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Title: Hegel's Lectures on the History of Philosophy: Volume 2 (of 3)

Author: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Translator: Elizabeth Sanderson Haldane

Frances H. Simson

Release date: April 2, 2016 [eBook #51636]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Giovanni Fini, Fritz Ohrenschall and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at








Hegel’s Lectures on

Translated from the German by




In three volumes



Broadway House, 68-74 Carter Lane

London, E.C.4


First published in England 1894
by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co. Ltd

Reprinted 1955
by Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd
Broadway House, 68-74 Carter Lane
London, E.C.4

Reprinted by lithography in Great Britain by
Jarrold and Sons Limited, Norwich





Chapter III.—First Period, Third Division 1
A. The Philosophy of Plato 1
1. Dialectic 49
2. Philosophy of Nature 71
3. Philosophy of Mind 90
B. The Philosophy of Aristotle 117
1. Metaphysics 137
2. Philosophy of Nature 153
3. Philosophy of Mind 180
a. Psychology 180
b. Practical Philosophy 202
α. Ethic 202
β. Politics 207
4. Logic 210


Second Period.—Dogmatism and Scepticism 232
A. The Philosophy of the Stoics 236
1. Physics 243
2. Logic 249
3. Ethics 257
B. The Philosophy of the Epicureans 276
1. Canonic 281
2. Metaphysics 286
3. Physics 292
4. Ethics 300
C. The Philosophy of the New Academy[vi] 311
1. Arcesilaus 313
2. Carneades 319
D. Scepticism 328
1. Earlier Tropes 347
2. Later Tropes 357


Third Period.—The Neo-Platonists 374
A. Philo 387
B. The Cabala and Gnosticism 394
1. Cabalistic Philosophy 394
2. The Gnostics 396
C. The Alexandrian Philosophy 399
1. Ammonias Saccas 403
2. Plotinus 404
3. Porphyry and Iamblichus 431
4. Proclus 432
5. Successors of Proclus 450


First Period, Third Division: Plato and Aristotle.

The development of philosophic science as science, and, further, the progress from the Socratic point of view to the scientific, begins with Plato and is completed by Aristotle. They of all others deserve to be called teachers of the human race.

A. Plato.

Plato, who must be numbered among the Socratics, was the most renowned of the friends and disciples of Socrates, and he it was who grasped in all its truth Socrates’ great principle that ultimate reality lies in consciousness, since, according to him, the absolute is in thought, and all reality is Thought. He does not understand by this a one-sided thought, nor what is understood by the false idealism which makes thought once more step aside and contemplate itself as conscious thought, and as in opposition to reality; it is the thought which embraces in an absolute unity reality as well as thinking, the Notion and its reality in the movement of science, as the Idea of a scientific whole. While Socrates had comprehended the thought which is existent in and for itself, only as an object for self-conscious will, Plato forsook this narrow point of view, and brought the merely abstract right of self-conscious thought, which Socrates had[2] raised to a principle, into the sphere of science. By so doing he rendered it possible to interpret and apply the principle, though his manner of representation may not be altogether scientific.

Plato is one of those world-famed individuals, his philosophy one of those world-renowned creations, whose influence, as regards the culture and development of the mind, has from its commencement down to the present time been all-important. For what is peculiar in the philosophy of Plato is its application to the intellectual and supersensuous world, and its elevation of consciousness into the realm of spirit. Thus the spiritual element which belongs to thought obtains in this form an importance for consciousness, and is brought into consciousness; just as, on the other hand, consciousness obtains a foothold on the soil of the other. The Christian religion has certainly adopted the lofty principle that man’s inner and spiritual nature is his true nature, and takes it as its universal principle, though interpreting it in its own way as man’s inclination for holiness; but Plato and his philosophy had the greatest share in obtaining for Christianity its rational organization, and in bringing it into the kingdom of the supernatural, for it was Plato who made the first advance in this direction.

We must begin by mentioning the facts of Plato’s life. Plato was an Athenian, born in the third year of the 87th Olympiad, or, according to Dodwell, Ol. 87, 4 (B.C. 429), at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, in the year in which Pericles died. He was, according to this, thirty-nine or forty years younger than Socrates. His father, Ariston, traced his lineage from Cadrus; his mother, Perictione, was descended from Solon. The paternal uncle of his mother was the celebrated Critias, who was for a time among the associates of Socrates, and who was the most talented and brilliant, but also the most dangerous and obnoxious, of the Thirty Tyrants of Athens (supra, Vol. I. p.[3] 421). Critias is usually represented by the ancients as an atheist, with the Cyrenaic Theodoras and Diagoras of Melos; Sextus Empiricus (adv. Math. IX. 51-54) has preserved to us a fine fragment from one of his poems. Sprung from this noble race, and with no lack of means for his culture, Plato received from the most highly esteemed of the Sophists an education in all the arts which were then thought to befit an Athenian. In his family he was called Aristocles; it was only later that he received from his teacher the name of Plato. Some say that he was so styled because of the breadth of his forehead; others, because of the richness and breadth of his discourse; others again, because of his well-built form.[1]

In his youth he cultivated poetry, and wrote tragedies—very much like young poets in our day—also dithyrambs and songs. Various specimens of the last are still preserved to us in the Greek anthology, and have as subject his various loves; we have amongst others a well-known epigram on a certain Aster, one of his best friends, which contains a pretty fancy, found also in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet:

“To the stars thou look’st, mine Aster,

O would that I were Heaven,

With eyes so many thus to gaze on thee.”[2]

In his youth he had every intention of devoting himself to politics. He was brought by his father to Socrates when in his twentieth year, and enjoyed intimate friendship with him for eight years. It is related that Socrates dreamt on the preceding night that he had a young swan perched on his knees, whose wings quickly developed, and which then flew up to heaven, singing the sweetest songs. Many such incidents are mentioned by the ancients, and they bear witness to the deep reverence and love with which[4] both contemporaries and those of later times regarded the calm dignity of Plato, and that loftiness of demeanour which he combined with extreme simplicity and lovableness, traits of character which won for him the name of “the divine.” Plato did not content himself with the society and wisdom of Socrates, but studied in addition the older philosophers, particularly Heraclitus. Aristotle (Met. I. 6) states that Plato, before he ever came to Socrates, associated with Cratylus, and had been initiated into the doctrines of Heraclitus. He also studied the Eleatics, and very particularly the Pythagoreans, and he frequented the society of the most noted Sophists. Thus deeply immersed in Philosophy, he lost his interest in poetry and politics, and gave them up altogether, that he might devote himself entirely to scientific pursuits. He fulfilled, like Socrates, his term of military service as an Athenian citizen, and is said to have taken part in three campaigns.[3]

We have already mentioned (Vol. I. p. 448) that, after Socrates was put to death, Plato, like many other philosophers, fled from Athens, and betook himself to Euclides at Megara. Leaving Megara before long, he travelled first to Cyrene in Africa, where he turned his attention specially to mathematics, under the guidance of the celebrated mathematician Theodoras, whom he introduces as taking part in several of his dialogues. Plato himself soon attained to high proficiency in mathematics. To him is attributed the solution of the Delian or Delphic problem, which was proposed by the oracle, and, like the Pythagorean dogma, has reference to the cube. The problem is, to draw a line the cube of which will be equal to the sum of two given cubes. This requires a construction through two curves. The nature of the tasks then set by the oracles is very curious; on this particular occasion application had been made to the oracle [5]in a time of pestilence, and it responded by proposing an entirely scientific problem; the change indicated in the spirit of the oracle is highly significant. From Cyrene Plato went to Italy and Egypt. In Magna Græcia he made the acquaintance of the Pythagoreans of that day, Archytas of Tarentum, the celebrated mathematician, Philolaus and others; and he also bought the writings of the older Pythagoreans at a high price. In Sicily he made friends with Dion. Returning to Athens, he opened a school of Philosophy in the Academy, a grove or promenade in which stood a gymnasium, and there he discoursed to his disciples.[4] This pleasure-ground had been laid out in honour of the hero Academus, but Plato was the true hero of the Academy who did away with the old significance of the name, and overshadowed the fame of the original hero, whose place he so completely took that the latter comes down to after ages only as connected with Plato.

Plato’s busy life in Athens was twice interrupted by a journey to Sicily, to the Court of Dionysius the younger, ruler of Syracuse and Sicily. This connection with Dionysius was the most important, if not the only external relation into which Plato entered; it had, however, no lasting result. Dion, the nearest relative of Dionysius, and other respected Syracusans, his friends, deluded themselves with vain hopes regarding Dionysius. He had been allowed by his father to grow up almost without education, but his friends had instilled into him some notion of and respect for Philosophy, and had roused in him a desire to make acquaintance with Plato. They hoped that Dionysius would profit greatly by his intimacy with Plato, and that his character, which was still unformed, and to all appearance far from unpromising, would be so influenced by Plato’s idea of the constitution of a true state, that this might, through him, come to be realized in Sicily. It was partly [6]his friendship with Dion, and partly and more especially the high hopes he himself cherished of seeing a true form of government actually established by Dionysius, that induced Plato to take the mistaken step of journeying to Sicily. On the surface it seems an excellent idea that a young prince should have a wise man at his elbow to instruct and inspire him; and on this idea a hundred political romances have been based; the picture has, however, no reality behind it. Dionysius was much pleased with Plato, it is true, and conceived such a respect for him that he desired to be respected by him in turn; but this did not last long. Dionysius was one of those mediocre natures who may indeed in a half-hearted way aspire to glory and honour, but are capable of no depth and earnestness, however much they may affect it, and who lack all strength of character. His intentions were good, but the power failed him to carry them out; it was like our own satirical representations in the theatre, of a person who aspires to be quite a paragon, and turns out an utter fool. The position of affairs represented thereby can be nothing but this, seeing that lack of energy alone allows itself to be guided; but it is also the same lack of energy which renders impossible of execution even a plan made by itself. The rupture between Plato and Dionysius took place on personal grounds. Dionysius fell out with his relative Dion, and Plato became involved in the quarrel, because he would not give up his friendship with Dion. Dionysius was incapable of a friendship based on esteem and sympathy in pursuits; it was partly his personal inclination to Plato, and partly mere vanity, which had made him seek the philosopher’s friendship. Dionysius could not, however, induce Plato to come under any obligation to him; he desired that Plato should give himself up to him entirely, but this was a demand that Plato refused to entertain.[5]


Plato accordingly took his departure. After the separation, however, both felt the desire to be again together. Dionysius recalled Plato, in order to effect a reconciliation with him; he could not endure that he should have failed in the attempt to attach Plato permanently to himself, and he found it specially intolerable that Plato would not give up Dion. Plato yielded to the urgent representations, not only of his family and Dion, but also of Archytas and other Pythagoreans of Tarentum, to whom Dionysius had applied, and who were taking an interest in the reconciliation of Dionysius with Dion and Plato; indeed, they went so far as to guarantee safety and liberty of departure to Plato. But Dionysius found that he could endure Plato’s presence no better than his absence; he felt himself thereby constrained. And though, by the influence of Plato and his other companions, a respect for science had been awakened in Dionysius, and he had thus become more cultured, he never penetrated beyond the surface. His interest in Philosophy was just as superficial as his repeated attempts in poetry; and while he wished to be everything—poet, philosopher, and statesman—he would not submit to be under the guidance of others. Thus no closer tie between Plato and Dionysius was formed; they drew together again, and again parted, so that the third visit to Sicily ended also in coldness, and the connection was not again established. This time the ill-feeling with regard to the continued relations with Dion ran so high, that when Plato wished to leave Sicily, on account of the treatment his friend had met with from Dionysius, the latter deprived him of the means of conveyance, and at last would have forcibly prevented his departure from Sicily. The Pythagoreans of Tarentum came at length to the rescue,[6] [8]demanded Plato back from Dionysius, got him conveyed away safely, and brought him to Greece. They were aided by the circumstance that Dionysius was afraid of an ill report being spread that he was not on good terms with Plato.[7] Thus Plato’s hopes were shattered, and his dream of shaping the constitution in accordance with the demands of his own philosophic ideas, through the agency of Dionysius, proved vain.

At a later date, therefore, he actually refused to be the lawgiver of other States, though they had made application to him for that very purpose; amongst these applicants were the inhabitants of Cyrene and the Arcadians. It was a time when many of the Greek States found their constitutions unsatisfactory, and yet could not devise anything new.[8] Now in the last thirty years[9] many constitutions have been drawn up, and it would be no hard task for anyone having had much experience in this work to frame another. But theorizing is not sufficient for a constitution; it is not individuals who make it; it is something divine and spiritual, which develops in history. So strong is this power of the world-spirit that the thought of an individual is as nothing against it; and when such thoughts do count for something, i.e. when they can be realized, they are then none other than the product of this power of the universal spirit. The idea that Plato should become lawgiver was not adapted for the times; Solon and Lycurgus were lawgivers, but in Plato’s day such a thing was impracticable. He declined any further compliance with the wishes of these States, because they would not agree to the first condition which he imposed, namely, the abolition[9] of all private property,[10] a principle which we shall deal with later, in considering Plato’s practical philosophy. Honoured thus throughout the whole land, and especially in Athens, Plato lived until the first year of the 108th Olympiad (B.C. 348); and died on his birthday, at a wedding feast, in the eighty-first year of his age.[11]

We have to speak, in the first place, of the direct mode in which Plato’s philosophy has come down to us; it is to be found in those of his writings which we possess; indubitably they are one of the fairest gifts which fate has preserved from the ages that are gone. His philosophy is not, however, properly speaking, presented there in systematic form, and to construct it from such writings is difficult, not so much from anything in itself, as because this philosophy has been differently understood in different periods of time; and, more than all, because it has been much and roughly handled in modern times by those who have either read into it their own crude notions, being enable to conceive the spiritual spiritually, or have regarded as the essential and most significant element in Plato’s philosophy that which in reality does not belong to Philosophy at all, but only to the mode of presentation; in truth, however, it is only ignorance of Philosophy that renders it difficult to grasp the philosophy of Plato. The form and matter of these works are alike of interest and importance. In studying them we must nevertheless make sure, in the first place, what of Philosophy we mean to seek and may find within them, and, on the other hand, what Plato’s point of view never can afford us, because in his time it was not there to give. Thus it may be that the longing with which we approached Philosophy is left quite unsatisfied; it is, however, better that we should not be altogether satisfied than that such conclusions should be[10] regarded as final. Plato’s point of view is clearly defined and necessary, but it is impossible for us to remain there, or to go back to it; for Reason now makes higher demands. As for regarding it as the highest standpoint, and that which we must take for our own—it belongs to the weaknesses of our time not to be able to bear the greatness, the immensity of the claims made by the human spirit, to feel crushed before them, and to flee from them faint-hearted. We must stand above Plato, i.e. we must acquaint ourselves with the needs of thoughtful minds in our own time, or rather we must ourselves experience these needs. Just as the pedagogue’s aim is to train up men so as to shield them from the world, or to keep them in a particular sphere—the counting-house, for instance, or bean-planting, if you wish to be idyllic—where they will neither know the world nor be known by it; so in Philosophy a return has been made to religious faith, and therefore to the Platonic philosophy.[12] Both are moments which have their due place and their own importance, but they are not the philosophy of our time. It would be perfectly justifiable to return to Plato in order to learn anew from him the Idea of speculative Philosophy, but it is idle to speak of him with extravagant enthusiasm, as if he represented beauty and excellence in general. Moreover, it is quite superfluous for Philosophy, and belongs to the hypercriticism of our times, to treat Plato from a literary point of view, as Schleiermacher does, critically examining whether one or another of the minor dialogues is genuine or not. Regarding the more important of the dialogues, we may mention that the testimony of the ancients leaves not the slightest doubt.

Then of course the very character of Plato’s works, offering us in their manysidedness various modes of treating Philosophy, constitutes the first difficulty standing in the way of a comprehension of his philosophy. If we[11] still had the oral discourses (ἄγραφα δόγματα) of Plato, under the title “Concerning the Good” (περὶ τἀγαθοῦ), which his scholars noted down, we should have had his philosophy before us in simpler, because in more systematic form.[13] Aristotle seems to have had these discourses before him, when dealing with the philosophy of Plato, and he quotes them in his work “On Philosophy,” or, “On the Ideas,” or, “On the Good” (Brandis has written on this topic). But, as it happens, we have only Plato’s Dialogues, and their form renders it all the more difficult for us to gather a definite idea of his philosophy. For the dialogue form contains very heterogeneous elements; Philosophy proper in the treatment of absolute Being, and, intermingled with that, its particular mode of representation. It is just this which constitutes the manysidedness of Plato’s works.

A second difficulty is said to lie in the distinction drawn between exoteric and esoteric philosophy. Tennemann (Vol. II. p. 220) says: “Plato exercised the right, which is conceded to every thinker, of communicating only so much of his discoveries as he thought good, and of so doing only to those whom he credited with capacity to receive it. Aristotle, too, had an esoteric and an exoteric philosophy, but with this difference, that in his case the distinction was merely formal, while with Plato it was also material.” How nonsensical! This would appear as if the philosopher kept possession of his thoughts in the same way as of his external goods: the philosophic Idea is, however, something utterly different, and instead of being possessed by, it possesses a man. When philosophers discourse on philosophic subjects, they follow of necessity the course of their ideas; they cannot keep them in their pockets; and when one man speaks to another, if his [12]words have any meaning at all, they must contain the idea present to him. It is easy enough to hand over an external possession, but the communication of ideas requires a certain skill; there is always something esoteric in this, something more than the merely exoteric. This difficulty is therefore trifling.

Thirdly, as one of the circumstances that render it difficult to comprehend Plato’s own speculative thought, we can scarcely reckon the external consideration that in his Dialogues he does not speak in his own person, but introduces Socrates and many others as the speakers, without always making it plain which of them expresses the writer’s own opinion. By reason of this historic circumstance, which seems to bear out the manysidedness of Plato, it has of course been often said, by ancients as well as moderns, that he merely expounded, from a historical point of view, the system and doctrine of Socrates, that he adapted much in the Dialogues from various Sophists, and avowedly advanced many theorems belonging to an earlier date, especially those of the Pythagoreans, Heraclitics, and Eleatics, even adopting, in the last case, the Eleatic mode of treatment. Hence it was said that to these philosophies the whole matter of the treatise belonged, the outward form alone being Plato’s. It is therefore necessary to distinguish what is peculiarly his and what is not, or whether the component parts are in harmony. In the Socratic Dialogues that we have from Cicero, the personages can be much more readily made out; but in Cicero there is nothing of real interest offered to us. With Plato there can be no talk of this ambiguity, and the difficulty is only in appearance. In the Dialogues of Plato his philosophy is quite clearly expressed; they are not constructed as are the conversations of some people, which consist of many monologues, in which one person expresses a certain opinion and another person differs from him, and both hold to their own way of thinking. Here, on the[13] contrary, the divergency of opinions which comes out is examined, and a conclusion arrived at as to the truth; or, if the result is negative, the whole process of knowledge is what is seen in Plato. There is, therefore, no need to inquire further as to what belongs to Socrates in the Dialogues, and what belongs to Plato. This further observation we must, however, make, that since Philosophy in its ultimate essence is one and the same, every succeeding philosopher will and must take up into his own, all philosophies that went before, and what falls specially to him is their further development. Philosophy is not a thing apart, like a work of art; though even in a work of art it is the skill which the artist learns from others that he puts into practice. What is original in the artist is his conception as a whole, and the intelligent use of the means already at his command; there may occur to him in working an endless variety of ideas and discoveries of his own. But Philosophy has one thought, one reality, as its foundation; and nothing can be put in the place of the true knowledge of this already attained; it must of necessity make itself evident in later developments. Therefore, as I have already observed (Vol. I. p. 166), Plato’s Dialogues are not to be considered as if their aim were to put forward a variety of philosophies, nor as if Plato’s were an eclectic philosophy derived from them; it forms rather the knot in which these abstract and one-sided principles have become truly united in a concrete fashion. In giving a general idea of the history of Philosophy, we have already seen (Vol. I. p. 54) that such points of union, in which the true is concrete, must occur in the onward course of philosophical development. The concrete is the unity of diverse determinations and principles; these, in order to be perfected, in order to come definitely before the consciousness, must first of all be presented separately. Thereby they of course acquire an aspect of one-sidedness in comparison with the higher principle which follows: this, nevertheless,[14] does not annihilate them, nor even leave them where they were, but takes them up into itself as moments. Thus in Plato’s philosophy we see all manner of philosophic teaching from earlier times absorbed into a deeper principle, and therein united. It is in this way that Plato’s philosophy shows itself to be a totality of ideas: therefore, as the result, the principles of others are comprehended in itself. Frequently Plato does nothing more than explain the doctrines of earlier philosophers; and the only particular feature in his representation of them is that their scope is extended. His Timæus is, by unanimous testimony, the amplification of a still extant work of Pythagoras;[14] and, in like manner, his amplification of the doctrine of Parmenides is of such a nature that its principle is freed from its one-sided character.

These last two difficulties having been disposed of, if we would likewise solve the first mentioned, we must proceed to describe the form in which Plato has propounded his ideas, keeping it, on the other hand, distinct from Philosophy proper, as we find it with him. The form of the Platonic philosophy is, as is well known, the dialogue. The beauty of this form is highly attractive; yet we must not think, as many do, that it is the most perfect form in which to present Philosophy; it is peculiar to Plato, and as a work of art is of course to be much esteemed.

In the first place, scenery and dramatic form belong to what is external. Plato gives to his Dialogues a setting of reality, both as regards place and persons, and chooses out some particular occasion which has brought his characters together; this in itself is very natural and charming. Socrates takes the leading part, and among the other actors there are many stars well known to us, such as Agathon, Zeno, and Aristophanes. We find ourselves in some particular spot; in the Phædrus (p. 229 Steph.; p. 6 Bekk.) it [15]is at the plane tree beside the clear waters of the Ilyssus, through which Socrates and Phædrus pass; in other dialogues we are conducted to the halls of the gymnasia, to the Academy, or to a banquet. By never allowing himself to appear in person, but putting his thoughts always in the mouth of others, any semblance of preaching or of dogmatizing is avoided by Plato, and the narrator appears just as little as he does in the History of Thucydides or in Homer. Xenophon sometimes brings himself forward, sometimes he entirely loses sight of the aim he had in view, of vindicating by what he tells of them the life of Socrates and his method of instruction. With Plato, on the contrary, all is quite objective and plastic; and he employs great art in removing from himself all responsibility for his assertions, often assigning them even to a third or fourth person.

As regards the tone of the intercourse between the characters in these Dialogues, we find that the noblest urbanity of well-bred men reigns supreme; the Dialogues are a lesson in refinement; we see in them the savoir faire of a man acquainted with the world. The term courtesy does not quite express urbanity; it is too wide, and includes the additional notion of testifying respect, of expressing deference and personal obligation; urbanity is true courtesy, and forms its real basis. But urbanity makes a point of granting complete liberty to all with whom we converse, both as regards the character and matter of their opinions, and also the right of giving expression to the same. Thus in our counter-statements and contradictions we make it evident that what we have ourselves to say against the statement made by our opponent is the mere expression of our subjective opinion; for this is a conversation carried on by persons as persons, and not objective reason talking with itself. However energetically we may then express ourselves, we must always acknowledge that our opponent is also a thinking person; just as[16] one must not take to speaking with the air of being an oracle, nor prevent anyone else from opening his mouth in reply. This urbanity is, however, not forbearance, but rather the highest degree of frankness and candour, and it is this very characteristic which gives such gracefulness to Plato’s Dialogues.

Finally, this dialogue is not a conversation, in which what is said has, and is meant to have, a merely casual connection, without any exhaustive treatment of the subject. When one talks only for amusement, the casual and arbitrary sequence of ideas is quite to be expected. In the introduction, to be sure, the Dialogues of Plato have sometimes this very character of being mere conversations, and consequently appear to take an accidental form; for Socrates is made to take his start from the particular conceptions of certain individuals, and from the circle of their ideas (Vol. I. p. 397). Later, however, these dialogues become a systematic development of the matter in hand, wherein the subjective character of the conversation disappears, and the whole course of the argument shows a beautifully consistent dialectic process. Socrates talks, turns the conversation, lays down his own views, draws a conclusion, and does all this through the apparent instrumentality of the question; most questions are so framed as to be answered by merely Yes or No. The dialogue seems to be the form best adapted for representing an argument, because it sways hither and thither; the different sides are allotted to different persons, and thus the argument is made more animated. The dialogue has, however, this disadvantage, that it seems to be carried on arbitrarily, so that at the end the feeling always remains that the matter might have turned out differently. But in the Platonic Dialogues this arbitrary character is apparent only; it has been got rid of by limiting the development to the development of the subject in hand, and by leaving very little to be said by the second speaker.[17] Such personages are, as we already saw in connection with Socrates (Vol. I. p. 402), plastic personages as regards the conversation; no one is put there to state his own views, or, as the French express it, pour placer son mot. Just as in the Catechism the answers are prescribed to the questions asked, so is it in these dialogues, for they who answer have to say what the author pleases. The question is so framed that a quite simple answer is alone possible, and, thanks to the artistic beauty and power of the dialogues, such an answer appears at the same time perfectly natural.

In the next place, there is connected with this outward aspect of personality the circumstance that the Platonic philosophy does not proclaim itself to be one particular field, where some one begins a science of his own in a sphere of his own; for it sometimes enters into the ordinary conceptions of culture, like those of Socrates, sometimes into those of the Sophists, at other times into those of earlier philosophers, and in so doing brings before us exemplifications from ordinary knowledge, and also uses the methods of the same. A systematic exposition of Philosophy we cannot in this way find; and of course it is all the less easy for us to take a comprehensive view of the subject, since there are at hand no means of judging whether the treatment has been exhaustive or not. Nevertheless, there is present there one spirit, one definite point of view as regards Philosophy, even though Mind does not make its appearance in the precise form which we demand. The philosophic culture of Plato, like the general culture of his time, was not yet ripe for really scientific work; the Idea was still too fresh and new; it was only in Aristotle that it attained to a systematic scientific form of representation.

Connected with this deficiency in Plato’s mode of representation, there is also a deficiency in respect of the concrete determination of the Idea itself, since the various elements of the Platonic philosophy which are represented in these dialogues, namely the merely popular conceptions[18] of Being and the apprehending knowledge of the same, are really mixed up in a loose, popular way, so that the former more especially come to be represented in a myth or parable; such intermingling is inevitable in this beginning of science proper in its true form. Plato’s lofty mind, which had a perception or conception of Mind, penetrated through his subject with the speculative Notion, but he only began to penetrate it thus, and he did not yet embrace the whole of its reality in the Notion; or the knowledge which appeared in Plato did not yet fully realize itself in him. Here it therefore happens sometimes that the ordinary conception of reality again separates itself from its Notion, and that the latter comes into opposition with it, without any statement having been made that the Notion alone constitutes reality. Thus we find Plato speaking of God, and again, in the Notion, of the absolute reality of things, but speaking of them as separated, or in a connection in which they both appear separated; and God, as an uncomprehended existence, is made to belong to the ordinary conception. Sometimes, in order to give greater completeness and reality, in place of following out the Notion, mere pictorial conceptions are introduced, myths, spontaneous imaginations of his own, or tales derived from the sensuous conception, which no doubt are determined by thought, but which this has never permeated in truth, but only in such a way that the intellectual is determined by the forms of ordinary conception. For instance, appearances of the body or of nature, which are perceptible by the senses, are brought forward along with thoughts regarding them, which do not nearly so completely exhaust the subject as if it had been thoroughly thought out, and the Notion allowed to pursue an independent course.

Looking at this as it bears on the question of how Plato’s philosophy is to be apprehended, we find, owing to these two circumstances, that either too much or too little is[19] found in it. Too much is found by the ancients, the so-called -, who sometimes dealt with Plato’s philosophy as they dealt with the Greek mythology. This they allegorized and represented as the expression of ideas—which the myths certainly are—and in the same way they first raised the ideas in Plato’s myths to the rank of theorems: for the merit of Philosophy consists alone in the fact that truth is expressed in the form of the Notion. Sometimes, again, they took what with Plato is in the form of the Notion for the expression of Absolute Being—the theory of Being in the Parmenides, for instance, for the knowledge of God—just as if Plato had not himself drawn a distinction between them. But in the pure Notions of Plato the ordinary conception as such is not abrogated; either it is not said that these Notions constitute its reality, or they are to Plato no more than a conception, and not reality. Again, we certainly see that too little is found in Plato by the moderns in particular; for they attach themselves pre-eminently to the side of the ordinary conception, and see in it reality. What in Plato relates to the Notion, or what is purely speculative, is nothing more in their eyes than roaming about in abstract logical notions, or than empty subtleties: on the other hand, they take that for theorem which was enunciated as a popular conception. Thus we find in Tennemann (Vol. II. p. 376) and others an obstinate determination to lead back the Platonic Philosophy to the forms of our former metaphysic, e.g. to the proof of the existence of God.

However much, therefore, Plato’s mythical presentation of Philosophy is praised, and however attractive it is in his Dialogues, it yet proves a source of misapprehensions; and it is one of these misapprehensions, if Plato’s myths are held to be what is most excellent in his philosophy. Many propositions, it is true, are made more easily intelligible by being presented in mythical form; nevertheless, what is not the true way of presenting them; propositions[20] are thoughts which, in order to be pure, must be brought forward as such. The myth is always a mode of representation which, as belonging to an earlier stage, introduces sensuous images, which are directed to imagination, not to thought; in this, however, the activity of thought is suspended, it cannot yet establish itself by its own power, and so is not yet free. The myth belongs to the pedagogic stage of the human race, since it entices and allures men to occupy themselves with the content; but as it takes away from the purity of thought through sensuous forms, it cannot express the meaning of Thought. When the Notion attains its full development, it has no more need of the myth. Plato often says that it is difficult to express one’s thoughts on such and such a subject, and he therefore will employ a myth; no doubt this is easier. Plato also says of simple Notions that they are dependent, transitory moments, which have their ultimate truth in God; and in this first mention of God by Plato, He is made a mere conception. Thus the manner of conception and the genuinely speculative element are confounded.

In order to gather Plato’s philosophy from his dialogues, what we have to do is to distinguish what belongs to ordinary conception—especially where Plato has recourse to myths for the presentation of a philosophic idea—from the philosophic idea itself; only then do we know that what belongs only to the ordinary conception, as such, does not belong to thought, is not the essential. But if we do not recognize what is Notion, or what is speculative, there is inevitably the danger of these myths leading us to draw quite a host of maxims and theorems from the dialogues, and to give them out as Plato’s philosophic propositions, while they are really nothing of the kind, but belong entirely to the manner of presentation. Thus, for instance, in the Timæus (p. 41 Steph.; p. 43 Bekk.) Plato makes use of the form, God created the world, and the dæmons had a certain share in the work; this is spoken quite after[21] the manner of the popular conception. If, however, it is taken as a philosophic dogma on Plato’s part that God made the world, that higher beings of a spiritual kind exist, and, in the creation of the world, lent God a helping hand, we may see that this stands word for word in Plato, and yet it does not belong to his philosophy. When in pictorial fashion he says of the soul of man that it has a rational and an irrational part, this is to be taken only in a general sense; Plato does not thereby make the philosophic assertion that the soul is compounded of two kinds of substance, two kinds of thing. When he represents knowledge or learning as a process of recollection, this may be taken to mean that the soul existed before man’s birth. In like manner, when he speaks of the central point of his philosophy, of Ideas, of the Universal, as the permanently self-existent, as the patterns of things sensible, we may easily be led to think of these Ideas, after the manner of the modern categories of the understanding, as substances which exist outside reality, in the Understanding of God; or on their own account and as independent—like the angels, for example. In short, all that is expressed in the manner of pictorial conception is taken by the moderns in sober earnest for philosophy. Such a representation of Plato’s philosophy can be supported by Plato’s own words; but one who knows what Philosophy is, cares little for such expressions, and recognizes what was Plato’s true meaning.

In the account of the Platonic philosophy to which I must now proceed, the two cannot certainly be separated, but they must be noted and judged of in a very different manner from that which has prevailed amongst the moderns. We have, on the one hand, to make clear Plato’s general conception of what Philosophy and Knowledge really are, and on the other to develop the particular branches of Philosophy of which he treats.

In considering his general conception of Philosophy, the[22] first point that strikes us is the high estimation in which Plato held Philosophy. The lofty nature of the knowledge of Philosophy deeply impressed him, and he shows a real enthusiasm for the thought which deals with the absolute. Just as the Cyrenaics treat of the relation of the existent to the individual consciousness, and the Cynics assert immediate freedom to be reality, Plato upholds the self-mediating unity of consciousness and reality, or knowledge. He everywhere expresses the most exalted ideas regarding the value of Philosophy, as also the deepest and strongest sense of the inferiority of all else; he speaks of it with the greatest energy and enthusiasm, with all the pride of science, and in a manner such as nowadays we should not venture to adopt. There is in him none of the so-called modest attitude of this science towards other spheres of knowledge, nor of man towards God. Plato has a full consciousness of how near human reason is to God, and indeed of its unity with Him. Men do not mind reading this in Plato, an ancient, because it is no longer a present thing, but were it coming from a modern philosopher, it would be taken much amiss. Philosophy to Plato is man’s highest possible possession and true reality; it alone has to be sought of man. Out of many passages on this subject I shall quote in the first instance the following from the Timæus (p. 47 Steph.; p. 54 Bekk.): “Our knowledge of what is most excellent begins with the eyes. The distinction between the visible day and the night, the months and courses of the planets, have begotten a knowledge of time, and awakened a desire to know the nature of the whole. From this we then obtained Philosophy, and no greater gift than this, given by God to man, has ever come or will come.”

The manner in which Plato expresses his opinions on this subject in the Republic is very well known, as it is greatly decried, because it so completely contradicts the common ideas of men, and it is all the more surprising in that it concerns[23] the relation of Philosophy to the state, and therefore to actuality. For before this, though a certain value might indeed be attributed to Philosophy, it still remained confined to the thoughts of the individual; here, however, it goes forth into questions of constitution, government, actuality. After Plato made Socrates, in the Republic, expound the nature of a true state, he caused Glaucon to interrupt by expressing his desire that Plato should show how it could be possible for such a state to exist. Socrates parries the question, will not come to the point, seeks evasive pleas, and tries to extricate himself by asserting that in describing what is just, he does not bind himself to show how it might be realized in actuality, though some indication must certainly be given of how an approximate, if not a complete realization of it might be possible. Finally, when pressed, he says: “Then it shall be expressed, even though a flood of laughter and utter disbelief overwhelm me. When philosophers rule the states, or the so-called kings and princes of the present time are truly and completely philosophers, when thus political greatness and Philosophy meet in one, and the many natures who now follow either side to the exclusion of the other, come together, then, and not till then, can there be an end, dear Glaucon, either to the evils of the state or, as I believe, to those of the human race. Then only will this state of which I spoke be possible or see the light of day.” “This,” adds Socrates, “is what I have so long hesitated to say, because I know that it is so much opposed to ordinary ideas.” Plato makes Glaucon answer, “Socrates, you have expressed what, you must recollect, would cause many men, and not bad men either, to pull off their coats and seize the first weapon that comes to hand, and set upon you one and all with might and main; and if you don’t know how to appease them with your reasons, you will have to answer for it.”[15]


Plato here plainly asserts the necessity for thus uniting Philosophy with government. As to this demand, it may seem a piece of great presumption to say that philosophers should have the government of states accorded to them, for the territory or ground of history is different from that of Philosophy. In history, the Idea, as the absolute power, has certainly to realize itself; in other words, God rules in the world. But history is the Idea working itself out in a natural way, and not with the consciousness of the Idea. The action is certainly in accordance with general reflections on what is right, moral, and pleasing to God; but we must recognize that action represents at the same time the endeavours of the subject as such for particular ends. The realization of the Idea thus takes place through an intermingling of thoughts and Notions with immediate and particular ends. Hence it is only on the one side produced through thoughts, and on the other through circumstances, through human actions in their capacity of means. These means often seem opposed to the Idea, but that does not really matter; all those particular ends are really only means of bringing forth the Idea, because it is the absolute power. Hence the Idea comes to pass in the world, and no difficulty is caused, but it is not requisite that those who rule should have the Idea.

In order, however, to judge of the statement that the regents of the people should be philosophers, we must certainty consider what was understood by Philosophy in the Platonic sense and in the sense of the times. The word Philosophy has had in different periods very different significations. There was a time when a man who did not believe in spectres or in the devil was called a philosopher. When such ideas as these pass away, it does not occur to people to call anyone a philosopher for a reason such as this. The English consider what we call experimental physics to be Philosophy; a philosopher to them is anyone who makes investigations in, and possesses a theoretic knowledge[25] of chemistry, mechanics, &c. (Vol. I. p. 57). In Plato Philosophy becomes mingled with the knowledge of the supersensuous, or what to us is religious knowledge. The Platonic philosophy is thus the knowledge of the absolutely true and right, the knowledge of universal ends in the state, and the recognition of their validity. In all the history of the migration of the nations, when the Christian religion became the universal religion, the only point of interest was to conceive the supersensuous kingdom—which was at first independent, absolutely universal and true—as actualized, and to determine actuality in conformity thereto. This has been from that time forth the business of culture. A state, a government and constitution of modern times has hence quite a different basis from a state of ancient times, and particularly from one of Plato’s day. The Greeks were then altogether dissatisfied with their democratic constitution, and the conditions resulting from it (supra, p. 8), and similarly all philosophers condemned the democracies of the Greek states in which such things as the punishment of generals (supra, Vol. I. p. 391) took place. In such a constitution it might certainly be thought that what was best for the state would be the first subject of consideration; but arbitrariness prevailed, and this was only temporarily restrained by preponderating individualities, or by masters in statesmanship like Aristides, Themistocles, and others. This condition of matters preceded the disintegration of the constitution. In our states, on the other hand, the end of the state, what is best for all, is immanent and efficacious in quite another way than was the case in olden times. The condition of the laws and courts of justice, of the constitution and spirit of the people, is so firmly established in itself that matters of the passing moment alone remain to be decided; and it may even be asked what, if anything, is dependent on the individual.

To us government means that in the actual state[26] procedure will be in accordance with the nature of the thing, and since a knowledge of the Notion of the thing is requisite to this, actuality is brought into harmony with the Notion, and thereby the Idea is realized in existence. The result of this thus is that when Plato says that philosophers should rule, he signifies the determination of the whole matter through universal principles. This is realized much more in modern states, because universal principles really form the bases—certainly not of all, but of most of them. Some have already reached this stage, others are striving to reach it, but all recognize that such principles must constitute the real substance of administration and rule.

What Plato demands is thus, in point of fact, already present. But what we call Philosophy, movement in pure thoughts, has to do with form, and this is something peculiar to itself; nevertheless, the form is not responsible if the universal, freedom, law, is not made a principle in a state. Marcus Aurelius is an example of what a philosopher upon a throne could effect; we have, however, only private actions to record of him, and the Roman Empire was made no better by him. Frederick II. was, on the other hand, justly called the philosopher king. He occupied himself with the Wolffian metaphysics and French philosophy and verses, and was thus, according to his times, a philosopher. Philosophy appears to have been an affair of his own particular inclination, and quite distinct from the fact that he was king. But he was also a philosophic king in the sense that he made for himself an entirely universal end, the well-being and good of the state, a guiding principle in his actions and in all his regulations in respect to treaties with other states, and to the rights of individuals at home; these last he entirely subordinated to absolutely universal ends. If, however, later on, procedure of this kind became ordinary custom, the succeeding princes are no longer called philosophers, even if the same principle is[27] present to them, and the government, and especially the institutions, are founded on it.

In the Republic, Plato further speaks in a figure of the difference between a condition of philosophic culture and a lack of Philosophy: it is a long comparison which is both striking and brilliant. The idea which he makes use of is as follows:—“Let us think of an underground den like a cave with a long entrance opening to the light. Its inhabitants are chained so that they cannot move their necks, and can see only the back of the cave. Far behind their backs a torch burns above them. In the intervening space there is a raised way and also a low wall; and behind this wall” (towards the light) “there are men who carry and raise above it all manner of statues of men and animals like puppets in a marionette show, sometimes talking to one another meanwhile, and sometimes silent. Those who are chained would see only the shadows which fall on the opposite wall, and they would take them for reality; they would hear, moreover, by means of the echo, what was said by those who moved the figures, and they would think that it was the voice of the shadows. Now if one of the prisoners were released, and compelled to turn his neck so as to see things as they are, he would think that what he saw was an illusive dream, and that the shadows were the reality. And if anyone were to take him out of the prison into the light itself, he would be dazzled by the light and could see nothing; and he would hate the person who brought him to the light, as having taken away what was to him the truth, and prepared only pain and evil in its place.”[16] This kind of myth is in harmony with the character of the Platonic philosophy, in that it separates the conception of the sensuous world present in men from the knowledge of the supersensuous.

Since we now speak more fully of this matter, we must in the second place consider the nature of knowledge[28] according to Plato, and in so doing commence our account of the Platonic philosophy itself.

a. Plato gave a more precise definition of philosophers as those “who are eager to behold the truth.”—Glaucon: “That is quite right. But how do you explain it?” Socrates: “I tell this not to everyone, but you will agree with me in it.” “In what?” “In this, that as the Beautiful is opposed to the Ugly, they are two things.” “Why not?” “With the Just and the Unjust, the Good and the Evil, and every other Idea (εἶδος) the case is the same, that each of them is by itself a One; on the other hand, on account of its combination with actions and bodies and other Ideas springing up on every side, each appears as a Many.” “You are right.” “I distinguish now, according to this, between the sight-loving, art-loving, busy class on the one side, and those on the other side, of whom we were just speaking as alone entitled to be called philosophers.” “What do you mean by that?” “I mean by that, such as delight in seeing and hearing, who love beautiful voices, and colours, and forms, and all that is composed thereof, while their mind is still incapable of seeing and loving the Beautiful in its own nature.” “Such is the case.” “Those, however, who have the power of passing on to the Beautiful itself, and seeing what it is in itself (καθ̓ αὐτό), are they not rare?” “They are indeed.” “He then who sees that beautiful things are beautiful, but does not apprehend Beauty itself, and cannot follow if another should seek to lead him to the knowledge of the same,—think you that he lives his life awake, or in a dream?” (That is to say, those who are not philosophers are like men who dream.) “For look, is it not dreaming when one in sleep, or even when awake, takes what merely resembles a certain thing to be not something that resembles it, but the very thing that it is like?” “I should certainly say of such an one that he was dreaming.” “The waking man, on the other hand, is he who holds the[29] Beautiful itself to be the Existent, and can recognize its very self as well as that which only partakes of it (μετέχονυα), and does not confuse between the two.”[17]

In this account of Philosophy, we at once see what the so much talked of Ideas of Plato are. The Idea is nothing else than that which is known to us more familiarly by the name of the Universal, regarded, however, not as the formal Universal, which is only a property of things, but as implicitly and explicitly existent, as reality, as that which alone is true. We translate εἶδος first of all as species or kind; and the Idea is no doubt the species, but rather as it is apprehended by and exists for Thought. Of course when we understand by species nothing but the gathering together by our reflection, and for convenience sake, of the like characteristics of several individuals as indicating their distinguishing features, we have the universal in quite an external form. But the specific character of the animal is its being alive; this being alive is that which makes it what it is, and deprived of this, it ceases to exist. To Plato, accordingly, Philosophy is really the science of this implicitly universal, to which, as contrasted with the particular, he always continues to return. “When Plato spoke of tableness and cupness, Diogenes the Cynic said: ‘I see a table and a cup, to be sure, but not tableness and cupness.’ ‘Right,’ answered Plato; ‘for you have eyes wherewith to see the table and the cup, but mind, by which one sees tableness and cupness, you have not (νοῦν οὐκ ἔχεις).’”[18] What Socrates began was carried out by Plato, who acknowledged only the Universal, the Idea, the Good, as that which has existence. Through the presentation of his Ideas, Plato opened up the intellectual world, which, however, is not beyond reality, in heaven, in another place, but is the real world. With Leucippus, too, the Ideal is brought closer to reality, and not—metaphysically—thrust[30] away behind Nature. The essence of the doctrine of Ideas is thus the view that the True is not that which exists for the senses, but that only what has its determination in itself, the implicitly and explicitly Universal, truly exists in the world; the intellectual world is therefore the True, that which is worthy to be known—indeed, the Eternal, the implicitly and explicitly divine. The differences are not essential, but only transitory; yet the Absolute of Plato, as being the one in itself and identical with itself, is at the same time concrete in itself, in that it is a movement returning into itself, and is eternally at home with itself. But love for Ideas is that which Plato calls enthusiasm.

The misapprehension of Plato’s Ideas takes two directions; one of these has to do with the thinking, which is formal, and holds as true reality the sensuous alone, or what is conceived of through the senses—this is what Plato asserts to be mere shadows. For when Plato speaks of the Universal as the real, his conception of it is met either by the statement that the Universal is present to us only as a property, and is therefore a mere thought in our understanding, or else that Plato takes this same Universal as substance, as an existence in itself, which, however, falls outside of us. When Plato further uses the expression that sensuous things are, like images (εἰκόνες), similar to that which has absolute existence, or that the Idea is their pattern and model (παραδεῖγμα), if these Ideas are not exactly made into things, they are made into a kind of transcendent existences which lie somewhere far from us in an understanding outside this world, and are pictures set up which we merely do not see; they are like the artist’s model, following which he works upon a given material, and thereon impresses the likeness of the original. And owing to their not only being removed from this sensuous present reality, which passes for truth, but also being liberated from the actuality of the individual consciousness, their subject, of which they are originally the representations,[31] passes out of consciousness, and even comes to be represented only as something which is apart from consciousness.

The second misapprehension that prevails with regard to these Ideas takes place when they are not transferred beyond our consciousness, but pass for ideals of our reason, which are no doubt necessary, but which produce nothing that either has reality now or can ever attain to it. As in the former view the Beyond is a conception that lies outside the world, and in which species are hypostatized, so in this view our reason is just such a realm beyond reality. But when species are looked on as if they were the forms of reality in us, there is again a misapprehension, just as if they were looked at as æsthetic in nature. By so doing, they are defined as intellectual perceptions which must present themselves immediately, and belong either to a happy genius or else to a condition of ecstasy or enthusiasm. In such a case they would be mere creations of the imagination, but this is not Plato’s nor the true sense. They are not immediately in consciousness, but they are in the apprehending knowledge; and they are immediate perceptions only in so far as they are apprehending knowledge comprehended in its simplicity and in relation to the result; in other words, the immediate perception is only the moment of their simplicity. Therefore we do not possess them, they are developed in the mind through the apprehending knowledge; enthusiasm is the first rude shape they take, but knowledge first brings them to light in rational developed form; they are in this form none the less real, for they alone are Being.

On this account Plato first of all distinguishes Science, the Knowledge of the True, from opinion. “Such thinking (διάνοιαν) as of one who knows, we may justly call knowledge (γνώμην); but the other, opinion (δόξαν). Knowledge proceeds from that which is; opinion is opposed to it; but it is not the case that its content is Nothing—that[32] would be ignorance—for when an opinion is held, it is held about Something. Opinion is thus intermediate between ignorance and science, its content is a mixture of Being and Nothing. The object of the senses, the object of opinion, the particular, only participates in the Beautiful, the Good, the Just, the Universal; but it is at the same time also ugly, evil, unjust, and so on. The double is at the same time the half. The particular is not only large or small, light or heavy, and any one of these opposites, but every particular is as much the one as the other. Such a mixture of Being and non-Being is the particular, the object of opinion;”[19]—a mixture in which the opposites have not resolved themselves into the Universal. The latter would be the speculative Idea of knowledge, while to opinion belongs the manner of our ordinary consciousness.

b. Before we commence the examination of the objective implicitly existent content of knowledge, we must consider more in detail, on the one hand, the subjective existence of knowledge in consciousness as we find it in Plato, and, on the other, how the content is or appears in ordinary conception as soul; and the two together form the relation of knowledge, as the universal, to the individual consciousness.

α. The source through which we become conscious of the divine is the same as that already seen in Socrates (Vol. I. pp. 410, 411). The spirit of man contains reality in itself, and in order to learn what is divine he must develop it out of himself and bring it to consciousness. With the Socratics this discussion respecting the immanent nature of knowledge in the mind of man takes the form of a question as to whether virtue can be taught or not, and with the sophist Protagoras of asking whether feeling is the truth, which is allied with the question of the content of scientific knowledge, and with the distinction between that and opinion. But Plato goes on to say that the process by[33] which we come to know is not, properly speaking, learning, for that which we appear to learn we really only recollect. Plato often comes back to this subject, but in particular he treats of the point in the Meno, in which he asserts (p. 81, 84 Steph.; p. 349, 355, 356 Bekk.) that nothing can, properly speaking, be learned, for learning is just a recollection of what we already possess, to which the perplexity in which our minds are placed, merely acts as stimulus. Plato here gives the question a speculative significance, in which the reality of knowledge, and not the empirical view of the acquisition of knowledge, is dealt with. For learning, according to the immediate ordinary conception of it, expresses the taking up of what is foreign into thinking consciousness, a mechanical mode of union and the filling of an empty space with things which are foreign and indifferent to this space itself. An external method of effecting increase such as this, in which the soul appears to be a tabula rasa, and which resembles the idea we form of growth going on in the living body through the addition of particles, is dead, and is incompatible with the nature of mind, which is subjectivity, unity, being and remaining at home with itself. But Plato presents the true nature of consciousness in asserting that it is mind in which, as mind, that is already present which becomes object to consciousness, or which it explicitly becomes. This is the Notion of the true universal in its movement; of the species which is in itself its own Becoming, in that it is already implicitly what it explicitly becomes—a process in which it does not come outside of itself. Mind is this absolute species, whose process is only the continual return into itself; thus nothing is for it which it is not in itself. According to this, the process of learning is not that something foreign enters in, but that the mind’s own essence becomes actualized, or it comes to the knowledge of this last. What has not yet learned is the soul, the consciousness represented as natural being. What causes the mind to turn to science is the[34] semblance, and the confusion caused through it, of the essential nature of mind being something different, or the negative of itself—a mode of manifestation which contradicts its real nature, for it has or is the inward certainty of being all reality. In that it abrogates this semblance of other-being, it comprehends the objective, i.e. gives itself immediately in it the consciousness of itself, and thus attains to science. Ideas of individual, temporal, transitory things undoubtedly come from without, but not the universal thoughts which, as the true, have their root in the mind and belong to its nature; by this means all authority is destroyed.

In one sense recollection [Erinnerung] is certainly an unfortunate expression, in the sense, namely, that an idea is reproduced which has already existed at another time. But recollection has another sense, which is given by its etymology, namely that of making oneself inward, going inward, and this is the profound meaning of the word in thought. In this sense it may undoubtedly be said that knowledge of the universal is nothing but a recollection, a going within self, and that we make that which at first shows itself in external form and determined as a manifold, into an inward, a universal, because we go into ourselves and thus bring what is inward in us into consciousness. With Plato, however, as we cannot deny, the word recollection has constantly the first and empirical sense. This comes from the fact that Plato propounds the true Notion that consciousness in itself is the content of knowledge, partly in the form of popular idea and in that of myths. Hence here even, the already mentioned (p. 18) intermingling of idea and Notion commences. In the Meno (p. 82-86 Steph.; p. 350-360 Bekk.) Socrates tries to show, by experiment on a slave who had received no instruction, that learning is a recollection. Socrates merely questions him, leaving him to answer in his own way, without either teaching him or asserting the truth of any fact, and at length brings him to the enunciation of a geometrical[35] proposition on the relation which the diagonal of a square bears to its side. The slave obtains the knowledge out of himself alone, so that it appears as though he only recollected what he already knew but had forgotten. Now if Plato here calls this coming forth of knowledge from consciousness a recollection, it follows that this knowledge has been already in this consciousness, i.e. that the individual consciousness has not only the content of knowledge implicitly, in accordance with its essential nature, but has also possessed it as this individual consciousness and not as universal. But this moment of individuality belongs only to the ordinary conception, and recollection is not thought; for recollection relates to man as a sensuous “this,” and not as a universal. The essential nature of the coming forth of knowledge is hence here mingled with the individual, with ordinary conception, and knowledge here appears in the form of soul, as of the implicitly existent reality, the one, for the soul is still only a moment of spirit. As Plato here passes into a conception the content of which has no longer the pure significance of the universal, but of the individual, he further depicts it in the form of a myth. He represents the implicit existence of mind in the form of a pre-existence in time, as if the truth had already been for us in another time. But at the same time we must remark that he does not propound this as a philosophic doctrine, but in the form of a saying received from priests and priestesses who comprehend what is divine. Pindar and other holy men say the same. According to these sayings, the human soul is immortal; it both ceases to be, or, as men say, it dies, and it comes again into existence, but in no way perishes. “Now if the soul is immortal and often reappears” (metempsychosis), “and if it has seen that which is here as well as in Hades,” (in unconsciousness) “and everything else, learning has no more meaning, for it only recollects what it has already known.”[20] Historians seize[36] upon this allusion to what is really an Egyptian idea, and a sensuous conception merely, and say that Plato has laid down that such and such was the case. But Plato made no such statement whatever; what he here says has nothing to do with Philosophy, and more particularly nothing to do with his philosophy, any more than what afterwards is said regarding God.

β. In other Dialogues this myth is further and more strikingly developed; it certainly employs remembrance in its ordinary sense, which is that the mind of man has in past time seen that which comes to his consciousness as the true and absolutely existent. Plato’s principal effort is, however, to show through this assertion of recollection, that the mind, the soul, thought, is on its own account free, and this has to the ancients, and particularly to the Platonic idea, a close connection with what we call immortality of the soul.

αα. In the Phædrus (p. 245 Steph.; p. 38 Bekk.) Plato speaks of this in order to show that the Eros is a divine madness (μανία), and is given to us as the greatest happiness. It is a state of enthusiasm, which here has a powerful, predominating aspiration towards the Idea (supra, p. 30): but it is not an enthusiasm proceeding from the heart and feeling, it is not an ordinary perception, but a consciousness and knowledge of the ideal. Plato says that he must expound the nature of the divine and human soul in order to demonstrate the Eros. “The first point is that the soul is immortal. For what moves itself is immortal and eternal, but what obtains its movement from another is transient. What moves itself is the first principle, for it certainly has its origin and first beginning in itself and derived from no other. And just as little can it cease to move, for that alone can cease which derives its motion from another.” Plato thus first develops the simple Notion of the soul as of the self-moving, and, thus far, an element in mind; but the proper life of the mind in and for itself is the consciousness[37] of the absolute nature and freedom of the “I.” When we speak of the immortality of the soul, the idea is most frequently present to us that the soul is like a physical thing which has qualities of all kinds, and while these can certainly be changed, it yet seems that, as being independent of them, it is not subject to change. Now thought is one of these qualities, which are thus independent of the thing; and thought is also here defined as a thing, and as if it could pass away or cease to be. As regards this point, the main feature of the idea is that the soul should be able to subsist as an imperishable thing without having imagination, thought, &c. With Plato the immortality of the soul is, on the other hand, immediately connected with the fact that the soul is itself that which thinks; and hence that thought is not a quality of soul, but its substance. It is as with body, where the weight is not a quality, but its substance; for as the body would no longer exist if the weight were abstracted, the soul would not exist if thought were taken away. Thought is the activity of the universal, not an abstraction, but the reflection into self and the positing of self that takes place in all conceptions. Now because thought is an eternal which remains at home with itself in every change, soul preserves its identity in what is different, just as, for instance, in sensuous perception it deals with what is different, with outside matter, and is yet at home with itself. Immortality has not then the interest to Plato which it has to us from a religious point of view; in that to him it is associated in greater measure with the nature of thought, and with the inward freedom of the same, it is connected with the determination that constitutes the principle of what is specially characteristic of Platonic philosophy, it is connected with the supersensuous groundwork which Plato has established. To Plato the immortality of the soul is hence likewise of great importance.

He proceeds: “To seek to make clear the Idea of the soul would involve investigation laborious for any but a[38] god; but the tongue of man may speak of this more easily through a figure.” Here follows an allegory in which there is, however, something extravagant and inconsistent. He says: “The soul resembles the united power of a chariot and charioteer.” This image expresses nothing to us. “Now the horses” (the desires) “of the gods and the charioteers are good, and of a good breed. With us men, the charioteer at first takes the reins, but one of the horses only is noble and good and of noble origin; the other is ignoble and of ignoble origin. As might be expected, the driving is very difficult. How mortal differ from immortal creatures, we must endeavour to discover. The soul has the care of the inanimate everywhere, and traverses the whole heavens, passing from one idea to another. When perfect and fully winged, she soars upwards” (has elevated thoughts), “and is the ruler of the universe. But the soul whose wings droop roams about till she has found solid ground; then she takes an earthly form which is really moved by her power, and the whole, the soul and body, put together, is called a living creature, a mortal.”[21] The one is thus the soul as thought, existence in and for itself; the other is the union with matter. This transition from thought to body is very difficult, too difficult for the ancients to understand; we shall find more about it in Aristotle. From what has been said, we may find the ground for representing Plato as maintaining the dogma that the soul existed independently prior to this life, and then lapsed into matter, united itself to it, contaminating itself by so doing, and that it is incumbent on it to leave matter again. The fact that the spiritual realizes itself from itself is a point not sufficiently examined by the ancients; they take two abstractions, soul and matter, and the connection is expressed only in the form of a deterioration on the part of soul.


“But as to the immortal,” continues Plato, “if we do not express it in accordance with an apprehending thought, but form an ordinary conception of it, owing to our lack of insight and power to comprehend the nature of God, we conclude that the immortal life of God is that which has a body and soul which, however, are united in one nature (συμπεφυκότα),[22] i.e. not only externally but intrinsically made one. Soul and body are both abstractions, but life is the unity of both; and because God’s nature is to popular conception the holding of body and soul unseparated in one, He is the Reason whose form and content are an undivided unity in themselves.” This is an important definition of God—a great idea which is indeed none other than the definition of modern times. It signifies the identity of subjectivity and objectivity, the inseparability of the ideal and real, that is, of soul and body. The mortal and finite is, on the contrary, correctly defined by Plato as that of which the existence is not absolutely adequate to the Idea, or, more definitely, to subjectivity.

Plato now further explains what happens in the life of the divine Being, which drama the soul thus has before it, and how the wasting of its wings occurs. “The chariots of the gods enter in bands, led by Zeus, the mighty leader, from his winged chariot. An array of other gods and goddesses follow him, marshalled in eleven bands. They present—each one fulfilling his work—the noblest and most blessed of scenes. The colourless and formless and intangible essence requires thought, the lord of the soul, as its only spectator, and thus true knowledge takes its rise. For there it sees what is (τὸ ὄν), and lives in the contemplation of reality, because it follows in an ever-recurring revolution” (of ideas). “In this revolution” (of gods), “it beholds justice, temperance, and knowledge,[40] not in the form of what men call things, for it sees what in truth is absolute (τὸ ὄντως ὄν).” This is thus expressed as though it were something which had happened. “When the soul returns from thus beholding, the charioteer puts up his horses at the stall, gives them ambrosia to eat and nectar to drink. This is the life of the gods. But other souls, through fault of charioteer or horses, fall into confusion, with broken wings depart from these heavenly places, cease to behold the truth, nourish themselves on opinion as their food, and fall to the ground; according as a soul has beheld more or less of truth, it takes a higher or lower place. In this condition it retains a recollection of what it has seen, and if it perceives anything beautiful or right, it is rapt in amazement. The wings once more obtain strength, and the soul, particularly that of a philosopher, recollects its former condition in which, however, it had not seen what was beautiful, just, etc., but beauty and justice themselves.”[23] Thus because the life of the gods is for the soul, when in individual beauty it is reminded of the universal, it is implied that in the soul, as thus absolutely existing, there is the Idea of the beautiful, good and just, as absolute and as potentially and actually universal. This constitutes the general principle of the Platonic conception. But when Plato speaks of knowledge as of a recollection, he knows all the time that this is only putting the matter in similes and metaphors; he did not ask, as theologians used gravely to do, whether the soul had existed before its birth, and, if so, in what particular place. It cannot be said of Plato that he had any such belief, and he never speaks of the matter in the sense that theologians did; in the same way he never spoke about a Fall from a perfect state, for example, as if man had to look on the present life as an imprisonment. But what Plato expressed as the truth is[41] that consciousness in the individual is in reason the divine reality and life; that man perceives and recognizes it in pure thought, and that this knowledge is itself the heavenly abode and movement.

ββ. Knowledge in the form of soul, is more clearly dealt with in the Phædo, where Plato has further developed the ideas about the immortality of the soul. What in the Phædrus is kept definitely apart as myth and truth respectively, and which is made to appear as such, appears less evidently so in the Phædo—that celebrated dialogue in which Plato makes Socrates speak of the immortality of the soul. That Plato should have connected this discussion with the account of the death of Socrates has in all time been matter of admiration. Nothing could seem more suitable than to place the conviction of immortality in the mouth of him who is in the act of leaving life, and to make this conviction living to us through the scene, just as, on the other hand, a death-scene like this is made living to us through that conviction. We must at the same time remark that in what is fitting the following conditions are implied. It must first be really appropriate for the dying person to occupy himself with himself instead of with the universal, with this certainty of himself as a “this” instead of with the Truth. We hence here meet with the ordinary point of view but slightly separated from that of the Notion, but, although this is so, this ordinary point of view is far removed from sinking into that coarse conception of the soul which considers it to be a thing, and asks about its continuance or subsistence as if it were a thing. Thus we find Socrates expressing himself to the effect that the body and what relates to the body is a hindrance in striving after wisdom, the sole business of Philosophy, because the sensuous perception shows nothing purely, or as it is in itself, and what is true becomes known through the removal of the spiritual from the corporeal. For justice, beauty and such things are what alone exists in verity;[42] they are that to which all change and decay is foreign; and these are not perceived through the body, but only in the soul.[24]

We see in this separation the essence of the soul not considered in a material category of Being, but as the universal; we see it still more in what follows, by which Plato proves immortality. A principal point in this argument is that already considered, that the soul has existed before this life, because learning is only a recollection,[25] and this implies that the soul is already implicitly what it becomes. We must not think that the bald conception of innate ideas is hereby indicated—such an expression implies the existence of ideas by nature, as though our thoughts were in part already implanted, and had in part a natural existence which did not first produce itself through the movement of the mind. But Plato mainly founds the idea of immortality on the fact that what is put together is liable to dissolution and decay, while the simple can in no manner be dissolved or destroyed; what is always like itself and the same, is, however, simple. The beautiful, the good, the like, being simple, are incapable of all change; that, on the contrary, in which these universals are, men, things, &c., are the changeable. They are perceptible by the senses, while the former is the supersensuous. Hence the soul which is in thought, and which applies itself to this, as to what is related to it, must therefore be held to have itself a simple nature.[26] Here, then, we again see that Plato does not take simplicity as the simplicity of a thing—not as if it were of anything like a chemical ingredient, for example, which can no longer be represented as inherently distinguished; this would only be empty, abstract identity or universality, the simple as an existent.


But finally the universal really does appear to take the form of an existent, as Plato makes Simmias assert: a harmony which we hear is none else than a universal, a simple which is a unity of the diverse; but this harmony is associated with a sensuous thing and disappears with it, just as music does with the lyre. On the other hand Plato makes Socrates show that the soul is not a harmony in this sense, for the sensuous harmony first exists after its elements, and is a consequence that follows from them. The harmony of the soul is, however, in and for itself, before every sensuous thing. Sensuous harmony may further have diversities within it, while the harmony of the soul has no quantitative distinction.[27] From this it is clear that Plato receives the reality of the soul entirely in the universal, and does not place its true being in sensuous individuality, and hence the immortality of the soul cannot in his case be understood in the ordinary acceptation, as that of an individual thing. Although later on we come across the myth of the sojourn of the soul after death in another and more brilliant earth,[28] we have seen above (pp. 40, 41) what kind of heaven this would be.

γ. The development and culture of the soul must be taken in connection with what precedes. However the idealism of Plato must not be thought of as being subjective idealism, and as that false idealism which has made its appearance in modern times, and which maintains that we do not learn anything, are not influenced from without, but that all conceptions are derived from out of the subject. It is often said that idealism means that the individual produces from himself all his ideas, even the most immediate. But this is an unhistoric, and quite false conception; if we take this rude definition of idealism, there have been no idealists amongst the philosophers, and Platonic idealism[44] is certainly far removed from anything of the kind. In the seventh book of his Republic (p. 518 Steph., pp. 333, 334 Bekk.) Plato says in connection with what I have already stated (pp. 27-29), and in particular reference to the manner in which this learning is created, by which the universal which before was secreted in the mind, developes out of it alone: “We must believe of science and learning (παιδείας), that its nature is not as some assert” (by this he means the Sophists), “who speak of culture as though knowledge were not contained within the soul, but could be implanted therein as sight into blind eyes.” The idea that knowledge comes entirely from without is in modern times found in empirical philosophies of a quite abstract and rude kind, which maintain that everything that man knows of the divine nature comes as a matter of education and habituation, and that mind is thus a quite indeterminate potentiality merely. Carried to an extreme, this is the doctrine of revelation in which everything is given from without. In the Protestant religion we do not find this rude idea in its abstract form, for the witness of the spirit is an essential part of faith, i.e. faith demands that the individual subjective spirit shall on its own account accept and set forth the determination which comes to it in the form of something given from without. Plato speaks against any such idea, for, in relation to the merely popularly expressed myth given above, he says: “Reason teaches that every man possesses the inherent capacities of the soul and the organ with which he learns. That is, just as we might imagine the eye not capable of turning from darkness to light otherwise than with the whole body, so must we be turned with the whole soul from the world of Becoming” (contingent feelings and ideas) “to that of Being, and the soul must gradually learn to endure this sight, and to behold the pure light of Being. But we say that this Being is the good. The art of so doing is found in culture, as being the art of the conversion of the soul—that is, the[45] manner in which a person can most easily and effectually be converted; it does not seek to implant (ἐμποιῆσαι) sight, but—inasmuch as he already possesses it only it has not been properly turned upon himself and hence he does not see the objects that he ought to see—it brings it into operation. The other virtues of the soul are more in conformity with the body; they are not originally in the soul, but come gradually through exercise and habit. Thought (τὸ φρονῆσαι) on the contrary, as divine, never loses its power, and only becomes good or evil through the manner of this conversion.” This is what Plato establishes in regard to the inward and the outward. Such ideas as that mind determines the good from out of itself are to us much more familiar than to Plato; but it was by Plato that they were first maintained.

c. In that Plato places truth in that alone which is produced through thought, and yet the source of knowledge is manifold—in feelings, sensations, &c.—we must state the different kinds of knowledge, as given by Plato. Plato is entirely opposed to the idea that the truth is given through sensuous consciousness, which is what is known and that from which we start; for this is the doctrine of the Sophists with which we met in dealing with Protagoras, for instance. As regards feeling, we easily make the mistake of placing everything in feeling, as indeed that Platonic rage for beauty contained the truth in the guise of feeling; but this is not the true form of the truth, because feeling is the entirely subjective consciousness. Feeling as such is merely a form with which men make the arbitrary will the principle of the truth, for what is the true content is not given through feeling; in it every content has a place. The highest content must likewise be found in feeling; to have a thing in thought and understanding is quite different from having it in heart and feeling, i.e. in our most inward subjectivity, in this “I”; and we say of the content that it is for the first time in its proper place when it is in the[46] heart, because it then is entirely identical with our individuality. The mistake, however, is to say that a content is true because it is in our feeling. Hence the importance of Plato’s doctrine that the content becomes filled by thought alone; for it is the universal which can be grasped by the activity of thought alone. Plato has defined this universal content as Idea.

At the close of the sixth book of the Republic (pp. 509-511 Steph.; pp. 321-325 Bekk.) Plato distinguishes the sensuous and the intellectual in our knowledge more exactly, so that in each sphere he again presents two modes of consciousness. “In the sensuous (ὁρατόν) the one division is the external manifestation, for in it are shadows, reflections in water, and also in solid, smooth, and polished bodies, and the like. The second section, of which this is only the resemblance, includes animals, plants” (this concrete life), “and everything in art. The intelligible (νοητόν) is also divided into two parts. In the one sub-division the soul uses the sensuous figures given before, and is obliged to work on hypotheses (ἐξ ὑποθέσεων) because it does not go to the principle but to the result.” Reflection, which is not on its own account sensuous, but undoubtedly belongs to thought, mingles thought with the first sensuous consciousness, although its object is not as yet a pure existence of the understanding. “The other division” (what is thought in the soul itself) “is that in which the soul, proceeding from an hypothesis, makes its way (μέθοδον) to a principle which is above hypotheses, not by means of images, as in the former cases, but through the ideas themselves. Those who study geometry, arithmetic, and kindred sciences, assume the odd and the even, the figures, three kinds of angles, and the like. And since they start from these hypotheses, they do not think it necessary to give any account of them, for everybody is supposed to know them. You further know that they make use of figures which are risible, and speak of them, although they[47] are not thinking of them, but of the ideals which they represent; for they think of the” (absolute) “square itself and of its diagonals, and not of the” (sensuous) “images that they draw. And so it is with other things.” Thus, according to Plato, this is certainly the place where real knowledge begins, because we have nothing further to do with the sensuous as such; at the same time this is not the true knowledge which considers the spiritual universal on its own account, but the arguing and reasoning knowledge that forms universal laws and particular kinds or species out of what is sensuous. “These figures which they draw or make, and which also have shadows and images in water, they use only as images, and seek to behold their originals, which can only be seen with the understanding” (διανοίᾳ).—“That is true.”—“This I have named above that species of the intelligible, in inquiring into which the soul is compelled to use hypotheses, not proceeding to a first principle, because it is not able to get above those hypotheses, but employing those secondary images as images which are made absolutely similar to the originals in every respect”—“I understand that you are speaking of geometry and the kindred arts”—“Now learn about the other division of the intelligible in which reason (λόγος) itself is concerned, since by the power of the dialectic it makes use of hypotheses, not as principles but only as hypotheses—that is to say, as steps and points of departure in order to reach a region above hypotheses, the first principle of all” (which is in and for itself), “and clinging to this and to that which depends on this, it descends again to the result, for it requires no sensuous aid at all, but only ideas, and thus it reaches the ideas finally through the ideas themselves.” To know this is the interest and business of Philosophy; this is investigated by pure thought in and for itself, which only moves in such pure thoughts. “I understand you, but not perfectly. You seem to me to wish to assert that what is contemplated in[48] Being and Knowledge through the science of dialectic is clearer than what is contemplated by the so-called sciences which have hypotheses as their principle, and where those who contemplate them have to do so with the understanding and not with the senses. Yet because in their contemplation they do not ascend to the absolute principle, but speculate from hypotheses, they appear not to exercise thought (νοῦν) upon these objects, although these objects are cognizable by thought if a principle is added to them (νοητῶν ὄντων μετὰ ἀρχῆς). The methods (ἕξιν) of geometry and its kindred sciences you appear to me to call understanding; and that because it stands midway between reason (νοῦς) and ‘sensuous’ opinion (δόξα).”—“You have quite grasped my meaning. Corresponding to these four sections, I will suppose four faculties (παθήματα) in the soul—conceiving reason (νόησις) has the highest place (ἐπὶ τῷ ἀνωτάτῳ), understanding the second; the third is called faith (πίστις)”—the true conception for animals and plants in that they are living, homogeneous and identical with ourselves; “and the last the knowledge of images (εἰκασία),” opinion. “Arrange them according to the fact that each stage has as much clearness (σαφηνείας) as that to which it is related has truth.” This is the distinction which forms the basis of Plato’s philosophy, and which came to be known from his writings.

Now if we go from knowledge to its content, in which the Idea becomes sundered, and thereby organizes itself more completely into a scientific system, this content, according to Plato, begins to fall into three parts which we distinguish as the logical, natural, and mental philosophy. The logical Philosophy the ancients called dialectic, and its addition to philosophy is by the ancient writers on the subject ascribed to Plato (Vol. I. p. 387). This is not a dialectic such as we met with in the Sophists, which merely brings one’s ideas altogether into confusion, for this first branch of Platonic philosophy is the dialectic which moves[49] in pure Notions—the movement of the speculatively logical, with which several dialogues, and particularly that of Parmenides, occupy themselves. The second, according to Plato, is a kind of natural philosophy, the principles of which are more especially propounded in the Timæus. The third is the philosophy of the mind—an ethical philosophy—and its representation is essentially that of a perfect state in the Republic. The Critias should be taken in connection with the Timæus and the Republic, but we need not make further reference to it, for it is only a fragment. Plato makes these three dialogues one connected conversation. In the Critias and the Timæus the subject is so divided that while the Timæus dealt with the speculative origin of man and of nature, the Critias was intended to represent the ideal history of human culture, and to be a philosophical history of the human race, forming the ancient history of the Athenians as preserved by the Egyptians. Of this, however, only the beginning has come down to us.[29] Hence if the Parmenides be taken along with the Republic and the Timæus, the three together constitute the whole Platonic system of philosophy divided into its three parts or sections. We now wish to consider the philosophy of Plato more in detail in accordance with these three different points of view.

1. Dialectic.

We have already remarked by way of preparation that the Notion of true dialectic is to show forth the necessary movement of pure Notions, without thereby resolving these into nothing; for the result, simply expressed, is that they are this movement, and the universal is just the unity of these opposite Notions. We certainly do not find in Plato a full consciousness that this is the nature of dialectic, but we find dialectic itself present; that is, we find absolute existence [50]thus recognized in pure Notions, and the representation of the movement of these Notions. What makes the study of the Platonic dialectic difficult is the development and the manifestation of the universal out of ordinary conceptions. This beginning, which appears to make knowledge easier, really makes the difficulty greater, since it introduces us into a field in which there is quite a different standard from what we have in reason, and makes this field present to us; when, on the contrary, progression and motion take place in pure Notions alone, the other is not remembered at all. But in that very way the Notions attain greater truth. For otherwise pure logical movement might easily appear to us to exist on its own account, like a private territory, which has another region alongside of it, also having its own particular place. But since both are there brought together, the speculative element begins to appear as it is in truth; that is, as being the only truth, and that, indeed, through the transformation of sensuous opinion into thought. For in our consciousness we first of all find the immediate individual, the sensuous real; or there are also categories of the understanding which are held by us to be ultimate and true. But contrasted with merely external reality, it is rather the ideal that is the most real, and it was Plato who perceived that it was the only real, for he characterized the universal or thought as the true, in opposition to what is sensuous.

