History of philosophy

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1. Name and Conception of Philosophy 1

2. The History of Philosophy 8

3. Division of Philosophy and of its History 18




4. Conceptions of Being : 31

5. Conceptions of the Cosmic Processes or Becoming ... 47

6. Conceptions of Cognition 57

7. The Problem of Morality 72

8. The Problem of Science 87

9. Metaphysics grounded anew by Epistemology and Ethics . 104

10. The System of Materialism 109

11. The System of Idealism 116

12. The Aristotelian Logic 132

13. The System of Development 139




14. The Ideal of the Wise Man 163

15. Mechanism and Teleology . 178

16. The Freedom of the Will and the Perfection of the Uni

verse 190

17. The Criteria of Truth 197


xiv Contents.


18. Authority and Revelation 219

19. Spirit and Matter 229

20. God and the World 235

21. The Problem of the World s History 255





22. The Metaphysics of Inner Experience 276

23. The Controversy over Universals 287

24. The Dualism of Body and Soul 301


25. The Realm of Nature and the Realm of Grace .... 318

26. The Primacy of the Will or of the Intellect 328

27. The Problem of Individuality .337





28. The Struggle between the Traditions 357

29. Macrocosm and Microcosm 366


30. The Problem of Method 383

31. Substance and Causality 399

32. Natural Right 425




33. Innate Ideas 449

34. Knowledge of the External World 466

35. Natural Religion 486

Contents xv


36. The Principles of Morals 502

37. The Problem of Civilisation 518




38. The Object of Knowledge 537

39. The Categorical Imperative 551

40. Natural Purposiveness 559

41. The Thing-in-itself 573

42. The System of Reason 590

43. The Metaphysics of the Irrational 615


44. The Controversy over the Soul 634

45. Nature and History 648

46. The Problem of Values 660
INDEX . . 699



1. The Name and Conception of Philosophy.

R. Haym, Art. Philosophic in Ersch und Griiber s Encyclopadie, III. Abth.,

Bd. 24.
W. Windelband, Praeludien (Freiburg i. B., 1884), 1 ff.

A. Seth, Art. Philosophy in Erie. Brit. ]

G. T. Ladd, Introduction to Philosophy. N.Y. 1891.]
BY philosophy present usage understands the scientific treatment

of the general questions relating to the universe and human life.

Individual philosophers, according to the presuppositions with

which they have entered upon their work, and the results which

they have reached in it, have sought to change this indefinite idea

common to all, into more precise definitions, 1 which in part diverge

so widely that the common element in the conception of the science

may seem lost. But even the more general meaning given above is

itself a limitation and transformation of the original significance

which the Greeks connected with the name philosophy, a limita

tion and transformation brought about by the whole course of the in

tellectual and spiritual life of the West, and following along with

the same.
1. While in the first appearance in literature 2 of the words

<t>iXoar (f>flv and <f>iXoo-o<f>ia the simple and at the same time indefinite

meaning, " striving after wisdom," may still be recognised, the word

" philosophy " in the literature after Socrates, particularly in the

school of Plato and Aristotle, acquired the fixed significance accord-

1 Cited in detail in Ueberweg-Heinze, Grundriss der Geschichte der Philoso

phic, I. 1. [Eng. trans. Ueberweg s History of Philosophy, trans, by G. S.

Morris. N.Y. 1871.]

2 Herodotus, I. 30 and 50 ; Thucydides, II. 40 ; and frequently also even in

Plato, e.g. Apol. 29 ; Lysis, 218 A ; Symp. 202 E ff.


2 Introduction.

ing to which it denotes exactly the same as the German word

" Wissenschaft." l According to this meaning philosophy in general 2

is the methodical work of thought, through which we are to know

that which "is"; individual "philosophies" are the particular sci

ences in which individual realms of the existent are to be investi

gated and known. 3

With this first theoretical meaning oi the word " philosophy " a

second was very early associated. The development of Greek

philosophy came at the time when the naive religious and ethical

consciousness was in process of disintegration. This not only

made the questions as to man s vocation and tasks more and more

important for scientific investigation (cf. below, Part I. ch. 2), but

also made instruction in the right conduct of life appear as an

essential aim, and finally as the main content of philosophy or

science. Thus philosophy in the Hellenistic period received the

practical meaning of an art of life, based upon scientific principles*

a meaning for which the way had already been prepared by the

Sophists and Socrates.

