CHAPTER XIV. THE OPPOSITION TO CONSTRUCTIVE IDEALISM: FRIES, HERBART, SCHOPENHAUER.
In Fries, Herbart, and Schopenhauer a threefold opposition was raised against the idealistic school represented by Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. The opposition of Fries is aimed at the method of the constructive philosophers, that of Herbart against their ontological positions, and that of Schopenhauer against their estimate of the value of existence. Fries and Beneke declare that a speculative knowledge of the suprasensible is impossible, and seek to base philosophy on empirical psychology; to the monism (panlogism) of the idealists Herbart opposes a pluralism, to their philosophy of becoming, a philosophy of being; Schopenhauer rejects their optimism, denying rationality to the world and the world-ground. Among themselves the thinkers of the opposition have little more in common than their claim to a better understanding of the Kantian philosophy, and a development of it more in harmony with the meaning of its author, than it had experienced at the hands of the idealists. Whoever fails to agree with them in this, and ascribes to the idealists whom they oppose better grounded claims to the honor of being correct interpreters and consistent developers of Kantian principles, will be ready to adopt the name Semi-Kantians, given by Fortlage to the members of the opposition,—a title which seems the more fitting since each of them appropriates only a definitely determinable part of Kant's views, and mingles a foreign element with it. In Fries this non-Kantian element comes from Jacobi's philosophy of faith; in Herbart it comes from the monadology of Leibnitz, and the ancient Eleatico-atomistic doctrine; in Schopenhauer, from the religion of India and (as in Beneke) from the sensationalism of the English and the French. We can only hint in passing at the parallelism which exists between the chief representatives of the idealistic school and the leaders of the opposition. Fries's theory of knowledge and faith is the empirical counterpart of Fichte's Science of Knowledge. Schopenhauer, in his doctrine of Will and Idea, in his vigorously intuitive and highly fanciful view of nature and art, and, in general, in his aesthetical mode of philosophizing, with its glad escape from the fetters of method, has so much in common with Schelling that many unhesitatingly treat his system as an offshoot of the Philosophy of Nature. The contrast between Herbart and Hegel is the more pronounced since they are at one in their confidence in the power of the concept. The most conspicuous point of comparison between the metaphysics of the two thinkers is the significance ascribed by them to the contradiction as the operative moment in the movement of philosophical thought. The attitude of hostility which Schleiermacher assumed in relation to Hegel's intellectualistic conception of religion induced Harms to give to Schleiermacher also a place in the ranks of the opposition. Following the chronological order, we begin with the campaign opened by Fries under the banner of anthropology against the main branch of the Kantian school.
1. The Psychologists: Fries and Beneke.
Jacob Friedrich Fries (1773-1843) was born and reared at Barby, studied at Jena, and habilitated at the same university in the year 1801; he was professor at Heidelberg in 1806-16, and at Jena from 1816 until his death. His chief work was the New Critique of Reason, in three volumes, 1807 (2d ed., 1828 seq.), which had been preceded, in 1805, by the treatise Knowledge, Faith, and Presentiment. Besides these he composed a Handbook of Psychical Anthropology, 1821 (2d ed., 1837 seq.), text-books of Logic, Metaphysics, the Mathematical Philosophy of Nature, and Practical Philosophy and the Philosophy of Religion, and a philosophical novel, Julius and Evagoras, or the Beauty of the Soul.
Fries adopts and popularizes Kant's results, while he rejects Kant's method. With Reinhold and Fichte, he thinks “transcendental prejudice" has forced its way into philosophy, a phase of thought for which Kant himself was responsible by his anxiety to demonstrate everything. That a priori forms of knowledge exist cannot be proved by speculation, but only by empirical methods, and discovered by inner observation; they are given facts of reason, of which we become conscious by reflection or psychological analysis. The a priori element cannot be demonstrated nor deduced, but only shown actually present. The question at issue between Fries and the idealistic school therefore becomes, Is the discovery of the a priori element itself a cognition a priori or a posteriori? Is the criticism of reason a metaphysical or an empirical, that is, an anthropological inquiry? Herbart decides with the idealists: “All concepts through which we think our faculty of knowledge are themselves metaphysical concepts” (Lehrbuch zur Einleitung, p. 231). Fries decides: The criticism of reason is an empirico-psychological inquiry, as in general empirical psychology forms the basis of all philosophy.
[Footnote 1: Cf. Kuno Fischer's Pro-Rectoral Address, Die beiden Kantischen Schulen in Jena, 1862.]
With the exception of this divergence in method Fries accepts Kant's results almost unchanged, unless we must call the leveling down which they suffer at his hands a considerable alteration. Only the doctrine of the Ideas and of the knowledge of reason is transformed by the introduction and systematization of Jacobi's principle of the immediate evidence of faith. Reason, the faculty of Ideas, i.e., of the indemonstrable yet indubitable principles, is fully the peer of the sensibility and the understanding. The same subjective necessity which guarantees to us the objective reality of the intuitions and the categories accompanies the Ideas as well; the faith which reveals to us the per se of things is no less certain than the knowledge of phenomena. The ideal view of the world is just as necessary as the natural view; through the former we cognize the same world as through the latter, only after a higher order; both spring from reason or the unity of transcendental apperception, only that in the natural view we are conscious of the fact, from which we abstract in the ideal view, that this is the condition of experience. That which necessitates us to rise from knowledge to faith is the circumstance that the empty unity-form of reason is never completely filled by sensuous cognition. The Ideas are of two kinds: the aesthetic Ideas are intuitions, which lack clear concepts corresponding to them; the logical Ideas are concepts under which no correspondent definite intuitions can be subsumed. The former are reached through combination; the latter by negation, by thinking away the limitations of empirical cognition, by removing the limits from the concepts of the understanding. By way of the negation of all limitations we reach as many Ideas as there are categories, that is, twelve, among which the Ideas of relation are the most important. These are the three axioms of faith—the eternity of the soul (its elevation above space and time, to be carefully distinguished from immortality, or its permanence in time), the freedom of the will, and the Deity. Every Idea expresses something absolute, unconditioned, perfect, and eternal.—The dualism of knowledge and faith, of nature and freedom, or of phenomenal reality and true, higher reality, is bridged over by a third and intermediate mode of apprehension, feeling or presentiment, which teaches us the reconciliation of the two realities, the union of the Idea and the phenomenon, the interpenetration of the eternal and the temporal. The beautiful is the Idea as it manifests itself in the phenomenon, or the phenomenon as it symbolizes the eternal. The aesthetico-religious judgment looks on the finite as the revelation and symbol of the infinite. In brief, “Of phenomena we have knowledge; in the true nature of things we believe; presentiment enables us to cognize the latter in the former.”
Theoretical philosophy is divided into the philosophy of nature, which is to use the mathematical method, hence to give a purely mechanical explanation of all external phenomena, including those of organic life, and to leave the consideration of the world as a teleological realm to religious presentiment—and psychology. The object of the former is external nature, that of the latter internal nature. I know myself only as phenomenon, my body through outer, my ego through inner, experience. It is only a variant mode of appearing on the part of one and the same reality—so Fries remarks in opposition to the influxus physicusand the harmonia praestabilata —which now shows me my person inwardly as my spirit, and now outwardly as the life-process of my body. Practical philosophy includes ethics, the philosophy of religion, and aesthetics. In accordance with the threefold interest of our animal, sensuo-rational, and purely rational impulses, there result three ideals for the legislation of values. These are the ideal of happiness, the ideal of perfection, and the ideal of morality, or of the agreeable, the useful, and the good, the third of which alone possesses an unconditioned worth and validity as a universal and necessary law. The moral laws are deduced from faith in the equal personal dignity of men, and the ennobling of humanity set up as the highest mission of morality. The three fundamental aesthetical tempers are the idyllic and epic of enthusiasm, the dramatic of resignation, the lyric of devotion.
Fries's system is thus a union of Kantian positions with elements from Jacobi, in which the former experience deterioration, and the latter improvement, namely, more exact formulation. Among his adherents, and he has them still, the following appear deserving of mention: the botanists Schleiden and Hallier; the theologian De Wette; the philosophers Calker (of Bonn, died 1870) and Apelt (1812-59). The last made himself favorably known by his Epochs of the History of Humanity, 1845-46, Theory of Induction, 1854, and Metaphysics, 1857; his Philosophy of Religion (1860) did not appear until after his death. The Catholic theologian, Georg Hermes of Bonn (1775-1831) favored a Kantianism akin to that of Fries.
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The psychological view founded by Fries was consistently developed by Friedrich Eduard Beneke (1798-1854). With the exception of three years of teaching in Goettingen, 1824-27, whither he had gone in consequence of a prohibition of his lectures called forth by his Foundation of the Physics of Ethics, 1822, he was a member of the university of his native city, Berlin, first as Docent, and, from 1832, after the death of Hegel, who was unfavorably disposed toward him, as professor extraordinary. Besides Kant, Jacobi, and Fries, Schleiermacher, Herbart (with whom he became acquainted in 1821), and the English thinkers exerted a determining influence on the formation of his philosophy. Beneke denies the possibility of speculative knowledge even more emphatically than Fries. Kant's undertaking was aimed at the destruction of a non-experiential science from concepts, and if it has not succeeded in preventing the neo-Scholasticism of the Fichtean school, with its overdrawn attempts to revive a deductive knowledge of the absolute, this has been chiefly due to the false, non-empirical method of the great critic of reason. The root and basis of all knowledge is experience; metaphysics itself is an empirical science, it is the last in the series of philosophical disciplines. Whoever begins with metaphysics, instead of ending with it, begins the house at the roof. The point of departure for all cognition is inner experience or self-observation; hence the fundamental science is psychology, and all other branches of philosophy nothing but applied psychology. By the inner sense we perceive our ego as it really is, not merely as it appears to us; the only object whose per se we immediately know is our own soul; in self-consciousness being and representation are one. Thus, in opposition to Kant, Beneke stands on the side of Descartes: The soul is better known to us than the external world, to which we only transfer the existence immediately given in the soul as a result of instinctive analogical inference, so that in the descent of our knowledge from men organized like ourselves to inorganic matter the inadequacy of our representations progressively increases.