Thus the aim of many of Plato’s Dialogues, which conclude without any positive affirmation (Vol. I. p. 406; II. p. 13), is to show that the immediately existent, the many things that appear to us, although we may have quite true conceptions of them, are still not in themselves, in an objective sense, the true, because they alter and are determined through their relation to something else and not through themselves; thus we must even in the sensuous individuals consider the universal, or what Plato has called the Idea (p. 29). The sensuous, limited, and finite is, in fact, both itself and the[51] other, which is also considered as existent; and thus there is an unsolved contradiction, for the other has dominion in the first. We have been before reminded (Vol. I. p. 404; II. p. 33) that the aim of the Platonic dialectic is to confuse and to resolve the finite ideas of men, in order to bring about in their consciousness what science demands, the consideration of that which is. By being thus directed against the form of the finite, dialectic has in the first place the effect of confounding the particular, and this is brought about by the negation therein present being shown forth, so that, in fact, it is proved that it is not what it is, but that it passes into its opposite, into the limitations which are essential to it. But if this dialectic is laid hold of, the particular passes away and becomes another than that which it is taken to be. Formal philosophy cannot look at dialectic in any other way than as being the art of confusing ordinary conceptions or even Notions, and demonstrating their nullity, thus making their result to be merely negative. For this reason, Plato in his Republic (VII. pp. 538, 539, Steph.; pp. 370, 371, Bekk.) advised the citizens not to allow dialectic to be studied before the thirtieth year, because by its means anyone might transform the beautiful, as he had received it from his masters, into that which is hateful. We find this dialectic a great deal in Plato, both in the more Socratic and moralizing dialogues, and in the many dialogues which relate to the conceptions of the Sophists in regard to science.

In connection with this, the second part of dialectic makes its first aim the bringing of the universal in men to consciousness, which, as we formerly remarked when speaking of Socrates (Vol. I. p. 398), was the main interest of Socratic culture. From this time on, we may look at such an aim as having been discarded, and simply remark that a number of Plato’s Dialogues merely aim at bringing to consciousness a general conception, such as we have without taking any trouble at all (Vol. I. pp. 403, 404); hence this[52] prolixity on Plato’s part often wearies us. This dialectic is, indeed, also a movement of thought, but it is really only necessary in an external way and for reflecting consciousness, in order to allow the universal, what is in and for itself, unalterable and immortal, to come forth. Hence these first two sides of the dialectic, directed as they are towards the dissolution of the particular and thus to the production of the universal, are not yet dialectic in its true form: it is a dialectic which Plato has in common with the Sophists, who understood very well how to disintegrate the particular. A subject which Plato very often treats of with this end in view, is virtue, which he proves to be only one (Vol. I. pp. 405, 411), and thereby he makes the universal good emerge from the particular virtues.

Now because the universal which has emerged from the confusion of the particular, i.e. the true, beautiful and good, that which taken by itself is species, was at first undetermined and abstract, it is, in the third place, a principal part of Plato’s endeavours further to determine this universal in itself. This determination is the relation which the dialectic movement in thought bears to the universal, for through this movement the Idea comes to these thoughts which contain the opposites of the finite within themselves. For the Idea, as the self-determining, is the unity of these differences, and thus the determinate Idea. The universal is hence determined as that which resolves and has resolved the contradictions in itself, and hence it is the concrete in itself; thus this sublation of contradiction is the affirmative. Dialectic in this higher sense is the really Platonic; as speculative it does not conclude with a negative result, for it demonstrates the union of opposites which have annulled themselves. Here begins what is difficult for the understanding to grasp. The form of Plato’s methods being not yet, however, developed purely on its own account, this is the reason that his dialectic is still often merely reasoning, and that it proceeds from individual points of view and[53] frequently remains without result. On the other hand, Plato’s own teaching is directed against this merely reasoning dialectic; yet we see that it gives him trouble properly to show forth the difference. The speculative dialectic which commences with him, is thus the most interesting but also the most difficult part of his work; hence acquaintance is not usually made with it when the Platonic writings are studied. Tennemann, for example, did not at all comprehend what was most important in the Platonic philosophy, and only gathered some of it together in the form of dry ontological determinations—for that was what he could comprehend. But it shows the greatest lack of intellect in a historian of Philosophy only to see in a great philosophic form whether there is anything yielding profit to himself or not.

What we have thus to deal with in the dialectic of Plato is the pure thought of reason, from which he very clearly distinguishes the understanding (διάνοια), (supra, p. 47). We may have thoughts about many things—if indeed, we do have thought at all—but this is not what Plato means. Plato’s true speculative greatness, and that through which he forms an epoch in the history of Philosophy, and hence in the history of the world, lies in the fuller determination of the Idea; this extension of knowledge is one which some centuries later constituted the main element in the ferment which took place in universal history, and in the transformation which the human mind passed through. This fuller determination may, from what has gone before, be understood thus: Plato first comprehended the Absolute as the Being of Parmenides, but as the Universal which, as species, is also end, i.e. which rules, penetrates, and produces the particular and manifold. Plato, however, had not yet developed this self-producing activity, and hence often stumbled into an external teleology. As the union of the preceding principles, Plato further led this Being into determinateness and into difference, as the latter is contained in[54] the triad of Pythagorean number-determinations, and expressed the same in thought. That is, he grasped the Absolute as the unity of Being and non-being—in Becoming, as Heraclitus says—or of the one and the many,[30] &c. He further now took into the objective dialectic of Heraclitus the Eleatic dialectic, which is the external endeavour of the subject to show forth contradiction, so that in place of an external changing of things, their inward transition in themselves, i.e. in their Ideas, or, as they are here, in their categories, has come to pass out of and through themselves. Plato finally set forth the belief of Socrates, which the latter put forward in regard to the moral self-reflection of the subject only, as objective, as the Idea, which is both universal thought and the existent. The previous philosophies thus do not disappear because refuted by Plato, being absorbed in him.

In addition to Being and non-being, one and many, the unlimited and limiting are, for instance, likewise pure thoughts such as these, in whose absolute contemplation, from an all-embracing point of view, the Platonic investigation occupies itself. The purely logical and quite abstruse consideration of such objects certainly contrasts strongly with our conception of the beautiful, pleasing, and attractive content of Plato. Such consideration to him signifies all that is best in Philosophy, and it is that which he everywhere calls the true method of Philosophy, and the knowledge of the truth; in it he places the distinction between philosophers and Sophists. The Sophists on their part look at appearances, and these they obtain in opinion; this, indeed, implies thought, but not pure thought, or what is in and for itself. This is one reason why many turn from the study of Plato’s works unsatisfied. When we commence a Dialogue, we find, in the free Platonic method of composition, beautiful scenes in nature, a superb intro[55]duction (p. 14) that promises to lead us through flowery fields into Philosophy—and that the highest Philosophy, the Platonic. We meet with elevated thoughts, which are responded to more specially by youth, but these soon disappear. If at first we have allowed ourselves to be carried away by these bright scenes, they must now be all renounced, and as we have come to the real dialectic, and truly speculative, we must keep to the wearisome path, and allow ourselves to be pricked by the thorns and thistles of metaphysics. For behold, we then come to what is best and highest, to investigations respecting the one and many, Being and nothing; this was not what was anticipated, and men go quietly away, only wondering that Plato should seek knowledge here. From the most profound dialectic investigation, Plato then again proceeds to representations and images, to the description of dialogues amongst intelligent men. Thus in the Phædo, for example, which Mendelssohn has modernized and transformed into Wolffian metaphysics, the beginning and end are elevating and beautiful, and the middle deals with dialectic. Hence in making one’s way through Plato’s Dialogues very many mental qualities are called into play, and in their study we consequently ought to keep our minds open and free as regards the very various points of interest. If we read with interest what is speculative, we are apt to overlook what is most beautiful; if our interest lies in the elevation and culture of the mind, we forget the speculative element and find that it does not appeal to us. With some it is like the young man in the Bible, who had fulfilled his various duties, and who asked Christ what good thing he still had to do to become His follower. But when the Lord commanded him to sell what he had and give to the poor, the young man went away sorrowful; this was not what he had anticipated. Just in the same way many mean well as regards Philosophy; they study Fries, and heaven knows whom else. Their hearts are full of the true, good and beautiful; they would[56] know and see what they ought to do, but their breasts swell with goodwill alone.

While Socrates remained at the good and universal, at implicitly concrete thoughts, without having developed them or having revealed them through development, Plato certainly goes on to the Idea as determined. His defect, however, is that this determinateness and that universality are still outside one another. We should certainly obtain the determinate Idea by reducing the dialectic movement to its result, and that forms an important element in knowledge. Yet when Plato speaks of justice, beauty, goodness, truth, their origin is not revealed; they are not shown as being results, but merely as hypotheses accepted in their immediacy. Consciousness certainly has an innate conviction that they form the highest end, but this their determination is not discovered. Since Plato’s dogmatic expositions of Ideas are lost (supra, p. 11), the dialectic of pure thought is only placed before us by the Dialogues dealing with the subject, and these, just because they deal with pure thought, are amongst the most difficult, viz.: the Sophist, the Philebus, and, more especially, the Parmenides. We here pass over the Dialogues which contain only negative dialectic and Socratic dialogue, because they treat only of concrete ideas and not of dialectic in its higher signification; they leave us unsatisfied, because their ultimate end is only to confuse one’s opinions, or awaken a sense of the necessity for knowledge. But those three express the abstract speculative Idea in its pure Notion. The embracing of the opposites in one, and the expression of this unity, is chiefly lacking in the Parmenides, which has hence, like some other Dialogues, only a negative result. But both in the Sophist and the Philebus Plato expresses the unity also.

a. The fully worked-out and genuine dialectic is, however, contained in the Parmenides—that most famous masterpiece of Platonic dialectic. Parmenides and Zeno are[57] there represented as meeting Socrates in Athens; but the most important part of it is the dialectic which is put in the mouths of Parmenides and Zeno. At the very beginning the nature of this dialectic is given in detail as follows: Plato makes Parmenides praise Socrates thus: “I notice that in conversing with Aristoteles,” (one of those present; it might quite well have been the philosopher, but that he was born sixteen years after Socrates’ death) “you were trying to define in what the nature of the beautiful, just and good, and all such ideas lay. This your endeavour is noble and divine. But train and exercise yourself even more in what the multitude call idle chatter, and look on as useless, as long as you are young, for otherwise the truth will escape you.—In what, Socrates asks, does this exercise consist?—I was much pleased because you said before that we must not be content with contemplating the sensuous and its illusions, but must consider that which thought alone can grasp, and that which alone exists.” I have before[31] remarked that men at all times have believed that the truth could be found through reflection only, for in reflection thought is found, and that which we have before us in the guise of ordinary conception and of belief is transformed into thought. Socrates now replies to Parmenides: “I believed that I should in that way best discern the like and unlike, and the other general determinations in things.” Parmenides replies, “Certainly. But if you begin from a point of view such as that, you must not only consider what follows from such an hypothesis, but also what follows from the opposite of that hypothesis. For example, in the case of the hypothesis ‘the many is,’ you have to consider what will be the consequences of the relation of the many to itself and to the one, and likewise what the consequences of the relation of the one to itself and to the many.” The marvellous fact that meets us in thought when we take determinations such as these by themselves, is that each one[58] is turned round into the opposite of itself. “But again we must consider, if the many is not, as to what will be the result as regards the one and the many, both to themselves and to one another. The same consideration must be employed in respect of identity and non-identity, rest and motion, origination and passing away, and likewise in regard to Being and non-being. We must ask what is each of these in relation to itself, and what is their relation in event of the one or the other being accepted? In exercising yourself fully in this, you will learn to know real truth.”[32] Plato thus lays great stress on the dialectical point of view, which is not the point of view of the merely external, but is a living point of view whose content is formed of pure thoughts only, whose movement consists in their making themselves the other of themselves, and thus showing that only their unity is what is truly justified.

Plato makes Socrates say, as regards the meaning of the unity of the one and many, “If anyone proved to me that I am one and many, it would not surprise me. For since he shows me that I am a many, and points out in me the right and left side, an upper and lower half, a front and back, I partake of the manifold; and again I partake of unity because I am one of us seven. The case is the same with stone, wood, &c. But if anyone, after determining the simple ideas of similarity and dissimilarity, multiplicity, and unity, rest and movement, and so on, were to show that these in their abstract form admit of admixture and separation, I should be very much surprised.”[33] The dialectic of Plato is, however, not to be regarded as complete in every regard. Though his main endeavour is to show that in every determination the opposite is contained, it can still not be said that this is strictly carried out in all his dialectic movements, for there are often external considerations which exercise an influence in his dialectic. For example, Parmenides says:[59] “Are either of the two parts of the one which is—I mean the One and Being—ever wanting to one another? Is the One ever set free from being a part (τοῦ εἶναι μόριον) and Being set free from the one part (τοῦ ἑνὸς μόριου)? Once more, each part thus possesses both the one and Being, and the smallest part still always consists of these two parts.”[34] In other words: “The one is; from this it follows that the one is not synonymous with ‘is,’ and thus the one and ‘is’ are distinguished. There hence is in the proposition ‘the one is’ a distinction; the many is therefore contained in it, and thus even with the one I express the many.” This dialectic is certainly correct, but it is not quite pure, because it begins from this union of two determinations.

The result of the whole investigation in the Parmenides is summarized at the close by saying “that whether the one is or is not, it, as also the many (τἆλλα), in relation to themselves and in relation to one another—all of them both are and are not, appear and do not appear.”[35] This result may seem strange. We are far from accepting, in our ordinary conception of things, quite abstract determinations such as the one, Being, non-being, appearance, rest, movement, &c., as Ideas; but these universals are taken by Plato as Ideas, and this Dialogue thus really contains the pure Platonic doctrine of Ideas. He shows of the one that when it is as well as when it is not, whether like itself or not like itself, both in movement and rest, origination and decay, it both is and is not; or the unity as well as all these pure Ideas, both are and are not, the one is one as much as it is many. In the proposition “the one is,” it is also implied that “the one is not one but many;” and, conversely, “the many is” also indicates that “the many is not many, but one.” They show themselves dialectically [60]and are really the identity with their ‘other’; and this is the truth. An example is given in Becoming: in Becoming Being and non-being are in inseparable unity, and yet they are also present there as distinguished; for Becoming only exists because the one passes into the other.

In this respect, perhaps, the result arrived at in the Parmenides may not satisfy us, since it seems to be negative in character, and not, as the negation of the negation, expressive of true affirmation. Nevertheless, the Neo-platonists, and more especially Proclus, regard the result arrived at in the Parmenides as the true theology, as the true revelation of all the mysteries of the divine essence. And it cannot be regarded as anything else, however little this may at first appear, and though Tiedemann (Platon. Argumenta, p. 340) speaks of these assertions as merely the wild extravagances of the Neo-platonists. In fact, however, we understand by God the absolute essence of things, which even in its simple Notion is the unity and movement of these pure realities, the Ideas of the one and many, &c. The divine essence is the Idea in general, as it is either for sensuous consciousness or for thought. In as far as the divine Idea is the absolute self-reflection, dialectic is nothing more than this activity of self-reflection in itself; the Neo-Platonists regarded this connection as metaphysical only, and have recognized in it their theology, the unfolding of the secrets of the divine essence. But here there appears the double interpretation already remarked upon (p. 19), which has now to be more clearly expounded. It is that God and the essential reality of things may be understood in two different ways. For, on the one hand, when it is said that the essential reality of things is the unity of opposites, it would seem as though only the immediate essence of these immediately objective things were indicated, and as if this doctrine of real essence or ontology were distinguished from the knowledge of God, or theology. These simple realities and their relation and movement[61] seem only to express moments of the objective and not mind, because there is lacking in them one element—that is to say, reflection into themselves—which we demand for the existence of the divine essence. For mind, the truly absolute essence, is not only the simple and immediate, but that which reflects itself into itself, for which in its opposition the unity of itself and of that which is opposed is; but these moments and their movement do not present it as such, for they make their appearance as simple abstractions. On the other hand, they may also be taken to be pure Notions, which pertain purely to reflection into itself. In this case Being is wanting to them, or what we likewise demand for reflection into itself as essential to the divine essence; and then their movement is esteemed an empty round of empty abstractions, which belong only to reflection and have no reality. For the solution of this contradiction we must know the nature of apprehension and knowledge, in order to obtain in the Notion everything there present. Thus shall we have the consciousness that the Notion is in truth neither the immediate only, although it is the simple, nor merely that which reflects itself into itself, the thing of consciousness; for it is of spiritual simplicity, thus really existent—as it is thought turned back on itself, so it is also Being in itself, i.e. objective Being, and consequently all reality. Plato did not state this knowledge of the nature of the Notion so expressly, nor did he say that this essential Being of things is the same as the divine essence. But really it is simply not put into words, for the fact is undoubtedly present, and the only distinction is one of speech as between the mode of the ordinary conception and that of the Notion. On the one hand, this reflection into itself, the spiritual, the Notion, is present in the speculation of Plato; for the unity of the one and many, &c., is just this individuality in difference, this being-turned-back-within-itself in its opposite, this opposite which is implicit; the essential reality of the world is really this[62] movement returning into itself of that which is turned back within itself. But, on the other hand, for this very reason, this being reflected into self—like the God of ordinary conception—still remains with Plato something separated; and in his representation of the Becoming of Nature in the Timæus, God, and the essential reality of things, appear as distinguished.

b. In the Sophist Plato investigated the pure Notions or Ideas of movement and rest, self-identity and other-being, Being and non-being. He here proves, as against Parmenides, that non-being is, and likewise that the simple self-identical partakes of other-being, and unity of multiplicity. He says of the Sophists that they never get beyond non-being, and he also refutes their whole ground-principle, which is non-being, feeling, and the many. Plato has thus so determined the true universal, that he makes it the unity of, for example, the one and many, Being and non-being; but at the same time he has avoided, or it was his endeavour to avoid, the double meaning which lies in our talk of the unity of Being and nothing, &c. For in this expression we emphasize the unity, and then the difference disappears, just as if we merely abstracted from it. Plato tried, however, to preserve the difference likewise. The Sophist is a further development of Being and non-being, both of which are applicable to all things; for because things are different, the one being the other of the other, the determination of the negative is present. First of all, however, Plato expresses in the Sophist a clearer consciousness of Ideas as abstract universalities, and his conviction that this point of view could not endure, because it was opposed to the unity of the Idea with itself. Plato thus first refutes what is sensuous, and then even the Ideas themselves. The first of these points of view is what is later on called materialism, which makes the corporeal alone to be the substantial, admitting nothing to have reality excepting what can be laid hold of by the hand, such as rocks and[63] oaks. “Let us,” says Plato, in the second place, “proceed to the other, to the friends of Ideas.” Their belief is that the substantial is incorporeal, intellectual, and they separate from it the region of Becoming, of change, into which the sensuous falls, while the universal is for itself. These represent Ideas as immovable, and neither active nor passive. Plato asserts, as against this, that movement, life, soul, and thought, cannot be denied to true Being (παντελῶς ὄντι), and that the holy reason (ἄγιον νοῦν) can be nowhere, and in nothing that is unmoved.[36] Plato thus has a clear consciousness of having got further than Parmenides when he says:—

“Keep your mind from this way of inquiry,
For never will you show that non-being is.”

Plato says that Being in anyone partakes both of Being and non-being; but what thus participates is different both from Being and non-being as such.[37]

This dialectic combats two things in particular; and in the first place it is antagonistic to the common dialectic in the ordinary sense, of which we have already spoken. Examples of this false dialectic to which Plato often comes back, are specially frequent amongst the Sophists; yet he did not show sufficiently clearly how they are distinguished from the purely dialectical knowledge which is in the Notion. For example, Plato expressed his dissent when Protagoras and others said that no determination is absolutely certain—that bitter is not objective, for what to one person is bitter, to another is sweet. Similarly, large and small, more and less, &c., are relative, because the large will be, in other circumstances, small, and the small will be great. That is to say, the unity of opposites is present to us in everything we know, but the common way of looking at things, in which the rational does not come to consciousness,[64] always holds the opposites asunder, as though they were simply opposed in a determinate way. As in each thing we demonstrate unity, so do we also show its multiplicity, for it has many parts and qualities. In the Parmenides, Plato, as we saw above (p. 58), objected to this unity of opposites, because it must thereby be said that something is one in quite another respect from that in which it is many. We thus do not here bring these thoughts together, for the conception and the words merely go backwards and forwards from the one to the other; if this passing to and fro is performed with consciousness, it is the empty dialectic which does not really unite the opposites. Of this Plato says, “If anyone thinks he has made a wonderful discovery in ascertaining that he can drag thoughts this way and that, from one determination to another, he may be told that he has done nothing worthy of praise; for in so doing there is nothing excellent or difficult.” The dialectic that annuls a determination because it reveals in it some defect, and then goes on to establish another, is thus wrong. “The point of difficulty, and what we ought to aim at, is to show that what is the other is the same, and what is the same, is another, and likewise in the same regard and from the same point of view to show that the one has in them come into existence if the other determination is revealed within them. But to show that somehow the same is another, and the other also the same, that the great is also small” (e.g. Protagoras’s die), “and the like also unlike, and to delight in thus always proving opposites, is no true inquiry (ἔλενχος), but simply proves that he who uses such arguments is a neophyte,” in thought, “who has just begun to investigate truth. To separate all existences from one another is the crude attempt of an uncultured and unphilosophical mind. To cause everything to fall asunder means the perfect annihilation of all thought, for thought is the union of ideas.”[38][65] Thus Plato expressly speaks against the dialectic of showing how anything may be refuted from some point of view or another. We see that Plato, in respect of content, expresses nothing excepting what is called indifference in difference, the difference of absolute opposites and their unity. To this speculative knowledge he opposes the ordinary way of thinking, which is positive as well as negative; the former, not bringing the thoughts together, allows first one and then the other to have value in their separation; the latter is, indeed, conscious of a unity, though it is of a superficial, differentiating unity in which the two moments are separate, as standing in different aspects.

The second point against which Plato argues is the dialectic of the Eleatics, and their assertion, which in its nature resembles that of the Sophists, that only Being is, and non-being is not. To the Sophists this means, as Plato puts it: Since the negative is not, but only Being is, there is nothing false; everything existent, everything which is for us, is thus necessarily true, and what is not, we do not know or feel. Plato reproaches the Sophists for thus doing away with the difference between true and false.[39] Having arrived at this stage in the knowledge of the dialectic (and the whole matter is merely a difference of stages) the Sophists could allow what they promise—that everything that the individual, according to his belief, makes his end and interest, is affirmative and right. Hence it cannot be said that such and such an act is wrong, wicked, a crime; for this would be to say that the maxim of the action is wrong. No more can it be said that such and such opinion is deceptive, for in the opinion of the Sophists the proposition implies that what I feel or represent to myself, in as far as it is mine, is an affirmative content, and thus true and right. The proposition in itself[66] seems quite abstract and innocent, but we first notice what is involved in such abstractions when we see them in concrete form. According to this innocent proposition there would be no wickedness and no crime. The Platonic dialectic is essentially different from this kind of dialectic.

What is further present to the mind of Plato is that the Idea, the absolute universal, good, true, and beautiful, is to be taken for itself. The myth, which I have already quoted (p. 27 et seq.), indeed goes to prove that we must not consider a good action, a noble man—not the subject of which these determinations are predicated. For that which appears in such conceptions or perceptions as predicate, must be taken for itself, and this is the absolute truth. This tallies with the nature of the dialectic which has been described. An action, taken in accordance with the empirical conception, may be called right; in another aspect, quite opposite determinations may be shown to be in it. But the good and true must be taken on their own account without such individualities, without this empirical and concrete character; and the good and true thus taken alone, constitute that which is. The soul which, according to the divine drama, is found in matter, rejoices in a beautiful and just object; but the only actual truth is in absolute virtue, justice, and beauty. It is thus the universal for itself which is further determined in the Platonic dialectic; of this several forms appear, but these forms are themselves still very general and abstract. Plato’s highest form is the identity of Being and non-being. The true is that which is, but this Being is not without negation. Plato’s object is thus to show that non-being is an essential determination in Being, and that the simple, self-identical, partakes of other-being. This unity of Being and non-being is also found in the Sophists; but this alone is not the end of the matter. For in further investigation Plato comes to the conclusion that non-being, further determined, is the essence of the ‘other’: “Ideas mingle, and Being and the other (θάτερον) go through[67] everything and through one another; the other, because it participates (μετασχόν) in Being, certainly is through this indwelling Being, but it is not identical with that of which it partakes, being something different, and being other than Being, it is clearly non-being. But since Being likewise partakes of other-being, it also is different from other Ideas, and is not any one of them; so that there are thousands of ways in which it is not, and as regards all else, whether looked at individually or collectively, it in many respects is, and in many respects is not.”[40] Plato thus maintains that the other, as the negative, non-identical, is likewise in one and the same respect the self-identical; there are not different sides which are in mutual opposition.

These are the principal points in Plato’s peculiar dialectic. The fact that the Idea of the divine, eternal, beautiful, is absolute existence, is the beginning of the elevation of consciousness into the spiritual, and into the consciousness that the universal is true. It may be enough for the ordinary idea to be animated and satisfied by the conception of the beautiful and good, but thinking knowledge demands the determination of this eternal and divine. And this determination is really only free determination which certainly does not prevent universality—a limitation (for every determination is limitation) which likewise leaves the universal in its infinitude free and independent. Freedom exists only in a return into itself; the undistinguished is the lifeless; the active, living, concrete universal is hence what inwardly distinguishes itself, but yet remains free in so doing. Now this determinateness consists in the one being identical with itself in the other, in the many, in what is distinguished. This constitutes the only truth, and the only interest for knowledge in what is called Platonic philosophy, and if this is not known, the main point of it is not known. While in the example already often quoted[68] (pp. 58, 64),[41] in which Socrates is both one and many, the two thoughts are made to fall asunder, it is left to speculative thought alone to bring the thoughts together, and this union of what is different, of Being and non-being, of one and many, &c., which takes place without a mere transition from one to another, constitutes the inmost reality and true greatness of Platonic philosophy. This determination is the esoteric element in Platonic philosophy, and the other is the exoteric; the distinction is doubtless an unwarranted one, indicating, as it seems to do, that Plato could have two such philosophies—one for the world, for the people, and the other, the inward, reserved for the initiated. But the esoteric is the speculative, which, even though written and printed, is yet, without being any secret, hidden from those who have not sufficient interest in it to exert themselves. To this esoteric portion pertain the two dialogues hitherto considered, along with which the Philebus may in the third place be taken.

c. In the Philebus Plato investigates the nature of pleasure; and the opposition of the infinite and finite, or of the unlimited (ἄπειρον) and limiting (πέρας), is there more especially dealt with. In keeping this before us, it would scarcely occur to us that through the metaphysical knowledge of the nature of the infinite and undetermined, what concerns enjoyment is likewise determined; but these pure thoughts are the substantial through which everything, however concrete or seemingly remote, is decided. When Plato treats of pleasure and wisdom as contrasted, it is the opposition of finite and infinite. By pleasure we certainly represent to ourselves the immediately individual, the sensuous; but pleasure is the indeterminate in respect that it is the merely elementary, like fire and water, and not the self-determining. Only the Idea is the self-determinate, or self-identity. To our reflection the infinite appears to be what is best and highest, limitation being inferior to it;[69] and ancient philosophers so determined it. By Plato, however, it is, on the other hand, shown that the limited is the true, as the self-determining, while the unlimited is still abstract; it certainly can be determined in many different ways, but when thus determined it is only the individual. The infinite is the formless; free form as activity is the finite, which finds in the infinite the material for self-realization. Plato thus characterizes enjoyment dependent on the senses as the unlimited which does not determine itself; reason alone is the active determination. But the infinite is what in itself passes over to the finite; thus the perfect good, according to Plato, is neither to be sought for in happiness or reason, but in a life of both combined. But wisdom, as limit, is the true cause from which what is excellent arises.[42] As that which posits measure and end, it is what absolutely determines the end—the immanent determination with which and in which freedom likewise brings itself into existence.

Plato further considers the fact that the true is the identity of opposites, thus. The infinite, as the indeterminate, is capable of a more or less, it may be more intensive or not; thus colder and warmer, drier and moister, quicker and slower, &c., are all such. What is limited is the equal, the double, and every other measure; by this means the opposite ceases to be unlike and becomes uniform and harmonious. Through the unity of these opposites, such as cold and warm, dry and moist, health arises; similarly the harmony of music takes its origin from the limitation of high tones and deep, of quicker and slower movement, and, generally speaking, everything beautiful and perfect arises through the union of opposites. Health, happiness, beauty, &c., would thus appear to be begotten, in as far as the opposites are allied thereto, but they are likewise an intermingling of the same. The ancients make copious use of[70] intermingling, participation, &c., instead of individuality; but for us these are indefinite and inadequate expressions. But Plato says that the third, which is thus begotten, pre-supposes the cause or that from which it is formed; this is more excellent than those through whose instrumentality that third arose. Hence Plato has four determinations; first the unlimited, the undetermined; secondly the limited, measure, proportion, to which pertains wisdom; the third is what is mingled from both, what has only arisen; the fourth is cause. This is in itself nothing else than the unity of differences, subjectivity, power and supremacy over opposites, that which is able to sustain the opposites in itself; but it is only the spiritual which has this power and which sustains opposition, the highest contradiction in itself. Weak corporeality passes away as soon as ‘another’ comes into it. The cause he speaks of is divine reason, which governs the world; the beauty of the world which is present in air, fire, water, and in all that lives, is produced thereby.[43] Thus the absolute is what in one unity is finite and infinite.

When Plato speaks thus of the beautiful and good, these are concrete ideas, or rather there is only one idea. But we are still far from these concrete ideas when we begin with such abstractions as Being, non-being, unity, and multiplicity. If Plato, however, has not succeeded in bringing these abstract thoughts through further development and concretion, to beauty, truth, and morality, there at least lies in the knowledge of those abstract determinations, the criterion by which the concrete is determined, as also its sources. This transition to the concrete is made in the Philebus, since the principle of feeling and of pleasure is there considered. The ancient philosophers knew very well what they had of concrete in those abstract thoughts. In the atomic principle of multiplicity we thus find the source of a construction of the state, for the ultimate thought-determination of such state-principles is the logical. The[71] ancients in their pure Philosophy had not the same end in view as we—they had not the end of a metaphysical sequence placed before them like a problem. We, on the other hand, have something concrete before us, and desire to reduce it to settled order. With Plato Philosophy offers the path which the individual must follow in order to attain to any knowledge, but, generally speaking, Plato places absolute and explicit happiness, the blessed life itself, in the contemplation during life of the divine objects named above.[44] This contemplative life seems aimless, for the reason that all its interests have disappeared. But to live in freedom in the kingdom of thought had become the absolute end to the ancients, and they knew that freedom existed only in thought.

2. Philosophy of Nature.

With Plato Philosophy likewise commenced to devote more attention to the understanding of what is further determined, and in this way the matter of knowledge began to fall into divisions. In the Timæus the Idea thus makes its appearance as expressed in its concrete determinateness, and the Platonic Philosophy of Nature hence teaches us to have a better knowledge of the reality of the world; we cannot, however, enter into details, and if we did, they have little interest. It is more especially where Plato treats of physiology that his statements in no way correspond with what we now know, although we cannot fail to wonder at the brilliant glimpses of the truth there found, which have been only too much misconceived by the moderns. Plato derived a great deal from the Pythagoreans; how much is theirs, however, cannot be satisfactorily determined. We remarked before (p. 14) that the Timæus is really the fuller version of a Pythagorean treatise; other would-be wise persons have indeed said that the treatise is only an[72] abstract made by a Pythagorean of the larger work of Plato, but the first theory is the more probable. The Timæus has in all times been esteemed the most difficult and obscure of the Platonic dialogues. This difficulty is due in part to the apparent mingling of conceiving knowledge and ordinary perception already mentioned (p. 20), just as we shall presently find an intermingling of Pythagorean numbers; and it is due still more to the philosophic nature of the matter in hand, of which Plato was as yet unconscious. The second difficulty lies in the arrangement of the whole, for what at once strikes one is that Plato repeatedly breaks off the thread of his argument, often appearing to turn back and begin again from the beginning.[45] This moved critics such as August Wolff and others, who could not understand it philosophically, to take the Timæus to be an accumulation of fragments put together, or else to be several works which had only been loosely strung together into one, or into the Platonic portion of which much that is foreign had been introduced. Wolff accordingly thought it was evident from this that the dialogue, like Homer’s poems, had been, in its first form, spoken and not written. But although the connection seems unmethodical, and Plato himself makes what maybe called copious excuses for the confusion, we shall find how the whole matter really falls into natural divisions, and we shall also find the deep inward reason which makes necessary the frequent return to what apparently is the beginning.

An exposition of the reality of nature or of the becoming of the world is introduced by Plato in the following way: “God is the Good,” this stands also at the head of the Platonic Ideas in the verbally delivered discourses (supra, p. 11); “goodness, however, has no jealousy of anything, and being free from jealousy, God desired to make all things like Himself.”[46] God here is still without determination,[73] and a name which has no meaning for thought; nevertheless, where Plato in the Timæus again begins from the beginning, he is found to have a more definite idea of God. That God is devoid of envy undoubtedly is a great, beautiful, true, and childlike thought. With the ancients, on the contrary, we find in Nemesis, Dike, Fate, Jealousy, the one determination of the gods: moved by this they cast down the great and bring it low, and suffer not what is excellent and elevated to exist. The later high-minded philosophers controverted this doctrine. For in the mere idea of the Nemesis no moral determination is as yet implied, because punishment there is only the humiliation of what oversteps limits, but these limits are not yet presented as moral, and punishment is thus not yet a recognition of the moral as distinguished from the immoral. Plato’s thought is thus much higher than that of most of our moderns, who, in saying that God is a hidden God who has not revealed Himself to us and of whom we can know nothing, ascribe jealousy to God. For why should He not reveal Himself to us if we earnestly seek the knowledge of Him? A light loses nothing by another’s being kindled therefrom, and hence there was in Athens a punishment imposed on those who did not permit this to be done. If the knowledge of God were kept from us in order that we should know only the finite and not attain to the infinite, God would be a jealous God, or God would then become an empty name. Such talk means no more than that we wish to neglect what is higher and divine, and seek after our own petty interests and opinions. This humility is sin—the sin against the Holy Ghost.

Plato continues: “God found the visible” (παραλαβών)—a mythical expression proceeding from the necessity of beginning with an immediate, which, however, as it presents itself, cannot in any way be allowed—“not at rest, but moving in an irregular and disorderly manner; and out of disorder he brought order, considering that this was far[74] better than the other.” From this it appears as if Plato had considered that God was only the δημιοῦργος, i.e. the disposer of matter, and that this, being eternal and independent, was found by Him as chaos; but in view of what has been said, this is false. These are not the philosophic doctrines which Plato seriously held, for he speaks here only after the manner of the ordinary conception, and such expressions have hence no philosophic content. It is only the introduction of the subject, bringing us, as it does, to determinations such as matter. Plato then comes in course of his progress to further determinations, and in these we first have the Notion; we must hold to what is speculative in Plato, and not to the first-mentioned ordinary conception. Likewise, when he says that God esteemed order to be the best, the mode of expression is naïve. Nowadays we should ask that God should first be proved; and just as little should we allow the visible to be established without much further ado. What is proved by Plato from this more naïve method of expression is, in the first place, the true determination of the Idea, which only appears later on. It is further said: “God reflecting that of what is visible, the unintelligent (ἀνόητον) could not be fairer than the intelligent (νοῦς), and that intelligence could not exist in anything devoid of soul, for these reasons put intelligence in the soul, and the soul in the body, and so united them that the world became a living and intelligent system, an animal.” We have reality and intelligence, and the soul as the bond connecting the two extremes, without which intelligence could not have part in the visible body; we saw the true reality comprehended by Plato in a similar way in the Phædrus (supra, p. 39). “There is, however, only one such animal, for were there two or more, these would be only parts of the one, and only one.”[47]

Plato now first proceeds to the determination of the[75] Idea of corporeal existence: “Because the world was to become corporeal, visible and tangible, and since without fire nothing can be seen, and without solidity, without earth, nothing can be touched, God in the beginning made fire and earth.” In this childlike way Plato introduces these extremes, solidity and life. “But two things cannot be united without a third, there must be a bond between them, uniting both”—one of Plato’s simple methods of expression. “The fairest bond, however, is that which most completely fuses itself and that which is bound by it.” That is a profound saying, in which the Notion is contained; the bond is the subjective and individual, the power which dominates the other, which makes itself identical with it. “Proportion” (ἀναλογία) is best adapted to effect such a fusion; that is, whenever of three numbers or magnitudes or powers, that which is the mean is to the last term what the first term is to the mean, and again when the mean is to the first term as the last term is to the mean (a : b = b : c) “then the mean having become the first and last, and the first and last both having become means, all things will necessarily come to be the same; but having come to be the same, everything will be one.”[48] This is excellent, we have still preserved this in our Philosophy; it is the distinction which is no distinction. This diremption from which Plato proceeds, is the conclusion which we know from logic; it appears in the form of the ordinary syllogism, in which, however, the whole rationality of the Idea is, at least externally, contained. The distinctions are the extremes, and the mean is the identity which in a supreme degree makes them one; the conclusion is thus speculative, and in the extremes unites itself with itself, because all the terms pass through all the different positions. It is hence a mistake to disparage the conclusion and not to recognize it as the highest and absolute form; in respect of the conclusions arrived at by the understanding, on the contrary, we[76] should be right in rejecting it. This last has no such mean; each of the differences is there recognized as different in its own independent form, as having a character different from that of the other. This, in the Platonic philosophy, is abrogated, and the speculative element in it constitutes the proper and true form of conclusion, in which the extremes neither remain in independence as regards themselves, nor as regards the mean. In the conclusion of the understanding, on the contrary, the unity which is constituted is only the unity of essentially different contents which remain such; for here a subject, a determination, is, through the mean, simply bound up with another, or “some conception is joined to some other conception.” In a rational conclusion, however, the main point of its speculative content is the identity of the extremes which are joined to one another; in this it is involved that the subject presented in the mean is a content which does not join itself with another, but only through the other and in the other with itself. In other words, this constitutes the essential nature of God, who, when made subject, is the fact that He begot His Son, the world; but in this reality which appears as another, He still remains identical with Himself, does away with the separation implied in the Fall, and, in the other, merely unites Himself to Himself and thus becomes Spirit. When the immediate is elevated over the mediate and it is then said that God’s actions are immediate, there is, indeed, good ground for the assertion; but the concrete fact is that God is a conclusion which, by differentiating itself, unites itself to itself, and, through the abrogation of the mediation, reinstates its own immediacy. In the Platonic philosophy we thus have what is best and highest; the thoughts are, indeed, merely pure thoughts, but they contain everything in themselves; for all concrete forms depend on thought-determinations alone. The Fathers thus found in Plato the Trinity which they wished to comprehend and prove in thought: with Plato the truth really[77] has the same determination as the Trinity. But these forms have been neglected for two thousand years since Plato’s time, for they have not passed into the Christian religion as thoughts; indeed they were considered to be ideas which had entered in through error, until quite recent times, when men began to understand that the Notion is contained in these determinations, and that nature and spirit can thus be comprehended through their means.

Plato continues: “Since what is solid requires two means, because it not only has breadth but also depth, God has placed air and water between fire and earth; and indeed He gave to them the same proportion, so that fire is related to air as air to water, and as air is to water, so is water to earth.”[49] Thus we have, properly speaking, four methods of representing space, inasmuch as the point is, through line and surface, closely bound up with the solid body. The sundered mean here discovered, again indicates an important thought of logical profundity; and the number four which here appears, is in nature a fundamental number. For as being the different which is turned towards the two extremes, the mean must be separated in itself. In the conclusion in which God is the One, the second (the mediating), the Son; the third, the Spirit; the mean indeed is simple. But the cause why that which in the rational conclusion is merely three-fold, passes in nature to the four-fold, rests in what is natural, because what in thought is immediately the one, becomes separate in Nature. But in order that in Nature the opposition should exist as opposition, it must itself be a twofold, and thus, when we count, we have four. This also takes place in the conception of God, for when we apply it to the world, we have nature as mean and the existent spirit as the way of return for nature: when the return is made, this is the absolute Spirit. This living process, this separation and unifying of differences, is the living God.


Plato says further: “Through this unity the visible and tangible world has been made. And it comes to pass by God’s having given to it these elements entire and unseparated, that it is perfect, and unaffected by age and disease. For old age and disease only arise from a body’s being worked upon by a superabundance of such elements from without. But here this is not so, for the world contains those elements entirely in itself, and nothing can come to it from without. The world is spherical in form,” (as it was to Parmenides and the Pythagoreans) “as being most perfect, and as containing all others in itself; it is perfectly smooth, since for it there is nothing outside, and it requires no limbs.” Finitude consists in this, that a distinction as regards something else is an externality to some other object. In the Idea we certainly have determination, limitation, difference, other-being, but it is at the same time dissolved, contained, gathered together, in the one. Thus it is a difference through which no finitude arises, seeing that it likewise is sublated. Finitude is thus in the infinite itself, and this is, indeed, a great thought. “God gave the world the most appropriate motion of all the seven, being that which harmonizes best with mind and consciousness, motion in a circle; the other six He took away from it and liberated it from their variations”[50] (movements backwards and forwards). This is only a popular way of putting it.

We read further: “Since God wished to make the world a God, He gave it soul, and this was placed in the centre and diffused through the whole, which was also surrounded by it externally; and in this way He brought to pass the self-sufficing existence which required no other, and which needed no other friendship or acquaintance than itself. Through these means God created the world as a blessed God.” We may say that here, where the world is a totality through the world-soul, we first have the knowledge of the Idea;[79] for the first time this newly-begotten God, as the mean and identity, is the true absolute. That first God which was only goodness, is, on the contrary, a mere hypothesis, and hence neither determined nor self-determining. “Now though we have spoken of the soul last,” Plato goes on, “it does not for that reason come last; for this is merely our manner of speech. The soul is the ruler, the king, and the body is its subject.” It is only Plato’s naïvety which ascribes the reversal of the order of the two to a manner of speech. What here appears as contingent is really necessary—that is, to begin with the immediate and then come to the concrete. We must likewise adopt this method, but with the consciousness that when we begin with determinations such as Being, or God, Space, Time, &c., we speak of them in an immediate manner, and this content, in accordance with its nature, is at first immediate, and consequently undetermined in itself. God, for example, with whom we begin as an immediate, is proved only at the last, and then, indeed, as the true first. Thus we can, as already remarked, (p. 72) show Plato’s confusion of mind in such presentations; but it depends entirely on what Plato’s standard of truth is.

Plato further shows us the nature of the Idea in one of the most famous and profound of passages, where in the essence of the soul he recognizes again the very same idea that he also expressed as the essence of the corporeal. For he says: “The soul is created in the following way: Of the indivisible and unchangeable and also of the divisible which is corporeal, God made a third kind of intermediate essence, which partook of the nature of the same and of the nature of the other or diverse.” (The divisible is to Plato likewise the other as such, or in itself, and not of anything else.) “And God in like manner made the soul a sort of intermediate between the indivisible and the divisible.” Here the abstract determinations of the one which is identity, of the many or non-identical, which is opposition[80] and difference, once more appear. If we say: “God, the Absolute, is the identity of the identical and non-identical,” a cry is raised of barbarism and scholasticism. Those who speak of it so still hold Plato in high esteem, and yet it was thus that he determined the truth. “And taking these three elements as separate, God mingled them all into one Idea, because he forcibly compressed the incongruous nature of the other into the same.”[51] This is undoubtedly the power of the Notion, which posits the many, the separate, as the ideal, and that is also the force applied to the understanding when anything is placed before it.

Plato now describes how the self-identical, as itself a moment, and the other or matter, and the third, the apparently dissoluble union which has not returned into the first unity—which three were originally separated—have now, in simple reflection into self and resumption of that beginning, been degraded into moments. “Mingling the identical and the other with the essence (οὐσία),” the third moment, “and making them all one, God again divided this whole into as many parts was as fitting.”[52] Since this substance of the soul is identical with that of the visible world, the one whole is for the first time the now systematized substance, the true matter, the absolute element which is internally divided, an enduring and unseparable unity of the one and many; and no other essence must be demanded. The manner and mode of the division of this subjectivity contain the famous Platonic numbers, which doubtless originally pertain to the Pythagoreans, and respecting which both ancients and moderns, and even Kepler himself in his Harmonia mundi, have taken much pains, but which no one has properly understood. To understand would mean two things, and in the first place, the recognition of their speculative significance, their Notion. But, as already remarked of the Pythagoreans (Vol. I. p. 224), these distinctions of[81] number give only an indefinite conception of difference, and that only in the earlier numbers; where the relationships become more complicated, they are quite incapable of designating them more closely. In the second place, because of their being numbers, they express, as differences of magnitude, differences in what is sensuous only. The system of apparent magnitude—and it is in the heavenly system that magnitude appears most purely and freely, liberated from what is qualitative—must correspond to them. But these living number-spheres are themselves systems composed of many elements—both of the magnitude of distance and of velocity and mass. No one of these elements, taken as a succession of simple numbers, can be likened to the system of heavenly spheres, for the series corresponding to this system can, as to its members, contain nothing else than the system of all these moments. Now if the Platonic numbers were also the elements of each system such as this, it would not be only this element which would have to be taken into account, for the relationship of moments which become distinguished in movement has to be conceived of as a whole, and is the true object of interest and reason. What we have to do is to give briefly the main points as matter of history; we have the most thorough treatment of it given us by Böckh “On the Constitution of the World-Soul in the Timæus of Plato,” in the third volume of the Studies of Daub and Creuzer (p. 26 et seq.).

The fundamental series is very simple: “God first took one part out of the whole; then the second, the double of the first; the third is one and a half times as many as the second, or three times the first; the next is double the second; the fifth is three times the third; the sixth is eight times the first; the seventh is twenty-seven times greater than the first.” Hence the series is: 1; 2; 3; 4 = 2²; 9 = 3²; 8 = 2³; 27 = 3³. “Then God filled up the double and triple intervals” (the relations 1 : 2 and 1 : 3) “by again abstracting portions from the whole. These[82] parts he placed in the intervals in such a way that in each interval there were two means, the one exceeding and exceeded by the extremes in the same ratio, the other being that kind of mean which by an equal number exceeds and is exceeded by the extremes.” That is, the first is a constant geometric relationship, and the other is an arithmetical. The first mean, brought about through the quadration, is thus in the relation 1 : 2, for example, the proportion 1 : √̅2 : 2; the other is in the same relation, the number 1½. Hereby new relations arise which are again in a specially given and more difficult method inserted into that first, but this is done in such a way that everywhere something has been left out, and the last relation of number to number is 256 : 243, or 28 : 35.

Much progress is not, however, made with these number-relations, for they do not present much to the speculative Notion. The relationships and laws of nature cannot be expressed by these barren numbers; they form an empirical relation which does not constitute the basis of the proportions of nature. Plato now says: “God divided this entire series lengthways into two parts which he set together crosswise like an X, and he bent their ends into a circular form and comprehended them in a uniform motion—forming an inner circle and an outer—and he called the motion of the outer circle the motion of the same, and that of the inner the motion of the diverse, giving supremacy to the former, and leaving it intact. But the inner motion he again split into seven orbits after the same relations; three of these he made to move with equal velocity, and four with unequal velocity to the three and to one another. This is the system of the soul within which all that is corporeal is formed; the soul is the centre, it penetrates the whole and envelopes it from without and moves in itself. Thus it has the divine beginning of a never-ceasing and rational life in itself.”[53][83] This is not quite devoid of confusion, and from it we can only grasp the general fact that as to Plato with the idea of the corporeal universe that of the soul enters in as the all-embracing and simple, to him the essence of the corporeal and of the soul is unity in difference. This double essence, posited in and for itself in difference, becomes systematized within the one in many moments, which are, however, movements; thus this reality and that essence both pertain to this whole in the antithesis of soul and body, and this again is one. Mind is what penetrates all, and to it the corporeal is opposed as truly as that it itself is mind.

This is a general description of the soul which is posited in the world and reigns over it; and in as far as the substantial, which is in matter, is similar to it, their inherent identity is asserted. The fact that in it the same moments which constitute its reality are contained, merely signifies that God, as absolute Substance, does not see anything other than Himself. Plato hence describes the relation of soul to objective reality thus: it, if it touches any of the moments, whether dispersed in parts or indivisible, is stirred in all its powers to declare the sameness and the difference of that or some other thing, and how, where, and when, the individual is related to the other and to the universal. “Now when the orbit of the sensuous, moving in its due course, imparts knowledge of itself to its whole soul” (where the different orbits of the world’s course show themselves to correspond with the inwardness of mind) “true opinions and beliefs arise. But when the soul applies itself to the rational and the orbit of the self-identical makes itself known, thought is perfected into knowledge.”[54] This is the essential reality of the world as of the inherently blessed God; here the Idea of the whole is for the first time perfected, and, in accordance with this Idea, the world[84] first makes its appearance. What had hitherto appeared was the reality of the sensuous only and not the world as sensuous, for though Plato certainly spoke before of fire, &c. (p. 75), he there gave only the reality of the sensuous; he would hence have done better to have omitted these expressions. In them we have the reason for its appearing as if Plato had here begun to consider from the beginning that of which he has already treated (supra, p. 72). For since we must begin from the abstract in order to reach the true and the concrete, which first appears later on (supra, p. 79), this last, when it has been found, has the appearance and form of a new commencement, particularly in Plato’s loose style.

Plato now goes on further, for he calls this divine world the pattern which is in thought (νοητόν) alone, and always in self-identity; but he again places this whole in opposition to itself, so that there is a second, the copy of the first, the world, which has origination and is visible. This second is the system of the heavenly movement, the first is the eternally living. The second, which has origination and becoming within it, cannot be made perfectly like the first, the eternal Idea. But it is made a self-moving image of the eternal that remains in the unity; and this eternal image that moves rhythmically, after the manner of numbers, is what we call time. Plato says of it that we are in the habit of calling the ‘was’ and ‘will be’ parts of time, and we transfer these indications of change which operate in time, into absolute essence. But the true time is eternal, or the present. For the substance can neither become older nor younger, and time, as the immediate image of the eternal, has neither the future nor the present in its parts. Time is ideal, like space, not sensuous, but the immediate mode in which mind comes forth in objective form, the sensuous non-sensuous. The real moments of the principle of absolute movement in what is temporal, are those in which changes appear. “From the mind and will[85] of God in the creation of time, there arose the sun, moon, and five other stars which are called the planets, and which serve to distinguish and preserve the relations of time.”[55] For in them the numbers of time are realized. Thus the heavenly movement, as the true time, is the image of the eternal which yet remains in unity, i.e. it is that in which the eternal retains the determination of the ‘same.’ For everything is in time, that is, in negative unity which does not allow anything to root itself freely in itself, and thus to move and to be moved according to chance.

But this eternal is also in the determinateness of the other reality, in the Idea of the self-changing and variable principle whose universal is matter. The eternal world has a likeness in the world which belongs to time, but opposed to this there is a second world where change really dwells. The ‘same’ and the ‘other’ are the most abstract opposes that we hitherto have had. The eternal world as posited in time has thus two forms—the form of similarity and the form of differentiality, of variability. The three moments as they appear in the last sphere, are, in the first place, simple essence which is begotten, which has arisen, or determinate matter; secondly the place in which it is begotten, and thirdly that in which what is begotten has its pattern. Plato gives them thus: “Essence (ὄν), place, and generation.” We thus have the conclusion in which space is the mean between individual generation and the universal. If we now oppose this principle to time in its negativity, the mean is this principle of the ‘other’ as the universal principle—“a receiving medium like a mother”—an essence which contains everything, gives to everything an independent subsistence and the power to do as is desired. This principle is destitute of form, yet capable of receiving all forms, the universal principle of all that appears different; it is the false passive matter that we[86] understand when we speak of it—the relative substantial, existence generally, but external existence here, and only abstract Being-for-self. Form is in our reflection distinguished from it, and this, Plato tells us, first comes into existence through the mother. In this principle we have what we call the phenomenal, for matter is just this subsistence of individual generation, in which division is posited. But what appears herein is not to be posited as the individual of earthly existence, but is to be apprehended as the universal in such determinateness. Since matter, as the universal, is the principle of all that is individual, Plato in the first place reminds us that we cannot speak of these sensuous things—fire, water, earth, air, &c. (which thus once more come before us here); for hereby they are expressed as a fixed determination which remains as such—but what remains is only their universality, or they, as universal, are only the fiery, earthly, &c.[56]

Plato further expounds the determinate reality of these sensuous things, or their simple determinateness. In this world of change form is figure in space; for as in the world, which is the immediate image of the eternal, time is the absolute principle, here the absolute ideal principle is pure matter as such, i.e. the existence of space. Space is the ideal essence of this phenomenal world, the mean which unites positivity and negativity, but its determinations are figures. And, indeed, of the different dimensions of space, it is surface which must be taken as true reality, for it is the absolute mean between the line and point in space, and in its first real limitation it is three; similarly the triangle is first among the figures, while the circle has no limit as such within it. Here Plato comes to the deduction of configuration, in which the triangle forms the principle; thus triangles form the essence of sensuous things. Hence he says, in Pythagorean fashion, that the compounding and[87] uniting together of these triangles, as their Idea pertaining to the mean, constitutes once more, according to the original number-relations, the sensuous elements. This is the principle, but how Plato determines the figures of the elements, and the union of the triangles, I refrain from considering.[57]

From this point Plato passes to a system of Physics and Physiology into which we have no intention of following him. It is to be regarded as a first, childlike endeavour to understand sensuous phenomena in their manifold character, but as yet it is superficial and confused. Sensuous manifestations, such as the parts and limbs of the body, are here taken into consideration, and an account of this is given intermingled with thoughts which resemble our formal explanations, and in which the Notion really vanishes. We have to remember the elevated nature of the Idea, as being the main point of excellence in his explanations, for, as far as the realization of the same is concerned, Plato merely felt and expressed it to be a necessity. Speculative thought is often recognizable, but, for the most part, consideration is directed to quite external modes of explanation, such as that of end. The method of treating Physics is a different one from ours, for while with Plato empirical knowledge is still deficient, in modern Physics, on the other hand, the deficiency is found in the Idea. Plato, although he does not seem to conform to our theory of Physics, ignoring as it does the theory of life, and though he proceeds to talk in a childlike way in external analogies, yet in certain cases gives utterance to very deep perceptions, which would be well worthy of our consideration if the contemplation of nature as living had any place with our physicists. His manner of relating the physiological to the physical would be as interesting. Certain portions of his system contain a general element, such as his representation[88] of colours, and from this he goes on to more general considerations. For when Plato begins to talk on this subject, he says of the difficulty of distinguishing and recognizing the individual, that in the contemplation of nature there are “two causes to be distinguished, the one necessary and the other divine. The divine must be sought for in all things with the view of attaining to a blessed life” (this endeavour is an end in and for itself, and in it we find happiness) “in as far as our nature admits, but the necessary causes need be sought only for the sake of divine things, considering that without these necessary causes” (as conditions of knowledge) “we cannot know them.” Contemplation in accordance with necessity is the external contemplation of objects, their connection, relation, &c. “Of the divine, God Himself was the creator,” the divine belongs to that first eternal world—not as to one beyond, but to one now present. “But the creation and disposition of the mortal He committed to His offspring (γεννήμασι).” This is a simple way of passing from the divine to the finite and earthly. “Now they, imitating the divine, because they had received the immortal principle of a soul, fashioned a mortal body, and placed in this a soul of another nature, which was mortal. This mortal nature was subject to violent and irresistible affections—the first of these was pleasure, the greatest incitement to evil, and then pain which is the deterrent (φυγάς) from doing good; also rashness (θάῤῥος) and fear, two foolish counsellors; anger, hope, &c. These sensations all belong to the mortal soul. And that the divine might not be polluted more than necessary, the subordinate gods separated this mortal nature from the seat of the divine, and gave it a different habitation in another part of the body, placing the neck so as to be the isthmus and boundary between head and breast.” The sensations, affections, &c., dwell in the breast or in the heart (we place that which is immortal in the heart); the[89] spiritual is in the head. But in order to make the former as perfect as might be, “they placed,” for instance, “as a supporter to the heart which was burnt with passion, the lung, soft and bloodless, and which had within it hollows like the pores of a sponge, in order that, receiving the breath and drink, it might cool the heart and allow of refreshment and an alleviation of the heat.”[58]

What Plato says of the liver is specially worthy of notice. “Since the irrational part of the soul which desires eating and drinking does not listen to reason, God made the liver so that the soul might be inspired with terror by the power of thought which originates from reason, and which descends upon the liver as on a mirror, receiving upon it figures and giving back images. But if this part of the soul is once more assuaged, in sleep it participates in visions. For the authors of our being, remembering the command of their father to make the human race as good as they could, thus ordered our inferior parts in order that they also might obtain a measure of truth, and placed the oracle in them.” Plato thus ascribes divination to the irrational, corporeal part of man, and although it is often thought that revelation, &c., is by Plato ascribed to reason, this is a false idea; he says that there is a reason, but in irrationality. “Herein we have a conclusive proof that God has given the art of divination to the irrationality of man, for no man when in his wits, attains prophetic truth and inspiration, but when he receives the inspiration either his intelligence is enthralled by sleep or he is demented by some distemper or possession.” Thus Plato makes divination of a lower grade than conscious knowledge. “And when he has recovered his senses he has to remember and explain what he has received, for while he is demented, he cannot judge of it. The ancient saying is therefore very true, that only a man who has his wits can act or judge[90] about himself or his own affairs.”[59] Plato is called the patron saint of mere possession, but, according to this, the assertion is entirely false. These are the principal points in Plato’s Philosophy of Nature.

3. Philosophy of Mind.

We have already dealt generally from the theoretical side with the speculative nature of mind as yet unrealized, as well as with the highly important differences with respect to the kinds of knowledge (pp. 28-48). It must also be considered that we find in Plato as yet no developed consciousness of the organization of the theoretic mind, though certainly sensation, memory, &c., are distinguished by him from reason; these moments of the mind are, however, neither accurately discriminated, nor exhibited in their connection, so as to show the necessary relations between them. The only point of interest for us then in Plato’s philosophy of mind is his view of man’s moral nature; and this real, practical side of consciousness is Plato’s greatest glory, and hence must now be specially dealt with by us. Its form certainly does not suggest that Plato gave himself much trouble to discover a supreme moral principle, as it is now called, which, for the very reason that it is supposed to be all-embracing, has in it a certain lack of content. Neither did he trouble himself about a natural right, which is but a trivial abstraction foisted on to the real practical existence, the right; but it is of man’s moral nature that he treats in the Republic. Man’s moral nature seems to us to have little to do with the State; to Plato, however, the reality of mind—that is, of mind as opposed to nature—appeared in its highest truth as the organization of a state which, as such, is essentially moral; and he recognized that the moral nature[91] (free will in its rationality) comes to its right, to its reality, only in an actual nation.

We must further remark that in the Republic Plato introduces the investigation of his subject with the object of showing what justice (δικαιοσύνη) is. After much discussion has taken place, and several definitions of justice have been taken into consideration only to be rejected, Plato at last says in his simple way: “The present investigation is very like the case of a man who is required to read small handwriting at a distance; if it were observed that the same letters were to be seen at a shorter distance and of a larger size, he would certainly prefer to read first the letters where they were written larger, and then would be able to read more easily the small letters also. The same plan should be followed now with justice. Justice is not only in the individual, but also in the state, and the state is greater than the individual; justice is therefore imprinted on states in larger characters, and is more easily recognizable.” (This is different from what the Stoics say of the wise man.) “It is therefore preferable to consider justice as it is to be found in the state.”[60] By making this comparison Plato transforms the question anent justice into an investigation of the state; it is a very simple and graceful transition, though it seems arbitrary. It was great force of insight that really led the ancients to the truth; and what Plato brings forward as merely simplifying the difficulty, may, in fact, be said to exist in the nature of the thing. For it is not convenience which leads him to this position, but the fact that justice can be carried out only in so far as man is a member of a state, for in the state alone is justice present in reality and truth. Justice, not as the understanding, but as mind in its striving to realize itself, is the existence of freedom here and now, the actuality of the self-conscious, intelligent existence in and[92] at home with itself and possessing activity—just as in property, for instance, I place my freedom in this particular thing. But the principle of the state again is the objective reality of justice, the reality in which the whole mind is present and not only the knowledge of myself as this individual. For as the free and reasonable will determines itself, there are laws of freedom; but these laws are nothing else than state-laws, for the Notion of the state implies the existence of a reasoning will. Thus laws have force in the state, and are there matter of practice and of custom; but because self-will is also there in its immediacy, they are not only matter of custom, but must also be a force operating against arbitrary self-will, and showing itself in the courts of justice and in governments. Thus Plato, in order to discern the features of justice, with the instinct of reason fixes his attention on their manner of representation in the state.

Justice in itself is ordinarily represented by us in the form of a natural right, right in a condition of nature; such a condition of nature is, however, a direct moral impossibility. That which is in itself is, by those who do not attain to the universal, held to be something natural, as the necessary moments of the mind are held to be innate ideas. The natural is rather what should be sublated by the mind, and the justice of the condition of nature can only emerge as the absolute injustice of the mind. In contrast with the state, which is the real spirit, the spirit in its simple and as yet unrealized Notion is the abstract implicitude; this Notion must of course precede the construction of its reality; it is this which is conceived of as a condition of nature. We are accustomed to take our start from the fiction of a condition of nature, which is truly no condition of mind, of reasonable will, but of animals among themselves: wherefore Hobbes has justly remarked that the true state of nature is a war of every man against his neighbour. This implicitude of the mind is at the same[93] time the individual man, for in the ordinary conception the universal separates itself from the particular, as if the particular were absolutely and in and for itself what it certainly is, and the Universal did not make it that which it is in truth—as if this were not its essence, but as if the individual element were the most important. The fiction of a state of nature starts from the individuality of the person, his free will, and his relation to other persons according to this free will. Natural justice has thus been a term applied to that which is justice in the individual and for the individual; and the condition of society and of the state has been recognized only as a medium for the individual person, who is the chief end and object. Plato, in direct contrast with this, lays as his foundation the substantial, the universal, and he does this in such a way that the individual as such has this very universal as his end, and the subject has his will, activity, life and enjoyment in the state, so that it may be called his second nature, his habits and his customs. This moral substance which constitutes the spirit, life and Being of individuality, and which is its foundation, systematizes itself into a living, organic whole, and at the same time it differentiates itself into its members, whose activity signifies the production of the whole.

This relation of the Notion to its reality certainly did not come into consciousness with Plato, and thus we do not find in him a philosophic method of construction, which shows first the absolute Idea, then the necessity, inherently existent, for its realization, and this realization itself. The judgment that has been delivered respecting Plato’s Republic therefore is that Plato has therein given a so-called ideal for the constitution of a state; this has become proverbial as a sobriquet, in the sense that this conception is a chimera, which may be mentally conceived of—and in itself, as Plato describes it, it is doubtless excellent and true—that it is also capable of being carried out, but only[94] on the condition that men should be of an excellence such as may possibly be present among the dwellers in the moon, but that it is not realizable for men like those on the earth. But since men most be taken as they are, this ideal cannot be realized by reason of men’s wickedness; and to frame such an ideal is therefore altogether idle.

As to this, the first remark to be made is that in the Christian world in general there passes current an ideal of a perfect man which certainly cannot be carried out in the great body of a nation. We may, perhaps, see it realized in monks or Quakers, or other similar pious folk, but a set of melancholy specimens such as these could never form a nation, any more than lice or parasitic plants could exist for themselves, or otherwise than on an organic body. If such men were to constitute a nation, there would have to be an end of this lamb-like gentleness, this vanity which occupies itself exclusively with its own individual self, which pets and pampers itself, and ever has the image and consciousness of its own excellence before its eyes. For life in the universal and for the universal demands, not that lame and cowardly gentleness, but gentleness combined with a like measure of energy, and which is not occupied with itself and its own sins, but with the universal and what is to be done for it. They before whose eyes that false ideal floats of course find men to be always compassed with weakness and depravity, and never find that ideal realized. For they raise into importance the veriest trifles, which no reasonable man would give heed to; and they think such weaknesses and defects are present even when they overlook them. But we need not esteem this forbearance to be generosity; for it rather implies a perception on their part that from what they call weakness and defect proceeds their own destruction, which comes to pass from their making such defects of importance. The man who has them is immediately through himself absolved from them, in so far as he makes nothing of them. The crime[95] is a crime only when they are real to him, and his destruction is in holding them to be something real. Such an ideal must therefore not stand in our way, whatever be the fairness of its form, and this even when it does not appear exactly as it does to monks and Quakers, but, for instance, when it is the principle of renouncing sensuous things, and abandoning energy of action, which principle must bring to nought much that would otherwise be held of value. It is contradictory to try to keep intact all our relationships, for in those that otherwise hold good there always is a side where opposition is encountered. Moreover, what I have already said regarding the relation between philosophy and the state (p. 23 et seq.) shows that the Platonic ideal is not to be taken in this sense. When an ideal has truth in itself through the Notion, it is no chimera, just because it is true, for the truth is no chimera. Such an idea is therefore nothing idle and powerless, but the real. It is certainly permissible to form wishes, but when pious wishes are all that a man has in regard to the great and true, he may be said to be godless. It is just as if we could do nothing, because everything was so holy and inviolable, or as if we refused to be anything definite, because all that is definite has its defects. The true ideal is not what ought to be real, but what is real, and the only real; if an ideal is held to be too good to exist, there must be some fault in the ideal itself, for which reality is too good. The Platonic Republic would thus be a chimera, not because excellence such as it depicts is lacking to mankind, but because it, this excellence, falls short of man’s requirements. For what is real, is rational. The point to know, however, is what exactly is real; in common life all is real, but there is a difference between the phenomenal world and reality. The real has also an external existence, which displays arbitrariness and contingency, like a tree, a house, a plant, which in nature come into existence. What is on the surface in the moral sphere, men’s action, involves much that[96] is evil, and might in many ways be better; men will ever be wicked and depraved, but this is not the Idea. If the reality of the substance is recognized, the surface where the passions battle must be penetrated. The temporal and transitory certainly exists, and may cause us trouble enough, but in spite of that it is no true reality, any more than the particularity of the subject, his wishes and inclinations, are so.

In connection with this observation, the distinction is to be called to mind which was drawn when we were speaking above (pp. 84, 88) of Plato’s Philosophy of Nature: the eternal world, as God holy in Himself, is reality, not a world above us or beyond, but the present world looked at in its truth, and not as it meets the senses of those who hear, see, &c. When we thus study the content of the Platonic Idea, it will become clear that Plato has, in fact, represented Greek morality according to its substantial mode, for it is the Greek state-life which constitutes the true content of the Platonic Republic. Plato is not the man to dabble in abstract theories and principles; his truth-loving mind has recognized and represented the truth, and this could not be anything else than the truth of the world he lived in, the truth of the one spirit which lived in him as well as in Greece. No man can overleap his time, the spirit of his time is his spirit also; but the point at issue is, to recognize that spirit by its content.

On the other hand, a constitution that would be perfect in respect to one nation, is to be regarded as not, perhaps, suitable for every nation. Thus, when it is said that a true constitution does not do for men as they now are, we must no doubt keep in mind that the more excellent a nation’s constitution is, it renders the nation also so much the more excellent; but, on the other hand, since the morals commonly practised form the living constitution, the constitution in its abstraction is nothing at all in its independence; it must relate itself to the common morality, and be filled[97] with the living spirit of the people. It can, therefore, certainly not be said that a true constitution suits any and every nation; and it is quite the case that for men as they are—for instance, as they are Iroquois, Russians, French—not every constitution is adapted. For the nation has its place in history. But as the individual man is trained in the state, that is, as individuality is raised into universality, and the child grows into a man, so is every nation trained; or barbarism, the condition in which the nation is a child, passes over into a rational condition. Men do not remain at a standstill, they alter, as likewise do their constitutions. And the question here is, What is the true constitution which the nation must advance towards; just as it is a question which is the true science of mathematics or of anything else, but not whether children or boys should possess this science, as they must rather be first so educated that they may be capable of understanding it. Thus the true constitution stands before the nation of history, so that it may advance towards it. Every nation in course of time makes such alterations in its existing constitution as will bring it nearer to the true constitution. The nation’s mind itself shakes off its leading-strings, and the constitution expresses the consciousness of what it is in itself,—the form of truth, of self-knowledge. If a nation can no longer accept as implicitly true what its constitution expresses to it as the truth, if its consciousness or Notion and its actuality are not at one, then the nation’s mind is torn asunder. Two things may then occur. First, the nation may either by a supreme internal effort dash into fragments this law which still claims authority, or it may more quietly and slowly effect changes on the yet operative law, which is, however, no longer true morality, but which the mind has already passed beyond. In the second place, a nation’s intelligence and strength may not suffice for this, and it may hold to the lower law; or it may happen that another nation has reached its higher constitution, thereby rising in the scale,[98] and the first gives up its nationality and becomes subject to the other. Therefore it is of essential importance to know what the true constitution is; for what is in opposition to it has no stability, no truth, and passes away. It has a temporary existence, but cannot hold its ground; it has been accepted, but cannot secure permanent acceptance; that it must be cast aside, lies in the very nature of the constitution. This insight can be reached through Philosophy alone. Revolutions take place in a state without the slightest violence when the insight becomes universal; institutions, somehow or other, crumble and disappear, each man agrees to give up his right. A government must, however, recognize that the time for this has come; should it, on the contrary, knowing not the truth, cling to temporary institutions, taking what—though recognized—is unessential, to be a bulwark guarding it from the essential (and the essential is what is contained in the Idea), that government will fall, along with its institutions, before the force of mind. The breaking up of its government breaks up the nation itself; a new government arises,—or it may be that the government and the unessential retain the upper hand.

Thus the main thought which forms the groundwork of Plato’s Republic is the same which is to be regarded as the principle of the common Greek morality, namely, that established morality has in general the relation of the substantial, and therefore is maintained as divine. This is without question the fundamental determination. The determination which stands in contrast to this substantial relation of the individual to established morality, is the subjective will of the individual, reflective morality. This exists when individuals, instead of being moved to action by respect and reverence for the institutions of the state and of the fatherland, from their own convictions, and after moral deliberation, come of themselves to a decision, and determine their actions accordingly. This principle of[99] subjective freedom is a later growth, it is the principle of our modern days of culture: it, however, entered also into the Greek world, but as the principle of the destruction of Greek state-life. It was looked on as a crime, because the spirit, political constitution, and laws of the Greeks were not, and could not be calculated to admit of the rise of this principle within them. Because these two elements were not homogeneous, traditional and conventional morality in Greece was overthrown. Plato recognized and caught up the true spirit of his times, and brought it forward in a more definite way, in that he desired to make this new principle an impossibility in his Republic. It is thus a substantial position on which Plato takes his stand, seeing that the substantial of his time forms his basis, but this standpoint is at the same time relative only, in so far as it is but a Greek standpoint, and the later principle is consciously banished. This is the universal of Plato’s ideal of the state, and it is from this point of view that we must regard it. Investigations as to whether such a state is possible, and the best possible, which start from quite modern points of view, can only lead us astray. In modern states we have freedom of conscience, according to which every individual may demand the right of following out his own interests; but this is excluded from the Platonic idea.

a. I will now indicate more fully the main features, in so far as they possess philosophic interest. Though Plato represents what the state is in its truth, yet this state has a limit, which we shall learn to know, namely, that the individual—in formal justice—is not opposed to this universality, as in the dead constitution of the ideal states founded on the theory of legal right. The content is but the whole; the nature of the individual, no doubt, but as reflecting itself into the universal, not unbending, or as having absolute validity; so that practically the state and the individual are the same in essence. Because Plato thus takes[100] his start from that justice which implies that the just man exists only as a moral member of the state, in dealing with his subject in greater detail, in order to show how this reality of the substantial mind is produced, he in the first place opens up before us the organism of the moral commonwealth, i.e. the differences which lie in the Notion of moral substance. Through the development of these moments it becomes living and existing, but these moments are not independent, for they are held in unity. Plato regards these moments of the moral organism under three aspects, first, as they exist in the state as classes; secondly, as virtues, or moments in morality; thirdly, as moments of the individual subject, in the empirical actions of the will. Plato does not preach the morality of reflection, he shows how traditional morality has a living movement in itself; he demonstrates its functions, its inward organism. For it is inner systematization, as in organic life, and not solid, dead unity, like that of metals, which comes to pass by means of the different functions of the organs which go to make up this living, self-moving unity.

