CHAPTER XII. SCHELLING'S CO-WORKERS.
In his period of vigorous creation Schelling was the center of an animated philosophical activity. Each phase of his philosophy found a circle of enthusiastic fellow-laborers, whom we must hesitate to term disciples because of their independence and of their reaction on Schelling himself. Only G.M. Klein (1776-1820, professor in Wuerzburg), Stutzmann (died 1816 in Erlangen; Philosophy of the Universe, 1806; Philosophy of History, 1808), and the historians of philosophy Ast and Rixner can be called disciples of Schelling. Prominent among his co-workers in the philosophy of nature were Steffens, Oken, Schubert, and Carus; besides these the physiologist Burdach, the pathologist Kieser, the plant physiologist Nees von Esenbeck, and the medical thinker Schelver (Philosophy of Medicine, 1809) deserve mention. Besides Hegel, J.J. Wagner and Friedrich Krause distinguished themselves as independent founders of systems of identity; Troxler, Suabedissen, and Berger are also to be assigned to this group. Baader and Schleiermacher were competitors of Schelling in the philosophy of religion, and Solger in aesthetics. Finally Fr. J. Stahl (died 1861; Philosophy of Right, 1830 seq..), was also influenced by Schelling. There is a wide divergence in Schelling's school, as J.E. Erdmann accurately remarks, between the naturalistic pantheist Oken and the mystical theosophist Baader, in whom elements which had been united in Schelling appear divided.
1. The Philosophers of Nature.
Henrik Steffens (a Norwegian, 1773-1845; professor in Halle, Breslau, and Berlin) makes individual development the goal of nature—which is first completely attained in man and in his peculiarity or talent—and holds that the catastrophes of the spirit are reflected in the history of the earth. Lorenz Oken (1779-1851; professor in Jena 1807-27, then in Munich and Zurich) identifies God and the universe, which comes to self-consciousness in man, the most perfect animal; teaches the development of organisms from an original slime (a mass of organic elements, infusoria, or cells); and looks on the animal kingdom as man anatomized, in that the animal world contains in isolated development that which man possesses collected in minute organs—the worm is the feeling animal, the insect the light animal, the snail the touch animal, the bird the hearing animal, the fish the smelling animal, the amphibian the taste animal, the mammal the animal of all senses.
[Footnote 1: Steffens, Contributions to the Inner Natural History of the Earth, 1801; Caricatures of the Holiest, 1819-21; Anthropology, 1822.]
[Footnote 2: Oken: On the Significance of the Bones of the Skull, 1807; Text-book of the Philosophy of Nature, 1809-11, 2d ed. 1831, 3d ed. 1843; the journal Isis, from 1817. On Oken cf. C. Guettler, 1885.]
While in Steffens geological interests predominate, and in Oken biological interests, Schubert, Carus, and Ennemoser are the psychologists of the school. Gotthilf Heinrich Schubert (1780-1860; professor in Erlangen and Munich) brings the human soul into intimate relation with the world-soul, whose phantasy gives form to all that is corporeal, and delights to dwell on the abnormal and mysterious phenomena of the inner life, the border-land between the physical and the psychical, on the unconscious and the half-conscious, on presentiments and clairvoyance, as from another direction also Schelling's philosophy was brought into perilous connection with somnambulism. A second predominantly contemplative thinker was Karl Gustav Carus (1789-1869; at his death in Dresden physician to the king; Lectures on Psychology, 1831; Psyche, 1846; Physis, 1851), greatly distinguished for his services to comparative anatomy. Carus endows the cell with unconscious psychical life,—a memory for the past shows itself in the inheritance of dispositions and talents, just as the formation of milk in the breasts of the pregnant and the formation of lungs in the embryo betray a prevision of the future,—and points out that with the higher development of organic and spiritual life the antitheses constantly become more articulate: individual differences are greater among men than among women, among adults than among children, among Europeans than among negroes.
[Footnote 1: G.H. Schubert: Views of the Dark Side of Natural Science, 1808; The Primeval World and the Fixed Stars, 1822; History of the Soul, 1830 (in briefer form, Text-book of the Science of Man and of the Soul, 1838).]
[Footnote 2: Not to be confused with Friedrich August Carus (1770-1807; professor in Leipsic), whose History of Psychology, 1808, forms the third part of his posthumous works.]
