of the intellect or brain, if this misfortune ap 
pears in the last years of life. This is the explanation 
of the fact that Swift became mad, Kant became 
childish, Walter Scott, and also Wordsworth, Southey, 
and many minorum gentium, became dull and incapable. 
Goethe remained to the end clear, strong, and active- 
minded, because he, who was always a man of the world 
and a courtier, never carried on his mental occupations 
with self-compulsion. The same holds good of Wieland 
and of Kuebel, who lived to the age of ninety-one, and also 


of Voltaire. Now all this proves how very subordinate 
and physical and what a mere tool the intellect is. Just 
on this account it requires, during almost a third part of 
its lifetime, the entire suspension of its activity in sleep, 
i.e., the rest of the brain, of which it is the mere func 
tion, and which therefore just as truly precedes it as the 
stomach precedes digestion, or as a body precedes its impul 
sion, and with which in old age it flags and decays. The 
will, on the contrary, as the thing in itself, is never lazy, 
is absolutely untiring, its activity is its essence, it never 
ceases willing, and when, during deep sleep, it is forsaken 
of the intellect, and therefore cannot act outwardly in 
accordance with motives, it is active as the vital force, 
cares the more uninterruptedly for the inner economy of 
the organism, and as vis naturae medicatrix sets in order 
again the irregularities that have crept into it. For it is 
not, like the intellect, a function of the body ; ~but the body 
is its function ; therefore it is, ordine rerum, prior to the 
body, as its metaphysical substratum, as the in-itself of 
its phenomenal appearance. It shares its unwearying 
nature, for the time that life lasts, with the heart, that 
primum mobile of the organism, which has therefore be 
come its symbol and synonym. Moreover, it does not 
disappear in the old man, but still continues to will what 
it has willed, and indeed becomes firmer, more inflexible, 
than it was in youth, more implacable, self-willed, and 
unmanageable, because the intellect has become less sus 
ceptible : therefore in old age the man can perhaps only 
be matched by taking advantage of the weakness of his 

Moreover, the prevailing weakness and imperfection of 
the intellect, as it is shown in the want of judgment, 
narrow-mindedness, perversity, and folly of the great 
majority of men, would be quite inexplicable if the in 
tellect were not subordinate, adventitious, and merely 
instrumental, but the immediate and original nature of 
the so-called soul, or in general of the inner man : as all 


philosophers have hitherto assumed it to be. For how 
could the original nature in its immediate and peculiar 
function so constantly err and fail ? The truly original 
in human consciousness, the willing, always goes on with 
perfect success; every being wills unceasingly, capably, 
and decidedly. To regard the immorality in the will as an 
imperfection of it would be a fundamentally false point of 
view. For morality has rather a source which really lies 
above nature, and therefore its utterances are in contra 
diction with it. Therefore morality is in direct opposition 
to the natural will, which in itself is completely egoistic ; 
indeed the pursuit of the path of morality leads to the 
abolition of the will. On this subject I refer to our fourth 
book and to my prize essay, " Uebcr das Fundament der 

5. That the will is what is real and essential in man, 
and the intellect only subordinate, conditioned, and pro 
duced, is also to be seen in the fact that the latter can 
carry on its function with perfect purity and correctness 
only so long as the will is silent and pauses. On the 
other hand, the function of the intellect is disturbed by 
every observable excitement of the will, and its result is 
falsified by the intermixture of the latter; but the con 
verse does not hold, that the intellect should in the same 
way be a hindrance to the will. Thus the moon cannot 
shine when the sun is in the heavens, but when the moon 
is in the heavens it does not prevent the sun from shining. 

A great fright often deprives us of our senses to such 
an extent that we are petrified, or else do the most absurd 
things ; for example, when fire has broken out run right 
into the flames. Anger makes us no longer know what 
we do, still less what we say. Zeal, therefore called blind, 
makes us incapable of weighing the arguments of others, 
or even of seeking out and setting in order our own. Joy 
makes us inconsiderate, reckless, and foolhardy, and desire, 
acts almost in the same way. Fear prevents us from see 
ing and laying hold of the resources that are still present, 


and often lie close beside us. Therefore for overcoming 
sudden dangers, and also for fighting with opponents and 
enemies, the most essential qualifications are coolness and 
presence of mind. The former consists in the silence of 
the will so that the intellect can act ; the latter in the 
undisturbed activity of the intellect under the pressure of 
events acting on the will ; therefore the former is the con 
dition of the latter, and the two are nearly related ; they 
are seldom to be found, and always only in a limited 
degree. But they are of inestimable advantage, because 
they permit the use of the intellect just at those times 
when we stand most in need of it, and therefore confer 
decided superiority. He who is without them only knows 
what he should have done or said when the opportunity 
has passed. It is very appropriately said of him who is 
violently moved, i.e., whose will is so strongly excited that 
it destroys the purity of the function of the intellect, he is 
disarmed ; for the correct knowledge of the circumstances 
and relations is our defence and weapon in the conflict 
with things and with men. In this sense Balthazar Gra- 
ciau says : " Es la passion enemiga declarada de la cordura " 
(Passion is the declared enemy of prudence). If now the 
intellect were not something completely different from the 
will, but, as has been hitherto supposed, knowing and will 
ing had the same root, and were equally original functions 
of an absolutely simple nature, then with the rousing and 
heightening of the will, in which the emotion consists, the 
intellect would necessarily also be heightened ; but, as we 
have seen, it is rather hindered and depressed by this ; 
whence the ancients called emotion animi perturlatio. 
The intellect is really like the reflecting surface of water, 
but the water itself is like the will, whose disturbance 
therefore at once destroys the clearness of that mirror and 
the distinctness of its images. The organism is the will 
itself, is embodied will, i.e., will objectively perceived in 
the brain. Therefore many of its functions, such as res 
piration, circulation, secretion of bile, and muscular power, 


are heightened and accelerated by the pleasurable, and in 
general the healthy, emotions. The intellect, on the other 
hand, is the mere function of the brain, which is only 
nourished and supported by the organism, as a parasite. 
Therefore every perturbation of the will, and with it of 
the organism, must disturb and paralyse the function of 
the brain, which exists for itself and for no other wants 
than its own, which are simply rest and nourishment. 

But this disturbing influence of the activity of the will 
upon the intellect can be shown, not only in the perturba 
tions brought about by emotions, but also in many other, 
more gradual, and therefore more lasting falsifications of 
thought by our inclinations. Hope makes us regard what 
we wish, and fear what we are apprehensive of, as pro 
bable and near, and both exaggerate their object. Plato 
(according to vElian, V.H., 13, 28) very beautifully called 
hope the dream of the waking. Its nature lies in this, 
that the will, when its servant the intellect is not able to 
produce what it wishes, obliges it at least to picture it 
before it, in general to undertake the roll of comforter, to 
appease its lord with fables, as a nurse a child, and so to 
dress these out that they gain an appearance of likelihood. 
Now in this the intellect must do violence to its own nature, 
which aims at the truth, for it compels it, contrary to its 
own laws, to regard as true things which are neither true 
nor probable, and often scarcely possible, only in order to 
appease, quiet, and send to sleep for a while the restless 
and unmanageable will. Here we see clearly who is master 
and who is servant. Many may well have observed that 
if a matter which is of importance to them may turn out 
in several different ways, and they have brought all of 
these into one disjunctive judgment which in their opinion 
is complete, the actual result is yet quite another, and one 
wholly unexpected by them : but perhaps they will not 
have considered this, that this result was then almost 
always the one which was unfavourable to them. The ex 
planation of this is, that while their intellect intended to 


survey the possibilities completely, the worst of all remained 
quite invisible to it ; because the will, as it were, covered 
it with its hand, that is, it so mastered the intellect that 
it was quite incapable of glancing at the worst case of all, 
although, since it actually came to pass, this was also the 
most probable case. Yet in very melancholy dispositions, 
or in those that have become prudent through experi 
ence like this, the process is reversed, for here apprehen 
sion plays the part which was formerly played by hope. 
The first appearance of danger throws them into ground 
less anxiety. If the intellect begins to investigate the 
matter it is rejected as incompetent, nay, as a deceitful 
sophist, because the heart is to be believed, whose fears 
are now actually allowed to pass for arguments as to the 
reality and greatness of the danger. So then the intellect 
dare make no search for good reasons on the other side, 
which, if left to itself, it would soon recognise, but is 
obliged at once to picture to them the most unfortunate 
issue, even if it itself can scarcely think this issue possible : 

" Such as we know is false, yet dread in sooth, 
Because the worst is ever nearest truth." 

BYRON (Lara, c. 1). 

Love and hate falsify our judgment entirely. In our 
enemies we see nothing but faults in our loved ones no 
thing but excellences, and even their faults appear to us 
amiable. Our interest, of whatever kind it may be, exer 
cises a like secret power over our judgment ; what is in 
conformity with it at once seems to us fair, just, and 
reasonable ; what runs contrary to it presents itself to us, 
in perfect seriousness, as unjust and outrageous, or injudi 
cious and absurd. Hence so many prejudices of position, 
profession, nationality, sect, and religion. A conceived 
hypothesis gives us lynx-eyes for all, that confirms it, and 
makes us blind to all that contradicts it. What is opposed 
to our party, our plan, our wish, our hope, we often can 
not comprehend and grasp at all, while it is clear to every 


one else ; but what is favourable to these, on the other 
hand, strikes our eye from afar. What the heart opposes 
the head will not admit. We firmly retain many errors 
all through life, and take care never to examine their 
ground, merely from a fear, of which we ourselves are con 
scious, that we might make the discovery that we had so 
long believed and so often asserted what is false. Thus 
then is the intellect daily befooled and corrupted by the 
impositions of inclination. This has been very beauti 
fully expressed by Bacon of Verulam in the words : Intel- 
lectus LUMINIS sicci non est ; sed recipit infusionem a volun- 
tate et affectibus : id quod general ad quod vult scientias : 
quod enim mavult homo, id potius credit. Innumeris modis, 
Usque interdum imperceptibilibus, affectus intellectum im- 
luit et inftcit (Onj. Nov., i. 14). Clearly it is also this that 
opposes all new fundamental opinions in the sciences and 
all refutations of sanctioned errors, for one will not easily 
see the truth of that which convicts one of incredible want 
of thought. It is explicable, on this ground alone, that the 
truths of Goethe s doctrine of colours, which are so clear 
and simple, are still denied by the physicists ; and thus 
Goethe himself has had to learn what a much harder posi 
tion one has if one promises men instruction than if one 
promises them amusement. Hence it is much more for 
tunate to be born a poet than a philosopher. But the 
more obstinately an error was held by the other side, the 
more shameful does the conviction afterwards become. 
In the case of an overthrown system, as in the case of a 
conquered army, the most prudent is he who first runs 
away from it. 

A trifling and absurd, but striking example of that 
mysterious and immediate power which the will exercises 
over the intellect, is the fact that in doing accounts we 
make mistakes much oftener in our own favour than to 
our disadvantage, and this without the slightest dishonest 
intention, merely from the unconscious tendency to 
diminish our Debit and increase our Credit. 

VOL. II. 2 E 


Lastly, the fact is also in point here, that when advice 
is given the slightest aim or purpose of the adviser gene 
rally outweighs his insight, however great it may be; 
therefore we dare not assume that he speaks from the 
latter when we suspect the existence of the former. How 
little perfect sincerity is to be expected even from other 
wise honest persons whenever their interests are in any 
way concerned we can gather from the fact that we so 
often deceive ourselves when hope bribes us, or fear be 
fools us, or suspicion torments us, or vanity natters us, or 
an hypothesis blinds us, or a small aim which is close at 
hand injures a greater but more distant one ; for in this 
we see the direct and unconscious disadvantageous influ 
ence of the will upon knowledge. Accordingly it ought 
not to surprise us if in asking advice the will of the per 
son asked directly dictates the answer even before the 
question could penetrate to the forum of his judgment. 

I wish in a single word to point out here what will be 
fully explained in the following book, that the most per 
fect knowledge, thus the purely objective comprehension 
of the world, i.e., the comprehension of genius, is condi 
tioned by a silence of the will so profound that while it 
lasts even the individuality vanishes from consciousness 
and the man remains as the pure subject of knowing, which 
is the correlative of the Idea. 