α. Without classes, without this division into great masses, the state has no organism; these great distinctions are the distinction of the substantial. The opposition which first comes before us in the state is that of the universal, in the form of state life and business, and the individual, as life and work for the individual; these two fields of activity are so distinct that one class is assigned to the one, and another to the other. Plato further cites three systems of reality in the moral, the functions (αα) of legislation, counsel, in short, of diligence and foresight in the general behalf, in the interest of the whole as such; (ββ) of defence of the commonwealth against foes from without; (γγ) of care for the individual, the supplying of wants, agriculture, cattle-rearing, the manufacture of clothing and utensils, the building of houses, &c. Speaking generally, this is quite as it should be, and yet it appears[101] to be rather the satisfaction of external necessities, because such wants are found without being developed out of the Idea of mind itself. Further, these distinct functions are allotted to different systems, being assigned to a certain number of individuals specially set apart for the purpose, and this brings about the separate classes of the state, as Plato is altogether opposed to the superficial conception that one and the same must be everything at one time. He accordingly represents three classes, (αα) that of the governors, men of learning and wisdom, (ββ) that of the warriors, (γγ) that of the producers of necessaries, the husbandmen and handicraftsmen. The first he also speaks of as guardians (φύλακας), who are really philosophically educated statesmen, possessing true knowledge; they have the warriors to work on their behalf (ἐπικούρους τε καὶ βοηθούς), but in such a way that there is no line of separation between the civil and military classes, both being united,[61] and the most advanced in years are the guardians.[62] Although Plato does not deduce this division of the classes, they follow from the constitution of the Platonic state, and every state is necessarily a system within itself of these systems. Plato then passes on to particular determinations, which are in some measure trifling, and might with advantage have been dispensed with; for instance, among other things, he goes so far as to settle for the highest rank their special titles, and he states what should be the duties of the nurses.[63]


β. Then Plato points out that the moments which are here realized in the classes, are moral qualities which are present in individuals, and form their true essence, the simple ethical Notion divided into its universal determinations. For he states as the result of this distinction of the classes that through such an organism all virtues are present in the commonwealth; he distinguishes four of these,[64] and they have been named cardinal virtues.

αα. Wisdom (σοφία) or knowledge appears as the first virtue; such a state will be wise and good in counsel, not because of the various kinds of knowledge therein present which have to do with the many particular ordinary occupations falling to the multitude, such as the trade of blacksmith, and the tillage of the soil (in short, what we should call skill in the industrial arts, and in finance). The state is called wise, by reason of the true knowledge which is realized in the presiding and governing class, who advise regarding the whole state, and decide upon the policy that is best, both at home and in relation to foreign states. This faculty of perception is properly the peculiar possession of the smallest class.[65]

ββ. The second virtue is courage (ἀνδρία) which Plato defines as a firm opinion about what may justly and lawfully be considered an object of fear, courage which, in its strength of purpose, remains unshaken either by desires or pleasures. To this virtue corresponds the class of the warriors.[66]

γγ. The third virtue is temperance (σωφροσύνη), the mastery over the desires and passions, which like a harmony pervades the whole; so that, whether understanding, or strength, or numbers, or wealth, or anything else be regarded, the weaker and the stronger work together for one and the same object, and are in agreement one with[103] another. This virtue therefore is not, like wisdom and courage, confined to one part of the state, but like a harmony it is shared by governors and governed alike, and is the virtue of all classes.[67] Notwithstanding that this temperance is the harmony in which all work towards one end, it is yet peculiarly the virtue of the third class, to whom it is allotted to procure the necessaries of life by work, although at the first glance the one does not appear to have much correspondence with the other. But this virtue is present precisely when no moment, no determination or particularity isolates itself; or, more closely viewed in a moral aspect, it is when no want asserts its reality and thus becomes a crime. Now work is just this moment of activity concentrating itself on the particular, which nevertheless goes back into the universal, and is for it. Therefore, if this virtue is universal, it yet has special application to the third class, which at first is the only one to be brought into harmony, as it has not the absolute harmony which the other classes possess in themselves.

δδ. Finally, the fourth virtue is justice, which was what Plato began by considering. This, as right-doing, is to be found in the state when each individual does only one kind of work for the state, that work for which by the original constitution of his nature he is best fitted; so that in this way each man is not a jack-of-all-trades, but all have their special work, young and old, women and children, bond and free, handicraftsmen, rulers and subjects. The first remark we make on this is, that Plato here places justice on a level with the other moments, and it thus appears as one of the four determinations. But he now retracts this statement and makes it justice which first gives to wisdom, courage and temperance the power to exist at all, and when they have once come into existence, the power to continue. This is the reason of his also saying that justice will be met[104] with independently, if only the other virtues spoken of are forthcoming.[68] To express it more definitely, the Notion of justice is the foundation, the Idea of the whole, which falls into organic divisions, so that every part is only, as it were, a moment in the whole, and the whole exists through it. Thus the classes or qualities spoken of are nothing else than the moments of this whole. Justice is only the general and all-pervading quality; but at the same time it implies the independence of every part, to which the state gives liberty of action.

In the second place, it is clear from what he says, that Plato did not understand by justice the rights of property, the meaning which the term commonly bears in jurisprudence, but rather this, that the mind in its totality makes for itself a law as evidence of the existence of its freedom. In a highly abstract sense my personality, my altogether abstract freedom, is present in property. To explain what comes under this science of law, Plato considers on the whole superfluous (De Republica, IV. p. 425 Steph.; p. 176 Bekk.). To be sure we find him giving laws concerning property, police regulations, &c., “But,” he says, “to impose laws about such matters on men of noble character does not repay the trouble.” In truth, how can we expect to find divine laws in what contains contingencies alone? Even in the Laws he considers ethics chiefly, though he gives a certain amount of attention to the rights of property. But as justice, according to Plato, is really the entire being, which presents itself to the individual in such a way that each man learns to do the work he is born to do as well as it can be done, and does it, it is only as determined individuality that man reaches what is law for him; only thus does he belong to the universal spirit of the state, coming in it to the universal of himself as a “this.” While law is a universal with a definite content, and thus a formal[105] universal only, the content in this case is the whole determined individuality, not this or that thing which is mine by the accident of possession; what I properly hold as my own is the perfected possession and use of my nature. To each particular determination justice gives its rights, and thus leads it back into the whole; in this way it is by the particularity of an individual being of necessity developed and brought into actuality, that each man is in his place and fulfils his vocation. Justice, therefore, according to its true conception, is in our eyes freedom in the subjective sense, because it is the attainment of actuality by the reason, and seeing that this right on the part of liberty to attain to actuality is universal, Plato sets up justice as the determination of the whole, indicating that rational freedom comes into existence through the organism of the state,—an existence which is then, as necessary, a mode of nature.

γ. The particular subject, as subject, has in the same way these qualities in himself; and these moments of the subject correspond with the three real moments of the state. That there is thus one rhythm, one type, in the Idea of the state, forms for Plato’s state a great and grand basis. This third form, in which the above moments are exhibited, Plato characterizes in the following manner. There manifest themselves in the subject, first of all sundry wants and desires (ἐπιθυμίαι), like hunger and thirst, each of which has something definite as its one and only object. Work for the satisfaction of desires corresponds to the calling of the third class. But, secondly there is also at the same time to be found in the individual consciousness something else which suspends and hinders the gratification of these desires, and has the mastery over the temptation thus to gratify them; this is reasonableness (λόγος). To this corresponds the class of rulers, the wisdom of the state. Besides these two ideas of the soul there is a third, anger (θυμός), which on one side is allied to the desires, but of which it is just as true that it resists the desires and takes[106] the side of reason. “It may happen that a man has done wrong to another, and suffers hunger and cold at the hands of him whom he considers entitled to inflict them upon him; in this case, the nobler he is, the less will his anger be excited. But it may also happen that he suffers a wrong; if this is the case, he boils and chafes, and takes the side of what he believes to be justice, and endures hunger and cold and other hardships, and overcomes them, and will not desist from the right until he conquers or dies, or is calmed down by reason, as a shepherd quiets his dog.” Anger corresponds with the class of the brave defenders in the state; as these grasp their weapons in behalf of reason within the state, so does anger take the part of reason, if it has not been perverted by an evil up-bringing. Therefore wisdom in the state is the same as in the individual, and this is true of courage also. For the rest, temperance is the harmony of the several moments of what pertains to nature; and justice, as in external matters it consists in each doing his own duty, so, in the inner life, it consists in each moment of the mind obtaining its right, and not interfering in the affairs of the others, but leaving them to do as they will.[69] We have thus the deduction of three moments, where the middle place between universality and particularity is filled by anger in its independence and as directed against the objective: it is the freedom which turns back within itself and acts negatively. Even here, where Plato has no consciousness of his abstract ideas, as he has in the Timæus, this of a truth is inwardly present to him, and everything is moulded thereby. This is given as the plan according to which Plato draws up the great whole. To fill up the outlines is a mere detail, which in itself has no further interest.

b. In the second place Plato indicates the means of maintaining the state. As, speaking generally, the whole[107] commonwealth rests on common morality as the minds of individuals grown into nature, this question is asked: How does Plato arrange that everyone takes as his own that form of activity for which he is specially marked out, and that it presents itself as the moral acting and willing of the individual,—that everyone, in harmony with temperance, submits to filling this his post? The main point is to train the individuals thereto. Plato would produce this ethical quality directly in the individuals, and first and foremost in the guardians, whose education is therefore the most important part of the whole, and constitutes the very foundation. For as it is to the guardians themselves that the care is committed of producing this ethical quality through maintenance of the laws, in these laws special attention must be given to the guardians’ education; after that also to the education of the warriors. The condition of affairs in the industrial class causes the state but little anxiety, “for though cobblers should prove poor and worthless, and should be only in appearance what they ought to be, that is no great misfortune for the state.”[70] The education of the presidents should, however, be carried on chiefly by means of philosophic science, which is the knowledge of the universal and absolute. Plato in this passes over the particular means of education, religion, art, science. Further on he speaks again and more in detail on the question of how far music and gymnastic are to be permitted as means. But the poets Homer and Hesiod he banishes from his state, because he thinks their representations of God unworthy.[71] For then began in real earnest an inquiry into the belief in Jupiter and the stories told by Homer, inasmuch as such particular representations had been taken as universal maxims and divine laws. At a certain stage of education childish tales do no harm; but [108]were they to be made the foundation of the truth of morality, as present law, the case would be different. The extermination of the nations which we read of in the writings of the Israelites, the Old Testament, might for instance be taken as a standard of national rights, or we might try to make a precedent of the numerous base acts committed by David, the man of God, or of the horrors which the priesthood, in the person of Samuel, practised and authorized against Saul. Then it would be high time to place these records on a lower level, as something past, something merely historical. Plato would further have preambles to the laws, wherein citizens would be admonished as to their duties, and convinced that these exist, &c.[72] They also should be shown how to choose that which is most excellent, in short, to choose morality.

But here we have a circle: the public life of the state subsists by means of morality, and, conversely, morality subsists by means of institutions. Morals cannot be independent of institutions, that is, institutions cannot be brought to bear on morals through educational establishments or religion only. For institutions must be looked on as the very first condition of morality, for this is the manner in which institutions are subjective. Plato himself gives us to understand how much contradiction he expects to find. And even now his defect is commonly considered to lie in his being too idealistic, while his real deficiency consists in his not being ideal enough. For if reason is the universal force, it is essentially spiritual; thus to the realm of the spiritual belongs subjective freedom, which had already been held up as a principle in the philosophy of Socrates. Therefore reason ought to be the basis of law, and so it is, on the whole. But, on the other hand, conscience, personal conviction,—in short, all the forms of subjective freedom—are essentially therein contained.[109] This subjectivity at first, it is true, stands in opposition to the laws and reason of the state-organism as to the absolute power which desires to appropriate to itself—through the external necessity of wants, in which, however, there is absolute reason—the individual of the family. Individual conscience proceeds from the subjectivity of free-will, connects itself with the whole, chooses a position for itself, and thus makes itself a moral fact. But this moment, this movement of the individual, this principle of subjective freedom, is sometimes ignored by Plato, and sometimes even intentionally disparaged, because it proved itself to be what had wrought the ruin of Greece; and he considers only how the state may best be organized, and not subjective individuality. In passing beyond the principle of Greek morality, which in its substantial liberty cannot brook the rise of subjective liberty, the Platonic philosophy at once grasps the above principle, and in so doing proceeds still farther.

c. In the third place, in regard to the exclusion of the principle of subjective freedom, this forms a chief feature in the Republic of Plato, the spirit of which really consists in the fact, that all aspects in which particularity as such has established its position, are dissolved in the universal,—all men simply rank as man in general.

α. It specially harmonizes with this particular quality of excluding the principle of subjectivity, that Plato in the first place does not allow individuals to choose their own class; this we demand as necessary to freedom. It is not, however, birth which marks off the different ranks, and determines individuals for these; but everyone is tested by the governors of the state, who are the elders of the first class, and have the education of individuals in their hands. According as anyone has natural ability and talents, these elders make choice and selection, and assign each man to a definite occupation.[73] This seems in direct contradiction[110] to our principle, for although it is considered right that to a certain class there should belong a special capacity and skill, it always remains a matter of inclination which class one is to belong to; and with this inclination, as an apparently free choice, the class makes itself for itself. But it is not permitted that another individual should prescribe as to this, or say, for example: “Because you are not serviceable for anything better, you are to be a labourer.” Everyone may make the experiment for himself; he must be allowed to decide regarding his own affairs as subject in a subjective manner, by his own free will, as well as in consideration of external circumstances; and nothing must therefore be put in his way if he says, for instance: “I should like to apply myself to study.”

β. From this determination it further follows that Plato (De Republica, III. pp. 416, 417 Steph.; pp. 162-164 Bekk.) in like manner altogether abolished in his state the principle of private property. For in it individuality, the individual consciousness, becomes absolute; or the person is looked on as implicit, destitute of all content. In law, as such, I rank as “this” implicitly and explicitly. All rank thus, and I rank only because all rank, or I rank only as universal; but the content of this universality is fixed particularity. When in a question of law we have to do with law, as such, to the judges of the case it matters not a whit whether this or that man actually possesses the house, and likewise the contending parties think nothing of the possession of the thing for which they strive, but of right for right’s sake, (as in morality duty is done for duty’s sake): thus a firm hold is kept of the abstraction, and from the content of reality abstraction is made. But Being to Philosophy is no abstraction, but the unity of the universal and reality, or its content. The content has therefore weight only in as far as it is negatively posited in the universal; thus only as returning into it, and not absolutely. In so far as I use things,—not[111] in so far as I have them merely in my possession, or as they have worth for me as existent, as definitely fixed on me,—they stand in living relation to me. With Plato, then, those of the other class (cf. supra, p. 101, note) carry on handicrafts, trade, husbandry, and procure what will satisfy the general requirements, without acquiring personal property by means of their work, for they are all one family, wherein each has his appointed occupation; but the product of the work is common, and he receives as much as he requires both of his own and of the general product. Personal property is a possession which belongs to me as a certain person, and in which my person as such comes into existence, into reality; on this ground Plato excludes it. It remains, however, unexplained how in the development of industries, if there is no hope of acquiring private property, there can be any incentive to activity; for on my being a person of energy very much depends my capacity for holding property. That an end would be put to all strifes and dissensions and hatred and avarice by the abolition of private property, as Plato thinks, (De Republica, V. p. 464 Steph.; pp. 243, 244 Bekk.) may very well be imagined in a general way; but that is only a subordinate result in comparison with the higher and reasonable principle of the right of property: and liberty has actual existence only so far as property falls to the share of the person. In this way we see subjective freedom consciously removed by Plato himself from his state.

γ. For the same reason Plato also abolishes marriage, because it is a connection in which persons of opposite sex, as such, remain mutually bound to one another, even beyond the mere natural connection. Plato does not admit into his state family life—the particular arrangement whereby a family forms a whole by itself,—because the family is nothing but an extended personality, a relationship to others of an exclusive character within natural morality,—which certainly is morality, but morality of such[112] a character as belongs to the individual as particularity. According to the conception of subjective freedom, however, the family is just as necessary, yea, sacred to the individual as is property. Plato, on the contrary, causes children to be taken away from their mothers immediately after birth, and has them gathered together in a special establishment, and reared by nurses taken from among the mothers who gave them birth; he has them brought up in common, so that no mother can possibly recognize her child. There are certainly to be marriage celebrations, and each man is to have his particular wife, but in such a way that the intercourse of man and wife does not pre-suppose a personal inclination, and that it should not be their own pleasure which marks out individuals for one another. The women should bear children from the twentieth to the fortieth year, the men should have wives from the thirtieth to the fifty-fifth year. To prevent incest, all the children born at the time of a man’s marriage shall be known as his children.[74] The women, whose natural vocation is family life, are by this arrangement deprived of their sphere. In the Platonic Republic it therefore follows that as the family is broken up, and the women no longer manage the house, they are also no longer private persons, and adopt the manners of the man as the universal individual in the state. And Plato accordingly allows the women to take their part like the men in all manly labours, and even to share in the toils of war. Thus he places them on very nearly the same footing as the men, though all the same he has no great confidence in their bravery, but stations them in the rear only, and not even as reserve, but only as arrière-garde, in order that they may at least inspire the foe with terror by their numbers, and, in case of necessity, hasten to give aid.[75]

These are the main features of the Platonic Republic,[113] which has as its essential the suppression of the principle of individuality; and it would appear as though the Idea demanded this, and as if this were the very point on which Philosophy is opposed to the ordinary way of looking at things, which gives importance to the individual, and thus in the state, as also in actualized mind, looks on the rights of property, and the protection of persons and their possessions, as the basis of everything that is. Therein, however, lies the very limit of the Platonic Idea—to emerge only as abstract idea. But, in fact, the true Idea is nothing else than this, that every moment should perfectly realize and embody itself, and make itself independent, while at the same time, in its independence, it is for mind a thing sublated. In conformity with this Idea, individuality must fully realize itself, must have its sphere and domain in the state, and yet be resolved in it. The element of the state is the family, that is, the family is the natural unreasoning state; this element must, as such, be present. Then the Idea of the state constituted by reason has to realize all the moments of its Notion in such a way that they become classes, and the moral substance divides itself into portions, as the bodily substance is separated into intestines and organs, each of which lives on in a particular way of its own, yet all of which together form only one life. The state in general, the whole, must finally pervade all. But in exactly the same way the formal principle of justice, as abstract universality of personality with individual Being as its existent content, must pervade the whole; one class, nevertheless, specially belongs to it. There must, then, also be a class in which property is held immediately and permanently, the possession of the body and the possession of a piece of land alike; and in the next place, a class where acquisition is continually going on, and possession is not immediate, as in the other, but property is ever fluctuating and changing. These two classes the nation gives up as a part of itself to the principle of[114] individuality, and allows rights to reign here, permitting the constant, the universal, the implicit to be sought in this principle, which really is a principle of variability. This principle must have its full and complete reality, it must indeed appear in the shape of property. We have here for the first time the true, actual mind, with each moment receiving its complete independence, and the mind itself attaining to being-another in perfect indifference of Being. Nature cannot effect this production of independent life in her parts, except in the great system.[76] This is, as we shall elsewhere see, the great advance of the modern world beyond the ancient, that in it the objective attains to greater, yea, to absolute independence, but for the very same reason returns with all the greater difficulty into the unity of the Idea.

The want of subjectivity is really the want of the Greek moral idea. The principle which became prominent with Socrates had been present up to this time only in a more subordinate capacity; now it of necessity became an even absolute principle, a necessary moment in the Idea itself. By the exclusion of private property and of family life, by the suspension of freedom in the choice of the class, i.e. by the exclusion of all the determinations which relate to the principle of subjective freedom, Plato believes he has barred the doors to all the passions; he knew very well that the ruin of Greek life proceeded from this, that individuals, as such, began to assert their aims, inclinations, and interests, and made them dominate over the common mind. But since this principle is necessary through the Christian religion—in which the soul of the individual is an absolute end, and thus has entered into the world as necessary in the Notion of the mind—it is seen that the Platonic state-constitution cannot fulfil what the higher demands of a moral organism require. Plato has not recognized the [115]knowledge, wishes, and resolutions of the individual, nor his self-reliance, and has not succeeded in combining them with his Idea; but justice demands its rights for this just as much as it requires the higher resolution of the same, and its harmony with the universal. The opposite to Plato’s principle is the principle of the conscious free will of individuals, which in later times was by Rousseau more especially raised to prominence: the theory that the arbitrary choice of the individual, the outward expression of the individual, is necessary. In this the principle is carried to the very opposite extreme, and has emerged in its utter one-sidedness. In opposition to this arbitrariness and culture there must be the implicitly and explicitly universal, that which is in thought, not as wise governor or morality, but as law, and at the same time as my Being and my thought, i.e. as subjectivity and individuality. Men must have brought forth from themselves the rational along with their interests and their passions, just as it must enter into reality through the necessities, opportunities, and motives that impel them.

There is still another celebrated side of the Platonic philosophy which may be considered, namely æsthetics, the knowledge of the beautiful. In respect to this, Plato has in like manner seized the one true thought, that the essence of the beautiful is intellectual, the Idea of reason. When he speaks of a spiritual beauty, he is to be understood in the sense that beauty, as beauty, is sensuous beauty, which is not in some other place—no one knows where; but what is beautiful to the senses is really the spiritual. The case is the same here as it is with his Idea. As the essence and truth of phenomena in general is the Idea, the truth of phenomenal beauty must also be this Idea. The relation to the corporeal, as a relation of the desires, or of pleasure and utility, is no relation to it as the beautiful; it is a relation to it as the sensuous alone, or a relation of particular to particular. But the essence of the beautiful is just the[116] simple Idea of reason present to the sensuous apprehension as a thing; the content of the thing is nothing else than this.[77] The beautiful is essentially of spiritual nature; it is thus not merely a sensuous thing, but reality subject to the form of universality, to the truth. This universal does not, however, retain the form of universality, but the universal is the content whose form is the sensuous mode; and therein lies the determination of the beautiful. In science, the universal has again the form of the universal or of the Notion; but the beautiful appears as an actual thing—or, when put into words, as a popular conception, in which mode the material exists in mind. The nature, essence, and content of the beautiful is recognized and judged by reason alone, as its content is the same as that of Philosophy. But because reason appears in the beautiful in material guise, the beautiful ranks below knowledge, and Plato has for this very reason placed the true manifestation of reason in knowledge, where it is spiritually manifested.

This may be regarded as the kernel of Plato’s philosophy. His standpoint is: first, the contingent form of speech, in which men of noble and unfettered nature converse without other interest than that of the theory which is being worked out; secondly, led on by the content, they reach the deepest Notions and the finest thoughts, like jewels on which one stumbles, if not exactly in a sandy desert, yet at least upon the arid path; in the third place, no systematic connection is to be found, though one interest is the source of all; in the fourth place, the subjectivity of the Notion is lacking throughout; but in the fifth place, the substantial Idea forms the principle.

Plato’s philosophy had two stages through which it of necessity developed and worked its way up to a higher principle. The universal which is in reason had first to fall into two divisions opposed to each other in the most direct [117]and unmitigated contradiction, in the independence of the personal consciousness which exists for itself: thus in the New Academy self-consciousness goes back into itself, and becomes a species of scepticism—the negative reason, which turns against all that is universal, and fails to find the unity of self-consciousness and the universal, coming accordingly to a standstill at that point. But, in the second place, the Neo-Platonists constitute the return, this unity of self-consciousness and the absolute essence; to them God is directly present in reason, reasoned knowledge itself is the Divine Spirit, and the content of this knowledge is the Being of God. Both of these we shall consider later.

B. Aristotle.

Here we leave Plato, and we do so with regret. But seeing that we pass to his disciple, Aristotle, we fear that it behoves us to enter even more into detail, since he was one of the richest and deepest of all the scientific geniuses that have as yet appeared—a man whose like no later age has ever yet produced. Because we still possess so large a number of his works, the extent of the material at hand is proportionately greater; unfortunately, however, I cannot give to Aristotle the amount of attention that he deserves. For we shall have to confine ourselves to a general view of his philosophy, and simply remark on one particular phase of it, viz. in how far Aristotle in his philosophy carried out what in the Platonic principle had been begun, both in reference to the profundity of the ideas there contained, and to their expansion; no one is more comprehensive and speculative than he, although his methods are not systematic.

As regards the general character of Aristotle’s writings, he may be said to have extended his attention to the whole circle of human conceptions, to have penetrated all regions of the actual universal, and to have brought under the subjection of the Notion both their riches and their diversitude.[118] For most of the philosophic sciences have to render thanks to him both for their characterization and first commencement. But although in this way Science throughout falls into a succession of intellectual determinations of determinate Notions, the Aristotelian philosophy still contains the profoundest speculative Notions. Aristotle proceeds in reference to the whole in the same way as in the individual case. But a general view of his philosophy does not give us the impression of its being in construction a self-systematized whole, of which the order and connection pertain likewise to the Notion; for the parts are empirically selected and placed together in such a way that each part is independently recognized as a determinate conception, without being taken into the connecting movement of the science. We need not try to demonstrate necessity from the standpoint of the philosophy of that time. But although Aristotle’s system does not appear to be developed in its parts from the Notion, and its parts are merely ranged side by side, they still form a totality of truly speculative philosophy.

One reason for treating of Aristotle in detail rests in the fact that no philosopher has had so much wrong done him by the thoughtless traditions which have been received respecting his philosophy, and which are still the order of the day, although for centuries he was the instructor of all philosophers. For to him views are ascribed diametrically opposite to his philosophy. And while Plato is much read, the treasures contained in Aristotle have for centuries, and until quite modern times, been as good as unknown, and the falsest prejudices reign respecting him. Almost no one knows his speculative and logical works; in modern times more justice has been done to his writings regarding nature, but not to his philosophic views. For instance, there is a quite generally held opinion that the Aristotelian and Platonic philosophies are directly opposed, the one being idealistic and the other realistic, and that, indeed, in the most trivial sense. For Plato is said to have[119] made the ideal his principle, so that the inward idea creates from itself; according to Aristotle, on the contrary, we are told that the soul is made a tabula rasa, receiving all its determinations quite passively from the outer world; and his philosophy is thus mere empiricism—Locke’s philosophy at its worst. But we shall see how little this really is the case. In fact Aristotle excels Plato in speculative depth, for he was acquainted with the deepest kind of speculation—idealism—and in this upholds the most extreme empirical development. Quite false views respecting Aristotle even now exist in France. An example of how tradition blindly echoes opinions respecting him, without having observed from his works whether they are justified or not, is the fact that in the old Æsthetics the three unities of the drama—action, time and place—were held to be règles d’Aristote, la saine doctrine. But Aristotle speaks (Poet. c. 8 et 5)[78] only of the unity of treatment, or very occasionally of the unity of time; of the third unity, that of place, he says nothing.

As regards Aristotle’s life, he was born at Stagira, a Thracian town on the Strymonian Gulf, but a Greek colony. Thus, though a Thracian, he was by birth a Greek. This Greek colony fell, however, like The rest of the country, under the rule of Philip of Macedon. The year of Aristotle’s birth is the first of the 99th Olympiad (384 B.C.), and if Plato was born in the third year of the 87th Olympiad (430 B.C.), Aristotle must have been forty-six years younger than he. His father Nicomachus was physician to the Macedonian king, Amyntas, the father of Philip. After the death of his parents, whom he lost early, he was brought up by a certain Proxenus, to whom he was ever grateful; [120]and during all his life he held the memory of this friend in such high esteem, that he honoured it by erecting statues to him. He also requited Proxenus for the education given him, by later on bringing up his son Nicanor, adopting him as his own son and making him his heir. In the seventeenth year of his age Aristotle came to Athens, and remained there twenty years in company with Plato.[79] He thus had the best possible opportunity of becoming thoroughly acquainted with Plato’s philosophy, and therefore, if we are told that he did not understand it (Vol. I p. 167), this is shown, by the evident facts of the case, to be an arbitrary and quite unfounded assumption. As regards the relation of Plato to Aristotle, and particularly as regards the fact that Plato did not select Aristotle as his successor in the Academy, but chose Speusippus, a near relative, instead, a number of idle and contradictory anecdotes have come to us from Diogenes (V. 2). If the continuation of the Platonic school was designed to express the hope that the philosophy of Plato, as comprehended by himself, was to be there satisfactorily maintained, Plato could certainly not designate Aristotle as his successor, and Speusippus was the right man to be selected. However, Plato had nevertheless Aristotle as his successor, for Aristotle understood Philosophy in Plato’s sense, though his philosophy was deeper and more worked out, and thus he carried it further. Displeasure at being thus passed over is said to have been the cause of Aristotle’s leaving Athens after Plato’s death, and living for three years with Hermias, the Tyrant of Atarneus in Mysia, who had been a disciple of Plato along with Aristotle, and who had then struck up a close friendship with the latter. Hermias, an independent prince, was, together with other absolute Greek princes [121]and some Republics, brought under the subjection of a Persian satrap in Asia Minor. Hermias was even sent as prisoner to Artaxerxes in Persia, and he at once caused him to be crucified. In order to avoid a similar fate, Aristotle fled with his wife Pythias, the daughter of Hermias, to Mitylene, and lived there for some time. He, however, erected a statue to Hermias in Delphi, with an inscription which has been preserved. From it we know that it was by cunning and treachery that he came under the power of the Persians. Aristotle also honoured his name in a beautiful hymn on Virtue, which has likewise come down to us.[80]

From Mitylene he was (Ol. 109, 2; 343 B.C.) summoned by Philip of Macedon to undertake the education of Alexander, who was then fifteen years old. Philip had already invited him to do this in the well-known letter that he addressed to him just after Alexander’s birth: “Know that a son is born to me, but I thank the gods less that they have given him to me, than that they have caused him to be born in your time. For I hope that your care and your wisdom will make him worthy of me and of his future kingdom.”[81] It certainly would appear to be a brilliant historic destiny to be the instructor of an Alexander, and Aristotle at this court enjoyed the favour and esteem of Philip and of Olympias in the highest degree. What became of Aristotle’s pupil is known to all, and the greatness of Alexander’s mind and deeds, as also his enduring friendship, are the best witnesses of the success, as also of the spirit of this up-bringing, if Aristotle required such testimony. Alexander’s education utterly refuted the common talk about the practical uselessness of speculative philosophy. Aristotle had in Alexander another and worthier pupil than Plato found in Dionysius. Plato’s great [122]interest was his Republic, the ideal of a state; he enters into relation with a person through whom it might be carried out; the individual was thus to him a medium only, and in so far indifferent to him. With Aristotle, on the other hand, this purpose was not present, he merely had the simple individual before him; and his end was to bring up and to develop the individuality as such. Aristotle is known to be a profound, thorough, and abstract metaphysician, and it is evident that he meant seriously with Alexander. That Aristotle did not follow with Alexander the ordinary superficial method of educating princes, might be confidently expected from the earnestness of one who well knew what was truth and true culture. It is also evident from the circumstance that Alexander, while in the midst of his conquests in the heart of Asia, when he heard that Aristotle had made known his acroamatic doctrines in speculative (metaphysical) writings, wrote him a reproachful letter, in which he said that he should not have made known to the common people what the two had worked out together. To this Aristotle replied that, though published, they were really just as much unpublished as before.[82]

This is not the place to estimate Alexander as an historic personage. What can be ascribed in Alexander’s education to Aristotle’s philosophic instruction is the fact that what was natural to him, the inherent greatness of his mental disposition, acquired inward freedom also, and became elevated into the perfect, self-conscious independence which we see in his aims and deeds. Alexander attained to that perfect certainty of himself which the infinite boldness of thought alone gives, and to an independence of particular and limited projects, as also to their elevation into the entirely universal end of bringing about in the world a social life and intercourse of a mutual kind, through the foundation[123] of states which were free from contingent individuality. Alexander thus carried out the plan which his father had already conceived, which was, at the head of the Greeks, to avenge Europe upon Asia, and to subject Asia to Greece; so that as it was in the beginning of Greek history that the Greeks were united, and that only for the Trojan war, this union likewise brought the Greek world proper to an end. Alexander thereby also avenged the faithlessness and cruelty perpetrated by the Persians on Aristotle’s friend Hermias. But Alexander further disseminated Greek culture over Asia, in order to elevate into a Greek world this wild medley of utter barbarism, bent solely on destruction, and torn by internal dissensions, these lands entirely sunk in indolence, negation, and spiritual degeneracy. And if it be said that he was merely a conqueror who was unable to establish an enduring kingdom, because his kingdom at his death once more fell to pieces, we must acknowledge that, from a superficial view of the case, this is true, as his family did not retain their rule; Greek rule was, however, maintained. Thus Alexander did not found an extensive kingdom for his family, but he founded a kingdom of the Greek nation over Asia; for Greek culture and science have since his time taken root there. The Greek kingdoms of Asia Minor, and particularly of Egypt, were for centuries the home of science; and their influence may have extended as far as to India and to China. We certainly do not know definitely whether the Indians may not have obtained what is best in their sciences in this way, but it is probable that at least the more exact portion of Indian astronomy came to them from Greece. For it was from the Syrian kingdom, stretching into Asia Minor as far as to a Greek kingdom in Bactria, that there was doubtless conveyed to the interior of India and China, by means of Greek colonies migrating thither, the meagre scientific knowledge which has lingered there like a tradition, though it has never flourished. For the Chinese, for[124] example, are not skilful enough to make a calendar of their own, or to think for themselves. Yet they exhibited ancient instruments unsuited to any work done by them, and the immediate conjecture was that these had come from Bactria. The high idea that men had of the sciences of the Indians and of the Chinese hence is false.

According to Ritter (Erdkunde, Vol. II. p. 839, of the first edition), Alexander did not set out merely with a view of conquering, but with the idea that he was the Lord. I do not think that Aristotle placed this notion, which was connected with another Oriental conception, in the mind of Alexander. The other idea is that in the East the name of Alexander still flourishes as Ispander, and as Dul-k-ar-nein, i.e. the man with two horns, just as Jupiter Ammon is an ancient Eastern hero. The question would now be whether the Macedonian kings did not, through their descent from the ancient race of Indian heroes, claim to rule this land; by this the progress of Dionysius from Thrace to India could likewise be explained; whether the “knowledge of this was not the real and fundamental religious idea inspiring the young hero’s soul when, before his journey to Asia, he found on the lower Ister (Danube) Indian priestly states where the immortality of the soul was taught, and when, certainly not without the counsel of Aristotle, who, through Plato and Pythagoras, was initiated into Indian wisdom, he began the march into the East, and first of all visited the Oracle of Ammonium (now Siwah), and then destroyed the Persian kingdom and burnt Persepolis, the old enemy of Indian religion, in order to take revenge upon it for all the violence exercised through Darius on the Buddhists and their co-religionists.” This is an ingenious theory, formed from a thorough investigation of the connection which exists between Oriental and European ideas from the higher point of view in history. But, in the first place, this conjecture is contrary to the historical basis on which I take my stand.[125] Alexander’s expedition has quite another historic, military, and political character than this, and had not much to do with his going to India; it was, on the face of it, an ordinary conquest. In the second place, Aristotle’s metaphysic and philosophy is far from recognizing any such foolish and extravagant imaginations. The elevation of Alexander in the Oriental mind into an acknowledged hero and god, which followed later, is, in the third place, not matter for surprise; the Dalai-Lama is still thus honoured, and God and man are never so very far asunder. Greece likewise worked its way to the idea of a God becoming man, and that not as a remote and foreign image, but as a present God in a godless world: Demetrius Phalereus and others were thus soon after honoured and worshipped in Athens as God. Was the infinite not also now transplanted into self-consciousness? Fourthly, the Buddhists did not interest Alexander, and in his Indian expedition they do not appear; the destruction of Persepolis is, however, sufficiently justified as a measure of Greek vengeance for the destruction by Xerxes of the temples in Greece, especially in Athens.

While Alexander accomplished this great work—for he was the greatest individual at the head of Greece, he ever kept science and art in mind. Just as in modern times we have once more met with warriors who thought of science and of art in their campaigns, we also find that Alexander made an arrangement whereby whatever was discovered in the way of animals and plants in Asia should be sent to Aristotle, or else drawings and descriptions of the same. This consideration on Alexander’s part afforded to Aristotle a most favourable opportunity of collecting treasures for his study of nature. Pliny (Histor. natur. VIII., 17 ed. Bip.) relates that Alexander directed about a thousand men, who lived by hunting, fishing and fowling, the overseers of the zoological gardens, aviaries, and tanks of the Persian kingdom, to supply Aristotle with what was remarkable from[126] every place. In this way Alexander’s campaign in Asia had the further effect of enabling Aristotle to found the science of natural history, and to be the author, according to Pliny, of a natural history in fifty parts.

After Alexander commenced his journey to Asia, Aristotle returned to Athens, and made his appearance as a public teacher in the Lyceum, a pleasure-ground which Pericles had made for the exercising of recruits; it consisted of a temple dedicated to Apollo (Λύκειος), and shady walks (περίπατοι), which were enlivened by trees, fountains and colonnades. It was from these walks that his school received the name of Peripatetics, and not from any walking about on the part of Aristotle—because, it is said, he delivered his discourses usually while walking. He lived and taught in Athens for thirteen years. But after the death of Alexander there broke out a tempest which had, as it appeared, been long held back through fear of Alexander; Aristotle was accused of impiety. The facts are differently stated: amongst other things it is said that his hymn to Hermias and the inscription on the statue dedicated to him were laid to his charge. When he saw the storm gathering, he escaped to Chalcis in Eub\na, the present Negropont, in order, as he himself said, that the Athenians should not have an opportunity of once more sinning against Philosophy. There he died, in the next year, in the sixty-third year of his age, Ol. 114, 3 (322 B.C.).[83]

We derive Aristotle’s philosophy from his writings; but when we consider their history and nature, so far as externals are concerned, the difficulty of deriving a knowledge of his philosophy from them seems much increased. I cannot certainly enter into details regarding these last. Diogenes Laërtius (V. 21-27) mentions a very large number [127]of them, but by their titles we do not always quite know which of those now in our possession are indicated, since the titles are entirely different. Diogenes gives the number of lines as four hundred and forty-five thousand, two hundred and seventy, and, if we count about ten thousand lines in a printer’s alphabet, this gives us forty-four alphabets. What we now have might perhaps amount to about ten alphabets, so that we have only about the fourth part left to us. The history of the Aristotelian manuscripts has been stated to be such that it would really seem impossible, or almost hopeless, that any one of his writings should have been preserved to us in its original condition, and not corrupted. Doubts regarding their genuine character could not in such circumstances fail to exist; and we can only wonder at seeing them come down to us even in the condition in which they are. For, as we have said, Aristotle made them known but little during his lifetime, and he left his writings to Theophrastus, his successor, with the rest of his immense library. This, indeed, is the first considerable library, collected as it was by means of personal wealth along with Alexander’s assistance, and hence it also reveals to us Aristotle’s learning. Later on, it came partially, or in some cases in duplicate, to Alexandria, and formed the basis of the Ptolemaic library, which, on the taking of Alexandria by Julius Cæsar, became a prey to fire. But of the manuscripts of Aristotle himself it is said that Theophrastus left them by will to a certain Neleus, from whom they came into the hands of ignorant men, who either kept them without care or estimation of their value, or else the heirs of Neleus, in order to save them from the Kings of Pergamus, who were very anxious to collect a library, hid them in a cellar, where they lay forgotten for a hundred and thirty years, and thus got into bad condition. Finally, the descendants of Theophrastus found them again after long search, and sold them to Apellicon of Teos, who restored what had been destroyed[128] by worms and mould, but who did not possess the learning or the capacity so to do. Hence others went over them, filled up the blanks as they thought best, replaced what was damaged, and thus they were sufficiently altered. But still it was not enough. Just after Apellicon’s death, the Roman Sulla conquered Athens, and amongst the spoil carried off to Rome were the works of Aristotle. The Romans, who had just begun to become acquainted with Greek science and art, but who did not yet appreciate Greek philosophy, did not know how to profit from this spoil. A Greek, named Tyrannion, later on obtained permission to make use of and publish the manuscripts of Aristotle, and he prepared an edition of them, which, however, also bears the reproach of being inaccurate, for here they had the fate of being given by the dealers into the hands of ignorant copyists, who introduced a number of additional corruptions.[84]

This is the way in which the Aristotelian philosophy has come to us. Aristotle certainly made known much to his contemporaries, that is to say, the writings in the Alexandrian library, but even those works do not seem to have been widely known. In fact, many of them are most corrupt, imperfect, and, as, for example, the Poetics, incomplete. Several of them, such as the Metaphysical treatises, seem to be patched up from different writings, so that the higher criticism can give rein to all its ingenuity, and, according to one clever critic, the matter may with much show of probability be decided in one particular way, while another ingenious person has a different explanation to oppose to this.[85] So much remains certain, that the writings of Aristotle are corrupt, and often both in their details[129] and in the main, not consistent; and we often find whole paragraphs almost verbally repeated. Since the evil is so old, no real cure can certainly be looked for; however, the matter is not so bad as would appear from this description. There are many and important works which may be considered to be entire and uninjured, and though there are others corrupt here and there, or not well arranged, yet, as far as the essentials are concerned, no such great harm has been done as might appear. What we possess therefore places us in a sufficiently good position to form a definite idea of the Aristotelian philosophy, both as a whole, and in many of its details.

But there is still an historic distinction to be noted. For there is an old tradition that Aristotle’s teaching was of a twofold nature and that his writings were of two different kinds, viz. esoteric or acroamatic and exoteric—a distinction which was also made by the Pythagoreans (Vol. I. p 202). The esoteric teaching was given within the Lyceum in the morning, the exoteric in the evening; the latter related to practice in the art of rhetoric and in disputation, as also to civic business, but the other to the inward and more profound philosophy, to the contemplation of nature and to dialectic proper.[86] This circumstance is of no importance; we see by ourselves which of his works are really speculative and philosophic, and which are rather empirical in character; but they are not to be regarded as antagonistic in their content, and as if Aristotle intended some for the people and others for his more intimate disciples.

a. We have first to remark that the name Aristotelian philosophy is most ambiguous, because what is called Aristotelian philosophy has at different times taken very different forms. It first of all signifies Aristotelian philosophy proper. As regards the other forms of the Aristotelian[130] philosophy, however, it had, in the second place, at the time of Cicero, and specially under the name of Peripatetic philosophy, more of the form of a popular philosophy, in which attention was principally directed to natural history and to morals (Vol. I. p. 479). This period does not appear to have taken any interest in working out and bringing to consciousness the deep and properly speaking speculative side of Aristotelian philosophy, and indeed with Cicero there is no notion of it present. A third form of this philosophy is the highly speculative form of the Alexandrine philosophy, which is also called the Neo-Pythagorean or Neo-Platonic philosophy, but which may just as well be called Neo-Aristotelian—the form as it is regarded and worked up by the Alexandrines, as being identical with the Platonic. An important signification of the expression, in the fourth place, is that which it had in the middle ages where, through insufficient knowledge, the scholastic philosophy was designated Aristotelian. The Scholastics occupied themselves much with it, but the form that the philosophy of Aristotle took with them cannot be held by us to be the true form. All their achievements, and the whole extent of the metaphysics of the understanding and formal logic which we discover in them, do not belong to Aristotle at all. Scholasticism is derived only from traditions of the Aristotelian doctrines. And it was not until the writings of Aristotle became better known in the West, that a fifth Aristotelian philosophy was formed, which was in part opposed to the Scholastic—it arose on the decline of scholasticism and with the revival of the sciences. For it was only after the Reformation that men went back to the fountainhead, to Aristotle himself. The sixth signification which Aristotelian philosophy bears, is found in false modern ideas and conceptions, such as those that we find in Tennemann, who is gifted with too little philosophic understanding to be able to grasp the Aristotelian philosophy (Vol. I. p. 113). Indeed, the[131] general opinion of Aristotelian philosophy now held is that it made what is called experience the principle of knowledge.

b. However false this point of view on the one hand is, the occasion for it may be found in the Aristotelian manner. Some particular passages to which in this reference great importance has been given, and which have been almost the only passages understood, are made use of to prove this idea. Hence we have now to speak of the character of the Aristotelian manner. Since in Aristotle, as we already said (p. 118), we need not seek a system of philosophy the particular parts of which have been deduced, but since he seems to take an external point of departure and to advance empirically, his manner is often that of ordinary ratiocination. But because in so doing Aristotle has a quality, altogether his own, of being throughout intensely speculative in his manner, it is further signified that in the first place he has comprehended the phenomenal as a thinking observer. He has the world of appearance before himself complete and in entirety, and sets nothing aside, however common it may appear. All sides of knowledge have entered into his mind, all have interest for him, and he has thoroughly dealt with all. In the empirical details of a phenomenon abstraction may easily be lost sight of, and its application may be difficult: our progress may be one-sided, and we may not be able to reach the root of the matter at all. But Aristotle, because he looks at all sides of the universe, takes up all those units as a speculative philosopher, and so works upon them that the profoundest speculative Notion proceeds therefrom. We saw, moreover, thought first proceeding from the sensuous, and, in Sophistry, still exercising itself immediately in the phenomenal. In perception, in ordinary conception, the categories appear: the absolute essence, the speculative view of these elements, is always expressed in expressing perceptions. This pure essence in perception Aristotle[132] takes up. When, in the second place, he begins conversely with the universal or the simple, and passes to its determination, this looks as if he were enumerating the number of significations in which it appears; and, after dealing with them all, he again passes all their forms in review, even the quite ordinary and sensuous. He thus speaks of the many significations that we find, for example, is the words οὐσία, ἀρχή, αἰτία, ὁμοῦ, &c. It is in some measure wearisome to follow him in this mere enumeration, which proceeds without any necessity being present, and in which the significations, of which a list is given, manifest themselves as comprehended only in their essence, or in that which is common to all, and not in their determinations; and thus the comprehension is only external. But, on the one hand, this mode presents a complete series of the moments, and on the other, it arouses personal investigation for the discovery of necessity. In the third place, Aristotle takes up the different thoughts which earlier philosophers have had, contradicts them—often empirically—justifies them, reasoning in all sorts of ways, and then attains to the truly speculative point of view. And finally, in the fourth place, Aristotle passes on thoughtfully to consider the object itself of which he treats, e.g. the soul, feeling, recollection, thought, motion, time, place, warmth, cold, &c. Because he takes all the moments that are contained within the conception to be, so to speak, united, he does not omit determinations; he does not hold now to one determination and then to another, but takes them as all in one; while reflection of the understanding, which has identity as the rule by which it goes, can only preserve harmony with this by always, while in one determination, forgetting and withholding the other. But Aristotle has the patience to go through all conceptions and questions, and from the investigation of the individual determinations, we have the fixed, and once more restored determination of every object. Aristotle thus forms the Notion, and is in the highest[133] degree really philosophic, while he appears to be only empiric. For Aristotle’s empiricism is a totality because he always leads it back again immediately to speculation; he may thus be said to be a perfect empiricist, yet at the same time a thinking one. If, for example, we take away from space all its empirical determinations, the result will be in the highest degree speculative, for the empirical, comprehended in its synthesis, is the speculative Notion.

In this gathering up of determinations into one Notion, Aristotle is great and masterly, as he also is in regard to the simplicity of his method of progression, and in the giving of his decisions in few words. This is a method of treating of Philosophy which has great efficacy, and which in our time has likewise been applied, e.g. by the French. It deserves to come into larger use, for it is a good thing to lead the determinations of the ordinary conception from an object to thought, and then to unite them in a unity, in the Notion. But undoubtedly this method in one respect appears to be empirical, and that, indeed, in the acceptation of objects as we know them in our consciousness; for if no necessity is present, this still more appears merely to pertain to manner externally regarded. And yet it cannot be denied that with Aristotle the object was not to bring everything to a unity, or to reduce determinations to a unity of opposites, but, on the contrary, to retain each in its determination and thus to follow it up. That may, on the one hand, be a superficial method, e.g. when everything is brought to an empty determinateness, such as those of irritability and sensibility, sthenic and asthenic, but, on the other, it is likewise necessary to grasp reality in simple determinateness, though without making the latter in this superficial way the starting point. Aristotle, on the other hand, simply forsakes determination in another sphere where it no longer has this form; but he shows what it is like here, or what change has taken place within it, and thus it comes to pass that he often treats one determination after the[134] other without showing their connection. However, in his genuine speculation Aristotle is as profound as Plato, and at the same time more developed and explicit, for with him the opposites receive a higher determination. Certainly we miss in him the beauty of Plato’s form, the melodious speech, or, as we might almost call it, chatting—the conversational tone adopted, which is as lively as it is cultured and human. But where in Plato we find, as we do in his Timæus, the speculative Idea definitely expressed in the thesis form, we see in it a lack both of comprehension and purity; the pure element escapes it, while Aristotle’s form of expression is marked both by purity and intelligibility. We learn to know the object in its determination and its determinate Notion; but Aristotle presses further into the speculative nature of the object, though in such a way that the latter remains in its concrete determination, and Aristotle seldom leads it back to abstract thought-determinations. The study of Aristotle is hence inexhaustible, but to give an account of him is difficult, because his teaching must be reduced to universal principles. Thus in order to set forth Aristotelian philosophy, the particular content of each thing would have to be specified. But if we would be serious with Philosophy, nothing would be more desirable than to lecture upon Aristotle, for he is of all the ancients the most deserving of study.

c. What ought to come next is the determination of the Aristotelian Idea, and here we have to say, in quite a general way, that Aristotle commences with Philosophy generally, and says, in the first place, regarding the value of Philosophy (in the second chapter of the first book of the Metaphysics), that the object of Philosophy is what is most knowable, viz. the first and original causes, that is, the rational. For through these and from these all else is known, but principles do not become known through the facts which form their groundwork (ὑποκείμενα). In this we already have the opposite to the ordinary point of[135] view. Aristotle has further declared the chief subject of investigation, or the most essential knowledge (ἐπιστήμη ἀρχικωτάτη) to be the knowledge of end; but this is the good in each thing and, generally speaking, the best in the whole of nature. This also holds good with Plato and Socrates; yet the end is the true, the concrete, as against the abstract Platonic Idea. Aristotle then says of the value of Philosophy, “Men have begun to philosophize through wonder,” for in it the knowledge of something higher is at least anticipated. “Thus since man, to escape from ignorance, began to philosophize, it is clear that for the sake of knowledge he followed after knowledge, and not for any utility which it might possess for him. This is also made evident by the whole course of its external history. For it was after men had done with all their absolute requirements, and with what concerns their comfort, that they first began to seek this philosophic knowledge. We hence seek it not for the sake of any outside utility that it may have. And thus as we say that a free man is he who exists on his own account and not for another, Philosophy is the only science that is free, because it alone exists for itself—it is knowledge on account of knowledge. Therefore in justice it will not be held to be a human possession,” in the sense that, as we said above, (p. 11) it is not in the possession of a man. “For in many ways the nature of man is dependent, so that, according to Simonides, God alone possesses the prerogative (γέρας), and yet it is unworthy on man’s part not to seek after the science that is in conformity with his own condition (τὴν καθ̓ αὑτὸν ἐπιστήνην). But if the poets were right, and envy characterized divinity, all who would aim higher must be unfortunate;” Nemesis punishes whatever raises itself above the commonplace, and makes everything again equal. “But the divine cannot be jealous,” i.e. cannot refuse to impart that which it is, as if this knowledge should not come to man (supra, pp. 72, 73) “and—according[136] to the proverb—the poets utter many falsehoods. Nor ought we to consider that any science is more entitled to honour than the one we now investigate, for that which is most divine, is also most worthy of honour.” That is to say, what has and imparts what is best is honoured: the gods are thus to be honoured because they have this knowledge. “God is held to be the cause and principle of everything, and therefore God has this science alone, or for the most part.” But for this reason it is not unworthy of man to endeavour to seek the highest good which is in conformity with him, this knowledge pertaining to God. “All other sciences are, however, more requisite than Philosophy, but none more excellent.”

It is difficult to give a more detailed account of the Aristotelian philosophy, the universal Idea with the more important elements, for Aristotle is much more difficult to comprehend than Plato. In the latter there are myths, and we can pass over the dialectic and yet say that we have read Plato; but with Aristotle we enter at once upon what is speculative. Aristotle always seems to have philosophized only respecting the individual and particular, and not to have risen from it to the thought of the absolute and universal, to the thought of God; he always goes from the individual to the individual. His task concerns what is, and is just as clearly divided off as a professor has his work divided into a half year’s course; and though in this course he examines the whole of the world of conception, he yet appears only to have recognized the truth in the particular, or only a succession of particular truths. This has nothing dazzling about it, for he does not appear to have risen to the Idea (as Plato speaks of the nobility of Idea), nor to have led back to it the individual. But if Aristotle on the one hand did not logically abstract the universal Idea, (for then his so-called logic, which is something very different, would have had as its principle the recognition of one Notion in all) on the other[137] hand there appears in Aristotle the one Absolute, the idea of God, as itself a particular, in its place beside the others, although it is all Truth. It is as if we said, “there are plants, animals, men, and also God, the most excellent of all.”

From the whole list of conceptions which Aristotle enumerates, we shall now select some for further examination, and I will first speak of his metaphysics and its determinations. Then I will deal with the particular sciences which have been treated by Aristotle, beginning by giving the fundamental conception of nature as it is constituted with Aristotle; in the third place I will say something of mind, of the soul and its conditions, and finally the logical books of Aristotle will follow.

1. The Metaphysics.

Aristotle’s speculative Idea is chiefly to be gathered from his Metaphysics, especially from the last chapters of the twelfth book (Λ) which deal with the divine Thought. But this treatise has the peculiar drawback noticed above (p. 128) of being a compilation, several treatises having been combined into one. Aristotle and the ancients did not know this work by the name of the Metaphysics; it was by them called πρώτη φιλοσοφία.[87] The main portion of this treatise has a certain appearance of unity given to it by the connection of the argument,[88] but it cannot be said that the style is orderly and lucid. This pure philosophy Aristotle very clearly distinguishes (Metaph. IV. 1) from the other sciences as “the science of that which is, in so far as it is, and of what belongs to it implicitly and explicitly.” The main object which Aristotle has in view (Metaph. VII. 1) is the definition of what this substance (οὐσία) really is.[138] In this ontology or, as we call it, logic, he investigates and minutely distinguishes four principles (Metaph. I. 3): first, determination or quality as such, the wherefore of anything, essence or form; secondly, the matter; thirdly, the principle of motion; and fourthly, the principle of final cause, or of the good. In the later part of the Metaphysics Aristotle returns repeatedly to the determination of the Ideas, but here also a want of connection of thought appears, even though all is subsequently united into an entirely speculative Notion.

To proceed, there are two leading forms, which Aristotle characterizes as that of potentiality (δύναμις) and that of actuality (ἐνέργεια); the latter is still more closely characterized as entelechy (ἐντελεχεια) or free activity, which has the end (τὸ τέλος) in itself, and is the realization of this end. These are determinations which occur repeatedly in Aristotle, especially in the ninth book of the Metaphysics, and which we must be familiar with, if we would understand him. The expression δύναμις is with Aristotle the beginning, the implicit, the objective; also the abstract universal in general, the Idea, the matter, which can take on all forms, without being itself the form-giving principle. But with an empty abstraction such as the thing-in-itself Aristotle has nothing to do. It is first in energy or, more concretely, in subjectivity, that he finds the actualizing form, the self-relating negativity. When, on the other hand, we speak of Being, activity is not yet posited: Being is only implicit, only potentiality, without infinite form. To Aristotle the main fact about Substance is that it is not matter merely (Metaph. VII. 3); although in ordinary life this is what is generally taken to be the substantial. All that is contains matter, it is true, all change demands a substratum (ὑποκείμενον) to be affected by it; but because matter itself is only potentiality, and not actuality—which belongs to form—matter cannot truly exist without the activity of form (Metaph. VIII. 1, 2). With Aristotle δύναμις does[139] not therefore mean force (for force is really an imperfect aspect of form), but rather capacity which is not even undetermined possibility; ἐνέργεια is, on the other hand, pure, spontaneous activity. These definitions were of importance throughout all the middle ages. Thus, according to Aristotle, the essentially absolute substance has potentiality and actuality, form and matter, not separated from one another; for the true objective has most certainly also activity in itself, just as the true subjective has also potentiality.

From this definition we now see clearly the sort of opposition in which the Idea of Aristotle stands to that of Plato, for although the Idea of Plato is in itself essentially concrete and determined, Aristotle goes further. In so far, namely, as the Idea is determined in itself, the relation of the moments in it can be more closely specified, and this relation of the moments to each other is to be conceived of as nothing other than activity. It is easy for us to have a consciousness of what is deficient in the universal, that is, of that which is implicit only. The universal, in that it is the universal, has as yet no reality, for because implicitude is inert, the activity of realization is not yet posited therein. Reason, laws, etc., are in this way abstract, but the rational, as realizing itself, we recognize to be necessary, and therefore we take such universal laws but little into account. Now the standpoint of Plato is in the universal; what he does is to express Being rather as the objective, the Good, the end, the universal. To this, however, the principle of living subjectivity, as the moment of reality, seems to be lacking, or it appears at least to be put in the background. This negative principle seems indeed not to be directly expressed in Plato, but it is essentially contained in his definition of the Absolute as the unity of opposites; for this unity is essentially a negative unity of those opposites, which abrogates their being-another, their opposition, and leads them back into itself. But with Aristotle this negativity,[140] this active efficacy, is expressly characterized as energy; in that it breaks up itself—this independence—abrogating unity, and positing separation; for, as Aristotle says (Metaph. VII. 13), “actuality separates.” The Platonic Idea, on the other hand, is rather that abrogation of opposites, where one of the opposites is itself unity. While, therefore, with Plato the main consideration is the affirmative principle, the Idea as only abstractly identical with itself, in Aristotle there is added and made conspicuous the moment of negativity, not as change, nor yet as nullity, but as difference or determination. The principle of individualization, not in the sense of a casual and merely particular subjectivity, but in that of pure subjectivity, is peculiar to Aristotle. Aristotle thus also makes the Good, as the universal end, the substantial foundation, and maintains this position against Heraclitus and the Eleatics. The Becoming of Heraclitus is a true and real determination, but change yet lacks the determination of identity with itself, the constancy of the universal. The stream is ever changing, yet it is nevertheless ever the same, and is really a universal existence. From this it is at once evident that Aristotle (Metaph. IV. 3-6) is controverting the opinions of Heraclitus and others when he says that Being and non-being are not the same (Vol. I. p. 282), and in connection with this lays down the celebrated maxim of contradiction, that a man is not at the same time a ship. This shows at once that Aristotle does not understand by this pure Being and non-being, this abstraction which is really only the transition of the one into the other; but by that which is, he understands Substance, the Idea, Reason, viewed likewise as an impelling end. As he maintains the universal against the principle of mere change, he puts forward activity in opposition to the numbers of the Pythagoreans, and to the Platonic Ideas. However frequently and fully Aristotle controverts both of these, all his objections turn on the remark already quoted (Vol. I. p. 213) that activity is not[141] to be found in these principles, and that to say that real things participate in Ideas is empty talk, and a poetic metaphor. He says also that Ideas, as abstract universal determinations, are only as far as numbers go equal to things, but are not on that account to be pointed out as their causes. Moreover, he maintains that there are contradictions involved in taking independent species, since in Socrates, for instance, there are several ideas included: man, biped, animal (Metaph. I. 7 and 9). Activity with Aristotle is undoubtedly also change, but change that is within the universal, and that remains self-identical; consequently a determination which is self-determination, and therefore the self-realizing universal end: in mere alteration, on the contrary, there is not yet involved the preservation of identity in change. This is the chief point which Aristotle deals with.

Aristotle distinguishes various moments in substance, in so far as the moments of activity and potentiality do not appear as one, but still in separation. The closer determination of this relation of energy to potentiality, of form to matter, and the movement of this opposition, gives the different modes of substance. Here Aristotle enumerates the substances; and to him they appear as a series of different kinds of substance, which he merely takes into consideration one by one, without bringing them together into a system. The three following are the chief among these:—

a. The sensuous perceptible substance is that in which the matter is still distinguished from the efficient form. Hence this substance is finite; for the separation and externality of form and matter are precisely what constitute the nature of the finite. Sensuous substance, says Aristotle (Metaph. XII. 2), involves change, but in such a way that it passes over into the opposite; the opposites disappear in one another, and the third beyond these opposites, that which endures, the permanent in this change, is matter. Now the leading categories of change which Aristotle names are the[142] four differences, in regard to the What (κατὰ τὸ τί), or in regard to quality (ποιόν), or in regard to quantity (ποσόν), or in regard to place where (ποῦ). The first change is the origination and decay of simple determinate Being (κατὰ τόδε); the second change is that of the further qualities (κατὰ τὸ πάθος); the third, increase and diminution; the fourth, motion. Matter is the dead substance on which take place the changes which matter passes through. “The change itself is from potential into actual existence; possible whiteness transforms itself into actual whiteness. Thus things do not arise casually out of nothing, but all arises out of what exists, though it exists only in potentiality, not in actuality.” The possible is thus really a general implicit existence, which brings about these determinations, without producing one out of the other. Matter is thus simple potentiality, which, however, is placed in opposition to itself, so that a thing in its actuality only becomes that which its matter was also in potentiality. There are thus three moments posited: matter, as the general substratum of change, neutral in respect of what is different (ἐξ οὗ); the opposed determinations of form, which are negative to each other as that which is to be abrogated and that which is to be posited (τι and εἴς τι); the first mover (ὑφ̓ οὗ), pure activity (Metaph. VII. 7; IX. 8; XII. 3).[89] But activity is the unity of form and matter; how these two are in the other, Aristotle does not, however, further explain. Thus in sensuous substance there appears the diversity of the moments, though not as yet their return into themselves; but activity is the negative which ideally contains in itself the opposite, therefore that also which is about to be.


b. A higher kind of substance, according to Aristotle (Metaph. IX. 2; VII. 7; XII. 3), is that into which activity enters, which already contains that which is about to be. This is understanding, absolutely determined, whose content is the aim which it realizes through its activity, not merely changing as does the sensuous form. For the soul is essentially actuality, a general determination which posits itself; not only formal activity, whose content comes from somewhere else. But while the active posits its content in reality, this content yet remains the same; there is an activity present which is different from matter, although substance and activity are allied. Thus here we still have a matter which understanding demands as its hypothesis. The two extremes are matter as potentiality, and thought as efficiency: the former is the passive universal, and the latter the active universal; in sensuous substance the active is, on the contrary, still quite different from matter. In these two moments themselves change does not take place, for they are the implicit universal in opposed forms.

c. The highest point is, however, that in which potentiality, activity and actuality are united; the absolute substance which Aristotle (Metaph. XII. 6, 7; IX. 8), defines in general as being the absolute (ἀϊδιον), the unmoved, which yet at the same time moves, and whose essence is pure activity, without having matter. For matter as such is passive and affected by change, consequently it is not simply one with the pure activity of this substance. Here as elsewhere we certainly see an instance of merely denying a predicate, without saying what its truth is; but matter is nothing else than that moment of unmoved Being. If in later times it has seemed something new to define absolute Being as pure activity, we see that this arises from ignorance as to the Aristotelian conception. But the Schoolmen rightly looked upon this as the definition of God, since they define God as actus purus; and higher idealism than this there is none. We may also express this as follows: God is the Substance[144] which in its potentiality has reality also unseparated from it; therein potentiality is not distinguished from form, since it produces from itself the determinations of its content. In this Aristotle breaks away from Plato, and for this reason controverts number, the Idea, and the universal, because if this, as inert, is not defined as identical with activity, there is no movement. Plato’s inert Ideas and numbers thus bring nothing into reality; but far different is the case with the Absolute of Aristotle, which in its quiescence is at the same time absolute activity.

Aristotle further says on this subject (Metaph. XII. 6): “It may be that what has potentiality is not real; it is of no avail therefore to make substances eternal, as the idealists do, if they do not contain a principle which can effect change. And even this is insufficient, if it is not active, because in that case there is no change. Yea, even if it were active, but its substance only a potentiality, there would be in it no eternal movement, for it is possible that what is according to potentiality may not exist. We must therefore have a principle whose substance must be apprehended as activity.” Thus in mind energy is substance itself. “But here a doubt seems to spring up. For all that is active seems to be possible, but all that is possible does not seem to energize, so that potentiality seems to be antecedent,” for it is the universal. “But if this were the case, no one of the entities would be in existence, for it is possible that a thing may possess a capacity of existence, though it has never yet existed. But energy is higher than potentiality. We must thus not assert, as theologians would have us do, that in the eternal ages there was first chaos or night” (matter), “nor must we say with natural philosophers that everything existed simultaneously. For how could the First be changed, if nothing in reality were cause? For matter does not move itself, it is the Master who moves it. Leucippus and Plato accordingly say that motion has always existed, but they give no reason for the assertion.[145]” Pure activity is, according to Aristotle (Metaph. IX. 8), before potentiality, not in relation to time, but to essence. That is to say, time is a subordinate moment, far removed from the universal; for the absolute first Being is, as Aristotle says at the end of the sixth chapter of the twelfth book, “that which in like activity remains always identical with itself.” In the former assumption of a chaos and so on, an activity is posited which has to do with something else, not with itself, and has therefore a pre-supposition; but chaos is only bare possibility.

That which moves in itself, and therefore, as Aristotle continues (Metaph. XII. 7), “that which has circular motion;” is to be posited as the true Being, “and this is evident not merely from thinking reason, but also from the fact itself.” From the definition of absolute Being as imparting motion, as bringing about realization, there follows that it exists in objectivity in visible nature. As the self-identical which is visible, this absolute Being is “the eternal heavens.” The two modes of representing the Absolute are thus thinking reason and the eternal heavens. The heavens are moved, but they also cause movement. Since the spherical is thus both mover and moved, there is a centre-point which causes movement but remains unmoved, and which is itself at the same time eternal and a substance and energy.[90] This great definition given by Aristotle of [146]absolute Being as the circle of reason which returns into itself, is of the same tenor as modern definitions; the unmoved which causes movement is the Idea which remains self-identical, which, while it moves, remains in relation to itself. He explains this as follows: “Its motion is determined in the following manner. That moves which is desired and thought, whereas itself it is unmoved, and the original of both is the same.” That is the end whose content is the desire and thought; such an end is the Beautiful or the Good. “For the thing that is desired is that which appears beautiful” (or pleases): “whose first” (or end), “on which the will is set, is what is beautiful. But it is rather the case that we desire it because it appears beautiful, than that it appears beautiful because we desire it.” For if that were so, it would be simply posited by activity, but it is posited independently, as objective Being, through which our desire is first awakened. “But thought is the true principle in this, for thought is moved only by the object of thought. But the intelligible” (we scarcely believe our eyes) “is essentially the other co-element (συστοιχία)”[91] namely, that which is posited as objective, as absolutely existent thought, “and the substance of this other element is the first; but the first substance is simple pure activity. Such are the Beautiful and the Good, and the first is ever the absolutely best or the best possible. But the Notion shows that the final cause belongs to the unmoved. What is moved may also subsist in a different manner. Motion (φορά) is the [147]first change; the first motion, again, is circular motion, but this is due to the above cause.” Therefore, according to Aristotle, the Notion, principium cognoscendi, is also that which causes movement, principium essendi; he expresses it as God, and shows the relation of God to the individual consciousness. “The First Cause is necessary. But the term necessary has three meanings: first what is accomplished by violence, because it goes contrary to one’s inclination (παρὰ τὴν ὁρμήν); secondly, that without which the Good does not subsist; thirdly, that which can exist in no other way than it does, but involves absolute existence. On such a principle of the unmoved the heavens depend and the whole of nature”—the visible that is eternal, and the visible that changes. This system is ever-enduring. “But to us” as individuals, “there is granted, for a short time only, a sojourn therein of surpassing excellence. For the system continues ever the same, but for us that is impossible. Now this activity is in its very self enjoyment, and therefore vigilance, exercise of the senses, thinking in general, are most productive of enjoyment; and for the same reason hopes and memories bring pleasure. But thinking, in its pure essence, is a thinking of that which is absolutely the most excellent;” the thought is for itself absolute end. The difference and contradiction in activity and the abrogation of the same, Aristotle expresses thus: “But thought thinks itself by participation (μετάληψιν) in that which is thought, but thought becomes thought by contact and apprehension, so that thought and the object of thought are the same.” Thought, as being the unmoved which causes motion, has an object, which, however, becomes transformed into activity, because its content is itself something thought, i.e. a product of thought, and thus altogether identical with the activity of thinking. The object of thought is first produced in the activity of thinking, which in this way separates the thought as an object. Hence, in thinking, that which is moved and that[148] which moves are the same; and as the substance of what is thought is thought, what is thought is the absolute cause which, itself unmoved, is identical with the thought which is moved by it; the separation and the relation are one and the same. The chief moment in Aristotle’s philosophy is accordingly this, that the energy of thinking and the object of thought are the same; “for thought is that which is receptive of objects of perception and the existent. When in possession of these it is in a condition of activity (ἐνεργεῖ δὲ ἔχων); and thus all this” operation by which it thinks itself, “is more divine than the divine possession which thinking reason supposes itself to have,”—the content of thought. It is not the object of thought that is the more excellent, but the very energy of thinking; the activity of apprehension brings that to pass which appears as something that is being apprehended. “Speculation (ἡ θεωρία) is thus the most pleasing and the best. If then God has eternally subsisted in such surpassing excellence as for a limited time pertains to us” (in whom this eternal Thought, which is God Himself, occurs only as a particular condition), “He is worthy of admiration; if He possesses it in a more eminent degree, His nature is still more admirable. But this is His mode of subsistence. Life is also inherent in Him, for the activity of thought is life. But He constitutes this efficient power; essential energy belongs to God as His most excellent and eternal life. We therefore say that with God there is life perfect and everlasting.” From this substance Aristotle moreover excludes magnitude.

We in our way of speaking designate the Absolute, the True, as the unity of subjectivity and objectivity, which is therefore neither the one nor the other, and yet just as much the one as the other; and Aristotle busied himself with these same speculations, the deepest forms of speculation even of the present day, and he has expressed them with the greatest definiteness. With Aristotle it is thus no[149] dry identity of the abstract understanding that is indicated, for he distinguishes subjective and objective precisely and decisively. Not dead identity such as this, but energy, is for him what is most to be reverenced, God. Unity is thus a poor, unphilosophic expression, and true Philosophy is not the system of identity; its principle is a unity which is activity, movement, repulsion, and thus, in being different, is at the same time identical with itself. If Aristotle had made the jejune identity of understanding, or experience, his principle, he would never have risen to a speculative Idea like this, wherein individuality and activity are placed higher than universal potentiality. Thought, as the object of thought, is nothing else than the absolute Idea regarded as in itself, the Father; yet this First and unmoved, as distinguished from activity, is, as absolute, simply activity, and is first through this activity set forth as true. In what he teaches respecting the soul we shall find Aristotle recurring to this speculative thought; but to Aristotle it is again an object, like other objects, a kind of condition which he separates from the other conditions of the soul which he understands empirically, such as sleep, or weariness. He does not say that it alone is truth, that all is summed up in Thought, but he says it is the first, the strongest, the most honourable. We, on the other hand, say that Thought, as that which relates to itself, has existence, or is the truth; that Thought comprehends the whole of Truth, even, though we ordinarily represent to ourselves sensation and so on, besides thought, as having reality. Thus, although Aristotle does not express himself in modern philosophic language, he has yet throughout the same fundamental theory; he speaks not of a special kind of reason, but of the universal Reason. The speculative philosophy of Aristotle simply means the direction of thought on all kinds of objects, thus transforming these into thoughts; hence, in being thoughts, they exist in truth. The meaning of this is not, however, that natural objects[150] have thus themselves the power of thinking, but as they are subjectively thought by me, my thought is thus also the Notion of the thing, which therefore constitutes its absolute substance. But in Nature the Notion does not exist explicitly as thought in this freedom, but has flesh and blood, and is oppressed by externalities; yet this flesh and blood has a soul, and this is its Notion. The ordinary definition of truth, according to which it is “the harmony of the conception with the object,” is certainly not borne out by the conception; for when I represent to myself a house, a beam, and so on, I am by no means this content, but something entirely different, and therefore very far from being in harmony with the object of my conception. It is only in thought that there is present a true harmony between objective and subjective; that constitutes me. Aristotle therefore finds himself at the highest standpoint; nothing deeper can we desire to know, although he has always the appearance of making ordinary conceptions his starting-point.

Aristotle (Metaph. XII. 9) now solves many other doubtful questions, for instance, whether thought is compound, and whether science is the object of science itself. “Some further doubts arise as to thought (νοῦς), which seems to be of all things the most divine; but it is only with difficulty that we can conceive under what conditions (πῶς δ̓ ἔχων) it is a thing of this sort. When it thinks of nothing, but is in a state like that of a sleeper, what constitutes its superiority? And when it thinks, but something else is dominant all the time (ἄλλο κύριον), that which is its substance is not thought (νόησις), but a potentiality;” it would not be in eternal activity. “In this way it would not be the highest substance; for it is” (active) “thought (τὸ νοεῖν) that gives it its high rank. If now, further, thought or thinking is its substance, what does it think? Itself or another? And if another, is it always the same, or something different? Does it also not make a difference,[151] whether it thinks of what is beautiful or what is casual? In the first place, if thought is not thinking, but only the power to think, continuous thinking would be laborious for it,” for every power wears itself out. “In the next place, something else would be more excellent than thought, namely that which is thought (νοούμενον); and thinking and thought (τὸ νοεῖν καὶ ἡ νόησις) will be present to the mind in understanding what is most inferior. As this is to be avoided (in the same way that it is better not to see some things than to see them), thinking would not constitute the best. Thought is therefore this, to think itself, because it is the most excellent; and it is the thinking, which is the thinking of thinking. For understanding and sensation and opinion and deliberation seem always to have an object other than themselves, and to be their own objects only in a secondary sense. Further, if thinking and being thought of are different, in relation to which of the two is the Good inherent in thought? For the Notion[92] of thinking and that of the object of thought are not the same. Or, in the case of some things, does the science itself constitute that which is the object of science? In what is practical the thing is the immaterial substance and the determination of the end (ἡ οὐσία καὶ τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι), and in what is theoretical it is the reason and the thinking. As therefore thought and the object of thought are not different, these opposites, so far as they involve no connection with matter, are the same thing, and there is only a thought of the thing thought of.” Reason which thinks itself, is the absolute end or the Good, for it only exists for its own sake. “There still remains a doubt whether that which thinks is of composite nature or not; for it might undergo change in the parts of the whole. But the Good [152]is not in this or that part, for it is the best in the universe, as distinguished from it. In this way the Thought which is its own object subsists to all eternity.”