2. The Philosophers of Identity.
It has been said of the Dane Johann Erich von Berger (1772-1833; from 1814 professor in Kiel; Universal Outlines of Science, 1817-27) that he adopted a middle course between Fichte and Schelling. The same may be asserted of Karl Ferdinand Solger (1780-1819; at his death professor in Berlin; Erwin, Four Dialogues on Beauty and Art, 1815; Lectures on Aesthetics, edited by Heyse, 1829), who points out the womb of the beautiful in the fancy, and introduces into aesthetics the concept of irony, that spirit of sadness at the vanity of the finite, though this is needed by the Idea in order to its manifestation.
In Johann Jacob Wagner (1775-1841; professor in Wuerzburg) and in J.P.V. Troxler (1780-1866) we find, as in Steffens, a fourfold division instead of Schelling's triads. Both Wagner and Troxler find an exact correspondence between the laws of the universe and those of the human mind. Wagner (in conformity to the categories essence and form, opposition and reconciliation) makes all becoming and cognition advance from unity to quadruplicity, and finds the four stages of knowledge in representation, perception, judgment, and Idea. Troxler shares with Fries the anthropological standpoint, (philosophy is anthropology, knowledge of the world is self-knowledge), and distinguishes, besides the emotional nature or the unity of human nature, four constituents thereof, spirit, higher soul, lower soul (body, Leib), and body (Koerper), and four corresponding kinds of knowledge, in reverse order, sensuous perception, experience, reason, and spiritual intuition, of which the middle two are mediate or reflective in character, while the first and last are intuitive. For D. Th. A. Suabedissen also (1773-1835; professor in Marburg; Examination of Man, 1815-18) philosophy is the science of man, and self-knowledge its starting point.
[Footnote 1: J.J. Wagner: Ideal Philosophy, 1804; Mathematical Philosophy, 1811; Organon of Human Knowledge, 1830, in three parts, System of the World, of Knowledge, and of Language. On Wagner cf. L. Rabus, 1862.]
[Footnote 2: Troxler: Glances into the Nature of Man, 1812; Metaphysics, 1828; Logic, 1830.]
The relatively limited reputation enjoyed in his own time and to-day by Friedrich Krause (born in Eisenberg 1781; habilitated in Jena 1802; lived privately in Dresden; became a Privatdocent in Goettingen from 1824; and died at Munich 1832; Prototype of Humanity, 1812, and numerous other works) has been due, on the one hand, to the appearance of his more gifted contemporary Hegel, and, on the other, to his peculiar terminology. He not only Germanized all foreign words in a spirit of exaggerated purism, but also coined new verbal roots, (Mael, Ant, Or, Om) and from these formed the most extraordinary combinations (Vereinselbganzweseninnesein, Oromlebselbstschauen ). His most important pupil, Ahrens (professor in Leipsic, died 1874; Course of Philosophy, 1836-38; Natural Right, 1852), helped Krause's doctrine to gain recognition in France and Belgium by his fine translations into French; while it was introduced into Spain by J.S. del Rio of Madrid (died 1869).—Since the finite is a negative, the infinite a positive concept, and hence the knowledge of the infinite primal, the principle of philosophy is the absolute, and philosophy itself knowledge of God or the theory of essence. The Subjective Analytic Course leads from the self-viewing of the ego up to the vision of God; the Synthetic Course starts from the fundamental Idea, God, and deduces from this the partial Ideas, or presents the world as the revelation of God. For his attempted reconciliation of theism and pantheism Krause invented the name panentheism, meaning thereby that God neither is the world nor stands outside the world, but has the world in himself and extends beyond it. He is absolute identity, nature and reason are relative identity, viz., the identity of the real and ideal, the former with the character of reality, the latter with the character of ideality. Or, the absolute considered from the side of its wholeness (infinity) is nature, considered from the side of its selfhood (unconditionality) is reason; God is the common root of both. Above nature and reason is humanity, which combines in itself the highest products of both, the most perfect animal body and self-consciousness. The humanity of earth, the humanity known to us, is but a very small portion of the humanity of the universe, which in the multitude of its members, which cannot be increased, constitutes the divine state. Krause's most important work is his philosophy of right and of history, with its marks of a highly keyed idealism. He treats human right as an effluence of divine right; besides the state or legal union, he recognizes many other associations—the science and the art union, the religious society, the league of virtue or ethical union. His philosophy of history (General Theory of Life, edited by Von Leonhardi, 1843) follows the Fichteo-Hegelian rhythm, unity, division, and reunion, and correlates the several ages with these. The first stage is germinal life; the second, youth; the third, maturity. The culmination is followed by a reverse movement from counter-maturity, through counter-youth, to counter-childhood, whereupon the development recommences—without cessation. It is to be regretted that this noble-minded man joined to his warm-hearted disposition, broad outlook, and rigorous method a heated fancy, which, crippling the operation of these advantageous qualities, led his thought quite too far away from reality. Ahrens, Von Leonhardi, Lindemann, and Roeder may be mentioned as followers of Krause.