[Footnote 1: On Beneke's character cf. the fourth of Fortlage's Acht psychologische Vortraege, which are well worth reading.]
Psychology—we may mention of Beneke's works in this field the Psychological Sketches, 1825-27, and the Text-book of Psychology, 1833, the third and fourth (1877) editions of which, edited by Dressler, contain as an appendix a chronological table of all Beneke's works—must, as internal natural science, follow the same method, and, starting with the immediately given, employ the same instruments in the treatment of experience as external natural science, i.e. the explanation of facts by laws, and, further still, by hypotheses and theories. Gratefully recognizing the removal of two obstacles to psychology, the doctrine of innate ideas and the traditional theory of the faculties of the soul by Locke and Herbart, (the commonly accepted faculties—memory, understanding, feeling, will—are in fact not simple powers, but mere abstractions, hypostatized class concepts of extremely complex phenomena,) Beneke seeks to discover the simple elements from which all mental life is compounded. He finds these in the numerous elementary faculties of receiving and appropriating external stimuli, which the soul in part possesses, in part acquires in the course of its life, and which constitute its substance; each separate sense of itself includes many such faculties. Every act or product of the soul is the result of two mutually dependent factors: stimulus and receptivity. Their coming together gives the first of the four fundamental processes, that of perception. The second is the constant addition of new elementary faculties. By the third, the equilibration or reciprocal transfer of the movable elements in representations, Beneke explains the reproduction of an idea through another associated with it, and the widening of the mental horizon by emotion, e.g., the astounding eloquence of the angry. Since each representation which passes out of consciousness continues to exist in the soul as an unconscious product (where we cannot tell; the soul is not in space), it is not retention, but obliviscence which needs explanation. That which persists of the representation which is passing into unconsciousness, and which makes its reappearance in consciousness possible, is called a “trace” in reference to its departed cause, and a “disposition” (Angelegtheit) in reference to its future results. Every such trace or germ (Anlage)—that which lies intermediate between perception and recollection—is a force, a striving, a tendency. The fourth of the fundamental processes (which may be traced downward into the material world, since the corporeal and the psychical differ only in degree and pass over into each other) is the combination of mental products according to the measure of their similarity, as these come to light in the formation of judgments, comparisons, witticisms, of collective images, collective feelings, and collective desires. The innate differences among men depend on the greater or lesser “powerfulness, vivacity, and receptivity” of their elementary faculties; all further differences arise gradually and are due to the external stimuli; even the distinction between the human and the animal soul, which consists in the spiritual nature of the former, is not original.
Of the five constructive forms of the soul, which result from the varying relation between stimulus and faculty, four are emotional products or products of moods. If the stimulus is too small pain (dissatisfaction, longing) arises, while pleasure springs from a marked, but not too great, fullness of stimulus. If the stimulus gradually increases to the point of excess, blunted appetite and satiety come in; when the excess is sudden it results in pain. A clear representation, a sensation arises when the stimulus is exactly proportioned to the faculty; it is in this case only that the soul assumes a theoretical attitude, that it merely perceives without any admixture of agreeable or disagreeable feelings. Desire is pleasure remembered, the ego the complex of all the representations which have ever arisen in the soul, the totality of the manifold given within me. For the immortality of the immaterial soul Beneke advances an original and attractive argument based on the principle that, in consequence of the constantly increasing traces, through which the substance of the soul is continually growing, consciousness turns more and more from the outer to the inner, until finally perception dies entirely away. At death the connection with the outer world ceases, it is true, but not the inner being of the soul, for which that which has hitherto been highest now becomes the foundation for new and still higher developments.
Like Herbart, on whom he was in many ways dependent, Beneke discussed psychology and pedagogics with greater success than logic, metaphysics, practical philosophy, and the philosophy of religion. He combats the apriorism of Kant in ethics as elsewhere. The moral law does not arise until the end of a long development. First in order are the immediately felt values of things, which we estimate according to the degree of enhancement or depression in the psychical state which they call forth. From the feelings are formed concepts, from concepts judgments; and the abstraction of the categorical imperative is a highly derivative phenomenon and a very late result, although the feeling of oughtness or of moral obligation, which accompanies the correct estimation of values and bids us prefer spiritual to sensuous delights and the general good to our own welfare, grows necessarily out of the inner nature of the human soul. There are two sources of religion: one theoretical, for the idea of God; the other practical, for the worship of God. We are impelled to the assumption of a suprasensible, an unconditioned, a providence, on the one hand, by the desire for a unitary conclusion for our fragmentary knowledge of the world; and, on the other, by moral need, by our unsatisfied longing after the good. The attributes which we ascribe to God are taken from experience, the abstract attributes from being in general, the naturalistic from the world, the spiritual from man. As an inevitable outcome of the transformation of religious feelings into representations, and one which is harmless because of the unmistakableness of their symbolic character, the anthropomorphic predicates, through which we think the Deity as personal, themselves establish the superiority of theism over pantheism. The object of religion, moreover, is accessible only to the subjective certitude of feeling which is given by faith, and not to scientific knowledge.
Feuerbach's anthropological standpoint will be discussed below. Like Friedrich Ueberweg (1826-71; professor in Koenigsberg; System of Logic, 1857, 5th ed., edited by J.B. Meyer, 1882—English translation, 1871), Karl Fortlage was strongly influenced in his psychological views by Beneke. Born in 1806 at Osnabrueck, and at his death in 1881 a professor in Jena, Fortlage shared with Beneke an impersonality of character, as well as the fate of meeting with less esteem from his contemporaries than he merited by the seriousness and originality of his thinking. To his System of Psychology, 1855, in two volumes, he added, as it were, a third volume, his Contributions to Psychology, 1875, besides psychological lectures of a more popular cast (Eight Lectures, 1869, 2d ed., 1872; Four Lectures, 1874). Fortlage characterizes his psychological method—in the criticism of which F.A. Lange fails to show the justice for which he is elsewhere to be commended—as observation by the inner sense. In the first place, consciousness, as the active form of representation, must be separated from that of which we are conscious, from the “content of representation,” which is in itself unconscious, but capable of coming into consciousness. Next Fortlage seeks to determine the laws of these two factors. In regard to the content of representation he distinguishes more sharply than Herbart between the fusibility of the homogeneous and the capacity for complex combination possessed by the heterogeneous (the fusion of similars goes on even without aid from consciousness, while the connection of dissimilars is brought about only through the help of the latter), and adds to these two general properties of the content of representation two further ones, its revivability (its persistence in unconsciousness), and its dissolubility in the scale of size, color, etc. Consciousness, on the other hand, which for Fortlage coincides with the ego or self, is treated as the presupposition of all representations, not as their result—it is underived activity. He explains the nature of consciousness by the concept of attention, characterizes them both as “questioning activity” (Fragethaetigkeit), and follows them out in their various degrees from expectation through observation up to reflection. The listening and watching of the hunter when waiting for the game is only a prolongation of the same consciousness which accompanies all less exciting representations. The essential element in conscious or questioning activity is the oscillation between yes and no.
As soon as the disjunction is decided by a yes, the desire which lies at its basis, and which in the condition of consciousness is arrested, passes over into activity. All consciousness is based on interest, and in its origin is “arrested impulse” (Triebhemmung ). “The direction of impulse to an intuition to be expected only in the future is called consciousness.” The rank of a being depends on its capacity for reflection: the greater the extent of its attention and the smaller the stimuli which suffice to rouse this to action, the higher it stands. Impulse—this is the fundamental idea of Fortlage's psychology, like will with Fichte, and representation with Herbart—consists of an element of representation and an element of feeling.
Pleasure + effort-image = impulse.
[Footnote 1: Among Fortlage's other works we may mention his valuable History of Poetry, 1839; the Genetic History of Philosophy since Kant, 1852; and the attractive Six Philosophical Lectures, 1869, 2d ed., 1872.]
In his metaphysical convictions, to which he gave expression in his Exposition and Criticism of the Arguments for the Existence of God, 1840, among other works, Fortlage belongs to the philosophers of identity. Originally sailing in Hegel's wake, he soon recognizes that the roots of the theory of identity go back to the Kantio-Fichtean philosophy, with which the system of absolute truth, as he holds, has come into being. He thus becomes an adherent of the Science of Knowledge, whose deductive results he finds inductively confirmed by psychological experience. Psychology is the empirical test for the metaphysical calculus of the Science of Knowledge. In regard to the absolute Fortlage is in agreement with Krause, the younger Fichte, Ulrici, etc., and calls his standpoint transcendent pantheism. According to this all that is good, exalted, and valuable in the world is divine in its nature; the human reason is of the same essence as the divine reason (there can be nothing higher than reason); the Godhead is the absolute ego of Fichte, which employs the empirical egos as organs, which thinks and wills in individuals, in so far as they think the truth and will the good, but at the same time as universal subject goes beyond them. If, after the example of Hegel, we give up transcendent pantheism in favor of immanence, two unphilosophical modes of representing the absolute at once result—on the one hand, materialism; on the other, popular, unphilosophical theism. If the Fichtean Science of Knowledge could be separated from its difficult method, which it is impossible ever to make comprehensible to the unphilosophical mind, it would be called to take the place of religion.