As this speculative Idea, which is the best and most free, is also to be seen in nature, and not only in thinking reason, Aristotle (Metaph. XII. 8) in this connection passes on to the visible God, which is the heavens. God, as living God, is the universe; and thus in the universe God, as living God, shows Himself forth. He comes forth as manifesting Himself or as causing motion, and it is in manifestation alone that the difference between the cause of motion and that which is moved comes to pass. “The principle and the first cause of that which is, is itself unmoved, but brings to pass the original and eternal and single motion,” that is, the heaven of the fixed stars. “We see that besides the simple revolution of the universe, which is brought about by the first unmoved substance, there are other eternal motions, those of the planets.” We must not, however, enter into further details on this subject.

Regarding the organization of the universe in general, Aristotle says (Metaph. XII. 10), “We must investigate in what manner the nature of the whole has within it the Good and the Best; whether as something set apart and absolute, or as an order, or in both ways, as in the case of an army. For the good condition of an army depends upon the order enforced, as much as on the general, and the general is the cause of the army’s good condition in all the greater degree from the fact of the order being through him, and not from his being through the order. All things are co-ordinated in a certain way, but not all in the same way: take, for example, animals which swim, and those which fly, and plants; they are not so constituted that one of them is not related to another, but they stand in mutual relations. For all are co-ordinated into one system just as in a house it is by no means permitted to the free[153] inmates to do freely whatever they like, but all that they do, or the most of it, is done according to orderly arrangement. By slaves and animals, on the contrary, little is done for the general good, but they do much that is casual. For the principle of each is his own nature. In the same way it is necessary that all should attain to a position where distinction is drawn” (the seat of judgment) “but there are some things so constituted that all participate in them for the formation of a whole.” Aristotle then goes on to refute some other notions; showing, for instance, the embarrassments into which they fall who make all things proceed from oppositions, and he corroborates, on the other hand, the unity of the principle by quoting Homer’s line (Iliad II. 204):

“It is not good that many govern; let one alone bear rule.”

2. Philosophy of Nature.

Amongst the special sciences treated by Aristotle, the Physics is contained in a whole series of physical treatises, which form a tolerably complete system of what constitutes the Philosophy of Nature in its whole extent. We shall try to give their general plan. Aristotle’s first work is his Treatise, in eight books, on Physics, or on the Principles (φυσικὴ ἀκρόασις ἢ περὶ ἀρχῶν). In this he deals, as is fitting, with the doctrine of the Notion of nature generally, with movement, and with space and time. The first manifestation of absolute substance is movement, and its moments are space and time; this conception of its manifestation is the universal, which realizes itself first in the corporeal world, passing into the principle of separation. Aristotle’s Physics is what for present physicists would, properly speaking, be the Metaphysics of Nature; for our physicists only say what they have seen, what delicate and excellent instruments they have made, and not what they have thought. This first work by Aristotle is[154] followed by his treatises concerning the Heavens, which deal with the nature of body and the first real bodies, the earth and heavenly bodies in general, as also with the general abstract relation of bodies to one another through mechanical weight and lightness, or what we should call attraction; and finally, with the determination of abstract real bodies or elements. Then follow the treatises on Production and Destruction, the physical process of change, while formerly the ideal process of movement was considered. Besides the physical elements, moments which are only posited in process, as such, now enter in: for instance, warmth, cold, &c. Those elements are the real existent facts, while these determinations are the moments of becoming or of passing away, which exist only in movement. Then comes the Meteorology; it represents the universal physical process in its most real forms. Here particular determinations appear, such as rain, the saltness of the sea, clouds, dew, hail, snow, hoar-frost, winds, rainbows, boiling, cooking, roasting, colours, &c. On certain matters, such as the colours, Aristotle wrote particular treatises. Nothing is forgotten, and yet the presentation is, on the whole, empiric. The book On the Universe, which forms the conclusion, is said not to be genuine; it is a separate dissertation, addressed to Alexander, which contains in part the doctrine of the universality of things, a doctrine found already in the other treatises; hence this book does not belong to this series.

From this point Aristotle proceeds to organic nature, and here his works not only contain a natural history, but also a physiology and anatomy. To the anatomy pertain his works on the Locomotion of Animals, and on the Parts of Animals. He deals with physiology in the works on the Generation of Animals, on the common Movement of Animals; and then he comes to the distinction between Youth and Age, Sleeping and Waking, and treats of Breathing, Dreaming, the Shortness and Length of Life,[155] &c., all of which he deals with partly in an empiric, and partly in a more speculative manner. Finally, there comes the History of Animals, not merely as a history of Nature, but also as the history of the animal in its entirety—what we may call a kind of physiologico-anatomical anatomy. There is likewise a botanical work On Plants (περὶ φυτῶν) which is ascribed to him. Thus we here find natural philosophy in the whole extent of its outward content.

As regards this plan, there is no question that this is not the necessary order in which natural philosophy or physics must be treated. It is long since physics adopted in its conception the form and tendency derived from Aristotle, of deducing the parts of the science from the whole; and thus even what is not speculative still retains this connection as far as outward order goes. This is plainly to be preferred to the arrangement in our modern text-books, which is a wholly irrational succession of doctrines accidentally put together, and is undoubtedly more suitable to that method of contemplating nature, which grasps the sensuous manifestation of nature quite irrespective of sense or reason. Physics before this contained some metaphysics, but the experience which was met with in endeavouring unsuccessfully to work it out, determined the physicists, so far as possible, to keep it at a distance, and to devote their attention to what they call experience, for they think that here they come across genuine truth, unspoiled by thought, fresh from the hand of nature; it is in their hands and before their faces. They can certainly not dispense with the Notion, but through a kind of tacit agreement they allow certain conceptions, such as forces, subsistence in parts, &c., to be valid, and make use of these without in the least knowing whether they have truth and how they have truth. But in regard to the content they express no better the truth of things, but only the sensuous manifestation. Aristotle and the ancients understand by physics, on the other hand, the comprehension of nature—the universal; and for[156] this reason Aristotle also calls it the doctrine of principles. For in the manifestation of nature this distinction between the principle and what follows it, manifestation, really commences, and it is abrogated only in genuine speculation. Yet if, on the one hand, what is physical in Aristotle is mainly philosophic and not experimental, he yet proceeded in his Physics in what may be called an empiric way. Thus, as it has been already remarked of the Aristotelian philosophy in general that the different parts fall into a series of independently determined conceptions, so we find that this is the case here also; hence an account can only be given of a part of them. One part is not universal enough to embrace the other part, for each is independent. But that which follows, and which has in great measure reference to what is individual, no longer comes under the dominion of the Notion, but becomes a superficial suggestion of reasons, and an explanation from the proximate causes, such as we find in our physics.

In regard to the general conception of nature, we must say that Aristotle represents it in the highest and truest manner. For in the Idea of nature Aristotle (Phys. II. 8) really relies on two determinations: the conception of end and the conception of necessity. Aristotle at once grasps the whole matter in its principles, and this constitutes the old contradiction and divergence of view existing between necessity (causæ efficientes) and end (causæ finales), which we have inherited. The first mode of consideration is that in accordance with external necessity, which is the same as chance—the conception that all that pertains to nature is determined from without by means of natural causes. The other mode of consideration is the teleological, but conformity to end is either inward or outward, and in the more recent culture the latter has long retained the supremacy. Thus men vibrate in their opinion between these two points of view, seek external causes, and war against the form of an external teleology which places the[157] end outside of nature. These determinations were known to Aristotle, and he thoroughly investigates them and considers what they are and mean. Aristotle’s conception of nature is, however, nobler than that of to-day, for with him the principal point is the determination of end as the inward determinateness of natural things. Thus he comprehended nature as life, i.e. as that which has its end within itself, is unity with itself, which does not pass into another, but, through this principle of activity, determines changes in conformity with its own content, and in this way maintains itself therein. In this doctrine Aristotle has before his eyes the inward immanent end, to which he considers necessity an external condition. Thus, on the one hand, Aristotle determines nature as the final cause, which is to be distinguished from what is luck or chance; it is thus opposed by him to what is necessary, which it also contains within itself; and then he considers how necessity is present in natural things. In nature we usually think of necessity first, and understand as the essentially natural that which is not determined through end. For long men thought that they determined nature both philosophically and truly in limiting it to necessity. But the aspect of nature has had a stigma removed from it, because, by means of its conformity to the end in view, it is elevated above the commonplace. The two moments which we have considered in substance, the active form and matter, correspond with these two determinations.

We must first consider the conception of adaptation to end as the ideal moment in substance. Aristotle begins (Phys. II. 8) with the fact that the natural is the self-maintaining, all that is difficult is its comprehension. “The first cause of perplexity is, what hinders nature from not operating for the sake of an end, and because it is better so to operate, but” being, for example, “like Jupiter, who rains, not that the corn may grow, but from necessity. The vapour driven upwards cools, and the water resulting[158] from this cooling falls as rain, and it happens that the corn is thereby made to grow. In like manner, if the corn of any one is destroyed, it does not rain for the sake of this destruction, but this is an accidental circumstance.” That is to say, there is a necessary connection which, however, is an external relation, and this is the contingency of the cause as well as of the effect. “But if this be so,” Aristotle asks, “what hinders us from assuming that what appears as parts” (the parts of an animal, for instance) “may thus subsist in nature, too, as contingent? That, for example, the front teeth are sharp and adapted for dividing, and that the back teeth, on the contrary, are broad and adapted for grinding the food in pieces, may be an accidental circumstance, not necessarily brought about for these particular ends. And the same is true with respect to the other parts of the body which appear to be adapted for some end; therefore those living things in which all was accidentally constituted as if for some end, are now, having once been so existent, preserved, although originally they had arisen by chance, in accordance with external necessity.” Aristotle adds that Empedocles especially had these reflections, and represented the first beginnings of things as a world composed of all sorts of monstrosities, such as bulls with human heads; such, however, could not continue to subsist, but disappeared because they were not originally constituted so that they should endure; and this went on until what was in conformity with purpose came together. Without going back to the fabulous monstrosities of the ancients, we likewise know of a number of animal tribes which have died out, just because they could not preserve the race. Thus we also require to use the expression development (an unthinking evolution), in our present-day natural philosophy. The conception that the first productions were, so to speak, attempts, of which those which did not show themselves to be suitable could not endure, is easily arrived at by natural philosophy. But[159] nature, as entelecheia or realization, is what brings forth itself. Aristotle hence replies: “It is impossible to believe this. For what is produced in accordance with nature is always, or at least for the most part, produced” (external universality as the constant recurrence of what has passed away), “but this is not so with what happens through fortune or through chance. That in which there is an end (τέλος), equally in its character as something which precedes and as something which follows, is made into end; as therefore a thing is made, so is its nature, and as is its nature, so is it made; it exists therefore for the sake of this.” The meaning of nature is that as something is, it was in the beginning; it means this inward universality and adaptation to end that realizes itself; and thus cause and effect are identical, since all individual parts are related to this unity of end. “He who assumes contingent and accidental forms, subverts, on the other hand, both nature itself and that which subsists from nature, for that subsists from nature which has a principle within itself, by whose means, and being continually moved, it attains its end.” In this expression of Aristotle’s we now find the whole of the true profound Notion of life, which must be considered as an end in itself—a self-identity that independently impels itself on, and in its manifestation remains identical with its Notion: thus it is the self-effectuating Idea. Leaves, blossoms, roots thus bring the plant into evidence and go back into it; and that which they bring to pass is already present in the seed from which they took their origin. The chemical product, on the contrary, does not appear to have itself similarly present, for from acid and base a third appears to come forth; but here, likewise, the essence of both these sides, their relationship, is already present, though it is there mere potentiality, as it is in the product merely a thing. But the self-maintaining activity of life really brings forth this unity in all relationships. What has here been said is already contained in that which[160] was asserted by those who do not represent nature in this way, but say, “that which is constituted as though it were constituted for an end, will endure.” For this is the self-productive action of nature. In the modern way of looking at life this conception becomes lost in two different ways; either through a mechanical philosophy, in which we always find as principle pressure, impulse, chemical relationships and forces, or external relations generally—which certainly seem to be inherent in nature, but not to proceed from the nature of the body, seeing that they are an added, foreign appendage, such as colour in a fluid; or else theological physics maintain the thoughts of an understanding outside of the world to be the causes. In the Kantian philosophy we for the first time have that conception once more awakened in us, for organic nature at least; life has there been made an end to itself. In Kant this indeed had only the subjective form which constitutes the essence of the Kantian philosophy, in which it seems as though life were only so determined by reason of our subjective reasoning; but still the whole truth is there contained that the organic creation is the self-maintaining. The fact that most recent times have brought back the rational view of the matter into our remembrance, is thus none else than a justification of the Aristotelian Idea.

Aristotle also speaks of the end which is represented by organic nature in itself, in relation to the means, of which he says (Phys. II. 8): “If the swallow builds her nest, and the spider spreads her web, and trees root themselves in the earth, for the sake of nutriment, there is present in them a self-maintaining cause of this kind, or an end.” For this instinctive action exhibits an operation of self-preservation, as a means whereby natural existence becomes shut up and reflected into itself. Aristotle then brings what is here said into relation with general conceptions which he had earlier maintained (p. 138): “Since nature is twofold as matter and form, but since the latter is end,[161] and the rest are on account of the end, this is final cause.” For the active form has a content, which, as content of potentiality, contains the means which make their appearance as adapted for an end, i.e. as moments established through the determinate Notion. However much we may, in the modern way of regarding things, struggle against the idea of an immanent end, from reluctance to accept it, we must, in the case of animals and plants, acknowledge such a conception, always re-establishing itself in another. For example, because the animal lives in water or in air, it is so constructed that it can maintain its existence in air or water; thus it requires water to explain the gills of fishes; and, on the other hand, because the animal is so constructed, it lives in water. This activity in transformation thus does not depend in a contingent way on life; it is aroused through the outward powers, but only in as far as conformity with the soul of the animal permits.

In passing, Aristotle here (Phys. II. 8) makes a comparison between nature and art, which also connects what results with what goes before, in accordance with ends. “Nature may commit an error as well as art; for as a grammarian sometimes makes a mistake in writing, and a physician in mixing a medicinal draught, nature, too, sometimes does not attain its ends. Its errors are monstrosities and deformities, which, however, are only the errors of that which operates for an end. In the production of animals and plants, an animal is not at first produced, but the seed, and even in it corruption is possible.” For the seed is the mean, as being the not as yet established, independent, indifferent, free actuality. In this comparison of nature with art we ordinarily have before us the external adaptation to end, the teleological point of view, the making for definite ends. And Aristotle declaims against this, while he remarks that if nature is activity for a certain end, or if it is the implicitly universal, “it is absurd to deny that action is in conformity with end, because that which moves[162] cannot be seen to have deliberated and considered.” The understanding comes forward with the determination of this end, and with its instruments and tools, to operate on matter, and we carry this conception of an external teleology over into nature. “But art also,” says Aristotle, “does not deliberate. If the form of a ship were the particular inward principle of the timber, it would act as nature prompted. The action of nature is very similar to the exercise of the art whereby anyone heals himself.” Through an inward instinct the animal avoids what is evil, and does what is good for him; health is thus essentially present to him, not as a conscious end, but as an understanding which accomplishes its ends without conscious thought.

As Aristotle has hitherto combated an external teleology, he directs another equally applicable remark (Phys. II. 9) against merely external necessity, and thus we come to the other side, or to how necessity exists in nature. He says in this regard: “Men fancy that necessity exists in this way in generation, just as if it were thought that a house existed from necessity, because heavy things were naturally carried downwards, and light things upwards, and that, therefore, the stones and foundation, on account of their weight, were under the earth, and the earth, because it was lighter, was further up, and the wood in the highest place because it is the lightest.” But Aristotle thus explains the facts of the case. “The house is certainly not made without these materials, but not on account of, or through them (unless the material so demands), but it is made for the sake of concealing and preserving certain things. The same takes place in everything which has an end in itself; for it is not without that which is necessary to its nature, and yet it is not on account of this, unless the matter so demands, but on account of an end. Hence the necessary is from hypothesis only, and not as end, for necessity is in matter, but end is in reason (λόγῳ). Thus it is clear that matter and its movement are necessity in natural things;[163] both have to be set forth as principle, but end is the higher principle.” It undoubtedly requires necessity, but it retains it in its own power, does not allow it to give vent to itself, but controls external necessity. The principle of matter is thus turned into the truly active ground of end, which means the overthrow of necessity, so that that which is natural shall maintain itself in the end. Necessity is the objective manifestation of the action of its moments as separated, just as in chemistry the essential reality of both the extremes—the base and the acid—is the necessity of their relation.

This is the main conception of Aristotelian Physics. Its further development concerns the conceptions of the different objects of nature, a material for speculative philosophy which we have spoken of above (pp. 153-155), and regarding which Aristotle puts before us reflections both difficult and profound. Thus he at first (Phys. III. 1-3) proceeds from this point to movement (κίνησις), and says that it is essential that a philosophy of nature should speak of it, but that it is difficult to grasp; in fact, it is one of the most difficult conceptions. Aristotle thus sets to work to understand movement in general, not merely in space and time, but also in its reality; and in this sense he calls it “the activity of an existent thing which is in capacity, so far as it is in capacity.” He explains this thus: “Brass is in capacity a statue; yet the motion to become a statue is not a motion of the brass so far as it is brass, but a motion of itself, as the capacity to become a statue. Hence this activity is an imperfect one (ἀτελής),” i.e. it has not its end within itself, “for mere capacity, whose activity is movement, is imperfect.” The absolute substance, the moving immovable, the existent ground of heaven which we saw as end, is, on the contrary, both activity itself and the content and object of activity. But Aristotle distinguishes from this what falls under the form of this opposition, “That moving is also moved which[164] has movement as a capacity, and whose immobility is rest. That in which movement is present has immobility as rest; for activity in rest, as such, is movement.” That is to say, rest is capacity for motion. “Hence movement is the activity of that which is movable (κινητοῦ),[93] so far as it is movable; but this happens from the contact of that which is motive (κινητικοῦ), so that at the same time it is posited as passive likewise. But that which moves always introduces a certain form or end (εἶδος), either this particular thing (τόδε), or a quality or a quantity, which is the principle and cause of the motion when it moves; thus man, as he is in energy, makes man from man as he is in capacity. Thus, too, it is evident that movement is in the movable thing: for it is the activity of this, and is derived from that which is motive. The activity of that which is motive is likewise not different, for both are necessarily activity. It is motive because it has the capacity for being so; but it causes motion because it energizes. But it is the energetic of the moveable (ἔστιν ἐνεργητικὸν τοῦ κινετοῦ), so that there is one energy of both; just as the relation between one and two is the same as that between two and one, and there also is the same relation between acclivity and declivity, so the way from Thebes to Athens is the same as from Athens to Thebes. Activity and passivity are not originally (κυρίως) the same, but in what they are inherent, in motion, they are the same. In Being (τῷ εἶναι) they are identical, but activity, in so far as it is activity of this in this” (what is moved), “and the activity of this from this” (what moves), “is different as regards its [165]conception (τῷ λόγῳ).” Aristotle subsequently deals with the infinite (Phys. III. 4-8).

“In like manner it is necessary,” says Aristotle (Phys. IV. 1-5), “that the natural philosopher should consider the subject of place (τόπος).” Here come various definitions and determinations under which space generally and particular space or place appear. “Is place a body? It cannot be a body, for then there would be in one and the same, two bodies. Again, if it is the place and receptacle (χώρα) of this body, it is evident that it is so also of the superficies and the remaining boundaries; but the same reasoning applies to these, for where the superficies of water were before, there will now be the superficies of air,” and thus the places of both superficies would be in one. “But in truth there is no difference between the point and the place of the point, so that if place is not different from the other forms of limitation, neither is it something outside of them. It is not an element, and neither consists of corporeal nor of incorporeal elements, for it possesses magnitude, but not body. The elements of bodies are, however, themselves bodies, and no magnitude is produced from intelligible elements. Place is not the material of things, for nothing consists of it—neither the form, nor the Notion, nor the end, nor the moving cause; and yet it is something.” Aristotle now determines place as the first unmoved limit of that which is the comprehending: it comprehends the body whose place it is, and has nothing of the thing in itself; yet it co-exists with the thing, because the limits and the limited co-exist. The uttermost ends of what comprehends and of what is comprehended are identical, for both are bounds; but they are not bounds of the same, for form is the boundary of the thing, place is that of the embracing body. Place, as the comprehending, remains unchangeably passive while the thing which is moved is moved away; from which we see that place must be separable from the thing. Or place, according[166] to Aristotle, is the boundary, the negation of a body, the assertion of difference, of discretion; but it likewise does not merely belong to this body, but also to that which comprehends. There is thus no difference at all, but unchangeable continuity. “Place is neither the universal (κοινός) in which all bodies are” (heaven), “nor the particular (ἴδιος), in which they are as the first (πρώτῳ).” Aristotle also speaks of above and below in space, in relation to heaven as that which contains, and earth as what is beneath. “That body, outside of which is a comprehending body, is in space. But the whole heavens are not anywhere, since no body comprehends them. Outside the universe nothing is, and hence everything is in the heavens, for the heavens are the whole. Place, however, is not the heavens, but its external quiescent boundary which touches the body moved. Hence the earth is in water, water in air, air in ether, but ether in the heavens.”

From this point Aristotle goes on (Phys. IV. 6, 7) to empty space, in which an old question is involved which physicists even now cannot explain: they could do so if they studied Aristotle, but as far as they are concerned there might have been no thought nor Aristotle in the world. “Vacuum, according to ordinary ideas, is a space in which there is no body, and, fancying that all Being is body, they say that vacuum is that in which there is nothing at all. The conception of a vacuum has its justification for one thing in the fact that a vacuum,” the negative to an existent form, “is essential to motion; for a body could not move in a plenum,” and in the place to which it does move there must be nothing. “The other argument in favour of a vacuum is found in the compression of bodies, in which the parts press into the empty spaces.” This is the conception of varying density and the alteration of the same, in accordance with which an equal weight might consist of an equal number of parts, but these, as being separated by vacuum, might present a greater volume. Aristotle confutes[167] these reasonings most adroitly, and first of all in this way; “The plenum could be changed, and bodies could yield to one another even if no interval of vacuum separated them. Liquids as well as solids are not condensed into a vacuum; something that they contained is expelled, just as air is expelled if water is compressed.”

Aristotle deals more thoroughly, in the first place (Phys. IV. 8), with the erroneous conception that the vacuum is the cause of movement. For, on the one hand, he shows that the vacuum really abolishes motion, and consequently in vacuum a universal rest would reign. He calls it perfect indifference as to the greater or less distance to which a thing is moved; in vacuum there are no distinctions. It is pure negation without object or difference; there is no reason for standing still or going on. But body is in movement, and that, indeed, as distinguished; it has a positive relation, and not one merely to nothing. On the other hand, Aristotle refutes the idea that movement is in vacuum because compression is possible. But this does not happen in a vacuum; there would be established in it not one movement, but a movement towards all sides, a general annihilation, an absolute yielding, where no cohesion would remain in the body. “Again, a weight or a body is borne along more swiftly or more slowly from two causes; either because there is a difference in that through which it is borne along, as when it moves through air or water or earth, or because that which is borne along differs through excess of weight or lightness.” As regards difference of movement on account of the first difference—that in the density of the medium—Aristotle says: “The medium through which the body is borne along is the cause of the resistance encountered, which is greater if the medium is moving in a contrary direction (and less if it is at rest); resistance is increased also if the medium is not easily divided. The difference in velocity is in inverse ratio to the specific gravity of the medium, air and water, so that if[168] the medium has only half the density, the rate of progress will be double as quick. But vacuum has to body no such relation of differences of specific gravity. Body can no more contain a vacuum within its dimensions than a line can contain a point, unless the line were composed of points. The vacuum has no ratio to the plenum.” But as to the other case, the difference in weight and lightness, which has to be considered as being in bodies themselves, whereby one moves more quickly than another through the same space: “this distinction exists only in the plenum, for the heavy body, by reason of its power, divides the plenum more quickly.” This point of view is quite correct, and it is mainly directed against a number of conceptions that prevail in our physics. The conception of equal movement of the heavy and the light, as that of pure weight, pure matter, is an abstraction, being taken as though they were inherently like, only differing through the accidental resistance of the air.

Aristotle (Phys. IV. 9) now comes to the second point, to the proof of the vacuum because of the difference in specific gravity. “Many believe that the vacuum exists because of the rare and the dense;” the former is said to be a rare body, and the latter a perfect continuity; or they at least differ quantitatively from one another through greater or less density. “For if air should be generated from a quantity of water, a given quantity of water must produce a quantity of air the same in bulk, or there must necessarily be a vacuum; for it is only on the hypothesis of a vacuum that compression and rarefaction are explicable. Now if, as they say, the less dense were that which has many separate void spaces, it is evident that since a vacuum cannot be separated any more than a space can have intervals, neither can the rare subsist in this manner. But if it is not separable, and yet a vacuum is said to exist in the body, in the first place movement could thus only be upwards; for the rare is the light, and hence they say that fire is rare,[169]” because it always moves upwards. “In the next place the vacuum cannot be the cause of motion as that in which something moves, but must resemble bladders that carry up that which adheres to them. But how is it possible that a vacuum can move, or that there can be a place where there is a vacuum? For that into which it is carried would be the vacuum of a vacuum. In short, as there can be no movement in vacuum, so also a vacuum cannot move.” Aristotle set against these ideas the true state of matters, and states generally the ideal conception of nature: “that the opposites, hot and cold, and the other physical contraries, have one and the same matter, and that from what is in capacity that which is in energy is produced; that matter is not separable though it is different in essence[94] (τῷ εἶναι), and that it remains one and the same in number (ἀριθμῷ) even if it possesses colour, or is hot and cold. And again, the matter of a small body and a large is the same, because at one time a greater proceeds from a smaller, and at another time a smaller from a greater. If air is generated from water it is expanded, but the matter remains the same and without taking to itself anything else; for that which it was in capacity it becomes in actuality. In a similar way if air is compressed from a greater into a less volume, the process will be reversed, and air will similarly pass into water, because the matter which is in capacity both air and water, also becomes both.” Aristotle likewise asserts that increase and decrease of warmth, and its transition into cold, is no addition or otherwise of warm matter, and also one and the same is both dense and rare. This is very different from the physical conceptions which [170]assert more or less matter to correspond with more or less density, thus comprehending the difference in specific weight as the external addition of matter. Aristotle, on the contrary, takes this dynamically, though certainly not in the sense in which dynamics are to-day understood, viz. as an increase of intensity or as a degree, for he accepts intensity in its truth as universal capacity. Undoubtedly the difference must also be taken as a difference in amount, but not as an increase and decrease, or as an alteration in the absolute quantity of the matter. For here intensity means force, but again not as being a thing of thought separated from matter, but as indicating that if anything has become more intensive, it has had its actuality diminished, having, however, according to Aristotle, attained to a greater capacity. If the intensity is again directed outwards, and compared with other things, it undoubtedly becomes degree, and therefore magnitude immediately enters in. It then is indifferent whether greater intension or greater extension is posited; more air is capable of being warmed to the same degree as less, through the greater intensity of the warmth; or the same air can thereby become intensively warmer.

As regards the investigation of time, Aristotle remarks (Phys. IV. 10, 11, 13) that if time is externally (exoterically, ἐξωτερικῶς) regarded, we are inevitably led to doubt (διαπορῆσαι) whether it has any being whatever, or whether it has bare existence, as feeble (μόλις καὶ ἀμυδρῶς) as if it were only a potentiality. “For one part of it was and is not: another part will be and is not as yet; but of these parts infinite and everlasting (ἀεὶ λαμβανόμενος), time is composed. But it now appears that time, if composed of things that are not, may be incapable of existence. And also as regards everything divisible, if it exists, either some or all of its parts must be. Time is certainly divisible; but some of the parts are past, others are future, and no part is present. For the now is no part, since a part has a measure, and the whole must consist of the parts; but time[171] does not appear to consist of the Now.” That is to say, because the Now is indivisible, it has no quantitative determination which could be measured. “Besides it is not easy to decide whether the Now remains, or always becomes another and another. Again, time is not a movement and change, for movement and change occur in that which is moved and changed, or accompany time in its course; but time is everywhere alike. Besides change is swifter and slower, but time is not. But it is not without change and motion” (which is just the moment of pure negativity in the same) “for when we perceive no change, it appears as if no time had elapsed, as in sleep. Time is hence in motion but not motion itself.” Aristotle defines it thus: “We say that time is, when we perceive the before and after in movement; but these are so distinguished that we apprehend them to be another and another, and conceive that there is something between, as a middle. Now when we understand that the extremes of the conclusion are different from the middle, and the soul says that the Now has two instants, the one prior and the other posterior, then we say that this is time. What is determined through the Now, we call time, and this is the fundamental principle. But when we are sensible of the Now as one, and not as a prior and posterior in motion, nor as the identity of an earlier or later, then there does not appear to us to have been any time, because neither was there any motion.” Tedium is thus ever the same. “Time is hence the number of motion, according to priority and posteriority; it is not motion itself, unless so far as motion has number. We judge of the more or less through number, but of a greater or less motion by time. But we call number that which can be numbered, as well as that with which we number; but time is not the number with which we number, but that which is numbered, and, like motion, always is changing. The Now is, which is the unity of number, and it measures time. The whole of time is the same, for the Now which was is[172] the same” (universality as the Now destroyed) “but in Being it is another. Time thus is through the Now both continuous (συνεχής) and discrete (διῇρηται). It thereby resembles the point, for that also is the continuity of the line and its division, its principle and limit; but the Now is not an enduring point. As continuity of time the Now connects the past and the future, but it likewise divides time in capacity,” the Now is only divisibility and the moments only ideal. “And in as far as it is such, it is always another; but, in as far as it unites, it is ever one and the same. Similarly, in as far as we divide the line, other and yet other points always arise for thought; but in as far as it is one, there is only one point. Thus the Now is both the division of time in capacity, and the limit and union of both” i.e. of the prior and posterior. The universally dividing point is only one as actual; but this actual is not permanently one, but ever and again another, so that individuality has universality, as its negativity, within it. “But division and union are the same, and similarly related; however their Notion (τὸ εἶναι)[95] is different.” In one and the same respect the absolute opposite of what was posited is immediately set forth as existent; in space, on the other hand, the moments are not set forth as existent, but in it first appears this being and its motion and contradiction. Thus the identity of the understanding is not a principle with Aristotle, for identity and non-identity to him are one and the same. Because the Now is only now, past and future are different from it, but they are likewise necessarily connected in the Now, which is not without before and after; thus they are in one, and the Now, as their limit, is both their union and their division.


Aristotle (Phys. V. 1) then goes on to movement as realized in a thing, to change (μεταβολή) or to the physical processes—while before we had pure movement. “In movement there is first something which moves, also something which is moved, and the time in which it is moved; besides these, that from which, and that into which it is moved.” (Cf. supra, p. 141.) “For all motion is from something and into something; but there is a difference between that which is first moved and that into which and from which it is moved, as, for instance, wood, warmth and cold. The motion is in the wood and not in the form; for neither form nor place, nor quantity moves or is moved, but” (in the order in which they follow) “there is that which is moved and that which moves, and that into which it is moved. That to which movement is made, more than that out of which movement is made, is named change. Hence to pass into non-being is also change, although what passes away is changed from Being: and generation is a mutation into Being, even though it is from non-being.” The remark is to be interpreted as meaning that for the first time in real becoming motion, i.e. in change, the relation whereto enters, while the relation wherefrom is that in which change is still the mere ideal motion. Besides this first form of difference between motion and change, Aristotle further gives another, since he divides change into three: “into change from a subject (ἐξ ὑποκειμένον) into a subject; or from a subject into a non-subject; or from a non-subject into a subject.” The fourth, “from a non-subject into a non-subject,” which may also appear in the general division, “is no mutation, for it contains no opposition.” It may certainly be merely thought or ideal, but Aristotle indicates the actual phenomenon. “The mutation from a non-subject into a subject is generation (γένεσις); that from a subject into a non-subject is corruption (φθορά); that from a subject into a subject, is motion as such;” because that which is transformed remains the same, there is no[174] becoming-another of the actual, but a merely formal becoming-another. This opposition of the materialized motion as mutation, and of merely formal motion, is noteworthy.

In the sixth book Aristotle comes to the consideration of the dialectic of this motion and change as advanced by Zeno, that is, to the endless divisibility which we have already (Vol. I. pp. 266-277) considered. Aristotle solves it through the universal. He says that they are the contradiction of the universal turned against itself; the unity in which its moments dissolve is not a nothing, so that motion and change are nothing, but a negative universal, where the negative is itself again posited as positive, and that is the essence of divisibility.

Of the further details into which Aristotle enters, I shall only give the following. As against atoms and their motion, he remarks (Phys. VI. 10) that the indivisible has no motion and mutation, which is the direct opposite of the proposition of Zeno that only simple indivisible Being and no motion exists. For as Zeno argues from the indivisibility of atoms against motion, Aristotle argues from motion against atoms. “Everything which moves or changes is in the first division of this time partly here and partly there. The atom, as simple indivisible Being, can, however, not have any part of it in both points in space, because it then would be divisible. The indivisible could thus only move if time consisted of the Now; this is, however, impossible, as we proved before.” Because atoms thus neither have change in themselves, nor can this come to them from without through impulse, &c., they are really without truth.

The determination of the pure ideality of change is important. Aristotle says of this (Phys. VII. 3), “That which is changed is alone the sensuous and perceptible (αἰσθητόν); and forms and figures, as also capacities, are not changed, they arise and disappear in a thing only,[175] without being themselves changed.” In other words: the content of change is unchangeable; change as such belongs to mere form. “Virtues or vices belong, for example, to habits acquired. Virtue is the perfection (τελείωσις) in which something has reached the end of its nature. Vice, however, is the corruption and non-attainment of this. They are not changes, for they only arise and pass away while another alters.” Or the difference becomes a difference of Being and non-being, i.e. a merely sensuous difference.

From these conceptions Aristotle now comes nearer to the first real or physical motion (Phys. VIII. 6, 8, 9; De C\nlo, I. 4): The first principle of motion is itself unmoved. An endless motion in a straight line is an empty creation of thought; for motion is necessarily an effort after something. The absolute motion is the circular, because it is without opposition. For because movement has to be considered in regard to the starting-place and the end in view, in the straight movement the directions from A to B and from B to A are opposed, but in motion in a circle they are the same. The idea that heavenly bodies would of themselves have moved in a straight line, but that they accidentally came into the sphere of solar attraction, is an empty reflection which is far from occurring to Aristotle.

Aristotle then shows (De C\nlo, II. I; I. 3) that “the whole heavens neither arose nor can pass away, for they are one and eternal: they neither have beginning nor end in eternal time, for they contain infinite time shut up within them.” All the other ideas are sensuous which try to speak of essential reality, and in them there always is that present which they think they have excluded. For when they assert a vacuum before the beginning of generation, this is the quiescent, self-identical, i.e. the eternal matter, which is thus already established before origination; they will not allow that before origination nothing exists. But in fact a thing does not exist before its origination, i.e. in movement there is something to move, and where reality is, there[176] is motion. They do not, however, bring together that vacuum, the self-identical, the un-originated matter and this nothing. “That which has this absolute circular movement is neither heavy nor light; for the heavy is what moves downwards, and the light what moves upwards.” In modern physics the heavenly bodies, on the other hand, are endowed with weight, and seek to rush into the sun, but cannot do so on account of another force. “It is indestructible and ungenerated, without decrease or increase, without any change. It is different from earth, fire, air and water; it is what the ancients called ether, as the highest place, from its continuous course (ἀεὶ θεῖν) in infinite time.” This ether thus appears to be eternal matter which does not, however, take such a definite form, but which remains as it is, just as the heavens do in our conception, although here the juxtaposition begins ever to strike us more forcibly.

Aristotle (De C\nlo, III. 6) shows further that the elements do not proceed from one body, but from one another; for in generation they neither proceed from what is incorporeal, nor from what is corporeal. In the first case they would have sprung from the vacuum, for the vacuum is the immediate incorporeal; but in that case the vacuum must have existed independently as that in which determinate corporeality arose. But neither do the elements arise from a corporeal, for else this body itself would be a corporeal element before the elements. Thus it only remains that the elements must spring from one another. Regarding this we must remark that Aristotle understands by origination, actual origination—not the transition from the universal to the individual, but the origination of one determinate corporeal, not from its principle, but from the opposite as such. Aristotle does not consider the universal as it contains the negative within it; else the universal would be the absolute matter whose universality, as negativity, is set forth, or is real.

From this point Aristotle comes (De C\nlo, IV. I-5) to[177] a kind of deduction of the elements, which is noteworthy. He shows that there must be four of them, in the following way—because he starts from the fundamental conceptions of weight and of lightness, or what we should call attraction and centrifugal force. The corporeal, he says, in its motion is neither light nor heavy, and, indeed, it is not only relative but also absolute. The relatively light and heavy is what, while equal in volume, descends more slowly or quickly. Absolute lightness goes up to the extremity of the heavens, absolute weight down into the middle. These extremes are fire and earth. Between these there are mediums, other than they, which relate to one another like them; and these are air and water, the one of which has weight, and the other lightness, but only relatively. For water is suspended under everything except earth, and air over everything except fire. “Hence,” Aristotle concludes, “there now are these four matters, but they are four in such a way that they have one in common; more particularly, because they arise out of one another, but exist as different.” Yet it is not the ether that Aristotle designates as this common matter. We must in this regard remark that however little these first determinations may be exhaustive, Aristotle is still far further on than the moderns, since he had not the conception of elements which prevails at the present time, according to which the element is made to subsist as simple. But any such simple determination of Being is an abstraction and has no reality, because such existence would be capable of no motion and change; the element must itself have reality, and it thus is, as the union of opposites, resolvable. Aristotle hence makes the elements, as we have already seen with those who went before (Vol. I., pp. 181, 182; 290-293; 336), arise out of one another and pass into one another; and this is entirely opposed to our Physics, which understands by elements an indelible, self-identical simplicity only. Hence men are wonderfully discerning in reproaching us for calling water,[178] air, &c., elements! Nor yet in the expression “neutrality” have the modern physicists been able to grasp a universality conceived of as a unity, such as Aristotle ascribes to the elements; in fact, however, the acid which unites with a base is no longer, as is asserted, present within it as such. But however removed Aristotle may be from understanding simplicity as an abstraction, just as little does he recognize here the arid conception of consisting of parts. Quite the contrary. He strives enough against this, as, for instance, in relation to Anaxagoras (De C\nl. III. 4).

I shall further mention the moments of the real process in relation to motion, in which Aristotle finally passes on (De gen. et corr. II. 2-4) to the “principles of perceptible body”; we here see the elements in process, as formerly in their restful determinateness. Aristotle excludes the relations which concern sight, smell, &c., and brings forward the others as being those which are of sensible weight or lightness. He gives as these fundamental principles—warmth and cold, dryness and moisture; they are the sensible differences for others, while weight and lightness are different for themselves. Now in order to prepare for the transition of the elements into sensible relations, Aristotle says: “Because there are those four principles, and four things have properly six relations to one another, but the opposite cannot here be connected (the moist cannot be connected with the dry, or the warm with the cold), there are four connections of these principles, warm and dry, warm and moist, cold and moist, cold and dry. And these connections follow those first elements, so that thus fire is warm and dry, air warm and moist (vapour), water cold and moist, earth cold and dry.” From this Aristotle now makes the reciprocal transformation of the elements into one another comprehensible thus: Origination and decay proceed from the opposite and into the opposite. All elements have a mutual opposite; each is as non-being to the Being of the other, and one is thus distinguished from the[179] other as actuality and capacity. Now amongst these some have an equal part in common; fire and water, for example, have warmth; thus if in fire dryness were overcome by moisture, out of fire air would arise. On the contrary, as regards those which have nothing in common with one another, like earth, which is cold and dry, and air, which is warm and moist, the transition goes more slowly forward. The transition of all elements into one another, the whole process of nature, is thus to Aristotle the constant rotation of their changes. This is unsatisfactory, because neither are the individual elements comprehended nor is the remainder rounded into a whole.

As a matter of fact, Aristotle now goes on, in meteorology, to the consideration of the universal process of nature. But here we have reached his limits. Here, in the natural process, the simple determination as such—this system of progressive determination—ceases to hold good, and its whole interest is lost. For it is in the real process that these determinate conceptions always lose their signification again and become their opposite, and in it also this contingent succession is forced together and united. In determining time and motion, we certainly saw Aristotle himself uniting opposite determinations; but movement, in its true determination, must take space and time back into itself; it must represent itself as being the unity of these its real moments and in them; that is, as the realization of this ideal. But still more must the following moments, moisture, warmth, &c., themselves come back under the conception of process. But the sensuous manifestation here begins to obtain the upper hand; for the empirical has the nature of the isolated form, which is to fall out of relation. The empirical manifestation thus outstrips thought, which merely continues everywhere to stamp it as its own, but which has no longer power to permeate the manifestation, since it withdraws out of the sphere of the ideal, while it is still in the region of time, space and movement.


3. The Philosophy of Mind.

As regards the other side from the Philosophy of Nature, the Philosophy of Mind, we find that Aristotle has constituted in it also a separation into special sciences, in a series of works which I shall name. In the first place, his three books “On the Soul” deal partly with the abstract universal nature of the soul, though mainly in an antagonistic spirit; and even more, and in a fashion both profound and speculative, they deal with the soul’s essential nature—not with its Being, but with the determinate manner and potentiality of its energy; for this is to Aristotle the Being and essence of the soul. Thus there are several different treatises, viz.: On Sense-perception and the Sensible, On Memory and Recollection, On Sleeping and Waking, On Dreams, On Divination (μαντική) through Dreams, besides a treatise on Physiognomy; there is no empirical point of view or phenomenon, either in the natural or the spiritual world, that Aristotle has considered beneath his notice. With respect to the practical side, he in like manner devotes his attention to man in his capacity of householder, in a work on economics (οἰκονομικά); then he takes into his consideration the individual human being, in a moral treatise (ἠθικά), which is partly an inquiry into the highest good or the absolute end, and partly a dissertation on special virtues. The manner of treatment is almost invariably speculative, and sound understanding is displayed throughout. Finally, in his Politics, he gives a representation of the true constitution of a state and the different kinds of constitution, which he deals with from the empirical point of view; and in his Politics an account is given of the most important states, of which we are, however, told very little.

a. Psychology.

In Aristotle’s teaching on this subject we must not expect to find so-called metaphysics of the soul. For[181] metaphysical handling such as this really pre-supposes the soul as a thing, and asks, for example, what sort of a thing it is, whether it is simple, and so on. Aristotle did not busy his concrete, speculative mind with abstract questions such as these, but, as already remarked, he deals rather with the manner of the soul’s activity; and though this appears in a general way as a series of progressive determinations which are not necessarily blended into a whole, each determination is yet apprehended in its own sphere with as much correctness as depth.

Aristotle (De Anima, I. 1) makes in the first place the general remark that it appears as if the soul must, on the one hand, be regarded in its freedom as independent and as separable from the body, since in thinking it is independent; and, on the other hand, since in the emotions it appears to be united with the body and not separate, it must also be looked on as being inseparable from it; for the emotions show themselves as materialized Notions (λόγοι ἔνυλοι), as material modes of what is spiritual. With this a twofold method of considering the soul, also known to Aristotle, comes into play, namely the purely rational or logical view, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the physical or physiological; these we still see practised side by side. According to the one view, anger, for instance, is looked on as an eager desire for retaliation or the like; according to the other view it is the surging upward of the heart-blood and the warm element in man. The former is the rational, the latter the material view of anger; just as one man may define a house as a shelter against wind, rain, and other destructive agencies, while another defines it as consisting of wood and stone; that is to say, the former gives the determination and the form, or the purpose of the thing, while the latter specifies the material it is made of, and its necessary conditions.

Aristotle characterizes the nature of the soul more closely (De Anima, II. 1) by referring to the three moments of[182] existence: “First there is matter (ὕλη), which is in itself no individual thing; secondly, the form and the universal (μορφὴ καὶ εἶδος), which give a thing individuality; thirdly, the result produced by both, in which matter is potentiality and form is energy (ἐντελέχεια);” matter thus does not exist as matter, but only implicitly. “The soul is substance, as being the form of the physical organic body which is possessed potentially of life; but its substance is energy (ἐντελέχεια), the energy of a body such as has been described” (endowed with life). “This energy appears in twofold form: either as knowledge (ἐπιστήμη) or as active observation (τὸ θεωρεῖν). But it is evident that here it is to be regarded as the former of these. For the soul is present with us both when we sleep and when we wake; waking corresponds with active observation, and sleep with possession and passivity. But knowledge is in origination prior to all else. The soul is thus the first energy of a physical but organic body.” It is in respect of this that Aristotle gives to the soul the definition of being the entelechy (supra, pp. 143, 144).

In the same chapter Aristotle comes to the question of the mutual relation of body and soul. “For this reason” (because soul is form) “we must no more ask if soul and body are one than we ask if wax and its form are one, or, in general, if matter and its forms are one. For though unity and Being are used in various senses. Being is essentially energy.” Were we, namely, to pronounce body and soul one in the same way that a house, which consists of a number of parts, or as a thing and its properties, or the subject and predicate, and so on, are called one, where both are regarded as things, materialism results. An identity such as this is an altogether abstract, and therefore a superficial and empty determination, and a term which it is a mistake to employ, for form and material do not rank equally as regards Being; identity truly worthy of the name is to be apprehended as[183] nothing else than energy such as has been described. The only question that now arises is whether activity and the organ it employs are one; and our idea is to answer in the affirmative. The more definite explanation of this relation is to be found in the following; “The soul is substance, but only according to the Notion (κατὰ τὸν λόγον); but that is the substantial form (τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι)[96] for such and such a body. For suppose that an instrument, such as an axe, were a natural body, this form, this axehood, would be its substance, and this its form would be its soul, for if this were to be taken away from it, it would no longer be an axe, the name only would remain. But soul is not the substantial form and Notion of such a body as an axe, but of a body which has within itself the principle of movement and of rest.” The axe has not the principle of its form in itself, it does not make itself an axe, nor does its form, its Notion, in itself constitute its substance, as its activity is not through itself. “If, for instance, the eye were in itself a living thing, vision would be its soul, for vision is the reality which expresses the Notion of the eye. But the eye, as such, is only the material instrument of vision, for if vision were lost, the eye would be an eye only in name, like an eye of stone or a painted eye.” Thus to the question, What is the substance of the eye? Aristotle answers: Are the nerves, humours, tissues, its substance? On the contrary, sight itself is its substance, these material substances are only an empty name. “As this is the case in the part, so it also holds good of the body as a whole. The potentiality of life is not in any such thing as has lost its soul, but in that which still possesses it. The seed or the fruit is such and such a body potentially. Like hewing and seeing,” in the axe and the [184]eye, “waking” in general “is activity; but the corporeal is only potentiality. But as the” living “eye is both vision and the eyeball” (the two being connected as actuality and potentiality), “so also are soul and body the living animal, the two are not to be separated. But it is not yet clear whether the soul is the activity of the body in the same way as the steersman is of the ship.” That the active form is the true substance, while matter is so only potentially, is a true speculative Notion.

As settling the question asked in the above-mentioned metaphor, we may quote what Aristotle says later (De Anima, II. 4): “As the principle of motion and as end (οὗ ἕνεκα), and as substance of living bodies, the soul is the cause. For substance is to all objects the cause of their existence, but life is the existence of the living, and its cause and principle is the soul; and further, its energy is the existing Notion of what has potential existence. The soul is cause also as end,” that is, as self-determining universality, “for nature, like thought, acts for the sake of an object, which object is its end, but in living beings this is soul. All the parts of the body are thus the organs of the soul, and hence exist for its sake.” In like manner Aristotle shows that the soul is the cause of motion.

Aristotle (De Anima, II. 2, 3) further states that the soul is to be determined in three ways, namely as nutrient or vegetable, as sensitive, and as intelligent, corresponding with plant life, animal life and human life. The nutrient soul, when it is alone, belongs to plants; when it is at the same time capable of sense-perception, it is the animal soul; and when at once nutrient, sensitive and intelligent, it is the mind of man. Man has thus three natures united in himself; a thought which is also expressed in modern Natural Philosophy by saying that a man is also both an animal and a plant, and which is directed against the division and separation of the differences in these forms. That difference has also been revived in recent times in the[185] observation of the organic, and it is highly important to keep these sides separate. The only question (and it is Aristotle who raises it) is how far these, as parts, are separable. As to what concerns more nearly the relation of the three souls, as they may be termed (though they are incorrectly thus distinguished), Aristotle says of them, with perfect truth, that we need look for no one soul in which all these are found, and which in a definite and simple form is conformable with any one of them. This is a profound observation, by means of which truly speculative thought marks itself out from the thought which is merely logical and formal. Similarly among figures only the triangle and the other definite figures, like the square, the parallelogram, &c., are truly anything; for what is common to them, the universal figure, is an empty thing of thought, a mere abstraction. On the other hand, the triangle is the first, the truly universal figure, which appears also in the square, &c., as the figure which can be led back to the simplest determination. Therefore, on the one hand, the triangle stands alongside of the square, pentagon, &c., as a particular figure, but—and this is Aristotle’s main contention—it is the truly universal figure. In the same way the soul must not be sought for as an abstraction, for in the animate being the nutritive and the sensitive soul are included in the intelligent, but only as its object or its potentiality; similarly, the nutritive soul, which constitutes the nature of plants, is also present in the sensitive soul, but likewise only as being implicit in it, or as the universal. Or the lower soul inheres only in the higher, as a predicate in a subject: and this mere ideal is not to be ranked very high, as is indeed the case in formal thought; that which is for itself is, on the contrary, the never-ceasing return into itself, to which actuality belongs. We can determine these expressions even more particularly. For if we speak of soul and body, we term the corporeal the objective and the soul the subjective; and the misfortune of nature is[186] just this, that it is objective, that is, it is the Notion only implicitly, and not explicitly. In the natural there is, no doubt, a certain activity, but again this whole sphere is only the objective, the implicit element in one higher. As, moreover, the implicit in its sphere appears as a reality for the development of the Idea, it has two sides; the universal is already itself an actual, as, for example, the vegetative soul. Aristotle’s meaning is therefore this: an empty universal is that which does not itself exist, or is not itself species. All that is universal is in fact real, as particular, individual, existing for another. But that universal is real, in that by itself, without further change, it constitutes its first species, and when further developed it belongs, not to this, but to a higher stage. These are the general determinations which are of the greatest importance, and which, if developed, would lead to all true views of the organic, &c., since they give a correct general representation of the principle of realization.

α. The nutritive or vegetative soul is therefore, according to Aristotle (De Anima, II. 4), to be conceived as the first, which is energy, the general Notion of the soul itself, just as it is, without further determination; or, as we should say, plant life is the Notion of the organic. What Aristotle goes on to say of nourishment, for instance, whether the like is nourished by the like, or by the opposite, is of little importance. It may, however, be mentioned that Aristotle (De Anima, II. 12) says of the vegetative soul that it is related only to matter, and that only after a material manner, as when we eat and drink, but that it cannot take up into itself the forms of sensible things: we, too, ourselves in practical matters are related as particular individuals to a material existence here and now, in which our own material existence comes into activity.

β. There is more to interest us in Aristotle’s determination of sense-perception (De Anima, II. 5), as to which I shall make some further quotations. Sense-perception[187] is in general a potentiality (we should say a receptivity), but this potentiality is also activity; it is therefore not to be conceived as mere passivity. Passivity and activity pertain to one and the same, or passivity has two senses. “On the one hand a passivity is the destruction of one state by its opposite; on the other hand, it is a preservation of what is merely potential by means of what is actual.” The one case occurs in the acquisition of knowledge, which is a passivity in so far as a change takes place from one condition (ἕξις) into an opposite condition; but there is another passivity, in which something only potentially posited is maintained, therefore knowledge is knowing in an active sense (supra, p. 182). From this Aristotle concludes: “There is one change which is privative; and another which acts on the nature and the permanent energy (ἕξις). The first change in the subject of perception (αἰσθητικοῦ) is caused by that which produces the perception; but, once produced, the perception is possessed as knowledge (επιστήμη).” Because that which produces the change is different from the result, perception is passivity; but it is just as much spontaneity, “and sense-perception, like knowledge (θεωρεῖν), has to do with this aspect of activity. But the difference is, that what causes the perception is external. The cause of this is that perceptive activity is directed on the particular, while knowledge has as its object the universal; but the universal is, to a certain extent, in the soul itself as its substance. Everyone can therefore think when he will,” and for this very reason thought is free, “but perception does not depend on him, having the necessary condition that the object perceived be present.” The influence from without, as a passivity, comes therefore first; but there follows the activity of making this passive content one’s own. This is doubtless the correct point from which to view perception, whatever be the manner of further development preferred, subjective idealism, or any other way. For it is a matter[188] of perfect indifference whether we find ourselves subjectively or objectively determined; in both there is contained the moment of passivity, by which the perception comes to pass. The monad of Leibnitz appears, it is true, to be an idea opposed to this, since every monad, every point of my finger, as atom or individual, is an entire universe, the whole of which develops in itself without reference to other monads. Here seems to be asserted the highest idealistic freedom, but it is of no avail to imagine that all in me develops out of me; for we must always recollect that what is thus developed in me is passive, and not free. With this moment of passivity Aristotle does not fall short of idealism; sensation is always in one aspect passive. That is, however, a false idealism which thinks that the passivity and spontaneity of the mind depend on whether the determination given is from within or from without, as if there were freedom in sense-perception, whereas it is itself a sphere of limitation. It is one thing when the matter—whether it be sensation, light, colour, seeing or hearing—is apprehended from the Idea, for it is then shown that it comes to pass from the self-determination of the Idea. But it is different when, in so far as I exist as an individual subject, the Idea exists in me as this particular individual; there we have the standpoint of finitude established, and therefore of passivity. Thus there need be no standing on ceremony with sense-perception, nor can a system of idealism be based on the theory that nothing comes to us from without: as Fichte’s theory about himself was, that when he put on his coat, he constituted it in part by drawing it on, or even by looking at it. The individual element in sensation is the sphere of the individuality of consciousness; it is present therein in the form of one thing as much as of another, and its individuality consists in this fact, that other things exist for it. Aristotle continues: “Speaking generally, the difference is that potentiality is twofold; as we say a boy may become a[189] general, and a grown man may also become so,” for the latter has the effective power. “This is the nature of the faculty of sense-perception (αἰσθητικόν); it is in potentiality what the object of sense (αἰσθητόν) is in actuality. Sense-perception is therefore passive, in so far as it does not resemble its object, but after the impression has been made it becomes similar to its object, and is identified with it.” The reaction of sense-perception consists therefore in this active receiving into itself of that which is perceived; but this is simply activity in passivity, the spontaneity which abrogates the receptivity in sense-perception. Sense-perception, as made like to itself, has, while appearing to be brought to pass by means of an influence working on it, brought to pass the identity of itself and its object. If then subjective idealism declares that there are no external things, that they are but a determination of our self, this must be admitted in respect to pure sense-perception, since sense-perception is a subjective existence or state in me, which yet, however, is not for that reason freedom.

In speaking of sense-perception, Aristotle (De Anima, II. 12) makes use of his celebrated simile, which has so often occasioned misapprehension, because it has been understood quite incorrectly. His words are: “Sense-perception is the receiving of sensible forms without matter, as wax receives only the impress of the golden signet ring, not the gold itself, but merely its form.” For the form is the object as universal; and theoretically we are in the position, not of the individual and sensuous, but of the universal. The case is different with us in our practical relations, where the influence working upon us pre-supposes in return the contact of the material, for which reason, as Aristotle asserts, plants do not perceive (supra, p. 186). On the other hand, in receiving form, the material is lost sight of; for the receiving of form indicates no positive relation to the matter, which is no longer something[190] offering resistance. If, therefore, sense-perceptions are termed in general sensuous impressions, we, in matter-of-fact fashion, do not get beyond this crude way of putting it; and in making the transition to soul, we take refuge behind popular conceptions, which are partly ill-defined Notions, and partly not Notions at all. Thus it is said that all sense-perceptions are impressed on the soul by external things, just as the matter of the signet ring works on the matter of the wax; and then we hear it alleged that this is Aristotle’s philosophy. It is the same with most other philosophers; if they give any sort of illustration that appeals to the senses, everyone can understand it, and everyone takes the content of the comparison in its full extent: as if all that is contained in this sensuous relationship should also hold good of the spiritual. No great importance is therefore to be attached to this conception, as it is only an illustration, professing to show by a side comparison that the passive element in sense-perception is in its passivity for pure form only; this form alone is taken up into the percipient subject, and finds a place in the soul. It does not, however, remain in the same relation to it as that in which the form stands to the wax, nor is it as in chemistry where one element is permeated by another as regards its matter. The chief circumstance, therefore, and that which constitutes the difference between this illustration and the condition of the soul is altogether overlooked. That is to say, the wax does not, indeed, take in the form, for the impression remains on it as external figure and contour, without being a form of its real Being; if it were to become such, it would cease to be wax; therefore, because in the illustration there is lacking this reception of form into the Being, no thought is given to it. The soul, on the contrary, assimilates this form into its own substance, and for the very reason, that the soul is in itself, to a certain extent, the sum of all that is perceived by the senses (infra, p. 198): as it was said above (p. 183), if the axe had[191] its form in the determination of substance, this form would be the soul of the axe. The illustration of the wax has reference to nothing but the fact that only the form comes to the soul; and has nothing to do with the form being external to the wax and remaining so, or with the soul having, like wax, no independent form. The soul is by no means said to be passive wax and to receive its determinations from without; but Aristotle, as we shall soon see (p. 194), really says that the spirit repels matter from itself, and maintains itself against it, having relation only to form. In sense-perception the soul is certainly passive, but the manner in which it receives is not like that of the wax, being just as truly activity of the soul; for after the perceptive faculty has received the impression, it abrogates the passivity, and remains thenceforth free from it (supra, p. 187). The soul therefore changes the form of the external body into its own, and is identical with an abstract quality such as this, for the sole reason that it itself is this universal form.

This description of sense-perception Aristotle explains more fully in what follows (De Anima, III. 2), and expatiates upon this unity and its contrasts, in the course of which explanation there appear many clear and far-reaching glimpses into the Nature of consciousness. “The bodily organ of each sense-perception receives the object perceived without matter. Hence, when the object of sense is removed, the perceptions and the images which represent them remain in the organs. In the act of sense-perception the object perceived is no doubt identical with the subject that perceives, but they do not exist[97] as the same; for instance, sound and the hearing are the same when in active [192]exercise, but that which has hearing does not always hear, and that which has sound is not always sounding. When that which is the potentiality of hearing comes into exercise, and likewise that which is the potentiality of sound, hearing and sound, being in full activity, coincide,” they do not remain separate energies. “If then movement and action, as well as passivity, have a place in the object on which activity is exercised (ἐν τῷ ποιουμένῳ), it follows necessarily that the energy of hearing and sound is contained in that which potentially is hearing, for the energy of the active and moving is in the passive. As therefore activity and passivity are manifested in the subject which receives the effect, and not in the object which produces it (ποιοῦντι), the energy both of the object and of the faculty of sense-perception is in the faculty itself. For hearing and sounding there are two words, for seeing only one; seeing is the activity of the person who sees, but the activity of the colour is without name. Since the energy of that which is perceived and that which perceives is one energy, and the aspect they present is alone different, the so-called sounding and hearing must cease simultaneously.” There is a body which sounds and a subject which hears; they are twofold in the aspect they present, but hearing, taken by itself, is intrinsically an activity of both. In like manner, when I have by sense the perception of redness and hardness, my perception is itself red and hard: that is, I find myself determined in that way, even though reflection says that outside of me there is a red, hard thing, and that it and my finger are two; but they are also one, my eye is red and the thing. It is upon this difference and this identity that everything depends; and Aristotle demonstrates this in the most emphatic way, and holds firmly to his point. The later distinction of subjective and objective is the reflection of consciousness; sense-perception is simply the abrogation of this separation, it is that form of identity which abstracts from subjectivity and objectivity. What is simple, the soul[193] proper or the I, is in sense-perception unity in difference. “Further, every sense-perception is in its organ, and distinguishes everything that is perceived, like black and white, and so on. It is thus not possible for separate perceptions, white and sweet, to be distinguished as separate indifferent moments, for both must be present (δῆλα) to one subject. This one subject must therefore determine one thing to be different from another. This, as distinguished, can also not be in a different place or time, for it must be undivided and in undivided time. But it is impossible that one and the same thing should be affected by contrary movements, in so far as it is undivided and in undivided time. If sweetness affects sense-perception in one way, and bitterness in the contrary way, and whiteness in yet another way, the power of judging is numerically not discrete nor divisible, but according to the Notion (τῷ εἶναι)[98] it is distinguished. That which is the same and indivisible thus possesses in potentiality opposite qualities; but with its true existence (τῷ εἶναι) that cannot be the case, for in its activity it is separable, and cannot at the same time be both white and black. Sense-perception and thinking are like that which some term a point, which, in so far as it is one, is inseparable, and in so far as it is two, is separable. So far as it is undivided, the judging faculty is one and acts in a single point of time, but so far as it is divided” (not one) “it employs the same sign twice simultaneously. So far as it employs two, it by limitation distinguishes two, and separates them as having separate origin; but so far as it is one, it judges by one act in one single point of time” (supra, p. 172). For as [194]the point in time, which resembles the point in space, contains future and past, and thus is something different and at the same time one and the same, since it is in one and the same respect separation and union; sense-perception is also one and at the same time separation, separated and not separated, seeing that the faculty of perception has before it in one unity the distinct sense-perception, which by this means receives for the first time a determinate content. Another example is that of number; one and two are different, and, at the same time, even in two one is used and posited as one.

γ. From sense-perception Aristotle passes on to thought, and becomes here really speculative. “Thinking,” he says (De Anima, III. 4) “is not passive (ἀπαθές), but receptive of the form, and is in potentiality similar to it. Therefore the understanding (νοῦς), because it thinks all things, is free from all admixture (ἀμιγής), in order that it may overcome (κρατῇ), as Anaxagoras says, that is, in order that it may acquire knowledge; for, coming forth in its energy (παρεμφαινόμενον), it holds back what is alien to it, and fortifies itself against it (ἀντιφράττει). Therefore the nature of the understanding is none other than this potentiality.” But potentiality itself is here not matter; that is to say, the understanding has no matter, for potentiality pertains to its very substance. For thinking is really the not being implicit; and on account of its purity its reality is not the being-for-another, but its potentiality is itself a being-for-self. A thing is real because it is this determinate thing; the opposite determination, its potentiality to be, for instance, smoke, ashes, and so on, is not posited in it. In the corporeal, therefore, matter, as potentiality, and external form, as reality, are opposed to one another; but the soul is, in contrast with this, universal potentiality itself, without matter, because its essence is energy. “Understanding, then, in the soul, as that which possesses consciousness, is nothing in reality before it thinks;” it is absolute activity,[195] but exists only when it is active. “It is therefore not incorporated with the body. For what should it be like, warm or cold? Or should it be an organ? But it is none of these. That it is, however, different from the faculty of sense-perception is clear. For sense-perception cannot perceive after a violent perception; for instance, it cannot smell nor see after experiencing strong smells or colours. But the understanding, after it has thought something which can only be thought with difficulty, will not have more but less difficulty in thinking of something that is easier. For there is no sense-perception independent of the body, but the understanding is separable from it. When it has then become something individual, like him who is really possessed of a faculty of knowing (and this happens when he can energize through himself), it then is also in a certain degree according to potentiality, but yet not so in the same manner as it was before learning and finding.” (Cf. supra, pp. 182, 187.)

Thinking makes itself into passive understanding, that is, into what is for it the objective; and thus it here becomes plain to what extent the dictum nihil est in intellectu quod non fuerit in sensu expresses Aristotle’s meaning. Aristotle, raising difficulties, goes on to ask, “If reason is simple and unaffected by impressions, and has nothing in common with other objects, how can it think, since thinking is certainly a state of receptivity?” That is to say, in thinking there is a reference to an object distinct from itself. “For it is when two objects have something in common that the one appears to produce and the other to receive an impression. There is a further difficulty, whether understanding can itself be the object of thought. In that case understanding would either be inherent in other things—unless it is the object of thought in a different sense from that in which other things are so, but there is only one sense in which things can be objects of thought—or, on the other hand, it would have something[196] compounded with it, making it an object of thought as other things are. Now it has been already said that passivity is so determined that understanding is in potentiality all that thought is exercised on: but at the same time it is in actuality nothing before the exercise of thought.” That is to say, thought is implicitly the content of the object of what is thought, and in coming into existence it only coincides with itself; but the self-conscious understanding is not merely implicit, but essentially explicit, since it is within itself all things. That is an idealistic way of expressing it; and yet they say that Aristotle is an empiricist.

The passivity of understanding has therefore here only the sense of potentiality before actuality, and that is the great principle of Aristotle; in regard to this he brings forward at the end of the same chapter another much-decried illustration, which has been just as much misunderstood as the preceding. “Reason is like a book upon whose pages nothing is actually written;” that is, however, paper, but not a book. All Aristotle’s thoughts are overlooked, and only external illustrations such as this are comprehended. A book on which nothing is written everyone can understand. And the technical term is the well-known tabula rasa, which is to be found wherever Aristotle is spoken of: Aristotle is said to have alleged that the mind is a blank page, on which characters are first traced by external objects, so that thinking thus comes to it from without.[99] But that is the very opposite of what Aristotle says. Instead of the Notion being adhered to, casual comparisons such as these have been caught up here and there by the imagination, as if they expressed the matter itself. But Aristotle did not in the least intend that the analogy should be pushed to its furthest extent: the understanding is of a surety not a thing, and has not[197] the passivity of a writing-tablet; it is itself the energy, which is not, as it would be in the case of a tablet, external to it. The analogy is therefore confined to this, that the soul has a content only in so far as actual thought is exercised. The soul is this book unwritten on, and the meaning consequently is that the soul is all things implicitly, but it is not in itself this totality; it is like a book that contains all things potentially, but in reality contains nothing before it is written on. Before real activity nothing truly exists; or “Understanding itself can enter thought, like the objects of thought in general. For in that which is without matter” (in mind), “the thinker” (the subjective) “and the thought” (the objective) “are the same; theoretical knowledge and that which comes to be known are the same. In that which is material, thinking is only in potentiality, so that understanding itself does not belong to it; for understanding is a potentiality without matter, but the object of thought exists in it,” while Nature contains the Idea only implicitly. It is plain from this that the above illustration has been taken in quite a false sense, utterly contrary to Aristotle’s meaning.

Until now we have spoken of the passive understanding, which is the nature of the soul, but also in equal degree its faculty of sense-perception and imagination. Aristotle now proceeds to distinguish active understanding from this, as follows (De Anima, III. 5): “In nature as a whole there is present in every species of things, on the one hand, matter, which in potentiality is the whole of this species, and, on the other hand, cause and energy, operative in all things, in the same way that art is related to matter. It therefore necessarily follows that in the soul also these different elements should be present. The faculty of understanding is thus, in one view of it, the capacity of becoming all things; but in another view it is the capacity of creating all things, as is done by an efficient power (ἕξις), light, for instance, which first causes the colours which exist[198] in potentiality to exist in reality. This understanding is absolute (χωριστός), uncompounded, and not influenced from without, as it is essentially activity. For the active is always more in honour than the passive, and the principle more in honour than the matter that it forms. Knowledge, when in active exercise, is identical with the thing (πρᾶγμα) known; but what is in potentiality” (that is, external reason, imagination, sense-perception) “is certainly prior in respect of time in one and the same individual, but in the universal (ὅλως) it is not even so in respect of time. Active understanding is not such that it sometimes thinks and sometimes does not. When it is absolute, it is the one and only existence; and this alone is eternal and immortal. We, however, do not remember this process, because this understanding is unaffected from without; but the passive understanding is transitory, and without the former it is incapable of thought.”

The seventh and eighth chapters are expositions of the maxims contained in the fourth and fifth; they begin with these maxims, and have the appearance of being from the hand of a commentator. “The soul,” says Aristotle (De Anima, III. 8), “is in a certain sense the whole of existence. For existent objects are either perceived by the senses or thought; but knowledge itself is in a manner the object of knowledge, and perception the object of perception. What are known and perceived are either the things themselves or their forms. Knowledge and sense-perception are not the things themselves (the stone is not in the soul), but their form; so that the soul is like the hand. As this is the instrument by which we grasp instruments, so the understanding is the form by which we apprehend forms, and sense-perception the form of the objects cf sense.” Before this Aristotle had remarked (De Anima, III. 4): “It has been truly said that the soul is the place of ideas (τόπος εἰδῶν): not the whole soul, but only the thinking soul, and these ideas do not exist in the soul[199] actually, but only potentially.” That is to say, the ideas are at first only quiescent forms, not activities, and so Aristotle is not a realist. But the understanding makes these forms, like those of external nature, its objects, its thoughts, its potentiality, Aristotle therefore says in the seventh chapter: “The understanding thinks the abstract (τὰ ἐν ἀφαιρέσει λεγόμενα), just as it conceives snubnosedness not as snubnosedness that cannot be separated from the flesh, but as hollowness.” Then in the eighth chapter Aristotle goes on to say: “But as no object is separated from its perceived dimensions, so in the forms perceived by sense there are also objects of thought, both abstract conceptions and the qualities (ἕξεις) and determinations of the objects of sense. In this way he who perceives nothing by his senses learns nothing and understands nothing; when he discerns anything (θεωρῇ), he must necessarily discern it as a pictorial conception, for such conceptions are like sense-perceptions, only without matter. In what way then are our primary ideas distinguished, so as not to be mistaken for conceptions? Or is it not the case also that other thoughts even are not pictorial conceptions, but only that they are never found unassociated with such conceptions?” Since what follows contains no answer to the questions raised here at the very end, this would seem an additional indication that these portions follow later.[100] Aristotle concludes the seventh chapter with the words: “Speaking generally, the understanding is the faculty [200]which thinks things in their real activity. Whether, however, it can think the absolute or not, unless it be itself separated from the sensuous, we shall inquire later (ὕστερον).” This “later” Buhle considers to have reference to the “highest philosophy.”[101]

This identity of the subjective and objective, which is present in the active understanding—while finite things and mental states are respectively one separated from the other, because there the understanding is only in potentiality—is the highest point which speculation can reach: and in it Aristotle reverts to his metaphysical principles (p. 147), where he termed self-thinking reason absolute Thought, divine Understanding, or Mind in its absolute character. It is only in appearance that thought is spoken of as on a level with what is other than thought; this fashion of bringing what is different into conjunction certainly appears in Aristotle. But what he says of thought is explicitly and absolutely speculative, and is not on the same level with anything else, such as sense-perception, which has only potentiality for thought. This fact is moreover involved, that reason is implicitly the true totality, but in that case thought is in truth the activity which is independent and absolute existence; that [201]is, the thought of Thought, which is determined thus abstractly, but which constitutes the nature of absolute mind explicitly. These are the main points which are to be taken note of in Aristotle with regard to his speculative ideas, which it is impossible for us, however, to treat in greater detail.

We have now to pass on to what follows, which is a practical philosophy, and in doing so we must first establish firmly the conception of desire, which is really the turning round of thought into its negative side, wherein it becomes practical. Aristotle (De Anima, III. 7 and 6) says: “The object of knowledge and active knowledge are one and the same; what is in potentiality is in the individual prior in point of time, although not so in itself. For all that comes into being originates from that which operates actively. The object perceived by sense appears as that which causes the faculty of perception in potentiality to become the faculty of perception in actuality, for the latter is not receptive of influence, and does not undergo change. On that account it has a different kind of movement from the ordinary, for movement, as we have seen (p. 163) is the activity of an unaccomplished end (ἐνέργεια ἀτελοῦς); pure activity (ἁπλῶς ἐνέργεια), on the contrary, is that of the accomplished end (τοῦ τετελεσμένον).”—“The simple thoughts of the soul are such that in regard to them there can be no falsity; but that in which there is falsity or truth is a combination of thoughts as constituting one conception; for example, ‘the diameter is incommensurate.’ Or if by mistake white has been stated to be not white, not-white has been brought into connection with it. All this process may, however, just as well be termed separation. But that which makes everything one is reason, which in the form of its thinking thinks the undivided in undivided time and with the undivided action of the soul.”—“Sense-perception resembles simple assertion and thought, but pleasant or unpleasant sense-perception has[202] the relation of affirmation or negation,” therefore of the positive and negative determination of thought. “And to perceive the pleasant or unpleasant is to employ the activity” (spontaneity) “of the middle state of sense-perception upon good or evil, in so far as they are such. But desire and aversion are the same in energy; it is only in manifestation that they are different. To the reasoning soul pictorial conceptions take the place of sense-perceptions, and when the mind affirms or denies something to be good or bad, it desires or avoids its object. It has the relation both of unity and limit. The understanding,” as that which determines opposites, “recognizes the forms underlying pictorial conceptions; and in the same manner as what is desirable in them and what is to be avoided have been determined for it, so it also is determined independently of actual sense-perceptions when it is in mental conceptions. And when, in dealing with conception or thought, as if seeing them, it compares the future with the present and passes judgment accordingly, and determines what is pleasant or unpleasant in this respect; it desires or seeks to avoid it, and in general it finds itself in practical operation. But independently of action true and false are of the same character as good or evil.”

b. Practical Philosophy.

From this the conception of will, or the practical element is shown to us, and it has to be reckoned as still belonging to the Philosophy of Mind. Aristotle has treated it in several works which we now possess.

α. Ethics.