[Footnote 1: On Krause cf. P. Hohlfeld, Die Krausesche Philosophic, 1879; B. Martin, 1881; R. Eucken, Zur Erinnerung an Krause, Festrede, 1881. From his posthumous works Hohlfeld and Wuensche have published the Lectures on Aesthetics, the System of Aesthetics (both 1882), and numerous other treatises.]
3. The Philosophers of Religion.
Franz (von) Baader, the son of a physician, was born in Munich in 1765, resided there as superintendent of mines, and, from 1826, as professor of speculative dogmatics, and died there also in 1841. His works, which consisted only of a series of brief treatises, were collected (16 vols., 1851-60) by his most important adherent, Franz Hoffman (at his death in 1881 professor in Wuerzburg). Baader may be characterized as a mediaeval thinker who has worked through the critical philosophy, and who, a believing, yet liberal Catholic, endeavors to solve with the instruments of modern speculation the old Scholastic problem of the reconciliation of faith and knowledge. His themes are, on the one hand, the development of God, and, on the other, the fall and redemption, which mean for him, however, not merely inner phenomena, but world-events. He is in sympathy with the Neoplatonists, with Augustine, with Thomas Aquinas, with Eckhart, with Paracelsus, above all, with Jacob Boehme, and Boehme's follower Louis Claude St. Martin (1743-1804), but does not overlook the value of the modern German philosophy. With Kant he begins the inquiry with the problem of knowledge; with Fichte he finds in self-consciousness the essence, and not merely a property, of spirit; with Hegel he looks on God or the absolute spirit not only as the object, but also as the subject of knowledge. He rejects, however, the autonomy of the will and the spontaneity of thought; and though he criticises the Cartesian separation between the thought of the creator and that of the creature, he as little approves the pantheistic identification of the two—human cognition participates in the divine, without constituting a part of it.
[Footnote 1: Besides Hoffman, Lutterbeck and Hamberger have described and expounded Baader's system. See also Baumann's paper in the Philosophische Monatshefte, vol. xiv., 1878, p. 321 seq.]
In accordance with its three principal objects, “God, Nature, and Man,” philosophy divides into fundamental science (logic or the theory of knowledge and theology), the philosophy of nature (cosmology or the theory of creation and physics), and the philosophy of spirit (ethics and sociology). In all its parts it must receive religious treatment. Without God we cannot know God. In our cognition of God he is at once knower and known; our being and all being is a being known by him; our self-consciousness is a consciousness of being known by God: cogitor, ergo cogito et sum; my being and thinking are based on my being thought by God. Conscience is a joint knowing with God's knowing (conscientia). The relation between the known and the knower is threefold. Cognition is incomplete and lacks the free co-operation of the knower when God merely pervades (durchwohnt) the creature, as is the case with the devil's timorous and reluctant knowledge of God. A higher stage is reached when the known is present to the knower and dwells with him (beiwohnt). Cognition becomes really free and perfect when God dwells in (inwohnt) the creature, in which case the finite reason yields itself freely and in admiration to the divine reason, lets the latter speak in itself, and feels its rule, not as foreign, but as its own. (Baader maintains a like threefoldness in the practical sphere: the creature is either the object or, rather, the passive recipient, or the organ, or the representative of the divine action, i.e., in the first case, God alone works; in the second, he co-operates with the creature; in the third, the creature works with the forces and in the name of God. Joyful obedience, conscious of its grounds, is the highest freedom). Knowing and loving, thought and volition, knowledge and faith, philosophy and dogma are as little to be abstractly divided as thing and self, being and thought, object and subject. True freedom and genuine speculation are neither blind traditional belief nor doubting, God-estranged thinking, but the free recognition of authority, and self-attained conviction of the truth of the Church doctrine.