The disturbing influence of the will upon the intellect, 
which is proved by all these phenomena, and, on the other 
hand, the weakness and frailty of the latter, on account of 
which it is incapable of working rightly whenever the will 
is in any way moved, gives us then another proof that 
the will is the radical part of our nature, and acts with 
original power, while the intellect, as adventitious and in 
many ways conditioned, can only act in a subordinate and 
conditional manner. 

There is no direct disturbance of the will by the intel 
lect corresponding to the disturbance and clouding of 
knowledge by the will that has been shown. Indeed we 


cannot well conceive such a thing. No one will wish to 
construe as such the fact that motives wrongly taken up 
lead the will astray, for this is a fault of the intellect in 
its own function, which is committed quite within its 
own province, and the influence of which upon the will 
is entirely indirect. It would be plausible to attribute 
irresolution to this, for in its case, through the conflict of 
the motives which the intellect presents to the will, the 
latter is brought to a standstill, thus is hindered. But 
when we consider it more closely, it becomes very clear 
that the cause of this hindrance does not lie in the ac 
tivity of the intellect as such, but entirely in external 
objects which are brought about by it, for in this case they 
stand in precisely such a relation to the will, which is here 
interested, that they draw it with nearly equal strength in 
different directions. This real cause merely acts through 
the intellect as the medium of motives, though certainly 
under the assumption that it is keen enough to compre 
hend the objects in their manifold relations. Irresolu 
tion, as a trait of character, is just as much conditioned 
by qualities of the will as of the intellect. It is certainly 
not peculiar to exceedingly limited minds, for their weak 
understanding does not allow them to discover such mani 
fold qualities and relations in things, and moreover is so 
little fitted for the exertion of reflection and pondering 
these, and then the probable consequences of each step, 
that they rather decide at once according to the first 
impression, or according to some simple rule of conduct. 
The converse of this occurs in the case of persons of con 
siderable understanding. Therefore, whenever such per 
sons also possess a tender care for their own well-being, 
i.e., a very sensitive egoism, which constantly desires to 
come off well and always to be safe, this introduces a cer 
tain anxiety at every step, and thereby irresolution. This 
quality therefore indicates throughout not a want of 
understanding but a want of courage. Yet very eminent 
minds survey the relations and their probable develop- 


inents with such rapidity and certainty, that if they are 
only supported by some courage they thereby acquire 
that quick decision and resolution that fits them to play 
an important part in the affairs of the world, if time and 
circumstances afford them the opportunity. 

The only decided, direct restriction and disturbance 
which the will can suffer from the intellect as such may 
indeed be the quite exceptional one, which is the conse 
quence of an abnormally preponderating development of 
the intellect, thus of that high endowment which has been 
defined as genius. This is decidedly a hindrance to the 

o v 

energy of the character, and consequently to the power of 
action. Hence it is not the really great minds that make 
historical characters, because they are capable of bridling 
and ruling the mass of men and carrying out the affairs 
of the world ; but for this persons of much less capacity 
of mind are qualified when they have great firmness, 
decision, and persistency of will, such as is quite incon 
sistent with very high intelligence. Accordingly, where 
this very high intelligence exists we actually have a case 
in which the intellect directly restricts the will. 

6. In opposition to the hindrances and restrictions 
which it has been shown the intellect suffers from the 
will, I wish now to show, in a few examples, how, con 
versely, the functions of the intellect are sometimes aided 
and heightened by the incitement and spur of the will ; so 
that in this also we may recognise the primary nature of 
the one and the secondary nature of the other, and it may 
become clear that the intellect stands to the will in the 
relation of a tool. 

A motive which affects us strongly, such as a yearning 
desire or a pressing need, sometimes raises the intellect 
to a degree of which we had not previously believed it 
capable. Difficult circumstances, which impose upon us 
the necessity of certain achievements, develop entirely 
new talents in us, the germs of which were hidden from 
us, and for which we did not credit ourselves with any 


capacity. The understanding of the stupidest man be 
comes keen when objects are in question that closely 
concern his wishes ; he now observes, weighs, and dis 
tinguishes with the greatest delicacy even the smallest 
circumstances that have reference to his wishes or fears. 
This has much to do with the cunning of half-witted 
persons, which is often remarked with surprise. On this 
account Isaiah rightly says, vexatio dat intellectum, which 
is therefore also used as a proverb. Akin to it is the 
German proverb, " Die Noth ist die Mutter der Kunste " 
(" Necessity is the mother of the arts ") ; when, however, the 
fine arts are to be excepted, because the heart of every 
one of their works, that is, the conception, must proceed 
from a perfectly will-less, and only thereby purely objective, 
perception, if they are to be genuine. Even the under 
standing of the brutes is increased considerably by neces 
sity, so that in cases of difficulty they accomplish things 
at which we are astonished. For example, they almost all 
calculate that it is safer not to run away when they 
believe they are not seen ; therefore the hare lies still in 
the furrow of the field and lets the sportsman pass close 
to it; insects, when they cannot escape, pretend to be 
dead, &c. We may obtain a fuller knowledge of this 
influence from the special history of the self-education of 
the wolf, under the spur of the great difficulty of its 
position in civilised Europe ; it is to be found in the 
second letter of Leroy s excellent book, " Lettres sur V in 
telligence et la perfectibility des animaux." Immediately 
afterwards, in the third letter, there follows the high 
school of the fox, which in an equally difficult position 
has far less physical strength. In its case, however, this 
is made up for by great understanding ; yet only through 
the constant struggle with want on the one hand and 
danger on the other, thus under the spur of the will, does 
it attain that high degree of cunning which distinguishes 
it especially in old age. In all these enhancements of the 
intellect the will plays the part of a rider who with the 


spur urges the horse beyond the natural measure of its 

In the same way the memory is enhanced through the 
pressure of the will. Even if it is otherwise weak, it 
preserves perfectly what has value for the ruling passion. 
The lover forgets no opportunity favourable to him, the 
ambitious man forgets no circumstance that can forward 
his plans, the avaricious man never forgets the loss he has 
suffered, the proud man never forgets an injury to his 
honour, the vain man remembers every word of praise and 
the most trifling distinction that falls to his lot. And this 
also extends to the brutes : the horse stops at the inn 
where once long ago it was fed ; dogs have an excellent 
memory for all occasions, times, and places that have 
afforded them choice morsels ; and foxes for the different 
hiding-places in which they have stored their plunder. 

Self-consideration affords opportunity for finer observa 
tions in this regard. Sometimes, through an interruption, 
it has entirely escaped me what I have just been thinking 
about, or even what news I have just heard. Now if the 
matter had in any way even the most distant personal 
interest, the after-feeling of the impression which it made 
upon the will has remained. I am still quite conscious 
how far it affected me agreeably or disagreeably, and also 
of the special manner in which this happened, whether, 
even in the slightest degree, it vexed me, or made me 
anxious, or irritated me, or depressed me, or produced the 
opposite of these affections. Thus the mere relation of 
the thing to my will is retained in the memory after the 
thing itself has vanished, and this often becomes the clue 
to lead us back to the thing itself. The sight of a man 
sometimes affects us in an analogous manner, for we 
remember merely in general that we have had something 
to do with him, yet without knowing where, when, or 
what it was, or who he is. But the sight of him still 
recalls pretty accurately the feeling which our dealings 
with him excited in us, whether it was agreeable or dis- 


agreeable, and also in what degree and in what way. 
Thus our memory has preserved only the response of 
the will, and not that which called it forth. We might 
call what lies at the foundation of this process the 
memory of the heart ; it is much more intimate than that 
of the head. Yet at bottom the connection of the two is 
so far-reaching that if we reflect deeply upon the matter 
we will arrive at the conclusion that memory in general 
requires the support of a will as a connecting point, or 
rather as a thread upon which the memories can range 
themselves, and which holds them firmly together, or that 
the will is, as it were, the ground to which the individual 
memories cleave, and without which they could not last ; 
and that therefore in a pure intelligence, i.e., in a merely 
knowing and absolutely will-less being, a memory cannot 
well be conceived. Accordingly the improvement of the 
memory under the spur of the ruling passion, which has 
been shown above, is only the higher degree of that which 
takes place in all retention and recollection ; for its basis 
and condition is always the will. Thus in all this also it 
becomes clear how very much more essential to us the 
will is than the intellect. The following facts may also 
serve to confirm this. 

The intellect often obeys the will ; for example, if we 
wishto remember something, and after some effort succeed; 
so also if we wish now to ponder something carefully and 
deliberately, and in many such cases. Sometimes, again, 
the intellect refuses to obey the will ; for example, if we 
try in vain to fix our minds upon something, or if we call 
in vain upon the memory for something that was intrusted 
to it. The anger of the will against the intellect on such 
occasions makes its relation to it and the difference of the 
two very plain. Indeed the intellect, vexed by this anger, 
sometimes officiously brings what was asked of it hours 
afterwards, or even the following morning, quite unex 
pectedly and unseasonably. On the other hand, the will 
never really obeys the intellect ; but the latter is only the 


ministerial council of that sovereign ; it presents all kinds 
of things to the will, which then selects what is in con 
formity with its nature, though in doing so it determines 
itself with necessity, because this nature is unchangeable 
and the motives now lie before it. Hence no system of 
ethics is possible which moulds and improves the will 
itself. For all teaching only affects knowledge, and know 
ledge never determines the will itself, i.e., the fundamental 
character of willing, but only its application to the circum 
stances present. Eectified knowledge can only modify 
conduct so far as it proves more exactly and judges more 
correctly what objects of the will s choice are within its 
reach ; so that the will now measures its relation to things 
more correctly, sees more clearly what it desires, and con 
sequently is less subject to error in its choice. But over the 
will itself, over the main tendency or fundamental maxim 
of it, the intellect has no power. To believe that know 
ledge really and fundamentally determines the will is like 
believing that the lantern which a man carries by night is 
the primum mobile of his steps. Whoever, taught by experi 
ence or the admonitions of others, knows and laments a fun 
damental fault of his character, firmly and honestly forms 
the intention to reform and give it up; but in spite of this, on 
the first opportunity, the fault receives free course. New re 
pentance, new intentions, new transgressions. When this 
has been gone through several times he becomes conscious 
that he cannot improve himself, that the fault lies in his 
nature and personality, indeed is one with this. Now he 
will blame and curse his nature and personality, will have 
a painful feeling, which may rise to anguish of conscious 
ness, but to change these he is not able. Here we see that 
which condemns and that which is condemned distinctly 
separate : we see the former as a merely theoretical faculty, 
picturing and presenting the praiseworthy, and therefore 
desirable, course of life, but the other as something real 
and unchangeably present, going quite a different way in 
spite of the former : and then again the first remaining 


behind with impotent lamentations over the nature of 
the other, with which, through this very distress, it again 
identifies itself. Will and intellect here separate very 
distinctly. But here the will shows itself as the stronger, 
the invincible, unchangeable, primitive, and at the same 
time as the essential thing in question, for the intellect 
deplores its errors, and finds no comfort in the correctness 
of the knowledge, as its own function. Thus the intellect 
shows itself entirely secondary, as the spectator of the 
deeds of another, which it accompanies with impotent 
praise and blame, and also as determinable from without, 
because it learns from experience, weighs and alters its 
precepts. Special illustrations of this subject will be found 
in the "Parcrga," vol. ii. 1 18 (second ed., 1 19.) Accord 
ingly, a comparison of our manner of thinking at different 
periods of our life will present a strange mixture of per 
manence and changeableness. On the one hand, the moral 
tendency of the man in his prime and the old man is still 
the same as was that of the boy ; on the other hand, much 
has become so strange to him that he no longer knows 
himself, and wonders how he ever could have done or said 
this and that. In the first half of life to-day for the most 
part laughs at yesterday, indeed looks down on it with 
contempt; in the second half, on the contrary, it more 
and more looks back at it with envy. But on closer 
examination it will be found that the changeable element 
was the intellect, with its functions of insight and know 
ledge, which, daily appropriating new material from with 
out, presents a constantly changing system of thought, 
while, besides this, it itself rises and sinks with the growth 
and decay of the organism. The will, on the contrary, the 
basis of this, thus the inclinations, passions, and emotions, 
the character, shows itself as what is unalterable in con 
sciousness. Yet we have to take account of the modifica 
tions that depend upon physical capacities for enjoyment, 
and hence upon age. Thus, for example, the eagerness 
for sensuous pleasure will show itself in childhood as a 


love of dainties, in youth and manhood as the tendency 
to sensuality, and in old age again as a love of dainties. 