In consequence of this change, purely theoretical interest passed

over to the particular " philosophies," which now in part assumed

the names of their special subjects of research, historical or belong

ing to natural science, while mathematics and medicine kept all the

more rigorously that independence which they had possessed from

the beginning with relation to science in general. 5 The name of

philosophy, however, remained attached to those scientific efforts

which hoped to win from the most general results of human knowl

edge a conviction for the direction of life, and which finally culmi

nated in the attempt (made by Neo-Platonism) to create from such

a philosophy a new religion to replace the old that had been lost. 6

1 A conception which it is well known is of much greater compass than the

English and French " science." [In this translation the words " science" and

" scientific " are used in this larger sense. The term " natural science " will be

used for the narrower meaning which "science " alone often has. If it should

serve to remind the beginner that philosophy and scientific thought should be

one, and that natural science is not aii of science, it may be of value.]
2 Plato, Bfp. 480 B ; Aristotle, Met. VI. 1, 102(5 a 18.
3 Plato, Theiet. 1431). Aristotle sets the doctrine " of Being as such" (the

later so-called Metaphysics) as "First Philosophy" over against the other

"philosophies," and distinguishes further theoretical and practical "philoso

phy." In one passage (Met. I. 6, 987 a 29) he applies the plural < />tXo < ro0/ai also

to the different systems of science which have followed in historical succession,

as we should speak of the philosophies of Kant, Fichte, Hegel, etc.

* Cf. the definition of Epicurus in Sext. Emp. Adv. Math. XI. 169, and on

the other hand that of Seneca, Epist. 89.

5 Cf. below, Part I.
G Hence Proclus, for example, would prefer to have philosophy called


1.] Name and Conception of Philosophy. 3

There was at first little change in these relations, when the remains

of ancient science passed over into the culture of the present peoples

of Europe as the determining forces of their intellectual life. Con

tent and task of that which the Middle Ages called philosophy coin

cided with the conception held by later antiquity. 1 And yet the

meaning of philosophy underwent an essential change by finding

philosophy s task already performed, in a certain sense, by religion.

For religion, too, afforded not only a sure conviction as a rule for

the guidance of personal life, but also in connection with this, a gen

eral theoretical view of all reality, which was the more philosophical

in its character, as the dogmas of Christianity had been formulated

entirely under the influence of ancient philosophy. Under these

circumstances, during the unbroken dominance of Church doctrine,

there remained for philosophy, for the most part, only the position

of a handmaid to ground, develop, and defend dogma scientifically.

But just by this means philosophy came into a certain opposition to

theology as regards method ; for what the latter taught on the

ground of divine revelation, the former was to win and set forth by

means of human knowledge. 2
But the infallible consequence of this relation was, that the freer

individual thinking became in its relation to the Church, the more

independently philosophy began the solution of the problem which

she had in common with religion ; from presentation and defence of

doctrine she passed to its criticism, and finally, in complete inde

pendence of religious interests, sought to derive her teaching from

the sources which she thought she possessed in the "natural light"

of human reason and experience. 3 The opposition to theology, as

regards methods, grew in this way to an opposition in the subject

matter, and modern philosophy as " world-wisdom " set itself over

against Church dogma. 4 However manifold the aspects which this

relation took on, shading from a clinging attachment to a passionate

conflict, the office of " philosophy " remained always that which
1 Cf., for example, Augustine, Solil. I. 7 ; Conf. V. 7; Scotus Erigena, De

Div. Pra>dest. I. 1 (Migne, 358) ; Anselm Proslog., ch. 1. (Migne, I. 227) ;

Abelard, Introd. in Theol. II. 3 ; Raymundus Lullus, De Quinque Sap. 8.
2 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol. I. 32, 1 ; Contr. Gent. I. 8 f., II. 1 ff. ;

Duns Scotus, Op. Ox. I. 3, qu. 4 ; Durand de Pounjain, In Sent. Prol., qu. 8 ;

Raymundus of Sabunde, Theol. Natur. Prooem.
3 Laur. Valla, Dialect. Disp. III. 9 ; B. Telesio, De Nat. Rer. Prooem. ; Fr.