Baader distinguishes a twofold creation of the world and a double process of development (an esoteric and an exoteric revelation) of God himself. The creation of the ideal world, as a free act of love, is a non-deducible fact; the theogonic process, on the contrary, is a necessary event by which God becomes a unity returning from division to itself, and so a living God. The eternal self-generation of God is a twofold birth: in the immanent or logical process the unsearchable will (Father) gives birth to the comprehensible will (Son) to unite with it as Spirit; the place of this self-revelation is wisdom or the Idea. In the emanent or real process, since desire or nature is added to the Idea and is overcome by it, these three moments become actual persons. In the creation of the—at first immaterial—world, in which God unites, not with his essence, but with his image only, the same two powers, desire and wisdom, operate as the principles of matter and form. The materialization of the world is a consequence of the fall. Evil consists in the elevation of selfhood, which springs from desire, into self-seeking. Lucifer fell because of pride, and man, yielding to Lucifer's temptation, from baseness, by falling in love with nature beneath him. By the creation of matter God has out of pity preserved the world, which was corrupted by the fall, from the descent into hell, and at the same time has given man occasion for moral endeavor. The appearance of Christ, the personification of the moral law, is the beginning of reconciliation, which man appropriates through the sacrament. Nature participates in the redemption, as in the corruption.
Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher was born in 1768 at Breslau, and died in 1834 in Berlin, where he had become preacher at Trinity church in 1809, professor of theology in 1810, member of the philosophical section of the Academy in 1811, and its secretary in 1814. Reared in the Moravian schools at Niesky and Barby, he studied at Halle; and, between 1794 and 1804, was a preacher in Landsberg on the Warthe, in Berlin (at the Charite Hospital), and in Stolpe, then professor in Halle. He first attracted attention by the often republished Discourses on Religion addressed to the Educated among those who despise it, 1799 (critical edition by Puenjer, 1879), which was followed in the succeeding year by the Monologues, and the anonymous Confidential Letters on Lucinde (Lucinde was the work of his friend Fr. Schlegel). Besides several collections of sermons, mention must further be made of his Outlines of a Critique of Previous Ethics, 1803; The Celebration of Christmas, 1806; and his chief theological work, The Christian Faith, 1822, new edition 1830. In the third (the philosophical) division of his Collected Works (1835-64) the second and third volumes contain the essays on the history of philosophy, on ethical, and on academic subjects; vols. vi. to ix., the Lectures on Psychology, Esthetics, the Theory of the State, and Education, edited by George, Lommatsch, Brandis, and Platz; and the first part of vol. iv., the History of Philosophy (to Spinoza), edited by Ritter. The Monologues and The Celebration of Christmas have appeared in Reclam's Bibliothek.
Schleiermacher's philosophy is a rendezvous for the most diverse systems. Side by side with ideas from Kant, Fichte, and Schelling we meet Platonic, Spinozistic, and Leibnitzian elements; even Jacobi and the Romanticists have contributed their mite. Schleiermacher is an eclectic, but one who, amid the fusion of the most diverse ideas, knows how to make his own individuality felt. In spite of manifold echoes of the philosophemes of earlier and of contemporary thinkers, his system is not a conglomeration of unrelated lines of thought, but resembles a plant, which in its own way works over and assimilates the nutritive elements taken up from the soil. Schleiermacher is attractive rather than impressive; he is less a discoverer than a critic and systematizer. His fine critical sense works in the service of a positive aim, subserves a harmonizing tendency; he takes no pleasure in breaking to pieces, but in adjusting, limiting, and combining. There is no one of the given views which entirely satisfies him, none which simply repels him; each contains elements which seem to him worthy of transformation and adoption. When he finds himself confronted by a sharp conflict of opinion, he seeks by careful mediation to construct a whole out of the two “half truths,” though this, it is true, does not always give a result more satisfactory than the partial views which he wishes to reconcile. A single example may be given of this conciliatory tendency: space, time, and the categories are not only subjective forms of knowledge, but at the same time objective forms of reality. “Not only” is the watchword of his philosophy, which became the prototype of the numberless “ideal realisms” with which Germany was flooded after Hegel's death. If the skeptical and eclectic movements, which constantly make their appearance together, are elsewhere divided among different thinkers, they here come together in one mind in the form of a mediating criticism, which, although it argues logically, is yet in the end always guided by the invisible cords of a feeling of justice in matters scientific. In its weaker portions Schleiermacher's philosophy is marked by lack of grasp, pettiness, and sportiveness. It lacks courage and force, and the rare delicacy of the thought is not entirely able to compensate for this defect. In its fear of one-sidedness it takes refuge in the arms of an often faint-hearted policy of reconciliation.