We have three great ethical works: the Nicomachean Ethics (Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια) in ten books, the Magna Moralia (Ἠθικὰ μεγάλα) in two books, and the Eudemean[203] Ethics (Ἠθικὰ Εὐδήμια) in seven books; the last deals for the most part with particular virtues, while in the first two general investigations on the principles are contained. Just as the best that we even now possess in reference to psychology is what we have obtained from Aristotle, so is it with his reflections on the actual agent in volition, on freedom, and the further determinations of imputation, intention, &c. We must simply give ourselves the trouble to understand these, and to translate them into our own form of speech, conception and thought; and this is certainly difficult. Aristotle follows the same course here as in his Physics, determining one after the other, in the most thorough and accurate fashion, the many moments which appear in desire: the purpose, the decision, voluntary or forced action, the act of ignorance, guilt, moral responsibility, &c. I cannot enter upon this somewhat psychological presentation of the subject.[102] I shall only make the following remarks on the Aristotelian definitions.

Aristotle[103] defines the principle of morality or the highest good, as happiness (εὐδαιμονία), which later on became a much disputed expression. It is good generally, not as abstract idea, but in such a way that the moment of realization is what actually answers to it. Aristotle thus does not content himself with the Platonic idea of the good, because it is only general; with him the question is taken in its determinateness. Aristotle then says that the good is what has its end in itself (τέλειον). If we tried to translate τέλειον by “perfect” here, we should translate it badly; it is that which, as having its end (τὸ τέλος) in itself, is not desired for the sake of anything else, but for its own sake (supra, pp. 162, 201). Aristotle determines happiness in this regard as the absolute end existing in and for itself, and[204] gives the following definition of it: It is “the energy of the life that has its end in itself in accordance with absolute virtue (ζωῆς τελείας ἐνέργεια κατ̓ ἀρετὴν).” He makes rational insight an essential condition; all action arising from sensuous desires, or from lack of freedom generally, indicates lack of insight; it is an irrational action, or an action which does not proceed from thought as such. But the absolute rational activity is alone knowledge, the action which in itself satisfies itself, and this is hence divine happiness; with the other virtues, on the contrary, only human happiness is obtained, just as from a theoretic point of view feeling is finite as compared with divine thought. Aristotle goes on to say much that is good and beautiful about virtue and the good and happiness in general, and states that happiness, as the good attainable by us, is not to be found without virtue, &c.; in all of which there is no profound insight from a speculative point of view.

In regard to the conception of virtue I should like to say something more. From a practical point of view, Aristotle[104] first of all distinguishes in soul a rational and an irrational side; in the latter reason only exists potentially; under it come the feelings, passions and affections. On the rational side understanding, wisdom, discretion, knowledge, have their place; but they still do not constitute virtue, which first subsists in the unity of the rational and the irrational sides. When the inclinations are so related to virtue that they carry out its dictates, this, according to Aristotle, is virtue. When the perception is either bad or altogether lacking, but the heart is good, goodwill may be there, but not virtue, because the principle—that is reason—which is essential to virtue, is wanting. Aristotle thus places virtue in knowledge, yet reason is not, as many believe, the principle of virtue purely in itself, for it is rather the rational impulse towards what is good; both desire[205] and reason are thus necessary moments in virtue. Hence it cannot be said of virtue that it is misemployed, for it itself is the employer. Thus Aristotle, as we have already seen (Vol. I. pp. 412-414), blames Socrates, because he places virtue in perception alone. There must be an irrational impulse towards what is good, but reason comes in addition as that which judges and determines the impulse; yet when a beginning from virtue has been made, it does not necessarily follow that the passions are in accordance, since often enough they are quite the reverse. Thus in virtue, because it has realization as its aim, and pertains to the individual, reason is not the solitary principle; for inclination is the force that impels, the particular, which as far as the practical side of the individual subject is concerned, is what makes for realization. But then the subject must, in this separation of his activity, bring likewise his passions under the subjection of the universal, and this unity, in which the rational is pre-eminent, is virtue. This is the correct determination; on the one hand this definition is opposed to these ideals of the utter subjection of the passions, by which men are guided from their youth up, and, on the other, it is opposed to the point of view that declares desires to be good in themselves. Both these extreme views have been frequent in modern times, just as sometimes we hear that the man who by nature is beauteous and noble, is better than he who acts from duty; and then it is said that duty must be performed as duty, without taking into account the particular point of view as a moment of the whole.

Aristotle then passes through the particular virtues at great length. Because the virtues, considered as the union of the desiring or realizing with the rational, have an illogical moment within them, Aristotle places[105] their principle[206] on the side of feeling in a mean, so that virtue is the mean between two extremes; e.g. liberality is the mean between avarice and prodigality; gentleness between passion and passive endurance; bravery between rashness and cowardice; friendship between egotism and self-effacement, &c. For the good, and specially that good which has to do with the senses, which would suffer if affected to an excessive degree (supra, p. 195), is therefore a mean, just because the sensuous is an ingredient in it. This does not appear to be a sufficient definition, and it is merely a quantitative determination, just because it is not only the Notion that determines, but the empirical side is also present. Virtue is not absolutely determined in itself, but likewise has a material element, the nature of which is capable of a more or a less. Thus if it has been objected to Aristotle’s definition of virtue as a difference in degree, that it is unsatisfactory and vague, we may say that this really is involved in the nature of the thing. Virtue, and determinate virtue in its entirety, enters into a sphere where that which is quantitative has a place; thought here is no more as such at home with itself, and the quantitative limit undetermined. The nature of particular virtues is of such a kind, that they are capable of no more exact determination; they can only be spoken of in general, and for them there is no further determination than just this indefinite one.[106] But in our way of looking at things, duty is something absolutely existent in itself, and not a mean between existent extremes through which it is determined; but this universal likewise results in being empty, or rather undetermined, while that determinate content is a moment of being that immediately involves us in conflicting duties. It is in practice that man seeks a necessity in man as individual, and endeavours to express it; but it is either formal, or as in particular virtues, a definite content, which, in so being, falls a prey to empiricism.


β. Politics.

We have still to speak of Aristotle’s Politics; he was conscious more or less that the positive substance, the necessary organization and realization of practical spirit, is the state, which is actualized through subjective activity, so that this last finds in it its determination and end. Aristotle hence also looks on political philosophy as the sum total of practical philosophy, the end of the state as general happiness. “All science and all capacity (δύναμις),” he says (Magn. Mor. I. 1), “have an end, and this is the good: the more excellent they are, the more excellent is their end; but the most excellent capacity is the political, and hence its end is also the good.” Of Ethics Aristotle recognizes that it indubitably also applies to the individual, though its perfection is attained in the nation as a whole. “Even if the highest good is the same for an individual and for a whole state, it would yet surely be greater and more glorious to win and maintain it for a state; to do this for an individual were meritorious, but to do it for a nation and for whole states were more noble and godlike still. Such is the object of practical science, and this pertains in a measure to politics.”[107]

Aristotle indeed appreciates so highly the state, that he starts at once (Polit. I. 2) by defining man as “a political animal, having reason. Hence he alone has a knowledge of good and evil, of justice and injustice, and not the beast,” for the beast does not think, and yet in modern times men rest the distinction which exists in these determinations on sensation, which beasts have equally with men. There is also the sense of good and evil, &c., and Aristotle knows this aspect as well (supra, p. 202); but that through which it is not animal sensation merely, is thought. Hence rational perception is also to Aristotle the essential condition of virtue, and thus the harmony between the sensational[208] point of view and that of reason is an essential moment in his eudæmonism. After Aristotle so determines man, he says: “The common intercourse of these, forms the family and the state; in the understanding, however, that the state, in the order of nature” (i.e. in its Notion, in regard to reason and truth, not to time) “is prior to the family” (the natural relation, not the rational) “and to the individual among us.” Aristotle does not place the individual and his rights first, but recognizes the state as what in its essence is higher than the individual and the family, for the very reason that it constitutes their substantiality. “For the whole must be prior to its parts. If, for example, you take away the whole body, there is not a foot or hand remaining, excepting in name, and as if anyone should call a hand of stone a hand; for a hand destroyed is like a hand of stone.” If the man is dead, all the parts perish. “For everything is defined according to its energy and inherent powers, so that when these no longer remain such as they were, it cannot be said that anything is the same excepting in name. The state is likewise the essence of the individuals; the individual when separate from the whole, is just as little complete in himself as any other organic part separated from the whole.” This is directly antagonistic to the modern principle in which the particular will of the individual, as absolute, is made the starting-point; so that all men by giving their votes, decide what is to be the law, and thereby a commonweal is brought into existence. But with Aristotle, as with Plato, the state is the prius, the substantial, the chief, for its end is the highest in respect of the practical. “But whoever was incapable of this society, or so complete in himself as not to want it, would be either a beast or a god.”

From these few remarks it is clear that Aristotle could not have had any thought of a so-called natural right (if a natural right be wanted), that is, the idea of the abstract man outside of any actual relation to others. For the[209] rest, his Politics contain points of view even now full of instruction for us, respecting the inward elements of a state,[108] and a description of the various constitutions;[109] the latter, however, has no longer the same interest, on account of the different principle at the base of ancient and modern states. No land was so rich as Greece, alike in the number of its constitutions, and in the frequent changes from one to another of these in a single state; but the Greeks were still unacquainted with the abstract right of our modern states, that isolates the individual, allows of his acting as such, and yet, as an invisible spirit, holds all its parts together. This is done in such a way, however, that in no one is there properly speaking either the consciousness of, or the activity for the whole; but because the individual is really held to be a person, and all his concern is the protection of his individuality, he works for the whole without knowing how. It is a divided activity in which each has only his part, just as in a factory no one makes a whole, but only a part, and does not possess skill in other departments, because only a few are employed in fitting the different parts together. It is free nations alone that have the consciousness of and activity for the whole; in modern times the individual is only free for himself as such, and enjoys citizen freedom alone—in the sense of that of a bourgeois and not of a citoyen. We do not possess two separate words to mark this distinction. The freedom of citizens in this signification is the dispensing with universality, the principle of isolation; but it is a necessary moment unknown to ancient states. It is the perfect independence of the points, and therefore the greater independence of the whole, which constitutes the higher organic life. After the state received this principle into itself, the higher freedom could come forth. These other[210] states are sports and products of nature which depend upon chance and upon the caprice of the individual, but now, for the first time, the inward subsistence and indestructible universality, which is real and consolidated in its parts, is rendered possible.

Aristotle for the rest has not tried like Plato to describe such a state, but in respect of the constitution he merely points out that the best must rule. But this always takes place, let men do as they will, and hence he has not so very much to do with determining the forms of the constitution. By way of proving that the best must rule, Aristotle says this: “The best would suffer injustice if rated on an equality with the others inferior to them in virtue and political abilities, for a notable man is like a god amongst men.” Here Alexander is no doubt in Aristotle’s mind, as one who must rule as though he were a god, and over whom no one, and not even law, could maintain its supremacy. “For him there is no law, for he himself is law. Such a man could perhaps be turned out of the state, but not subjected to control any more than Jupiter. Nothing remains but, what is natural to all, quietly to submit to such an one, and to let men like this be absolutely and perpetually (ἀΐδιοι) kings in the states”[110] The Greek Democracy had then entirely fallen into decay, so that Aristotle could no longer ascribe to it any merit.

4. The Logic.

On the other side of the Philosophy of Mind, we have still Aristotle’s science of abstract thought, a Logic, to consider. For hundreds and thousands of years it was just as much honoured as it is despised now. Aristotle has been regarded as the originator of Logic: his logical works are the source of, and authority for the logical treatises of all times; which last were, in great measure, only special developments[211] or deductions, and must have been dull, insipid, imperfect, and purely formal. And even in quite recent times, Kant has said that since the age of Aristotle, logic—like pure geometry since Euclid’s day—has been a complete and perfect science which has kept its place even down to the present day, without attaining to any further scientific improvements or alteration. Although logic is here mentioned for the first time, and in the whole of the history of Philosophy that is to come no other can be mentioned (for no other has existed, unless we count the negation of Scepticism), we cannot here speak more precisely of its content, but merely find room for its general characterization. The forms he gives to us come from Aristotle both in reference to the Notion and to the judgment and conclusion. As in natural history, animals, such as the unicorn, mammoth, beetle, mollusc, &c., are considered, and their nature described, so Aristotle is, so to speak, the describer of the nature of these spiritual forms of thought; but in this inference of the one from the other, Aristotle has only presented thought as defined in its finite application and aspect, and his logic is thus a natural history of finite thought. Because it is a knowledge and consciousness of the abstract activity of pure understanding, it is not a knowledge of this and that concrete fact, being pure form. This knowledge is in fact marvellous, and even more marvellous is the manner in which it is constituted: this logic is hence a work which does the greatest honour to the deep thought of its discoverer and to the power of his abstraction. For the greatest cohesive power in thought is found in separating it from what is material and thus securing it; and the strength shows itself almost more, if thus secured when it, amalgamated with matter, turns about in manifold ways and is seen to be capable of numberless alterations and applications. Aristotle also considers, in fact, not only the movement of thought, but likewise of thought in ordinary conception. The Logic of Aristotle is contained[212] in five books, which are collected together under the name Ὀργανον.

a. The Categories (κατηγορίαι), of which the first work treats, are the universal determinations, that which is predicated of existent things (κατηγορεῖται): as well that which we call conceptions of the understanding, as the simple realities of things. This may be called an ontology, as pertaining to metaphysics; hence these determinations also appear in Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Aristotle (Categor. I.) now says: “Things are termed homonyms (ὁμώνυμα) of which the name alone is common, but which have a different substantial definition (λόγος τῆς οὐσίας); thus a horse and the picture of a horse are both called an animal.”

Thus the Notion (λόγος) is opposed to the homonym; and since Aristotle deduces herefrom τὰ λεγόμενα, of which the second chapter treats, it is clear that this last expression indicates more than mere predication, and is here to be taken as determinate Notions. “Determinate conceptions are either enunciated after a complex (κατὰ συμπλοκήν) or after an incomplex manner (ἄνευ συμπλοκῆς); the first as ‘a man conquers,’ ‘the ox runs,’ and the other as ‘man,’ ‘ox,’ ‘to conquer,’ ‘to run.’” In the first rank of this division Aristotle places τὰ ὄντα, which are undoubtedly purely subjective relations of such as exist per se, so that the relation is not in them but external to them. Now although τὰ λεγόμενα and τὰ ὄντα are again distinguished from one another, Aristotle yet again employs both λέγεται, and ἐστί of the ὄντα, so that λέγεται is predicated of a species, in relation to its particular; ἐστί is, on the contrary, employed of a universal, which is not Idea but only simple. For Aristotle says, “There are predicates (ὄντα) which can be assigned to a certain subject (καθ̓ ὑποκειμένον), yet are in no subject, as ‘man’ is predicated of ‘some certain man,’ and yet he is no particular man. Others are in a subject (ἐν ὑποκειμένῳ ἐστί) yet are not predicated of any subject (I mean by a[213] thing being in a subject, that it is in any thing not as a part, but as unable to subsist without that in which it is), as ‘a grammatical art’ (τὶς γραμματική) is in a subject, ‘the soul,’ but cannot be predicated of any,’ or related as genus to a subject. Some are predicated of a subject (λέγεται) and are in it; science is in the soul and is predicated of the grammatical art. Some again are neither in, nor are predicated of any subject, as ‘a certain man,’ the individual, the one in number; but some of them can be in a subject like ‘a certain grammatical art.’” Instead of subject we should do better to speak of substratum, for it is that to which the Notion necessarily relates, i.e. that which is neglected in abstraction, and thus the individual opposed to the Notion. We can see that Aristotle has the difference of the genus or universal and the individual present to his mind.

The first thing which Aristotle has indicated in the foregoing is thus the genus, which is predicated of a man, but which is not in him, at least not as a particular quality; the brave man, for example, is an actual, but expressed as a universal conception. In formal logic and its conceptions and definitions there is always present opposition to an actual; and the logical actual is in itself something thought, bravery thus being, for example, a pure form of abstraction. This logic of the understanding seeks, however, in its three stages to imitate the categories of the absolute. The conception or definition is a logical actual, and thus in itself merely something thought, i.e. possible. In the judgment this logic calls a conception A the actual subject and connects with it another actual as the conception B; B is said to be the conception and A to be dependent on it—but B is only the more general conception. In the syllogism necessity is said to be simulated: even in a judgment there is a synthesis of a conception and something whose existence is assumed; in the syllogism it should bear the form of necessity, because both the opposites are set forth in a third as through the medius terminus of reason, e.g. as was the[214] case with the mean of virtue (supra, p. 206). The major term expresses logical being and the minor term logical potentiality, for Caius is a mere potentiality for logic; the conclusion unites both. But it is to reason that life first unfolds itself, for it is true reality. What comes second in Aristotle is the universal, which is not the genus, i.e. it is not in itself the unity of universal and particular—nor is it absolute individuality and hence infinitude. This is the moment or predicate in a subject certainly, but it is not absolutely in and for itself. This relation is now expressed through οὐ λέγεται; for ὅ λέγεται is that which, as universal in itself, is likewise infinite. The third is the particular which is predicated: just as science in itself is infinite and thus the genus, e.g. of the grammatical art; but at the same time as universal, or as not individual, it is the moment of a subject. The fourth indicated by Aristotle is what is called immediate conception—the individual. The reservation that something such as a definite grammatical art is also in a subject, has no place here, for the definite grammatical art is not really in itself individual.

Aristotle, himself,[111] makes the following remarks on this matter: “When one thing is predicated (κατηγορεῖται) of another, as of a subject, whatever things are said (λέγεται) of the predicate,” i.e. what is related to it as a universal, “may be also said of the subject.” This is the ordinary conclusion; from this we see, since this matter is so speedily despatched, that the real conclusion has with Aristotle a much greater significance. “The different genera not arranged under one another (μὴ ὑπ̓ ἄλλμλα τεταγμένα), such as ‘animal’ and ‘science,’ differ in their species (διαφοράς). For instance, animals are divided into beasts, bird, fishes—but science has no such distinction. In subordinate genera, however, there may be the same distinctions; for the superior genera are predicated of the inferior, so that as many distinctions[215] as there are of the predicate, so many will there be of the subject.”

After Aristotle had thus far spoken of what is enunciated respecting that which is connected, or the complex, he now comes to “that which is predicated without any connection,” or the incomplex; for as we saw (p. 212) this was the division which he laid down in the second chapter. That which is predicated without any connection he treats of more fully as the categories proper, in what follows; yet the work in which these categories are laid down is not to be regarded as complete. Aristotle[112] takes ten of them; “Each conception enunciated signifies either Substance (οὐσίαν), or Quality (ποιόν), or Quantity (ποσόν),” matter, “or Relation (πρός τι), or Where (ποῦ), or When (ποτέ), or Position (κεῖσθαι), or Possession (ἕχειν), or Action (ποιεῖν), or Passion (πάσχειν). None of these is considered by itself an affirmation (κατάφασις) or a negation (κατάφασις), i.e. none is either true or false.” Aristotle adds to these predicables five post predicaments, but he only ranges them all side by side.[113] The categories of relation are the syntheses of quality and quantity, and consequently they belonged to reason; but in as far as they are posited as mere relation, they belong to the understanding and are forms of finitude. Being, essence, takes the first place in them; next to it is possibility, as accident or what is caused; the two are, however, separated. In substance A is Being, B, potentiality; in the relation of causality A and B are Being, but A is posited in B as being posited in a postulation of A. A of substance is logical Being; it is its essence opposed to its existence, and this existence is in logic mere potentiality. In the category of causality the Being of A in B is a mere Being of reflection; B is for itself another. But in reason A is the [216]Being of B as well as of A, and A is the whole Being of A as well as of B.

Aristotle[114] goes on to speak of Substance; first Substance, “in its strictest (κυριώτατα), first and chief sense” is to him the individual, the fourth class of the divisions enunciated above (pp. 212-214). “Secondary substances are those in which as species (εἴδεσι) these first are contained, that is to say, both these and the genera of these species. Of the subject both name and definition (λόγος) of all things predicated of a subject (τῶν καθ̓ ὑποκειμένον λεγομένον)—of secondary substances—are predicated; for example of the particular man, as subject, both the name and the definition of ‘man’ (living being) are also predicated. But of things which are in a subject (ἐν ὑποκειμένῳ ὄντος) it is impossible to predicate the definition of the” subordinate “subjects, yet with some we predicate the name: the definition of ‘whiteness’ thus is not of the body in which it is, but only the name. All other things however,” besides Definition (λόγος) and “in most cases name, are related to primary substances as subjects” (the individual), “or are inherent in them. Thus without the primary substances none of the rest could exist, for they are the basis (ὑποκεῖσθαι) of all else. Of secondary substances, species is more substance than genus; for it is nearer to the primary substance, and genus is predicated of the species and not the other way.” For species is here the subject, or what does not always require to be something really determined as individual, but which also signifies that which is generally speaking subordinate. “But the species are not more substance one than another, just as in primary substances one is not more substance than the other. Species and genera are likewise, before the rest” (qualities or accidents) “to be called secondary substances: the definition ‘man’ before the fact that he is[217] ‘white’ or ‘runs.’” Abstraction has thus two kinds of objects; ‘man’ and ‘learned’ are both qualities of a certain individual; but the former only abstracts from the individuality and leaves the totality, and is thus the elevation of the individual into the rational, where nothing is lost but the opposition of reflection. “What is true of substances is also true of differences; for as synonyms (συνώνυμα) they have both name and definition in common.”

b. The second treatise is on Interpretation (περὶ ἑρμηνείας); it is the doctrine of judgments and propositions. Propositions exist where affirmation and negation, falsehood and truth are enunciated;[115] they do not relate to pure thought when reason itself thinks; they are not universal but individual.

c. The Analytics come third, and there are two parts of them, the Prior and the Posterior; they deal most fully with proof (ἀπόδειξις) and the syllogisms of the understanding. “The syllogism is a reason (λόγος) in which if one thing is maintained, another than what was maintained follows of necessity.”[116] Aristotle’s logic has treated the general theory of conclusions in the main very accurately, but they do not by any means constitute the universal form of truth; in his metaphysics, physics, psychology, &c., Aristotle has not formed conclusions, but thought the Notion in and for itself.

d. The Topics (τοπικά) which treat of ‘places’ (τόποι) come fourth; in them the points of view from which anything can be considered are enumerated. Cicero and Giordano Bruno worked this out more fully. Aristotle gives a large number of general points of view which can be taken of an object, a proposition or a problem; each problem can be directly reduced to these different points of[218] view, that must everywhere appear. Thus these ‘places’ are, so to speak, a system of many aspects under which an object can be regarded in investigating it; this constitutes a work which seems specially suitable and requisite for the training of orators and for ordinary conversation, because the knowledge of points of view at once places in our hands the possibility of arriving at the various aspects of a subject, and embracing its whole extent in accordance with these points of view (Vol. I. p. 358). This, according to Aristotle, is the function of Dialectic, which he calls an instrument for finding propositions and conclusions out of probabilities.[117] Such ‘places’ are either of a general kind, such as difference, similarity, opposition, relation, and comparison,[118] or special in nature, such as ‘places’ which prove that something is better or more to be desired, since in it we have the longer duration of time, that which the one wise man or several would choose, the genus as against the species, that which is desirable for itself; also because it is present with the more honourable, because it is end, what approximates to end, the more beautiful and praiseworthy, &c.[119] Aristotle (Topic VIII. 2) says that we must make use of the syllogism by preference, with the dialectician, but of induction with the multitude. In the same way Aristotle separates[120] the dialectic and demonstrative syllogisms from the rhetorical and every kind of persuasion, but he counts induction as belonging to what is rhetorical.

e. The fifth treatise, finally, deals with the Sophistical Elenchi (σοφιστικοὶ ἔλεγχοι), or ‘On Refutations,’ as in the unconscious escape of thought in its categories to the material side of popular conception, it arrives at constant contradiction[219] with itself. The sophistical elenchi betray the unconscious ordinary idea into these contradictions, and make it conscious of them, in order to entrap and puzzle it; they were mentioned by us in connection with Zeno, and the Sophists sought them out, but it was the Megarics who were specially strong in them. Aristotle goes through a number of such contradictions by the way of solving them; in so doing he proceeds quietly and carefully, and spares no pains, though they might have been made more dramatic. We have before (Vol. I. pp. 456-459) found specimens of these in treating of the Megarics, and we have seen how Aristotle solves such contradictions through distinction and determination.

Of these five parts of the Aristotelian Organon, what is produced in our ordinary systems of logic is, as a matter of fact, of the slightest and most trivial description, consisting as it does mainly of what is contained in the introduction of Porphyry. More particularly in the first parts, in the Interpretation and in the Analytics, this Aristotelian logic contains these representations of universal forms of thought, such as are now dealt with in ordinary logic, and really form the basis of what in modern times is known as logic. Aristotle has rendered a never-ending service in having recognized and determined the forms which thought assumes within us. For what interests us is the concrete thought immersed as it is in externalities; these forms constitute a net of eternal activity sunk within it, and the operation of setting in their places those fine threads which are drawn throughout everything, is a masterpiece of empiricism, and this knowledge is absolutely valuable. Even contemplation, or a knowledge of the numerous forms and modes assumed by this activity, is interesting and important enough. For however dry and contentless the enumeration of the different kinds of judgments and conclusions, and their numerous limitations may appear to us to be, and though they may not seem to serve their purpose of discovering the truth, at[220] least no other science in opposition to this one can be elevated into its place. For instance, if it is held to be a worthy endeavour to gain a knowledge of the infinite number of animals, such as one hundred and sixty-seven kinds of cuckoo, in which one may have the tuft on his head differently shaped from another, or to make acquaintance with some miserable new species of a miserable kind of moss which is no better than a scab, or with an insect, vermin, bug, &c., in some learned work on entomology, it is much more important to be acquainted with the manifold kinds of movement present in thought, than to know about such creatures. The best of what is stated respecting the forms of judgment, conclusion, &c., in ordinary logic, is taken from the works of Aristotle; as far as details are concerned, much has been spun out and added to it, but the truth is to be found with Aristotle.

As regards the real philosophic nature of the Aristotelian logic, it has received in our text-books a position and significance as though it gave expression only to the activity of the understanding as consciousness; hence it is said to direct us how to think correctly. Thus it appears as though the movement of thought were something independent, unaffected by the object of thought; in other words, as if it contained the so-called laws of thought of our understanding, through which we attain to perception, but through a medium which was not the movement of things themselves. The result must certainly be truth, so that things are constituted as we bring them forth according to the laws of thought; but the manner of this knowledge has merely a subjective significance, and the judgment and conclusion are not a judgment and conclusion of things themselves. Now if, according to this point of view, thought is considered on its own account, it does not make its appearance implicitly as knowledge, nor is it without content in and for itself; for it is a formal activity which certainly is exercised, but whose content is[221] one given to it. Thought in this sense becomes something subjective; these judgments and conclusions are in and for themselves quite true, or rather correct—this no one ever doubted; but because content is lacking to them, these judgments and conclusions do not suffice for the knowledge of the truth. Thus by logicians they are held to be forms whose content is something entirely different, because they have not even the form of the content; and the meaning which is given to them—namely that they are forms—is found fault with. The worst thing said of them, however, is that their only error is their being formal; both the laws of thought as such, and also its determinations, the categories, are either determinations of the judgment only, or merely subjective forms of the understanding, while the thing-in-itself is very different. But in that point of view and in the blame awarded the truth itself is missed, for untruth is the form of opposition between subject and object, and the lack of unity in them; in this case the question is not put at all as to whether anything is absolutely true or not. These determinations have certainly no empirical content, but thought and its movement is itself the content—and, indeed, as interesting a content as any other that can be given; consequently this science of thought is on its own account a true science. But here again we come across the drawback pertaining to the whole Aristotelian manner, as also to all succeeding logic—and that indeed in the highest degree—that in thought and in the movement of thought as such, the individual moments fall asunder; there are a number of kinds of judgment and conclusion, each of which is held to be independent, and is supposed to have absolute truth as such. Thus they are simply content, for they then have an indifferent, undistinguished existence, such as we see in the famous laws of contradiction, conclusions, &c. In this isolation they have, however, no truth; for their totality alone is the truth of thought, because this totality[222] is at once subjective and objective. Thus they are only the material of truth, the formless content; their deficiency is hence not that they are only forms but rather that form is lacking to them, and that they are in too great a degree content. Thus as many individual qualities of a thing are not anything, such as red, hard, &c., if taken by themselves, but only in their unity constitute a real thing, so it is with the unity of the forms of judgment and conclusion, which individually have as little truth as such a quality, or as a rhythm or melody. The form of a conclusion, as also its content, may be quite correct, and yet the conclusion arrived at may be untrue, because this form as such has no truth of its own; but from this point of view these forms have never been considered, and the scorn of logic rests simply on the false assumption that there is a lack of content. Now this content is none other than the speculative Idea. Conceptions of the understanding or of reason constitute the essence of things, not certainly for that point of view, but in truth; and thus also for Aristotle the conceptions of the understanding, namely the categories, constitute the essential realities of Being. If they are thus in and for themselves true, they themselves are their own, and thus the highest content. But in ordinary logic this is not the case, and even as these are represented in the Aristotelian works they are only universal thought-determinations, between which the abstract understanding makes distinctions. This, however, is not the logic of speculative thought, i.e. of reason as distinguished from understanding; for there the identity of the understanding which allows nothing to contradict itself is fundamental. However little this logic of the finite may be speculative in nature, yet we must make ourselves acquainted with it, for it is everywhere discovered in finite relationships. There are many sciences, subjects of knowledge, &c., that know and apply no other forms of thought than these forms of finite thought, which constitute in fact the general[223] method of dealing with the finite sciences. Mathematics, for instance, is a constant series of syllogisms; jurisprudence is the bringing of the particular under the general, the uniting together of both these sides. Within these relationships of finite determinations the syllogism has now, indeed, on account of its terms being three in number, been called the totality of these determinations, and hence by Kant (Kritik der reinen Vernunft, p. 261) also the rational conclusion; but this syllogism addressed to the intelligence as it appears in the ordinary logical form, is only the intelligible form of rationality, and, as we saw above (p. 76), is very different from the rational syllogism proper. Aristotle is thus the originator of the logic of the understanding; its forms only concern the relationship of finite to finite, and in them the truth cannot be grasped. But it must be remarked that Aristotle’s philosophy is not by any means founded on this relationship of the understanding; thus it must not be thought that it is in accordance with these syllogisms that Aristotle has thought. If Aristotle did so, he would not be the speculative philosopher that we have recognized him to be; none of his propositions could have been laid down, and he could not have made any step forward, if he had kept to the forms of this ordinary logic.

Like the whole of Aristotle’s philosophy, his logic really requires recasting, so that all his determinations should be brought into a necessary systematic whole—not a systematic whole which is correctly divided into its parts, and in which no part is forgotten, all being set forth in their proper order, but one in which there is one living organic whole, in which each part is held to be a part, and the whole alone as such is true. Aristotle, in the Politics, for instance (supra, pp. 207-208), often gives expression to this truth. For this reason the individual logical form has in itself no truth, not because it is the form of thought, but because it is determinate thought, individual form, and to be[224] esteemed as such. But as system and absolute form ruling this content, thought has its content as a distinction in itself, being speculative philosophy in which subject and object are immediately identical, and the Notion and the universal are the realities of things. Just as duty certainly expresses the absolute, but, as determinate, a determinate absolute which is only a moment and must be able again to abrogate its determination, the logical form which abrogates itself as this determinate in this very way gives up its claim to be in and for itself. But in this case logic is the science of reason, speculative philosophy of the pure Idea of absolute existence, which is not entangled in the opposition of subject and object, but remains an opposition in thought itself. Yet we certainly may allow that much in logic is an indifferent form.

At this point we would leave off as far as the Aristotelian philosophy is concerned, and from this it is difficult to break away. For the further we go into its details, the more interesting it becomes, and the more do we find the connection which exists among the subjects. The fulness with which I have set forth the principal content of the Aristotelian philosophy is justified both by the importance of the matter itself, because it offers to us a content of its own, and also by the circumstances already mentioned (p. 118), that against no philosophy have modern times sinned so much as against this, and none of the ancient philosophers have so much need of being defended as Aristotle.

One of the immediate followers of Aristotle was Theophrastus, born Ol 102, 2 (371 B.C.); though a man of distinction, he can still only be esteemed a commentator on Aristotle. For Aristotle is so rich a treasure-house of philosophic conceptions, that much material is found in him which is ready for further working upon, which may be put forward more abstractly, and in which individual propositions may be brought into prominence. However Aristotle’s[225] manner of procedure, which is to take an empirical starting point of ratiocination [Raisonnement], and to comprehend this in the focus of the speculative Notion, is characteristic of his mind, without being one which, on its own account, can be freely elevated into a method and a principle. Thus of Theophrastus as of many others (Dicæarchus of Messina, for instance), amongst whom Strato of Lampsacus, the successor of Theophrastus, is best known, there is not much to tell. As regards Dicæarchus, Cicero says, (Tusc. Quæst. I. 31, 10) that he controverted the immortality of the soul, for he asserted that “the soul is no more than an empty name, and the whole of the capacities and powers with which we act and feel are equally extended over all living bodies, and inseparable from the body; for it is nothing but the body so constituted as to live and feel through a certain symmetry and proportion in its body.” Cicero gives in an historical manner a result as he made it comprehensible to himself, without any speculative conception. Stobæus (Eclog. phys. p. 796), on the other hand, quotes from Dicæarchus that he held the soul to be “a harmony of the four elements.” We have only a little general information to give of Strato, that he acquired great fame as a physicist, and that his conception of nature went upon mechanical lines, and yet not on those of Leucippus and Democritus, and later, of Epicurus; for, according to Stobæus (Eclog. phys. p. 298), he made warmth and cold into elements. Hence, if what is said of him is accurate, he was most unfaithful to the beliefs of Aristotle, because he led everything back to mechanism and chance and did away with the immanent end, without accepting the false teleology of modern times. At least, Cicero (De nat. Deor. I. 13) relates of him that he maintained that “divine strength lies altogether in nature, which has in itself the causes of origination, of growth, and of decay, but lacks all sensation and conformation.” The other Peripatetics occupied themselves more with working up individual[226] doctrines of Aristotle, with bringing out his works in a commentated form, which is more or less rhetorical in character, though similar in content. But in practical life the Peripatetic school maintained as the principle of happiness, the unity of reason and inclination. We thus may set aside any further expansion of the Peripatetic philosophy, because it has no longer the same interest, and later on tended to become a popular philosophy (Vol. I. p. 479, Vol. II. p. 130); in this mode it no longer remained an Aristotelian philosophy, although this, too, as what is really speculative, must coincide most closely with actuality. This decay of the Aristotelian philosophy is, indeed, closely connected with the circumstance already mentioned (pp. 126-128), that the Aristotelian writings soon disappeared, and that the Aristotelian philosophy did not retain its place so much through these documents as through the traditions in the school, whereby they soon underwent material changes; and amplifications of Aristotle’s doctrines were brought about, as to which it is not known whether some may not have slipped into what pass for his works.

Since Aristotle’s leading thought has penetrated all spheres of consciousness, and this isolation in the determination through the Notion, because it is likewise necessary, contains in every sphere the profoundest of true thoughts, Aristotle, to anticipate here the external history of his philosophy as a whole, for many centuries was the constant mainstay of the cultivation of thought. When in the Christian West science disappeared amongst the Christians, the fame of Aristotle shone forth with equal brilliance amongst the Arabians, from whom, in later times, his philosophy was again passed over to the West. The triumph which was celebrated upon the revival of learning, on account of the Aristotelian philosophy having been expelled from the schools, from the sciences, and specially from theology, as from the philosophy which deals with absolute existence, must be regarded in two different[227] aspects. In the first place we must remember that it was not the Aristotelian philosophy which was expelled, so much as the principle of the science of theology which supported itself thereon, according to which the first truth is one which is given and revealed—an hypothesis which is once for all a fundamental one, and by which reason and thought have the right and power to move to and fro only superficially. In this form the thought which was awakened in the Middle Ages reconstructed its theology more especially, entered into all dialectic movements and determinations, and erected an edifice where the material that was given was only superficially worked up, disposed and secured. The triumph over this system was thus a triumph over that principle, and consequently the triumph of free, spontaneous thought. But another side of this triumph is the triumph of the commonplace point of view that broke free from the Notion and shook off the yoke of thought. Formerly, and even nowadays, enough has been heard of Aristotle’s scholastic subtleties; in using this name, men thought that they had a right to spare themselves from entering on abstraction, and, in place of the Notion, they thought that it justified them in seeing, hearing, and thus making their escape to what is called healthy human understanding. In science, too, in place of subtle thoughts, subtle sight has commenced; a beetle or a species of bird is distinguished with as great minuteness as were formerly conceptions and thoughts. Such subtleties as whether a species of bird is red or green in colour, or has a more or less perfect tail, are found more easy than the differences in thought; and in the meantime, until a people has educated itself up to the labour of thought, in order to be able thus to support the universal, the former is a useful preparation, or rather it is a moment in this course of culture.

But inasmuch as the deficiency in the Aristotelian philosophy rests in the fact, that after the manifold of phenomena was through it raised into the Notion, though this[228] last again fell asunder into a succession of determinate Notions, the unity of the absolute Notion which unites them was not emphasized, and this is what succeeding time had to accomplish. What now appears is that the unity of the Notion which is absolute existence, makes its appearance as necessity, and it presents itself first as the unity of self-consciousness and consciousness, as pure thought. The unity of existence as existence is objective unity, thought, as that which is thought. But unity, as Notion, the implicitly universal negative unity, time as absolutely fulfilled time, and in its fulfilment as being unity, is pure self-consciousness. Hence we see it come to pass, that pure self-consciousness makes itself reality, but, at the same time, it first of all does so with subjective significance as a self-consciousness that has taken up its position as such, and that separates itself from objective existence, and hence is first of all subject to a difference which it does not overcome.

Here we have concluded the first division of Greek philosophy, and we have now to pass to the second period. The first period of Greek philosophy extended to Aristotle, to the attainment of a scientific form in which knowledge has reached the standing of free thought. Thus in Plato and Aristotle the result was the Idea; yet we saw in Plato the universal made the principle in a somewhat abstract way as the unmoved Idea; in Aristotle, on the other hand, thought in activity became absolutely concrete as the thought which thinks itself. The next essential, one which now is immediately before us, must be contained in that into which Philosophy under Plato and Aristotle had formed itself. This necessity is none other than the fact that the universal must now be proclaimed free for itself as the universality of the principle, so that the particular may be recognized through this universal; or the necessity of a systematic philosophy immediately enters in, what we formerly called one in accordance with the unity of the Notion.[229] We may speak of the Platonic and Aristotelian systems, but they are not in the form of a system; for that it is requisite that one principle should be maintained and consistently carried through the particular. In the perfect complex of the conception of the universe as it is to Aristotle, where everything is in the highest form of scientific knowledge led back to what is speculative, however empiric may be his manner of setting to work, there certainly is one principle brought forward, and that a speculative one, though it is not brought forward as being one. The nature of the speculative has not been explicitly brought to consciousness as the Notion—as containing in itself the development of the manifold nature of the natural and spiritual universe, consequently it is not set forth as the universal, from which the particular was developed. Aristotle’s logic is really the opposite of this. He in great measure passes through a series of the living and the dead, makes them confront his objective, that is, conceiving thought, and grasps them in his understanding; each object is on its own account a conception which is laid open in its determinations, and yet he also brings these reflections together, and thereby is speculative. If even Plato on the whole proceeded in an empiric way, taking up this and that idea, each of which is in turn examined, with Aristotle this loose method of procedure appears still more clearly. In the Aristotelian teaching the Idea of the self-reflecting thought is thus grasped as the highest truth; but its realization, the knowledge of the natural and spiritual universe, constitutes outside of that Idea a long series of particular conceptions, which are external to one another, and in which a unifying principle, led through the particular, is wanting. The highest Idea with Aristotle consequently once more stands only as a particular in its own place and without being the principle of his whole philosophy. Hence the next necessity in Philosophy is that the whole extent of what is known must appear as one organization of the Notion; that in this way[230] the manifold reality may be related to that Idea as the universal, and thereby determined. This is the standpoint which we find in this second period.

A systematic philosophy such as this becomes in the first place dogmatism, in antagonism to which, because of its one-sided character, scepticism immediately arises. In the same way the French call what is dogmatic systématique, and système that in which all the conceptions must consistently proceed from one determination; hence to them systématique is synonymous with one-sided. But the philosophies that ensue are one-sided, because in them it was only the necessity of one principle that was recognized, without their meanwhile developing from themselves, as might well have come to pass in and for itself, the Idea as the real universal, and thus comprehending the world in such a way that the content is only grasped as the determination of the self-reflective thought. Hence this principle stands up formally and abstractly, and the particular is not yet deduced from it, for the universal is only applied to the particular and the rules for this application sought out. In Aristotle the Idea is at least implicitly concrete, as the consciousness of the unity of subjective and objective, and therefore it is not one-sided. Should the Idea be truly concrete, the particular must be developed from it. The other relation would be the mere bringing of the particular under the universal, so that both should be mutually distinguished; in such a case the universal is only a formal principle, and such a philosophy is therefore one-sided. But the true difficulty is that the two endeavours, the development of the particular from the Idea, and the bringing of the particular under the universal, collide with one another. The manifestations of the physical and spiritual world must first, from their respective sides, be prepared for and worked into the Notion, so that the other sciences can form therefrom universal laws and principles. Then for the first time can speculative reason present itself in[231] determinate thoughts, and bring perfectly to consciousness the inwardly existing connection between them. As dogmatic, however, those philosophies, it may be further said, are assertive likewise, because in such a method the principle is only asserted and is not truly proved. For a principle is demanded under which everything is subsumed; thus it is only pre-supposed as the first principle. Before this we have had abstract principles such as pure Being, but here the particular, with which begins the distinction from what is different, became posited as the purely negative. That necessity, on the other hand, makes for a universal which must likewise be in the particular, so that this should not be set aside, but should have its determinate character through the universal.

This demand for a universal, even though still unproved principle, is henceforth present to knowledge. What answers to this demand now appears in the world through the inward necessity of mind—not externally, but as being in conformity with the Notion. This necessity has produced the philosophy of the Stoics, Epicureans, New Academy, and Sceptics, which we have now to consider. If we have remained too long in the consideration of this period, we may now make amends for this protraction, for in the next period we may be brief.


Second Period: Dogmatism and Scepticism.

In this second period, which precedes the Alexandrian philosophy, we have to consider Dogmatism and Scepticism—the Dogmatism which separates itself into the two philosophies, the Stoic and the Epicurean; and the third philosophy, of which both partake and which yet differs from them both, Scepticism. Along with this last we would take the New Academy, which has entirely merged in it—while in the Older Academy, Plato’s philosophy indubitably still maintained its purity. We saw at the close of the previous period the consciousness of the Idea, or of the Universal, which is an end in itself—a principle, universal indeed, but at the same time determined in itself, which is thus capable of subsuming the particular, and of being applied thereto. The application of universal to particular is here the relationship that prevails, for the reflection that from the universal itself the separation of the totality is developed, is not yet present. There always is in such a relationship the necessity of a system and of systematization; that is to say, one determinate principle must consistently be applied to the particular, so that the truth of all that is particular should be determined according to this abstract principle, and be at the same time likewise recognized. Now since this is what we have in so-called Dogmatism, it is a philosophizing of the understanding, in which Plato’s and Aristotle’s speculative greatness is no longer present.


In respect of this relationship, the task of Philosophy now comes to be summed up in the twofold question which we spoke of earlier (Vol. I. pp. 474, 475), and which has regard to a criterion of truth and to the wise man. At this point we may better than before, and also from a different point of view, explain the necessity for this phenomenon. For because truth has now become conceived as the harmony of thought and reality, or rather as the identity of the Notion, as the subjective, with the objective, the first question is what the universal principle for judging and determining this harmony is; but a principle through which the true is judged (κρίνεται) to be true, is simply the criterion. Yet because this question had only been formally and dogmatically answered, the dialectic of Scepticism, or the knowledge of the one-sidedness of this principle as a dogmatic principle, at once appeared. A further result of this mode of philosophizing is that the principle, as formal, is subjective, and consequently it has taken the real significance of the subjectivity of self-consciousness. Because of the external manner in which the manifold is received, the highest point, that in which thought finds itself in its most determinate form, is self-consciousness. The pure relation of self-consciousness to itself is thus the principle in all these philosophies, since in it alone does the Idea find satisfaction, just as the formalism of the understanding of the present so-called philosophizing seeks to find its fulfilment, the concrete which is opposed to this formalism, in the subjective heart, in the inward feelings and beliefs. Nature and the political world are certainly also concrete, but externally concrete; the arbitrary concrete is, on the other hand, not in the determinate universal Idea, but only in self-consciousness and as being personal. The second ruling determination is consequently that of the wise men. Not reason alone, but everything must be something thought, that is, subjectively speaking, my thought; that which is thought, on the contrary,[234] is only implicit, that is to say, it is itself objective in so far as it appears in the form of the formal identity of thought with itself. The thought of the criterion as of the one principle is, in its immediate actuality, the subject itself; thought and the thinker are thus immediately connected. Because the principle of this philosophy is not objective but dogmatic, and rests on the impulse of self-consciousness towards self-satisfaction, it is the subject whose interests are to be considered. The subject seeks on its own account a principle for its freedom, namely, immovability in itself; it must be conformable to the criterion, i.e. to this quite universal principle, in order to be able to raise itself into this abstract independence. Self-consciousness lives in the solitude of its thought, and finds therein its satisfaction. These are the fundamental determinations in the following philosophies: the exposition of their main principles will come next, but to go into details is not advisable.

Although, as no doubt is the case, these philosophies, as regards their origin, pertain to Greece, and their great teachers were always Greeks, they were yet transferred to the Roman world; thus Philosophy passed into the Roman world and these systems in particular constituted under Roman rule the philosophy of the Roman world, in opposition to which world, unsuited as it was to the rational practical self-consciousness, this last, driven back into itself from external actuality, could only seek for reason in itself and could only care for its individuality—just as abstract Christians only care for their own salvation. In the bright Grecian world the individual attached himself more to his state or to his world, and was more at home in it. The concrete morality, the impulse towards the introduction of the principle into the world through the constitution of the state, which we see in Plato, the concrete science that we find in Aristotle, here disappear. In the wave of adversity which came across the Roman world,[235] everything beautiful and noble in spiritual individuality was rudely swept away. In this condition of disunion in the world, when man is driven within his inmost self, he has to seek the unity and satisfaction, no longer to be found in the world, in an abstract way. The Roman world is thus the world of abstraction, where one cold rule was extended over all the civilized world. The living individualities of national spirit in the nations have been stifled and killed; a foreign power, as an abstract universal, has pressed hard upon individuals. In such a condition of dismemberment it was necessary to fly to this abstraction as to the thought of an existent subject, that is, to this inward freedom of the subject as such. As what was held in estimation was the abstract will of the individual ruler of the world, the inward principle of thought also had to be an abstraction which could bring forth a formal, subjective reconciliation only. A dogmatism erected on a principle made effectual through the form of the understanding could alone satisfy the Roman mind. These philosophies are thus conformable to the spirit of the Roman world, as indeed Philosophy in general ever stands in close connection with the world in its ordinary aspect (Vol. I. pp. 53, 54). The Roman world has, indeed, produced a formal patriotism and corresponding virtue, as also a developed system of law; but speculative philosophy could not proceed from such dead material—we could only expect good advocates and the morality of a Tacitus. These philosophies, always excepting Stoicism, also arose amongst the Romans in opposition to their ancient superstitions, just as now Philosophy comes forward in the place of religion.

The three principles of Stoicism, Epicureanism and Scepticism are necessary; in the first there is the principle of thought or of universality itself, but yet determined in itself; the abstract thought is here the determining criterion of the truth. There is opposed to thought, in[236] the second place, the determinate as such, the principle of individuality, feeling generally, sensuous perception and observation. These two form the principles of the Stoic and Epicurean philosophies. Both principles are one-sided and, as positive, become sciences of the understanding; just because this thought is not in itself concrete but abstract, the determinateness falls outside of thought and must be made a principle for itself; for it has an absolute right as against abstract thought. Besides Stoicism and Epicureanism, there is, in the third place, Scepticism, the negation of these two one-sided philosophies which must be recognized as such. The principle of Scepticism is thus the active negation of every criterion, of all determinate principles of whatever kind they be, whether knowledge derived from the senses, or from reflection on ordinary conceptions, or from thought. Thus the next result arrived at is that nothing can be known. Yet the imperturbability and uniformity of mind in itself, which suffers through nothing, and which is affected neither by enjoyment, pain, nor any other bond, is the common standpoint and the common end of all these philosophies. Thus however gloomy men may consider Scepticism, and however low a view they take of Epicureanism, all these have in this way been philosophies.

A. The Philosophy of the Stoics.

We must, first of all, and in a general way, remark of Stoicism, as also of Epicureanism, that they came in the place of the philosophy of the Cynics and Cyrenaics as their counterpart, just as Scepticism took the place of the Academy. But in adopting the principle of these philosophies, they at the same time perfected it and elevated it more into the form of scientific thought. Yet because in them, just as in the others, the content is a fixed and definite one, since self-consciousness therein sets itself[237] apart, this circumstance really puts an end to speculation, which knows nothing of any such rigidity, which rather abolishes it and treats the object as absolute Notion, as in its difference an unseparated whole. Hence with the Stoics, as also really with the Epicureans, instead of genuine speculation, we only meet with an application of the one-sided, limited principle, and thus we require in both to enter merely upon a general view of their principle. Now if Cynicism made reality for consciousness the fact of being immediately natural (where immediate naturalness was the simplicity of the individual, so that he is independent and, in the manifold movement of desire, of enjoyment, of holding many things to be reality, and of working for the same, really keeps up the external simple life) the Stoic elevation of this simplicity into thought consists in the assertion, not that immediate naturalness and spontaneity is the content and the form of the true Being of consciousness, but that the rationality of nature is grasped through thought, so that everything is true or good in the simplicity of thought. But while with Aristotle what underlies everything is the absolute Idea as unlimited and not set forth in a determinate character and with a difference—and its deficiency is only the deficiency which is present in realization, the not being united into one Notion—here the one Notion is undoubtedly set forth as real existence, and everything is related to it, and hence the requisite relation is undoubtedly present; but that in which everything is one is not the true. With Aristotle each conception is considered absolutely in its determination and as separate from any other; here the conception certainly is in this relation and is not absolute, but at the same time it is not in and for itself. Because thus the individual is not considered absolutely but only relatively, the whole working out is not interesting, for it is only an external relation. Likewise with Aristotle the individual only is taken into consideration, but this consideration is lost sight[238] of by the speculative treatment adopted: here, however, the individual is taken up and the treatment is likewise external. This relation is not even consistent, if, as also happens, something such as nature is considered in itself; for the absolute falls outside of it, since its consideration is only a system of reasoning from indeterminate principles, or from principles which are only the first that come to hand.

As a contribution to the history of the philosophy of the Stoics, we first of all desire to mention the more eminent Stoics. The founder of the Stoic School is Zeno (who must be distinguished from the Eleatic); he belonged to Cittium, a town in Cyprus, and was born about the 109th Olympiad. His father was a merchant who, from his business visits to Athens, then, and for long afterwards, the home of Philosophy and of a large number of philosophers, brought with him books, particularly those of the Socratics, whereby a love and craving for knowledge was awakened in his son. Zeno himself travelled to Athens, and, according to some, he found a further motive to live for Philosophy, in that he lost all his possessions by a shipwreck. What he did not lose was the cultured nobility of his mind and his love of rational understanding. Zeno visited several sections of the Socratics, and particularly Xenocrates, a man belonging to the Platonic School, who, on account of the strictness of his morality and the austerity of his whole demeanour, was very celebrated. Thus he underwent the same ordeals as those to which the holy Francis of Assisi subjected himself, and succumbed to them just as little. This may be seen by the fact that while no testimony was given without oath in Athens, the oath was in his case dispensed with, and his simple word believed—and his teacher Plato is said often to have remarked to him that he might sacrifice to the Graces. Then Zeno also visited Stilpo, a Megaric, whom we already know about (Vol. I. p. 464), and with whom he studied dialectic for ten years. Philosophy was considered as the business of[239] his life, and of his whole life, and not studied as it is by a student who hurries through his lectures on Philosophy in order to hasten on to something else. But although Zeno principally cultivated dialectic and practical philosophy, he did not, like other Socratics, neglect physical philosophy, for he studied very specially Heraclitus’ work on Nature, and finally came forward as an independent teacher in a porch called Poecile (στοὰ ποικίλη), which was decorated with the paintings of Polygnotus. From this his school received the name of Stoic. Like Aristotle his principal endeavour was to unite Philosophy into one whole. As his method was characterized by special dialectic skill and training, and by the acuteness of his argumentation, so he himself was distinguished, in respect of his personality, by stern morality, which resembles somewhat that of the Cynics, though he did not, like the Cynics, try to attract attention. Hence with less vanity his temperance in the satisfaction of his absolute wants was almost as great, for he lived on nothing but water, bread, figs and honey. Thus amongst his contemporaries Zeno was accorded general respect; even King Antigonus of Macedonia often visited him and dined with him, and he invited him to come to him in a letter quoted by Diogenes: this invitation, however, Zeno in his reply refused, because he was now eighty years of age. But the circumstance that the Athenians trusted to him the key of their fortress, speaks for the greatness of their confidence in him; indeed, according to Diogenes, the following resolution was passed at a meeting of the people: “Because Zeno, the son of Mnaseas, has lived for many years in our town as a philosopher, and, for the rest, has proved himself to be a good man, and has kept the youths who followed him in paths of virtue and of temperance, having led the way thereto with his own excellent example, the citizens decide to confer on him a public eulogy, and to present him with a golden crown, on account both of his virtue and his temperance. In addition to this he shall be[240] publicly buried in the Ceramicus. And for the crown and the building of the tomb, a commission of five men shall be appointed.” Zeno flourished about the 120th Olympiad (about 300 B.C.) at the same time as Epicurus, Arcesilaus of the New Academy, and others. He died at a great age, being ninety-eight years of age (though some say he was only seventy-two), in the 129th Olympiad; for being tired of life, he put an end to it himself either by strangulation or by starvation—just because he had broken his toe.[121]

Amongst the succeeding Stoics Cleanthes must be specially singled out; he was a disciple and the successor of Zeno in the Stoa, and author of a celebrated Hymn to God, which Stobæus has preserved. He is well known by an anecdote told respecting him. It is said that he was called in accordance with the law before a court of justice in Athens to give an account of the means by which he maintained himself. He then proved that at night he carried water for a gardener, and by means of this occupation, earned as much as he required in order in the day to be in Zeno’s company—as to which the only point which is not quite comprehensible to us is how, even in such a way, philosophy, of all things, could be studied. And when for this a gratuity was voted to him from the public treasury, he refused it at Zeno’s instigation. Like his teacher, Cleanthes also died voluntarily, in his eighty-first year, by abstaining from food.[122]

Of the later Stoics there were many more who could be named as having been famous. More distinguished in science than Cleanthes was his disciple, Chrysippus of Cilicia, born Ol. 125, 1 (474 A.U.C.; 280 B.C.), who likewise lived in Athens, and who was specially active in promoting[241] the wide cultivation and extension of the philosophy of the Stoics. His logic and dialectic were what contributed most largely to his fame, and hence it was said that if the gods made use of dialectic, they would use none other than that of Chrysippus. His literary activity is likewise admired, for the number of his works, as Diogenes Laërtius tells us, amounted to seven hundred and five. It is said of him in this regard that he wrote five hundred lines every day. But the manner in which his writings were composed detracts very much from our wonder at this facility in writing, and shows that most of his works consisted of compilations and repetitions. He often wrote over again respecting the very same thing; whatever occurred to him he put down on paper, dragging in a great variety of evidence. Thus he quoted almost entire books by other writers; and someone gave expression to the belief that if all that belonged to others were taken away from his books, only white paper would be left. But of course it is not so bad as all this, as we may see by all the quotations from the Stoics, where the name of Chrysippus is placed at the head, as it always is, and his conclusions and explanations are used by preference. His writings, of which Diogenes Laërtius mentions a long list, have, however, all been lost to us; so much is nevertheless correct, that he was the main constructor of the Stoic logic. While it is to be regretted that some of his best works have not come down to us, it is, perhaps, a good thing that all are not preserved; if we had to choose between having all or none, the decision would be a hard one. He died in the 143rd Olympiad (212 B.C.).[123]

In the period immediately following, Diogenes of Seleucia in Babylonia is a distinguished figure; Carneades, the celebrated Academic, is said to have learned dialectic from him, and he is also noteworthy because with this Carneades[242] and Critolaus, a Peripatetic thinker, in Olympiad 156, 2 (598 A.U.C., or 156 B.C.) and in the time of the elder Cato, he was sent as Athenian ambassador to Rome—an embassy which first caused the Romans to make acquaintance with Greek philosophy, dialectic and rhetoric, in Rome itself. For those philosophers there gave lectures and discourses.[124]

Besides these, Panaetius is well known as having been Cicero’s instructor; the latter wrote his treatise, De Officiis, after Panaetius. Finally, we have Posidonius, another equally famous teacher, who lived for long in Rome in the time of Cicero.[125]

Later on we see the philosophy of the Stoics pass over to the Romans, that is to say, it became the philosophy of many Romans, though this philosophy did not gain anything as a science by so doing. On the contrary, as in the case of Seneca and the later Stoics, in Epictetus or Antoninus, all speculative interest was really lost, and a rhetorical and hortatory disposition shown, of which mention cannot be made in a history of Philosophy any more than of our sermons. Epictetus of Hierapolis in Phrygia, born at the end of the first century after Christ, was first of all the slave of Epaphroditus, who, however, freed him, after which he betook himself to Rome. When Domitian banished the philosophers, poisoners and astrologers from Rome (94 A.D.), Epictetus went to Nicopolis, in Epirus, and taught there publicly. From his lectures Arrian compiled the voluminous Dissertationes Epicteteæ, which we still possess, and also the manual ἐγχειρίδιον of Stoicism.[126] We still have the Meditations εἰς ἑαυτόν of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius [243]Antoninus, in twelve books; he first of all ruled along with Lucius Aurelius Verus from 161 to 169 A.D., and then from 169 to 180 alone and he conducted a war with the Marcomanni. In his Meditations he always speaks to himself; these reflections are not, however, speculative in nature, being admonitions, such as that man should exercise himself in every virtue.

We have no other original works by the older Stoics. For the Stoic Philosophy, too, the sources on which we formerly could count are cut off. The sources from which a knowledge of the philosophy of the Stoics is to be derived are, however, well known. There is Cicero, who was himself a Stoic, though in his representation there is great difficulty in discovering how, for instance, the principle of Stoic morality is to be distinguished from that which constitutes the principle of the morality of the Peripatetics. And, more particularly, we have Sextus Empiricus, whose treatment is mainly theoretic, and is thus interesting from a philosophic point of view. For Scepticism has had to do with Stoicism more especially. But also Seneca, Antoninus, Arrian, the manual of Epictetus, and Diogenes Laërtius must really be called into council.

As regards the philosophy of the Stoics themselves, they definitely separated it into those three parts which we have already met with (Vol. I. p. 387, Vol. II. pp. 48, 49), and which will, generally speaking, be always found. There is Logic in the first place; secondly, Physics, or Natural Philosophy; and thirdly, Ethics, or the Philosophy of Mind, on the practical side especially. The content of their philosophy has, however, not much that is original or productive.

1. Physics.

As regards the Physics of the Stoics, we may in the first place say that it does not contain much that is peculiar to itself, since it is rather a compendium of the Physics of[244] older times, and more especially of that of Heraclitus. However, each of the three schools now being dealt with has had a very characteristic and definite terminology, which is more than can be altogether said of the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. Thus we must now make ourselves familiar with the particular expressions used and with their significance. The following is the essence of the Physics of the Stoics: The determining reason (λόγος) is the ruling, all-productive substance and activity, extended throughout all, and constituting the basis of all natural forms; this preponderating substance, in its rational effectuating activity, they call God. It is a world-soul endowed with intelligence, and, since they called it God, this is really Pantheism. But all Philosophy is pantheistic, for it goes to prove that the rational Notion is in the world. The hymn of Cleanthes is to this effect: “Nothing happens on earth without thee, O Dæmon, neither in the ethereal pole of the heavens, nor in the sea, excepting what the wicked do through their own foolishness. But thou knowest how to make crooked things straight, and thou orderest that which is without order, and the inimical is friendly to thee. For thus hast thou united everything into one, the good to the evil; thus one Notion (λόγος) is in everything that ever was, from which those mortals who are evil flee. How unhappy are they, too, who, ever longing to possess the good, do not perceive God’s universal law, nor listen thereto, the which if they but obeyed with reason, (σὺν νῷ) they would attain a good and happy life!”[127] The Stoics thus believed the study of nature to be essential, in order to know in nature its universal laws, which constitute the universal reason, in order that we might also know therefrom our duties, the law for man, and live conformably to the universal laws of nature. “Zeno,” according to Cicero (De nat. Deor. I. 14), “holds this natural law to be divine, and believes that[245] it has the power to dictate the right and prohibit what is wrong.” Thus the Stoics desired to know this rational Notion which rules in nature not altogether on its own account; and the study of nature was consequently to them rather a mere matter of utility.

If we are now to give some further idea of what these Physics are, we may say that the Stoics distinguish in the corporeal—although nature is only the manifestation of one common law—the moment of activity and that of passivity; the former is, according to Aristotle, active reason, or, according to Spinoza, natura naturans; the latter passive reason, or natura naturata. The latter is matter, substance without quality, for quality is, generally speaking, form, i.e. that which forms universal matter into something particular. This is indeed the reason likewise that with the Greeks quality is called τὸ ποιόν, just as we in German derive Beschaffenheit from Schaffen—that which is posited, the negative moment. But the actuating, as the totality of forms, is, according to the Stoics, the Notion in matter; and this is God. (Diog. Laërt. VII. 134.)

As regards the further nature of these forms, these universal laws of nature, and the formation of the world, the Stoics have in the main adopted the ideas of Heraclitus, for Zeno studied him very particularly (supra, p. 239). They thus make fire the real Notion, the active principle which passes into the other elements as its forms. The world arises by the self-existent gods driving the universal material substance (οὐσίαν) out of the fire, through the air, into the water; and as in all generation the moisture which surrounds a seed comes first as the begetter of all that is particular, so that conception, which in this respect is called seed-containing (σπερματικός), remains in the water and then actuates the indeterminate Being of matter into the origination of the other determinations. The elements, fire, water, air and earth, are consequently primary. Respecting them the Stoics speak in a manner which has no longer[246] any philosophic interest. “The coagulation of the denser parts of the world forms the earth; the thinner portion becomes air, and if this becomes more and more rarefied, it produces fire. From the combination of these elements are produced plants, animals, and other kinds of things.” The thinking soul is, according to them, of a similar fiery nature, and all human souls, the animal principle of life, and also plants, are parts of the universal world-soul, of the universal fire; and this central point is that which rules and impels. Or, as it is put, souls are a fiery breath. Sight, in the same way, is a breath of the ruling body (ἡγεμονικοῦ) transmitted to the eyes; similarly hearing is an extended, penetrating breath, sent from the ruling body to the ears.[128]

Respecting the process of nature we may further say this: Fire, Stobæus tells us (Eclog. phys. I. p. 312), is called by the Stoics an element in a pre-eminent sense, because from it, as the primary element, all else arises through a transformation, and in it, as in an ultimate, everything is fused and becomes dissolved. Thus Heraclitus and Stoicism rightly comprehended this process as a universal and eternal one. This has even been done by Cicero, though in a more superficial way; in this reflection he falsely sees the conflagration of the world in time and the end of the world, which is quite another matter. For in his work De natura Deorum (II. 46) he makes a Stoic speak thus: “In the end (ad extremum) everything will be consumed by fire; for if all moisture becomes exhausted the earth can neither be nourished, nor can air return into existence. Thus nothing but fire remains, through whose reanimation and through God the world will be renewed and the same order will return.” This is spoken after the manner of the ordinary conception. But to the Stoics everything is merely a Becoming. However deficient this may be, God, as the fiery principle, is yet to them the whole activity of nature, and [247]likewise the rational order of the same, and in this lies the perfect pantheism of the Stoic conception of nature. Not only do they call this ordering force God, but also nature, fate or necessity (εἱμαρμένην), likewise Jupiter, the moving force of matter, reason (νοῦν) and foresight (πρόνοιαν); to them all these are synonymous.[129] Because the rational brings forth all, the Stoics compare this impelling activity to a seed, and say: “The seed which sends forth something rational (λογικόν) is itself rational. The world sends forth the seeds of the rational and is thus in itself rational;” that is to say, rational both generally, in the whole, and in each particular existent form. “All beginning of movement in any nature and soul rises from a ruling principle, and all powers which are sent forth upon the individual parts of the whole proceed from the ruling power as from a source; so that each force that is in the part is also in the whole, because the force is distributed by the ruling power in it. The world embraces the seed-containing conceptions of the life which is in conformity with the conception,” i.e. all particular principles.[130] The Physics of the Stoics is thus Heraclitean, though the logical element is entirely at one with Aristotle; and we may regard it as being such. However, speaking generally, only those belonging to earlier times had a physical element in their philosophy: those coming later neglected Physics entirely and kept alone to Logic and to Ethics.

The Stoics again speak of God and the gods according to the popular manner of regarding them. They say that “God is the ungenerated and imperishable maker of all this disposition of things, who after certain periods of time absorbs all substance in Himself, and then reproduces it from Himself.”[131] There no definite perception is reached, and even the above relation of God, as absolute form, to[248] matter has attained no developed clearness. The universe is at one time the unity of form and matter, and God is the soul of the world; at another time, the universe, as nature, is the Being of the constituted matter, and that soul is antagonistic to it, but the activity of God is a disposition of the original forms of matter.[132] This opposition is devoid of the essentials of union and division.

Thus the Stoics remain at the general conception that each individual is comprehended in a Notion, and this again in the universal Notion, which is the world itself. But because the Stoics recognized the rational as the active principle in nature, they took its phenomena in their individuality as manifestations of the divine; and their pantheism has thereby associated itself with the common ideas about the gods as with the superstitions which are connected therewith (p. 235), with belief in all sorts of miracles and with divination—that is to say, they believe that in nature there are intimations given which men must receive through divine rites and worship. Epicureanism, on the contrary, proceeds towards the liberation of men from this superstition to which the Stoics are entirely given over. Thus Cicero, in his work De divinatione, has taken the most part of his material from them, and much is expressly given as being the reasoning of the Stoics. When, for example, he speaks of the premonitory signs given in connection with human events, all this is conformable with the Stoic philosophy. The fact that an eagle flies to the right, the Stoics accepted as a revelation of God, believing that thereby it was intimated to men what it was advisable for them to do in some particular circumstances. Just as we find the Stoics speaking of God as having universal necessity, to them God, as Notion, has hence a relation to men and human ends likewise, and in this respect He is providence; thus they now arrived at the conception of particular gods also. [249]Cicero says in the work quoted above (II. 49): “Chrysippus, Diogenes and Antipater argued thus: If gods exist, and if they do not let men know beforehand what is to happen in the future, they cannot love men, or else they themselves do not know what stands before them in the future, or they are of opinion that it does not signify whether man knows it or not, or they consider such a revelation beneath the dignity of their majesty, or they cannot make it comprehensible to men.” All this they refute, for amongst other things they say that nothing can exceed the beneficence of the gods, &c. Thus they draw the conclusion that “the gods make known to men the future”—a system of reasoning in which the entirely particular ends of individuals also form the interests of the gods. To make men know and comprehend at one time and not at another, is an inconsistency, i.e. an incomprehensibility, but this very incomprehensibility, this obscurity, is the triumph of the common way of regarding religions affairs. Thus in the Stoics all the superstitions of Rome had their strongest supporters; all external, teleological superstition is taken under their protection and justified. Because the Stoics started from the assertion that reason is God (it certainly is divine, but it does not exhaust divinity), they immediately made a bound from this universal to the revelation of that which operates for the sake of individual ends. The truly rational is doubtless revealed to men as the law of God; but the useful, what is in conformity with individual ends, is not revealed in this truly divine revelation.

2. Logic.

In the second place, as to the intellectual side of the philosophy, we must first of all. consider the principle of the Stoics in answering the question of what the true and rational is. In regard to the source of our knowledge of truth, or of the criterion, which in those times used to be[250] discussed (Vol. I. p. 474, Vol. II. p. 233), the Stoics decided that the scientific principle is the conception that is laid hold of (φαντασία καταληπτική), for the true as well as for the good; for the true and good are set forth as content or as the existent. Thus a unity of apprehending thought and Being is set forth in which neither can exist without the other; by this is meant not sensuous conception as such, but that which has returned into thought and become proper to consciousness. Some of the older Stoics, amongst whom we certainly find Zeno, called this criterion the very truth of reason (ὀρθὸς λόγος). Ordinary conception on its own account (φαντασία) is an impression (τύπωσις), and for it Chrysippus used the expression alteration (ἐτεροίωσις).[133] But that the conception should be true, it must be comprehended; it begins with feeling, whereby in fact the type of another is brought into us; the second step is that we should transform this into part of ourselves, and this first of all occurs through thought.

According to Cicero’s account (Academ. Quæst. IV. 47), Zeno illustrated the moments of this appropriation by a movement of the hand. When he showed the open palm he said that this was a sensuous perception; when he bent the fingers somewhat, this was a mental assent through which the conception is declared to be mine; when he pressed them quite together and formed a fist, this was comprehension (κατάληψις), just as in German we speak of comprehension [Begreifen] when by means of our senses we lay hold of anything in a similar way; when he then brought the left hand into play and pressed together that fist firmly and forcibly, he said that this was science, in which no one but the wise man participated. This double pressure, my pressing with the other hand that which is grasped, is said to signify conviction, my being conscious of the identity of thought with the content. “But who this[251] wise man is or has been the Stoics never say,” adds Cicero; and of this we shall afterwards have to speak in greater detail. In fact, the matter is not made clear through this gesticulation of Zeno’s. The first action, the open hand, is sensuous apprehension, immediate seeing, hearing, &c.; the first motion of the hand is then, speaking generally, spontaneity in grasping. This first assent is likewise given by fools; it is weak, and may be false. The next moment is the closing of the hand, comprehension, taking something in; this makes the ordinary conception truth, because the ordinary conception becomes identical with thought. By this my identity with this determination is indeed set forth, but this is not yet scientific knowledge, for science is a firm, secure, unchangeable comprehension through reason or thought, which is that which rules or directs the soul. Midway between scientific knowledge and folly is the true Notion as the criterion, although as yet it is not itself science; in it thought gives its approbation to existence and recognizes itself, for approbation is the harmony of a thing with itself. But in scientific knowledge a perception of the first elements and determinate knowledge through thought of the object is contained. Thus the ordinary conception as apprehended is thought; scientific knowledge is the consciousness of thought, the knowledge of that harmony.

We may also give our assent to these conclusions of the Stoics with their various stages, since in them there is a perception which is undoubtedly true. In this we have an expression of the celebrated definition of the truth, by which it is made the harmony of object and consciousness; but at the same time it is well to remark that this is to be understood simply, and not as indicating that consciousness had a conception, and that on the other side stood an object, which two had to harmonize with one another, and hence that a third was necessarily brought into existence which had to compare them. Now this[252] would be consciousness itself, but what this last can compare is nothing more than its conception, and—not the object, but—its conception again. Consciousness thus really accepts the conception of the object; it is by this approbation that the conception actually receives truth—the testimony of mind to the objective rationality of the world. It is not, as is ordinarily represented, that a round object here impresses itself upon wax, that a third compares the form of the round and of the wax and, finding them to be similar, judges that the impress must have been correct, and the conception and the thing have harmonized. For the action of thought consists in this, that thought in and for itself gives its approbation and recognizes the object as being in conformity with itself; this it is in which lies the power of truth—or approbation is the expression of this harmony, or judgment itself. In this, say the Stoics, the truth is contained; it is an object which is likewise thought, so that the thought that gives its assent is the ruling thought which posits the harmony of subject with content. The fact that anything is or has truth is thus not because it is (for this moment of Being is only ordinary conception), but the fact that it is, has its power in the approbation of consciousness. But this thought alone and for itself is not the truth, nor is the truth as such contained in it, for the Notion requires the objective element and is only the rational consciousness respecting the truth. But the truth of the object itself is contained in the fact that this objective corresponds to thought, and not the thought to the objective; for this last may be sensuous, changeable, false, and contingent, and thus it is untrue for mind. This is the main point as far as the Stoics are concerned, and even if we discover the Stoic speculative doctrines from their antagonists better than from their originators and advocates, yet from them, too, this idea of unity proceeds; and while both sides of this unity are opposed, both are necessary, but thought is essential reality. Sextus Empiricus (adv.[253] Math. VIII. 10) understands this thus: “The Stoics say that as regards the perceptible and that which is thought some things alone are true; what is felt, however, is not immediate (έξ εὐθείας), for it becomes true for the first time through its relation to the thought that corresponds to it.” Thus neither is immediate thought the true, excepting in so far us it corresponds to the Notion and is known through the working out of rational thought.