7. If, as is generally assumed, the will proceeded from 
knowledge, as its result or product, then where there is 
much will there would necessarily also be much know 
ledge, insight, and understanding. This, however, is abso 
lutely not the case ; rather, we find in many men a strong, 
i.e., decided, resolute, persistent, unbending, wayward, and 
vehement will, combined with a very weak and incapable 
understanding, so that every one who has to do with them 
is thrown into despair, for their will remains inaccessible 
to all reasons and ideas, and is not to be got at, so that it 
is hidden, as it were, in a sack, out of which it wills 
blindly. Brutes have often violent, often stubborn wills, 
but yet very little understanding. Finally, plants only 
will without any knowledge at all. 

If willing sprang merely from knowledge, our anger 
would necessarily be in every case exactly proportionate 
to the occasion, or at least to our relation to it, for it 
would be nothing more than the result of the present 
knowledge. This, however, is rarely the case ; rather, 
anger generally goes far beyond the occasion. Our fury 
and rage, the furor brevis, often upon small occasions, and 
without error regarding them, is like the raging of an evil 
spirit which, having been shut up, only waits its oppor 
tunity to dare to break loose, and now rejoices that it has 
found it. This could not be the case if the foundation 
of our nature were a Jcnower, and willing were merely a 
result of knowledge; for how came there into the result 
what did not lie in the elements ? The conclusion cannot 
contain more than the premisses. Thus here also the 
will shows itself as of a nature quite different from know 
ledge, which only serves it for communication with the 
external world, but then the will follows the laws of its 
own nature without taking from the intellect anything 
but the occasion. 

The intellect, as the mere tool of the will, is as different 


from it as the hammer from the smith. So long as in a 
conversation the intellect alone is active it remains cold. 
It is almost as if the man himself were not present. More 
over, he cannot then, properly speaking, compromise him 
self, but at the most can make himself ridiculous. Only 
when the will comes into play is the man really present : 
now he becomes warm, nay, it often happens, hot. It is 
always the will to which we ascribe the warmth of life ; 
on the other hand, we say the cold understanding, or to 
investigate a thing coolly, i.e., to think without being influ 
enced by the will. If we attempt to reverse the relation, 
and to regard the will as the tool of the intellect, it is as 
if we made the smith the tool of the hammer. 

Nothing is more provoking, when we are arguing against 
a man with reasons and explanations, and taking all pains 
to convince him, under the impression that we have only 
to do with his understanding, than to discover at last that 
he will not understand ; that thus we had to do with his 
will, which shuts itself up against the truth and brings 
into the field wilful misunderstandings, chicaneries, and 
sophisms in order to intrench itself behind its understand 
ing and its pretended want of insight. Then he is cer 
tainly not to be got at, for reasons and proofs applied 
against the will are like the blows of a phantom pro 
duced by mirrors against a solid body. Hence the saying 
so often repeated, " Stat pro ratione voluntas." Sufficient 
evidence of what has been said is afforded by ordinary 
life. But unfortunately proofs of it are also to be found 
on the path of the sciences. The recognition of the most 
important truths, of the rarest achievements, will be 
looked for in vain from those who have an interest in 
preventing them from being accepted, an interest which 
either springs from the fact that such truths contradict 
what they themselves daily teach, or else from this, that 
they dare not make use of them and teach them; or if 
all this be not the case they will not accept them, because 
the watchword of mediocrity will always be, Si quelqu un 


excelle parmi nous, quil aille exceller ailleurs, as Helvetius 
has admirably rendered the saying of the Ephesian in the 
fifth book of Cicero s " Tusculance " (c. 36), or as a saying 
of the Abyssinian Fit Arari puts it, " Among quartzes 
adamant is outlawed." Thus whoever expects from this 
always numerous band a just estimation of what he has 
done will find himself very much deceived, and perhaps 
for a while he will not be able to understand their be 
haviour, till at last he finds out that while he applied 
himself to knowledge he had to do with the will, thus is 
precisely in the position described above, nay, is really 
like a man who brings his case before a court the judges 
of which have all been bribed. Yet in particular cases he 
will receive the fullest proof that their will and not their 
insight opposed him, when one or other of them makes up 
his mind to plagiarism. Then he will see with astonish 
ment what good judges they are, what correct perception 
of the merit of others they have, and how well they know 
how to find out the best, like the sparrows, who never 
miss the ripest cherries. 

The counterpart of the victorious resistance of the will 
to knowledge here set forth appears if in expounding our 
reasons and proofs we have the will of those addressed 
with us. Then all are at once convinced, all arguments 
are telling, and the matter is at once clear as the day. 
This is well known to popular speakers. In the one case, 
as in the other, the will shows itself as that which has 
original power, against which the intellect can do nothing. 

8. But now we shall take into consideration the indi 
vidual qualities, thus excellences and faults of the will 
and character on the one hand, and of the intellect on the 
other, in order to make clear, in their relation to each 
other, and their relative worth, the complete difference 
of the two fundamental faculties. History and experi 
ence teach that the two appear quite independently of 
each other. That the greatest excellence of mind will not 
easily be found combined with equal excellence of char- 


acter is sufficiently explained by the extraordinary rarity 
of both, while their opposites are everywhere the order of 
the day ; hence we also daily find the latter in union. 
However, we never infer a good will from a superior mind, 
nor the latter from the former, nor the opposite from the 
opposite, but every unprejudiced person accepts them 
as perfectly distinct qualities, the presence of which 
each for itself has to be learned from experience. Great 
narrowness of mind may coexist with great goodness of 
heart, and I do not believe Balthazar Gracian was right 
in saying (Discrete, p. 406), "No ay simple, que no sea 
malicioso " (" There is no simpleton who would not be mali 
cious "), though he has the Spanish proverb in his favour, 
" Nunca la necedad anduvo sin malicia" ("Stupidity is 
never without malice"). Yet it may be that many stupid 
persons become malicious for the same reason as many 
hunchbacks, from bitterness on account of the neglect 
they have suffered from nature, and because they think 
they can occasionally make up for what they lack in 
understanding through malicious cunning, seeking in this 
a brief triumph. From this, by the way, it is also com 
prehensible why almost every one easily becomes mali 
cious in the presence of a very superior mind. On the 
other hand, again, stupid people have very often the repu 
tation of special good-heartedness, which yet so seldom 
proves to be the case that I could not help wondering 
how they had gained it, till I was able to flatter myself 
that I had found the key to it in what follows. Moved 
by a secret inclination, every one likes best to choose 
for his more intimate intercourse some one to whom 
he is a little superior in understanding, for only in this 
case does he find himself at his ease, because, according to 
Hobbes, " Omnis animi voluptas, omnisque alacritas in eo 
sita est, quod quis haleat, quibuscum conferens sc, possit 
magnifice scntire de se ipso " (De Cive, i. 5). For the 
same reason every one avoids him who is superior to him 
self; wherefore Lichtenberg quite rightly observes: "To 


certain men a man of mind is a more odious production 
than the most pronounced rogue." And similarly Helve- 
tius says : " Les gens mddiocres out un instinct sur et prompt, 
pour connditre et fuir les gens d esprit." And Dr. Johnson 
assures us that " there is nothing by which a man exas 
perates most people more than by displaying a superior 
ability of brilliancy in conversation. They seem pleased 
at the time, but their envy makes them curse him 
in their hearts " (Boswell ; aet. anno 74). In order to 
bring this truth, so universal and so carefully concealed, 
more relentlessly to light, I add the expression of it by 
Merck, the celebrated friend of Goethe s youth, from his 
story " Lindor : " " He possessed talents which were given 
him by nature and acquired by himself through learning ; 
and thus it happened that in most society he left the 
worthy members of it far behind. If, in the moment of 
delight at the sight of an extraordinary man, the public 
swallows these superiorities also, without actually at once 
putting a bad construction upon them, yet a certain im 
pression of this phenomenon remains behind, which, if it is 
often repeated, may on serious occasions have disagreeable 
future consequences for him who is guilty of it. Without 
any one consciously noting that on this occasion he was 
insulted, no one is sorry to place himself tacitly in the 
way of the advancement of this rnan. Thus on this ac 
count great mental superiority isolates more than any 
thing else, and makes one, at least silently, hated. Now 
it is the opposite of this that makes stupid people so gene 
rally liked ; especially since many can only find in them 
what, according to the law of their nature referred to 
above, they must seek. Yet this the true reason of such 
an inclination no one will confess to himself, still less to 
others ; and therefore, as a plausible pretext for it, will 
impute to those he has selected a special goodness of 
heart, which, as we have said, is in reality only very 
rarely and accidentally found in combination with mental 
incapacity. Want of understanding is accordingly by no 


means favourable or akin to goodness of character. But, on 
the other hand, it cannot be asserted that great understand 
ing is so ; nay, rather, no scoundrel has in general been 
without it. Indeed even the highest intellectual emi 
nence can coexist with the worst moral depravity. An 
example of this is afforded by Bacon of Verulam : " Un 
grateful, filled with the lust of power, wicked and base, he 
at last went so far that, as Lord Chancellor and the highest 
judge of the realm, he frequently allowed himself to be 
bribed in civil actions. Impeached before his peers, he 
confessed himself guilty, was expelled by them from the 
House of Lords, and condemned to a fine of forty thousand 
pounds and imprisonment in the Tower " (see the review 
of the latest edition of Bacon s Works in the Edinburgh 
Review, August 1837). Hence also Pope called him "the 
wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind " (" Essay on Man," 
iv. 282). A similar example is afforded by the historian 
Guicciardini, of whom Eosini says in the Notizie Storiche, 
drawn from good contemporary sources, which is given in 
his historical romance " Luisa Strozzi : " " Da coloro, die 
pongono I ingegno e il sapere al di sopra di tutte le umane 
qualita, questo uomo sard riguardato come fra i piu grandi 
del suo secolo : ma da quelli, eke reputano la virtu dovere 
andare innanzi a tutto, non potra esecrarsi abbastanza la 
sua memoria. Esso fu il piu crudele fra i cittadini a 
perseguitare, uccidere e corifinare," &C. 1 

If now it is said of one man, " He has a good heart, 
though a bad head," but of another, " He has a very good 
head, yet a bad heart," every one feels that in the first case 
the praise far outweighs the blame in the other case the 
reverse. Answering to this, we see that if some one has 
done a bad deed his friends and he himself try to remove 
the guilt from the will to the intellect, and to give out that 

1 By those who place mind and dence of everything else his memory 

learning above all other human can never be execrated enough. He 

qualities this man will be reckoned was the crudest of the citizens in 

the greatest of his century. But persecuting, putting to death, and 

by those who let virtue take prece- banishing. 


faults of the heart were faults of the head ; roguish tricks 
they will call errors, will say they were merely want of 
understanding, want of reflection, light-mindedness, folly ; 
nay, if need be, they will plead a paroxysm, momentary 
mental aberration, and if a heavy crime is in question, 
even madness, only in order to free the will from the guilt. 
And in the same way, we ourselves, if we have caused 
a misfortune or injury, will before others and ourselves 
willingly impeach our stultitia, simply in order to escape 
the reproach of malitia. In the same way, in the case of 
the equally unjust decision of the judge, the difference, 
whether he has erred or been bribed, is so infinitely great. 
All this sufficiently proves that the will alone is the real 
and essential, the kernel of the man, and the intellect 
is merely its tool, which may be constantly faulty without 
the will being concerned. The accusation of want of 
understanding is, at the moral judgment-seat, no accusa 
tion at all ; on the contrary, it even gives privileges. 
And so also, before the courts of the world, it is every 
where sufficient to deliver a criminal from all punishment 
that his guilt should be transferred from his will to his 
intellect, by proving either unavoidable error or mental 
derangement, for then it is of no more consequence than 
if hand or foot had slipped against the will. I have fully 
discussed this in the appendix, " Ueber die Intellelduelle, 
Freiheit" to my prize essay on the freedom of the will, 
to which I refer to avoid repetition. 

Everywhere those who are responsible for any piece of 
work appeal, in the event of its turning out unsatisfac 
torily, to their good intentions, of which there was no 
lack. Hereby they believe that they secure the essential, 
that for which they are properly answerable, and their 
true self ; the inadequacy of their faculties, on the other 
hand, they regard as the want of a suitable tool. 