We shall not discuss the specifically theological achievements of this many-sided man, nor his great services in behalf of the philological knowledge of the history of philosophy—through his translation of Plato, 1804-28, and a series of valuable essays on Greek thinkers—but shall confine our attention to the leading principles of his theory of knowledge, of religion, and of ethics.
The Dialectic (edited by Jonas, 1839), treats in a transcendental part and a technical or formal part of the concept and the forms of knowledge. Knowledge is thought. What distinguishes that thought which we call knowledge from that other thought which does not deserve this honorable title, from mere opinion? Two criteria: its agreement with the thought of other thinkers (its universality and necessity), and its agreement with the being which is thought in it. That thought alone is knowledge which is represented as necessarily valid for all who are capable of thought, and as corresponding to a being or reproducing it. These two agreements (among thinkers, and of thought with the being which is thought) are the criteria of knowledge—let us turn now to its factors. These are essentially the two brought forward by Kant, sensibility and understanding; Schleiermacher calls them the organic function and the intellectual function. The organic activity of the senses furnishes us, in sensations, the unordered, manifold material of knowledge, which is formed and unified by the activity of reason. If we except two concepts which limit our knowledge, chaos and God—absolute formlessness or chaos is an idea just as incapable of realization as absolute unity or deity—every actual cognition is a product of both factors, of the sensuous organization and of reason. But these two do not play equal parts in every cognitive act. When the organic function is predominant we have perception; when the intellectual function predominates we have thought in the strict sense. A perfect balance of the two would be intuition, which, however, constitutes the goal of knowledge, never fully to be realized. These two kinds of knowledge, therefore, are not specifically, but only relatively, different: in all perception reason is also active, and in all thought sensibility, only to a less degree than the opposite function. Moreover, perception and thought, or sensibility and reason, are by no means to relate to different objects. They have the same object, only that the organic activity represents it as an indefinite, chaotic manifold, while the activity of reason (whose work consists in discrimination and combination), represents it as a well-ordered multiplicity and unity. It is the same being which is represented by perception in the form of an “image,” and by thought in the form of a “concept.” In the former case we have the world as chaos; in the latter, we have it as cosmos. Inasmuch as the two factors in knowledge represent the same object in relatively different ways, it may be said of them that they are opposed to each other, and yet identical. The same is true of the two modes of being which Schleiermacher posits as real and ideal over against the two factors in thought. The real is that which corresponds to the organic function, the ideal that which corresponds to the activity of reason. These forms of being also are opposed, and yet identical. Our self-consciousness gives clear proof of the fact that thought and being can be identical; in it, as thinking being, we have the identity of the real and the ideal, of being and thought immediately given. As the ego, in which the subject of thought and the object of thought are one, is the undivided ground of its several activities, so God is the primal unity, which lies at the basis of the totality of the world. As in Schelling, the absolute is described as self-identical, absolute unity, exalted above the antithesis of real and ideal, nay, above all antitheses. God is the negation of opposites, the world the totality of them. If there were an adequate knowledge of the absolute identity it would be an absolute knowledge. This is denied, however, to us men, who are never able to rise above the opposition of sensuous and intellectual cognition. The unity of thought and being is presupposed in all thinking, but can never actually be thought. As an Idea this identity is indispensable, but to think it definitely, either by conception or judgment, is impossible. The concepts supreme power (God or creative nature) and supreme cause (fate or providence) do not attain to that which we seek to think in them: that which has in it no opposition is an idea incapable of realization by man, but, nevertheless, a necessary ideal, the presupposition of all cognition (and volition), and the ground of all certitude. All knowledge must be related to the absolute unity and be accompanied by it. Since, then, the absolute identity cannot be presented, but ever sought for only, and absolute knowledge exists only as an ideal, dialectic is not so much a science as a technique of thought and proof, an introduction to philosophic thinking or (since knowledge is thought in common) to discussion in conformity with the rules of the art. With this the name dialectic returns to its original Platonic meaning.