[Footnote 1: Among Fortlage's posthumous manuscripts was one on the Philosophy of Religion, on which Eucken published an essay in the Zeitschrift fuer Philosophie, vol. lxxxii. 1883, p. 180 seq. after Lipsius had given a single chapter from it—“The Ideal of Morality according to Christianity”—in his Jahrbuecher fuer protestantische Theologie (vol. ix. pp. 1-45). The journals Im Neuen Reich, 1881, No. 24, and Die Gegenwart, 1882, No. 34, contained warmly written notices of Fortlage by J. Volkelt. Leopold Schmid (in Giessen, died 1869) gives a favorable and skillfully composed outline of Fortlage's system in his Grundzuege der Einleitung in die Philosophie mit einer Beleuchtung der von K. Ph. Fischer, Sengler, und Fortlage ermoeglichten Philosophie der That, 1860, pp. 226-357. Cf. also Moritz Brasch, K. Fortlage, Ein philosophisches Charakterbild, in Unsere Zeit, 1883, Heft II, pp. 730-756, incorporated in the same author's Philosophie der Gegenwart, 1888.]
2. Realism: Herbart.
Johann Friedrich Herbart was scientifically the most important among the philosophers of the opposition. Herbart was born at Oldenburg in 1776, the son of a councilor of justice, and had already become acquainted with the systems of Wolff and Kant before he entered the University of Jena in 1794. In 1796 he handed in to his instructor Fichte a critique of two of Schelling's treatises, in which the youthful thinker already broke away from idealism. While a private tutor in Switzerland he made the acquaintance of Pestalozzi. In 1802 he habilitated in Goettingen, where, in 1805, he was promoted to a professorship extraordinary; while in 1809 he received the professorship in Koenigsberg once held by Kant, and later by W. Tr. Krug (died 1842). He died in 1841 at Goettingen, whither he had been recalled in 1833. His Collected Works were published in twelve volumes, 1850-52 (reprinted 1883 seq.), by his pupil Hartenstein, who has also given an excellent exposition of his master's system in hisProbleme und Grundlehren der allgemeinen Metaphysik, 1836, and his Grundbegriffe der ethischen Wissenschaften, 1844; a new edition, in chronological order, and under the editorship of K. Kehrbach, began to appear in 1882, or rather 1887, and has now advanced to the fourth volume, 1891. Herbart's chief works were written during his Koenigsberg residence: the Text-book of Introduction to Philosophy, 1813, 4th ed., 1837 (very valuable as an introduction to Herbartian modes of thought); General Metaphysics, 1829 (preceded in 1806 and 1808 by The Principal Points in Metaphysics, with a supplement, The Principal Points in Logic); Text-book of Psychology, 1816, 2d ed., 1834; On the Possibility and Necessity of applying Mathematics to Psychology, 1822; Psychology as a Science, 1824-25. The two works on ethics, which were widely separated in time, were, on the other hand, written in Goettingen: General Practical Philosophy, 1808; Analytical Examination of Natural Right and of Morals, 1836. To these may be added a Discourse on Evil, 1817; Letters on the Doctrine of the Freedom of the Human Will, 1836; and the Brief Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 1831, 2d ed., 1841. His works on education and instruction, whose influence and value perhaps exceed those of his philosophical achievements (collected editions of the pedagogical works have been prepared by O. Willmann, 1873-75, 2d ed., 1880; and by Bartholomaei), extended through his whole life. Besides pedagogics, psychology was the chief sphere of his services.
[Footnote 1: English translation by M.K. Smith, 1891.]
In antithesis to the philosophy of intuition with its imagined superiority to the standpoint of reflection, Herbart makes philosophy begin with attention to concepts, defining it as the elaboration of concepts. Philosophy, therefore, is not distinguished from other sciences by its object, but by its method, which again must adapt itself to the peculiarity of the object, to the starting point of the investigation in question—there is no universal philosophical method. There are as many divisions of philosophy as there are modes of elaborating concepts. The first requisite is the discrimination of concepts, both the discrimination of concepts from others and of the marks within each concept. This work of making concepts clear and distinct is the business of logic. With this discipline, in which Herbart essentially follows Kant, are associated two other forms of the elaboration of concepts, that of physical and that of aesthetic concepts. Both of these classes require more than a merely logical elucidation. The physical concepts, through which we apprehend the world and ourselves, contain contradictions and must be freed from them; their correction is the business of meta-physics. Metaphysics is the science of the comprehensibility of experience. The aesthetic (including the ethical) concepts are distinguished from the nature-concepts by a peculiar increment which they occasion in our representation, and which consists in a judgment of approval or disapproval. To clear up these concepts and to free them from false allied ideas is the task of aesthetics in its widest sense. This includes all concepts which are accompanied by a judgment of praise or blame; the most important among them are the ethical concepts. Thus, aside from logic, we reach two principal divisions of philosophy, which are elsewhere contrasted as theoretical and practical, but here in Herbart as metaphysics and aesthetics. Herbart maintains that these are entirely independent of each other, so that aesthetics, since it presupposes nothing of metaphysics, may be discussed before metaphysics, while the philosophy of nature and psychology depend throughout on ontological principles. Together with natural theology the two latter sciences constitute “applied” metaphysics. This in turn presupposes “general” metaphysics, which subdivides into four parts: Methodology, Ontology, Synechology, i.e., the theory of the continuous ([Greek: suneches]), which treats of the continua, space, time, and motion, and Eidolology, i.e., the theory of images or representations. The last forms the transition to psychology, while synechology forms the preparation for the philosophy of nature, whose most general problems it solves. Our exposition will not need to observe these divisions closely.
Metaphysics starts with the given, but cannot rest content with it, for it contains contradictions. In resolving these we rise above the given. What is given? Kant has not answered this question with entire correctness. We may, indeed, term the totality of the given “phenomena,” but this presupposes something which appears. If nothing existed there would also nothing appear. As smoke points to fire, so appearance to being. So much seeming, so much indication of being. Things in themselves may be known mediately, though not immediately, by following out the indications of being contained by the given appearance. Further, not merely the unformed matter of cognition is given to us, but it is rather true that everything comes under this concept which experience so presses on us that we cannot resist it; hence not merely single sensations, but entire sensation-groups, not merely the matter, but also the forms of experience. If the latter were really subjective products, as Kant holds, it would necessarily be possible for us at will to think each perceptive-content either under the category of substance, or property, or cause—possible for us, if we chose, to see a round table quadrilateral. In reality we are bound in the application of these forms; they are given for each object in a definite way. The given forms—Herbart calls them experience-concepts—contain contradictions. How can these contradictions be removed? We may neither simply reject the concepts which are burdened with contradictions, for they are given, nor leave them as they are, for the logical principium contradictionis requires that the contradiction as such be rooted out. The experience-concepts are valid (they find application in experience), but they are not thinkable. Therefore we must so transform and supplement them that they shall become free from contradictions and thinkable. The method which Herbart employs to remove the contradictions is as follows: The contradiction always consists in the fact that an a should be the same as a b, but is not so. The desiderated likeness of the two is impossible so long as we think a as one thing. That which is unsuccessful in this case will succeed, perhaps, if in thought we break up the a into several things—[Greek: a b g]. Then we shall be able to explain through the “together” (Zusammen) of this plurality what we were unable to explain from the undecomposed a, or from the single constituents of it. The “together” is a “relation” established by thought among the elements of the real. For this reason Herbart terms his method of finding out necessary supplements to the given “the method of relations.” Another name for the same thing is “the method of contingent aspects.” Mechanics operates with contingent aspects when, for the sake of explanation, it resolves a given motion into several components. Such fictions and substitutions—auxiliary concepts, which are not real, but which serve only as paths for thought—may be successfully employed by metaphysics also. The abstract expression of this method runs: The contradiction is to be removed by thinking one of its members as manifold rather than as one. In order to observe the workings of this Herbartian machine we shall go over the four principal contradictions by which his acuteness is put to the test—the problems of inherence, of change, of the continuous, of the ego.