If a man is stupid, we excuse him by saying that he 
cannot help it ; but if we were to excuse a bad man on 
the same grounds we would be laughed at. And yet the 


one, like the other, is innate. This proves that the will is 
the man proper, the intellect merely its tool. 

Thus it is always only our willing that is regarded as 
depending upon ourselves, i.e., as the expression of our 
true nature, and for which we are therefore made respon 
sible. Therefore it is absurd and unjust if we are taken 
to task for our beliefs, thus for our knowledge : for we 
are obliged to regard this as something which, although it 
changes in us, is as little in our power as the events of the 
external world. And here, also, it is clear that the will 
alone is the inner and true nature of man ; the intellect, on 
the contrary, with its operations, which go on as regularly 
as the external world, stands to the will in the relation of 
something external to it, a mere toot 

High mental capacities have always been regarded as 
the gift of nature or the gods ; and on that account they 
have been called Gaben, Begabung, ingenii dotes, gifts (a 
man highly gifted), regarding them as something different 
from the man himself, something that has fallen to his lot 
through favour. No one, on the contrary, has ever taken 
this view of moral excellences, although they also are 
innate; they have rather always been regarded as some 
thing proceeding from the man himself, essentially belong 
ing to him, nay, constituting his very self. But it follows 
now from this that the will is the true nature of man ; the 
intellect, on the other hand, is secondary, a tool, a gift. 

Answering to this, all religions promise a reward beyond 
life, in eternity, for excellences of the will or heart, but 
none for excellences of the head or understanding. Virtue 
expects its reward in that world ; prudence hopes for it 
in this ; genius, again, neither in this world nor in that ; 
it is its own reward. Accordingly the will is the eternal 
part, the intellect the temporal. 

Connection, communion, intercourse among men is based, 
as a rule, upon relations which concern the will, not upon 
such as concern the intellect. The first kind of communion 
may be called the material, the other the formal. Of the 

VOL. II. 2 F 


former kind are the bonds of family and relationship, and 
further, all connections that rest upon any common aim or 
interest, such as that of trade or profession, of the corpora 
tion, the party, the faction, &c. In these it merely amounts 
to a question of views, of aims ; along with which there 
may be the greatest diversity of intellectual capacity and 
culture. Therefore not only can any one live in peace and 
unity with any one else, but can act with him and be allied 
to him for the common good of both. Marriage also is a 
bond of the heart, not of the head. It is different, how 
ever, with merely formal communion, which aims only at 
an exchange of thought ; this demands a certain equality 
of intellectual capacity and culture. Great differences in 
this respect place between man and man an impassable 
gulf : such lies, for example, between a man of great mind 
and a fool, between a scholar and a peasant, between a 
courtier and a sailor. Natures as heterogeneous as this 


have therefore trouble in making themselves intelligible 
so long as it is a question of exchanging thoughts, ideas, 
and views. Nevertheless close material friendship may 
exist between them, and they may be faithful allies, con 
spirators, or men under mutual pledges. For in all that 
concerns the will alone, which includes friendship, enmity, 
honesty, fidelity, falseness, and treachery, they are perfectly 
homogeneous, formed of the same clay, and neither mind 
nor culture make any difference here; indeed here the 
ignorant man often shames the scholar, the sailor the 
courtier. For at the different grades of culture there are 
the same virtues and vices, emotions and passions ; and 
although somewhat modified in their expression, they very 
soon mutually recognise each other even in the most 
heterogeneous individuals, upon which the similarly dis 
posed agree and the opposed are at enmity. 

Brilliant qualities of mind win admiration, but never 
affection ; this is reserved for the moral, the qualities of 
j;he character. Every one will choose as his friend the 
honest, the good-natured, and even the agreeable, com- 


plaisant man, who easily concurs, rather than the merely 
able man. Indeed many will be preferred to the latter, 
on account of insignificant, accidental, outward qualities 
which just suit the inclination of another. Only the man 
who has much mind himself will wish able men for his 
society ; his friendship, on the other hand, he will bestow 
with reference to moral qualities ; for upon this depends his 
really high appreciation of a man in whom a single good 
trait of character conceals and expiates great want of un 
derstanding. The known goodness of a character makes 
us patient and yielding towards weaknesses of understand 
ing, as also towards the dulness and childishness of age. 
A distinctly noble character along with the entire absence 
of intellectual excellence and culture presents itself as 
lacking nothing ; while, on the contrary, even the greatest 
mind, if affected with important moral faults, will always 
appear blamable. For as torches and fireworks become 
pale and insignificant in the presence of the sun, so intel 
lect, nay, genius, and also beauty, are outshone and eclipsed 
by the goodness of the heart. When this appears in a high 
degree it can make up for the want of those qualities to 
such an extent that one is ashamed of having missed them. 
Even the most limited understanding, and also grotesque 
ugliness, whenever extraordinary goodness of heart declares 
itself as accompanying them, become as it were transfigured, 
outshone by a beauty of a higher kind, for now a wisdom 
speaks out of them before which all other wisdom must 
be dumb. For goodness of heart is a transcendent quality ; 
it belongs to an order of things that reaches beyond this 
life, and is incommensurable with any other perfection. 
When it is present in a high degree it makes the heart so 
large that it embraces the world, so that now everything 
lies within it, no longer without ; for it identifies all natures 
with its own. It then extends to others also that bound 
less indulgence which otherwise each one only bestows on 
himself. Such a man is incapable of becoming angry ; even 
if the malicious mockery and sneers of others have drawn 


attention to his own intellectual or physical faults, he only 
reproaches himself in his heart for having been the occa 
sion of such expressions, and therefore, without doing vio 
lence to his own feelings, proceeds to treat those persons 
in the kindest manner, confidently hoping that they will 
turn from their error with regard to him, and recognise 
themselves in him also. What is wit and genius against 
this ? what is Bacon of Verulam ? 

Our estimation of our own selves leads to the same 
result as we have here obtained by considering our esti 
mation of others. How different is the self-satisfaction 
which we experience in a moral regard from that which 
we experience in an intellectual regard ! The former 
arises when, looking back on our conduct, we see that with 
great sacrifices we have practised fidelity and honesty, 
that we have helped many, forgiven many, have behaved 
better to others than they have behaved to us ; so that we 
can say with King Lear, " I am a man more sinned against 
than sinning ; " and to its fullest extent if perhaps some 
noble deed shines in our memory. A deep seriousness 
will accompany the still peace which such a review affords 
us ; and if we see that others are inferior to us here, this 
will not cause us any joy, but we will rather deplore it, 
and sincerely wish that they were as we are. How entirely 
differently does the knowledge of our intellectual superio 
rity affect us ! Its ground bass is really the saying of 
Hobbes quoted above : Omnis animi voluptas, omnisque, 
alacritas in eo sita est, quod quis habeat, quibuscum conferens 
se, possit magnifice sentire de se ipso. Arrogant, triumphant 
vanity, proud, contemptuous looking down on others, in 
ordinate delight in the consciousness of decided and con 
siderable superiority, akin to pride of physical advantages, 
that is the result here. This opposition between the 
two kinds of self-satisfaction shows that the one concerns 
our true inner and eternal nature, the other a more exter 
nal, merely temporal, and indeed scarcely more than a mere 
physical excellence. The intellect is in fact simply the 


function of the brain; the will, on the contrary, is that whose 
function is the whole man, according to his being and nature. 

If, looking without us, we reflect that 6 /3to? /3/ja^u?, 17 
Se re^yrj fj,arcpa (vita brevis, ars longa), and consider how 
the greatest and most beautiful minds, often when they 
have scarcely reached the summit of their power, and the 
greatest scholars, when they have only just attained to a 
thorough knowledge of their science, are snatched away 
by death, we are confirmed in this, that the meaning and 
end of life is not intellectual but moral. 

The complete difference between the mental and moral 
qualities displays itself lastly in the fact that the intellect 
suffers very important changes through time, while the 
will and character remain untouched by it. The new 
born child has as yet no use of its understanding, but 
obtains it within the first two months to the extent of 
perception and apprehension of the things in the external 
world a process which I have described more fully in my 
essay, " Ueber das Sehn und die Farben," p. 10 of the 
second (and third) edition. The growth of reason to the 
point of speech, and thereby of thought, follows this first 
and most important step much more slowly, generally 
only in the third year; yet the early childhood remains 
hopelessly abandoned to silliness and folly, primarily 
because the brain still lacks physical completeness, which, 
both as regards its size and texture, it only attains in the 
seventh year. But then for its energetic activity there is 
still wanting the antagonism of the genital system ; it 
therefore only begins with puberty. Through this, how 
ever, the intellect has only attained to the capacity for its 
psychical improvement ; this itself can only be won by 
practice, experience, and instruction. Thus as soon as the 
mind has escaped from the folly of childhood it falls into 
the snares of innumerable errors, prejudices, and chimeras, 
sometimes of the absurdest and crudest kind, which it 
obstinately sticks to, till experience gradually removes 
them, and many of them also are insensibly lost. All 


this takes many years to happen, so that one grants it 
majority indeed soon after the twentieth year, yet has 
placed full maturity, years of discretion, not before the 
fortieth year. But while this psychical education, rest 
ing upon help from without, is still in process of growth, 
the inner physical energy of the brain already begins to 
sink again. This has reached its real calminating point 
about the thirtieth year, on account of its dependence upon 
the pressure of blood and the effect of the pulsation upon 
the brain, and through this again upon the predominance 
of the arterial over the venous system, and the fresh ten 
derness of the brain fibre, and also on account of the energy 
of the genital system. After the thirty-fifth year a slight 
diminution of the physical energy of the brain becomes 
noticeable, which, through the gradually approaching pre 
dominance of the venous over the arterial system, and also 
through the increasing firmer and drier consistency of the 
brain fibre, more and more takes place, and would be much 
more observable if it were not that, on the other hand, the 
psychical perfecting, through exercise, experience, increase 
of knowledge, and acquired skill in the use of it, counter 
acts it an antagonism which fortunately lasts to an ad 
vanced age, for the brain becomes more and more like a 
worn-out instrument. But yet the diminution of the 
original energy of the intellect, resting entirely upon 
organic conditions, continues, slowly indeed, but unceas 
ingly : the faculty of original conception, the imagination, 
the plastic power, the memory, become noticeably weaker ; 
and so it goes on step by step downwards into old age, 
garrulous, without memory, half-unconscious, and ulti 
mately quite childish. 