[Footnote 1: Cf. Quaebicker, Ueber Schleiermachers erkeuntnisstheoretische Grundansicht, 1871, and the Inquiries by Bruno Weiss in the Zeitschrift fuer Philosophie, vols. lxxiii.-lxxv., 1878-79.]
The popular ideas of God ill stand examination by the standard furnished by the principle of identity. The plurality of attributes which we are accustomed to ascribe to God agree but poorly with his unity free from all contrariety. In reality God does not possess these manifold attributes; they first arise in the religious consciousness, in which his unconditioned and undivided working is variously reflected and, as it were, divided. They are only the various reflections of his undivided nature in the mind of the observer. In God ability and performance, intelligence and will, his thought of self and his thought of the world coincide in one. Even the concept of personality must not be ascribed to God, since it is a limitation of the infinite and belongs to mythology; while the idea of life, on the contrary, is allowable as a protection against atheism and fatalism. When Schleiermacher, further, equates the activity of God and the causality of nature he ranges himself on the pantheistic side in regard to the question of the “immanence or transcendence of God,” without being willing to acknowledge it. It sounds Spinozistic enough when he says: God never was without the world, he exists neither before nor outside it, we know him only in us and in things. Besides that which he actually brings forth, God could not produce anything further, and just as little does he miraculously interfere in the course of the world as regulated by natural law. Everything takes place necessarily, and man is distinguished above other beings neither by freedom (if by freedom we understand anything more than inner necessitation) nor by eternal existence. Like all individual beings, so we are but changing states in the life of the universe, which, as they have arisen, will disappear again. The common representations of immortality, with their hope of future compensation, are far from pious. The true immortality of religion is this—amid finitude to become one with the infinite, and in one moment to be eternal.
Schleiermacher's optimism well harmonizes with this view of the relation between God and the world. If the universe is the phenomenon of the divine activity, then considered as a whole it is perfect; whatever of imperfection we find in it, is merely the inevitable result of finitude. The bad is merely the less perfect; everything is as good as it can be; the world is the best possible; everything is in its right place; even the meanest thing is indispensable; even the mistakes of men are to be treated with consideration. All is good and divine. In this way Schleiermacher weds ideas from Spinoza to Leibnitzian conceptions. From the former he appropriates pantheism, from the latter optimism and the concept of individuality; he shares determinism with both: all events, even the decisions of the will, are subject to the law of necessity.
In the philosophy of religion Schleiermacher created a new epoch by his separation between religion and related departments with which it had often been identified before his time, as it has been since. In its origin and essence religion is not a matter of knowing, further, not a matter of willing, but a matter of the heart. It lies quite outside the sphere of speculation and of practice, coincides neither with metaphysics nor with ethics, is not knowledge and not volition, but an intermediate third: it has its own province in the emotional nature, where it reigns without limitation; its essence is intuition and feeling in undivided unity. In feeling is revealed the presence of the infinite; in feeling we become immediately aware of the Deity. The absolute, which in cognition and volition we only presuppose and demand, but never attain, is actually given in feeling alone as the relative identity and the common ground of cognition and volition. Religion is piety, an affective, not an objective, consciousness. And if certain religious ideas and actions ally themselves with the pious state of mind, these are not essential constituents of religion, but derivative elements, which possess a religious significance only in so far as they immediately develop from piety and exert an influence upon it. That which makes an act religious is always feeling as a point of indifference between knowing and doing, between receptive and forthgoing activity, as the center and junction of all the powers of the soul, as the very focus of personality. And as feeling in general is the middle point in the life of the soul, so, again, the religious feeling is the root of all genuine feeling. What sort of a feeling, then, is piety? Schleiermacher answers: A feeling of absolute dependence. Dependence on what? On the universe, on God. Religion grows out of the longing after the infinite, it is the sense and taste for the All, the direction toward the eternal, the impulse toward the absolute unity, immediate experience of the world harmony; like art, religion is the immediate apprehension of a whole. In and before God all that is individual disappears, the religious man sees one and the same thing in all that is particular. To represent all events in the world as actions of a God, to see God in all and all in God, to feel one's self one with the eternal,—this is religion. As we look on all being within us and without as proceeding from the world-ground, as determined by an ultimate cause, we feel ourselves dependent on the divine causality. Like all that is finite, we also are the effect of the absolute Power. While we stand in a relation of interaction with the individual parts of the world, and feel ourselves partially free in relation to them, we can only receive effects from God without answering them; even our self-activity we have from him. Nevertheless the feeling of dependence is not to be depressing, not humbling merely, but the joyous sense of an exaltation and broadening of life. In our devotion to the universe we participate in the life of the universe; by leaning on the infinite we supplement our finitude—religion makes up for the needy condition of man by bringing him into relation with the absolute, and teaching him to know and to feel himself a part of the whole.