We call the given sensation-complexes “things,” and ascribe “properties” to them. How can one and the same thing have different properties—how can the one be at the same time many? To say that the thing “possesses” the properties does not help the matter. The possession of the different properties is itself just as manifold and various as the properties which are possessed. Hence the concept of the thing and its properties must be so transformed that the plurality which seems to be in the thing shall be transferred without it. Instead of one thing let us assume several, each with a single definite property, from whose “together” the appearance of many qualities in one thing now arises. The appearance of manifold properties in the one thing has its ground in the “together” of many things, each of which has one simple quality. Again, it is just as impossible for a thing to have different qualities in succession, or to change, as it is for it to have them at the same time. The popular view of change, which holds that a thing takes on different forms (ice, water, steam) and yet remains the same substance, is untenable. How is it possible to become another, and yet to remain the same? The universal feeling that the concept needs correction betrays itself in the fact that everyone involuntarily adds a cause to the change in thought, and seeks a cause for it, and thus of himself undertakes a transformation of the concept, though, it is true, an inadequate one. If we think this concept through we come upon a trilemma, a threefold impossibility. Whether we endeavor to deduce the change from external or from internal causes, or (with Hegel) to think it as causeless, in each case we involve ourselves in inconceivabilities. All three ideas—change as mechanism, as self-determination or freedom, as absolute becoming—are alike absurd. We can escape these contradictions only by the bold decision to conceive the quality of the existent as unchangeable. For the truly existent there is no change whatever. It remains, however, to explain the appearance of change, in which the wand of decomposition and the “together” again proves its magic power. Supported by the motley manifoldness of phenomena, we posit real beings as qualitatively different, and view this diversity as partial contraposition; we resolve, e.g., the simple quality a into the elements x + z, and a second quality b into y—z. So long as the individual things remain by themselves, the opposition of the qualities will not make itself evident. But as soon as they come together, something takes place—now the opposites (+_z and—z) seek to destroy or at least to disturb each other. The reals defend themselves against the disturbance which would follow if the opposites could destroy each other, by each conserving its simple, unchangeable quality, i.e., by simply remaining self-identical. Self-conservation against threatened disturbancesfrom without (it may be compared to resistance against pressure) is the only real change, and apparent change, the empirical changes of things, to be explained from this. That which changes is only the relations between the beings, as a thing maintains itself now against this and now against that other thing; the relations, however, and their change are something entirely contingent and indifferent to the existent. In itself the self-conservation of a real is as uniform as the quality which is conserved, but in virtue of the changing relations (the variety of the disturbing things) it can express itself for the observer in manifold ways as force. The real itself changes as little as a painting changes, for instance, when, seen near at hand, the figures in it are clearly distinguished, while for the distant observer, on the contrary, they run together into an indistinguishable chaos. Change has no meaning in the sphere of the existent.
Anyone who speaks thus has denied change, not deduced it. Among the many objections experienced by Herbart's endeavor to explain the empirical fact of change by his theory of self-conservation against threatened disturbances Lotze's is the most cogent: The unsuccessful attempt to solve the difficulties in the concept of becoming and action is still instructive, for it shows that they cannot be solved in this way—from the concept of inflexible being. If the “together,” the threatened disturbance, and the reaction against the latter be taken as realities, then, in the affection by the disturber, the concept of change remains uneliminated and uncorrected; if they be taken as unreal concepts auxiliary to thought, change is relegated from the realm of being to the realm of seeming. Herbart gives to them a kind of semi-reality, less true than the unmoving ground of things (their unchangeable, permanent qualities), and more true than their contradictory exterior (the empirical appearance of change). Between being and seeming he thrusts in, as though between day and night, the twilight region of his “contingent aspects,” with their relations, which are nothing to the real, their disturbances, which do not come to pass, and their self-conservations, which are nothing but undisturbed continuance in existence on the part of the real.
Besides the contradictions in the concepts of inherence, of change, and action and passion, it is the concept of being which prevents our philosopher from ascribing a living character to reality. Being, as Kant correctly perceived, contains nothing qualitative; it is absolute position. Whoever affirms that an object is, expresses thereby that the matter is to rest with the simple position; in which is included that it is nothing dependent, relative, or negative. (Every negation is something relative, relates to a precedent position, which is to be annulled by it.) Besides being, the existent contains something more—a quality; it consists of this absolute position and a what. If this what is separated from being we reach an “image”; united with being it yields an essence or a real. This what of things is not their sensuous qualities; the latter belong rather to the mere phenomenon. No one of them indicates what the object is by itself, when left alone. They depend on contingent circumstances, and apart from these they would not exist—what is color in the dark? what sound in airless space? what weight in empty space? what fusibility without fire?—they are each and all relative. Since being excludes negation of every kind, the quality of the existent must be absolutely simple and unchangeable; it brooks no manifoldness, no quantity, no distinctions in degree, no becoming; all this were a corruption of the purely affirmative or positive character of being. The existent is unextended and eternal. The Eleatics are to be praised because the need of escaping from the contradictions in the world of experience led them to make themselves masters of the concept of being without relation and without negation, and of the simple, homogeneous quality of the existent in its full purity. But while the Eleatics conceived the existent as one, the atomists made an advance by assuming a plurality of reals. The truly one never becomes a plurality; plurality is given, hence an original plurality must be postulated. Herbart characterizes his own standpoint as qualitative atomism, since his reals are differentiated by their properties, not by quantitative relations (size and figure). The idealists and the pantheists make a false use of the tendency toward unity which, no doubt, is present in our reason, when they maintain that true being must be one. There is absolutely nothing in the concept of being to forbid us to think the existent as many; while the world of phenomena, with its many things and their many properties, gives irrefragable grounds which compel us to this conclusion. Hence, according to Herbart, the true reality is a (very large, though not, it is true, an infinite) plurality of supra-sensible (non-spatial and non-temporal) reals, or, according to the Leibnitzian expression, monads, which all their life have nothing further to do than to preserve intact against disturbances the simple quality in which they consist (for the existent is not distinct from its quality; it does not have the quality, but is the quality). Each thing has but one response for the most varied influences: it answers all suggestions from without by affirming its what, by continually repeating, as it were, the same note, which gains a varying meaning only in so far as, in accordance with the character of the disturber, it appears now as a third, now as a fifth or seventh. This picture of the world is certainly not attractive; in it all change and becoming, all life and all activity is offered up on the altar of monotonous being. Happily Herbart is inconsistent enough to enliven this comfortless waste of changeless being by the relatively real or semi-real manifoldness of the self-conservations.
The infinite divisibility of space and of matter forms the chief difficulty in the problem of the continuous. Herbart endeavors to solve it by the assumption of an intelligible space with “fixed” lines (lines formed by a definite number of points, hence finitely divisible, and not continuous). Metaphysics demands the fixed or discrete line, although common thought is incapable of conceiving it. Space is a mere form of combination in representation or for the observer, and yet it is objective, i.e., it is valid for all intelligences, and not merely for human intelligence. From his complex and unproductive endeavors to derive the appearance of continuity from discontinuous reality we hurry on to the fourth, the psychological problem, which Herbart discusses with great acuteness. He considers it the chief merit of Fichte's Science of Knowledge that it called attention to this problem.
The concept of the ego, of whose reality we have so strong and immediate a conviction that, in the formula of asseveration, “as true as I exist,” it is made the criterion of all other certitude, labors under various contradictions. Besides the familiar difficulty, here especially sensible, of one thing with many marks, it contains other absurdities of its own. In the ego or self-consciousness subject and object are to be identical. The identity of the representing and the represented ego is a self-contradictory idea, for the law of contradiction forbids the equation of opposites, while a subject is subject only through the fact that it is not object. But, again, self-consciousness can never be realized, because it involves a regressus in infinitum. The ego is defined as that which represents itself. What is this “self”? It is, in turn, the self-knower. This new explanation contains still a further self; which once more signifies the self-knower and so on to infinity. The ego represents the representation (Vorstellen) of its representation ( Vorstellen), etc. The representation (Vorstellung) of the ego, therefore, can never be actually brought to completion. (The assumption of the freedom of the will leads to an analogous regressus in infinitum, in which the question, “Willst thou thy volition?” “Willst thou the willing of this volition”? is repeated to infinity.) The only escape from this tissue of absurdities is to think the ego otherwise than is done by popular consciousness. The knowing and the known ego are by no means the same, but the observing subject in self-consciousness is one group of representations, the observed subject another. Thus, for example, newly formed representations are apperceived by the existing older ones, but the highest apperceiver is not, in turn, itself apperceived. The ego is not a unit being, which represents itself in the literal meaning of the phrase, but that which is represented is a plurality. The ego is the junction of numberless series of representations, and is constantly changing its place; it dwells now in this representation, now in that. But as we distinguish the point of meeting from the series which meet there, and imagine that it is possible simultaneously to abstract from all the represented series (whereas in fact we can only abstract from each one separately), there arises the appearance of a permanent ego as the unit subject of all our representations. In reality the ego is not the source of our representations, but the final result of their combination. The representation, not the ego, is the fundamental concept of psychology, the ego constituting rather its most difficult problem. It is a “result of other representations, which, however, in order to yield this result, must be together in a single substance, and must interpenetrate one another” (Text-book of Introduction, p. 243). In this way Herbart defends the substantiality of the soul against Kant and Fries. The soul's immortality (as also its pre-existence) goes without saying, because of the non-temporal character of the real.
[Footnote 1: On the Herbartian psychology, cf. Ribot, German Psychology of To-day, English Translation by Baldwin, 1886, pp. 24-67; and G.F. Stout, Mind, vols. xiii.-xiv.—TR.]
The soul is one of these reals which, unchangeable in themselves, enter into various relations with others, and conserve themselves against the latter. In its simple what as unknowable as the rest, it is yet familiar to us in its self-conservations. In the absence of a more fitting expression for the totality of psychical phenomena we call these representations, the phenomenal manifoldness of which is due to the variety of the disturbances and exists for the observer alone. In itself, without a plurality of dispositions and impulses, the soul is originally not a representative force, but first becomes such under certain circumstances, viz., when it is stimulated to self-conservation by other beings. The sum of the reals which stand in immediate relation to the soul is called its body; this, an aggregate of simple beings, furnishes the intermediate link of causal relation between the soul and the external world. The soul has its (movable) seat in the brain. In opposition to the physiological treatment of psychology, Herbart remarks that psychology throws much more light on physiology than she can ever receive from it.