The will, on the contrary, is not affected by all this 
becoming, this change and vicissitude, but is from begin 
ning to end unalterably the same. Willing does not 
require to be learned like knowing, but succeeds perfectly 
at once. The new-born child makes violent movements, 
rages, and cries ; it wills in the most vehement manner, 


though it does not yet know what it wills. For the 
medium of motives, the intellect, is not yet fully de 
veloped. The will is in darkness concerning the external 
world, in which its objects lie, and now rages like a 
prisoner against the walls and bars of his dungeon. But 
little by little it becomes light: at once the fundamental 
traits of universal human willing, and, at the same time, 
the individual modification of it here present, announce 
themselves. The already appearing character shows itself 
indeed at first in weak and uncertain outline, on account 
of the defective service of the intellect, which has to 
present it with motives ; but to the attentive observer it 
soon declares its complete presence, and in a short time it 
becomes unmistakable. The characteristics appear which 
last through the whole of life ; the principal tendencies of 
the will, the easily excited emotions, the ruling passion, 
declare themselves. Therefore the events at school stand 
to those of the future life for the most part as the dumb- 
show in " Hamlet" that precedes the play to be given at the 
court, and foretells its content in the form of pantomime, 
stands to the play itself. But it is by no means possible 
to prognosticate in the same way the future intellectual 
capacities of the man from those shown in the boy ; rather 
as a rule the ingenia prcecocia, prodigies, turn out block 
heads ; genius, on the contrary, is often in childhood of 
slow conception, and comprehends with difficulty, just 
because it comprehends deeply. This is how it is that 
every one relates laughing and without reserve the follies 
and stupidities of his childhood. For example, Goethe, 
how he threw all the kitchen crockery out of the window 
(Dichtung und Wahrheit, vol. i. p. 7) ; for we know that 
all this only concerns what changes. On the other hand, 
a prudent man will not favour us with the bad features, 
the malicious or deceitful actions, of his youth, for he feels 
that they also bear witness to his present character. 1 
have been told that when Gall, the phrenologist and 
investigator of man, had to put himself into connection 


with a man as yet unknown to him, he used to get him to 
speak about his youthful years and actions, in order, if 
possible, to gather from these the distinctive traits of his 
character ; because this must still be the same now. This 
is the reason why we are indifferent to the follies and 
want of understanding of our youthful years, and even 
look back on them with smiling satisfaction, while the 
bad features of character even of that time, the ill-natured 
actions and the misdeeds then committed exist even in old 
age as inextinguishable reproaches, and trouble our con 
sciences. Now, just as the character appears complete, so 
it remains unaltered to old age. The advance of age, which 
gradually consumes the intellectual powers, leaves the 
moral qualities untouched. The goodness of the heart 
still makes the old man honoured and loved when his 
head already shows the weaknesses which are the com 
mencement of second childhood. Gentleness, patience, 
honesty, veracity, disinterestedness, philanthropy, &c., re 
main through the whole life, and are not lost through the 
weaknesses of old age ; in every clear moment of the worn- 
out old man they come forth undiminished, like the sun 
from the winter clouds. And, on the other hand, malice, 
spite, avarice, hard-heartedness, infidelity, egoism, and 
baseness of every kind also remain undiminished to our 
latest years. We would not believe but would laugh at 
any one who said to us, " In former years I was a mali 
cious rogue, but now I am an honest and noble-minded 
man." Therefore Sir Walter Scott, in the " Fortunes of 
Nigel," has shown very beautifully, in the case of the old 
usurer, how burning avarice, egoism, and injustice are still 
in their full strength, like a poisonous plant in autumn, 
when the intellect has already become childish. The only 
alterations that take place in our inclinations are those 
which result directly from the decrease of our physical 
strength, and with it of our capacities for enjoyment. 
Thus voluptuousness will make way for intemperance, the 
love of splendour for avarice, and vanity for ambition ; 


just like the man who before he has a beard will wear a 
false one, and later, when his own beard has become grey, 
will dye it brown. Thus while all organic forces, muscu 
lar power, the senses, the memory, wit, understanding, 
genius, wear themselves out, and in old age become dull, 
the will alone remains undecayed and unaltered : the 
strength and the tendency of willing remains the same. 
Indeed in many points the will shows itself still more 
decided in age : thus, in the clinging to life, which, it is 
well known, increases ; also in the firmness and persistency 
with regard to what it has once embraced, in obstinacy ; 
which is explicable from the fact that the susceptibility of 
the intellect for other impressions, and thereby the move 
ment of the will by motives streaming in upon it, has 
diminished. Hence the implacable nature of the anger 
and hate of old persons 

" The young man s wrath is like light straw on fire, 
But like red-hot steel is the old man s ire." 

Old Ballad. 

From all these considerations it becomes unmistakable 
to the more penetrating glance that, while the intellect has 
to run through a long series of gradual developments, but 
then, like everything physical, must encounter decay, the 
will takes no part in this, except so far as it has to con 
tend at first with the imperfection of its tool, the intellect, 
and, again, at last with its worn-out condition, but itself 
appears perfect and remains unchanged, not subject to 
the laws of time and of becoming and passing away in it. 
Thus in this way it makes itself known as that which 
is metaphysical, not itself belonging to the phenomenal 

9. The universally used and generally very well under 
stood expressions heart and head have sprung from a true 
feeling of the fundamental distinction here in question; 
therefore they are also apt and significant, and occur in 
all languages. Nee cor nee caput halet, says Seneca of the 
Emperor Claudius (Ludus de morte Glaudii Ccesaris, c. 8). 


The heart, this primum mobile of the animal life, has 
with perfect justice been chosen as the symbol, nay, the 
synonym, of the will, as the primary kernel of our pheno 
menon, and denotes this in opposition to the intellect, 
which is exactly identical with the head. All that, in the 
widest sense, is matter of the will, as wish, passion, joy, 
grief, goodness, wickedness, also what we are wont to 
understand under " Gemiith," and what Homer expresses 
through <f)tXov rjrop, is attributed to the heart. Accord 
ingly we say : He has a bad heart ; his heart is in the 
thing ; it comes from his heart ; it cut him to the 
heart ; it breaks his heart ; his heart bleeds ; the 
heart leaps for joy ; who can see the heart of man ? it 
is heart-rending, heart-crushing, heart-breaking, heart- 

O G O 7 

inspiring, heart - touching ; he is good-hearted, hard 
hearted, heartless, stout-hearted, faint-hearted, &c. &c. 
Quite specially, however, love affairs are called affairs of 
the heart, affaires de cceur ; because the sexual impulse is 
the focus of the will, and the selection with reference to it 
constitutes the chief concern of natural, human volition, 
the ground of which I shall show in a full chapter sup 
plementary to the fourth book. Byron in " Don Juan," 
c. xi. v. 34, is satirical about love being to women an affair 
of the head instead of an affair of the heart. On the other 
hand, the head denotes everything that is matter of know 
ledge. Hence a man of head, a good head, a fine head, a 
bad head, to lose one s head, to keep one s head upper 
most, &c. Heart and head signifies the whole man. But 
the head is always the second, the derived ; for it is not 
the centre but the highest efflorescence of the body. 
When a hero dies his heart is embalmed, not his brain ; 
on the other hand, we like to preserve the skull of the 
poet, the artist, and the philosopher. So Raphael s skull 
was preserved in the Academia di S. Luca at Rome, though 
it has lately been proved not to be genuine ; in Stockholm 
in 1820 the skull of Descartes was sold by auction. 1 

1 The Times of iSth October 1845 ; from the AthencEum. 


A true feeling of the real relation between will, in 
tellect, and life is also expressed in the Latin language. 
The intellect is mens, vovs ; the will again is animus, 
which comes from anima, and this from avejj,(ov. Anima 
is the life itself, the breath, ^f%7/ ; but animus is the 
living principle, and also the will, the subject of inclina 
tions, intentions, passions, emotions ; hence also est mihi 
animus, fert animus, for " I have a desire to," also 
animi causa, &c. ; it is the Greek QV/AOS, the German 
" Gemiith," thus the heart but not the head. Animi 
perturbatio is an emotion ; mentis perturbatio would signify 
insanity. The predicate immortalis is attributed to ani 
mus, not to mens. All this is the rule gathered from the 
great majority of passages ; though in the case of con 
ceptions so nearly related it cannot but be that the words 
are sometimes interchanged. Under ^rv^ij the Greeks 
appear primarily and originally to have understood the 
vital force, the living principle, whereby at once arose 
the dim sense that it must be something metaphysical, 
which consequently would not be reached by death. 
Among other proofs of this are the investigations of the 
relation between vows and ^v^r) preserved by Stobseus 
(Eel, Lib. i. c. 51, 7, 8). 

10. Upon what depends the identity of the person? 
Not upon the matter of the body ; it is different after a 
few years. Not upon its form, which changes as a whole 
and in all its parts ; all but the expression of the glance, 
by which, therefore, we still know a man even after many 
years ; which proves that in spite of all changes time pro 
duces in him something in him remains quite untouched 
by it. It is just this by which we recognise him even after 
the longest intervals of time, and find the former man 
entire. It is the same with ourselves, for, however old we 
become, we yet feel within that we are entirely the same 
as we were when we were young, nay, when we were still 
children. This, which unaltered always remains quite the 
same, and does not grow old along with us, is really the 


kernel of our nature, which does not lie in time. It is 
assumed that the identity of the person rests upon that of 
consciousness. But by this is understood merely the con 
nected recollection of the course of life ; hence it is not 
sufficient. We certainly know something more of our life 
than of a novel we have formerly read, yet only very little. 
The principal events, the interesting scenes, have impressed 
themselves upon us ; in the remainder a thousand events 
are forgotten for one that has been retained. The older 
we become the more do things pass by us without leaving 
any trace. Great age, illness, injury of the brain, madness, 
may deprive us of memory altogether, but the identity of 
the person is not thereby lost. It rests upon the identical 
will and the unalterable character of the person. It is it 
also which makes the expression of the glance unchange 
able. In the heart is the man, not in the head. It is true 
that, in consequence of our relation to the external world, 
we are accustomed to regard as our real self the subject of 
knowledge, the knowing I, which wearies in the evening, 
vanishes in sleep, and in the morning shines brighter with 
renewed strength. This is, however, the mere function of 
the brain, and not our own self. Our true self, the kernel 
of our nature, is what is behind that, and really knows 
nothing but willing and not willing, being content and not 
content, with all the modifications of this, which are called 
feelings, emotions, and passions. This is that which pro 
duces the other, does not sleep with it when it sleeps, and 
in the same way when it sinks in death remains uninjured. 
Everything, on the contrary, that belongs to knowledge is 
exposed to oblivion ; even actions of moral significance can 
sometimes, after years, be only imperfectly recalled, and 
we no longer know accurately and in detail how we acted 
on a critical occasion. But the character itself, to which 
the actions only testify, cannot be forgotten by us ; it is 
now still quite the same as then. The will itself, alone 
and for itself, is permanent, for it alone is unchangeable, 
indestructible, not growing old, not physical, but nieta- 


physical, not belonging to the phenomenal appearance, but 
to that itself which so appears. How the identity of 
consciousness also, so far as it goes, depends upon it I 
have shown above in chapter 15, so I need not dwell upon 
it further here. 

ii. Aristotle says in passing, in his book on the com 
parison of the desirable, "To live well is better than to 
live " (j3e\Tiov rov fyv TO ev fyv, Top. iii. 2). From this 
we might infer, by double contraposition, not to live is 
better than to live badly. This is also evident to the in 
tellect ; yet the great majority live very badly rather than 
not at all. This clinging to life cannot therefore have its 
ground in the object of life, since life, as was shown in the 
fourth book, is really a constant suffering, or at the least, 
as will be shown further on in the 28th chapter, a business 
which does not cover its expenses ; thus that clinging to 
life can only be founded in the subject of it. But it is not 
founded in the intellect, it is no result of reflection, and in 
general is not a matter of choice ; but this willing of life 
is something that is taken for granted : it is a prius of the 
intellect itself. We ourselves are the will to live, and 
therefore we must live, well or ill. Only from the fact 
that this clinging to a life which is so little worth to them 
is entirely a priori and not a posteriori can we explain 
the excessive fear of death that dwells in every living 
thing, which Eochefoucauld has expressed in his last re 
flection, with rare frankness and naivete, and upon which 
the effect of all tragedies and heroic actions ultimately rest, 
for it would be lost if we prized life only according to its 
objective worth. Upon this inexpressible horror mortis is 
also founded the favourite principle of all ordinary minds, 
that whosoever takes his own life must be mad ; yet not 
less the astonishment, mingled with a certain admiration, 
which this action always excites even in thinking minds, 
because it is so opposed to the nature of all living beings 
that in a certain sense we are forced to admire him who is 
able to perform it. For suicide proceeds from a purpose 


of the intellect, but our will to live is a prius of the in 
tellect. Thus this consideration also, which will be fully 
discussed in chapter 28, confirms the primacy of the will 
in self-consciousness. 