Bacon, De Awjm, III. 1 (Works, Spedding, I. 539 = 111. 336); Taurellus,

Philos. Triumph. I. 1 ; Paracelsus, Paragr. (ed. Huser) II. 23 f. ; G. Bruno,

Delia Causa, etc., IV. 107 (Lagarde, I. 272) ; Hobbes, De Corpor. I. (Works,

Molesworth, I. 2 and 6 f.).
4 Characteristic definitions, on the one hand, in Gottsched, Erste Griinde dcr

gesammten Weltweisheit (Leips. 1756), pp. 97 ff. ; on the other hand, in the

article Philosophie, in the Encyclopedie (Vol. XXV. pp. 632 ff.).

4 Introduction.

antiquity had assigned to it, to supply from scientific insight a

foundation for a theory of the world and of human life, where relig

ion was no longer able to meet this need, or at least to meet it alone.

In the conviction that it was equal to this task, the philosophy of

the eighteenth century, like that of the Greeks, considered it its

right and duty to enlighten men with regard to the nature of things,

and from this position of insight to rule the life of the individual

and of society.

In this position of self-security philosophy was shaken by Kant,

who demonstrated the impossibility of a philosophical (i.e. meta

physical) knowledge of the world beside of or above the individual

sciences, and thereby restricted once more the conception and the

task of philosophy ; for after this quitclaim the realm of philosophy,

as a particular science, was narrowed to just that critical consideration

by Reason of itself, from which Kant had won his decisive insight, and

which needed only to be extended systematically to activities other

than that of knowing. With this function could be united what

Kant 1 called the universal or cosmical conception of philosophy,

its vocation in the practical direction of life.
It is, to be sure, far from true that this new and apparently final

conception of philosophy gained universal acceptance at once. It is

rather the case that the great variety of philosophical movements of

the nineteenth century has left 110 earlier form of philosophy unre-

peated, and that a luxuriant development of the " metaphysical

need " 2 even brought back, for a time, the inclination to swallow up

all human knowledge in philosophy, and complete this again as an

all-embracing science.

2. In view of these mutations through which the meaning of the

word " philosophy " has passed in the course of time, it seems im

practicable to pretend to gain a general conception of philosophy from

historical comparison. None of those brought forward for this

purpose 3 apply to all those structures of mental activity which

lay claim to the name. Even the subordination of philosophy under

the more general conception " science " is questionable in the case

of those types of teaching which place a one-sided emphasis on the

1 Critique of Pure Reason, A. 839 ; B. 866.

2 Schopenhauer, World as Will and Idea, Vol. II. ch. 17.
3 Instead of criticising particular conceptions it is sufficient here to point to

the widely diverging formulas in which the attempt has been made to perform

this impossible task : cf., for example, only the introductions to works such as

those of Erdinann, Ueberweg, Kuno Fischer, Zeller, etc. All these conceptions

thus determined apply only in so far as the history of philosophy has yielded

the result which they express, but they do not apply with reference to the inten

tions expressed by the philosophers themselves.

1.] Name and Conception of Philosophy. 5

practical significance of their doctrine : ! still less can we define

the subject-matter and form of philosophy considered as a special

science, in a way that shall hold good for all cases. For even aside

from the primitive or the revived standpoint for which philosophy

is a universal science, 2 the attempts to limit it are extremely vari

ous. The problems of natural science form at first almost the sole

objects of interest for philosophy, then for a long period are in

cluded in its scope, and do not separate from it until modern times.

History, on the other hand, has remained an object of indifference to

most philosophical systems, and has emerged as an object of philo

sophical investigation relatively late and in isolated cases. Meta

physical doctrines, again, in which the centre of philosophy is

usually sought, we see either pushed one side at important turning-

points in history or declared to be entirely impossible 3 ; and if at

times the ability of philosophy to determine the life of the indi

vidual or of society is emphasised, a proud standpoint of pure theory

has renounced such a menial occupation. 4
From still another side it has been claimed that philosophy treats

the same subjects as the other sciences, but in another sense and by

another method ; but neither has this specific characteristic of form

historical universality. That there is no such acknowledged his

torical method would of course be no objection if only the endeavour

after such a method were a constant characteristic of all philoso

phies. This is, however, so far from being the case that in fact

many philosophers imprint on their science the method of other

disciplines, e.g. of mathematics or of investigation of nature, 5 while

others will have nothing at all to do with a methodical treatment of

their problems, and regard the philosophic activity as analogous to

the creations of genius in art.

