TRANSLATOR S NOTE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
IN preparing this second edition all changes made by the author
in the second German edition have been incorporated either in the
text or in the appendix at the close. In addition, I have included a
brief notice (pp. 663-670) of certain aspects of recent English
thought, which naturally have more interest for the readers of
this translation than for those of the original.
& JAMES H. TUFTS.
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO,
AFTER many painful delays and interruptions I now present at
last the conclusion of the work whose first sheets appeared two
The reader will not confuse this with the compendiums which
have very likely sometimes been prepared by dressing out lecture
notes on the general history of philosophy. What I offer is a
serious text-book, which is intended to portray in comprehensive
and compressed exposition the evolution of the ideas of European
philosophy, with the aim of showing through what motives the
principles, by which we to-day scientifically conceive and judge
the universe and human life, have been brought to consciousness
and developed in the course of the movements of history.
This end has determined the whole form of the book. The
literary-historical basis of research, the biographical and biblio
graphical material, were on this account necessarily restricted to
the smallest space and limited to a selection that should open the
way to the best sources for the reader desiring to work farther.
The philosophers own expositions, too, have been referred to in the
main, only where they afford a permanently valuable formulation
or rationale of thoughts. Aside from this there is only an occa
sional citation of passages on which the author supports an inter-
. pretation differing from that ordinarily adopted. The choice of
material has fallen everywhere on what individual thinkers have
produced that was new and fruitful, while purely individual turns
of thought, which may indeed be a welcome object for learned
research, but afford no philosophical interest, have found at most
a brief mention.
x Author s Preface.
As is shown even by the external form of the exposition, chief
emphasis has been laid upon the development of what is weightiest
from a philosophical standpoint: the history of problems and concep
tions. To understand this as a connected and interrelated whole
lias been my chief purpose. The historical interweaving of the
various lines of thought, out of which our theory of the world and
life has grown, forms the especial object of my work, and I am
convinced that this problem is to be solved, not by any a priori
logical construction, but only by an all-sided, unprejudiced investi
gation of the facts. If in this exposition a relatively large part
of the whole seems to be devoted to antiquity, this rests upon the
conviction that for a historical understanding of our intellectual
existence, the forging out of the conceptions which the Greek mind
wrested from the concrete reality found in Nature and human life,
is more important than all that has since been thought the
Kantian philosophy excepted.
The task thus set required, however, a renunciation which no
one can regret more than myself. The purely topical treatment
of the historical movement of philosophy did not permit of giving
to the personality of the philosophers an impressiveness corre
sponding to their true worth. This could only be touched upon
where it becomes efficient as a causal factor in the combination and
transformation of ideas. The aesthetic fascination which dwells in
the individual nature of the great agents of the movement, and
which lends its especial charm to the academic lecture, as well as
to the more extended exposition of the history of philosophy, had
to be given up here in favour of a better insight into the pragmatic
necessity of the mental process.
Finally, I desire to express at this place also my lively gratitude
to my colleague, Dr. Hensel, who has not only aided me with a
part of the proofs, but has also essentially increased the usefulness
of the book by a subject index.
STRASSBURG, November, 1891.
AUTHOR S PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
A LARGE edition of my History of Philosophy had been exhausted
more than two years ago, and in the meantime its use had been
further extended by English and Russian translations. This per
mits me to assume that the new treatment which I gave to the
subject has filled an existing gap, and that the synoptical and criti
cal method which I introduced has gained approval so far as the
principle is concerned. While therefore I could leave the book
unchanged in its main outlines when preparing this new edition, I
could be all the more careful in making evidently needed improve
ments and in fulfilling certain specific requests.
Under the head of improvements I have undertaken such correc
tions, condensations, and expansions upon particular points as are
requisite for a text-book which seeks to represent the present condi
tion of investigation, and in this work the literature which has
appeared since the first edition has been utilised. In consequence
of the great condensation of material the exposition had become
sometimes difficult to follow, and 1 have aimed in many cases to
give more fluent form to the expression by breaking up some of the
longer sentences, and occasionally omitting what was of merely sec
A desire has been expressed by readers of the book for a more
extended notice of the personalities and personal relations of the
philosophers. In the preface to my first edition I had myself
recognised the justice of this demand, but had disclaimed the inten
tion of satisfying it because the special plan of my work and the
necessary limitations of space prevented. Now I have sought to
fulfil this demand so far as it has seemed possible within the
limit of my work, by giving brief and precise characterisations of
the most important thinkers.
A desire for a more extended treatment of the philosophers of the
nineteenth century has also been reckoned with. The few pages
originally accorded to the subject have been expanded to three times
the former compass, and I hope that although one will miss one
xii Author s Preface.
topic and another another, it will nevertheless be possible to gain a
fairly complete general view of the movements of philosophy down
to the more immediate present, in so far as this is to be expected
from a history of principles.
Finally, I have remade the subject index, and so expanded it
that in connection with the text it may, as I hope, have the value of
a dictionary of the history of philosophy. This gives to my work a
second distinctive feature; namely, that of a work of reference of
a systematic and critical sort.
By all these expansions the size of the book has been considerably
increased, and I express here to my esteemed publisher, Dr. Siebeck,
my heartiest gratitude for the cordial response with which he has
made possible these essential improvements.
STRASSBURG, September, 1900.