12. On the other hand, nothing proves more clearly 
the secondary, dependent, conditioned nature of the intellect 
than its periodical intermittance. In deep sleep all know 
ing and forming of ideas ceases. But the kernel of our 
nature, the metaphysical part of it which the organic 
functions necessarily presuppose as their prim/urn mobile, 
must never pause if life is not to cease, and, moreover, 
as something metaphysical and therefore incorporeal, it 
requires no rest. Therefore the philosophers who set up 
a soul as this metaphysical kernel, i.e., an originally and 
essentially knowing being, see themselves forced to the 
assertion that this soul is quite untiring in its perceiving 
and knowing, therefore continues these even in deep sleep ; 
only that we have no recollection of this when we awake. 
The falseness of this assertion, however, was easy to see 
whenever one had rejected that soul in consequence of 
Kant s teaching. For sleep and waking prove to the un 
prejudiced mind in the clearest manner that knowing is a 
secondary function and conditioned by the organism, just 
like any other. Only the heart is untiring, because its 
beating and the circulation of the blood are not directly 
conditioned by nerves, but are just the original manifesta 
tion of the will. Also all other physiological functions 
governed merely by ganglionic nerves, which have only a 
very indirect and distant connection with the brain, are 
carried on during sleep, although the secretions take place 
more slowly ; the beating of the heart itself, on account of 
its dependence upon respiration, which is conditioned by 
the cerebral system (medulla oblongata), becomes with it a 
little slower. The stomach is perhaps most active in sleep, 
which is to be attributed to its special consensus with the 
now resting brain, which occasions mutual disturbances. 
The brain alone, and with it knowing, pauses entirely in 


deep sleep. For it is merely the minister of foreign affairs, 
as the ganglion system is the minister of the interior. The 
brain, with its function of knowing, is only a vedette estab 
lished by the will for its external ends, which, up in the 
watch-tower of the head, looks round through the windows 
of the senses and marks where mischief threatens and 
where advantages are to be looked for, and in accordance 
with whose report the will decides. This vedette, like 
every one engaged on active service, is then in a condition 
of strain and effort, and therefore it is glad when, after its 
watch is completed, it is again withdrawn, as every watch 
gladly retires from its post. This withdrawal is going to 
sleep, which is therefore so sweet and agreeable, and to 
which we are so glad to yield; on the other hand, being 
roused from sleep is unwelcome, because it recalls the 
vedette suddenly to its post. One generally feels also after 
the beneficent systole the reappearance of the difficult 
diastole, the reseparation of the intellect from the will. 
A so-called soul, which was originally and radically a 
knowing being, would, on the contrary, necessarily feel on 
awaking like a fish put back into water. In sleep, when 
merely the vegetative life is carried on, the will works 
only according to its original and essential nature, undis 
turbed from without, with no diminution of its power 
through the activity of the brain and the exertion of 
knowing, which is the heaviest organic function, yet for the 
organism merely a means, not an end ; therefore, in sleep 
the whole power of the will is directed to the mainten 
ance and, where it is necessary, the improvement of the 
organism. Hence all healing, all favourable crises, take 
place in sleep ; for the vis naturae mcdicatrix has free play 
only when it is delivered from the burden of the function 
of knowledge. The embryo which has still to form the 
body therefore sleeps continuously, and the new-born 
child the greater part of its time. In this sense Burdach 
(Physiologic, vol. iii. p. 484) quite rightly declares sleep 
to be the original state. 


With reference to the brain itself, I account to myself 
for the necessity of sleep more fully through an hypothesis 
which appears to have been first set up in Neumann s 
book, " Von den Krankheiten dcs Menschen," 1834, vol. 4, 
2 1 6. It is this, that the nutrition of the brain, thus the 
renewal of its substance from the blood, cannot go on 
while we are awake, because the very eminent organic 
function of knowing and thinking would be disturbed or 
put an end to by the low and material function of nutri 
tion. This explains the fact that sleep is not a purely 
negative condition, a, mere pausing of the activity of the 
brain, but also shows a positive character. This makes 
itself known through the circumstance that between sleep 
and waking there is no mere difference of degree, but a 
fixed boundary, which, as soon as sleep intervenes, 
declares itself in dreams which are completely different 
from our immediately preceding thoughts. A further 
proof of this is that when we have dreams which frighten 
us we try in vain to cry out, or to ward off attacks, or 
to shake off sleep ; so that it is as if the connecting-link 
between the brain and the motor nerves, or between the 
cerebrum and the cerebellum (as the regulator of move 
ments) were abolished ; for the brain remains in its iso 
lation and sleep holds us fast as with brazen claws. 
Finally, the positive character of sleep can be seen in 
the fact that a certain degree of strength is required for 
sleeping. Therefore too great fatigue or natural weakness 
prevent us from seizing it, capere somnum. This may be 
explained from the fact that the process of nutrition must 
be introduced if sleep is to ensue : the brain must, as it 
were, begin to feed. Moreover, the increased flow of blood 
into the brain during sleep is explicable from the nutritive 
process ; and also the position of the arms laid together 
above the head, which is instinctively assumed because it 
furthers this process : also why children, so long as their 
brain is still growing, require a great deal of sleep, while 
in old age, on the other hand, when a certain atrophy of 


the brain, as of all the parts, takes place, sleep is 
short ; and finally why excessive sleep produces a certain 
dulness of consciousness, the consequence of a certain 
hypertrophy of the brain, which in the case of habitual 
excess of sleep may become permanent and produce 
imbecility : avirj teat, TroXu? VTTVOS (noxce est etiam multus 
somnus), Od. 15, 394. The need of sleep is therefore 
directly proportionate to the intensity of the brain-life, 
thus to the clearness of the consciousness. Those animals 
whose brain-life is weak and dull sleep little and lightly ; 
for example, reptiles and fishes : and here I must remind 
the reader that the winter sleep is sleep almost only in 
name, for it is not an inaction of the brain alone, but 
of the whole organism, thus a kind of apparent death. 
Animals of considerable intelligence sleep deeply and 
long. Men also require more sleep the more developed, 
both as regards quantity and quality, and the more active 
their brain is. Montaigne relates of himself that he had 
always been a long sleeper, that he had passed a large part 
of his life in sleeping, and at an advanced age still slept 
from eight to nine hours at a time (Liv. iii., chap. 13). 
Descartes also is reported to have slept a great deal 
(Baillet, Vie de Descartes, 1693, p. 288). Kant allowed 
himself seven hours for sleep, but it was so hard for him 
to do with this that he ordered his servant to force him 
against his will, and without listening to his remonstrances, 
to get up at the set time (Jachmann, Immanuel Kant, p. 
162). For the more completely awake a man is, i.e., the 
clearer and more lively his consciousness, the greater for 
him is the necessity of sleep, thus the deeper and longer 
he sleeps. Accordingly much thinking or hard brain-work 
increases the need of sleep. That sustained muscular 
exertion also makes us sleepy is to be explained from 
the fact that in this the brain continuously, by means of 
the medulla oblongata, the spinal marrow, and the motor 
nerves, imparts the stimulus to the muscles which affects 
their irritability, and in this way it exhausts its strength. 

VOL. II. 2 G 


The fatigue which we observe in the arms and legs has 
accordingly its real seat in the brain ; just as the pain 
which these parts feel is really experienced in the brain ; 
for it is connected with the motor nerves, as with the 
nerves of sense. The muscles which are not actuated from 
the brain for example, those of the heart accordingly 
never tire. The same grounds explain the fact that both 
during and after great muscular exertion we cannot think 
acutely. That one has far less energy of mind in summer 
than in winter is partly explicable from the fact that in 
summer one sleeps less ; for the deeper one has slept, the 
more completely awake, the more lively, is one afterwards. 
This, however, must not mislead us into extending sleep 
unduly, for then it loses in intension, i.e., in deepness and 
soundness, what it gains in extension ; whereby it becomes 
mere loss of time. This is what Goethe means when he 
says (in the second part of " Faust ") of morning slumber : 
" Sleep is husk : throw it off." Thus in general the phe 
nomenon of sleep most specially confirms the assertion 
that consciousness, apprehension, knowing, thinking, is 
nothing original in us, but a conditioned and secondary- 
state. It is a luxury of nature, and indeed its highest, 
which it can therefore the less afford to pursue without 
interruption the higher the pitch to which it has been 
brought. It is the product, the efflorescence of the cerebral 
nerve-system, which is itself nourished like a parasite by 
the rest of the organism. This also agrees with what is 
shown in our third book, that knowing is so much the 
purer and more perfect the more it has freed and severed 
itself from the will, whereby the purely objective, the 
aesthetic comprehension appears. Just as an extract is so 
much the purer the more it has been separated from that 
out of which it is extracted and been cleared of all sedi 
ment. The opposite is shown by the will, whose most 
immediate manifestation is the whole organic life, and 
primarily the untiring heart. 

This last consideration is related to the theme of the 


following chapter, to which it therefore makes the transition : 
yet the following observation belongs to it. In magnetic 
somnambulism the consciousness is doubled : two trains 
of knowledge, each connected in itself, but quite different 
from each other, arise ; the waking consciousness knows 
nothing of the somnambulent. But the will retains in 
both the same character, and remains throughout iden 
tical; it expresses in both the same inclinations and aver 
sions. For the function may be doubled, but not the true 

( 468 ) 



BY objectification I understand the self-exhibition in the 
real corporeal world. However, this world itself, as was 
fully shown in the first book and its supplements, is 
throughout conditioned by the knowing subject, thus by 
the intellect, and therefore as such is absolutely incon 
ceivable outside the knowledge of this subject; for it 
primarily consists simply of ideas of perception, and as 
such is a phenomenon of the brain. After its removal 
the thing in itself would remain. That this is the will 
is the theme of the second book, and is there proved first 
of all in the human organism and in that of the brutes. 

The knowledge of the external world may also be 
defined as the consciousness of other things, in opposition to 
self-consciousness. Since we have found in the latter that 
its true object or material is the will, we shall now, with 
the same intention, take into consideration the conscious 
ness of other things, thus objective knowledge. Now here 
my thesis is this : that which in self-consciousness, thus 
subjectively is the intellect, presents itself in the consciousness 
of other things, thus objectively, as the brain; and that which 
in self -consciousness, thus subjectively, is the will, presents 
itself in the consciousness of other things, thus objectively, as 
the whole organism. 

To the evidence which is given in support of this pro 
position, both in our second book and in the first two 
chapters of the treatise " Ueber den Willen in der Natur," 

1 This chapter is connected with 20 of the first volume. 


I add the following supplementary remarks and illustra 

Nearly all that is necessary to establish the first part of 
this thesis has already been brought forward in the pre 
ceding chapter, for in the necessity of sleep, in the altera 
tions that arise from age, and in the differences of the 
anatomical conformation, it was proved that the intellect 
is of a secondary nature, and depends absolutely upon a 
single organ, the brain, whose function it is, just as grasp 
ing is the function of the hand ; that it is therefore 
physical, like digestion, not metaphysical, like the will. 
As good digestion requires a healthy, strong stomach, as 
athletic power requires muscular sinewy arms, so extra 
ordinary intelligence requires an unusually developed, 
beautifully formed brain of exquisitely fine texture and 
animated by a vigorous pulse. The nature of the will, on 
the contrary, is dependent upon no organ, and can be 
prognosticated from none. The greatest error in Gall s 
phrenology is that he assigns organs of the brain for moral 
qualities also. Injuries to the head, with loss of brain sub 
stance, affect the intellect as a rule very disadvantageously : 
they result in complete or partial imbecility or forgetful- 
ness of language, permanent or temporary, yet sometimes 
only of one language out of several which were known, 
also in the loss of other knowledge possessed, &c., &c. 
On the other hand, we never read that after a misfortune 
of this kind the character has undergone a change, that the 
man has perhaps become morally worse or better, or has 
lost certain inclinations or passions, or assumed new ones ; 
never. For the will has not its seat in the brain, and 
moreover, as that which is metaphysical, it is the prius of 
the brain, as of the whole body, and therefore cannot be 
altered by injuries of the brain. According to an experi 
ment made by Spallanzaui and repeated by Voltaire, 1 a 

1 Spattanzani, Risultati di espe- Societa Italiana, Tom. i. p. 58 ! - 

rienze sopra la riproduzione della Voltaire, Les colima<;ons du reverend 

testa nclie lumache terrestri : in the pere L escarbotier. 
Memorie di matematica efisica della 


snail that has had its head cut off remains alive, and after 
some weeks a new head grows on, together with horns ; 
with this consciousness and ideas again appear; while till 
then the snail had only given evidence of blind will 
through unregulated movements. Thus here also we find 
the will as the substance which is permanent, the intellect, 
on the contrary, conditioned by its organ, as the changing 
accident. It may be defined as the regulator of the will. 