This general idea is the only one which is interesting in the Stoics, but even in this very principle, limitations are found to be present. It merely expresses the truth as subsisting in the object, as thought of, yet for that very reason it is still a very formal determination, or not in itself the real Idea. From this point of view Sextus Empiricus (adv. Math. X. 183) examines the Stoics, and he considers and discusses them in all sorts of ways. The most striking thing that he says is what relates to the following. The fact that anything is, rests in its being thought—the fact that it is thought in something being there; the one is the pre-supposition of the other. That is to say, the Stoics assert that a thing exists, not because it is, but through thought; but consciousness for its existence requires another, for thought is likewise one-sided. In this criticism by Sextus it is indicated that thought requires an object as an external to which it gives its approbation. There can be no talk of its being here indicated that the thinking mind in order to exist as consciousness does not require the object; this is really inherent in its conception. But the “this” of the object as an external is only a moment which is not the only one or the essential. It is the manifestation of mind, and mind exists only in that it appears; this therefore must come to pass in it, that it must have its object as external and give its approbation to it—that is, it must withdraw from this relationship into itself and therein recognize its unity. But likewise, having gone into itself, it has now from itself to beget its object and give itself[254] the content which it sends forth from itself. Stoicism is only this return of mind into itself, positing the unity of itself and the object, and recognizing the harmony; but not the going forth again to the extension of the real knowledge of a content from itself. We do not find Stoicism getting any farther, for it stops short at making the consciousness of this unity its object, without developing it in the slightest; thus reason remains the simple form which does not go on to the distinction of the content itself. Hence the formalism of this celebrated standard, and of the standpoint from which all truth of content is judged, rests farther in the fact that the thought of thought, as what is highest, finds this content indeed conformable to itself and appropriates it, since it transforms it into the universal, but its determinations are given. For if thought predominates, still it is always universal form alone. On account of this universality thought yields nothing but the form of identity with itself; the ultimate criterion is thus only the formal identity of the thought which discovers harmony. But it may be asked, with what? For there no absolute self-determination, no content that proceeds from thought as such is to be found; and hence everything may harmonize with my thought. The criterion of the Stoics is consequently only the principle of contradiction; yet when we remove the contradiction from absolute reality, it is indeed self-identical, but for that very reason empty. The harmony must be a higher one; there must be harmony with self in what is other than self, in content, in determination; and thus it must be harmony with harmony.

In accordance with this recognition of the principle of the Stoics, both their logic and their morality is judged; neither the one nor the other arrives at being immanent free science. We have already remarked (p. 241) that they also occupied themselves with logical definitions, and since they made abstract thought the principle, they have[255] brought formal logic to great perfection. Logic is hence to them logic in the sense that it expresses the activity of the understanding as of conscious understanding; it is no longer as with Aristotle, at least in regard to the categories, undecided as to whether the forms of the understanding are not at the same time the realities of things; for the forms of thought are set forth as such for themselves. Then along with this comes in, for the first time, the question respecting the harmony of thought and object or the demand that an appropriate content of thought be shown. However, since all given content may be taken into thought and posited as something thought without therefore losing its determinate character, and this determinate character contradicts and does not support the simplicity of thought, the taking of it up does not help at all; for its opposite may also be taken up and set forth as something thought. The opposition is thereby, however, only in another form; for instead of the content being in outward sensation as something not pertaining to thought and not true, as it formerly was, it now pertains to thought, but is unlike it in its determinateness, seeing that thought is the simple. Thus what was formerly excluded from the simple Notion, now comes into it again; this separation between activity of the understanding and object must indeed be made, but likewise the unity in the object as such has to be shown, if it is only something thought. Hence Scepticism cast up this opposition more especially to the Stoics, and the Stoics amongst themselves had always to improve on their conceptions. As we have just seen (p. 250) in Sextus Empiricus, they did not quite know whether they should define conception as impression or alteration, or in some other way. Now if this conception is admitted into that which directs the soul, into pure consciousness, Sextus further asks (since thought in abstracto is the simple and self-identical which, as incorporeal, is neither passive nor active), How can an alteration,[256] an impression, be made on this? Then the thought-forms are themselves incorporeal. But, according to the Stoics, only the corporeal can make an impression or bring about an alteration.[134] That is to say, on the one hand, because corporeal and incorporeal are unlike they cannot be one; and, on the other, incorporeal thought-forms, as capable of no alteration, are not the content, for this last is the corporeal only.

If the thought-forms could in fact have attained the form of content, they would have been a content of thought in itself. But as they were they had value as laws of thought (λεκτά)[135] merely. The Stoics indeed had a system of immanent determinations of thought, and actually did a great deal in this direction; for Chrysippus specially developed and worked out this logical aspect of things, and is stated to have been a master in it (supra, pp. 240, 241). But this development took a very formal direction; there are the ordinary well-known forms of inference, five of which are given by Chrysippus, while others give sometimes more and sometimes fewer. One of them is the hypothetical syllogism through remotion, “When it is day it is light, but now it is night and hence it is not light.” These logical forms of thought are by the Stoics held to be the unproved that requires no proof; but they are likewise only formal forms which determine no content as such. The wise man is specially skilful in dialectic, we are told by the Stoics, for all things, both physical and ethical, are perceived through a knowledge of logic.[136] But thus they have ascribed this perception to a subject, without stating who this wise man is (p. 250). Since objective grounds by which to determine the truth are wanting, the ultimate decision is attributed to the will of the subject; and this talk about the wise man consequently has its[257] ground in nothing but the indefiniteness of the criterion, from which we cannot get to the determination of content.

It would be superfluous to speak further of their logic any more than of their theory of judgments, which in part coincides with it, and in part is a grammar and a rhetoric; by it no real scientific content can be reached. For this logic is not, like Plato’s dialectic, the speculative science of the absolute Idea; but, as formal logic, as we saw above (p. 254), it is science as the firm, secure, unalterable comprehension of reasons, and stops short at the perception of the same. This logical element, whose essence consists pre-eminently in escaping to the simplicity of the conception to that which is not in opposition to itself nor falls into contradiction, obtains the upper hand. This simplicity, which has not negativity and content in itself, requires a given content which it may not abrogate—but consequently it cannot thus attain to a genuine “other” through itself. The Stoics have constituted their logic often in the most isolated fashion; the principal point that is established here is that the objective corresponds to thought, and they investigated this thought more closely. If in a manner it is quite correct to say that the universal is the true, and that thought has a definite content that must also be concrete, the main difficulty, which is to deduce the particular determination from the universal, so that in this self-determination it may remain identical with itself, has not been solved by the Stoics: and this the Sceptics brought to consciousness. This is the point of view most important in the philosophy of the Stoics; it thus showed itself in their physics also.

3. Ethics.

Since the theory of mind, the doctrine of knowledge, came before us in the investigation of the criterion, we have, in[258] the third and last place, to speak of the morality of the Stoics, to which is due their greatest fame, but which does not rise above this formal element any more than what precedes, although it cannot be denied that in presenting it they have taken a course which seems very plausible to the popular conception, but which in fact is to a great extent external and empiric.

a. In order, in the first place, to find the definition of virtue, Chrysippus gives some good expositions of practical ethics which Diogenes Laërtius (VII. 85, 86) quotes at considerable length; they are psychological in character and in them Chrysippus establishes his formal harmony with himself. For according to him the Stoics say: “The first desire (ὁρμή) of the animal is for self-preservation, because nature from the beginning reconciled each existence with itself. This first object innate in every animal” (immanent desire) “is thus the harmony of the animal with itself, and the consciousness of the same,” the self-consciousness through which “the animal is not alienated from itself. Thus it repels what is injurious and accepts what is serviceable to it.” This is Aristotle’s conception of the nature of adaptation to an end, in which, as the principle of activity, both the opposite and its sublation are contained. “Enjoyment is not the first object, for it” (the sense of satisfaction) “is only for the first time added when the nature of an animal that seeks itself through itself, receives into itself that which is in conformity with its harmony with itself.” This is likewise worthy of approbation: self-consciousness, enjoyment, is just this return into self, the consciousness of this unity in which I enjoy something and thereby have my unity as this individual in the objective element. The case is similar in regard to man; his end is self-preservation, but with a conscious end, with consideration, according to reason. “In plants nature operates without voluntary inclination (ὁρμῆς) or sense-perception, but some things in us take place in the same manner as in plants.” For[259] in the plant there also is the seed-containing conception, but it is not in it as end, nor as its object, for it knows nothing about it. “In animals inclination comes in; in them nature makes their impulses conformable to their first principle;” i.e. the end of inclination is simply the first principle of their nature, and that through which they make for their own preservation. “Rational creatures likewise make nature their end, but this is to live according to reason, for reason becomes in them the artist who produces inclination,” i.e. it makes a work of art in man from what in the animal is desire merely. To live in accordance with nature is thus, to the Stoics, to live rationally.

This now appears somewhat like certain receipts given by the Stoics for the purpose of discovering right motive forces in regard to virtue. For their principle put generally is this: “Men must live in conformity with nature, i.e. with virtue; for to it” (rational) “nature leads us.” That is the highest good, the end of everything—a most important form in Stoic morality, which appears in Cicero as finis bonorum or summum bonum. With the Stoics right reason and the securing of it on its own account, is the highest principle. But here, too, we immediately see that we are thereby merely led round in a circle in a manner altogether formal, because virtue, conformity to nature, and reason, are only determined through one another. Virtue consists in living conformably with nature, and what is conformable to nature is virtue. Likewise thought must further determine what is in conformity with nature, but conformity with nature again is that alone which is determined through reason. The Stoics further say, according to Diogenes Laërtius (VII. 87, 88) “To live according to nature is to live according to that which experience teaches us of the laws both of universal nature and of our own nature, by doing nothing which universal law forbids; and that law is the right reason which pervades everything, being the same with Jupiter, the disposer (καθηγεμόνι) of[260] the existing system of things. The virtue of the happy man is when everything occurs according to the harmony of the genius (δαίμονος) of each individual with reference to the will of the disposer of all things.” Thus everything remains as it was in a universal formalism.

We must throughout allow to the Stoics that virtue consists in following thought, i.e. the universal law, right reason; anything is moral and right only in as far as a universal end is in it fulfilled and brought into evidence. This last is the substantial, the essential nature of a relationship, and in it we have that which is really in thought alone. The universal which must be the ultimate determination in action, is, however, not abstract, but the universal in this relationship, just as, for example, in property the particular is placed on one side. Because man, as a man of thought and culture, acts according to his perception, he subordinates his impulses and desires to the universal; for they are individual. There is in each human action an individual and particular element; but there is a distinction as to whether the particular as such is solely insisted upon or whether in this particular the universal is secured. It is to the securing of this universal that the energy of Stoicism is directed. But this universal has still no content and is undetermined, and thereby the Stoic doctrines of virtue are incomplete, empty, meaningless and tedious. Virtue indeed is commended in a forcible, lively and edifying manner, but as to what this universal law of virtue is, we have no indications given us.

b. The other side as regards the good is external existence, and the agreement of circumstances, of external nature, with the end aimed at by man. For although the Stoics have expressed the good as being conformity with law, in relation to the practical will, they yet defined it, according to Diogenes Laërtius (VII. 94, 95), as being at the same time the useful, “either absolutely and immediately useful or not contrary to utility,” so that generally speaking[261] the useful is, as it were, the accident of virtue. “The Stoics likewise distinguished manifold good into good having reference to the soul, and external good; the former indicates virtues and their actions; the latter the fact of pertaining to a noble country, having a virtuous friend, and so on. In the third place it is neither external nor is it a matter of self-consciousness alone, when the self-same man is virtuous and happy.” These conclusions are quite good. Morality does not require to look so coldly on what concerns utility, for every good action is in fact useful, i.e. it has actuality and brings forth something good. An action which is good without being useful is no action and has no actuality. That which in itself is useless in the good is its abstraction as being a non-reality. Men not only may, but must have the consciousness of utility; for it is true that it is useful to know the good. Utility means nothing else but that men have a consciousness respecting their actions. If this consciousness is blameworthy, it is still more so to know much of the good of one’s action and to consider it less in the form of necessity. Thus the question was raised as to how virtue and happiness are related to one another, a theme of which the Epicureans have also treated. Here it was, as in more recent times, regarded as the great problem to discover whether virtue gives happiness, taken altogether by itself, whether the conception of happiness is included in its conception. That union of virtue and happiness, as the mean, is thus rightly represented as being perfect, neither pertaining only to self-consciousness nor to externality.

α. In order to be able to give a general answer to this question, we most recollect what was said above of the principle of self-preservation, according to which virtue has to do with the rational nature. The fulfilment of its end is happiness as finding itself realized, and as the knowledge or intuitive perception of itself as an external—a harmony of its Notion or its genius with its Being or its reality. The[262] harmony of virtue with happiness thus means that the virtuous action realizes itself in and for itself, man becomes in it an immediate object to himself, and he comes to the perception of himself as objective, or of the objective as himself. This rests in the conception of action and particularly of good action. For the bad destroys reality and is opposed to self-preservation; but the good is what makes for its self-preservation and effectuates it—the good end is thus the content that realizes itself in action. But in this general answer to that question, properly speaking, the consciousness of the implicitly existent end has not sufficiently exactly the signification of virtue, nor has action proceeding from the same exactly the signification of virtuous action, neither has the reality which it attains the signification of happiness. The distinction rests in the fact that the Stoics have merely remained at this general conception, and set it forth immediately as actuality; in it however, the conception of virtuous action is merely expressed, and not reality.

β. A further point is that just because the Stoics have remained at this position, the opposition between virtue and happiness immediately enters in, or, in abstract form, that between thought and its determination. These opposites are with Cicero honestum and utile, and their union is the question dealt with.[137] Virtue, which is living in accordance with the universal law of nature, is confronted by the satisfaction of the subject as such in his particularity. The two sides are, in the first place, this particularity of the individual, which, in the most varied aspects has existence in me as the abstract “this,” for example, in the pre-supposition of determinate inclinations; and here we have pleasure and enjoyment in which my existence harmonizes with the demands of my particularity. In the second place, I, as the will that fulfils law, am only the formal[263] character which has to carry out the universal; and thus, as willing the universal, I am in accord with myself as thinking. The two now come into collision, and because I seek the one satisfaction or the other, I am in collision with myself, because I am also individual. As to this we may hear many trivial things said, such as that things often go badly with the virtuous and well with the wicked, and that the latter is happy, &c. By going well all external circumstances are understood, and on the whole the content is quite uninteresting, for it is constituted by the attainment of commonplace ends, points of view and interests. Such at once show themselves, however, to be merely contingent and external; hence we soon get past this standpoint in the problem, and thus external enjoyment, riches, noble birth, &c., do not accord with virtue or happiness. The Stoics indeed said: “The implicitly good is the perfect” (that which fulfils its end) “in accordance with the nature of the rational; now virtue is such, but enjoyment, pleasure and such-like are its accessories”[138]—the end of the satisfaction of the individual on his own account. Thus these may be the concomitants of virtue, although it is a matter of indifference whether they are so or not, for since this satisfaction is not end, it is equally a matter of indifference if pain is the concomitant of virtue. Conduct which is according to reason only, thus further contains man’s abstract concentration within himself, and the fact that the consciousness of the true enters into him, so that he renounces everything that belongs to immediate desires, feelings, &c.

In this quite formal principle of holding oneself in a pure harmony with oneself of a merely thinking nature, there now rests the power of becoming indifferent to every particular enjoyment, desire, passion and interest. Because this following of the determinations of reason is in opposition to enjoyment, man should seek his end or satisfaction in[264] nothing else than in the satisfaction of his reason, in satisfying himself in himself, but not in anything outwardly conditioned. Hence much has been said by the Stoics in respect of that which pertains to the passions being something that is contradictory. The writings of Seneca and Antoninus contain much that is true in this regard, and they may be most helpful to those who have not attained to the higher degree of conviction. Seneca’s talent must be recognized, but we must also be convinced that it does not suffice. Antoninus (VIII. 7) shows psychologically that happiness or pleasure is not a good. “Regret is a certain self-blame, because something useful has failed, the good must be something useful, and the noble and good man must make the same his interest. But no noble and good man will feel regret that he has fallen short in pleasure; pleasure is thus neither useful nor good. The man who has the desire for glory after his death does not recollect that he who holds him in remembrance himself dies also, and again he who follows this one, until all recollection through these admiring ones who have passed away, has been extinguished.” Even if this independence and freedom is merely formal, we must still recognize the greatness of this principle. However, in this determination of the abstract inward independence and freedom of the character in itself lies the power which has made the Stoics famous; this Stoic force of character which says that man has only to seek to remain like himself, thus coincides with the formal element which I have already given (p. 254). For if the consciousness of freedom is my end, in this universal end of the pure consciousness of my independence all particular determinations of freedom which are constituted by duties and laws, have disappeared. The strength of will of Stoicism has therefore decided not to regard the particular as its essence, but to withdraw itself therefrom; we see on the one hand, that this is a true principle, but on the other, it is at the same time abstract still.


Now because the principle of the Stoic morality professes to be the harmony of mind with itself, what should be done is not to let this remain formal, and therefore not to let what is not contained in this self-contained be any longer shut out of it. That freedom which the Stoics ascribe to man is not without relation to what is other than himself; thus he is really dependent, and under this category happiness really falls. My independence is only one side, to which the other side, the particular side of my existence, hence does not yet correspond. The old question, which at this time again came up, thus concerns the harmony between virtue and happiness. We speak of morality rather than virtue, because that according to which I ought to direct my actions is not, as in virtue, my will, as it has become custom. Morality really contains my subjective conviction that that which I do is in conformity with rational determinations of will, with universal duties. That question is a necessary one, a problem which even in Kant’s time occupied men, and in endeavouring to solve it we must begin by considering what is to be understood by happiness. Much more is afterwards said of that in which satisfaction is to be sought. However, from what is external and exposed to chance we must at once break free. Happiness in general means nothing more than the feeling of harmony with self. That which is pleasing to the senses is pleasing because a harmony with ourselves is therein contained. The contrary and unpleasing is, on the other hand, a negation, a lack of correspondence with our desires. The Stoics have posited as the very essence of enjoyment this harmony of our inner nature with itself, but only as inward freedom and the consciousness, or even only the feeling of this harmony, so that enjoyment such as this is contained in virtue itself. Yet this enjoyment ever remains a secondary matter, a consequence, which in so far as it is so cannot be made end, but should only be considered as an accessory. The Stoics said in this regard that virtue is[266] alone to be sought, but with virtue happiness on its own account is found, for it confers blessing explicitly as such. This happiness is true and imperturbable even if man is in misfortune;[139] thus the greatness of the Stoic philosophy consists in the fact that if the will thus holds together within itself, nothing can break into it, that everything else is kept outside of it, for even the removal of pain cannot be an end. The Stoics have been laughed at because they said that pain is no evil.[140] But toothache and the like are not in question as regards this problem. We cannot but know we are subject to such; pain like this, and unhappiness are, however, two different things. Thus the problem throughout is only to be understood as the demand for a harmony of the rational will with external reality. To this reality there also belongs the sphere of particular existence, of subjectivity, of personality, of particular interests. But of these interests the universal alone truly pertains to this reality, for only in so far as it is universal, can it harmonize with the rationality of the will. It is thus quite right to say that suffering, pain, &c., are no evil, whereby the conformity with myself, my freedom, might be destroyed; I am elevated over such in the union which is maintained with myself, and even if I may feel them, they can still not make me at variance with myself. This inward unity with myself as felt, is happiness, and this is not destroyed by outward evil.

γ. Another opposition is that within virtue itself. Because the universal law of right reason is alone to be taken as the standard of action, there is no longer any really absolutely fixed determination, for all duty is always, so to speak, a particular content, which can plainly be grasped in universal form, without this, however, in any way affecting the content. Because virtue is thus that which is conformable[267] to the real essence or law of things, in a general sense the Stoics called virtue everything, in every department, which is in conformity with law in that department. Hence, Diogenes tells us (VII. 92), they also speak of logical and physical virtues, just as their morality represents individual duties (τὰ καθήκοντα) by passing in review the individual natural relationships in which man stands, and showing what in them is rational.[141] But this is only a kind of quibbling such as we have also seen in Cicero’s case. Thus in as far as an ultimate deciding criterion of that which is good cannot be set up, the principle being destitute of determination, the ultimate decision rests with the subject, Just as before this it was the oracle that decided, at the commencement of this profounder inwardness the subject was given the power of deciding as to what is right. For since Socrates’ time the determination of what was right by the standard of customary morality had ceased in Athens to be ultimate; hence with the Stoics all external determination falls away, and the power of decision can only be placed in the subject as such, which in the last instance determines from itself as conscience. Although much that is elevated and edifying may find its support here, an actual determination is still wanting; hence there is according to the Stoics only one virtue,[142] and the wise man is the virtuous.

c. The Stoics have thus in the third place likewise been in the way of representing an ideal of the wise man which, however, is nothing more than the will of the subject which in itself only wills itself, remains at the thought of the good, because it is good, allows itself in its steadfastness to be moved by nothing different from itself, such as desires, pain, &c., desires its freedom alone, and is prepared to give up all else—which thus, if it experiences outward pain and [268]misfortune, yet separates these from the inwardness of its consciousness. The question of why the expression of rel morality has with the Stoics the form of the ideal of the wise man finds its answer, however, in the fact that the mere conception of virtuous consciousness, of action with respect to an implicitly existent end, finds in individual consciousness alone the element of moral reality. For if the Stoics had gone beyond the mere conception of action for the implicitly existent end, and had reached to the knowledge of the content, they would not have required to express this as a subject. To them rational self-preservation is virtue. But if we ask what it is that is evolved by virtue, the answer is to the effect that it is just rational self-preservation; and thus they have not by this expression got beyond that formal circle. Moral reality is not expressed as that which is enduring, which is evolved and ever evolving itself. And moral reality is just this, to exist; for as nature is an enduring and existent system, the spiritual as such must be an objective world. To this reality the Stoics have, however, not reached. Or we may understand this thus. Their moral reality is only the wise man, an ideal and not a reality—in fact the mere conception whose reality is not set forth.

This subjectivity is already contained in the fact that moral reality, expressed as virtue, thereby immediately presents the appearance of being present only as a quality of the individual. This virtue, as such, in as far as only the moral reality of the individual is indicated, cannot attain to happiness in and for itself, even though happiness, regarded in the light of realization, were only the realization of the individual. For this happiness would be just the enjoyment of the individual as the harmony of existence with him as individual; but with him as individual true happiness does not harmonize, but only with him as universal man. Man must likewise not in the least desire that it should harmonize with him as individual man,[269] that is, he must be indifferent to the individuality of his existence, and to the harmony with the individual as much as to the want of harmony; he must be able to dispense with happiness just as, if he possesses it, he must be free from it; or it is only a harmony of him with himself as a universal. If merely the subjective conception of morality is therein contained, its true relationship is yet thereby expressed; for it is this freedom of consciousness which in its enjoyment rests in itself and is independent of objects,—what we expressed above (p. 264) as the special characteristic of the Stoic morality. Stoic self-consciousness has not here to deal with its individuality as such, but solely with the freedom in which it is conscious of itself only as the universal. Now could one call this happiness, in distinction to the other, true happiness, happiness would still, on the whole, remain a wrong expression. The satisfaction of rational consciousness in itself as an immediate universal, is a state of being which is simulated by the determination of happiness; for in happiness we have the moment of self-consciousness as an individuality. But this differentiated consciousness is not present in that self-satisfaction; for in that freedom the individual has rather the sense of his universality only. Striving after happiness, after spiritual enjoyment, and talking of the excellence of the pleasures of science and art, is hence dull and insipid, for the matter with which we are occupied has no longer the form of enjoyment, or it does away with that conception. This sort of talk has indeed passed away and it no longer has any interest. The true point of view is to concern oneself with the matter itself and not with enjoyment, that is, not with the constant reflection on the relation to oneself as individual, but with the matter as a matter, and as implicitly universal. We must take care besides that things are tolerable to us as individuals, and the pleasanter the better. But no further notice or speech about this is requisite, nor are we to imagine that there is much that is[270] rational and important within it. But the Stoic consciousness does not get beyond this individuality to the reality of the universal, and therefore it has only to express the form, the real as an individual, or the wise man.

The highest point reached by Aristotle, the thought of thought, is also present in Stoicism, but in such a way that it does not stand in its individual capacity as it appears to do in Aristotle, having what is different beside it, but as being quite alone. Thus in the Stoic consciousness there is just this freedom, this negative moment of abstraction from existence, an independence which is capable of giving up everything, but not as an empty passivity and self-abnegation, as though everything could be taken from it, but an independence which can resign it voluntarily, without thereby losing its reality; for its reality is really just the simple rationality, the pure thought of itself. Here pure consciousness thus attains to being its own object, and because reality is to it only this simple object, its object annuls in itself all modes of existence, and is nothing in and for itself, being therein only in the form of something abrogated.

All is merged into this: the simplicity of the Notion, or its pure negativity, is posited in relation to everything. But the real filling in, the objective mode, is wanting, and in order to enter into this, Stoicism requires that the content should be given. Hence the Stoics depicted the ideal of the wise man in specially eloquent terms, telling how perfectly sufficient in himself and independent he is, for what the wise man does is right. The description of the ideal formed by the Stoics is hence a common subject of discussion and is even devoid of interest; or at least the negative element in it is alone noteworthy. “The wise man is free and likewise in chains, for he acts from himself, uncorrupted by fear or desire.” Everything which belongs to desire and fear he does not reckon to himself, he gives to such the position of being something foreign to him; for no particular[271] existence is secure to him. “The wise man is alone king, for he alone is not bound to laws, and he is debtor to no one.” Thus we here see the autonomy and autocracy of the wise man, who, merely following reason, is absolved from all established laws which are recognized, and for which no rational ground can be given, or which appear to rest somewhat on a natural aversion or instinct. For even in relation to actual conduct no definite law has properly speaking reality for him, and least of all those which appear to belong to nature as such alone, e.g. the prohibition against entering into marriage relations which are considered incestuous, the prohibition of intercourse between man and man, for in reason the same thing is fitting as regards the one which is so as regards the others. Similarly the wise man may eat human flesh,[143] &c. But a universal reason is something quite indeterminate. Thus the Stoics have not passed beyond their abstract understanding in the transgression of these laws, and therefore they have allowed their king to do much that was immoral; for if incest, pederasty, the eating of human flesh, were at first forbidden as though through a natural instinct only, they likewise can by no means exist before the judgment-seat of reason. The Stoic wise man is thus also ‘enlightened,’ in the sense that where he did not know how to bring the natural instinct into the form of a rational reason, he trampled upon nature. Thus that which is called natural law or natural instinct comes into opposition with what is set forth as immediately and universally rational. For example, those first actions seem to rest on natural feelings, and we must remember that feelings are certainly not the object of thought; as opposed to this, property is something thought, universal in itself, a recognition of my possession from all, and thus it indeed belongs to the region of the understanding. But should the wise man hence not be bound by the former because it [272]is not something immediately thought, this is merely the fault of his want of comprehension. As we have, however, seen that in the sphere of theory the thought-out simplicity of the truth is capable of all content, so we find this also to be the case with the good, that which is practically thought-out, without therefore being any content in itself. To wish to justify such a content through a reason thus indicates a confusion between the perception of the individual and that of all reality, it means a superficiality of perception which does not acknowledge a certain thing because it is not known in this and that regard. But this is so for the reason that it only seeks out and knows the most immediate grounds and cannot know whether there are not other aspects and other grounds. Such grounds as these allow of reasons for and against everything being found—on the one hand a positive relation to something which, though in other cases necessary, as such can also be again sublated; and, on the other hand, a negative relation to something necessary, which can likewise again be held to be valid.

Because the Stoics indeed placed virtue in thought, but found no concrete principle of rational self-determination whereby determinateness and difference developed, they, in the first place, have carried on a reasoning by means of grounds to which they lead back virtue. They draw deductions from facts, connections, consequences, from a contradiction or opposition; and this Antoninus and Seneca do in an edifying way and with great ingenuity. Reasons, however, prove to be a nose of wax; for there are good grounds for everything, such as “These instincts, implanted as they are by nature,” or “Short life,” &c. Which reasons should be esteemed as good thereby depends on the end and interest which form the pre-supposition giving them their power. Hence reasons are as a whole subjective. This method of reflecting on self and on what we should do, leads to the giving to our ends the breadth of reflection[273] due to penetrative insight, the enlargement of the sphere of consciousness. It is thus I who bring forward these wise and good grounds. They do not constitute the thing, the objective itself, but the thing of my own will, of my desire, a bauble through which I set up before me the nobility of my mind; the opposite of this is self-oblivion in the thing. In Seneca himself there is more folly and bombast in the way of moral reflection than genuine truth; and thus there has been brought up against him both his riches, the splendour of his manner of life, his having allowed Nero to give him wealth untold, and also the fact that he had Nero as his pupil; for the latter delivered orations composed by Seneca.[144] This reasoning is often brilliant, as with Seneca: we find much that awakens and strengthens the mind, clever antitheses and rhetoric, but we likewise feel the coldness and tediousness of these moral discourses. We are stimulated but not often satisfied, and this may be deemed the character of sophistry: if acuteness in forming distinctions and sincere opinion must be there recognized, yet final conviction is ever lacking.

In the second place there is in the Stoic standpoint the higher, although negatively formal principle, that what is thought is alone as such the end and the good, and therefore that in this form of abstract thought alone, as in Kant’s principle of duty, there is contained that by which man must establish and secure his self-consciousness, so that he can esteem and follow nothing in himself in as far as it has any other content for itself. “The happy life,” says Seneca (De vita beata, 5), “is unalterably grounded on a right and secure judgment.” The formal security of the mind which abstracts from everything, sets up for us no development of objective principles, but a subject which maintains itself in this constancy, and in an indifference not due to stupidity, but studied; and this is the infinitude of self-consciousness in itself.[274]

Because the moral principle of the Stoics remains at this formalism, all that they treat of is comprised in this. For their thoughts are the constant leading back of consciousness to its unity with itself. The power of despising existence is great, the strength of this negative attitude sublime. The Stoic principle is a necessary moment in the Idea of absolute consciousness; it is also a necessary manifestation in time. For if, as in the Roman world, the life of the real mind is lost in the abstract universal; the consciousness, where real universality is destroyed, must go back into its individuality and maintain itself in its thoughts. Hence, when the political existence and moral actuality of Greece had perished, and when in later times the Roman Empire also became dissatisfied with the present, it withdrew into itself, and there sought the right and moral which had already disappeared from ordinary life. It is thus herein implied, not that the condition of the world is a rational and right one, but only that the subject as such should assert his freedom in himself. Everything that is outward, world, relationships, &c., are so disposed as to be capable of being abrogated; in it there is thus no demand for the real harmony of reason and existence; or that which we might term objective morality and rectitude is not found in it. Plato has set up the ideal of a Republic, i.e. of a rational condition of mankind in the state; for this esteem for right, morality and custom which is to him the principal matter, constitutes the side of reality in that which is rational; and it is only through a rational condition of the world such as this, that the harmony of the external with the internal is in this concrete sense present. In regard to morality and power of willing the good, nothing more excellent can be read than what Marcus Aurelius has written in his Meditations on himself; he was Emperor of the whole of the then known civilized world, and likewise bore himself nobly and justly as a private individual. But the condition of the Roman Empire was not altered by this philosophic[275] emperor, and his successor, who was of a different character, was restrained by nothing from inaugurating a condition of things as bad as his own wicked caprice might direct. It is something much higher when the inward principle of the mind, of the rational will, likewise realizes itself, so that there arises a rational constitution, a condition of things in accordance with culture and law. Through such objectivity of reason, the determinations which come together in the ideal of the wise man are first consolidated. There then is present a system of moral relationships which are duties; each determination is then in its place, the one subordinated to the other, and the higher is predominant. Hence it comes to pass that the conscience becomes bound (which is a higher point than the Stoic freedom), that the objective relationships which we call duties are consolidated after the manner of a just condition of things, as well as being held by mind to be fixed determinations. Because these duties do not merely appear to hold good in a general sense, but are also recognized in my conscience as having the character of the universal, the harmony of the rational will and reality is established. On the one hand, the objective system of freedom as necessity exists, and, on the other, the rational in me is real as conscience. The Stoic principle has not yet reached to this more concrete attitude, as being on the one hand abstract morality, and, on the other, the subject that has a conscience. The freedom of self-consciousness in itself is the principle, but it has not yet attained to its concrete form, and its relation to happiness exists only in its determination as indifferent and contingent, which relation must be given up. In the concrete principle of rationality the condition of the world, as of my conscience, is not, however, indifferent.

This is a general description of Stoic morality; the main point is to recognize its point of view and chief relationships. Because in the Roman world a perfectly consistent position, and one conformable to existing conditions, has[276] attained to the consciousness of itself, the philosophy of the Stoics has more specially found its home in the Roman world. The noble Romans have hence only proved the negative, an indifference to life and to all that is external; they could be great only in a subjective or negative manner—in the manner of a private individual. The Roman jurists are also said to have been likewise Stoic philosophers, but, on the one hand, we find that our teachers of Roman law only speak ill of Philosophy, and, on the other, they are yet sufficiently inconsistent to state it to the credit of the Roman jurists that they were philosophers. So far as I understand law, I can find in it, among the Romans, nothing either of thought, Philosophy or the Notion. If we are to call the reasoning of the understanding logical thought, they may indeed be held to be philosophers, but this is also present in the reasoning of Master Hugo, who certainly does not claim to be a philosopher. The reasoning of the understanding and the philosophic Notion are two different things. We shall now proceed to what is in direct contrast to the Stoic philosophy, Epicureanism.

B. Epicurus.

The Epicurean philosophy, which forms the counterpart to Stoicism, was just as much elaborated as the Stoic, if, indeed, it were not more so. While the latter posited as truth existence for thought—the universal Notion—and held firmly to this principle, Epicurus, the founder of the other system, held a directly opposite view, regarding as the true essence not Being in general, but Being as sensation, that is, consciousness in the form of immediate particularity. As the Stoics did not seek the principle of the Cynics—that man must confine himself to the simplicity of nature—in man’s requirements, but placed it in universal reason, so Epicurus elevated the principle that happiness[277] should be our chief end into the region of thought, by seeking pleasure in a universal which is determined through thought. And though, in so doing, he may have given a higher scientific form to the doctrines of the Cyrenaics. it is yet self-evident that if existence for sensation is to be regarded as the truth, the necessity for the Notion is altogether abrogated, and in the absence of speculative interest things cease to form a united whole, all things being in point of fact lowered to the point of view of the ordinary human understanding. Notwithstanding this proviso, before we take this philosophy into consideration, we must carefully divest ourselves of all the ideas commonly prevalent regarding Epicureanism.

As regards the life of Epicurus, he was born in the Athenian village of Gargettus in Ol. 109, 3 (B.C. 342), and therefore before the death of Aristotle, which took place in Ol. 114, 3. His opponents, especially the Stoics, have raked up against him more accusations than I can tell of, and have invented the most trivial anecdotes respecting his doings. He had poor parents; his father, Neocles, was village schoolmaster, and Chærestrata, his mother, was a sorceress: that is, she earned money, like the women of Thrace and Thessaly, by furnishing spells and incantations, as was quite common in those days. The father, taking Epicurus with him, migrated with an Athenian colony to Samos, but here also he was obliged to give instruction to children, because his plot of land was not sufficient for the maintenance of his family. At the age of about eighteen years, just about the time when Aristotle was living in Chalcis, Epicurus returned to Athens. He had already, in Samos, made the philosophy of Democritus a special subject of study, and now in Athens he devoted himself to it more than ever; in addition to this, he was on intimate terms with several of the philosophers then flourishing, such as Xenocrates, the Platonist, and Theophrastus, a follower of Aristotle. When Epicurus was twelve years old, he read[278] with his teacher Hesiod’s account of Chaos, the source of all things; and this was perhaps not without influence on his philosophic views. Otherwise he professed to be self-taught, in the sense that he produced his philosophy entirely from himself; but we are not to suppose from this that he did not attend the lectures or study the writings of other philosophers. Neither is it to be understood that he was altogether original in his philosophy as far as content was concerned; for, as will be noted later, his physical philosophy especially is that of Leucippus and Democritus. It was at Mitylene in Lesbos that he first came forward as teacher of an original philosophic system, and then again at Lampsacus in Asia Minor; he did not, however, find very many hearers. After having for some years led an unsettled life, he returned in about the six and thirtieth year of his age to Athens, to the very centre of all Philosophy; and there, some time after, he bought for himself a garden, where he lived and taught in the midst of his friends. Though so frail in body that for many years he was unable to rise from his chair, in his manner of living he was most regular and frugal, and he devoted himself entirely to science, to the exclusion of all other interests. Even Cicero, though in other respects he has little to say in his favour, bears testimony to the warmth of his friendships, and adds that no one can deny he was a good, a humane, and a kindly man. Diogenes Laërtius gives special commendation to his reverence towards his parents, his generosity to his brothers, and his benevolence to all. He died of stone in the seventy-first year of his age. Just before his death he had himself placed in a warm bath, drank a cup of wine, and charged his friends to remember what he had taught them.[145]

No other teacher has ever been loved and reverenced by [279]his scholars as much as Epicurus; they lived on such intimate terms of friendship that they determined to make common stock of their possessions with him, and so continue in a permanent association, like a kind of Pythagorean brotherhood. This they were, however, forbidden to do by Epicurus himself, because it would have betrayed a distrust in their readiness to share what they had with one another; but where distrust is possible, there neither friendship, nor unity, nor constancy of attachment can find a place. After his death he was held in honoured remembrance by his disciples: they carried about with them everywhere his likeness, engraved on rings or drinking-cups, and remained so faithful to his teaching that they considered it almost a crime to make any alteration in it (while in the Stoic philosophy development was continually going on), and his school, in respect of his doctrines, resembled a closely-barricaded state to which all entrance was denied. The reason for this lies, as we shall presently see, in his system itself; and the further result, from a scientific point of view, ensued that we can name no celebrated disciples of his who carried on and completed his teaching on their own account. For his disciples could only have gained distinction for themselves by going further than Epicurus did. But to go further would have been to reach the Notion, which would only have confused the system of Epicurus; for what is devoid of thought is thrown into confusion by the introduction of the Notion, and it is this very lack of thought which has been made a principle. Not that it is in itself without thought, but the use made of thought is to hold back thought, and thought thus takes up a negative position in regard to itself; and the philosophic activity of Epicurus is thus directed towards the restoration and maintaining of what is sensuous through the very Notion which renders it confused. Therefore his philosophy has not advanced nor developed, but it must also be said that it has not retrograded; a certain Metrodorus alone is said to have carried[280] it on further in some directions. It is also told to the credit of the Epicurean philosophy that this Metrodorus was the only disciple of Epicurus who went over to Carneades; for the rest, it surpassed all others in its unbroken continuity of doctrine and its long duration; for all of them became degenerate or suffered interruption. When some one called the attention of Arcesilaus to this attachment to Epicurus, by the remark that while so many had gone over from other philosophers to Epicurus, scarcely a single example was known of any one passing over from the Epicurean system to another, Arcesilaus made the witty rejoinder: “Men may become eunuchs, but eunuchs can never again become men.”[146]

Epicurus himself produced in his lifetime an immense number of works, being a much more prolific author than Chrysippus, who vied with him in the number of his writings,[147] if we deduct from the latter his compilations from the works of others or from his own. The number of his writings is said to have amounted to three hundred; it is scarcely to be regretted that they are lost to us. We may rather thank Heaven that they no longer exist; philologists at any rate would have had great trouble with them. The main source of our knowledge of Epicurus is the whole of the tenth book of Diogenes Laërtius, which after all gives us but scanty information, though it deals with the subject at great length. We should, of course, have been better off had we possessed the philosopher’s own writings, but we know enough of him to make us honour the whole. For, besides this, we know a good deal about the philosophy of Epicurus through Cicero, Sextus Empiricus and Seneca; and so accurate are the accounts they give of him, that the fragment of one of Epicurus’s own writings, found some years ago in Herculaneum, and reprinted by Orelli[281] from the Neapolitan edition (Epicuri Fragmenta libri II. et XI. De natura, illustr. Orellius, Lipsiæ 1818), has neither extended nor enriched our knowledge; so that we must in all earnestness deprecate the finding of the remaining writings.

With regard to the Epicurean philosophy, it is by no means to be looked on as setting forth a system of Notions, but, on the contrary, as a system of ordinary conceptions or even of sensuous existence, which, looked at from the ordinary point of view as perceived by the senses, Epicurus has made the very foundation and standard of truth (p. 277). A detailed explanation of how sensation can be such, he has given in his so-called Canonic. As in the case of the Stoics, we have first to speak of the manner which Epicurus adopted of determining the criterion of truth; secondly, of his philosophy of nature; and thirdly and lastly, of his moral teaching.

1. Canonical Philosophy.

Epicurus gave the name of Canonic to what is really a system of logic, in which he defines the criteria of truth, in regard to the theoretic, as in fact sensuous perceptions, and, further, as conceptions or anticipations (προλήψεις); in regard to the practical, as the passions, impulses, and affections.[148]

a. On the theoretic side the criterion, closely considered, has, according to Epicurus, three moments, which are the three stages of knowledge; first, sensuous perception, as the side of the external; secondly, ordinary conception, as the side of the internal; thirdly, opinion (δόξα), as the union of the two.

α. “Sensuous perception is devoid of reason,” being what is given absolutely. “For it is not moved by itself, nor can it, if if is moved by something else, take away[282] from or add to” that which it is, but it is exactly what it is. “It is beyond criticism or refutation. For neither can one sensation judge another, both being alike, since both have equal authority;”—when the presentations of sight are of the same kind, every one of them must admit the truth of all the rest. “Nor can one of them pass judgment on another when they are unlike, for they each have their value as differing;” red and blue, for example, are each something individual. “Nor can one sensation pass judgment on another when they are heterogeneous; for we give heed to all. Thought, in the same way, cannot criticize the senses; for all thought itself depends on the sensation,” which forms its content. But sensuous perception may go far wrong. “The truth of what our senses perceive is first evinced by this, that the power of perception remains with us; sight and hearing are permanent powers of this kind as much as the capacity of feeling pain. In this way even the unknown” (the unperceived) “may be indicated by means of that which appears” (perception). Of this conception of objects of perception which are not immediate we shall have to speak more particularly hereafter (p. 292) in dealing with physical science. “Thus all” (unknown, imperceptible) “thoughts originated in the senses either directly in respect of their chance origin or in respect of relationship, analogy, and combination; to these operations thought also contributes something,” namely as the formal connection of the sensuous conceptions. “The fancies of the insane or of our dreams are also true; for they act upon us, but that which is not real does not act.”[149] Thus every sensuous perception is explicitly true, in so far as it shows itself to be abiding, and that which is not apparent to our senses must be apprehended after the same manner as the perception known to us. We hear Epicurus say, just as we hear it said in everyday life: What I see and hear, or, speaking generally, what I perceive by my[283] senses, comprises the existent; every such object of sense exists on its own account, one of them does not contradict the other, but all are on the same level of validity, and reciprocally indifferent. These objects of perception are themselves the material and content of thought, inasmuch as thought is continually making use of the images of these things.

β. “Ordinary conception is now a sort of comprehension (κατάληψις), or correct opinion or thought, or the universal indwelling power of thinking; that is to say, it is the recollection of that which has often appeared to us,”—the picture. “For instance, when I say, ‘this is a man,’ I, with the help of previous perceptions, at once by my power of representation recognize his form.” By dint of this repetition the sensuous perception becomes a permanent conception in me, which asserts itself; that is the real foundation of all that we hold true. These representations are universal, but certainly the Epicureans have not placed universality in the form of thinking, but only said it is caused by frequency of appearance. This is further confirmed by the name which is given to the image which has thus arisen within us. “Everything has its evidence (ἐναργές) in the name first conferred on it.”[150] The name is the ratification of the perception. The evidence which Epicurus terms ἐνάργεια is just the recognition of the sensuous through subsumption under the conceptions already possessed, and to which the name gives permanence; the evidence of a conception is therefore this, that we affirm an object perceptible by the senses to correspond with the image. That is the acquiescence which we have found taking place with the Stoics when thought gives its assent to a content; thought, however, which recognizes the thing as its own, and receives it into itself, with the Stoics remained formal only. With Epicurus the unity of the conception of the object with itself exists also as[284] a remembrance in consciousness, which, however, proceeds from the senses; the image, the conception, is what harmonizes with a sense-perception. The recognition of the object is here an apprehension, not as an object of thought, but as an object of imagination; for apprehension belongs to recollection, to memory. The name, it is true, is something universal, belongs to thinking, makes the manifold simple, yea, is in a high degree ideal; but in such a way that its meaning and its content are the sensuous, and are not thus to be counted as simple, but as sensuous. In this way opinion is established instead of knowledge.

γ. In the last place, opinion is nothing but the reference of that general conception, which we have within us, to an object, a perception, or to the testimony of the senses; and that is the passing of a judgment. For in a conception we have anticipated that which comes directly before our eyes; and by this standard we pronounce whether something is a man, a tree, or not. “Opinion depends on something already evident to us, to which we refer when we ask how we know that this is a man or not. This opinion is also itself termed conception, and it may be either true or false:—true, when what we see before our eyes is corroborated or not contradicted by the testimony of the conception; false in the opposite case.”[151] That is to say, in opinion we apply a conception which we already possess, or the type, to an object which is before us, and which we then examine to see if it corresponds with our mental representation of it. Opinion is true if it corresponds with the type; and it has its criterion in perceiving whether it repeats itself as it was before or not. This is the whole of the ordinary process in consciousness, when it begins to reflect. When we have the conception, it requires the testimony that we have seen or still see the object in question. From the sensuous perceptions blue, sour, sweet, and so on, the general conceptions which we possess are formed; and when an object again comes[285] before us, we recognize that this image corresponds with this object. This is the whole criterion, and a very trivial process it is; for it goes no further than the first beginnings of the sensuous consciousness, the immediate perception of an object. The next stage is without doubt this, that the first perception forms itself into a general image, and then the object which is present is subsumed under the general image. That kind of truth which anything has of which it can only be said that the evidence of the senses does not contradict it, is possessed by the conceptions of the unseen, for instance, the apprehension of heavenly phenomena: here we cannot approach nearer, we can see something indeed, but we cannot have the sensuous perception of it in its completeness; we therefore apply to it what we already know by other perceptions, if there is but some circumstance therein which is also present in that other perception or conception (supra, p. 282).

b. From these external perceptions of objects presently existing, with which we here began, the affections, the internal perceptions, which give the criteria for practical life are however distinguished; they are of two kinds, either pleasant or unpleasant. That is to say, they have as their content pleasure or satisfaction, and pain: the first, as that which peculiarly belongs to the perceiver, is the positive; but pain, as something alien to him, is the negative. It is these sensuous perceptions which determine action; they are the material from which general conceptions regarding what causes me pain or pleasure are formed; as being permanent they are therefore again conceptions, and opinion is again this reference of conception to perception, according to which I pass judgment on objects—affections, desires, and so on.[152] It is by this opinion, therefore, that the decision to do or to avoid anything is arrived at.

This constitutes the whole Canon of Epicurus, the[286] universal standard of truth; it is so simple that nothing can well be simpler, and yet it is very abstract. It consists of ordinary psychological conceptions which are correct on the whole, but quite superficial; it is the mechanical view of conception having respect to the first beginnings of observation. But beyond this there lies another and quite different sphere, a field that contains determinations in themselves; and these are the criteria by which the statements of Epicurus must be judged. Nowadays even Sceptics are fond of speaking of facts of consciousness; this sort of talk goes no further than the Epicurean Canon.

2. Metaphysics.

In the second place, Epicurus enters on a metaphysical explanation of how we are related to the object; for sensuous perception and outside impressions he unhesitatingly regards as our relation to external things, so that he places the conceptions in me, the objects outside of me. In raising the question of how we come by our conceptions, there lies a double question: on the one hand, since sense-perceptions are not like conceptions, but require an external object, what is the objective manner in which the images of external things enter into us? On the other hand, it may be asked how conceptions of such things as are not matter of perception arise in us; this seems to be an activity of thought, which derives conceptions such as these from other conceptions; we shall, however, see presently (pp. 287, 288) and more in detail, how the soul, which is here related to the object in independent activity, arrives at such a point.

“From the surfaces of things,” says Epicurus in the first place, “there passes off a constant stream, which cannot be detected by our senses” (for things would in any other case decrease in size) and which is very fine; “and this because, by reason of the counteracting replenishment,[287] the thing itself in its solidity long preserves the same arrangement and disposition of the atoms; and the motion through the air of these surfaces which detach themselves is of the utmost rapidity, because it is not necessary that what is detached should have any thickness;” it is only a surface. Epicurus says, “Such a conception does not contradict our senses, when we take into consideration how pictures produce their effects in a very similar way, I mean by bringing us into sympathy with external things. Therefore emanations, like pictures, pass out from them into us, so that we see and know the forms and colours of things.”[153] This is a very trivial way of representing sense-perception. Epicurus took for himself the easiest criterion of the truth that is not seen, a criterion still in use, namely that it is not contradicted by what we see or hear. For in truth such matters of thought as atoms, the detachment of surfaces, and so forth, are beyond our powers of sight. Certainly we manage to see and to hear something different; but there is abundance of room for what is seen and what is conceived or imagined to exist alongside of one another. If the two are allowed to fall apart, they do not contradict each other; for it is not until we relate them that the contradiction becomes apparent.

“Error,” as Epicurus goes on to say on the second point “comes to pass when, through the movement that takes place within us on the conception therein wrought, such a change is effected that the conception can no longer obtain for itself the testimony of perception. There would be no truth, no likeness of our perceptions, which we receive as in pictures or in dreams or in any other way, if there were nothing on which we, as it were, put out our faculty of observation. There would be no untruth if we did not receive into ourselves another movement, which, to be sure, is conformable to the entering in of the conception,[288] but which has at the same time an interruption.”[154] Error is therefore, according to Epicurus, only a displacement of the pictures in us, which does not proceed from the movement of perception, but rather from this, that we check their influence by a movement originating in ourselves; how this interruption is brought about will be shown more fully later on (pp. 290, 300).

The Epicurean theory of knowledge reduces itself to these few passages, some of which are also obscurely expressed, or else not very happily selected or quoted by Diogenes Laërtius; it is impossible to have a theory less explicitly stated. Knowledge, on the side of thought, is determined merely as a particular movement which makes an interruption; and as Epicurus, as we have already seen, looks on things as made up of a multitude of atoms, thought is the moment which is different from the atoms, the vacuum, the pores, whereby resistance to this stream of atoms is rendered possible. If this negative is also again, as soul, affirmative, Epicurus in the notional determination of thinking has only reached this negativity, that we look away from something, i.e. we interrupt that inflowing stream. The answer to the question of what this interrupting movement exactly is, when taken for itself, is connected with the more advanced conceptions of Epicurus; and in order to discuss them more in detail, we must go back to the implicit basis of his system.

This constitutes on the whole the metaphysic of Epicurus; in it he has expounded his doctrine of the atom, but not with greater definiteness than did Leucippus and Democritus. The essence and the truth of things were to him, as they were to them, atoms and vacuum: “Atoms have no properties except figure, weight and magnitude.” Atoms, as atoms, must remain undetermined; but the Atomists have been forced to take the inconsistent course of ascribing properties to them: the quantitative properties[289] of magnitude and figure, the qualitative property of weight. But that which is in itself altogether indivisible can have neither figure nor magnitude; and even weight, direction upon something else, is opposed to the abstract repulsion of the atom. Epicurus even says: “Every property is liable to change, but the atoms change not. In all dissolutions of the composite, something must remain a constant and indissoluble, which no change can transform into that which is not, or bring from non-being into Being. This unchangeable element, therefore, is constituted by some bodies and figures. The properties are a certain relation of atoms to each other.”[155] In like manner we have already seen with Aristotle (p. 178) that the tangible is the foundation of properties: a distinction which under various forms is still always made and is in common use. We mean by this that an opposition is established between fundamental properties, such as we here have in weight, figure and magnitude, and sensuous properties, which are only in relation to us, and are derived from the former original differences. This has frequently been understood as if weight were in things, while the other properties were only in our senses: but, in general, the former is the moment of the implicit, or the abstract essence of the thing, while the latter is its concrete existence, which expresses its relation to other things.

The important matter now would be to indicate the relation of atoms to sensuous appearance, to allow essence to pass over into the negative: but here Epicurus rambles amidst the indeterminate which expresses nothing; for we perceive in him, as in the other physicists, nothing but an unconscious medley of abstract ideas and realities. All particular forms, all objects, light, colour, &c., the soul itself even, are nothing but a certain arrangement of these atoms. This is what Locke also said, and even now Physical Science declares that the basis of things is found[290] in molecules, which are arranged in a certain manner in space. But these are empty words, and a crystal, for instance, is not a certain arrangement of parts, which gives this figure. It is thus not worth while to deal with this relation of atoms; for it is an altogether formal way of speaking, as when Epicurus again concedes that figure and magnitude, in so far as pertaining to atoms, are something different from what they are as they appear in things. The two are not altogether unlike; the one, implicit magnitude, has something in common with apparent magnitude. The latter is transitory, variable; the former has no interrupted parts,[156] that is, nothing negative. But the determination of the atoms, as originally formed in this or that fashion, and having original magnitude of such and such a kind, is a purely arbitrary invention. That interruption, which we regarded above (p. 288) as the other side to atoms, or as vacuum, is the principle of movement: for the movement of thought is also like this and has interruptions. Thought in man is the very same as atoms and vacuum are in things, namely their inward essence; that is to say, atoms and vacuum belong to the movement of thought, or exist for this in the same way as things are in their essential nature. The movement of thinking is thus the province of the atoms of the soul; so that there takes place simultaneously therein an interruption of the inward flow of atoms from without. There is therefore nothing further to be seen in this than the general principle of the positive and negative, so that even thought is affected by a negative principle, the moment of interruption. This principle of the Epicurean system, further applied to the difference in things, is the most arbitrary and therefore the most wearisome that can be imagined.

Besides their different figures, atoms have also, as the fundamental mode in which they are affected, a difference[291] of movement, caused by their weight; but this movement to some extent deviates from the straight line in its direction. That is to say, Epicurus ascribes to atoms a curvilinear movement, in order that they may impinge on one another and so on.[157] In this way there arise particular accumulations and configurations; and these are things.

Other physical properties, such as taste and smell, have their basis again in another arrangement of the molecules. But there is no bridge from this to that, or what results is simply empty tautology, according to which the parts are arranged and combined as is requisite in order that their appearance may be what it is. The transition to bodies of concrete appearance Epicurus has either not made at all, or what has been cited from him as far as this matter is concerned, taken by itself, is extremely meagre.

The opinion that one hears expressed respecting the Epicurean philosophy is in other respects not unfavourable; and for this reason some further details must be given regarding it. For since absolute Being is constituted by atoms scattered and disintegrated, and by vacuum, it directly follows that Epicurus denies to these atoms any relationship to one another which implies purpose. All that we call forms and organisms, or generally speaking, the unity of Nature’s end, in his way of thinking, belongs to qualities, to an external connection of the configurations of the atoms, which in this way is merely an accident, brought about by their chance-directed motion; the atoms accordingly form a merely superficial unity, and one which is not essential to them. Or else Epicurus altogether denies that Notion and the Universal are the essential, and because all originations are to him chance combinations, for him their resolution is just as much a matter of chance. The divided is the first and the truly existent, but at the same time chance or external necessity is the law which [292]dominates all cohesion. That Epicurus should in this fashion declare himself against a universal end in the world, against every relation of purpose—as, for instance, the inherent conformity to purpose of the organism—and, further, against the teleological representations of the wisdom of a Creator in the world, his government, &c., is a matter of course; for he abrogates unity, whatever be the manner in which we represent it, whether as Nature’s end in itself, or as end which is in another, but is carried out in Nature. In contrast to this, the teleological view enters largely into the philosophy of the Stoics, and is there very fully developed. To show that conformity to an end is lacking, Epicurus brings forward the most trivial examples; for instance, that worms and so on are produced by chance from mud through the warmth of the sun. Taken in their entirety, they may very well be the work of chance in relation to others; but what is implicit in them, their Notion and essence is something organic: and the comprehension of this is what we have now to consider. But Epicurus banishes thought as implicit, without its occurring to him that his atoms themselves have this very nature of thought; that is, their existence in time is not immediate but essentially mediate, and thus negative or universal;—the first and only inconsistency that we find in Epicurus, and one which all empiricists are guilty of. The Stoics take the opposite course of finding essential Being in the object of thought or the universal; and they fail equally in reaching the content, temporal existence, which, however, they most inconsistently assume. We have here the metaphysics of Epicurus; nothing that he says farther on this head is of interest.

3. Physics.

The natural philosophy of Epicurus is based on the above foundation; but an aspect of interest is given it by the fact[293] that it is still peculiarly the method of our times; his thoughts on particular aspects of Nature are, however, in themselves feeble and of little weight, containing nothing but an ill-considered medley of all manner of loose conceptions. Going further, the principle of the manner in which Epicurus looks on nature, lies in the conceptions he forms, which we have already had before us (pp. 282, 285). That is to say, the general representations which we receive through the repetition of several perceptions, and to which we relate such perceptions in forming an opinion, must be then applied to that which is not exactly matter of perception, but yet has something in common with what we can perceive. In this way it comes about that by such images we can apprehend the unknown which does not lend itself immediately to perception; for from what is known we must argue to what is unknown. This is nothing else but saying that Epicurus judged by analogy, or that he makes so-called evidence the principle of his view of Nature; and this is the principle which to this day has authority in ordinary physical science. We go through experiences and make observations, these arising from the sensuous perceptions which are apt to be overlooked. Thus we reach general concepts, laws, forces, and so on, electricity and magnetism, for instance, and these are then applied by us to such objects and activities as we cannot ourselves directly perceive. As an example, we know about the nerves and their connection with the brain; in order that there may be feeling and so on, it is said that a transmission from the finger-tips to the brain takes place. But how can we represent this to ourselves? We cannot make it a matter of observation. By anatomy we can lay bare the nerves, it is true, but not the manner of their working. We represent these to ourselves on the analogy of other phenomena of transmission, for instance as the vibration of a tense string that passes through the nerves to the brain. As in the well-known phenomenon of a[294] number of billiard balls set close together in a row, the last of which rolls away when the first is struck, while those in the middle, through each of which the effect of the stroke has been communicated to the next, scarcely seem to move, so we represent to ourselves the nerves as consisting of tiny balls which are invisible even through the strongest magnifying glass, and fancy that at every touch, &c., the last springs off and strikes the soul. In the same way light is represented as filaments, rays, or as vibrations of the ether, or as globules of ether, each of which strikes on the other. This is an analogy quite in the manner of Epicurus.

In giving such explanations as those above, Epicurus professed to be most liberal, fair and tolerant, saying that all the different conceptions which occur to us in relation to sensuous objects—at our pleasure, we may say,—can be referred to that which we cannot ourselves directly observe; we should not assert any one way to be the right one, for many ways may be so. In so saying, Epicurus is talking idly; his words fall on the ear and the fancy, but looked on more narrowly they disappear. So, for instance, we see the moon shine, without being able to have any nearer experience of it. On this subject Epicurus says: “The moon may have its own light, or a light borrowed from the sun; for even on earth we see things which shine of themselves, and many which are illuminated by others. Nothing hinders us from observing heavenly things in the light of various previous experiences, and from adopting hypotheses and explanations in accordance with these. The waxing and waning of the moon may also be caused by the revolution of this body, or through changes in the air” (according as vapour is modified in one way or another), “or also by means of adding and taking away somewhat: in short, in all the ways whereby that which has a certain appearance to us is caused to show such appearance.” Thus there are to be found in Epicurus all these trivialities of[295] friction, concussion, &c., as when he gives his opinion of lightning on the analogy of how we see fire of other kinds kindled: “Lightning is explained by quite a large number of possible conceptions; for instance, that through the friction and collision of clouds the figuration of fire is emitted, and lightning is produced.” In precisely the same way modern physicists transfer the production of an electric spark, when glass and silk are rubbed against each other, to the clouds. For, as we see a spark both in lightning and electricity, we conclude from this circumstance common to both that the two are analogical; therefore, we come to the conclusion that lightning also is an electric phenomenon. But clouds are not hard bodies, and by moisture electricity is more likely to be dispersed; therefore, such talk has just as little truth in it as the fancy of Epicurus. He goes on to say: “Or lightning may also be produced by being expelled from the clouds by means of the airy bodies which form lightning—by being struck out when the clouds are pressed together either by each other or by the wind,” &c. With the Stoics things are not much better. Application of sensuous conceptions according to analogy is often termed comprehension or explanation, but in reality there is in such a process not the faintest approach to thought or comprehension. “One man,” adds Epicurus, “may select; one of these modes, and reject the others, not considering what is possible for man to know, and what is impossible, and therefore striving to attain to a knowledge of the unknowable.”[158]

This application of sensuous images to what has a certain similarity to them, is pronounced to be the basis and the knowledge of the cause, because, in his opinion, a transference such as this cannot be corroborated by the testimony of mere immediate sensation; thus the Stoic method of seeking a basis in thought is excluded, and in this respect the mode of explanation adopted by Epicurus is directly[296] opposed to that of the Stoics. One circumstance which strikes us at once in Epicurus is the lack of observation and experience with regard to the mutual relations of bodies: but the kernel of the matter, the principle, is nothing else than the principle of modern physics. This method of Epicurus has been attacked and derided, but on this score no one need be ashamed of or fight shy of it, if he is a physicist; for what Epicurus says is not a whit worse than what the moderns assert. Indeed, in the case of Epicurus the satisfactory assurance is likewise always present of his emphasizing the fact most strongly that just because the evidence of the senses is found to be lacking, we must not take our stand on any one analogy. Elsewhere he in the same way makes light of analogy, and when one person accepts this possibility and another that other possibility, he admires the cleverness of the second and troubles himself little about the explanation given by the first; it may be so, or it may not be so.[159] This is a method devoid of reason, which reaches no further than to general conceptions. Nevertheless, if Physical Science is considered to relate to immediate experience on the one hand, and, on the other hand—in respect of that which cannot be immediately experienced—to relate to the application of the above according to a resemblance existing between it and that which is not matter of experience, in that case Epicurus may well be looked on as the chief promoter, if not the originator of this method, and also as having asserted that it is identical with knowledge. Of the Epicurean method in philosophy we may say this, that it likewise has a side on which it possesses value, and we may in some measure assent when we hear, as we frequently do, the Epicurean physics favourably spoken of. Aristotle and the earlier philosophers took their start in natural philosophy from universal thought a priori, and from this developed the Notion; this is the one side. The other side, which is just[297] as necessary, demands that experience should be worked up into universality, that laws should be found out; that is to say, that the result which follows from the abstract Idea should coincide with the general conception to which experience and observation have led up. The a priori is with Aristotle, for instance, most excellent but not sufficient, because to it there is lacking connection with and relation to experience and observation. This leading up of the particular to the universal is the finding out of laws, natural forces, and so on. It may thus be said that Epicurus is the inventor of empiric Natural Science, of empiric Psychology. In contrast to the Stoic ends, conceptions of the understanding, experience is the present as it appears to the senses: there we have abstract limited understanding, without truth in itself, and therefore without the present in time and the reality of Nature; here we have this sense of Nature, which is more true than these other hypotheses.

The same effect which followed the rise of a knowledge of natural laws, &c., in the modern world was produced by the Epicurean philosophy in its own sphere, that is to say, in so far as it is directed against the arbitrary invention of causes. The more, in later times, men made acquaintance with the laws of Nature, the more superstition, miracles, astrology, &c. disappeared; all this fades away owing to the contradiction offered to it by the knowledge of natural laws. The method of Epicurus was directed more especially against the senseless superstition of astrology, &c., in whose methods there is neither reason nor thought, for it is quite a thing of the imagination, downright fabrication being resorted to, or what we may even term lying. In contrast with this, the way in which Epicurus works, when the conceptions and not thought are concerned, accords with truth. For it does not go beyond what is perceived by the sight, and hearing, and the other senses, but keeps to what is present and not alien to the mind, not speaking of certain things as if they could be seen and heard, when[298] that is quite impossible, seeing that the things are pure inventions. The effect of the Epicurean philosophy in its own time was therefore this, that it set itself against the superstition of the Greeks and Romans, and elevated men above it.[160] All the nonsense about birds flying to right or to left, or a hare running across the path, or men deciding how they are to act according to the entrails of animals, or according as chickens are lively or dull—all that kind of superstition the Epicurean philosophy made short work of, by permitting that only to be accepted as truth which is counted as true by sense perception through the instrumentality of anticipations; and from it more than anything those conceptions which have altogether denied the supersensuous have proceeded. The physics of Epicurus were therefore famous for the reason that they introduced more enlightened views in regard to what is physical, and banished the fear of the gods. Superstition passes straightway from immediate appearances to God, angels, demons; or it expects from finite things other effects than the conditions admit of, phenomena of a higher kind. To this the Epicurean natural philosophy is utterly opposed, because in the sphere of the finite it refuses to go beyond the finite, and admits finite causes alone; for the so-called enlightenment is the fact of remaining in the sphere of the finite. There connection is sought for in other finite things, in conditions which are themselves conditioned; superstition, on the contrary, rightly or wrongly, passes at once to what is above us. However correct the Epicurean method may be in the sphere of the conditioned, it is not so in other spheres. Thus if I say that electricity comes from God, I am right and yet wrong. For if I ask for a cause in this same sphere of the conditioned, and give God as answer, I say too much; though this answer fits all questions, since God is the cause of everything, what I would know here is the particular connection of the phenomenon. On[299] the other hand, in this sphere even the Notion is already something higher; but this loftier way of looking at things which we met with in the earlier philosophers, was quite put an end to by Epicurus, since with superstition there also passed away self-dependent connection and the world of the Ideal.

To the natural philosophy of Epicurus there also belongs his conception of the soul, which he looks on as having the nature of a thing, just as the theories of our own day regard it as nerve-filaments, cords in tension, or rows of minute balls (p. 294). His description of the soul has therefore but little meaning, since here also he draws his conclusion by analogy, and connects therewith the metaphysical theory of atoms: “The soul consists of the finest and roundest atoms, which are something quite different from fire, being a fine spirit which is distributed through the whole aggregate of the body, and partakes of its warmth.” Epicurus has consequently established a quantitative difference only, since these finest atoms are surrounded by a mass of coarser atoms and dispersed through this larger aggregate. “The part which is devoid of reason is dispersed in the body” as the principle of life, “but the self-conscious part (τὸ λογικόν) is in the breast, as may be perceived from joy and sadness. The soul is capable of much change in itself, owing to the fineness of its parts, which can move very rapidly: it sympathizes with the rest of the aggregate, as we see by the thoughts, emotions and so on; but when it is taken away from us we die. But the soul, on its part, has also the greatest sympathy with sensuous perception; yet it would have nothing in common with it, were it not in a certain measure covered by the rest of the aggregate” (the body)—an utterly illogical conception. “The rest of this aggregate, which this principle provides for the soul, is thereby also partaker, on its part, of a like condition” (sensuous perception), “yet not of all that the former possesses; therefore, when the[300] soul escapes, sensuous perception exists no more for it. The aggregate spoken of above has not this power in itself, but derives it from the other which is brought into union with it, and the sentient movement comes to pass through the flow of sympathy which they have in common.”[161] Of such conceptions it is impossible to make anything. The above-mentioned (p. 287) interruption of the streaming together of images of external things with our organs, as the ground of error, is now explained by the theory that the soul consists of peculiar atoms, and the atoms are separated from one another by vacuum. With such empty words and meaningless conceptions we shall no longer detain ourselves; we can have no respect for the philosophic thoughts of Epicurus, or rather he has no thoughts for us to respect.

4. Ethics.

Besides this description of the soul the philosophy of mind contains the ethics of Epicurus, which of all his doctrines are the most decried, and therefore the most interesting; they may, however, also be said to constitute the best part of that philosophy. The practical philosophy of Epicurus depends on the individuality of self-consciousness, just as much as does that of the Stoics; and the end of his ethics is in a measure the same, the unshaken tranquillity of the soul, and more particularly an undisturbed pure enjoyment of itself. Of course, if we regard the abstract principle involved in the ethics of Epicurus, our verdict cannot be other than exceedingly unfavourable. For if sensation, the feeling of pain and pleasure, is the criterion for the right, good, true, for that which man should make his aim in life, morality is really abrogated, or the moral principle is in fact not moral; at least we hold that the way is thereby opened up to all[301] manner of arbitrariness in action. If it is now alleged that feeling is the ground of action, and that because I find a certain impulse in myself it is for that reason right—this is Epicurean reasoning. Everyone may have different feelings, and the same person, may feel differently at different times; in the same way with Epicurus it may be left to the subjectivity of the individual to determine the course of action. But it is of importance to notice this, that when Epicurus sets tip pleasure as the end, he concedes this only so far as its enjoyment is the result of philosophy. We have before now remarked (vol. i., p. 470) that even with the Cyrenaics, while on the one hand sensation was certainly made the principle, on the other hand it was essential that thought should be in intimate connection with it. Similarly it is the case with Epicurus that while he designated pleasure as the criterion of the good, he demanded a highly cultured consciousness, a power of reflection, which weighs pleasure to see if it is not combined with a greater degree of pain, and in this way forms a correct estimate of what it is. Diogenes Laërtius (X. 144) quotes from him with regard to this point of view: “The wise man owes but little to chance; Reason attains what is of the greatest consequence, and both directs it and will direct it his whole life long.” The particular pleasure is therefore regarded only with reference to the whole, and sensuous perception is not the one and only principle of the Epicureans; but while they made pleasure the principle, they made a principle at the same time of that happiness which is attained, and only attainable by reason; so that this happiness is to be sought in such a way that it may be free and independent of external contingencies, the contingencies of sensation. The true Epicureans were therefore, just as much as the Stoics, raised above all particular ties, for Epicurus, too, made his aim the undisturbed tranquillity of the wise man. In order to be free from superstition Epicurus specially requires physical science, as it[302] sets men free from all the opinions which most disturb their rest—opinions regarding the gods, and their punishments, and more particularly from the thought of death.[162] Freed from all this fear, and from the imaginings of the men who make any particular object their end and aim, the wise man seeks pleasure only as something universal, and holds this alone to be positive. Here the universal and the particular meet; or the particular, regarded only in its bearings to the whole, is raised into the form of universality. Thus it happens that, while materially, or as to content, Epicurus makes individuality a principle, on the other hand he requires the universality of thinking, and his philosophy is thus in accordance with that of the Stoics.

Seneca, who is known as a thorough-going and uncompromising Stoic, when in his treatise De Vita Beata (c. 12, 13) he happens to speak of the Epicureans, gives testimony which is above suspicion to the ethical system of Epicurus: “My verdict is, however—and in thus speaking I go, to some extent, against many of my own countrymen—that the moral precepts of Epicurus prescribe a way of life that is holy and just, and, when closely considered, even sorrowful. For every pleasure of Epicurus turns on something very paltry and poor, and we scarcely know how restricted it is, and how insipid. The self-same law which we lay down for virtue he prescribes for pleasure; he requires that Nature be obeyed; but very little in the way of luxury is required to satisfy Nature. What have we then here? He who calls a lazy, self-indulgent, and dissolute life happiness merely seeks a good authority for a thing that is evil, and while, drawn on by a dazzling name, he turns in the direction where he hears the praise of pleasure sounding, he does not follow the pleasures to which he is invited by Epicurus, but those which he himself brings with him. Men who thus abandon themselves to crime seek only to hide their wickedness under the mantle of philosophy, and[303] to furnish for their excesses a pretext and an excuse. Thus it is by no means permitted that youth should hold up its head again for the reason that to the laxity of its morality an honourable title has been affixed.” By the employment of our reflective powers, which keep guard over pleasure and consider whether there can be any enjoyment in that which is fraught with dangers, fear, anxiety and other troubles, the possibility of our obtaining pleasure pure and unalloyed is reduced to a minimum. The principle of Epicurus is to live in freedom and ease, and with the mind at rest, and to this end it is needful to renounce much of that which men allow to sway them, and in which they find their pleasure. The life of a Stoic is therefore but little different from that of an Epicurean who keeps well before his eyes what Epicurus enjoins.

It might perhaps occur to us that the Cyrenaics had the same moral principle as the Epicureans, but Diogenes Laërtius (X. 139, 136, 137) shows us the difference that there was between them. The Cyrenaics rather made pleasure as a particular thing their end, while Epicurus, on the contrary, regarded it as a means, since he asserted painlessness to be pleasure, and allowed of no intermediate state. “Neither do the Cyrenaics recognize pleasure in rest (καταστηματικήν), but only in the determination of motion,” or as something affirmative, that consists in the enjoyment of the pleasant; “Epicurus, on the contrary, admits both—the pleasure of the body as well as that of the soul.” He meant by this that pleasure in rest is negative, as the absence of the unpleasant, and also an inward contentment, whereby rest is maintained within the mind. Epicurus explained these two kinds of pleasure more clearly as follows: “Freedom from fear and desire (ἀταραξία) and from pain and trouble (ἀπονία) are the passive pleasures (καταστηματικὶα ἡδοναί),”—the setting of our affections on nothing which we may run the risk of losing; pleasures of the senses, on the other hand, like “joy and mirth (χαρὰ δὲ καὶ[304] εὐφροσύνη), are pleasures involving movement (κατὰ κίνησιν ἐνεργείᾳ βλέπονται.9)” The former pleasures Epicurus held to be the truest and highest. “Besides this, pain of the body was held by the Cyrenaics to be worse than sorrow of the soul, while with the Epicureans this is reversed.”