3. From these circumstances is explained also the fact that there

is no fixed relation of philosophy to the other sciences, which is capa

ble of a definition valid for all history. Where philosophy presents

itself as the universal science, the other sciences appear only as its

more or less distinctly separated parts. 6 Where, on the contrary,

philosophy is assigned the task of grasping the results of the par-

1 So in the case of the majority of the philosophers of later antiquity.

2 As for Chr. Wolf ; cf. his Logica, 29 ff.
3 This is especially the case where philosophy is regarded solely as "science

of cognition." Cf., e.g., W. Hamilton in his notes to Reid s works, II. 808.

Among the French at the close of the eighteenth and the beginning of this cen

tury, philosophy = analyse de I entendement humain.

4 E.g. with Plotinus.
5 So Descartes and Bacon.
6 So, for example, in the Hegelian system.

6 Introduction.

ticular sciences in their general significance, and harmonising them

into a comprehensive knowledge of the world, we have as the result

peculiarly complex relations : in the first place, a dependence of

philosophy upon the existing condition of insight reached in the par

ticular disciplines a dependence which expresses itself principally

in the furtherance of philosophy by the prominent advances made

by individual sciences; 1 in the next place, an influence in the

opposite direction, when philosophy takes part in the work of the

particular sciences. This action is felt as help or as hindrance,

according as the philosophical treatment of the questions embraced

under the particular disciplines sometimes contributes valuable

factors for their solution, by means of its wider range of vision and

its tendency toward unity, 2 but at other times presents itself only

as a duplication which, if it leads to like results, appears useless, or

if it wishes to furnish other results, dangerous. 3
From what has been said it is evident farther, that the relations

of philosophy to the other activities of civilisation are no less close than

its relation to the individual sciences. For the conceptions arising

from the religious and ethical and artistic life, from the life of the

state and of society, force their way everywhere, side by side with

the results won from scientific investigation, into the idea of the

universe which the philosophy of metaphysical tendencies aims to

frame ; and the reason s valuations ( Werthbestimmunyen) and stand

ards of judgment demand their place in that idea the more vigor

ously, just in proportion as it is to become the basis for the practical

significance of philosophy. In this way humanity s convictions and

ideals find their expression in philosophy side by side with its

intellectual insights ; and if these convictions and ideals are regarded,

erroneously often, as gaining thereby the form of scientific intelli

gence, they may receive under certain circumstances valuable clari

fication and modification by this means. Thus this relation also of

philosophy to general culture is not only that of receiving, but also

that of giving.

It is not without interest to consider also the mutations in external position

and social relations which philosophy has experienced. It may be assumed that

science was from the first, with perhaps a few exceptions (Socrates), pursued in

Greece in closed schools. 4 The fact that these, even at a later time, had the form

1 As the influence of astronomy upon the beginnings of Greek, or that of

mechanics upon those of modern, philosophy.
2 The Protestant theology of the nineteenth century stands in this relation

to German philosophy.

3 Cf. the opposition of natural science to Schelling s philosophy of nature.
4 H. Diels, Ueber die altesten Philosophenschulen der Griechen in Philos.

Aufsatze zum Jubilaum E. Zeller s, Leips. 1887, pp. 241 ff.

l.J Name and Conception of Philosophy. 7

of societies with religious laws ! would not in itself alone, in view of the religious

character of all Greek judicial institutions, prove a religious origin of these

schools, but the circumstance that Greek science worked out its contents directly

from religious ideas, and that certain connections with religious cults present

themselves unmistakably in a number of directions, 2 makes it not improbable

that the scientific societies sprang originally from religious unions (the Mys

teries) and continued in a certain connection with them. But when the scien

tific life had developed to complete independence, these connections fell away

and purely scientific schools were founded as free unions of men who, under the

guidance of persons of importance, shared with each other the work of research,

exposition, defence, and polemic, 3 and at the same time had an ethical bond in

a common ideal of the conduct of life.

With the advent of the larger relations of life in the Hellenistic and Roman

period, these unions naturally became loosened, and we frequently meet writers,

especially among the Romans, who are active in the field of philosophy in a

purely individual way, neither members of a school nor professional teachers.