It was perhaps Tiedemann who first compared the 
cerebral nervous system to a parasite (Tiedemann und 
Treviranns Journal fur Physiologic, Bd. i. 62). The 
comparison is happy ; for the brain, together with the 
spinal cord and nerves which depend upon it, is, as it were, 
implanted in the organism, and is nourished by it without 
on its part directly contributing anything to the support of 
the economy of the organism ; therefore there can be life 
without a brain, as in the case of brainless abortions, and 
also in the case of tortoises, which live for three weeks 
after their heads have been cut off; only the medulla 
ollongata, as the organ of respiration, must be spared. 
Indeed a hen whose whole brain Flourens had cut away 
lived for ten months and grew. Even in the case of men 
the destruction of the brain does not produce death 
directly, but only through the medium of the lungs, and 
then of the heart (Bichat, Sur la Vie et la Mort, Part ii., 
art. ii. i). On the other hand, the brain controls the 
relations to the external world ; this alone is its office, 
and hereby it discharges its debt to the organism which 
nourishes it, since its existence is conditioned by the 
external relations. Accordingly the brain alone of all the 
parts requires sleep, because its activity is completely dis 
tinct from its support; the former only consumes both 
strength and substance, the latter is performed by the rest 
of the organism as the nurse of the brain : thus because 
its activity contributes nothing to its continued existence 
it becomes exhausted, and only when it pauses in sleep 
does its nourishment go on unhindered. 


The second part of our thesis, stated above, will require 
a fuller exposition even after all that I have said about it 
in the writings referred to. I have shown above, in chapter 
1 8, that the thing in itself, which must lie at the foun 
dation of every phenomenon, and therefore of our own 
phenomenal existence also, throws off in self-consciousness 
one of its phenomenal forms space, and only retains the 
other time. On this account it presents itself here more 
immediately than anywhere else, and we claim it as will, 
according to its most undisguised manifestation. But no 
permanent substance, such as matter is, can present itself 
in time alone, because, as 4 of the first volume showed, 
such a substance is only possible through the intimate 
union of space and time. Therefore, in self-consciousness 
the will is not apprehended as the enduring substratum of 
its impulses, therefore is not perceived as a permanent 
substance ; but only its individual acts, such as purposes, 
wishes, and emotions, are known successively and during 
the time they last, directly, yet not perceptibly. The 
knowledge of the will in self-consciousness is accordingly 
not a perception of it, but a perfectly direct becoming 
aware of its successive impulses. On the other hand, for 
the knowledge which is directed outwardly, brought about 
by the senses and perfected in the understanding, which, 
besides time, has also space for its form, which two it con 
nects in the closest manner by means of the function of 
the understanding, causality, whereby it really becomes 
perception this knowledge presents to itself perceptibhj 
what in inner immediate apprehension was conceived as 
will, as organic body, M hose particular movements visibly 
present to us the acts, and whose parts and forms visibly 
present to us the sustained efforts, the fundamental char 
acter, of the individually given will, nay, whose pain and 
comfort are perfectly immediate affections of this will 

We first become aware of this identity of the body with 
the will in the individual actions of the two, for in, these 


what is known in self-consciousness as an immediate, real 
act of will, at the same time and unseparated, exhibits 
itself outwardly as movement of the body ; and every one 
beholds the purposes of his will, which are instantaneously 
brought about by motives which just as instantaneously 
appear at once as faithfully copied in as many actions of 
his body as his body itself is copied in his shadow ; and 
from this, for the unprejudiced man, the knowledge arises in 
the simplest manner that his body is merely the outward 
manifestation of his will, i.e., the way in which his will 
exhibits itself in his perceiving intellect, or his will itself 
under the form of the idea. Only if we forcibly deprive 
ourselves of this primary and simple information can we 
for a short time marvel at the process of our own bodily 
action as a miracle, which then rests on the fact that 
between the act of will and the action of the body there is 
really no causal connection, for they are directly identical, 
and their apparent difference only arises from the circum 
stance that here what is one and the same is apprehended 
in two different modes of knowledge, the outer and the 
inner. Actual willing is, in fact, inseparable from doing ; 
and in the strictest sense only that is an act of will which 
the deed sets its seal to. Mere resolves of the will, on the 
contrary, till they are carried out, are only intentions, and 
are therefore matter of the intellect alone; as such they 
have their place merely in the brain, and are nothing more 
than completed calculations of the relative strength of the 
different opposing motives. They have, therefore, certainly 
great probability, but no infallibility. They may turn out 
false, not only through alteration of the circumstances, but 
also from the fact that the estimation of the effect of the 
respective motives upon the will itself was erroneous, which 
then shows itself, for the deed is untrue to the purpose : 
therefore before it is carried out no resolve is certain. The 
will itself, then, is operative only in real action; hence in 
muscular action, and consequently in irritability. Thus the 
will proper objectifies itself in this. The cerebrum is the 


place of motives, where, through these, the will becomes 
choice, i.e., becomes more definitely determined by motives. 
These motives are ideas, which, on the occasion of external 
stimuli of the organs of sense, arise by means of the func 
tions of the brain, and are also worked up into conceptions, 
and then into resolves. When it comes to the real act of 
will these motives, the workshop of which is the cerebrum, 
act through the medium of the cerebellum upon the spinal 
cord and the motor nerves which proceed from it, which 
then act upon the muscles, yet merely as stimuli of their 
irritability; for galvanic, chemical, and even mechanical 
stimuli can effect the same contraction which the motor 
nerve calls forth. Thus what was motive in the brain acts, 
when it reaches the muscle through the nerves, as mere 
stimulus. Sensibility in itself is quite unable to contract a 
muscle. This_can only be done by the muscle itself, and its 
capacity for doing so is called irritability, i.e., susceptibility 
to stimuli. It is exclusively a property of the muscle, as sen 
sibility is exclusively a property of the nerve. The latter 
indeed gives the muscle the occasion for its contraction, but 
it is by no means it that, in some mechanical way, draws the 
muscle together; but this happens simply and solely on ac 
count of the irritability, which is a power of the muscle itself. 
Apprehended from without this is a Qualitas occulta, and 
only self-consciousness reveals it as the will. In the causal 
chain here briefly set forth, from the effect of the motive 
lying outside us to the contraction of the muscle, the will 
does not in some way come in as the last link of the chain ; 
but it is the metaphysical substratum of the irritability of 
the muscle : thus it plays here precisely the same part 
which in a physical or chemical chain of causes is played by 
the mysterious forces of nature which lie at the foundation 
of the process forces which as such are not themselves in 
volved as links in the causal chain, but impart to all the 
links of it the capacity to act, as I have fully shown in 
26 of the first volume. Therefore we would ascribe the 
contraction of the muscle also to a similar mysterious 


force of nature, if it were not that this contraction is 
disclosed to us by an entirely different source of know 
ledge self-consciousness as will. Hence, as was said 
above, if we start from the will our own muscular move 
ment appears to us a miracle ; for indeed there is a strict 
causal chain from the external motive to the muscular 
action ; but the will itself is not included as a link in it, 
but, as the metaphysical substratum of the possibility of 
an action upon the muscle through brain and nerve, lies at 
the foundation of the present muscular action also ; there 
fore the latter is not properly its effect but its manifesta 
tion. As such it enters the world of idea, the form of 
which is the law of causality, a world which is entirely 
different from the will in itself : and thus, if we start from 
the will, this manifestation has, for attentive reflection, the 
appearance of a miracle, but for deeper investigation it 
affords the most direct authentication of the great truth 
that what appears in the phenomenon as body and its 
action is in itself will. If now perhaps the motor nerve 
that leads to my hand is severed, the will can no longer 
move it. This, however, is not because the hand has 
ceased to be, like every part of my body, the objectivity, 
the mere visibility, of my will, or in other words, that the 
irritability has vanished, but because the effect of the 
motive, in consequence of which alone I can move my 
hand, cannot reach it and act on its muscles as a stimulus, 
for the line of connection between it and the brain is 
broken. Thus really my will is, in this part, only de 
prived of the effect of the motive. The will objectifies 
itself directly, in irritability, not in sensibility. 

In order to prevent all misunderstandings about this 
important point, especially such as proceed from physio 
logy pursued in a purely empirical manner, I shall explain 
the whole process somewhat more thoroughly. My doc 
trine asserts that the whole body is the will itself, exhibit 
ing itself in the perception of the brain ; consequently, 
having entered into its forms of knowledge. From this it 


follows that the will is everywhere equally present in the 
whole body, as is also demonstrably the case, for the orga 
nic functions are its work no less than the animal. But 
how, then, can we reconcile it with this, that the voluntary 
actions, those most undeniable expressions of the will, 
clearly originate in the brain, and thus only through the 
spinal cord reach the nerve fibres, which finally set the 
limbs in motion, and the paralysis or severing of which 
therefore prevents the possibility of voluntary movement ? 
This would lead one to think that the will, like the_intgl- 
-lect, has its seat only in the brain, and, like it, is a mere 
function of the brain. 

Yet this is not the case: but the whole body is and 
remains the exhibition of the will in perception, thus the 
will itself objectively perceived by means of the functions 
of the brain. That process, however, in the case of the 
acts of will, depends upon the fact that the will, which, 
according to my doctrine, expresses itself in every phe 
nomenon of nature, even in vegetable and inorganic phe 
nomena, appears in the bodies of men and animals as a 
conscious will. A consciousness, however, is essentially a 
unity, and therefore always requires a central point of 
unity. The necessity of consciousness is, as I have often 
explained, occasioned by the fact that in consequence of 
the increased complication, and thereby more multifarious 
wants, of an organism, the acts of its will must be guided 
by motives, no longer, as in the lower grades, by mere 
stimuli. For this purpose it had at this stage to appear 
provided with a knowing consciousness, thus with an 
intellect, as the medium and place of the motives. This 
intellect, if itself objectively perceived, exhibits itself as 
the brain, together with its appendages, spinal cord, and 
nerves. It is the brain now in which, on the occasion of 
external impressions, the ideas arise which become motives 
for the will. But in the rational intellect they undergo 
besides this a still further working up, through reflection 
and deliberation. Thus such an intellect must first of all 


unite in one point all impressions, together with the 
working up of them by its functions, whether to mere 
perception or to conceptions, a point which will be, as it 
were, the focus of all its rays, in order that that unity of 
consciousness may arise which is the theoretical ego, the 
supporter of the whole consciousness, in which it presents 
itself as identical with the willing ego, whose mere function 
of knowledge it is. That point of unity of consciousness, 
or the theoretical ego, is just Kant s synthetic unity of 
apperception, upon which all ideas string themselves as 
on a string of pearls, and on account of which the " I 
think," as the thread of the string of pearls, " must be 
capable of accompanying all our ideas." 1 This assembling- 
place of the motives, then, where their entrance into the 
single focus of consciousness takes place, is the brain. 
Here, in the non-rational consciousness, they are merely 
perceived ; in the rational consciousness they are elucidated 
by conceptions, thus are first thought in the abstract and 
compared ; upon which the will chooses, in accordance 
with its individual and immutable character, and so the 
purpose results which now, by means of the cerebellum, 
the spinal cord, and the nerves, sets the outward limbs in 
motion. For although the will is quite directly present in 
these, inasmuch as they are merely its manifestation, yet 
when it has to move according to motives, or indeed 
according to reflection, it requires such an apparatus for 
the apprehension and working up of ideas into such 
motives, in conformity with which its acts here appear as 
resolves : just as the nourishment of the blood with chyle 
requires a stomach and intestines, in which this is pre 
pared, and then as such is poured into the blood through 
the ductus thoracicus, which here plays the part which the 
spinal cord plays in the former case. The matter may be 
most simply and generally comprehended thus : the will is 
immediately present as irritability in all the muscular 
fibres of the whole body, as a continual striving after 
1 Cf. Ch. 22. 


activity in general. Now if this striving is to realise 
itself, thus to manifest itself as movement, this movement 
must as such have some direction ; but this direction must 
be determined by something, i.e., it requires a guide, and 
this is the nervous system. For to the mere irritability, 
as it lies in the muscular fibres and in itself is pure will, 
all directions are alike ; thus it determines itself in no 
direction, but behaves like a body which is equally drawn 
in all directions ; it remains at rest. Since the activity of 
the nerves comes in as motive (in the case of reflex move 
ments as a stimulus), the striving force, i.e., the irritability, 
receives a definite direction, and now produces the move 
ments. Yet those external acts of will which require no 
motives, and thus also no working up of mere stimuli into 
ideas in the brain, from which motives arise, but which 
follow immediately upon stimuli, for the most part inward 
stimuli, are the reflex movements, starting only from the 
spinal cord, as, for example, spasms and cramp, in which 
the will acts without the brain taking part. In an analo 
gous manner the will carries on the organic life, also by 
nerve stimulus, which does not proceed from the brain. 
Thus the will appears in every muscle as irritability, and 
is consequently of itself in a position to contract them, yet 
only in general; in order that some definite contraction 
should take place at a given moment, there is required 
here, as everywhere, a cause, which in this case must be 
a stimulus. This is everywhere given by the nerve which 
goes into the muscle. If this nerve is in connection with 
the brain, then the contraction is a conscious act of will, 
i.e., takes place in accordance with motives, which, in con 
sequence of external impressions, have arisen as ideas in the 
brain. If the nerve is not in connection with the brain, 
but with the sympathicus maximus, then the contraction is 
involuntary and unconscious, an act connected with the 
maintenance of the organic life, and the nerve stimulus 
which causes it is occasioned by inward impressions ; for 
example, by the pressure upon the stomach of the food 


received, or of the chyme upon the intestines, or of the 
in-flowing blood upon the walls of the heart, in accordance 
with which the act is digestion, or motus peristalticus, or 
beating of the heart, &c. 