The simplest representations are the sensations, which, amid all their variety, still group themselves into definite classes (odors, sounds, colors). They serve us as symbols of the disturbing reals, but they are not images of things, nor effects of these, but products of the soul itself: the generation of sensations is the soul's peculiar way of guarding itself against threatened disturbances. Every representation once come into being disappears again from consciousness, it is true, but not from the soul. It persists, unites with others, and stands with them in a relation of interaction—in both cases according to definite laws. These original representations are the only ones which the soul produces by its own activity; all other psychical phenomena, feeling, desire, will, attention, memory, judgment, the whole wealth of inner events, result of themselves from the interplay of the primary representations under law. Representation (more exactly sensation) is alone original; space, time, the categories, which Kant makes a priori, are all acquired, i.e., like all the higher mental life, they are the results of a psychical mechanism, results whose production needs no renewed exertion on the part of the soul itself. It has been a very harmful error in psychology hitherto to ascribe each particular mental activity to a special faculty of the soul having a similar name, instead of deriving it from combinations of simple representations. Abstract, empty class ideas have been treated as real forces, in the belief that thus the single concrete acts had been “explained.”
There is no bitterer foe of the faculty theory than Herbart. His campaign against it, if not victorious, was yet salutary, and the motives of his hostility, up to a certain point, entirely justified. Nothing is more useless than the assurance that what the soul actually does, that it must also have the power to do. Who disputes this? A faculty explains nothing so long as the laws under which its functions and its relations to other faculties remain unexplained. But although the faculty idea serves no positive end, it cannot be entirely discarded. It marks the boundary where our ability to reduce one class of psychical phenomena to another ceases. Herbart's polemic has no force against the moderate and necessary use of this idea, no matter how much it was in place in view of the impropriety of a superfluous multiplication of the faculties of the soul. The realization of the ideal of psychology, the reduction of the complex phenomena of mental life to the smallest possible number of simple elements, is limited by the heterogeneity of the original phenomena, knowing, feeling, willing, which wholly resists derivation from the combination of sensations. That which blinded Herbart to these limitations was that tendency toward unity, which, as a metaphysician and moral philosopher, he had all too willfully suppressed, and which now took revenge for this infringement of its rights by misleading the psychologist to an exaggeration which had important consequences. Nevertheless his unsuccessful attempt remains interesting and worthy of gratitude.
The discovery of the laws which govern the interaction of the psychical elements is the task of a statics and a mechanics of representations. The former investigates the equilibrium or the settled final state; the latter, the change, i.e. the movements of representations. These names of themselves betray Herbart's conviction that mathematics can and must be applied to psychology. The bright hopes, however, which Herbart formed for the attempt at a mathematical psychology, were fulfilled neither in his own endeavors nor in those of his pupils, although, as Lotze remarks, it would be asserting too much to say that the most general formulas which he set up contradict experience.—The unity of the soul forces representations to act on one another. Disparate representations, those, that is, which belong to different representative series, as the visual image of a rose and the auditory image of the word rose, or as the sensations yellow, hard, round, ringing, connected in the concept gold piece, enter into complications [complexes]. Homogeneous representations (the memory image and the perceptual image of a black poodle) fuse into a single representation. Opposed representations (red and blue) arrest one another when they are in consciousness together. The connection and graded fusion of representations is the basis of their retention and reproduction, as well as of the formation of continuous series of representations. The reproduction is in part immediate, a free rising of the representation by its own power as soon as the hindrances give way; in part mediate, a coming up through the help of others. On the arrest of partially or totally opposed representations Herbart bases his psychological calculus. Let there be given simultaneously in consciousness three opposed representations of different intensities, the strongest to be called a, the weakest c, the intermediate one b. What happens? They arrest one another, i.e. a part of each is forced to sink below the threshold of consciousness.
What is the amount of the arrest? As much as all the weaker representations together come to—the sum of arrest or the sum of that which becomes unconscious (as it were the burden to be divided) is equal to the sum of all the representations with the exception of the strongest (hence = b + c), and is divided among the individual representations in the inverse ratio of their strength, consequently in such a way that the strongest (the one which most actively and successfully resists arrest) has the least, and the weakest the most, of it to bear. It may thus come to pass that a representation is entirely driven out of consciousness by two stronger ones, while it is impossible for this to happen to it from a single one, no matter how superior it be. The simplest case of all is when two equally strong representations are present, in which case each is reduced to the half of its original intensity. The sum of that which remains in consciousness is always equal to the greatest representation.
[Footnote 1: By their mutual pressure representations are transformed into a mere tendency to represent, which again becomes actual representation when the arrest ceases. The parts of a representation transformed into a tendency, and the residua remaining unobscured, are not pieces cut off, but the quantity denotes merely a degree of obscuration in the whole representation, or rather in the representation which actually takes place.]
As soon as a representation reaches the zero point of consciousness, or as soon as a new representation (sensation) comes in, the others begin at once to rise or sink. The Mechanics seeks to investigate the laws of these movements of representations; but we may the more readily pass over its complicated calculations since their precise formulas can never more than very roughly represent the true state of the case, which simply rebels against precision. The rock on which every immanent use of mathematics in psychology must strike, is the impossibility of exactly measuring one representation by another. We may, indeed, declare one stronger than another on the basis of the immediate impression of feeling, but we cannot say how much stronger it is, nor with reason assert that it is twice or half as intense. Herbart's mathematical psychology was wrecked by this insurmountable difficulty. The demand for exactness which it raised, but which it was unable to satisfy with the means at its disposal, has recently been renewed, and has led to assured results in psycho-physics, which works on a different basis and with ingenious methods of measurement.
Herbart endeavors, as we have seen, to deduce the various mental activities from the play of representations, Feeling and desire are not something beside representations, are not special faculties of the soul, but results of the relations of representations, changing states of representations arrested and working upward against hindrances. A representation which has been forced out of consciousness persists as atendency or effort to represent, and as such exerts a pressure on the conscious representations. If a representation is suspended between counteracting forces a feeling results; desire is the rise of a representation in the face of hindrances, aversion is hesitation in sinking. If the effort is accompanied by the idea that its goal is attainable, it is termed will. The character of a man depends on the fact that definite masses of representations have become dominant, and by their strength and persistence hold opposing representations in check or suppress them. The longer the dominant mass of representations exercises its power, the firmer becomes the habit of acting in a certain way, the more fixed the will. Herbart's intellectualistic denial of self-dependence to the practical capacities of the soul leads him logically to determinism. Volition depends on insight, is determined by representations; freedom signifies nothing but the fact that the will can be determined by motives. If the individual decisions of man were undetermined he would have no character; if the character were free in the choice between two actions, then, along with the noblest resolve, there would remain the possibility of an opposite decision; freedom of choice would make pure chance the doer of our deeds. Pedagogics, above all, must reject the idea of an undetermined freedom; education, along with imputation, correction, and punishment, would be a meaningless word, if no determining influence on the will of the pupil were possible.—This last objection overlooks the fact that the pedagogical influence is always mediate, and can do no more than, by disciplining the impulses of the pupil and by supplying him with aids against immoral inclinations, to lighten his moral task. We can work on the motives only, never directly on the will itself. Otherwise it would be inexplicable that even the best pedagogical skill proves powerless in the case of many individuals.
Herbart's psychology was preceded by a philosophy of nature, which construes matter from attraction and repulsion, and declares an actio in distans impossible. The intermediate link between physics and psychology is formed by the science of organic life (physiology or biology); and with this natural theology is connected by the following principles: The purposiveness which we notice with admiration in men and the higher animals compels us, since it can neither come from chance nor be explained on natural grounds alone, to assume as its author a supreme artificer, an intelligence which works by ends. It is true, indeed, that the existence of the Deity is not demonstrated by the teleological argument; this is only an hypothesis, but one as highly probable as the assumption that the human bodies by which we are surrounded are inhabited by human souls—a fact which we can only assume, not perceive nor prove. The assurance of faith is different from that of logic and experience, but not inferior to it. Religion is based on humility and grateful reverence, which is favored, not injured, by the immeasurable sublimity of its object, the incompleteness of our idea of the Supreme Being, and the knowledge of our ignorance. If faith rests, on the one hand, on the teleological view of nature, it is, on the other, connected with moral need, and exercises, in addition, aesthetic influences. By comforting the suffering, setting right the erring, reclaiming and pacifying the sinner, warning, strengthening, and encouraging the morally sound, religion brings the spirit into a new and better land, shows it a higher order of things, the order of providence, which, amid all the mistakes of men, still furthers the good. The religious spirit always includes an ethical element, and the bond of the Church holds men together even where the state is destroyed. Indispensable theoretically as a supplement to our knowledge, and practically because of the moral imperfection of men, who need it to humble, warn, comfort, and lift them up, religion is, nevertheless, in its origin independent of knowledge and moral will. Faith is older than science and morals: the doctrine of religion did not wait for astronomy and cosmology, nor the erection of temples for ethics. Before the development of the moral concepts religion already existed in the form of wonder without a special object, of a gloomy awe which ascribed every sudden inner excitement to the impulse of an invisible power. Since a speculative knowledge of the nature of God is impossible, the only task which remains for metaphysics is the removal of improper determinations from that which tradition and phantasy have to say on the subject. We are to conceive God as personal, extramundane, and omnipotent, as the creator, not of the reals themselves, but of their purposive coexistence ( Zusammen). In order, however, to rise from the idea of the original, most real, and most powerful being to that of the most excellent being we need the practical Ideas, without which the former would remain an indifferent theoretical concept. Man can pray only to a wise, holy, perfect, just, and good God.