Such were Cicero, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius. Not until the latest period of

antiquity were the ties of the schools drawn more closely again, as in Neo-

Pythagoreanism and Neo-Platonism.
Among the Romanic and Germanic peoples the course of events has been not

unlike that in the ancient world. The science of the Middle Ages also appears

in the train of the Church civilisation ; it has its seats in the cloister-schools, and

is stimulated toward independent development primarily by questions of religious

interest. In it, too, the oppositions of various religious orders, such as the Do

minicans and Franciscans, assert themselves for a time, and even the freer

scientific associations out of which the universities gradually developed, had

originally a religious background and an ecclesiastical stamp. 4 Hence there

was always but a slight degree of independence with reference to Church doc

trine in this corporate philosophy of the universities, and this held true on into

the eighteenth century for the Protestant universities also, in the foundation

and development of which ecclesiastical and religious interests had a foremost

On the other hand, it is characteristic of the "world-wisdom" or secular

philosophy which was gaining its independence at the beginning of the modern

period, that those who bring and support it are not at all men of the schools,

but men of the world and of life. An escaped monk, a state-chancellor, a

cobbler, a nobleman, a proscribed Jew, a learned diplomat, independent men of

letters and journalists, these are the founders of modern philosophy, and in

accord with this, their work takes for its outer form not the text-book or the

deposit of academical disputations, but the free literary production, the essay.

Not until the second half of the eighteenth century did philosophy again

become corporate, and domesticated in the universities. This took place first

in Germany, where the most favourable conditions were afforded by the rising

independence of the universities, and where a fruitful interchange between

teachers and students of the university was beneficial to philosophy also. 5
1 v. Wilamowitz-Mollendorf, Antigonos von Karystos (Philol. Stud. IV.

Berlin, 1881, pp. 263 ff.).

2 The Pythagoreans, as is well known, offer a pre-eminent example of this ;

but sympathies with the Apollo cultus are plain enough in the Platonic Academy

also. Pfleiderer has lately sought to bring the apparently isolated Heraclitus

into connection with the Mysteries (E. Pfleiderer, Heraklit von Ephesus.

Berlin, 1886).
3 Cf. II. Usener, Ueber die Organisation der wissenschaftlichen Arbeit im

Alte.nhum (Preuss. Jahrb., Jahrg. LIII., 1884, pp. 1 ff.), and E. Heitz, Die Philo-

sophenschulen Athens (Deutsche Revue, 1884, pp. 826 ff.).
4 Cf. G. Kaufmann, Geschichte der deutschen Universitdten 1. pp. 98 ff. (Stuttg.

5 Schelling has erected the finest monument to the ideal conception of science

in the activity of German universities, in his Vorlesunyen uber die Methode des

akademischen Studiums (2. and 3. Vorlesung. Ges. Werke, I. Abth., Vol. 5,

pp. 223 ff.).

8 Introduction.

From Germany this spread to Scotland, England, Franco, and Italy, and in gen

eral it may be said that in the nineteenth century the seat of philosophy is essen

tially to be sought in the universities. 1
In conclusion, the share of the various peoples in the development of philoso

phy deserves a brief mention. As with all developments of European culture,

so with philosophy, the Greeks created it, and the primitive structure of

philosophy due to their creative activity is still to-day an essential basis of the

science. What was added in antiquity by the mixed peoples of Hellenism and

by the Romans does not, in general, amount to more than a special form and

practical adaptation of the Greek philosophy. Only in the religious turn which

this last movement took (cf. below, Part II. ch. 2) do we find something essen

tially new which sprang from the harmonising of national differences in the

Roman Empire. The scientific culture of the Middle Ages was also international,

as is implied in the universal employment of the Latin language. It is with

modern philosophy that the special characters of particular nations first present

themselves as of decisive influence. While the traditions of mediaeval scholas

ticism maintain themselves most vigorously and independently in Spain and

Portugal, the Italians, Germans, English, and French supply the first movements

of the new science which reached its highest point in the classical period of

German philosophy. Compared with these four nations, the rest stand almost

entirely in a receptive attitude ; a certain independence is noticeable, if any

where, in more recent time among the Swedes.

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