But if now, in this process, we go one step further, we 
find that the muscles are the product of the blood, the 
result of its work of condensation, nay, to a certain extent 
they are merely solidified, or, as it were, clotted or crystal 
lised blood ; for they have taken up into themselves, almost 
unaltered, its fibrin (cruor} and its colouring matter (Bur- 
dach s Physiologic, Bd. v. 686). But the force which 
forms the muscle out of the blood must not be assumed to 
be different from that which afterwards moves it as irrita 
bility, upon nerve stimulus, which the brain supplies ; in 
which case it then presents itself in self-consciousness as 
that which we call will. The close connection between 
the blood and irritability is also shown by this, that where, 
on account of imperfection of the lesser circulation, part of 
the blood returns to the heart unoxidised, the irritability 
is also uncommonly weak, as in the batrachia. Moreover, 
the movement of the blood, like that of the muscle, is 
independent and original ; it does not, like irritation, re 
quire the influence of the nerve, and is even independent 
of the heart, as is shown most clearly by the return of the 
blood through the veins to the heart ; for here it is not 
propelled by a vis a teryo, as in the case of the arterial 
circulation ; and all other mechanical explanations, such 
as a power of suction of the right ventricle of the heart, 
are quite inadequate. (See Burdachls Physiologic, Bd. 4, 
763, and Rosch, Ueber die Bedeutung des Blutcs, 1 1, seq.) 
It is remarkable to see how the French, who recognise 
nothing but mechanical forces, controvert each other with 
insufficient grounds upon both sides ; and Bichat ascribes 
the flowing back of the blood through the veins to the 

O C3 

pressure of the walls of the capillary tubes, and Magendie, 
on the other hand, to the continued action of the impulse 
of the heart (Precis de Physiologie par Magendie, vol. ii. p. 


389). That the movement of the blood is also independent 
of the nervous system, at least of the cerebral nervous 
system, is shown by the fetus, which (according to Mutter s 
Physiologic}, without brain and spinal cord, has yet circula 
tion of the blood. And Flourens also says : " Lc mouvement 
du cceur, pris en soi, et abstraction faite de tout ce qui n est 
pas essentiellement lui, comme sa durde, son dnergie, ne depend 
ni imme diatement, ni coinstantane nient, du systeme nervcux 
central, et conse quemment cest dans tout autre point de ce 
syst&me que dans les centres nerveux eux-m&nies, qu il faut 
chercher le principe primitif ct imme diat de ce mouvement " 
(Annales des sciences naturdles p. Audouin et Brougniard, 
1828, vol. 13). Cuvier also says : " La circulation survit a 
la destruction de tout I ence phale et de toute la moelle e pini- 
aire (Me m. de I acad. d. sc., 1823, vol. 6; Hist. d. Vacad.p. 
Cuvier" p. cxxx). " Cor primum vivens et ultimum moriens," 
says Haller. The beating of the heart ceases at last in 
death. The blood has made the vessels themselves ; for it 
appears in the ovum earlier than they do ; they are only 
its path, voluntarily taken, then beaten smooth, and finally 
gradually condensed and closed up ; as Kaspar Wolff 
has already taught: " Theorie dcr Generation," 30-35. 
The motion of the heart also, which is inseparable from 
that of the blood, although occasioned by the necessity of 
sending blood into the lungs, is yet an original motion, for 
it is independent of the nervous system and of sensibility, 
as Burdach fully shows. " In the heart," he says, " appears 
with the maximum of irritability, a minimum of sensi 
bility " (loc. cit., 769). The heart belongs to the muscular 
system as well as to the blood or vascular system ; from 
which, however, it is clear that the two are closely related, 
indeed constitute one whole. Since now the metaphysical 
substratum of the force which moves the muscle, thus of 
irritability, is the will, the will must also be the meta 
physical substratum of the force which lies at the founda 
tion of the movement and the formations of the blood, as 
that by which the muscles are produced. The course of 


the arteries also determines the form and size of all the 
limbs ; consequently the whole form of the body is deter 
mined by the course of the blood. Thus in general the 
blood, as it nourishes all the parts of the body, has also, 
as the primary fluidity of the organism, produced and 
framed them out of itself. And the nourishment which 
confessedly constitutes the principal function of the blood 
is only the continuance of that original production of 
them. This truth will be found thoroughly and excellently 
explained in the work of Eosch referred to above : " Ueber 
die Bedeutung des Blutes" 1839. He shows that the blood 
is that which first has life and is the source both of the 
existence and of the maintenance of all the parts ; that all 
the organs have sprung from it through secretion, and 
together with them, for the management of their functions, 
the nervous system, which appears now as plastic, ordering 
and arranging the life of the particular parts within, now 
as cerebral, controlling the relation to the external world. 
" The blood," he says, p. 25, " was flesh and nerve at once, 
and at the same moment at which the muscle freed itself 
from it the nerve, severed in like manner, remained 
opposed to the flesh." Here it is a matter of course that 
the blood, before those solid parts have been secreted from 
it, has also a somewhat different character from afterwards ; 
it is then, as Eosch defines it, the chaotic, animated, slimy, 
primitive fluid, as it were an organic emulsion, in which 
all subsequent parts are implicite contained : moreover, it 
has not the red colour quite at the beginning. This dis 
poses of the objection which might be drawn from the fact 
that the brain and the spinal cord begin to form before the 
circulation of the blood is visible or the heart appears. 
In this reference also Schultz says (System der Circulation, 
297) : " We do not believe that the view of Baumgarteu, 
according to which the nervous system is formed earlier 
than the blood, can consistently be carried out; for 
Baumgarten reckons the appearance of the blood only from 
the formation of the corpuscles, while in the embryo and 


in the series of animals blood appears much earlier in the 
form of a pure plasma." The blood of invertebrate animals 
never assumes the red colour ; but we do not therefore, 
with Aristotle, deny that they have any. It is well 
worthy of note that, according to the account of Justiuus 
Kerner (Geschichte zweier Somnambulen, 78), a somnam 
bulist of a very high degree of clairvoyance, says : " I am 
as deep in myself as ever a man can be led ; the force of 
my mortal life seems to me to have its source in the blood, 
whereby, through the circulation in the veins, it communi 
cates itself, by means of the nerves, to the whole body, and 
to the brain, which is the noblest part of the body, and 
above the blood itself." 

From all this it follows that the will objectifies itself 
most immediately in the blood as that which originally 
makes and forms the organism, perfects it by growth, and 
afterwards constantly maintains it, both by the regular 
renewal of all the parts and by the extraordinary restora 
tion of any part that may have been injured. The first 
productions of the blood are its own vessels, and then the 
musclec, in the irritability of which the will makes itself 
known to self-consciousness ; but with this also the heart, 
which is at once vessel and muscle, and therefore is the 
true centre and primum mobile of the whole life. But for 
the individual life and subsistence in the external world the 
will now requires two assistant systems : one to govern and 
order its inner and outer activity, and another for the con 
stant renewal of the mass of the blood ; thus a controller 
and a sustainer. It therefore makes for itself the nervous 
and the intestinal systems ; thus the functiones animalcs 
and the functiones naturales associate themselves in a sub 
sidiary manner with the functiones vitales, which are the 
most original and essential. In the nervous system, accord 
ingly, the will only objectifies itself in an indirect and 
secondary way ; for this system appears as a mere auxiliary 
organ, as a contrivance by means of which the will attains 
to a knowledge of those occasions, internal and external, 

VOL. II. 2 II 


upon which, in conformity with its aims, it must express 
itself; the internal occasions are received by the plastic 
nervous system, thus by the sympathetic nerve, this cere 
brum abdominale, as mere stimuli, and the will thereupon 
reacts on the spot without the brain being conscious ; the 
outward occasions are received by the brain, as motives, 
and the will reacts through conscious actions directed out 
wardly. Therefore the whole nervous system constitutes, 
as it were, the antennae of the will, which it stretches 
towards within and without. The nerves of the brain and 
spinal cord separate at their roots into sensory and motory 
nerves. The sensory nerves receive the knowledge from 
without, which now accumulates in the thronging brain, 
and is there worked up into ideas, which arise primarily as 
motives. But the motory nerves bring back, like couriers, 
the result of the brain function to the muscle, upon which 
it acts as a stimulus, and the irritability of which is the 
immediate manifestation of the will. Presumably the 
plastic nerves also divide into sensory and motory, although 
on a subordinate scale. The part which the ganglia play 
in the organism we must think of as that of a diminutive 
brain, and thus the one throws light upon the other. The 
ganglia lie wherever the organic functions of the vegetative 
system require care. It is as if there the will was not 
able by its direct and simple action to carry out its aims, 
but required guidance, and consequently control ; just as 
when in some business a man s own memory is not suffi 
cient, and he must constantly take notes of what he does. 
For this end mere knots of nerves are sufficient for the 
interior of the organism, because everything goes on within 
its own compass. For the exterior, on the other hand, 
a very complicated contrivance of the same kind is re 
quired. This is the brain with its feelers, which it 
stretches into the outer world, the nerves of sense. But 
even in the organs which are in communication with this 
great nerve centre, in very simple cases the matter does 
not need to be brought before the highest authority, but a 


subordinate one is sufficient to determine what is needed ; 
such is the spinal cord, in the reflex actions discovered by 
Marshall Hall, such as sneezing, yawning, vomiting, the 
second half of swallowing, &c. &c. The will itself is pre 
sent in the whole organism, since this is merely its visible 
form; the nervous system exists everywhere merely for 
the purpose of making the direction of an action possible 
by a control of it, as it were to serve the will as a mirror, 
so that it may see what it does, just as we use a mirror to 
shave by. Hence small sensoria arise within us for special, 
and consequently simple, functions, the ganglia ; but the 
chief sensorium, the brain, is the great and skilfully con 
trived apparatus for the complicated and multifarious 
functions which have to do with the ceaselessly and 
irregularly changing external world. Wherever in the 
organism the nerve threads run together in a ganglion, 
there, to a certain extent, an animal exists for itself and 
shut off, which by means of the ganglion has a kind of 
weak knowledge, the sphere of which is, however, limited 
to the part from which these nerves directly come. But 
what actuates these parts to such quasi knowledge is 
clearly the will ; indeed we are utterly unable to conceive 
it otherwise. Upon this depends the vita propria of each 
part, and also in the case of insects, which, instead of a 
spinal cord, have a double string of nerves, with ganglia at 
regular intervals, the capacity of each part to continue 
alive for days after being severed from the head and the 
rest of the trunk ; and finally also the actions which 
in the last instance do not receive their motives from 
the brain, i.e., instinct and natural mechanical skill. 
Marshall Hall, whose discovery of the reflex movements 
I have mentioned above, has given us in this the theory of 
involuntary movements. Some of these are normal or physio 
logical ; such are the closing of the places of ingress to 
and egress from the body, thus of the sphincteres vesicce et 
ani (proceeding from the nerves of the spinal cord) ; the 
closing of the eyelids in sleep (from the fifth pair of 


nerves), of the larynx (from N. vagus) if food passes over 
it or carbonic acid tries to enter; also swallowing, from 
the pharynx, yawning and sneezing, respiration, entirely 
in sleep and partly when awake ; and, lastly, the erection, 
ejaculation, as also conception, and many more. Some, 
again, are abnormal and pathological; such are stammer 
ing, hiccoughing, vomiting, also cramps and convulsions of 
every kind, especially in epilepsy, tetanus, in hydrophobia 
and otherwise ; finally, the convulsive movements produced 
by galvanic or other stimuli, and which take