This, in essential outline, is the content of the scattered observations on the philosophy of religion given by Herbart. Drobisch ( Fundamental Doctrines of the Philosophy of Religion, 1840), from the standpoint of religious criticism and with a renewal of the moral argument, and Taute (1840-52) and Fluegel (Miracles and the Possibility of a Knowledge of God, 1869) with an apologetic tendency and one toward a belief in miracles, have, among others, endeavored to make up for the lack of a detailed treatment of this discipline by Herbart—from which, moreover, much of value could hardly have been expected in view of the jejuneness of his metaphysical conceptions and the insufficiency of his appreciation of evil.
It remains only to glance at Herbart's Aesthetics. The beautiful is distinguished from the agreeable and the desirable, which, like it, are the objects of preference and rejection, by the facts, first, that it arouses an involuntary and disinterested judgment of approval; and second, that it is a predicate which is ascribed to the object or is objective. To these is added, thirdly, that while desire seeks for that which is to come, taste possesses in the present that which it judges.
That which pleases or displeases is always the form, never the matter; and further, is always a relation, for that which is entirely simple is indifferent. As in music we have succeeded in discovering the simplest relations, which please immediately and absolutely—we know not why—so this must be attempted in all branches of the theory of art. The most important among them, that which treats of moral beauty, moral philosophy, has therefore to inquire concerning the simplest relations of will, which call forth moral approval or disapproval (independently of the interest of the spectator), to inquire concerning the practical Ideas or pattern-concepts, in accordance with which moral taste, involuntarily and with unconditional evidence, judges concerning the worth or unworth of (actually happening or merely represented) volitions. Herbart enumerates five such primary Ideas or fundamental judgments of conscience.
(1) The Idea of inner freedom compares the will with the judgment, the conviction, the conscience of the agent himself. The agreement of his desire with his own judgment, with the precept of his taste, pleases, lack of agreement displeases. Since the power to determine the will according to one's own insight of itself establishes only an empty consistency and loyalty to conviction, and may also subserve immoral craft, the first Idea waits for its content from the four following.
(2) The Idea of perfection has reference to the quantitative relations of the manifold strivings of a subject, in intensity, extension, and concentration. The strong is pleasing in contrast with the weak, the greater (more extended, richer) in contrast with the smaller, the collected in contrast with the scattered; in other words, in the individual desires it is energy which pleases, in their sum variety, in the system co-operation. While the first two Ideas have compared the will of the individual man with itself, the remaining ones consider its relation to the will of other rational beings, the third to a merely represented will, and the last two to an actual one.
(3) According to the Idea of benevolence or goodness, which gives the most immediate and definite criterion of the worth of the disposition, the will pleases if it is in harmony with the (represented) will of another, i.e., makes the satisfaction of the latter its aim.
(4) The Idea of right is based on the fact that strife displeases. If several wills come together at one point without ill-will (in claiming a thing), the parties ought to submit themselves to right as a rule for the avoidance of strife.
(5) In retribution and equity, also, the original element is displeasure, displeasure in an unrequited act as a disturbance of equilibrium. This last Idea demands that no deed of good or evil remain unanswered; that in reward, thanks, and punishment, a quantum of good and evil equal to that of which he has been the cause return upon the agent. The one-sided deed of good or ill is a disturbance, the removal of which demands a corresponding requital.
Herbart warns us against the attempt to derive the five original Ideas (which scientific analysis alone separates, for in life we always judge according to all of them together) from a single higher Idea, maintaining that the demand for a common principle of morals is a prejudice. From the union of several beings into one person proceed five other pattern-concepts, the derived or social Ideas of the ethical institutions in which the primary Ideas are realized. These correspond to the primary Ideas in the reverse order: The system of rewards, which regulates punishment; the legal society, which hinders strife; the system of administration, aimed at the greatest possible good of all; the system of culture, aimed at the development of the greatest possible power and virtuosity; finally, as the highest, and that which unites the others in itself, society as a person, which, when it is provided with the necessary power, is termed the state.
If we combine the totality of the original Ideas into the unity of the person the concept of virtue arises. If we reflect on the limitations which oppose the full realization of the ideal of virtue, we gain the concepts of law and duty. An ethics, like that of Kant, which exclusively emphasizes the imperative or obligatory character of the good, is one-sided; it considers morality only in arrest, a mistake which goes with its false doctrine of freedom. On the other hand, it was a great merit in Kant that he first made clear the unconditional validity of moral judgment, independent of all eudemonism. Politics and pedagogics are branches of the theory of virtue. The end of education is development in virtue, and, as a means to this, the arousing of varied interests and the production of a stable character.
In conclusion, we may sum up the points in which Herbart shows himself a follower of Kant—he calls himself a “Kantian of the year 1828.” His practical philosophy takes from Kant its independence of theoretical philosophy, the disinterested character of aesthetic judgment, the absoluteness of ethical values, the non-empirical origin of the moral concepts: “The fundamental ethical relations are not drawn from experience.” His metaphysics owes to Kant the critical treatment of the experience-concepts (its task is to make experience comprehensible), in which the leading idea in the Kantian doctrine of the antinomies, the inevitableness of contradictions, is generalized, extended to all the fundamental concepts of experience, and, as it were, transferred from the Dialectic to the Analytic; it owes to him, further, the conception of being as absolute position, and, finally, the dualism of phenomena and things in themselves. Herbart (with Schopenhauer) considers the renewal of the Platonic distinction between seeming and being the chief service of the great critical philosopher, and finds his greatest mistake in the a priori character ascribed to the forms of cognition. In the doctrine of the pure intuitions and the categories, and the Critique of Judgment, he rejects, and with full consciousness, just those parts of Kant on which the Fichtean school had built further. Finally, Herbart's method of thought, his impersonality, the at times anxious caution of his inquiry, and the neatness of his conceptions, are somewhat akin to Kant's, only that he lacked the gift of combination to a much greater degree than his great predecessor on the Koenigsberg rostrum. His remarkable acuteness is busier in loosening than in binding; it is more happy in the discovery of contradictions than in their resolution. Therefore he does not belong to the kings who have decided the fate of philosophy for long periods of time; he stands to one side, though it is true he is the most important figure among these who occupy such a position.
The first to give his adherence to Herbart in essential positions, and so to furnish occasion for the formation of an Herbartian school, was Drobisch (born 1802), in two critiques which appeared in 1828 and 1830. Besides Drobisch, from whom we have valuable discussions of Logic (1836, 5th ed., 1887) and Empirical Psychology (1842), and an interesting essay on Moral Statistics and the Freedom of the Will (1867), L. Struempell (born 1812; The Principal Points in Herbart's Metaphysics Critically Examined, 1840), is a professor in Leipsic. The organ of the school, the Zeitschrift fuer exakte Philosophie, now edited by Fluegel (the first volume, 1860, contained a survey of the literature of the school), was at first issued by T. Ziller, the pedagogical thinker, and Allihn. The Zeitschrift fuer Voelkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaft, from 1859, edited by M. Lazarus (born 1824; The Life of the Soul, 3 vols., 1856 seq., 3d ed., 1883 seq.) and H. Steinthal (born 1823; The Origin of Language, 4th ed., 1888; Sketch of the Science of Language, part i. 2d ed., 1881; General Ethics, 1885) of Berlin, also belongs to the Herbartian movement. Distinguished service has been done in psychology by Nahlowsky (The Life of Feeling, 1862, 2d. ed., 1884), Theodor Waitz in Marburg (1821-84; Foundation of Psychology, 1846; Text-book of Psychology, 1849), and Volkmann in Prague (1822-77; Text-book of Psychology, 3d. ed., by Cornelius, 1884 and 1885); while Friedrich Exner (died 1853) was formerly much spoken of as an opponent of the Hegelian psychology (1843-44). Robert Zimmermann in Vienna (born 1824) represents an extreme formalistic tendency in aesthetics (History of Aesthetics, 1858; General Esthetics as Science of Form, 1865; further, a series of thorough essays on subjects in the history of philosophy). Among historians of philosophy Thilo has given a rather one-sided representation of the Herbartian standpoint. The school's philosophers of religion have been mentioned above (p. 532). Beneke, whom we have joined with Fries on account of his anthropological standpoint, stands about midway between Herbart and Schopenhauer. He shares in the former's interest in psychology, in the latter's foundation of metaphysical knowledge on inner experience, and in the dislike felt by both for Hegel; while, on the other hand, he differs from Herbart in his empirical method, and from Schopenhauer in the priority ascribed to representation over effort.