The main teaching of Epicurus in respect of morals is contained in a letter to Men\nceus, which Diogenes Laërtius has preserved, and in which Epicurus expresses himself as follows: “The youth must neither be slow to study philosophy, nor must the old man feel it a burden, for no one is either too young or too old to study the health of his soul. We must therefore endeavour to find out wherein the happy life consists; the following are its elements: First, we must hold that God is a living Being, incorruptible and happy, as the general belief supposes Him to be; and that nothing is lacking to His incorruptibility nor to His happiness. But though the existence of the gods is known to be a fact, yet they are not such as the multitude suppose them to be. He is therefore not impious who discards his faith in the gods of the multitude, but he who applies to them the opinions entertained of them by the mass.” By these gods of Epicurus we can understand nothing else than the Holy, the Universal, in concrete form. The Stoics held more to the ordinary conception, without indeed giving much thought to the Being of God; with the Epicureans, on the other hand, the gods express an immediate Idea of the system. Epicurus says: “That which is holy and incorruptible has itself no trouble nor causes it to others; therefore it is unstirred by either anger or show of favour, for it is in weakness only that such find a place. The gods may be known by means of Reason; they consist partly in Number; others are the perfected type of man, which, owing to the similarity of the images, arises from the continuous confluence of like images on one and the same subject.”[163] The gods are thus the altogether general images which we[305] receive into ourselves; and Cicero says (De Natura Deorum, 18, 38) that they come singly upon us in sleep. This general image, which is at the same time an anthropomorphic conception, is the same to which we give the name of Ideal, only that here the source assigned to it is the reiterated occurrence of images. The gods thus seem to Epicurus to be Ideals of the holy life; they are also existent things, consisting of the finest atoms; they are, however, pure souls, unmixed with any grosser element, and therefore exempt from toil and trouble and pain. Their self-enjoyment is wholly passive, as it must be if consistent, for action has always in it something alien, the opposition of itself and reality, and the toil and trouble which are involved in it really represent the aspect of consciousness of opposition rather than that of realization. The gods lead an existence of pure and passive self enjoyment, and trouble themselves not with the affairs of the world and of men. Epicurus goes on to say: “Men must pay reverence to the gods on account of the perfection of their nature and their surpassing holiness, not in order to gain from them some special good, or for the sake of this or that advantage,”[164] The manner in which Epicurus represents the gods as corporeal Beings in human likeness has been much derided; thus Cicero, for instance, in the passage quoted (c. 18) laughs at Epicurus for alleging that the gods have only quasi bodies, flesh and blood. But from this there follows only that they are, as it were, the implicit, as we see it stated of the soul and things palpable to the senses, that they have behind them what is implicit. Our talk of qualities is no better; for if justice, goodness, and so on, are to be taken in sensu eminentiori, and not as they are with men, we have in God a Being in the same way possessed of only something resembling justice and the other qualities. With this there is closely connected the theory of Epicurus that the gods dwell in vacant space, in the intermediate[306] spaces of the world, where they are exposed neither to rain or wind or snow or the like.[165] For the intermediate spaces are the vacuum, wherein, as the principle of movement, are the atoms in themselves. Worlds, as phenomena, are complete continuous concretions of such atoms, but concretions which are only external relations. Between them, as in vacuum, there are thus these Beings also, which themselves are certainly concretions of atoms, but concretions which remain implicit. Yet this leads only to confusion, if a closer definition is given, for concretion constitutes what is for the senses, but the gods, even if they were concretions, would not be realities exactly such as these. In illogical fashion the general, the implicit, is taken out of reality and set above it, not as atoms, but just as before, as a combination of these atoms; in this way this combination is not itself the sensuous. This seems ridiculous, but it is connected with the interruptions spoken of, and with the relation of the vacuum to the plenum, the atom. So far, therefore, the gods belong to the category of negativity as against sensuality, and as this negative is thought, in that sense what Epicurus said of the gods may still to some extent be said. To this determination of God a larger measure of objectivity of course belongs, but it is a perfectly correct assertion that God, as Thought, is a holy Being, to whom reverence is due for His own sake alone. The first element in a happy life is therefore reverence for the gods, uninfluenced by fear or hope.

Further, a second point with Epicurus is the contemplation of death, the negative of existence, of self-consciousness in man; he requires us to have a true conception of death, because otherwise it disturbs our tranquillity. He accordingly says: “Accustom thyself then to the thought that death concerns us not; for all good and evil is a matter of sensation, but death is a deprivation (στέρησις)[307] of sensation. Therefore the true reflection that death is no concern of ours, makes our mortal life one of enjoyment, since this thought does not add an endless length of days, but does away with the longing after immortality. For nothing in life has terrors for him who has once truly recognized the fact that not to live is not a matter of dread. Thus it is a vain thing to fear death, not because its presence but because the anticipation of it brings us pain. For how can the anticipation of a thing pain us when its reality does not? There is therefore in death nothing to trouble us. For when we are in life, death is not there, and when death is there, we are not. Therefore death does not concern either the living or the dead.” This is quite correct, if we look at the immediate; it is a thought full of meaning, and drives away fear. Mere privation, which death is, is not to be confounded with the feeling of being alive, which is positive; and there is no reason for worrying oneself about it. “But the future in general is neither ours, nor is it not ours; hence we must not count upon it as something that will come to pass, nor yet despair of it, as if it would not come to pass.”[166] It is no concern of ours either that it is or that it is not; and it need not therefore cause us uneasiness. This the right way in which to regard the future also.

Epicurus passes on to speak of impulses, saying: “This moreover is to be kept in mind, that amongst impulses some are natural, but others are vain; and of those that are natural some are necessary while others are natural only. Those that are necessary are either necessary to happiness, or tend to save the body from pain, or to self-preservation in general. The perfect theory teaches how to choose that which promotes health of body and steadfastness of soul, and how to reject what impairs them, this being the aim of the holy life. This is the end of all our actions, to have[308] neither pain of body nor uneasiness of mind. If we but attain to this, all turmoil of the soul is stilled, since the life no longer has to strive after something which it needs, and no longer has to seek anything outside of itself by which the welfare of soul and body is arrived at. But even on the supposition that pleasure is the first and the inborn good, we do not for that reason choose all pleasures, but many we renounce, when they are more than counterbalanced by their painful results; and many pains we prefer to pleasures, if there follows from them a pleasure that is greater. Contentment we hold to be a good, not that we may aim at merely reducing our requirements to a minimum, as the Cynics did, but that we may seek not to be discontented even when we have not very much, knowing that they most enjoy abundance who can do without it, and that what is naturally desired is easy to procure, while what is a mere idle fancy can be procured only with difficulty. Simple dishes afford just as much enjoyment as costly banquets, if they appease hunger. Therefore when we make pleasure our aim, it is not the enjoyments of the gourmand, as is often falsely thought, but freedom from both pain of body and uneasiness of mind. We attain to this life of happiness by sober reason alone, which examines the grounds of all choice and all rejection, and expels the thoughts by which the soul’s rest is most disturbed. It is surely better to be unhappy and reasonable than to be happy and unreasonable; for it is better that in our actions we should judge correctly than that we should be favoured by luck. Meditate on this day and night, and let thyself be shaken by nought from thy peace of soul, that thou mayest live as a god amongst men; for the man who lives amongst such imperishable treasures has nothing in common with mortal men. Of all those the first and foremost is reasonableness (φρόνησις), which on this account is still more excellent than philosophy; from it spring all the other virtues. For they show that one cannot live happily,[309] unless he lives wisely and honourably and justly: nor can he live wisely and honourably and justly without living happily.”[167]

Therefore, although at first sight there seems not much to be said for the principle of Epicurus, nevertheless by means of the inversion of making the guiding principle to be found in thought proceeding from Reason, it passes into Stoicism, as even Seneca himself has admitted (v. supra, pp. 302, 303); and actually the same result is reached as with the Stoics. Hence the Epicureans describe their wise man in at least as glowing terms as the Stoics do theirs; and in both these systems the wise man is depicted with the same qualities, these being negative. With the Stoics the Universal is the essential principle,—not pleasure, the self-consciousness of the particular as particular; but the reality of this self-consciousness is equally something pleasant. With the Epicureans pleasure is the essential principle, but pleasure sought and enjoyed in such a way that it is pure and unalloyed, that is to say, in accordance with sound judgment, and with no greater evil following to destroy it: therefore pleasure is regarded in its whole extent, that is, as being itself a universal. In Diogenes Laërtius, however (X. 117-121), the Epicurean delineation of the wise man has a character of greater mildness; he shapes his conduct more according to laws already in operation, while the Stoic wise man, on the other hand, does not take these into account at all. The Epicurean wise man is less combative than the Stoic, because the latter makes his starting-point the thought of self-dependence, which, while denying self, exercises activity: the Epicureans, on the other hand, proceed from the thought of existence, which is not so exacting, and seeks not so much this activity directed outwards, as rest; this, however, is not won by lethargy, but by the highest[310] mental culture. Yet although the content of the Epicurean philosophy, its aim and result, stands thus on as high a level as the Stoic philosophy, and is its exact parallel, the two are nevertheless in other respects directly opposed to one another; but each of these systems is one-sided, and therefore both of them are dogmatisms inconsistent with themselves by the necessity of the Notion, that is, they contain the contrary principle within them. The Stoics take the content of their thought from Being, from the sensuous, demanding that thought should be the thought of something existent: the Epicureans, on the contrary, extend their particularity of existence to the atoms which are only things of thought, and to pleasure as a universal; but in accordance with their respective principles, both schools know themselves to be definitely opposed to each other.

The negative mean to these one-sided principles is the Notion, which, abrogating fixed extremes of determination such as these, moves them and sets them free from a mere state of opposition. This movement of the Notion, the revival of dialectic—directed as it is against these one-sided principles of abstract thinking and sensation—we now see in its negative aspect, both in the New Academy and in the Sceptics. Even the Stoics, as having their principle in thought, cultivated dialectic, though theirs was (pp. 254, 255) a common logic, in which the form of simplicity passes for the Notion, while the Notion, as such, represents the negative element in it, and dissolves the determinations, which are taken up into that simplicity. There is a higher form of the Notion of dialectic reality, which not only applies itself to sensuous existence, but also to determinate Notions, and which brings to consciousness the opposition between thought and existence; not expressing the Universal as simple Idea, but as a universality in which all comes back into consciousness as an essential moment of existence. In Scepticism we now really have an abrogation[311] of the two one-sided systems that we have hitherto dealt with; but this negative remains negative only, and is incapable of passing into an affirmative.

C. The New Academy.

As opposed to the Stoic and Epicurean Dogmatism, we first of all have the New Academy, which is a continuation of Plato’s Academy in as far as the followers of Plato are divided into the Old, Middle, and New Academies; some indeed allow of a fourth Academy and even a fifth.[168] The most noteworthy figures here are those of Arcesilaus and Carneades. The establishment of the Middle Academy is ascribed to Arcesilaus, and the New Academy is said to contain the philosophy of Carneades; but this distinction has no signification. Both of these are closely connected with Scepticism, and the Sceptics themselves have often trouble in distinguishing their standpoint from the Academic principle. Both have been claimed by Scepticism as Sceptics, but between the Academics and pure Scepticism a distinction has been drawn, which is certainly very formal, and has but little signification, but to which the Sceptics in their subtlety undoubtedly attached some meaning. The distinction often consists in the meanings of words only, and in quite external differences.

The standpoint of the Academics is that they express the truth as a subjective conviction of self-consciousness; and this tallies with the subjective idealism of modern times. The truth, in so far as it is only a subjective conviction, has hence been called, by the New Academy, the probable. Although followers of Plato, and hence, Platonists, the Academicians did not remain at the standpoint of Plato, nor could they have done so. But we easily see the connection of this principle with the Platonic doctrines, if we recollect that with Plato the Idea has been[312] the principle, and that, indeed, on the whole, in the form of universality. Plato remained, as we saw above (pp. 139, 140), in the abstract Idea; to him the one great matter in Philosophy is to combine the infinite and finite. Plato’s Ideas are derived from the necessities of reason, from enthusiasm for the truth, but they are in themselves devoid of movement, and only universal, while Aristotle demands actuality, self-determining activity. Plato’s dialectic has only attempted to assert the universal as such, and to demonstrate the determinate and particular to be null, thus leaving nothing at all but abstract universality. His dialectic has hence very often a negative result, in which determinations are merely done away with and annulled. With Plato the working out of the concrete has thus not gone far, and where he, as in the Timæus, proceeds into the determinate, e.g. of organic life, he becomes infinitely trivial and quite unspeculative, while with Aristotle matters are very different. The necessity for a scientific ground has necessarily caused us to be carried on beyond this Platonic point of view. The Stoics and Epicureans were imbued with the scientific necessity, not yet recognized by Plato, of giving a content to the universal of the Idea, i.e. of grasping particular determinateness, but the succeeding Academicians stand in a negative attitude to them in this regard. To the end they made a point of holding to the Platonic universality, uniting to this the Platonic dialectic also. The principle of the New Academy could thus, like the Platonic dialectic, possess a dialectic attitude and bearing which proceeded to nothing affirmative; as, indeed, in many of Plato’s dialogues, mere confusion is what is arrived at. But while with Plato the affirmative result is essentially the result of dialectic, so that with him we have really found the universal Idea as species, during all this time, on the other hand, the tendency to abstract apprehension is predominant; and as this showed itself in the Stoic and Epicurean philosophy, it has also extended to the[313] Platonic Idea and degraded it into being a form of the understanding. Plato’s Ideas were thus torn from their rest through thought, because in such universality thought has not yet recognized itself as self-consciousness. Self-consciousness confronted them with great pretensions, actuality in general asserted itself against universality; and the rest of the Idea necessarily passed into the movement of thought. This movement now, however, in the New Academy turned dialectically against the determination of the Stoics and Epicureans, which rested on the fact that the criterion of the truth ought to be a concrete. For example, in the conception as comprehended by the Stoics, there is a thought which likewise has a content, although, again, this union still remains very formal. But the two forms in which the dialectic of the New Academy turns against this concrete, are represented by Arcesilaus and Carneades.

1. Arcesilaus.

Arcesilaus kept to the abstraction of the Idea as against the criterion; for though in the Idea of Plato, i.e. in the Timæus and in his dialectic, the concrete was derived from quite another source, this was only admitted for the first time later on by the Neo-platonists, who really recognized the unity of the Platonic and the Aristotelian principles. The opposition to the Dogmatists thus does not in the case of Arcesilaus proceed from the dialectic of the Sceptics, but from keeping to abstraction; and here we perceive the gulf marking out this epoch from any other.

Arcesilaus was born at Pitane in Æolia in the 116th Olympiad (318 B.C.), and was a contemporary of Epicurus and Zeno. Though he originally belonged to the Old Academy, yet the spirit of the time and the progressive development of Philosophy did not now admit of the simplicity of the Platonic manner. He possessed considerable means, and devoted himself entirely to the studies requisite[314] for the education of a noble Greek, viz. to rhetoric, poetry, music, mathematics, &c. Mainly for the purpose of exercising himself in rhetoric, he came to Athens, here was introduced to Philosophy, and lived henceforth for its sake alone; he held intercourse with Theophrastus, Zeno, &c., and it is a subject of dispute whether he did not hear Pyrrho also. Arcesilaus, familiar with all the Philosophy of those days, was by his contemporaries held to be as noble a man as he was a subtle and acute philosopher; being without pride in himself, he recognized the merits of others. He lived in Athens, occupied the post of scholarch in the Academy, and was thus a successor of Plato. After the death of Crates, the successor of Speusippus, the place of honour in the Academy devolved on Sosicrates, but he willingly gave it up in favour of Arcesilaus on account of the superiority of the latter in talent and philosophy. What really happened as regards the transference of the chair to others, is, for the rest, unknown to us. He filled this office, in which he made use of the method of disputation, with approbation and applause, until his death, which took place in Olympiad 134, 4 (244 B.C.), in the seventy-fourth year of his age.[169]

The principal points in the philosophy of Arcesilaus are preserved by Cicero in his Academics Quæstiones, but Sextus Empiricus is more valuable as an authority, for he is more thorough, definite, philosophic and systematic.

a. This philosophy is specially known to us as being a dialectic directed against Stoicism, with which Arcesilaus had much to do, and its result, as far as its main principles are concerned, is expressed thus: “The wise man must restrain his approbation and assent.”[170] This principle was called ἐποχή, and it is the same as that of the Sceptics; on the other hand this expression is connected with the principle[315] of the Stoics as follows. Because to Stoic philosophy truth consists in the fact that thought declares some content of existence to be its own, and the conception as comprehended gives its approbation to this content, the content of our conceptions, principles and thoughts undoubtedly appears to be different from thought, and the union of the two, which is the concrete, only arises by means of some determinate content being taken up into the form of thought and thus being expressed as the truth. But Arcesilaus saw this consequence, and his saying that approbation most be withheld is thus as much as saying that by thus taking up the content no truth comes to pass, but only phenomenon; and this is true, because, as Arcesilaus puts it, conception and thought likewise remain apart. Arcesilaus has certainly unthinkingly allowed that this content united to consciousness is a concrete such as was indicated, only he has asserted that this connection merely gives a perception with a good ground, and not what he calls truth. This is called probability, but not quite appropriately; it is a universal set forth through the form of thought, and is only formal, having no absolute truth. Sextus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 33, § 233) puts this plainly in saying that “Arcesilaus has declared the withholding of approbation in relation to parts, to be a good, but the assenting to parts to be an evil,” because the assent only concerns parts. That is, if thought is to be retained as a universal, it cannot come to be a criterion; and that is the meaning of Arcesilaus when he asks that the wise man should remain at the universal, and not go on to the determinate as if this determinate were the truth.

Sextus Empiricus gives us (adv. Math. VII. 155, 151-153) a more particular explanation of this philosophy, which is preserved to us only as being in opposition to the Stoics. Arcesilaus asserted as against the Stoics, that everything is incomprehensible (ἀκατάληπτα). He thus combated the conception of thought (καταληπτικὴν φαντασίαν),[316] which to the Stoics is the point of most importance and the concrete truth. Arcesilaus further attacked the Stoics thus: “They themselves say that the conception of thought is the mean between scientific knowledge and opinion, the one of which pertains alone to fools and the other alone to wise men; the conception of thought is common to both, and the criterion of the truth. Arcesilaus here argued in such a way as to show that between scientific knowledge and opinion the conception of thought is no criterion, for it is either in the wise man or the fool, and in the former it is knowledge, and in the latter, opinion. If it is nothing excepting these, there remains to it nothing but an empty name.” For knowledge must be a developed consciousness derived from reasons, but these reasons, as conceptions of thought, Arcesilaus states to be just such thoughts as those of the fool. They are thus, no doubt, the concrete directing power which constitutes the principal content of our consciousness; but it is not proved that they are the truth. Thus this mean, as judging between reason and opinion, pertains equally to the wise man and the fool, and may be error or truth equally; and thus the wise man and the fool have the same criterion, and yet they must, in relation to the truth, be distinguished from one another.

Arcesilaus further gives effect to the distinctions which are more particularly brought up in modern times, and relied upon. “If comprehension is the assent given to a conception of thought, it does not exist. For, in the first place, the assent is not on account of a conception, but of a reason; that is to say, it is only as regards axioms that this assent holds good.”[171] That is good; more fully the purport would be something like this: Thought, as subjective, is made to assent to an existence which is a determinate content of the conception. A sensuous image such as this, however, is foreign to thought, and with it thought[317] cannot accord, because it is something different from it, something from which thought, on the contrary, holds itself aloof. It is, in general, only to a thought that thought finds itself conformable, and only in a thought that it finds itself; thus only a universal axiom is capable of such accord, for only such abstract principles are immediately pure thoughts. Arcesilaus thus holds it up against the Stoics that their principle contains a contradiction within itself, because the conception of thought is made to be the thought of another, but thought can only think itself. This is a thought which concerns the inmost essence of the thing. Arcesilaus thus here makes the same celebrated distinction as in recent times has again been brought forward with so much force as the opposition between thought and Being, ideality and reality, subjective and objective. Things are something different from me. How can I attain to things? Thought is the independent determination of a content as universal; but a given content is individual and hence we cannot assent to such. The one is here, the other there; subjective and objective cannot pass to one another—this is a form of thought upon which for long the whole culture of modern philosophy has turned, and which we still find to-day. It is important to have a consciousness of this difference, and to assert this consciousness against the principle of the Stoics. It was of this unity of thought and reality that the Stoics ought to have given an account; and this they did not do, and indeed it was never done in ancient times. For the ancients did not prove that the subjective element of thought and this objective content are really in their diversity the passing into one another, and that this identity is their truth; this was only found in Plato in an abstract form and as a first commencement. The unity of thought and conception is the difficult matter; thus if thought, as such, is the principle, it is abstract. The logic of the Stoics hence remained formal merely, and the attainment of a content[318] could not be demonstrated. Thought and Being are themselves such abstractions, and we may move to and fro between them for long without arriving at any determination. Thus this unity of universal and particular cannot be the criterion. With the Stoics the conception as comprehended appears to be immediately asserted; it is a concrete, but it is not shown that this is the truth of these distinct elements. Against this immediately accepted concrete, the assertion of the difference of the two is thus quite consistent.

“In the second place,” says Arcesilaus, “there is no apprehended conception that is not also false, as has been confirmed many times and oft,” just as the Stoics themselves say that the apprehended conception could be both true and false. Determinate content has its opposite in a determinate which must likewise as an object of thought be true; and this destroys itself. In this consists the blind wandering about in thoughts and reasons such as these, which are not grasped as Idea, as the unity of opposites, but in one of the opposites asserts one thing, and then, with as good reason, the opposite. The truth of the world is, on the contrary, quite different, the universal law of reason which is as such for thought. Reasons are relatively ultimate for a content, but not absolutely ultimate; they can only be regarded as good reasons, as probability, as the Academics express it. This is a great truth which Arcesilaus had attained. But because no unity can thus come forth, he then draws the conclusion that the wise man must withhold his assent, that is, not that he should not think, but that he must not merely for that reason regard as true that which is thought. “For since nothing is comprehensible, he will, if he assents, assent to an incomprehensible; now because such an assent is opinion, the wise man will only be wise in opinion.”[172] We still likewise hear this said: Man thinks, but does not thereby arrive at the[319] truth; it remains beyond. Cicero (Acad. Quæst. IV. 24) thus expresses this: “Neither the false nor the true can be known, if the true were simply to be such as is the false.”

b. In relation to what is practical, Arcesilaus says: “But since the conduct of life without a criterion of the true or the false is impossible, and the end of life, or happiness, can only be determined through such grounds, the wise man, not withholding his approbation regarding everything, will, as regards what has to be done and left undone, direct his actions in accordance with the probable (εὔλογον),” as the subjectively convincing conception. What is right in this is that the good ground does not extend as far as truth. “Happiness is brought about by discretion (φρόνησις), and rational conduct operates in fitting and right action (κατορθώμασι); that is rightly done which is permitted by a well-grounded justification,” so that it appears to be true. “Thus, he who regards what is well-founded will do rightly and be happy,” but for this culture and intelligent thought are requisite. Arcesilaus thus remains at the indeterminate, at subjectivity of conviction, and a probability justified by good grounds. Thus we see that in regard to what is positive, Arcesilaus does not really get any further than the Stoics, nor say anything different from what they do; only the form is different, because, what the Stoics call true, Arcesilaus calls well-founded or probable. But, on the whole, he possessed a higher kind of knowledge than the Stoics, because what is thus founded cannot be held to have the significance of an implicit existence, but only a relative truth in consciousness.

2. Carneades.

Carneades was equally famous; he was one of the followers of Arcesilaus in the Academy, and he also lived in Athens, though considerably later. He was born in Cyrene in Ol. 141, 3 (217 B.C.), and died in Ol. 162, 4 (132 B.C.),[320] thus being eighty-five years old; though, according to others he was as much as ninety.[173] During the already mentioned (pp. 241, 242) embassy of the three philosophers to Rome, it was chiefly Carneades’ quickness, eloquence, and power of conviction, as also his great fame, which aroused remark, attracted men together, and gained great approbation in Rome. For he here held, after the manner of the Academics, two discourses on justice; the one for and the other against justice. That on which both generally speaking rested, can easily be discovered. In the justification of justice he took the universal as principle; but in showing its nullity, he laid weight on the principle of individuality, of self-interest. To the young Romans who knew little of the opposition in the Notion, this was something new; they had no idea of such methods of applying thought, were much attracted by them, and were soon won over to them. But the older Romans, and particularly the elder Cato, the Censor, who was then still living, saw this very unwillingly, and declaimed much against it, because the youths were thereby turned away from the strictness of ideas and virtues which prevailed in Rome. As the evil gained ground, Caius Acilius made a proposition in the Senate to banish all philosophers from the city, amongst whom, naturally, without their names being mentioned, those three ambassadors were included. The elder Cato, however, moved the Senate to conclude the business with the ambassadors as quickly as possible, so that they might again set forth, and return to their schools, and might henceforth instruct only the sons of the Greeks. The Roman youths might then as formerly give ear to their laws and magistrates, and learn wisdom from intercourse with the senators.[174] But this taint can no more be avoided than [321]could in Paradise the desire for knowledge. The knowledge which is a necessary moment in the culture of a people, thus makes its appearance as the Fall from innocence, and as corruption. An epoch such as this, in which thought appears to veer about, is then regarded as an evil as far as the security of the ancient constitution is concerned. But this evil of thought cannot be prevented by laws, &c.; it can and must be the healer of itself through itself alone, if thought through thought itself is truly brought to pass.

a. The philosophy of Carneades has been given to us in most detail by Sextus Empiricus; and all else of Carneades that we possess is likewise directed against the dogmatism of the Stoic and Epicurean philosophy. The fact that the nature of consciousness is what is most particularly considered makes his propositions interesting. While in Arcesilaus we still found a good reason or argument maintained, the principle which Carneades supported is expressed as that “in the first place there is absolutely no criterion of the truth, neither feeling, conception, nor thought, nor any other such thing; for all this put together deceives us.” This general empirical proposition is still in vogue. In developing the matter further, Carneades proves what he says from reasons, and we have the nature of consciousness more definitely expressed in the following: “In the second place he shows that even if such a criterion existed, it could not be without an affection (πάθος) of consciousness, which proceeds from perception.”[175] For this, speaking generally, is his principal reflection, that every criterion must be constituted so that it has two elements, one being the objective, existent, immediately determined, while the other element is an affection, an activity, an attribute of consciousness, and belongs to the sensitive, conceiving or thinking subject—but as such it could not be the criterion. For this activity of consciousness[322] consists in the fact that it changes the objective, and thus does not allow the objective as it is to come to us immediately. Hence the same attitude of separation is pre-supposed as formerly, viz. that the understanding is to be regarded as an ultimate and clearly absolute relationship.

α. As against the Epicureans, Carneades maintains this: “Because the living is distinguished from the dead through the activity of sensation, by this means it will comprehend itself and what is external. But this sensation which,” as Epicurus puts it (supra, p. 281), “remains unmoved and is impassive and unchangeable, is neither sensation nor does it comprehend anything. For not until they have been changed and determined by the invasion of the actual does sensation show forth things.”[176] The sensation of Epicurus is an existent, but there is in it no principle of judgment, because each sensation is independent. But sensation must be analyzed in accordance with the two points of view there present, for as the soul is therein, determined, so likewise is that which determines determined by the energy of the conscious subject. Because I, as a living being, have sensation, a change in my consciousness takes place, which means that I am determined from without and from within. Consequently the criterion cannot be a simple determinateness, for it is really an implicit relationship in which two moments, sensation and thought, must be distinguished.

β. Since to Carneades sensation is merely what comes first, he then says: “The criterion is thus to be sought for in the affection of the soul by actuality.” For it is only in the mean between the energy of the soul and that of outward things that the criterion can fall. A determinate content of sensation such as this, which is at the same time again determined through consciousness, this passivity and activity of consciousness, this third something, Carneades called the conception which constituted to the Stoics the[323] content of thought. Respecting this criterion, he says: “This being determined must, however, be an indication both of itself and of the apparent, or of the thing through which it is affected; this affection is none other than the conception. Hence in life the conception is something which presents both itself and the other. If we see something, the sight has an affection, and it no longer is just as it was before seeing. Through an alteration such as this there arise in us two things: first change itself, i.e. the ordinary conception” (the subjective side) “and then that which change produced, what is seen” (the objective). “Now just as the light shows itself and everything in it, the conception reigns over knowledge in the animal, and it must, like the light, make itself evident, and reveal the actual through which consciousness is affected.” This is quite the correct standpoint for consciousness, and it is in itself comprehensible, but it is only for the phenomenal mind that the other in the determinateness of consciousness is present. We now expect a development of this opposition; but Carneades passes into the region of empiricism without giving this further development. “Since the conception,” he continues, “does not always point to the truth, but often lies, and resembles bad messengers in that it misrepresents what it proceeds from, it follows that not every conception can give a criterion of the truth, but only that which is true, if any are so. But because none is so constituted that it might not also be false, conceptions are likewise a common criterion of the true as of the false, or they form no criterion.” Carneades also appealed to the fact of a conception proceeding even from something not existing, or—if the Stoics asserted that what in the objective is thinkingly apprehended is an existent—to the fact that the false may also be apprehended.[177] In a popular way that is stated thus: There are also conceptions of untruth. Although I am convinced, it is still my conception[324] merely, even if men think they have said something by saying that they have this conviction. They likewise say that insight or objective knowledge is still only the conviction of difference, but really the content is in its nature universal.

γ. Finally, “because no conception is a criterion, neither can thought be taken as such, for this depends on conception”—and must hence be just as uncertain as it is. “For to thought, that respecting which it judges must be conception; but conception cannot exist without unthinking sensation”—this may, however, be either true or false, “so that there is no criterion.”[178] This constitutes the principle in the Academic philosophy—that on the one hand the conception is in itself this distinction of thought and existence, and that there is likewise a unity of both, which, however, is no absolutely existing unity. Philosophic culture of those times remained at this standpoint, and in modern times Reinhold also arrived at the same result.

b. Now what Carneades gave expression to of an affirmative nature respecting the criterion, is found in the statement that undoubtedly criteria are to be maintained for the conduct of life and for the acquisition of happiness, but not for the speculative consideration of what is in and for itself. Thus Carneades passes more into what is psychological, and into finite forms of the understanding consciousness; this is consequently no criterion respecting truth, but respecting the subjective habits and customs of the individual, and hence it also is of subjective truth alone, although it still remains a concrete end. “The conception is a conception of something; of that from which it comes as of the externally perceived object, and of the subject in which it is, e.g. of man. In this way it has two relationships—on the one hand to the object, and, on the other, to that which forms the conception. According to the former relationship it is either true or false; true if it harmonizes[325] with what is conceived of, false if this is not so.” But this point of view cannot here in any way come under consideration, for the judgment respecting this harmony is most certainly not in a position to separate the matter itself from the matter as conceived. “According to the relationship to that which conceives, the one is conceived (φαινομένε) to be true, but the other is not conceived to be true.” Merely this relationship to the conceiver, however, comes under the consideration of the Academicians. “That conceived of as true is called by the Academician appearance (ἔμφασις) and conviction, and convincing conception; but what is not conceived as true is called incongruity (ἀπέμφασις) and non-conviction and non-convincing conception. For neither that which is presented to us through itself as untrue, nor what is true but is not presented to us, convinces us.”[179]

Carneades thus determines the leading principle very much as does Arcesilaus, for he recognizes it merely in the form of a “convincing conception;” but as convincing it is “likewise a firm and a developed conception,” if it is to be a criterion of life. These distinctions, on the whole, pertain to a correct analysis, and likewise approximately appear in formal logic; they are very much the same stages as are found, according to Wolff, in the clear, distinct, and adequate conception. “We have now shortly to show what is the distinction between these three steps.”[180]

α. “A convincing conception (πιθανή) is that which appears to be true and which is sufficiently obvious; it has a certain breadth as well, and may be applied in many ways and in a great variety of cases; ever verifying itself more through repetitions,” as in the case of Epicurus, “it makes itself ever more convincing and trustworthy.” No further account of its content is given, but what is so frequently[326] produced is, as empirical universality, made the first criterion.[181] But this is only an individual and, speaking generally, an immediate and quite simple conception.

β. “Because, however, a conception is never for itself alone, but one depends on another as in a chain, the second criterion is added, viz. that it should be both convincing and secure (ἀπερίσπαστος),” i.e. connected and determined on all sides, so that it cannot be changed, nor drawn this way and that and made variable by circumstances; and other conceptions do not contradict it, because it is known in this connection with others. This is quite a correct determination, which everywhere appears in the universal. Nothing is seen or said alone, for a number of circumstances stand in connection with it. “For example, in the conception of a man much is contained, both as to what concerns himself and what surrounds him: as to the former, there is colour, size, form, movement, dress, &c.; and in reference to the latter, air, light, friends, and the like. If none of such circumstances make us uncertain or cause us to think the others false, but when all uniformly agree, the conception is the more convincing.”[182] Thus when a conception is in harmony with the manifold circumstances in which it stands, it is secure. A cord may be thought to be a snake, but all the circumstances of the same have not been considered. “Thus, as in judging of an illness all the symptoms must be brought under our consideration, so the fixed conception has conviction because all circumstances agree.”[183]

γ. “Even more trustworthy than the fixed conception is the conception as developed (διεξωδευμένη), which brings about perfect conviction,” the third moment. “While in the case of the fixed conception we only investigate whether the circumstances agree with one another, in the developed conception each one of the circumstances existing in harmony[327] is strictly inquired into on its own account. Thus he who judges as well as what is judged and that according to which judgment is given, are subject to investigations. Just as in common life in some unimportant matter one witness satisfies us, in one more important several are required, and in a case which is more material still the individual witnesses are themselves examined through a comparison of their testimonies, so in less important matters a general convincing conception satisfies us, in things of a certain importance one which is established, but in those which pertain to a good and happy life one which is investigated in its parts is required.”[184] We thus see—in contradistinction to those who place truth in what is immediate, and, especially in recent times, in sensuous perception, in an immediate knowledge, whether as inward revelation or outward perception—that this kind of certainty with Carneades rightly takes the lowest place; the conception worked out and developed really is to him the essential one, and yet it appears in a formal manner only. In fact, the truth is only in thinking knowledge, and if Carneades does not exhaust all that can be said of the nature of this knowledge, he still has rightly emphasized an essential moment in it, the opening out and the judging movements of the moments.

In the New Academy we see the subjective side of conviction expressed, or the belief that not the truth as truth, but its manifestation, or really what it is to the conception, is present in consciousness. Thus only subjective certainty is demanded; of the truth nothing more is said, for only what is relative in respect of consciousness is considered. Just as the Academic principle limited itself to the subjective act of the convincing conception, so likewise did the Stoics really place implicit existence in thought, and Epicurus in perception; but they called this the truth. The Academicians, on the contrary, set it up against the truth,[328] and asserted that it is not the existent as such. They had thus a consciousness that the implicit really has the moment of consciousness in it, and that without this it cannot exist; this was also a fundamental principle to the former, but they were not conscious of it. Though, according to this, the implicit has now an essential relation to consciousness, this last is still in contrast with the truth; to conscious knowledge, as to the moment of explicitude, the implicit thus still stands in the background, it still confronts it, but at the same time it includes the explicit as an essential moment, even in antagonism to itself; in other words, consciousness is not yet set forth in and for itself. Now, if this Academic standpoint is driven to its ultimate limit, it amounts to this, that everything is clearly for consciousness alone, and that the form of an existent, and of the knowledge of existence, also quite disappears as form; this, however, is Scepticism. Thus if the Academicians still preferred one conviction, one estimate of truth to another, as that in which the aim of a self-existent truth might be said to dwell, or float before their eyes, there still remains this simple belief in the validity of opinion without distinction, or the fact that everything is in like manner only related to consciousness, and is, in fact, phenomenal alone. Thus the Academy had no longer any fixed subsistence, but hereby really passed into Scepticism, which merely asserted a subjective belief in truth, so that all objective truth has really been denied.

D. Scepticism.

Scepticism completed the theory of the subjectivity of all knowledge by the fact that in knowledge it universally substituted for Being the expression appearance. Now this Scepticism undoubtedly appears to be something most impressive, to which great respect is due from man. In all times as now, it has been held to be the most formidable,[329] and, indeed, the invincible opponent of Philosophy, because it signifies the art of dissolving all that is determinate, and showing it in its nullity. Thus it might almost appear as though it were held to be in itself invincible, and as though the only difference in convictions were whether the individual decided for it or for a positive, dogmatic philosophy. Its result undoubtedly is the disintegration of the truth, and, consequently, of all content, and thus perfect negation. The invincibility of Scepticism must undoubtedly be granted, only, however, in a subjective sense as regards the individual, who may keep to the point of view of taking no notice of Philosophy, and only asserting the negative. Scepticism in this way seems to be something to which men give themselves over, and we have the impression that we are not able to get within reach of anyone who thus throws himself entirely into Scepticism; another man, however, simply rests content with his philosophy, because he takes no notice of Scepticism, and this is really what he ought to do, for, properly speaking, it cannot be refuted. Certainly if we were merely to escape from it, it would not in reality have been defeated, for on its side it would remain where it was, and in possession of the field. For positive philosophy allows Scepticism to exist beside it; Scepticism, on the other hand, encroaches upon the domain of positive philosophy, for Scepticism has power to overcome the other, while positive philosophy cannot do the same to it. If anyone actually desires to be a Sceptic, he cannot be convinced, or be brought to a positive philosophy,[185] any more than he who is paralyzed in all his limbs can be made to stand. Scepticism is, in fact, such paralysis—an incapacity for truth which can only reach certainty of self, and not of the universal, remaining [330]merely in the negative, and in individual self-consciousness. To keep oneself in individuality depends on the will of the individual; no one can prevent a man from doing this, because no one can possibly drive another out of nothing. But thinking Scepticism is quite different; it is the demonstration that all that is determinate and finite is unstable. As to this, positive philosophy may have the consciousness that it has the negation to Scepticism in itself; thus it does not oppose it, nor is it outside of it, for Scepticism is a moment in it. But this is true in such a way that this philosophy comprehends in itself the negative in its truth, as it is not present in Scepticism.

The relation of Scepticism to Philosophy is further this, that the former is the dialectic of all that is determinate. The finitude of all conceptions of truth can be shown, for they contain in themselves a negation, and consequently a contradiction. The ordinary universal and infinite is not exalted over this, for the universal which confronts the particular, the indeterminate which opposes the determinate, the infinite which confronts the finite, each form only the one side, and, as such, are only a determinate. Scepticism is similarly directed against the thought of the ordinary understanding which makes determinate differences appear to be ultimate and existent. But the logical Notion is itself this dialectic of Scepticism, for this negativity which is characteristic of Scepticism likewise belongs to the true knowledge of the Idea. The only difference is that the sceptics remain at the result as negative, saying, “This and this has an internal contradiction, it thus disintegrates itself, and consequently does not exist.” But this result as merely negative is itself again a one-sided determinateness [331]opposed to the positive; i.e. Scepticism only holds its place as abstract understanding. It makes the mistake of thinking that this negation is likewise a determinate affirmative content in itself; for it is, as the negation of negation, the self-relating negativity or infinite affirmation. This, put quite abstractly, is the relation of Philosophy to Scepticism. The Idea, as abstract Idea, is the quiescent and inert; it only is in truth in as far as it grasps itself as living. This occurs because it is implicitly dialectic, in order to abrogate that inert quiescence, and to change itself. But if the philosophic Idea is thus implicitly dialectic, it is not so in a contingent manner. Scepticism, on the contrary, exercises its dialectic contingently, for just as the material comes up before it, it shows in the same that implicitly it is negative.

The older Scepticism must further be distinguished from the modern, and it is only with the former that we have to do, for it alone is of a true, profound nature; the modern more resembles Epicureanism. Thus Schulze of Göttingen has in recent times boasted of his Scepticism; he wrote an “Ænesidemus” in order thus to compare himself with that sceptic; and in other works, too, he put forward Scepticism in opposition to Leibnitz and to Kant. Nevertheless, he ignores entirely the true position of Scepticism as it has just been described, and instead of representing the true distinction which exists between his Scepticism and the ancient, Schulze recognizes nothing but Dogmatism and Scepticism, and not the third philosophy at all. Schulze and others make it fundamental that we must consider sensuous Being, what is given to us by sensuous consciousness, to be true; all else must be doubted. What we think is ultimate, the facts of consciousness. The older sceptics, indeed, allowed that men must direct their actions in accordance with this last, but to assert it to be the truth did not occur to them. Modern Scepticism is only directed against thought, against the Notion and the Idea, and thus[332] against what is in a higher sense philosophic; it consequently leaves the reality of things quite unquestioned, and merely asserts that from it nothing can be argued as regards thought. But that is not even a peasants’ philosophy, for they know that all earthly things are transient, and that thus their Being is as good as their non-being. Modern Scepticism is the subjectivity and vanity of consciousness, which is undoubtedly invincible, not, however, to science and truth, but merely to itself, this subjectivity. For it goes no further than saying, “This is held by me to be true, my feeling, my heart is ultimate to me.” But here certainty is alone in question, and not truth; and, indeed, this nowadays is no longer called Scepticism. But the conviction of this individual subject expresses nothing at all, however high the matter which we talk of is supposed to be. Thus because on the one hand it is said that the truth is merely the conviction of another, and on the other hand personal conviction, which is also a ‘merely,’ is set on high, we must leave this subject alone, first on account of its high pretensions, and then on account of its lowliness. The result of the older Scepticism is indeed the subjectivity of knowledge only, but this is founded on an elaborately thought out annihilation of everything which is held to be true and existent, so that everything is made transient.

According to this, the function of Scepticism is wrongly termed the inculcation of proneness to doubt; nor can we translate σκέψις by Doubt, if Scepticism was also called by Sextus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. 3, § 7) ephectic (ἐφεκτική) because one of its chief points was that judgment must be suspended. Doubt, however, is only uncertainty, irresolution, indecision, the thought which is opposed to something held to be valid. Doubt proceeds from the fact of there being two; it is a passing to and fro between two or more points of view, so that we neither rest at the one nor the other—and yet we ought to remain at one point or another. Thus doubt in man is quite likely to involve a rending asunder of[333] mind and spirit; it gives unrest and brings unhappiness with it; doubts, for instance, arise respecting the immortality of the soul and the existence of God. Forty years ago,[186] much was written about this; in poetry, too, we found the situation of the doubter was a subject of the greatest interest, the unhappiness of doubt being depicted to us as in the “Messias.” This supposes a deep interest in a content, and the desire of the mind that this content should either be established in it or not, because it desires to find its rest either in the one or the other. Such doubt is said to betoken a keen and sharp-witted thinker, but it is only vanity and simple verbiage, or a feebleness that can never arrive at anything. This Scepticism has nowadays entered into our life, and it thus makes itself of account as this universal negativity. But the older Scepticism does not doubt, being certain of untruth, and indifferent to the one as to the other; it does not only flit to and fro with thoughts that leave the possibility that something may still be true, but it proves with certainty the untruth of all. Or its doubt to it is certainty which has not the intention of attaining to truth, nor does it leave this matter undecided, for it is completely at a point, and perfectly decided, although this decision is not truth to it. This certainty of itself thus has as result the rest and security of the mind in itself, which is not touched with any grief, and of which doubt is the direct opposite. This is the standpoint of the imperturbability of Scepticism.

Now what has to be considered even before treating of Scepticism itself, is its external history. As regards the origin of Scepticism the Sceptics say that it is very old, that is, if we take it in the quite indeterminate and universal sense, in so far as to say “Things are, but their Being is not true, for it likewise involves their non-being; or they are changeable. For example, this day is to-day, but to-morrow is also to-day, &c.; it is day now but night[334] is also now, &c.” Thus of what in this way is allowed to be a determinate, the opposite is also expressed. Now if it be said that all things are transient, things may in the first place be changed; however this is not only possible, but the fact that all things are transient really means when taken in its universality:—“Nothing exists in itself, for its reality is the abrogation of self, because things in themselves, in accordance with their necessity, are transient. Only now are they thus; at another time they are different, and this time, the now, is itself no more while I am speaking of it; for time is not itself fixed, and it makes nothing fixed.” This uncertainty in what is sensuous represents a long-standing belief amongst the unphilosophic public as well as amongst philosophers up to this time; and this negativity in all determinations likewise constitutes the characteristic feature of Scepticism. The Sceptics have also presented this position in an historic way, and they show that even Homer was a sceptic, because he speaks of the same things in opposite ways. They also count in this category Bias, with his maxim “Pledge thyself never.” For this has the general sense “Do not consider anything to be anything, do not attach yourself to any object to which you devote yourself, do not believe in the security of any relationship, &c.” Likewise the negative aspect of the philosophy of Zeno and Xenophanes is said to be sceptical, and further, Heraclitus, too, with his principle that everything flows, that everything is consequently contradictory and transient; finally Plato and the Academy are sceptical, only here Scepticism is not yet quite clearly expressed.[187] All this may be taken as being in part the sceptical uncertainty of everything; but that is not its real meaning. It is not this conscious and universal negativity; as conscious, it must prove, as universal, it must extend the untruth of the objective to everything; thus it is not a negativity which says definitely that everything is not[335] implicit but is only for self-consciousness, and everything merely goes back into the certainty of itself. As philosophic consciousness Scepticism is consequently of later date. By Scepticism we must understand a specially constituted consciousness for which in some measure not only sensuous Being, but also Being for thought does not hold true, and which can then with consciousness account for the nullity of that which is asserted to be reality; and finally, in a general way, it not only annuls this and that sensuous fact or thought, but is adapted for the recognition in everything of its untruth.

The history of Scepticism, properly so called, is usually commenced with Pyrrho as being its founder; and from him the names Pyrrhonism and Pyrrhonic are derived. Sextus Empiricus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 3, § 7) says of him “that he went into Scepticism more fully (σωματικώτερον) and clearly than did his predecessors.” He is earlier than some of the philosophers already considered; but because Scepticism is to be taken as a whole, Pyrrho’s Scepticism, even if it is merely aimed against the immediate truth both of the senses and of morality, must be taken along with the later Scepticism, which directs its attention rather against the truth as thought, as will be farther shown on a closer consideration; for this last was the first, properly speaking, to make a sensation. As to the events of Pyrrho’s life, they appear to be as much a matter of doubt as his doctrine; for they are without any connection, and little is known for certain concerning them. Pyrrho lived in the time of Aristotle and was born at Elis. I shall not give the names of his instructors; Anaxarchus, a disciple of Democritus, is specially mentioned amongst them. We cannot discover where he really lived, for the most part at least. As a proof of how very much he was esteemed during his life, it is said that his native town chose him as head priest, and the town of Athens gave him the right of citizenship. It is finally stated that he accompanied Alexander[336] the Great in his journey to Asia; and that there he had considerable dealings with magicians and Brahmins. We are told that Alexander had him put to death because he desired the death of a Persian satrap; and this fate befel him in his ninetieth year. If all this is to be accepted, since Alexander spent between twelve and fourteen years in Asia, Pyrrho must at the earliest have set out on his travels in his seventy-eighth year. Pyrrho does not appear to have come forward as a public teacher, but merely to have left behind him individual friends who had been educated by him. Anecdotes are told, not so much about the circumstances of his life as about the sceptical manner in which he conducted himself, and in them his behaviour is made to look ridiculous; in this the universal of Scepticism is set against a particular case, so that what is absurd shoots up as of itself into relationships which appear to be consistent. For because he asserted that the reality of sensuous things has no truth, it is, for instance, said that were he walking he would go out of the way of no object, no waggon or horse that came towards him; or he would go straight up against a wall, completely disbelieving in the reality of sensuous sensations and such like. They also said that it was only the friends surrounding him who drew him away from such dangers and saved him.[188] But such anecdotes are evidently extravagant, because, for one thing, it is not conceivable that he could have followed Alexander to Asia at ninety years of age. It is also very clear that such stories are simply invented with the object of ridiculing the sceptical philosophy, by following out its principle to such extreme consequences. To the Sceptics sensuous existence undoubtedly holds good as phenomenal in so far as the regulation of ordinary conduct is concerned (infra, p. 343), but not in as far as it is held to be the truth; for even the followers of the New Academy said that men must [337]not only direct their lives in accordance with rules of prudence, but also in accordance with the laws of sensuous manifestation (supra, pp. 319, 324).

After Pyrrho, Timon of Phliasis, the sillographist, became specially famous.[189] Of his Silli, i.e. biting remarks respecting all philosophies, many are quoted by the ancients; they are certainly bitter and disdainful enough, but many of them are not very witty or worthy of being preserved. Dr. Paul collected them in an essay, but in it much is given that is meaningless. Goethe and Schiller certainly show more capacity in works of a similar nature. The Pyrrhonians hereupon disappear,—they seem in general only to have shown themselves in a more or less isolated way; for a long time after this we read in history of the Peripatetics, Stoics and Epicureans being confronted only by the Academicians and perhaps some of the older Sceptics who are mentioned likewise.

Ænesidemus was the first to reawaken Scepticism; he was of Cnossus in Crete, and lived in Cicero’s time in Alexandria,[190] which soon began to compete with Athens for the honour of being the seat of Philosophy and the sciences. Subsequently, when the Academy lost itself in Scepticism, we see the latter, from which the former is all the same only separated by a thin partition, taking up a position of predominance as representing the purely negative point of view. But a scepticism such as that of Pyrrho, which does not as yet show much culture or tendency towards thought, but which is directed only against what is sensuous, could have no interest in the culture of Philosophy as it is found in Stoicism, Epicureanism, Platonism, &c. Thus it is requisite, in order that Scepticism should appear with the dignity pertaining to Philosophy, that it should itself be developed on its philosophic side; and this was first done by Ænesidemus.


However, one of the most celebrated of the Sceptics, whose works we still in great measure possess, and who for us is by far the most important writer upon Scepticism, because he gives us detailed accounts of this philosophy, is Sextus Empiricus, of whose life unfortunately as good as nothing is known. He was a physician, and that he was an empirical physician, who did not act according to theory but in accordance with what appears, his name tells us. He lived and taught about the middle of the second century after Christ.[191] His works are divided into two parts: first, his Pyrrhoniæ Hypotyposes, in three books, which give us somewhat of a general presentation of Scepticism, and secondly his books adversus Mathematicos, i.e. against scientific knowledge generally, and more especially against the geometricians, arithmeticians, grammarians, musicians, logicians, physicists, and moral philosophers. There were in all eleven books, six of which are actually directed against mathematicians, but the other five against the philosophers.

The distinction between the Academy and Scepticism was a matter as to which the Sceptics exercised themselves much. The New Academy really bordered so closely upon Scepticism, that the Sceptics had enough to do to dissociate themselves from it, and in the Sceptic school a long and important battle raged as to whether Plato, and subsequently the New Academy, belonged to Scepticism or not;[192] in the course of this we also see that Sextus did not really know what to make of Plato. The Sceptics are, on the whole, very careful to distinguish their own from other systems. Sextus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 1, §§ 1-4) distinguishes three philosophies: “He who seeks an object must either find it or deny that it can be found, or persevere in the search. Now the same holds good with philosophic investigations; some assert that[339] they have found the truth; others deny that it can be grasped; a third set are still engaged in search. The first, like Aristotle, Epicurus, the Stoics, and others, are the so-called Dogmatists; those who assert incomprehensibility are the Academicians; the Sceptics still continue to seek. Hence there are three philosophies: the Dogmatic, the Academic and the Sceptical.” For this reason, the Sceptics called themselves the seekers (ζητητικοί), and their philosophy the seeking (ζητητική).[193] However, the distinction between Scepticism and the New Academy rests in the form of expression only, and is thus not a great one: indeed it is founded only on the mania of the Sceptics to cut off and to shun any sort of assertive statement. Sextus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 7, § 13; c 10, §§ 19-20) says: “The Sceptic does not dogmatize, but only assents to the affections into which he is impelled, not of his own will, by the conceptions; thus, if for example, he is warm or cold, he will certainly not say, I seem not to be cold or warm. But if it be asked if the subject is as it appears, we allow appearance (φαίνεσθαι); yet we do not investigate the thing that appears, but only the predicate predicate (ὃ λέγεται)[194] expressing its appearance. Thus, whether anything is sweet or not, we consider only as regards the Notion Notion (ὄσον ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ); but that is not what appears, but what is said of what appears. But if we institute direct investigations respecting what appears, we do so not in order to destroy what appears, but in order to condemn the rashness (προπέτειαν) of the dogmatists.” Thus the Sceptics endeavour to bring about the result that in what they say no expression of a Being can be demonstrated, so that, for example, in a proposition, they always set appearance in the place of existence. According to Sextus they say (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 7, § 14; c. 28, § 206): “The Sceptic makes use of his propositions—for example, determine nothing (οὐδὲν[340] ὁρίζειν), not the more (οὐδὲν μᾶλλον), nothing is true, &c.—not as if they really did exist. For he believes, for instance, that the proposition, everything is false, asserts that itself as well as the others is false, and consequently limits it (συμπεριγράφει). Thus we must similarly in all sceptical propositions recollect that we do not at all assert their truth; for we say that they may destroy themselves, since that limits them of which they are predicated.” Now, the New Academy of Carneades does not express anything as being the true and existent, or as anything to which thought could agree; the Sceptics thus come very near to the Academy. Pure Scepticism merely makes this objection to the Academy, that it is still impure. Sextus says (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 33, §§ 226-233): “But clearly they differ from us in the judgment of good and evil. For they assert that something is good or evil,” that is to say, the former is the withholding of assent, and the latter the granting of it (supra, p. 315), “whereby they are convinced of its being probable that what of good is attributed to the predicate, is more likely to be good than the opposite.” Thus they have not elevated themselves to the purity of Scepticism, because they speak of existence, and not of appearance. But this is nothing more than a mere form, for the content immediately destroys that which in form appears to be an assertion. If we say: “Something is a good, thought assents to it,” and then ask, “But what is the good to which thought assents?” the content here is that it should not assent. Hence the form is, “It is a good,” but the content is that nothing should be held to be good or true. Thus the Sceptics also assert this: To the Sceptics “all conceptions are alike in trustworthiness or untrustworthiness in relation to the ground,” to truth. “But the Academicians say that some are probable, and others improbable, and amongst the probable, some again are to be preferred to the others.” Preference is thus one of the forms which[341] the Sceptics also object to (infra, p. 345); for such expressions strike them as still too positive.

Now, speaking generally, the essential nature of Scepticism consists in its considering that to self-consciousness on its own account, there proceeds from the disappearance of all that is objective, all that is held to be true, existent or universal, all that is definite, all that is affirmative, through the withholding of assent, the immovability and security of mind, this imperturbability in itself. Hence the same result is obtained, that we have already seen in systems of philosophy immediately preceding this. Thus as soon as anything is held to be truth to self-consciousness, we find the result that to self-consciousness this truth is the universal reality, passing beyond itself, and in regard to this, self-consciousness esteems itself as nothing. But this external and determinate truth, as finite, is not implicitly existent, so that its necessity is to vacillate and give way. Then when this security disappears, self-consciousness itself loses its equilibrium, and becomes driven hither and thither in unrest, fear and anguish; for its stability and rest is the permanence of its existence and truth. But sceptical self-consciousness is just this subjective liberation from all the truth of objective Being, and from the placing of its existence in anything of the kind; Scepticism thus makes its end the doing away with the unconscious servitude in which the natural self-consciousness is confined, the returning into its simplicity, and, in so far as thought establishes itself in a content, the curing it of having a content such as this established in thought. “The effective principle of Scepticism,” Sextus hence tells us (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 6, § 12, c. 12, §§ 25-30), “is the hope of attaining to security. Men of distinguished excellence, disquieted through the instability of things, and dubious as to which should in preference be given assent to, began the investigation of what is the truth and what false in things, as if they could reach imperturbability[342] through the decision of such matters. But while engaged in this investigation, man attains the knowledge that opposite determinations,” desires, customs, &c., “have equal power,” and thus resolve themselves; “since in this way he cannot decide between them, he really only then attains to imperturbability when he withholds his judgment. For if he holds anything to be good or evil by nature, he never is at rest, whether it be that he does not possess what he holds to be good, or that he thinks himself vexed and assailed by natural evil. But he who is undecided respecting that which is good and beautiful in nature, neither shuns nor seeks anything with zeal; and thus he remains unmoved. What happened to the painter Apelles, befalls the Sceptic. For it is told that when he was painting a horse, and was altogether unsuccessful in rendering the foam, he finally in anger threw the sponge on which he had wiped his brushes, and in which every colour was therefore mixed, against the picture, and thereby formed a true representation of foam.” Thus, the Sceptics find in the mingling of all that exists, and of all thoughts, the simple self-identity of self-consciousness which “follows mind as the shadow does the body,” and is only acquired, and can only be acquired through reason. “Hence we say that the end of the Sceptic is imperturbability in the conceptions and moderation in the affections which he is compelled to have.” This is the indifference which the animals have by nature, and the possession of which through reason distinguishes men from animals. Thus, Pyrrho once showed to his fellow-passengers on board a ship, who were afraid during a storm, a pig, which remained quite indifferent and peacefully ate on, saying to them: in such indifference the wise man must also abide.[195] However the indifference must not be like that of the pig, but must be born of reason. But if to Scepticism existence was only a manifestation or conception, it was yet esteemed by it as[343] that in respect to which the Sceptics directed their conduct, both in what they did, and what they left undone. The above-quoted (p. 336) anecdotes about Pyrrho are thus opposed to what the Sceptics themselves said on the subject: “We undoubtedly direct our conduct in accordance with a reason which, in conformity with sensuous phenomena, teaches us to live conformably to the customs and laws of our country, and in consonance with recognized institutions and personal affections.”[196] But for them this had only the significance of a subjective certainty and conviction, and not the value of an absolute truth.

Thus the universal method of Scepticism was, as Sextus Empiricus puts it (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 4, §§ 8-10; c. 6, § 12): “a power of in some way or other setting what is felt, and what is thought, in opposition, whether it be the sensuous to the sensuous, and what is thought to what is thought, or what is sensuous to what is thought, or what is thought to what is sensuous, i.e. showing that any one of these has as much force and weight as its opposite, and is hence equivalent as far as conviction and non-conviction are concerned. From this the suspension of judgment (ἐποχή) results, in conformity with which we select and posit nothing, and thereby complete freedom from all mental emotion is attained. The principle of Scepticism is thus found in the proposition that each reason is confronted by another, which holds equally good. We do not, however, necessarily accept affirmation and negation as opposite grounds, but merely those that conflict with one another.” That which is felt is really existence for sensuous certainty, which simply accepts it as truth; or it is that which is felt in the Epicurean form, which consciously asserts it to be true. What is thought is in the Stoic form a determinate Notion, a content in a simple form of thought; both these classes, immediate consciousness and thinking consciousness, comprehend[344] everything which is in any way to be set in opposition. In as far as Scepticism limits itself to this, it is a moment in Philosophy itself, which last, having an attitude of negativity in relation to both, only recognizes them as true in their abrogation. But Scepticism thinks that it reaches further; it sets up a pretension of venturing against the speculative Idea and conquering it; Philosophy, however, since Scepticism itself is present in it as a moment, rather overcomes it (supra, p. 330). As far as what is sensuous and what is thought in their separation are concerned, it certainly may conquer, but the Idea is neither the one nor the other, and it does not touch on the rational at all. The perpetual misunderstanding which those who do not know the nature of the Idea are under concerning Scepticism, is that they think that the truth necessarily falls into the one form or the other, and is thus either a determinate Notion or a determinate Being. Against the Notion as Notion, i.e. against the absolute Notion, Scepticism does not in any way proceed; the absolute Notion is rather its weapon of defence, though Scepticism has no consciousness of this. We shall on the one hand see Scepticism use that weapon against the finite, and on the other, how it tries its skill upon the rational.

But though, according to this, Scepticism always expresses itself as if everything were in appearance only, the Sceptics go further than those who support the newer and purely formal idealism. For they deal with content, and demonstrate of all content that it is either experienced by the senses or thought, and consequently that it has something in opposition to it. Thus they show in the same thing the contradiction that exists, so that of everything that is presented the opposite also holds good. This is the objective element in Scepticism in its manifestation, and that through which it is not subjective idealism. Sextus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 13, §§ 32, 33) says: “Thus, for instance, the sensuous is set against the sensuous by our being reminded of the fact[345] that the same tower when looked at near is square and when regarded in the distance looks round;” and hence the one assertion is as good as the other. This, indeed, is a very trivial example, but its interest lies in the thought that is present in it. “Or what is thought is set in opposition to what is thought. As to the fact that there is a providence,” which rewards the good and punishes the evil, “men appeal,” as against those who deny it, “to the system of the heavenly bodies; to this it is objected that the good often fare badly and the evil well, from which we demonstrate that there is no providence.” As to the “opposition of what is thought to the sensuous,” Sextus adduces the conclusion of Anaxagoras, who asserts of the snow, that although it appears to be white, regarded in relation to the reasons given by reflection it is black. For it is frozen water, but water has no colour and hence is black; consequently snow must be the same.

We must now consider further the method in which the Sceptics proceed, and it consists in this, that they have brought the universal principle that each definite assertion has to be set over against its ‘other,’ into certain forms, not propositions. Thus, in view of the nature of Scepticism, we cannot ask for any system of propositions, nor will this philosophy really be a system; just as little did it lie in the spirit of Scepticism to form a school, properly speaking, but only an external connection in the wider sense of the word. Sextus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 8, § 16, c. 3, § 7) hence says that Scepticism is no selection (αἵρεσις) of dogmas, it is not a preference for certain propositions, but only that which leads, or rather which directs us (ἀγωγή) to live rightly and think correctly; thus it is in this way rather a method or manner by which only universal modes of that opposition are shown. Now since what sort of thoughts reveal themselves is a matter of contingency, the manner and mode of grasping them is contingent likewise; for in one the contradiction appears thus and in another otherwise. These[346] determinate modes of opposition, whereby the withholding of assent comes to pass, the Sceptics called tropes (τρόποι), which are turned upon everything that is thought and felt in order to show that this is not what it is implicitly, but only in relation to another—that it thus itself appears in another, and allows this other to appear in it, and consequently that, speaking generally, what is, only seems; and this, indeed, follows directly from the matter in itself, and not from another which is assumed as true. If, for example, men say that empiric science has no truth because truth exists only in reason, this is only assuming the opposite of empiricism; likewise the truth of reason proved in itself is not a refutation of empiric science, for this last stands alongside of the former with equal rights as, and within the same.

Now since the sceptical doctrine consists in the art of demonstrating contradictions through these tropes, we only require to elucidate these modes. The Sceptics themselves, like Sextus, for example (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, 15) distinguish in these forms the earlier and the later: ten of them belong to the elder Sceptics, that is to say to Pyrrho, and five were afterwards added by the later Sceptics, and Diogenes Laertius indeed tells us (IX. 88) that this was first done by Agrippa. From a specification of these it will be shown that the earlier are directed against the ordinary consciousness generally and belong to a thought of little culture, to a consciousness which has sensuous existence immediately before it. For they proceed against what we call common belief in the immediate truth of things, and refute it in a manner which is immediate likewise, not through the Notion but through the existence which is opposed to it. In their enumeration, too, there is this same absence of the Notion. But the five others appear to be better, have more interest, and are manifestly of later origin; they proceed against reflection, i.e. against a consciousness which relates itself to the developed understanding,[347] and thus specially against thought-forms, scientific categories, the thought of the sensuous, and the determination of the same through Notions. Now though the most part of these may appear to us to be quite trivial, we must still be indulgent towards them, for they are historically, and consequently really, directed against the form “it is.” But without doubt it is a very abstract consciousness that makes this abstract form “it is” its object and combats it. However trivial then and commonplace these tropes may always appear to be, even more trivial and commonplace is the reality of the so-called external objects, that is, immediate knowledge, as when, for instance, I say “This is yellow.” Men ought not to talk about philosophy, if in this innocent way they assert the reality of such determinations. But this Scepticism was really far from holding things of immediate certainty to be true; thus it actually stands in contrast to modern Scepticism, in which it is believed that what is in our immediate consciousness, or indeed, all that is sensuous, is a truth (supra, pp. 331, 332). As distinguished from this, the older Scepticism, the modes of which we would now consider further, is directed against the reality of things.

1. The Earlier Tropes.

In the earlier tropes we see the lack of abstraction appearing as the incapacity to grasp their diversitude under more simple general points of view, although they all, in fact, partly under a simple conception and partly in their difference, do in fact converge into some necessary simple determinations. From all alike, in relation to immediate knowledge, is the insecurity demonstrated of that of which we say “it is.” Sextus Empiricus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, § 38) even remarks, that “all the tropes may be summed up in three: the one is the judging subject; the other that respecting which the judgment is made; the third that which contains both sides”—the relation of subject[348] and object. If thought is developed further, it embraces things in these more general determinations.

a. “The first trope is the diversitude in animal organization, according to which different living beings experience different conceptions and sensations respecting the same object. This the Sceptics conclude from the different nature of their origin, because some are brought into being through copulation and others without copulation” (from a generatio æquivoca): “but of the first some are hatched from eggs, and others come immediately living into the world, &c. Thus it is a matter of no doubt that this difference of origin produces opposite constitutions, temperaments, &c. The variety in the parts of the body, and particularly in those which are given to the animal for purposes of distinguishing and feeling, thus produces in them the greatest differences in conceptions. For instance, the jaundiced patient sees as yellow what to others appears white,” and as green, what to the latter seems blue. “Similarly the eyes of animals are differently constructed in different species, and have different colours, being pale, grey or red; consequently what is perceived thereby must be different.”[197]

This difference in the subject undoubtedly establishes a difference in perception, and this last a difference between the conception and the nature of the object of perception. But if we say “That is,” we mean something fixed, maintaining itself under all conditions; whereas in opposition to this the Sceptics show that everything is variable. But if they thereby destroy similarity and identity for the senses, and consequently this universality, another steps in, for universality or existence rests simply in the fact of men knowing that, in the hackneyed example of the jaundiced man, things appear so to him, i.e. the necessary law is known whereby a change of sensation arises for him. But certainly it is implied in this that the[349] first sensuous universality is not true universality, because it is one immediate and unknown; and in it as sensuous existence, its non-universality is rightly demonstrated within itself through another universality. As against the statement “This is blue because I see it as such,” which clearly makes sight the ground of its being asserted to be blue, it is quite fair to point to another who has immediate perception of the object and for whom it is not blue.

b. The second trope, the diversitude of mankind in reference to feelings and conditions, amounts very much to the same thing as in the first case. In respect to difference in constitution of body, the Sceptics discover many idiosyncrasies. As regards the proposition “Shade is cool,” for instance, they say that someone felt cold in the sunlight, but warm in shadow; as against the statement “Hemlock is poisonous,” they instance an old woman in Attica who could swallow a large dose of hemlock without harm—thus the predicate poisonous is not objective, because it suits the one and not the other. Because such great bodily differences are present amongst men, and the body is the image of the soul, men must have a diversity of mind likewise and give the most contradictory judgments, so that no one can know whom to believe. To judge by the greater number would be foolish, for all men cannot be inquired of.[198] This trope again relates to the immediate; if, therefore, what has to be done is merely to believe some statement inasmuch as it is made by others, undoubtedly nothing but contradiction takes place. But a belief like this, that is ready to believe anything, is, as a matter of fact, incapable of understanding what is said; it is an immediate acceptance of an immediate proposition. For it did not demand the reason; but the reason is, in the first place, the mediation and the meaning of the words of the immediate proposition. Diversitude in men is really something which now likewise appears in other forms. It[350] is said that men differ in regard to taste, religion, &c.; that religion must be left for each to decide for himself; that each, from a standpoint of his own, must settle how things are to be regarded as far as religion is concerned. The consequence of this is that in regard to religion there is nothing objective or true, everything ends in subjectivity, and the result is indifference to all truth. For then there is no longer a church; each man has a church and a liturgy of his own, each has his own religion. The Sceptics more particularly—as those who in all times spare themselves the trouble of philosophizing, on some sort of pretext, and who try to justify this evasion—persistently preach the diversity of philosophies; Sextus Empiricus does this very expressly, and it may even be brought forward here, although it will appear more definitely as the first of the later tropes. If the principle of the Stoics, as it is in its immediacy, holds good, the opposite principle, that of the Epicureans, has just as much truth, and holds equally good. In this way, when it is said that some particular philosophy asserts and maintains certain propositions, the greatest diversity is undoubtedly to be found. For here we have the talk which we censured earlier (Vol. I. p. 16): “Since the greatest men of all times have thought so differently and have not been able to come to an agreement, it would be presumptuous on our part to believe we had found what they could not attain to,” and with those who speak thus, the timid shrinking from knowledge makes out the inertness of their reason to be a virtue. Now if the diversity cannot be denied, because it is a fact that the philosophies of Thales, Plato, and Aristotle were different, and that this was not merely apparently the case, but that they contradicted one another, this way of wishing in such statements of them to gain a knowledge of the philosophies, shows a want of understanding as regards Philosophy; for such propositions are not Philosophy, nor do they give expression to it. Philosophy is quite the[351] reverse of this immediacy of a proposition, because in that the very knowledge that is essential is not taken into account; hence such men see everything in a philosophy excepting Philosophy itself, and this is overlooked. However different the philosophic systems may be, they are not as different as white and sweet, green and rough; for they agree in the fact that they are philosophies, and this is what is overlooked. But as regards the difference in philosophies, we must likewise remark upon this immediate validity accorded to them, and upon the form, that the essence of Philosophy is expressed in an immediate manner. As regards this ‘is’ the trope undoubtedly does its work, for all tropes proceed against the ‘is,’ but the truth is all the time not this dry ‘is,’ but genuine process. The relative difference in philosophies is, in their mutual attitude towards one another (see the fifth trope), always to be comprehended as a connection, and therefore not as an ‘is.’

c. The third trope turns on the difference in the constitution of the organs of sense as related to one another; e.g. in a picture something appears raised to the eye but not to the touch, to which it is smooth, &c.[199] This is, properly speaking, a subordinate trope, for in fact a determination such as this coming through some sense, does not constitute the truth of the thing, what it is in itself. The consciousness is required that the unthinking description which ascribes existence to blue, square, &c., one after the other, does not exhaust and express the Being of the thing; they are only predicates which do not express the thing as subject. It is always important to keep in mind that the different senses grasp the same thing in contradictory ways, for by this the nullity of sensuous certainty is revealed.

d. The fourth trope deals with the diversitude of circumstances in the subject, in reference to its condition, the changes taking place in it, which must prevent our making[352] an assertion respecting any particular thing. The same thing manifests itself differently to the same man, according as he, for instance, is at rest or moving, asleep or awake, moved by hatred or love, sober or drunk, young or old, &c. In the diversitude of these circumstances very different judgments are passed regarding one and the same object, hence we must not talk of anything as being more than a manifestation.[200]

e. The fifth trope relates to the different positions, distances and places, for from every different standpoint the object appears to be different. In respect to position, a long passage appears to the man who stands at the one end to taper to a point at the other; but if he goes there he finds it to be of the same breadth at that end as it was at the other. Distance is likewise, properly speaking, a difference in the greatness and smallness of objects. In respect to place, the light in a lantern is quite feeble in the sunshine, and yet in darkness it shines quite brightly. Pigeons’ necks, regarded from different points of view, shimmer quite differently.[201] In regard to motion in particular very different views prevail. The best known example of such is found in the course of the sun round the earth, or the earth round the sun. As the earth is said to go round the sun, even though the opposite appears to be the case, the former assertion is based on reasons. This example does not, however, come in here, but this trope will show that because one sensuous feeling contradicts another, existence is not expressed in it.

f. The sixth trope is taken from intermixture, because nothing comes within the scope of the sense alone and isolated, but only as mingled with something else; this admixture with something else, however, causes change, just as scents are stronger in the sunshine than in cold air, &c. Further, through the subject himself, this admixture[353] comes in; the eyes consist of various tunics and humours, the ear has different passages, &c., consequently they cannot allow sensations—the light or the voice—to come to us in their purity, for the sensuous element comes to us first of all modified by these tunics of the eye and likewise by the passages of the ear.[202] But if we are to express ourselves in this particular manner, the direct opposite might likewise be maintained, that the sensuous element there present is simply purified; the apprehending ear, for example, again purifies the voice that comes in bodily form from a soul.

g. The seventh trope is the cohesion, the size or quantity of things, through which they appear different; for instance, we see how glass is transparent, but loses this transparency when it is pounded, and thus has its cohesion altered. Shavings of goat’s-horn appear to be white, but the whole piece looks black; or Carrara marble ground into powder looks white, though the whole piece is yellow. The same holds good as regards quantity. A moderate portion of wine fortifies and exhilarates, a large quantity of it destroys the body, and the case is similar with drugs.[203] If the quantity is not to be spoken of as the substance, it is still an abstraction that quantity and combination are matters of indifference as regards quality and disintegration; the change of quantity likewise changes the quality.

h. The eighth trope arises from the relativity of things, and is thus the universal trope of relationship. This relativity of everything existent and thought is a more inward, real determinateness, and all the tropes already mentioned really aim at it. “According to this trope,” says Sextus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, §§ 135, 136), “we conclude that since everything is in relation to something, we must withhold our judgment as to what it is on its own account and in its nature. But it must be remarked that we here make use of ‘is’ in the sense of appearance only. Relationship is used in[354] two respects: first in relation to the judging subject,” and this difference we saw in the previous tropes, “and in the second place in relation to the object which is to be judged, like right and left.” Sextus, in the passage above (§§ 137, 140), argues as follows: “As regards what is set forth on its own account and separate from others, is it distinguished from the mere relative or not? If it were not different from it, it would itself be a relative. If it is different, it again is a relative. That is to say, what is different is related to something, for it is set forth in relation to that from which it is distinguished.” Relativity, generally, is present in what is absolutely predicated, for relationship is a relationship in itself and not to another. Relationship contains opposition: what is in relation to another is on the one hand independent on its own account, but on the other, because it is in relationship, it is likewise not independent. For if anything is only in relation to something else, the other likewise belongs to it; it is thus not on its own account. But if its other already belongs to it, its non-being also already belongs to it, and it is a contradictory as soon as it is not without its other. “But because we cannot separate the relative from its other, we likewise do not know what it is on its own account and in its nature, and we must consequently suspend our judgment.”

i. The ninth trope is the more or less frequent occurrence of things, which likewise alters one’s judgment upon the things. What happens seldom is more highly esteemed than what comes to pass frequently; and custom brings about the fact that one judges in this way and the other in that way. Custom is thus made a circumstance which also permits us to say that things appear so and so to us, but not universally and generally that they are so.[204] When men say of any particular things that “this is so,” circumstances may be instanced in which the opposite predicate is applicable to them also. If, for example, we remain at the[355] abstraction of the man, does it really signify whether or not we have a prince?—No. States?—No. A republic?—No, and so on, for they are here and not there.

k. The tenth trope mainly concerns ethics and is related to manners, customs and laws. What is moral and legal is likewise not such; for what is here considered to be right is elsewhere held to be wrong. The attitude of Scepticism in this regard is to show that the opposite of what is maintained as valid law holds equally good. As regards the ordinary understanding respecting the validity of this and that maxim, e.g. that the son has to pay the debts of his father, the ultimate and indeed only ground lies in its being said that this is true in its immediacy, for it holds good as law or custom. As against this the Sceptics likewise prove the opposite, saying for instance, that the son has, indeed, to undertake the debts of the father by the law of Rhodes; but in Rome he does not require to do so, if he has renounced his claim on the paternal goods.[205] As in the existence of what is determined, which is held to be true because it is, the opposite is shown to exist; so in the case of laws, if their ground is that they are in force, their opposite can be demonstrated. The natural man has no consciousness of the presence of opposites; he lives quite unconsciously in his own particular way, in conformity with the morality of his town, without ever having reflected on the fact that he practises this morality. If he then comes into a foreign land, he is much surprised, for through encountering the opposite he for the first time experiences the fact that he has these customs, and he immediately arrives at uncertainty as to whether his point of view or the opposite is wrong. For the opposite of what held good to him holds equally good, and he does not possess any further ground for his practice; so that since the one holds good equally with the other, neither holds good.