From this elevating influence of religion, which Schleiermacher eloquently depicts, it is at once evident that his definition of it as a feeling of absolute dependence is only half correct. It needs to be supplemented by the feeling of freedom, which exalts us by the consciousness of the oneness of the human reason and the divine. It is only to this side of religion, neglected by Schleiermacher, that we can ascribe its inspiring influence, which he in vain endeavors to derive from the feeling of dependence. Power can never spring from humility as such. This defect, however, does not detract from Schleiermacher's merit in assigning to religion a special field of spiritual activity. While Kant treats religion as an appendix to ethics, and Hegel, with a one-sidedness which is still worse, reduces it to an undeveloped form of knowledge, Schleiermacher recognizes that it is not a mere concomitant phenomenon—whether an incidental result or a preliminary stage—of morality or cognition, but something independent, co-ordinate with volition and cognition, and of equal legitimacy. The proof that religion has its habitation in feeling is the more deserving of thanks since it by no means induced Schleiermacher to overlook the connection of the God-consciousness with self-consciousness and the consciousness of the world. Schleiermacher's theory, moreover, may be held correct without ignoring the relatively legitimate elements in the views of religion which he attacked. With the view that religion has its seat in feeling, it is quite possible to combine a recognition of the fact that it has its origin in the will, and its basis in morals, and that, further, it has the significance of being (to use Schopenhauer's words) the “metaphysics of the people.”
Although religion and piety be made synonymous, it must still be admitted that in a being capable of knowing and willing as well as of feeling, this devout frame will have results in the spheres of cognition and action. In regard to cultus Schleiermacher maintains that a religious observance which does not spring from one's own feeling and find an echo therein is superstitious, and demands that religious feeling, like a sacred melody, accompany all human action, that everything be done with religion, nothing from religion. Instead of expressing itself in single specifically religious actions, the religious feeling should uniformly pervade the whole life. Let a private room be the temple where the voice of the priest is raised. Dogmas, again, are descriptions of pious excitation, and take their origin in man's reflection on his religious feelings, in his endeavor to explain them, in his expression of them in ideas and words. The concepts and principles of theology are valid only as descriptions and presentations of feelings, not as cognitions; by their unavoidable anthropomorphic character alone they are completely unfitted for science. The dogmatic system is an envelopment which religion accepts with a smile. He who treats religious doctrines as science falls into empty mythology. Principles of faith and principles of knowledge are in no way related to one another, neither by way of opposition nor by way of agreement; they never come into contact. A theology in the sense of an actual science of God is impossible. Further, out of its dogmas the Church constructs prescriptive symbols, a step which must be deplored. It is to be hoped that some time religion will no longer have need of the Church. In view of the present condition of affairs it must be said that the more religious a man is the more secular he must become, and that the cultured man opposes the Church in order to promote religion.
So-called natural religion is nothing more than an abstraction of thought; in reality positive religions alone exist. Because of the infinity of God and the finitude of man, the one, universal, eternal religion can only manifest itself in the form of particular historical religions, which are termed revealed because founded by religious heroes, creative personalities, in whom an especially lively religious feeling is aroused by a new view of the universe, and determines (not, like artistic inspiration, single moments, but) their whole existence. Three stages are to be distinguished in the development of religion, according as the world is represented as an unordered unity (chaos), or as an indeterminate manifold of forces and elements (plurality without unity), or, finally, as an organized plurality dominated by unity (system)—fetichism with fatalism, polytheism, mono-(including pan-) theism. Among the religions of the third stadium Islam is physical or aesthetic in spirit; Judaism and Christianity, on the other hand, ethical or teleological. The Christian religion is the most perfect, because it gives the central place to the concept of redemption and reconciliation (hence to that which is essential to religion) instead of to the Jewish idea of retribution.