3. Pessimism: Schopenhauer.
Schopenhauer is in all respects the antipodes of Herbart. If in Herbart philosophy breaks up into a number of distinct special inquiries, Schopenhauer has but one fundamental thought to communicate, in the carrying out of which, as he is convinced, each part implies the whole and is implied by the whole. The former operates with sober concepts where the latter follows the lead of gifted intuition. The one is cool, thorough, cautious, methodical to the point of pedantry; the other is passionate, ingenious, unmethodical to the point of capricious dilettantism. In the one case, philosophy is as far as possible exact science, in which the person of the thinker entirely retires behind the substance of the inquiry; in the other, philosophy consists in a sum of artistic conceptions, which derive their content and value chiefly from the individuality of the author. The history of philosophy has no other system to show which to the same degree expresses and reflects the personality of the philosopher as Schopenhauer's. This personality, notwithstanding its limitations and its whims, was important enough to give interest to Schopenhauer's views, even apart from the relative truth which they contain.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) was the son of a merchant in Dantzic and his wife Johanna, nee Trosiener, who subsequently became known as a novelist. His early training was gained from foreign travel, but after the death of his father he exchanged the mercantile career, which he had begun at his father's request, for that of a scholar, studying under G.E. Schulze in Goettingen, and under Fichte at Berlin. In 1813 he gained his doctor's degree in Jena with a dissertation On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason. Then he moved from Weimar, the residence of his mother, where he had associated considerably with Goethe and had been introduced to Indian philosophy by Fr. Mayer, to Dresden (1814-18). In the latter place he wrote the essay On Sight and Colors (1816; subsequently published by the author in Latin), and his chief work, The World as Will and Idea (1819; new edition, with a second volume, 1844). After the completion of the latter he began his first Italian journey, while his second tour fell in the interval between his two quite unsuccessful attempts (in Berlin 1820 and 1825) to propagate his philosophy from the professor's desk. From 1831 until his death he lived in learned retirement in Frankfort-on-the-Main. Here he composed the opuscule On Will in Nature, 1836, the prize treatises On the Freedom of the Human Will and On the Foundation of Ethics (together, The Two Fundamental Problems of Ethics, 1841), and the collection of minor treatises Parerga and Paralipomena, 2 vols., 1851 (including an essay “On Religion"). J. Frauenstaedt has published a considerable amount of posthumous material (among other things the translation, B. Gracians Handorakel der Weltklugheit); the Collected Works (6 vols., 1873-74, 2d ed., 1877, with a biographical notice); Lichtstrahlen aus Schopenhauers Werken, 1861, 5th ed. 1885; and a Schopenhauer Lexicon, 2 vols., 1871.
[Footnote 1: From the remaining Schopenhauer literature (F. Laban has published a chronological survey of it, 1880) we may call attention to the critiques of the first edition of the chief work by Herbart and Beneke, and that of the second edition by Fortlage (Jenaische Litteratur Zeitung, 1845, Nos. 146-151); J.E. Erdmann Herbart und Schopenhauer, eine Antithese (Zeitschrift fuer Philosophie, 1851); Wilh. Gwinner, Schopenhauers Leben, 1878 (the second edition of Schopenhauer aus persoenlichem Umgang dargestellt, 1862); Fr. Nietzsche, Schopenhauer als Erzieher (Unzeitgemaesse Betrachtungen, Stueck iii., 1874); O. Busch, A. Schopenhauer, 2d. ed., 1878; K. Peters, Schopenhauer als Philosoph und Schriftsteller, 1880; R. Koeber, Die Philosophie A. Schopenhauers, 1888. [The English reader may be referred to Haldane and Kemp's translation of The World as Will and Idea, 3 vols., 1883-86; the translation of The Fourfold Root and the Will in Nature in Bohn's Philosophical Library, 1889; Saunders's translations from the Parerga and Paralipomena, 1889 seq.; Helen Zimmern's Arthur Schopenhauer, his Life and his Philosophy, 1876; W. Wallace's Schopenhauer, Great Writers Series, 1890 (with a bibliography by Anderson, including references to numerous magazine articles, etc.); Sully's Pessimism, 2d ed., 1882, chap. iv.; and Royce's Spirit of Modern Philosophy, chap, viii., 1892.—TR.]]
In regard to subjective idealism Schopenhauer confesses himself a thoroughgoing Kantian. That sensations are merely states in us has long been known; Kant opened the eyes of the world to the fact that the forms of knowledge are also the property of the subject. I know things only as they appear to me, as I represent them in virtue of the constitution of my intellect; the world is my idea. The Kantian theory, however, is capable of simplification, the various forms of cognition may be reduced to a single one, to the category of causality or principle of sufficient reason—which was preferred by Kant himself—as the general expression of the regular connection of our representations. This principle, in correspondence with the several classes of objects, or rather of representations—viz., pure (merely formal) intuitions, empirical (complete) intuitions, acts of will, abstract concepts—has four forms: it is the principium rationis essendi, rationis fiendi, rationis agendi, rationis cognoscendi. The ratio essendi is the law which regulates the coexistence of the parts of space and the succession of the divisions of time. The ratio fiendi demands for every change of state another from which it regularly follows as from its cause, and a substance as its unchangeable substratum—matter. All changes take place necessarily, all that is real is material; the law of causality is valid for phenomena alone, not beyond them, and holds only for the states of substances, not for substances themselves. In inorganic nature causes work mechanically, in organic nature as stimuli (in which the reaction is not equal to the action), and in animated nature as motives. A motive is a conscious (but not therefore a free) cause; the law of motivation is the ratio agendi. This serial order, “mechanical cause, stimulus, and motive,” denotes only distinctions in the mode of action, not in the necessity of action. Man's actions follow as inevitably from his character and the motives which influence him as a clock strikes the hours; the freedom of the will is a chimera. Finally, the ratio cognoscendi determines that a judgment must have a sufficient ground in order to be true. Judgment or the connection of concepts is the chief activity of the reason, which, as the faculty of abstract thought and the organ of science, constitutes the difference between man and the brute, while the possession of the understanding with its intuition of objects is common to both. In opposition to the customary overestimation of this gift of mediate representations, of language, and of reflection, Schopenhauer gives prominence to the fact that the reason is not a creative faculty like the understanding, but only a receptive power, that it clarifies and transforms the content furnished by intuition without increasing it by new representations.
Objective cognition is confined within the circle of our representations; all that is knowable is phenomenon. Space, time, and causality spread out like a triple veil between us and the per se of things, and prevent a vision of the true nature of the world. There is one point, however, at which we know more than mere phenomena, where of these three disturbing media only one, time-form, separates us from the thing in itself. This point is the consciousness of ourselves.
On the one hand, I appear to myself as body. My body is a temporal, spatial, material object, an object like all others, and with them subject to the laws of objectivity. But besides this objective cognition, I have, further, an immediate consciousness of myself, through which I apprehend my true being—I know myself as willing. My will is more than a mere representation, it is the original element in me, the truly real which appears to me as body. The will is related to the intellect as the primary to the secondary, as substance to accident; it is related to the body as the inner to the outer, as reality to phenomenon. The act of will is followed at once and inevitably by the movement of the body willed, nay, the two are one and the same, only given in different ways: will is the body seen from within, body the will seen from without, the will become visible, objectified. After the analogy of ourselves, again, who appear to ourselves as material objects but in truth are will, all existence is to be judged. The universe is the mac-anthropos; the knowledge of our own essence, the key to the knowledge of the essence of the world. Like our body, the whole world is the visibility of will. The human will is the highest stage in the development of the same principle which manifests its activity in the various forces of nature, and which properly takes its name from the highest species. To penetrate further into the inner nature of things than this is impossible. What that which presents itself as will and which still remains after the negation of the latter (see below) is in itself, is for us absolutely unknowable.
The world is per se will. None of the predicates are to be attributed to the primal will which we ascribe to things in consequence of our subjective forms of thought—neither determination by causes or ends, nor plurality: it stands outside the law of causality, as also outside space and time, which form the principium individuationis. The primal will is groundless, blind stress, unconscious impulse toward existence; it is one, the one and all, [Greek: en nai pan]. That which manifests itself as gravity, as magnetic force, as the impulse to growth, as the vis medicatrix naturae, is only this one world-will, whose unity (not conscious character!) shows itself in the purposiveness of its embodiments. The essence of each thing, its hidden quality, at which empirical explanation finds its limit, is its will: the essence of the stone is its will to fall; that of the lungs is the will to breathe; teeth, throat, and bowels are hunger objectified. Those qualities in which the universal will gives itself material manifestation form a series with grades of increasing perfection, a realm of unchangeable specific forms or eternal Ideas, which (with a real value difficult to determine) stand midway between the one primal will and the numberless individual beings. That the organic individual does not perfectly correspond to the ideal of its species, but only approximates this more or less closely, is grounded in the fact that the stadia in the objectification of the will, or the Ideas, contend, as it were, for matter; and whatever of force is used up in the victory of the higher Ideas over the lower is lost for the development of the examples of the former. The higher the level on which a being stands the clearer the expression of its individuality. The most general forces of nature, which constitute the raw mass, play the fundamental bass in the world-symphony, the higher stages of inorganic nature, with the vegetable and animal worlds, the harmonious middle parts, and man the guiding treble, the significant melody. With the human brain the world as idea is given at a stroke; in this organ the will has kindled a torch in order to throw light upon itself and to carry out its designs with careful deliberation; it has brought forth the intellect as its instrument, which, with the great majority of men, remains in a position of subservience to the will. Brain and thought are the same; the former is nothing other than the will to know, as the stomach is will to digest. Those only talk of an immaterial soul who import into philosophy—where such ideas do not belong—concepts taught them when they were confirmed.
Schopenhauer's philosophy is as rich in inconsistencies as his personality was self-willed and unharmonious. “He carries into his system all the contradictions and whims of his capricious nature,” says Zeller. From the most radical idealism (the objective world a product of representation) he makes a sharp transition to the crassest materialism (thought a function of the brain); first matter is to be a mere idea, now thought is to be merely a material phenomenon! The third and fourth books of The World as Will and Idea, which develop the aesthetic and ethical standpoint of their author, stand in as sharp a contradiction to the first (poetical) and the second (metaphysical) books as these to each other. While at first it was maintained that all representation is subject to the principle of sufficient reason, we are now told that, besides causal cognition, there is a higher knowledge, one which is free from the control of this principle, viz., aesthetic and philosophical intuition. If, before, it was said that the intellect is the creature and servant of the will, we now learn that in favored individuals it gains the power to throw off the yoke of slavery, and not only to raise itself to the blessedness of contemplation free from all desire, but even to enter on a victorious conflict with the tyrant, to slay the will. The source of this power—is not revealed. R. Haym (A. Schopenhauer, 1864, reprinted from the Preussische Jahrbuecher ) was not far wrong in characterizing Schopenhauer's philosophy as a clever novel, which entertains the reader by its rapid vicissitudes.
The contemplation which is free from causality and will is the essence of aesthetic life; the partial and total sublation, the quieting and negation of the will, that of ethical life. It is but seldom, and only in the artistic and philosophical genius, that the intellect succeeds in freeing itself from the supremacy of the will, and, laying aside the question of the why and wherefore, where and when, in sinking itself completely in the pure what of things. While with the majority of mankind, as with animals, the intellect always remains a prisoner in the service of the will to live, of self-preservation, of personal interests, in gifted men, in artists and thinkers, it strips off all that is individual, and, in disinterested vision of the Ideas, becomes pure, timeless subject, freed from the will. Art removes individuality from the subject as well as from the object; its comforting and cheering influence depends on the fact that it elevates those enjoying it to the stand-point—raised above all pain of desire—of a fixed, calm, completely objective contemplation of the unchangeable essence, of the eternal types of things. For aesthetic intuition the object is not a thing under relations of space, time, and cause, but only an expression, an exemplification, a representative of the Idea. Poetry, which presents—most perfectly in tragedy—the Idea of humanity, stands higher than the plastic arts. The highest rank, however, belongs to music, since it does not, like the other arts, represent single Ideas, but—as an unconscious metaphysic, nay, a second, ideal world above the material world—the will itself. In view of this high appreciation of their art, it is not surprising that musicians have contributed a considerable contingent to the band of Schopenhauer worshipers. A different source of attraction for the wider circle of readers was supplied by the piquant spice of pessimism.
If the purposiveness of the phenomena of nature points to the unity of the primal will, the unspeakable misery of life, which Schopenhauer sets forth with no less of eloquence, proves the blindness and irrationality of the world-ground. To live is to suffer; the world contains incomparably more pain than pleasure; it is the worst possible world. In the world of sub-animal nature aimless striving; in the animal world an insatiable impulse after enjoyment—while the will, deceiving itself with fancied happiness to come, which always remains denied it, and continually tossed to and fro between necessity and ennui, never attains complete satisfaction. The pleasure which it pursues is nothing but the removal of a dissatisfaction, and vanishes at once when the longing is stilled, to be replaced by fresh wants, that is, by new pains. In view of the indescribable misery in the world, to favor optimism is evidence not so much of folly and blindness as of a wanton disposition. The old saying is true: Non-existence is better than existence. The misery, however, is the just punishment for the original sin of the individual, which gave itself its particular existence by an act of intelligible freedom. Redemption from the sin and misery of existence is possible only through a second act of transcendental freedom, which, since it consists in the complete transformation of our being, and since it is supernatural in its origin, the Church is right in describing as a new birth and work of grace.
Morality presupposes pessimistic insight into the badness of the world and the fruitlessness of all desire, and pantheistic discernment of the untruth of individual existence and the identity in essence of all individuals from a metaphysical standpoint. Man is able to free himself from egoistic self-affirmation only when he perceives the two truths, that all striving is vain and the longed-for pleasure unattainable, and that all individuals are at bottom one, viz. manifestations of the same primal will. This is temporarily effected in sympathy, which, as the only counterpoise to natural selfishness, is the true moral motive and the source of all love and justice. The sympathizer sees himself in others and feels their suffering as his own. The entire negation of the will, however, inspiring examples of which have been furnished by the Christian ascetics and Oriental penitents, stands higher than the vulgar virtue of sympathy with the sufferings of others. Here knowledge, turned away from the individual and vain to the whole and genuine, ceases to be a motive for the will and becomes a means of stilling it; the intellect is transformed from a motive into a quietive, and brings him who gives himself up to the All safely out from the storm of the passions into the peace of deliverance from existence. Absence of will, resignation, is holiness and blessedness in one. For him who has slain the will in himself the motley deceptive dream of phenomena has vanished, he lives in the ether of true reality, which for our knowledge is an empty nothingness (“Nirvana"), yet (as the ultimate, incomprehensible per se, which remains after the annulling of the will) only a relative nothingness—relative to the phenomenon.
Schopenhauer disposes of the sense of responsibility and the reproofs of conscience, which are inconvenient facts for his determinism, by making them both refer, not to single deeds and the empirical character, but to the indivisible act of the intelligible character. Conscience does not blame me because I have acted as I must act with my character and the motives given, but for being what in these actions I reveal myself to be. Operari sequitur esse. My action follows from my being, my being was my own free choice, and a new act of freedom is alone capable of transforming it.
If Schopenhauer is fond of referring to the agreement of his views with the oldest and most perfect religions, the idea lies in the background that religion,—which springs from the same metaphysical needs as philosophy, and, for the great multitude, who lack the leisure and the capacity for philosophical thought, takes the place of the former,—as the metaphysics of the people, clothes the same fundamental truths which the philosopher offers in conceptual form and supports by rational grounds in the garb of myth and allegory, and places them under the protection of an external authority. When this character of religion is overlooked, and that which is intended to be symbolical is taken for literal truth (it is not the supernaturalists alone who start with this unjust demand, but the rationalists also, with their minimizing interpretations), it becomes the worst enemy of true philosophy. In Christianity the doctrines of original sin and of redemption are especially congenial to our philosopher, as well as mysticism and asceticism. He declares Mohammedanism the worst religion on account of its optimism and abstract theism, and Buddhism the best, because it is idealistic, pessimistic, and—atheistic.
It was not until after the appearance of the second edition of his chief work that Schopenhauer experienced in increasing measure the satisfaction—which his impatient ambition had expected much earlier—of seeing his philosophy seriously considered. A zealous apostle arose for him in Julius Frauenstaedt (died 1878; Letters on the Philosophy of Schopenhauer, 1854; New Letters on the Philosophy of Schopenhauer, 1876), who, originally an Hegelian, endeavored to remove pessimism from the master's system. Like Eduard von Hartmann, who will be discussed below, Julius Bahnsen (died 1882; The Contradiction in the Knowledge and Being of the World, the Principle and Particular Verification of Real-Dialectic, 1880-81; also, interesting characterological studies) seeks to combine elements from Schopenhauer and Hegel, while K. Peters (Will-world and World-will, 1883) shows in another direction points of contact with the first named thinker. Of the younger members of the school we may name P. Deussen in Kiel (The Elements of Metaphysics, 2d ed., 1890), and Philipp Mainlaender (Philosophy of Redemption, 2d ed., 1879). As we have mentioned above, Schopenhauer's doctrines have exercised an attractive force in artistic circles also. Richard Wagner (1813-83; Collected Writings, 9 vols., 1871-73, vol. x. 1883; 2d ed., 1887-88), whose earlier aesthetic writings (The Art-work of the Future, 1850; Opera and Drama, 1851) had shown the influence of Feuerbach, in his later works (Beethoven, 1870; Religion and Art, in the third volume of the Bayreuther Blaetter, 1880) became an adherent of Schopenhauer, after, in the Ring of the Nibelung, he had given poetical expression to a view of the world nearly allied to Schopenhauer's, though this was previous to his acquaintance with the works of the latter. One of the most thoughtful disciples of the Frankfort philosopher and the Bayreuth dramatist is Fried rich Nietzsche (born 1844). His Unseasonable Reflections, 1873-76, is a summons to return from the errors of modern culture, which, corrupted by the seekers for gain, by the state, by the polite writers and savants, especially by the professors of philosophy, has made men cowardly and false instead of simple and honorable, mere self-satisfied “philistines of culture.” In his writings since 1878 Nietzsche has exchanged the role of a German Rousseau for that of a follower of Voltaire, to arrive finally at the ideal of the man above men.
[Footnote 1: Cf. on Wagner, Fr. v. Hausegger, Wagner und Schopenhauer, 1878. [English translation of Wagner's Prose Works by Ellis, vol. i., 1892.—TR.]]
[Footnote 2: “D. Strauss, the Confessor and the Author”; “On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life”; “Schopenhauer as an Educator”; “R. Wagner in Bayreuth.”]
[Footnote 3: Human, All-too-human, new ed., 1886; The Dawn, Thoughts on Human Prejudices, 1881; The Merry Science, 1882; So spake Zarathustra, 1883-84; Beyond Good and Evil, 1886; On the Genealogy of Morals, 1887, 2d ed., 1887; The Wagner Affair, 1888, 2d ed., 1892; Goetzendaemmerung, or How to Philosophize with the Hammer, 1889.]
[Footnote 4: Cf. H. Kaatz, Die Weltanschauung Fr. Nietzsches, I. Kultur und Moral, 1892.]