The concept of individuality became of the highest importance for Schleiermacher's ethics, as well as for his philosophy of religion; and by his high appreciation of it he ranges himself with Leibnitz, Herder, Goethe, and Novalis. Now two sides may be distinguished both in regard to that which the individual is and to that which he ought to accomplish. Like every particular being, man is an abbreviated, concentrated presentation of the universe; he contains everything in himself, contains all, that is, in a not yet unfolded, germinal manner, awaiting development in life in time, but yet in a form peculiar to him, which is never repeated elsewhere. This yields a twofold moral task. The individual ought to rouse into actuality the infinite fullness of content which he possesses as possibility, as slumbering germs, should harmoniously develop his capacities; yet in this he must not look upon the unique form which has been bestowed upon him as worthless. He is not to feel himself a mere specimen, an unimportant repetition of the type, but as a particular, and in this particularity a significant, expression of the absolute, whose omission would cause a gap in the world. It is surprising that the majority of the thinkers who have defended the value of individuality lay far less stress upon the micro-cosmical nature of the individual and the development of his capacities in all directions than on care for his peculiar qualities. So also Schleiermacher. Yet he gradually returned from the extreme individualism—the Monologues affect one almost repellently by the impulse which they give to vain self-reflection—which he at first defended.
In the Ethics (edited by Kirchmann, 1870; earlier editions by Schweizer, 1835, and Twesten, 1841) Schleiermacher brings the well-nigh forgotten concept of goods again into honor. The three points of view from which ethics is to be discussed, and each of which presents the whole ethical field in its own peculiar way—the good, virtue, duty—are related as resultant, force, and law of motion. Every union of reason and nature produced by the action of the former on the latter is called a good; the sum of these unities, the highest good. According as reason uses nature as an instrument in formation or as a symbol in cognition her action is formative or indicative; it is, further, either common or peculiar. On the crossing of these (fluctuating) distinctions of identical and individual organization and symbolization is based the division of the theory of goods:
SPHERES. RELATIONS. GOODS.
Ident. Organ.: Intercourse. Right. The State.
Individ. Organ.: Property. Free Sociability. Class, House,
Ident. Symbol.: Knowledge. Faith. School and
Individ. Symbol.: Feeling. Revelation. The Church
The four ethical communities, each of which represents the organic union of opposites—rulers and subjects, host and guests, teachers and pupils or scholars and the public, the clergy and the laity—have for their foundation the family and the unity of the nation. Virtue (the personal unification of reason and sensibility) is either disposition or skill, and in each case either cognitive or presentative; this yields the cardinal virtues wisdom, love, discretion, and perseverance. The division of duties into duties of right, duties of love, duties of vocation, and duties of conscience rests on the distinction between community in production and appropriation, each of which may be universal or individual. The most general laws of duty (duty is the Idea of the good in an imperative form) run: Act at every instant with all thy moral power, and aiming at thy whole moral problem; act with all virtues and in view of all goods, further, Always do that action which is most advantageous for the whole sphere of morality, in which two different factors are included: Always do that toward which thou findest thyself inwardly moved, and that to which thou findest thyself required from without. Instead of following further the wearisome schematism of Schleiermacher's ethics, we may notice, finally, a fundamental thought which our philosopher also discussed by itself: The sharp contraposition of natural and moral law, advocated by Kant, is unjustifiable; the moral law is itself a law of nature, viz., of rational will. It is true neither that the moral law is a mere “ought" nor that the law of nature is a mere “being,” a universally followed “must.” For, on the one hand, ethics has to do with the law which human action really follows, and, on the other, there are violations of rule in nature also. Immorality, the imperfect mastery of the sensuous impulses by rational will, has an analogue in the abnormalities—deformities and diseases—in nature, which show that here also the higher (organic) principles are not completely successful in controlling the lower processes. The higher law everywhere suffers disturbances, from the resistance of the lower forces, which cannot be entirely conquered. It is Schleiermacher's determinism which leads him, in view of the parallelism of the two legislations, to overlook their essential distinction.
Adherents of Schleiermacher are Vorlaender (died 1867), George (died 1874), the theologian, Richard Rothe (died 1867; cf. Nippold, 1873 seq.), and the historians of philosophy, Brandis (died 1867) and H. Ritter (died 1869).
[Footnote 1: W. Dilthey (born 1834), the successor of Lotze in Berlin, is publishing a life of Schleiermacher (vol. i. 1867-70). Cf. also Dilthey's briefer account in the Allgemeine deutsche Biographie, and Haym's Romantische Schule, 1870. Further, Aus Schleiermachers Leben, in Briefen, 4 vols., 1858-63.]