We now see in these modes that, properly speaking, they are not logical modes at all, nor have they to do with the Notion, for they proceed directly against empiricism. Something is by immediate certainty given out as being true, the opposite of this last is from some other point of view demonstrated to be equally true, and thus its other-being is set forth as valid. The different modes in which the non-validity of the first and the validity of the other-being relate to one another, are ranged under the above heads. If we now classify these ten tropes in conformity with the plan indicated above by Sextus (p. 347), we find in the first four tropes the dissimilarity of the object to depend on the judging subject, because that which judges is either the animal or the man or one of his senses or particular dispositions in him. Or the dissimilarity depends on the object, and here we come to the seventh and tenth tropes, since first the amount makes a thing into something quite different, and then the code of morals in different places makes itself the only absolute, excluding and prohibiting any other. The fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth tropes finally deal with a union of both sides, or these all together contain the relationship; this is a demonstration that the object does not present itself in itself, but in relation to something else.

From content and form we see in these modes their early origin; for the content, which has only to deal with Being, shows its change only, takes up only the variability of its manifestation, without showing its contradiction in itself, i.e. in its Notion. But in form they show an unpractised thought, which does not yet bring the whole of these examples under their universal points of view, as is done by Sextus, or which places the universal, relativity, alongside of its particular modes. On account of their dulness we are not accustomed to lay great stress on such methods, nor esteem them of any value; but, in fact, as against the dogmatism of the common human understanding they are[357] quite valid. This last says directly, “This is so because it is so,” taking experience as authority. Now through these modes this understanding will be shown that its belief has contingencies and differences within it, which at one time present a thing in this way and at another time in that way; and thereby it will be made aware that it itself, or another subject, with equal immediacy and on the same ground (on none at all), says: “It is not so, for it really is the opposite,” Thus the signification of these tropes has still its value. Should faith or right be founded on a feeling, this feeling is in me, and then others may say: “It is not in me.” If one person’s tastes are to be accepted as authoritative, it is not difficult to demonstrate that another person’s tastes are utterly opposite, but Being is thereby degraded into seeming, for in every assurance such as that, the opposite holds equally good.

2. The Later Tropes.

The five other sceptical tropes have an entirely different character, and it is at once evident that they indicate quite another point of view and degree of culture as regards philosophic thought; for they pertain more to thinking reflection, and contain the dialectic which the determinate Notion has within it. Sextus Empiricus[206] sets them forth as follows:—

a. The first trope is the diversitude in opinions (ἀπὸ τῆς διαφωνίας), and that not among animals and men, but expressly among philosophers; of this matter we have just spoken above (pp. 349, 350). Sextus, and an Epicurean quoted by Cicero (Vol. I. p. 16), adduce the manifold nature of dogmas, and from this the conclusion is drawn that the one has just as much support as the other. Philosophers and others still make copious use of this sceptical trope, which is consequently in great favour: on account of the diversitude in philosophies, they say, Philosophy has no[358] value, and truth is unattainable because men have thought about it in ways so contradictory. This diversitude in philosophic opinion is said to be an invincible weapon against Philosophy; but the category of difference is very barren, and we have said in the introduction (Vol. I. pp. 17-19) how it is to be understood. The Idea of Philosophy is to all philosophers one and the same, even if they themselves are not aware of it; but those who speak so much of this diversity know as little about it. The true difference is not a substantial one, but a difference in the different stages of development; and if the difference implies a one-sided view, as it does with the Stoics, Epicureans, and Sceptics, in their totality undoubtedly we first reach truth.

b. A very important trope is that of failing into an infinite progression (ἡ εἰς ἄπειρον ἔκπτωσις); by it the Sceptics show that the reason which is brought forward for an assertion itself again requires a reason, and this again another, and so on into infinitude; from this suspension of judgment thus likewise follows, for there is nothing which can furnish a solid foundation. Consequently no permanent ground can be pointed out, for each continues to press further and further back, and yet finally a cessation must be made. In more recent times many have plumed themselves on this trope, and, in fact, it is as regards the understanding and the so-called syllogism (supra, pp. 222, 223), a trope of great force. For if deduction from reasons is made the power of knowledge, we must, on the other hand, remember that by so doing we have premises which are quite ungrounded.

c. The trope of Relationship, the relativity of determinations (ὀ ἀπὸ τοῦ πρός τι), has already been found among those mentioned above (p. 353). It is that what is maintained shows itself as it appears, partly merely in relation to the judging subject and partly to other things, but not as it is in itself by nature.


d. The fourth trope is that of Pre-supposition (ὀ ἐξ ὑποθέσεως): “When the dogmatists see that they are thrown back into the infinite, they put forward something as principle which they do not prove, but wish to have conceded to them simply and without proof:” that is an axiom. If the dogmatist has the right to pre-suppose an axiom as unproved, the sceptic has equally the right, or, if we choose to say so, equally no right, to pre-suppose the opposite as unproved. One is as good as the other. Thus all definitions are pre-suppositions. For instance, Spinoza pre-supposes definitions of the infinite, of substance, of attribute, &c.; and the rest follows consistently from them. Nowadays men prefer to give assurances and speak of facts of consciousness.

e. The last trope is that of Reciprocity (διάλληλος), or proof in a circle. “That which is dealt with is grounded on something which itself again requires something else as its ground; now that which has been said to be proved by it is used for this purpose, so that each is proved through the other.” When we would avoid infinite progression and the making of pre-suppositions, we use again that which was proved to prove its own proof. To the question, “What is the ground of the phenomenon?” the reply is “Power,” but this is itself merely deduced from the moments of the phenomenon.

Now Sextus shows (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 15, §§ 169-177) in the following way that, speaking generally, all sceptical investigations pass into these five modes of reasoning; and from this it is likewise clear that Scepticism is not really a reasoning against anything from reasons which can be found, which quick-wittedness discovers in the particular object, but that it has a profound knowledge of the categories. (α) “The object before us is either one felt” (according to Epicurus), “or one thought” (according to the Stoics). “But however it may be determined, there always is a difference of opinion respecting it,” and specially of sophic[360] opinions. This is the first trope. “For some believe what is felt and others what is thought to be alone the truth,” i.e. the criterion; “others, however, again accept partly what is thought and partly what is felt.” There consequently is a contradiction present here. “Now is it possible to harmonize this contradiction or not? If not, we must withhold our judgment. But if it is to be solved, the question is, ‘How shall we decide?’” What is to contain the criterion, the standard, the implicit? “Is what is felt to be judged by what is felt, or by what is thought?” (β) Either side, individually considered as the implicit, passes, according to the Sceptics, into the infinite; but this is a description which must necessarily be proved on its own account. “If what is felt is to be judged by what is felt, it is allowed (since feeling is in question) that this sensation requires another sensation as its reason;” for the conviction of its truth is not without contradiction. “But if that which constitutes the reason is again a feeling, that which is said to be a reason must have a reason just as much; thus we go on into infinitude”—and here we have the second trope. The case is, however, similar if what is thought is the criterion, or if the implicit is made to rest on it. “If to what is thought is given the power of judging what is felt, this likewise, since it is that respecting which no harmony prevails, requires another as its ground. This reason is, however, something thought likewise, and it again requires a reason; thus this, too, passes into the infinite.” From effect men thus reach cause; nevertheless this too is not original, but is itself an effect; and so on. But if men thus progress into infinitude, they have no first original ground to stand on, for what is accepted as first cause is itself merely effect; and since they merely progress continually, it is implied that no ultimate is posited. The false belief that this progression is a true category, is also to be found in Kant and Fichte; but there is really no true ultimate, or, what is the same, no true first. The[361] understanding represents infinite progression as something great; but its contradiction is that men speak of a first cause and it is then shown that it is only an effect. Men only attain to the contradiction and constant repetition of the same, but not to the solution of it, and consequently to the true prius. (γ) But should this endless progression not satisfy us—which the Sceptics indeed perceived—and therefore have to be put a stop to, this may happen by what is or what is felt having its foundation in thought, and, on the other hand, by likewise taking for the foundation of thought that which is felt. In this way each would be founded without there having been a progression into infinitude; but then that which founds would also be that which is founded, and there would merely be a passing from one to the other. Thus, in the third place, this falls into the trope of Reciprocity, in which, however, there is no more than there was before any true foundation. For in it each merely exists through the other, neither is really set forth absolutely, but each is the implicit only for the other, and this is self-abrogation. (δ) But if this is avoided by an unproved axiom which is taken as an implicit fact, a first and absolute ground, this way of arguing falls into the mode of Pre-supposition—the fourth trope. But if an assumption such as this were to be allowed, it would also be legitimate for anyone to assume the contrary. Thus against the absolute assertion of idealism, “The Absolute is the I,” it is with equal force maintained that “The Absolute is existence.” The one man says in the immediate certainty of himself: “I am absolute to myself;” another man likewise in certainty of himself says, “It is absolutely certain to me that things exist.” Idealism did not prove the former, nor did it destroy the latter; it takes its stand alongside of it, and only bases its assertions on its own principle. Everything, however, then, comes round to this, that because the ‘I’ is absolute, the ‘not-I’ cannot be absolute. On the other hand it may be said as justly: “Because the thing is absolute, the ‘I[362]’ cannot be absolute.” If it is legitimate, Sextus further says, immediately to pre-suppose something as unproved, it is absurd to pre-suppose anything else as proof of that on whose behalf it is pre-supposed; we only require to posit straightway the implicit existence of that which is in question. But as it is absurd to do so, so also is the other absurd. Men set to work in the finite sciences in a similar way. But when, as in a dogmatism like this, a man asserts his right of pre-supposing something, every other man has equally the right of pre-supposing something. Consequently the modern immediate revelation of the subject now appears. It does no good for any man to affirm, for example, that he finds in his consciousness that God exists; since anyone has the right to say that he finds in his consciousness that God does not exist. In modern times men have not got very far with this immediate knowledge—perhaps not further than the ancients, (ε) In the fifth place everything perceived has, according to the trope of Relationship, a relation to something else, to what perceives; its Notion is just that of being for another. The same holds good with what is thought; as the universal object of thought it likewise has the form of being something for another.

If we sum this up in a general way, the determinate, whether it is existent or thought, is (α) really, as determinate, the negative of another, i.e. it is related to another and exists for the same, and is thus in relationship; in this everything is really exhausted. (β) In this relationship to another this last, posited as its universality, is its reason; but this reason, as opposed to that which is proved, is itself a determinate, and consequently has its reality only in what is proved. And for the reason that I really again consider this universal as a determinate, it is conditioned by another like the one that goes before, and so on into infinity. (γ) In order that this determinate for which, as in consciousness, the other is, should have existence, this[363] other must exist, for in this it has its reality; and because this its object is likewise for another, they mutually condition each other and are mediated through one another, neither being self-existent. And if the universal as the basis has its reality in the existent, and this existent its reality in the universal, this forms the Reciprocity whereby what in themselves are opposites mutually establish one another. (δ) But what is implicit is something which is not mediated through another; as the immediate, that is because it is, it is, however, an Hypothesis. (ε) Now if this determinate is taken as pre-supposed, so also may another be. Or we might say more shortly that the deficiency in all metaphysics of the understanding lies partly in (α) the Demonstration, by which it falls into the infinite; and partly in (β) the Hypotheses, which constitute an immediate knowledge.

These tropes thus form an effective weapon against the philosophy of the ordinary understanding, and the Sceptics directed them with great acuteness, sometimes against the common acceptation of things, and sometimes against principles of philosophic reflection. These sceptical tropes, in fact, concern that which is called a dogmatic philosophy—not in the sense of its having a positive content, but as asserting something determinate as the absolute; and in accordance with its nature, such a philosophy must display itself in all these forms. To the Sceptics, the Notion of dogmatic philosophy is in effect that something is asserted as the implicit; it is thus opposed to idealism by the fact of its maintaining that an existence is the absolute. But there is a misunderstanding or a formal understanding in considering that all philosophy that is not Scepticism is Dogmatism. Dogmatism, as the Sceptics quite correctly describe it, consists in the assertion that something determinate, such as ‘I’ or ‘Being,’ ‘Thought’ or ‘Sensation,’ is the truth. In the talk about idealism, to which dogmatism has been opposed, just as many mistakes[364] have been made, and misunderstandings taken place. To the criticism which knows no implicit, nothing absolute, all knowledge of implicit existence as such is held to be dogmatism, while it is the most wanton dogmatism of all, because it maintains that the ‘I,’ the unity of self-consciousness, is opposed to Being, is in and for itself, and that the implicit in the outside world is likewise so, and therefore that the two absolutely cannot come together. By idealism that is likewise held to be dogmatism in which, as is the case in Plato and Spinoza, the absolute has been made the unity of self-consciousness and existence, and not self-consciousness opposed to existence. Speculative philosophy thus, indeed, asserts, but does not assert a determinate; or it cannot express its truth in the simple form of a proposition, although Philosophy is often falsely understood as pre-supposing an original principle from which all others are to be deduced. But though its principle can be given the form of a proposition, to the Idea what pertains to the proposition as such is not essential, and the content is of such a nature that it really abrogates this immediate existence, as we find with the Academicians. As a matter of fact, that which is now called a proposition, absolutely requires a mediation or a ground; for it is an immediate determinate that has another proposition in opposition to it, which last is again of a similar nature, and so on into infinitude. Consequently, each, as being a proposition, is the union of two moments between which there is an inherent difference, and whose union has to be mediated. Now dogmatic philosophy, which has this way of representing one principle in a determinate proposition as a fundamental principle, believes that it is therefore universal, and that the other is in subordination to it. And undoubtedly this is so. But at the same time, this its determinateness rests in the fact that it is only universal; hence such a principle is always conditioned, and consequently contains within it a destructive dialectic.


As against all these dogmatic philosophies, such criticism and idealism not excepted, the sceptical tropes possess the negative capacity of demonstrating that what the former maintain to be the implicit is not really so. For implicitude such as this is a determinate, and cannot resist negativity, its abrogation. To Scepticism is due the honour of having obtained this knowledge of the negative, and of having so definitely thought out the forms of negativity. Scepticism does not operate by bringing forward what is called a difficulty, a possibility of representing the matter otherwise; that would merely indicate some sort of fancy which is contingent as regards this asserted knowledge. Scepticism is not an empiric matter such as this, for it contains a scientific aim, its tropes turn on the Notion, the very essence of determinateness, and are exhaustive as regards the determinate. In these moments Scepticism desires to assert itself, and the Sceptic therein recognizes the fancied greatness of his individuality; these tropes prove a more cultivated dialectic knowledge in the process of argumentation than is found in ordinary logic, the logic of the Stoics, or the canon of Epicurus. These tropes are necessary contradictions into which the understanding falls; even in our time progression into infinitude and pre-supposition (immediate knowledge) are particularly common (supra, p. 363).

Now, speaking generally, this is the method of Scepticism, and it is most important. Because the sceptical conscience demonstrates that in all that is immediately accepted there is nothing secure and absolute, the Sceptics have taken in hand all particular determinations of the individual sciences, and have shown that they are not fixed. The further details of this application to the different sciences do not concern us here: this far-seeing power of abstraction is also requisite in order to recognize these determinations of negation or of opposition everywhere present in all concrete matter, and in all that is thought, and to find in this determinate its limits. Sextus, for[366] example, takes up the individual sciences concretely, thereby demonstrating much capacity for abstraction, and he shows in all their determinations the opposite of themselves. Thus he sets the definitions of mathematics against one another, and that not externally, but as they are in themselves; he lays hold of the fact (adv. Math. III. 20-22) that there is said to be a point, space, line, surface, one, &c. We unquestioningly allow the point to rank as a simple unit in space, according to which it has no dimension; but if it has no dimension, it is not in space, and therefore is no longer a point. On the one hand it is the negation of space, and, on the other, inasmuch as it is the limit of space, it touches space. Thus this negation of space participates in space, itself occupies space, and thus it is in itself null, but at the same time it is also in itself a dialectic. Scepticism has thus also treated of ideas which are, properly speaking, speculative, and demonstrated their importance; for the demonstration of the contradiction in the finite is an essential point in the speculatively philosophic method.

The two formal moments in this sceptical culture are firstly the power of consciousness to go back from itself, and to take as its object the whole that is present, itself and its operation included. The second moment is to grasp the form in which a proposition, with whose content our consciousness is in any way occupied, exists. An undeveloped consciousness, on the other hand, usually knows nothing of what is present in addition to the content. For instance, in the judgment “This thing is one,” attention is paid only to the one and the thing, and not to the circumstance that here something, a determinate, is related to the one. But this relation is the essential, and the form of the determinate; it is that whereby this house which is an individual, makes itself one with the universal that is different from it. It is this logical element, i.e. the essential element, that Scepticism brings to consciousness, and on[367] this it depends; an example of this is number, the one, as the hypothetical basis of arithmetic. Scepticism does not attempt to give the thing, nor does it dispute as to whether it is thus or thus, but whether the thing itself is something; it grasps the essence of what is expressed, and lays hold of the whole principle of the assertion. As to God, for example, the Sceptics do not inquire whether He has such and such qualities, but turn to what is most inward, to what lies at the ground of this conception, and they ask whether this has reality. “Since we do not know the reality of God,” says Sextus (Pyrrh. Hyp. III. c. I, § 4), “we shall not be able to know and perceive His qualities.” Likewise in the preceding books (II. c. 4, sqq.), inquiry is made as to whether the criterion of truth as fixed by the understanding is anything, whether we know the thing in itself, or whether the ‘I’ is to itself the only absolute certainty. This is the way to penetrate to reality.

In these ways the operations of Scepticism are undoubtedly directed against the finite. But however much force these moments of its negative dialectic may have against the properly-speaking dogmatic knowledge of the understanding, its attacks against the true infinite of the speculative Idea are most feeble and unsatisfactory. For this last is in its nature nothing finite or determinate, it has not the one-sided character which pertains to the proposition, for it has the absolute negative in itself; in itself it is round, it contains this determinate and its opposite in their ideality in itself. In so far as this Idea, as the unity of these opposites, is itself again outwardly a determinate, it stands exposed to the power of the negative; indeed its nature and reality is just to move continually on, so that as determinate it again places itself in unity with the determinates opposed to it, and thus organizes itself into a whole whose starting-point again coincides with the final result. This identity is quite different from that of the understanding; the object as concrete in itself, is, at the[368] same time, opposed to itself; but the dialectic solution of this finite and other is likewise already contained in the speculative, without Scepticism having first had to demonstrate this; for the rational, as comprehended, does, as regards the determinate, just what Scepticism tries to do. However, if Scepticism attempts to deal with this properly speculative element, it can in no way lay hold of it, nor make any progress except by doing violence to the speculative itself; thus the method of its procedure against the rational is this, that it makes the latter into a determinate, and always first of all introduces into it a finite thought-determination or idea of relationship to which it adheres, but which is not really in the infinite at all; and then it argues against the same. That is to say it comprehends it falsely and then proceeds to contradict it. Or it first of all gives the infinite the itch in order to be able to scratch it. The Scepticism of modern times, with which for crudity of comprehension and false teaching the old cannot compare, is specially noteworthy in this respect. Even now what is speculative is transformed into something crude; it is possible to remain faithful to the letter, and yet to pervert the whole matter, because the identity of the determinate has been carried over to the speculative. What here appears to be most natural and impartial is to have an investigation made of what the principle of a speculative philosophy is; its essential nature seems to be expressed thereby, and nothing is apparently added or imputed to it, nor does any change appear to be effected in it. Now, here, according to the conception of the non-speculative sciences, it is placed in this dilemma: the principle is either an unproved hypothesis or demands a proof which in turn implies the principle. The proof that is demanded of this principle itself pre-supposes something else, such as the logical laws of proof; these rules of logic are, however, themselves propositions such as required to be proved; and so it goes on into infinitude, if an absolute hypothesis to[369] which another can be opposed is not made (supra, p. 362). But these forms of proposition, of consecutive proof, &c., do not in this form apply to what is speculative (supra, p. 364) as though the proposition were before us here, and the proof were something separate from it there; for in this case the proof comes within the proposition. The Notion is a self-movement, and not, as in a proposition, a desire to rest; nor is it true that the proof brings forward another ground or middle term and is another movement; for it has this movement in itself.

Sextus Empiricus (adv. Math. VII., 310-312), for example, thus reaches the speculative Idea regarding reason, which, as the thought of thought, comprehends itself, and is thus in its freedom at home with itself. We saw this (pp. 147-151) with Aristotle. In order to refute this idea, Sextus argues in the following way: “The reason that comprehends is either the whole or it is only a part.” But to know the speculative it is requisite that there should be, besides the ‘either ... or,’ a third; this last is ‘both ... and’ and ‘neither ... nor.’ “If reason as the comprehending is the whole, nothing else remains to be comprehended. If the comprehending reason is, however, only a part which comprehends itself, this part again, as that which comprehends, either is the whole (and in that case again nothing at all remains to be comprehended), or else, supposing what comprehends to be a part in the sense that what is comprehended is the other part, that which comprehends does not comprehend itself,” &c. In the first place, however, it is clear that by arguing thus nothing is shown further than the fact that here Scepticism in the first place brings into the relationship of thought thinking about thought, the very superficial category of the relationship of the whole and the parts, as understood by the ordinary understanding, which last is not found in that Idea, although as regards finite things the whole is simply composed of all the parts, and these parts constitute the whole,[370] the parts and the whole being consequently identical. But the relationship of whole and part is not a relationship of reason to itself, being much too unimportant, and quite unworthy of being brought into the speculative Idea. In the second place Scepticism is wrong in allowing this relationship to hold good immediately, as it does in the ordinary and arid conception, where we make no objection to it. When reflection speaks of a whole, there is for it beyond this nothing else remaining. But the whole is just the being opposed to itself. On the one hand it is as whole simply identical with its parts, and, on the other hand, the parts are identical with the whole, since they together constitute the whole. The self-comprehension of reason is just like the comprehension by the whole of all its parts, if it is taken in its real speculative significance; and only in this sense could this relationship be dealt with here. But in the sense implied by Sextus, that there is nothing except the whole, the two sides, the whole and the parts, remain in mutual, isolated opposition; in the region of speculation the two indeed are different, but they are likewise not different, for the difference is ideal. Outside of the whole there thus undoubtedly remains another, namely itself as the manifold of its parts. The whole argument thus rests upon the fact that a foreign determination is first of all brought within the Idea, and then arguments against the Idea are brought forward, after it has been thus corrupted by the isolation of a one-sided determination unaccompanied by the other moment of the determination. The case is similar when it is said; “Objectivity and subjectivity are different, and thus their unity cannot be expressed.” It is indeed maintained that the words are literally adhered to; but even as contained in these words, the determination is one-sided, and the other also pertains to it. Hence this difference is not what remains good, but what has to be abrogated.

We may perhaps have said enough about the scientific[371] nature of Scepticism, and we have concluded therewith the second section of Greek philosophy. The general point of view adopted by self-consciousness in this second period, the attainment of the freedom of self-consciousness through thought, is common to all these philosophies. In Scepticism we now find that reason has got so far that all that is objective, whether of Being or of the universal, has disappeared for self-consciousness. The abyss of the self-consciousness of pure thought has swallowed up everything, and made entirely clear the basis of thought. It not only has comprehended thought and outside of it a universe in its entirety, but the result, positively expressed, is that self-consciousness itself is reality. External objectivity is not an objective existence nor a universal thought; for it merely is the fact that the individual consciousness exists, and that it is universal. But though for us there is an object, yet this is for it no object, and thus it still has itself the mode of objectivity. Scepticism deduces no result, nor does it express its negation as anything positive. But the positive is in no way different from the simple; or if Scepticism aims at the disappearance of all that is universal, its condition, as immovability of spirit, is itself in fact this universal, simple, self-identical—but a universality (or a Being) which is the universality of the individual consciousness. Sceptical self-consciousness, however, is this divided consciousness to which on the one hand motion is a confusion of its content; it is this movement which annuls for itself all things, in which what is offered to it is quite contingent and indifferent; it acts according to laws which are not held by it to be true, and is a perfectly empiric existence. On another side its simple thought is the immovability of self-identity, but its reality, its unity with itself is something that is perfectly empty, and the actual filling in is any content that one chooses. As this simplicity, and at the same time pure confusion, Scepticism is in fact the wholly self-abrogating contradiction. For in it the mind has got[372] so far as to immerse itself in itself as that which thinks; now it can comprehend itself in the consciousness of its infinitude as the ultimate. In this way Scepticism flourishes in the Roman world, because, as we saw (p. 281), in this external, dead abstraction of the Roman principle (in the principle of Republicanism and imperial Despotism) the spirit has flown from an existence here and now, that could give it no satisfaction, into intellectuality. Then because here the mind can only seek reconciliation and eudæmonism inwardly through cultured thought, and the whole aim of the world is merely the satisfaction of the individual, good can only be brought forth as individual work in each particular case. Under the Roman emperors we certainly find famous men, principally Stoics, such as Marcus Aurelius and others; they, however, only considered the satisfaction of their individual selves, and did not attain to the thought of giving rationality to actuality through institutions, laws and constitutions. This solitude of mind within itself is then truly Philosophy; but the thought is abstractly at home with itself as dead rigidity, and as to outward things it is passive. If it moves it only moves while bearing with it a contempt of all distinctions. Scepticism thus belongs to the decay both of Philosophy and of the world.

The stage next reached by self-consciousness is that it receives a consciousness respecting that which it has thus become, or its essential nature becomes its object. Self-consciousness is to itself simple essence; there is for it no longer any other reality than this, which its self-consciousness is. In Scepticism this reality is not yet an object to it, for to it its object is merely confusion. Because it is consciousness, something is for it; in this opposition only the vanishing content is for the sceptical consciousness, without its having been comprehended in its simple permanence. Its truth, however, is its immersion in self-consciousness, and the fact of self-consciousness[373] becoming an object to itself. Thus reality has indeed the form of a universal in existence or in thought, but in this its self-consciousness is really not a foreign thing as it is in Scepticism. In the first place it is not simple as immediate and merely existent, a complete ‘other,’ as when we speak of the soul being simple; for this last is the simple negative that turns back out of movement, out of difference, as the universal, into itself. In the second place this universal power that expresses that “I am at home with myself,” has likewise the significance of the Being, which, as objective reality, has a permanence for consciousness, and does not merely, as with the Sceptics, disappear; for reason in it alone knows how to possess and to find itself. This inwardness of mind at home with itself has built in itself an ideal world, has laid the foundation and groundwork of the intellectual world, of a kingdom of God which has come down into actuality and is in unity with it, and this is the standpoint of the Alexandrian philosophy.


Third Period: The Neo-Platonists.

Since Scepticism is the annulling of the opposites which in Stoicism and Epicureanism were accepted as the universal principles from which all other opposites took their rise, it likewise is the unity in which these opposites are found as ideal determinations, so that the Idea must now come into consciousness as concrete in itself. With this third development, which is the concrete result of all that has gone before, an entirely new epoch begins. Philosophy is now on quite a different footing, since, with the rejection of the criterion for subjective knowledge, finite principles in general also disappear; for it is with these that the criterion has to do. This then is the form which Philosophy takes with the Neo-Platonists, and which is closely connected with the revolution which was caused in the world by Christianity. The last stage which we reached—that subjective contentment and return of self-consciousness into itself which is attained by the renunciation of all that is fixed and objective, by flight into the pure, infinite abstraction in itself, by the absolute dearth of all determinate content—this stage had come to perfection in Scepticism, although the Stoic and Epicurean systems have the same end in view. But with this complete entering into and abiding within itself of infinite subjectivity, Philosophy had reached the standpoint at[375] which self-consciousness knew itself in its thought to be the Absolute (Vol. II. p. 372); and since Philosophy now rejected the subjective and finite attitude of self-consciousness, and its manner of distinguishing itself from an unmeaning external object, it comprehended in itself the difference, and perfected the truth into an intelligible world. The consciousness of this, expressing itself as it did in the spirit of the world, now constitutes the object of Philosophy; it was principally brought about by employing and reasoning from Platonic conceptions and expressions, but also by making use of those of the Aristotelians and Pythagoreans.

The idea which had now come home to men that absolute existence is nothing alien to self-consciousness, that nothing really exists for it in which self-consciousness is not itself immediately present—this is the principle which is now found as the universal of the world-spirit, as the universal belief and knowledge of all men; at once it changes the world’s whole aspect, destroying all that went before, and bringing about a regeneration of the world. The manifold forms which this knowledge assumes do not belong to the history of Philosophy, but to the history of consciousness and culture. This principle appears as a universal principle of justice, by which the individual man, in virtue of his existence, has absolute value as a universal being recognized by all. Thus, as far as external politics are concerned, this is the period of the development of private rights relating to the property of individual persons. But the character of Roman culture, under which this form of philosophy falls, was at the same time abstract universality (Vol. II. p. 235), in the lifelessness of which all characteristic poetry and philosophy, and all citizen life perished. Cicero, for example, shows, as few philosophers do, an utter want of appreciation of the state of affairs in his country. Thus the world has in its existence separated[376] into two parts; on the one side we have the atoms, private individuals, and on the other side a bond connecting them, though only externally, which, as power, had been relegated to one subject, the emperor. The Roman power is thus the real Scepticism. In the domain of thought we find an exact counterpart to this species of abstract universality, which, as perfect despotism, is in the decline of national life directly connected with the isolation of the atom, showing itself as the withdrawal into the aims and interests of private life.

It is at this point that mind once more rises above the ruin, and again goes forth from its subjectivity to the objective, but at the same time to an intellectual objectivity, which does not appear in the outward form of individual objects, nor in the form of duties and individual morality, but which, as absolute objectivity, is torn of mind and of the veritable truth. Or, in other words, we see here on the one hand the return to God, on the other hand the manifestation of God, as He comes before the human mind absolutely in His truth. This forms the transition to the mind’s restoration, by the fact of thought, which had conceived itself only subjectively, now becoming objective to itself. Thus in the Roman world the necessity became more and more keenly felt of forsaking the evil present, this ungodly, unrighteous, immoral world, and withdrawing into mind, in order here to seek what there no longer can be found. For in the Greek world the joy of spiritual activity has flown away, and sorrow for the breach that has been made has taken its place. These philosophies are thus not only moments in the development of reason, but also in that of humanity; they are forms in which the whole condition of the world expresses itself through thought.

But in other forms some measure of contempt for nature here began to show itself, inasmuch as nature is no longer[377] anything for itself, seeing that her powers are merely the servants of man, who, like a magician, can make them yield obedience, and be subservient to his wishes. Up to this time oracles had been given through the medium of trees, animals, &c., in which divine knowledge, as knowledge of the eternal, was not distinguished from knowledge of the contingent. Now it no longer is the gods that work their wonders, but men, who, setting at defiance the necessities of nature, bring about in the same that which is inconsistent with nature as such. To this belief in miracle, which is at the same time disbelief in present nature, there is thus allied a disbelief in the past, or a disbelief that history was just what it was. All the actual history and mythology of Romans, Greeks, Jews, even single words and letters, receive a different meaning; they are inwardly broken asunder, having an inner significance which is their essence, and an empty literal meaning, which is their appearance. Mankind living in actuality have here forgotten altogether how to see and to hear, and have indeed lost all their understanding of the present. Sensuous truth is no longer accepted by them; they constantly deceive us, for they are incapable of comprehending what is real, since it has lost all meaning for their minds. Others forsake the world, because in it they can now find nothing, the real they discover in themselves alone. As all the gods meet together in one Pantheon, so all religions rush into one, all modes of representation are absorbed in one; it is this, that self-consciousness—an actual human being—is absolute existence. It is to Rome that all these mysterious cults throng, but the real liberation of the spirit appeared in Christianity, for it is therein that its true nature is reached. Now it is revealed to man what absolute reality is; it is a man, but not yet Man or self-consciousness in general.

The one form of this principle is therefore the infinitude[378] in itself of the consciousness that knows itself, distinguishes itself in itself, but yet remains in perfectly transparent unity with itself; and only as this concretely self-determining thought has mind any meaning. An actual self-consciousness is the fact that the Absolute is now known in the form of self-consciousness, so that the determinations of the former are manifested in all the forms of the latter; this sphere does not properly belong to Philosophy, but is the sphere of Religion, which knows God in this particular human being. This knowledge, that self-consciousness is absolute reality, or that absolute reality is self-consciousness, is the World-spirit. It is this knowledge, but knows this knowledge not; it has merely an intuition of it, or knows it only immediately, not in thought. Knowing it only immediately means that to the World-spirit this reality as spirit is doubtless absolute self-consciousness, but in existent immediacy it is an individual man. It is this individual man, who has lived at a particular time and in a particular place, and not the Notion of self-consciousness, that is for the World-spirit absolute spirit: or self-consciousness is not yet known nor comprehended. As an immediacy of thought, absolute reality is immediate in self-consciousness, or only like an inward intuition, in the same way that we have pictures present in our mind.

The other form is that this concrete is grasped in a more abstract way, as the pure identity of thought, and thus there is lost to thought the point of self-hood pertaining to the concrete. This aspect, expressed as absolute reality in the form of mind in conceiving thought, but yet as in some measure existing immediately in self-consciousness as absolute reality, comes under Philosophy. But spirit, if complete in every aspect, must have also the natural aspect, which in this form of philosophy is still lacking. Now as in Christianity universal history makes this advance of mind in the consciousness of itself, so in the innermost mysteries[379] of the same, in Philosophy, this same change must just as inevitably take place; in fact, Philosophy in her further development does nothing else than grasp this Idea of absolute reality, which in Christianity is merely shadowed forth. Absolute Spirit implies eternal self-identical existence that is transformed into another and knows this to be itself; the unchangeable, which is unchangeable in as far as it always, from being something different, returns into itself. It signifies the sceptical movement of consciousness, but in such a form that the transient objective element at the same time remains permanent, or in its permanence has the signification of self-consciousness.

In the Christian religion this spiritual reality was first of all represented as indicating that eternal reality becomes for itself something different, that it creates the world, which is posited purely as something different. To this there is added later this moment, that the other element in itself is not anything different from eternal reality, but that eternal reality manifests itself therein. In the third place there is implied the identity of the other and eternal reality, Spirit, the return of the other into the first: and the other is here to be understood as not only the other at that point where eternal reality manifested itself, but as the other in a universal sense. The world recognizes itself in this absolute reality which becomes manifest; it is the world, therefore, which has returned into reality; and spirit is universal Spirit. But since this Idea of spirit appeared to the Christians first of all in the bare form of ordinary conception, God, the simple reality of the Jews, was for them beyond consciousness; such a God doubtless thinks, but He is not Thought, for He remains beyond reality, and He is only that which is distinguished from the world that our senses perceive. There likewise stands in opposition to the same an individual man—the moment of unity of the world and reality, and spirit, the universality of this unity, as a[380] believing community, which possesses this unity only in the form of ordinary conception, but its reality in the hope of a future.

The Idea in pure Thought—that God’s way of working is not external, as if He were a subject, and therefore that all this does not come to pass as a casual resolution and decree of God, to whom the thought of so acting happened to occur, but that God is this movement as the self-revealing moments of His essence, as His eternal necessity in Himself, which is not at all conditioned by chance—this we find expressed in the writings of philosophic or expressly Platonic Jews. The place where this point of view took its origin happens to be the country where East and West have met in conflict; for the free universality of the East and the determinateness of Europe, when intermingled, constitute Thought. With the Stoics the universality of thought has a place, but it is opposed to sensation, to external existence. Oriental universality is, on the contrary, entirely free; and the principle of universality, posited as particular, is Western Thought. In Alexandria more especially this form of philosophy was cultivated, but at the same time regard was had to the earlier development of thought, in which lie the partially concealed beginnings of the building up in thought of the concrete, which is now the point mainly regarded. Even in the Pythagorean philosophy we found difference present as the Triad; then in Plato we saw the simple Idea of spirit as the unity of indivisible substance and other-being, though it was only as a compound of both. That is the concrete, but only in simple moments, not in the comprehensive manner in which other-being is in general all reality of nature and of consciousness,—and the unity which has returned as this self-consciousness is not only a thought, but living God. With Aristotle, finally, the concrete is ἐνέργεια, Thought which is its own object, the concrete. Therefore although this philosophy is known as Neo-Pythagorean and[381] Neo-Platonic, it may also be termed Neo-Aristotelian; for the Alexandrians studied Aristotle just as much as Plato, and valued both very highly, later on combining their philosophies in one unity.

But we must have a clearer grasp of the difference between this point of view and the earlier. Already in the earlier philosophies we have seen, that νοῦς is the essence of the world, and similarly Aristotle comprehended the whole series of things endued with life and mind in such a way as to recognize the Notion to be the truth of these things. In the case of the Stoics this unity, this system, was most definitely brought forward, while Aristotle rather followed up the particulars. This unity of thought we saw among the Stoics more especially on the one side as the return of self-consciousness into itself, so that spirit through the purity of thought is independent in itself; on the other hand we have seen there an objectivity in which the λόγος became essentially the all-penetrating basis of the whole world. With the Stoics, however, this basis remained as substance only, and thus took on the form of Pantheism, for that is the first idea that we light on when we determine the universal to be the true. Pantheism is the beginning of the elevation of spirit, in that it conceives everything in the world to be a life of the Idea. For when self-consciousness emerges from itself, from its infinitude, from its thought directed on self, and turns to particular things, duties, relationships; or when thought, which thinks this universal substance, passes over from it to the particular, and makes the heavens, the stars, or man its object, it descends from the universal immediately into the particular, or immediately into the finite, since all these are finite forms. But the concrete is the universal which makes itself particular, and in this making of itself particular and finite yet remains eternally at home with itself. In Pantheism, on the contrary, the one universal[382] substance merely makes itself finite, and thereby lowers itself. That is the mode of emanation, according to which the universal, in making itself the particular, or God in creating the world, by becoming particular becomes debased or deteriorated and sets a limit to Himself; so that this making of Himself finite is incompatible with any return into Himself. The same relation is also found in the mythology of the Greeks and Romans; the giving definiteness and form to God, who remains no empty abstraction, is a rendering finite of God, who thus becomes a mere work of art; but the Beautiful itself remains a finite form, which is not brought to such a point as to express the free Idea. The determination, the specialization, the reality of objectivity, must now be of such a nature that it shall be adequate to the absolute universal; the forms of the gods, as also natural forms and the forms which are known as duties, fail to be thus adequate.

What is therefore now required is that the knowing mind, which thus out of objectivity returns into itself and its inwardness, should reconcile with itself the world which it has left, so that the world’s objectivity may of course be distinct from mind, yet adequate thereto. This concrete standpoint which, as it is that of the world, is also that of Philosophy, is the development of Mind, for it is requisite to Mind that it should not merely be pure thought, but that it should be thought which makes itself objective, and therein maintains itself and is at home with itself. The earlier efforts of thought towards objectivity constitute a passing into determinateness and finitude merely, and not into an objective world adequate to absolute existence. The universal standpoint of the Neo-Platonic or Alexandrian philosophy now is from the loss of the world to produce a world which in its outwardness shall still remain an inward world, and thus a world reconciled; and this is the world of spirituality, which here begins. Thus the fundamental[383] Idea was Thought which is its own object, and which is therefore identical with its object, with what is thought; so that we have the one and the other, and the unity of both.

This concrete Idea has again come to the front, and in the development of Christianity, as thought also penetrated there, it became known as the Trinity; and this Idea is absolute reality. This Idea did not develop directly from Plato and Aristotle, but took the circuitous path of Dogmatism. With the earlier thinkers it doubtless immediately emerged as supreme; but beside and beyond it appears the other content in addition, the riches of the thoughts of Mind and of Nature; and so it is conceived. Aristotle has thus comprehended the kingdom of Nature; and with Plato development is represented only in a loose multiplicity. But in order that the Idea should appear as the truth that encompasses and includes all within itself, it was requisite that this finite, this wider content of determinations which had been collected, should be comprehended on its finite side also, that is, in the finite form of a universal opposition. That was the function of Dogmatism, which was then dissolved by Scepticism. The dissolution of all that is particular and finite, which constitutes the essence of the latter, was not taken in hand by Plato and Aristotle, and therefore the Idea was not posited by them as all-inclusive. Now the contradiction is done away with, and Mind has attained to its negative rest. The affirmative, on the other hand, is the repose of mind in itself, and to this freedom from all that is particular Mind now proceeds. It is the knowledge of what Mind is in itself, after it has come to be reconciled in itself through the dissolution of all finality. This eternal rest of Mind in itself now constitutes its object; it is aware of the fact, and strives to determine and develop it further by thought. In this we likewise possess the principle of evolution, of free development;[384] everything except Mind is only finite and transitory. When therefore Mind goes forth to the particular, the particular is determined as something plainly contained in this ideality, which Mind knows as something subject to itself. That is the affirmative result of sceptical philosophy. It is evident that, starting from this point of view, an utterly different opinion will be expressed. God, as absolute pure Mind in and for Himself, and His activity in Himself, are now the object. But God is no longer known as the Abstract, but as the Concrete in Himself, and this Concrete is nothing but Mind. God is living, the One and the Other and the unity of these distinct determinations; for the abstract is only the simple, but the living has difference in itself, and is yet therein at home with itself.

Further, the following points have specially claimed the attention of Mind; firstly, that this consciousness which has become subjective makes its object the absolute as truth, placing this absolute outside of itself; or that it attains to faith in God, that God is now manifested, and reveals Himself, that is, exists for consciousness. The absolute, altogether universal, posited at the same time as objective, is God. Here comes in the relation of man to this his object, to absolute truth. This new standpoint, which from this time acquires an absolute interest, is therefore not a relation to external things, duties and the like; these are all determined, limited, they are not the all-embracing determination, as that is which has just been spoken of. In this relation the mere turning of the subject on himself, this talk of the wise man. in his one-sidedness, is likewise done away with. The same liberty, happiness, steadfastness, which were the aim of Epicureanism, Stoicism and Scepticism are doubtless still to be reached by the subject, but now this can only be brought about by turning to God, by giving heed to absolute truth, not by fleeing from the objective; so that by means[385] of the objective itself, liberty and happiness are attained for the subject. This is the standpoint of reverencing and fearing God, so that by man’s turning to this his object, which stands before him free and firm, the object of the subject’s own freedom is attained.

In the second place, there are contradictions herein contained which necessarily attract the attention of mind, and whose reconciliation is essential. If we adopt this one-sided position, God is on the one side, and man in his freedom is on the other. A freedom such as this, standing in contrast to the objective, a freedom in which man, as thinking self-consciousness, conceives as the absolute the relation of his pure inwardness to himself, is, however, only formally, and not concretely absolute. In so far then as the human will determines itself negatively towards the objective, we have the origin of sin, evil in contrast to the absolute Affirmative.

A third essential point of interest is the form in which God must now be apprehended in general, for since it pertains essentially to the Notion of Mind to determine God as concrete, living God, it is indispensable that God should be thought of in relation to the world and to man. This relation to the world is then a relation to an ‘other,’ which thereby at first appears to be outside of God; but because this relation is His activity, the fact of having this relation in Himself is a moment of Himself. Because the connection of God with the world is a determination in Himself, so the being another from the one, the duality, the negative, the distinction, the self-determination in general, is essentially to be thought of as a moment in Him, or God reveals Himself in Himself, and therefore establishes distinct determinations in Himself. This distinction in Himself, His concrete nature, is the point where the absolute comes into connection with man, with the world, and is reconciled with the same. We say God has created man[386] and the world, this is His determination in Himself, and at the same time the point of commencement, the root of the finite in God Himself. In this manner, therefore, that which afterwards appears finite is yet produced by Him in Himself—the particular Ideas, the world in God Himself, the Divine world, where God has begun to separate Himself, and has His connection with the temporal world. In the fact that God is represented as concrete, we have immediately a Divine world in Himself.

Since the Divine forms, as natural and political, have now separated themselves from the True, and the temporal world has appeared to men as the negative, the untrue, so, in the fourth place, man recognizes God in Mind; he has recognized that natural things and the State are not, as in mythology, the mode in which God exists, but that the mode, as an intelligible world, exists in Himself. The unhappiness of the Roman world lay in its abstraction from that in which man had hitherto found his satisfaction; this satisfaction arose out of that pantheism, in which man found his highest truth in natural things, such as air and fire and water, and further in his duties, in the political life of the State. Now, on the contrary, in the world’s grief over her present woes, despair has entered in, and disbelief in these forms of the natural finite world and in the moral world of citizen life; to this form of reality, in its external and outwardly moral character, man has proved untrue. That condition which man terms the life of man in unity with nature, and in which man meets with God in nature because he finds his satisfaction there, has ceased to exist. The unity of man with the world is for this end broken, that it may be restored in a higher unity, that the world, as an intelligible world, may be received into God. The relation of man to God thereby reveals itself in the way provided for our salvation in worship, but more particularly it likewise shows itself in Philosophy; and that with the express consciousness of the aim that the individual should[387] render himself capable of belonging to this intelligible world. The manner in which man represents to himself his relation to God is more particularly determined by the manner in which man represents to himself God. What is now often said, that man need not know God, and may yet have the knowledge of this relation, is false. Since God is the First, He determines the relation, and therefore in order to know what is the truth of the relation, man must know God. Since therefore thought goes so far as to deny the natural, what we are now concerned with is not to seek truth in any existing mode, but from our inner Being to go forth again to a true objective, which derives its determination from the intrinsic nature of thought.

These are the chief moments of the present standpoint, and the reflections of the Neo-Platonists belong to it. Before entering upon them we must, however, make cursory mention of Philo the Jew, and also notice sundry moments appearing in the history of the Church.

A. Philo.

Philo, a learned Jew of Alexandria, lived before and after the birth of Christ, in the reigns of the first Roman Emperors; that is to say, he was born B.C. 20, but lived until after Christ’s death. In him we for the first time see the application of the universal consciousness as philosophical consciousness. In the reign of Caligula, before whom very heinous charges against the Jews had been brought by Apion, he was, when advanced in years, sent to Rome as ambassador from his people, in order to give to the Romans a more favourable account of the Jews. There is a tradition that he came also in the reign of the Emperor Claudius to Rome, and there fell in with the Apostle Peter.[207]


Philo wrote a long series of works, many of which we still possess; for instance, those on The Creation of the World, on Rewards and Punishments, the Offerers of Sacrifices, the Law of Allegories, Dreams, the Immutability of God, &c.; they were published in folio at Frankfort in 1691, and afterwards by Pfeiffer at Erlangen. Philo was famous for the great extent of his learning, and was well acquainted with Greek philosophy.

He is more especially distinguished for his Platonic philosophy, and also for the pains he took to demonstrate the presence of Philosophy in the sacred writings of the Jews. In his explanation of the history of the Jewish nation, the narratives and statements therein contained have lost for him the immediate significance of reality. He reads into them throughout a mystical and allegorical meaning, and finds Plato present in Moses; in short, the endeavour of Philo resembled that of the Alexandrians when they recognized philosophic dogmas in Greek mythology. He treats of the nature of Mind, not, indeed, as comprehended in the element of thought, but as expressed therein, and this expression is still both far from pure and is associated with all sorts of imageries. By the spirit of Philosophy the Jews were compelled to seek in their sacred books, as the heathen sought in Homer and in the popular religion, a deeper speculative meaning, and to represent their religious writings as a perfect system of divine wisdom. That is the character of the time, in consequence of which all that appealed to the finite understanding in popular conceptions has not endured. The important point, then, is that on the one hand the popular conception is here still allied with the forms of reality; but as, on the other hand, what these forms express only immediately is no longer sufficient, the desire arises to understand them in a deeper sense. Although in the external histories of the Jewish and heathen religions men had the authority and starting-point of truth, they yet grasped the thought that[389] truth cannot be given externally. Therefore, men read deep thoughts into history, as the expression is, or they read them out of it, and this latter is the true conception. For in the case of the Divine Book, whose author is the Spirit, it cannot be said that this spirituality is absent. The point of importance comes to be, whether this spirituality lies deeper down or nearer to the surface; therefore, even if the man who wrote the book had not the thoughts, they are implicitly contained in the inward nature of the relation. There is, generally speaking, a great difference between that which is present therein and that which is expressed. In history, art, philosophy, and the like, the point of importance is that what is contained therein should also be expressed; the real work of the mind is wholly and solely that of bringing to consciousness what is contained therein. The other side of the matter is that although all that lies within a form, a-religion, &c., does not come before consciousness, one can still not say that it did not enter into the human mind; it was not in consciousness, neither did it come into the form of the ordinary conception, and yet it was in mind. On the one side, the bringing of thought into definite consciousness is a bringing in from without, but on the other side, as far as matter is concerned, there is nothing brought in from without. Philo’s methods present this aspect in a pre-eminent sense. All that is prosaic has disappeared, and, therefore, in writers of the period that follows, miracles are of common occurrence, inasmuch as external connection is no longer required as a matter of necessity. The fundamental conceptions of Philo, and these alone need be taken into consideration, are then somewhat as follows:—

1. With Philo the main point is the knowledge of God. In regard to this, he says, in the first place: God can be known only by the eye of the soul, only by Beholding (ὅρασις). This he also calls rapture, ecstasy, God’s influence; we often find these terms. For this it is requisite[390] that the soul should break loose from the body, and should give up its sensuous existence, thus rising to the pure object of thought, where it finds itself nearer to God. We may term this a beholding by the intelligence. But the other side is that God cannot be discerned by the eye of the soul; the soul can only know that He is, and not what He is. His essence is the primordial light.[208] Philo here speaks in quite Oriental fashion; for light is certainly simple, in contrast with which perception has the signification of knowing something as determined, as concrete in itself. So long, therefore, as the determination of simplicity is adhered to, this First Light permits not itself to be known, and since Philo says, “This One is God as such,” we cannot know what God is. In Christianity, on the contrary, simplicity is only a moment, and only in the Whole do we find God the Spirit.

Philo continues: “The First is the space of the universe, encompassing and filling it; this existence is itself place, and is filled by itself. God is sufficient for Himself; all other things are paltry and meaningless; He fills all other things and gives them coherence, but He Himself is surrounded by nothing, because He Himself is One and All. Similarly, God exists in the primordial form of time (αἰών),”[209] that is, in the pure Notion of time. Why is it necessary that God should fill Himself with Himself? Even the subjective and abstract has need also of an object. But the all is likewise, as with Parmenides, the abstract, because it is only substance, which remains empty beside that which fills it. Absolute fulness, on the other hand, [391]is the concrete, and we reach this first in the λόγος, in which we have that which fills, that which is filled, and a third composed of both.

2. To this Philo now comes in the second place: “God’s image and reflection is thinking reason (λόγος), the Firstborn Son, who rules and regulates the world. This λόγος is the innermost meaning of all Ideas; God Himself, in contrast to this, as the One, as such, is pure Being (τὸ ὄν) only[210]—an expression which Plato also used. Here verily we come upon a contradiction; for the image can only represent what the thing is; if therefore the image is concrete, its original must also be understood to be concrete. For the rest, it is therefore only logical, after Philo has once limited the name of God to the First Light or to pure Being, to assert that only the Son can be known. For as this Being God is only abstract existence, or only His own Notion; and it is quite true that the soul cannot perceive what this Being is, since it is really only an empty abstraction. What can be perceived is that pure existence is only an abstraction, and consequently a nothing, and not the true God. Of God as the One it may therefore be said that the only thing perceived is that He does exist. Perception is the knowledge of the concrete self-determination of the living God. If we therefore desire to know God, we must add to Being, as the First, this other moment also; the former is defective, and as abstract as when we say, ‘God the Father,’” that is, this undisclosed One, this indeterminate in Himself, who has not yet created anything; the other moment is, however, the determination and distinction of Himself in Himself, the begetting. What is begotten is His other, which at the same time is in Him, and belongs to Him, and is thus a moment of Himself, if God is to be thought of as concrete and living it is this that is here by Philo called λόγος. In Christianity [392]the name of God is therefore not limited to Essence, but the Son is conceived of as a determination which itself belongs to the true Essence of God. That which God is, He is therefore as Spirit only, and that is the unity of these moments.

God’s differences therefore, according to Philo, constitute the finite understanding (λόγος) itself, which is then the archangel (ἀρχάγγελος), a realm of thought which contains determinateness. That is man as heavenly man, primeval man, who is also represented under the name of Wisdom (σοφία, תגמה), as Adam Kadmon, as the rising of the sun—man in God. This finite understanding now separates itself into Ideas, which by Philo are also named angels or messengers (ἄγγελοι). This mode of conception is not yet conception in pure thought, for forms of the imagination are still interwoven with it. Moreover there comes in here for the first time that which determines, where God is looked on as activity, which so far Being was not. This λόγος is therefore itself, we might say, the first restful world of thought, although it is already differentiated; but another λόγος is that which gives utterance (λόγος προφορικός) as speech. That is the activity, the creation of the world, as the former is its preservation, its permanent understanding. Speech has always been regarded as a manifestation of God, because it is not corporeal; as sound it is momentary and immediately disappears; its existence is therefore immaterial. “God created by the word of His month, interposing nothing;” what He created remains ideal, like speech. “If we would express the dogma in a still truer form, the Logos is the ‘Work of God.’”[211]

This Logos is at the same time the teacher of wisdom for self-consciousness. For natural things are upheld only [393]in their laws; but self-conscious beings know also of these laws, and this is wisdom. Thus the λόγος is the high priest, who is the mediator between God and man, the Spirit of the Godhead, who teaches man—even the self-conscious return of God into Himself, into that first unity of the primordial light. That is the pure intelligible world of truth itself, which is nothing other than the Word of God.[212]

3. In the third place, since thought has come to negativity, the sensuous existent world stands in opposition to this ideal world. Its principle with Philo, as with Plato, is matter, the negative (οὐκ ὄν).[213] As God is Being, so the essence of matter is non-being; it is not nothing, as when we say that God created the world out of nothing, for non-being, the opposite of Being, is itself a positive, and as good as Being. It exists, in so far as there is placed within it a resemblance to implicit truth. Philo had the true perception that the opposite of Being is just as positive as Being. If this seems absurd to anyone, he need only be reminded that really when we posit Being, the negative of Being is thinking—which is something very positive. But the next step, the Notion of this opposition, and the passing of Being into non-being, is not to be found in Philo. In general this philosophy is less a metaphysic of the Notion or of Thought itself, than a philosophy in which Mind appears only in pure Thought, and not here in the mode of ordinary conception—Notions and Ideas are still represented as independent forms. Thus, for instance, it is said: “In the beginning the Word of God created the heavens, which consist of the purest Being and are the dwelling-place of the purest angels, which do not appear, and are not perceptible by the senses,” but by thought alone; [394]these are the Ideas. “The Creator before the whole of the intelligible world made the incorporeal heavens and the non-sensuous earth, and the Idea of the air and of the void, and after this the incorporeal essence of the water and an incorporeal light, and a non-sensuous archetype (ἀρχέτυπος) of the sun and all the stars;”[214] and the sensuous world is the anti-type of this. Philo now proceeds according to the Mosaic record. In the Old Testament history of creation, grass, plants, and trees are created on the third day, and on the fourth day lights in the firmament of heaven, the sun and moon. Philo therefore says (De mundi opificio, pp. 9, 10) that on the fourth day a number adorned the heavens, the four, the tetractys, the most perfect, &c. These are the main points in Philo’s philosophy.

B. Cabala and Gnosticism.

The Cabalistic philosophy and the Gnostic theology both occupied themselves with these same conceptions which Philo also had. To them also the First is the abstract, the unknown, the nameless; the Second is the unveiling, the concrete, which goes forth into emanation. But there is also to be found in some degree the return to unity, especially among Christian philosophers: and this return, which is accepted as the Third, belongs to the λόγος; so with Philo Wisdom, the teacher, the high priest, was that which in the contemplation of God leads back the Third to the First.

1. Cabalistic Philosophy.

Cabala is the name given to the secret wisdom of the Jews, with which, however, much that is dark and mysterious is mingled; regarding its origin also many fables are related. We are told of it that it is contained in two books, Jezirah (Creation) and Sohar (Brightness). Jezirah, the [395]more important of these two books, is ascribed to a certain Rabbi Akibha; it is about to be published in a more complete form by Herr von Mayer, in Frankfort. The book has certain very interesting general principles, and this better portion of it consists of ideas, which in some respects resemble those of Philo, though they are more fancifully presented, and often sink into the fantastic. It is not of the antiquity which those who reverence the Cabala would assign to it; for they relate that this heavenly book was given to Adam to console him after his fall. It is a medley of astronomy, magic, medicine, and prophecy; sundry traces followed up historically indicate that such were cultivated in Egypt. Akibha lived soon after the destruction of Jerusalem, and took an active part in a revolt of the Jews against Hadrian, in the course of which they collected an army two hundred thousand strong, in order to establish Barcochba as the Messiah; the revolt was, however, suppressed, and the Rabbi was flayed alive. The second book is said to have been the work of his disciple, Rabbi Simeon Ben Jochai, who was called the Great Light, the Spark of Moses.[215] Both books were translated into Latin in the seventeenth century. A speculative Israelite, Rabbi Abraham Cohen Irira, also wrote a book, the Door of Heaven (Porta c\nlorum); it is later, dating from the fifteenth century, and sundry references to the Arabians and Scholastics are contained in it. These are the sources of the high cabalistic wisdom.

In earlier times there is no representation among the Jews of God as being in His essence Light, of an opposite to God, Darkness and Evil, which is at strife with the Light; there is nothing of good and evil angels, of the Fall of the wicked, of their condemnation, of their being in Hell, of a future day of judgment for the good and the evil, of the corruption of the flesh. It was not until this time that the Jews began to carry their thoughts beyond their reality;[396] only now does a world of spirit, or at least of spirits, begin to open itself up before them; before this these Jews cared only for themselves, being sunk in the filth and self-conceit of their present existence, and in the maintenance of their nation and tribes.

Further particulars of the Cabala are these. One is expressed as the principle of all things, as it is likewise the first source of all numbers. As unity itself is not one number among the rest, so is it with God, the basis of all things, the En-Soph. The emanation therewith connected is the effect of the first cause by the limitation of that first infinite whose boundary (ὅρος) it is. In this one cause all is contained eminenter, not formaliter but causaliter. The second element of importance is the Adam Kadmon, the first man, Kether, the first that arose, the highest crown, the microcosm, the macrocosm, with which the world that emanated stands in connection as the efflux of light. By further expansion the other spheres or circles of the world came into being; and this emanation is represented as streams of light. In the first place there come forth ten of such emanations, Sephiroth, forming the pure world Azilah, which exists in itself and changes not. The second is the world Beriah, which does change. The third is the created world, Jezirah, the world of pure spirits set in matter, the souls of the stars—that is, further distinctions into which this dark and mysterious philosophy proceeds. In the fourth place comes the created world, the Asijja: it is the lowest, the vegetative and sensible world.[216]

2. The Gnostics.

Though there are various sects of the Gnostics, we find certain common determinations constituting their basis.


\Joe Cooper\roddr\charliehoward\— Professor Neander has with great learning made a collection of these, and elaborated them exhaustively; some of the forms correspond with those which we have given. Their general aim was that of knowledge (γνῶσις); whence they also derived their name.

One of the most distinguished Gnostics is Basilides. For him, too, the First is the unspeakable God (θεὸς ἄῤῥητος)—the En-Soph of the Cabala; He is, as with Philo also, that which is (τὸ ὄν), He who is (ὁ ὤν), the nameless one (ἀνωνόμαστος)—that is, the immediate. The second is then the Spirit (νοῦς), the first-born, also λόγος, the Wisdom (σοφία), Power (δύναμις): more closely defined, it is Righteousness (δικαιοσύνη), and Peace (εἰρήνη). These are followed by principles still further determined, which Basilides names archons, heads of spiritual kingdoms. One main point in this is likewise the return, the refining process of the soul, the economy of purification (οἰκονονία καθάρσεων): the soul from matter must come back to wisdom, to peace. The First Essence bears all perfection sealed up in Himself, but only in potentiality; Spirit, the first-born, is the first revelation of the latent. It is, moreover, only through being made one with God that all created beings can attain to a share in true righteousness and the peace which flows therefrom.[217]

The Gnostics, for instance Marcus, term the First also the Unthinkable (ἀνεννόητος), even the Non-existent (ἀνούσιος) which proceeds not to determinateness, the Solitude (μονότης), and the pure Silence (σιγή); the Ideas, the angels, the æons, then form the Other. These are termed the Notions, roots, seeds of particular fulfillings (πληρώματα), the fruit; every æon in this bears its own special world in itself.[218]

With others, as for instance Valentinus, the First is also[398] termed “the completed æon in the heights that cannot be seen or named,” or the unfathomable, the primordial cause, the absolute abyss (ἄβυσσον, βῦθος), wherein all is, as abrogated: also what is even before the beginning (προάρχη), before the Father (προπάτωρ). The active transition of the One signifies then the differentiation (διάθεσις) of this abyss; and this development is also termed the making itself comprehensible of the incomprehensible (κατάληψις τοῦ ἀκαταλήπτου), in the same way that we found comprehension spoken of by the Stoics (Vol. II. p. 250). Æons, particular expositions, are Notions. The second step is likewise termed limitation (ὅρος); and inasmuch as the development of life is conceived more clearly by contrast, the key to this is stated to be contained in two principles, which appear in the form of male and female. The one is required to perfect the other, each has its complement (σύζυγος) in the other; from their conjunction (σύνθεσις, συξυγία), which first constitutes the real, a perfect whole proceeds. The inward significance of these fulfilments generally is the world of æons, the universal filling of the abyss, which therefore, inasmuch as what was distinguished in it was still unrevealed, is also termed hermaphrodite, man-woman (ἀῤῥενόθηλυς),[219]—very much the same theory as was held long before by the Pythagoreans (Vol. I. p. 221).

Ptolemæus assigns two conjunctions (σύζυγους) to the abyss, and two separations, which are pre-supposed throughout all temporal existence, Will and Perception (θέλημα καὶ ἔννοια). Complicated and motley forms here appear, but the fundamental determination is the same throughout, and abyss and revelation are the most important matters. The revelation which has come down is also conceived as the glory (δόξα, Shekinah) of God; as heavenly wisdom, which is itself a beholding of God; as unbegotten powers which encircle Him and are radiant with the most brilliant light. To these Ideas the name of God is more especially[399] given, and in this regard He is also called the many-named (πολυώνυμος), the demiurge; this is the manifestation, the determination of God.[220]

All these forms pass into the mysterious, but they have on the whole the same determinations as principle; and the general necessity which forms their basis is a profound necessity of reason, namely, the determination and comprehension of what is absolute as the concrete. I have, however, merely been desirous of calling these forms to remembrance, in order to indicate their connection with the universal.

C. Alexandrian Philosophy.

The unity of self-consciousness and Being appears in more philosophical and intelligent form in the Alexandrian School, which constitutes the most important, and at the same time the most characteristic form of philosophy pertaining to this sphere. For Alexandria had for some time past, mainly through the Ptolemies, become the principal seat of the sciences. Here, as if in their centre-point, all the popular religions and mythologies of the East and West, and likewise their history, came into touch and intermingled with one another in various forms and shapes. Religions were compared with one another: in each of them there was, on the one hand, a searching for and putting together of that which was contained also in the other, and, on the other hand, there was the more important task of reading into the popular conceptions of religion a deeper meaning, and of giving to them a universal allegorical signification. This endeavour has doubtless given birth to much that is dim and mystical; its purer product is the Alexandrian Philosophy. The bringing together of the philosophies naturally succeeded better than those connections which, on the side of religion, are only the mystic products of a Reason that as yet is unintelligible to itself.[400] For while in fact there is but one Idea in Philosophy, it annuls by its own means the special form which it has adopted, the one-sidedness in which it expresses itself. In Scepticism had been reached this negative stage of seeing annulled the definite modes of Being in which the Absolute was posited.

Since the form of philosophy which arose in Alexandria did not attach itself to any of the earlier philosophic schools, but recognized all the different systems of philosophy, and more especially the Pythagorean, Platonic, and Aristotelian, to be in their various forms but one, it was frequently asserted to be Eclecticism. Brucker (Hist. crit. phil. T. II., p. 193) is the first to do so, as I have found, and Diogenes Laërtius gave him the occasion thereto, by speaking (Pr\nmium, § 21) of a certain Potamo of Alexandria, who not so very long before (ρπὸ ὀλίγου) had selected from the different philosophies their principal maxims and the best of their teaching. Then Diogenes goes on to quote several passages from Potamo, saying that this writer had produced an eclectic philosophy; but these maxims drawn from Aristotle, Plato, and the Stoics are not of importance, and the distinguishing characteristics of the Alexandrians cannot be recognized therein. Diogenes is also earlier than the Alexandrian School; but Potamo, according to Suidas (s.v. Ποτάμον, T. III., p. 161), was tutor of the stepsons of Augustus, and for the instructor of princes eclecticism is a very suitable creed. Therefore, because this Potamo is an Alexandrian, Brucker has bestowed on the Alexandrian philosophy the name of Eclectic; but that is neither consistent with fact, nor is it true to history. Eclecticism is something to be utterly condemned, if it is understood in the sense of one thing being taken out of this philosophy, and another thing out of that philosophy, altogether regardless of their consistency or connection, as when a garment is patched together of pieces of different colours or stuffs. Such an eclecticism gives nothing but[401] an aggregate which lacks all inward consistency. Eclectics of this kind are sometimes ordinary uncultured men, in whose heads the most contradictory ideas find a place side by side, without their ever bringing these thoughts together and becoming conscious of the contradictions involved; sometimes they are men of intelligence who act thus with their eyes open, thinking that they attain the best when, as they say, they take the good from every system, and so provide themselves with a vade mecum of reflections, in which they have everything good except consecutiveness of thought, and consequently thought itself. An eclectic philosophy is something that is altogether meaningless and inconsequent: and such a philosophy the Alexandrian philosophy is not. In France the Alexandrians are still called Eclectics; and there, where système is synonymous with narrowness of views, and where indeed one must have the name which sounds least systematic and suspicious, that may be borne with.

In the better sense of the word the Alexandrians may, however, very well be called eclectic philosophers, though it is quite superfluous to give them this designation at all. For the Alexandrians took as their groundwork the philosophy of Plato, but availed themselves of the general development of Philosophy, which after Plato they became acquainted with through Aristotle and all the following philosophies, and especially through the Stoics; that is to say, they reinstated it, but as invested with a higher culture. Therefore we find in them no refutation of the views of the philosophers whom they quote. To this higher culture there more especially belongs the deeper principle that absolute essence must be apprehended as self-consciousness, that its very essence is to be self-consciousness, and that it is therefore in the individual consciousness. This is not to be understood as signifying that God is a Spirit who is outside of the world and outside self-consciousness, as is often said, but as indicating that His[402] existence as self-conscious spirit is really self-consciousness itself. The Platonic universal, which is in thought, accordingly receives the signification of being as such absolute essence. In the higher sense a wider point of view as regards the Idea thus signifies its concretely blending into one the preceding principles, which contain only single one-sided moments of the Idea. This really indicates a deeper knowledge of the philosophical Idea which is known concretely in itself, so that the more abstract principles are contained in the deeper form of the Idea. For after some divergence has taken place in the past it must from time to time come about that the implicit identity of the divergent views is recognized, so that difference has force only as form. In this sense even Plato is eclectic, since he harmonized Pythagoras, Heraclitus, and Parmenides; and the Alexandrians are also thus eclectics, seeing that they were just as much Pythagoreans as Platonists and Aristotelians; the only thing is that this term always at once calls up the idea of an arbitrary selection.

All earlier philosophies could therefore find a place in that of the Alexandrians. For in Alexandria the Ptolemies had attracted to themselves science and the learned, partly by reason of their own interest in science, and partly on account of the excellence of their institutions. They founded the great and celebrated library for which the Greek translation of the Old Testament was made; after Cæsar had destroyed it, it was again restored. There was also there a museum, or what would nowadays be called an Academy of Science, where philosophers and men of special learning received payments of money, and had no other duties than that of prosecuting scientific study. In later times such foundations were instituted in Athens also, and each philosophic school had its own public establishment,[221] without favour being shown to one philosophy or to the[403] other. Thus the Neo-Platonic philosophy arose beside the others, and partly upon their ruins, and overshadowed the rest, until finally all earlier systems were merged therein. It, therefore, did not constitute an individual philosophical school similar to those which went before; but, while it united them all in itself, it had as its leading characteristic the study of Plato, of Aristotle, and of the Pythagoreans.

With this study was combined an interpretation of the writings of these men, which aimed at exhibiting their philosophic ideas in their unity; and the principal mode in which the Neo-Platonic teachers carried on and elaborated Philosophy consisted in their explaining the various philosophical works, especially the writings of Plato and Aristotle, or giving sketches of these philosophies. These commentaries on the early philosophers were either given in lectures or written; and many of them have come down to us, some in the number being excellent. Aristotle’s works were commented on by Alexander Aphrodisiensis, Andronicus Rhodius, Nicolaus Damascenus, and also Porphyrius. Plato had as commentators Numenius and Maximus Tyrius. Other Alexandrians combined a commentary on Plato with study of the other philosophic maxims or philosophies, and managed to grasp the point of unity of the various modes of the Idea very successfully. The best commentaries date from this period; most of the works of Proclus are commentaries on single dialogues of Plato and similar subjects. This school has the further peculiarity of expressing speculation as actual divine Being and life, and, therefore, it makes this appear to be mystical and magical.

1. Ammonius Saccas.

Ammonius Saccas, that is, the sack-bearer, is named as one of the first or most celebrated teachers of this school; he died A.D. 243.[222] But we have none of his writings, nor[404] have any traditions regarding his philosophy come down to us. Among his very numerous disciples Ammonius had many men celebrated in other branches of science, for example, Longinus and Origen; it is, however, uncertain if this were the Christian Father of that name. But his most renowned disciple in philosophy is Plotinus, through whose writings as they are preserved to us we derive our chief knowledge of the Neo-Platonic philosophy. The systematized fabric of this philosophy is, indeed, ascribed to him by those who came after, and this philosophy is known specially as his philosophy.

2. Plotinus.

As the disciples of Ammonius had, by their master’s desire, made an agreement not to commit his philosophy to writing, it was not until late in life that Plotinus wrote; or, rather, the works received from him were published after his death by Porphyrius, one of his disciples. From the same disciple we have an account of the life of Plotinus; what is remarkable in it is that the strictly historical facts recounted are mixed up with a great variety of marvellous episodes. This is certainly the period when the marvellous plays a prominent part; but when the pure system of Philosophy, the pure meaning of such a man, is known, it is impossible to express all one’s astonishment at anecdotes of this kind. Plotinus was an Egyptian; he was born at Lycopolis about A.D. 205, in the reign of Septimius Severus. After he had attended the lectures of many teachers of Philosophy, he became melancholy and absorbed in thought; at the age of eight and twenty he came to Ammonius, and, finding here at last what satisfied him, he remained for eleven years under his instruction. As at that time wonderful accounts of Indian and Brahminical wisdom were being circulated, Plotinus set out on his way to Persia in the army of the Emperor Gordian; but the campaign ended so disastrously that Plotinus did not attain his object, and[405] had difficulty even in procuring his own safety. At the age of forty he proceeded to Rome, and remained there until his death, twenty-six years later. In Rome his outward demeanour was most remarkable; in accordance with the ancient Pythagorean practice, he refrained from partaking of flesh, and often imposed fasts on himself; he wore, also, the ancient Pythagorean dress. As a public lecturer, however, he gained a high reputation among all classes. The Emperor of those days, Gallienus, whose favour Plotinus enjoyed, as well as that of the Empress, is said to have been inclined to hand over to him a town in Campania, where he thought to realize the Platonic Republic. The ministers, however, prevented the carrying out of this plan, and therein they showed themselves men of sense, for in such an outlying spot of the Roman Empire, and considering the utter change in the human mind since Plato’s days, when another spiritual principle had of necessity to make itself universal, this was an enterprise which was far less calculated than in Plato’s time to bring honour to the Platonic Republic. It does little credit to the sagacity of Plotinus that this idea ever entered into his head; but we do not exactly know if his plan were limited to the Platonic Republic, or if it did not admit of some extension or modification thereof. Of course an actual Platonic state was contrary to the nature of things; for the Platonic state is free and independent, which such an one as this, within the Roman Empire, could of course not be. Plotinus died at Rome, in the sixty-sixth year of his age, A.D. 270.[223]

The writings of Plotinus are originally for the most part answers given as occasion required to questions proposed by his auditors; he committed them to writing during the last sixteen years of his life, and Porphyrius edited them [406]some time later. In his teaching Plotinus adopted, as has been already mentioned, the method of commenting in his lectures on the writings of various earlier philosophers. The writings of Plotinus are known as Enneads, and are six in number, each of them containing nine separate treatises. We thus have altogether fifty-four of such treatises or books, which are subdivided into many chapters; it is consequently a voluminous work. The books do not, however, form a connected whole; but in each book, in fact, there are special matters brought forward and philosophically handled; and it is thus laborious to go through them. The first Ennead has for the most part a moral character; the first book proposes the question of what animals are, and what man is; the second deals with the virtues; the third with dialectic; the fourth with happiness (περὶ εὐδαιμονίας); the fifth investigates whether happiness consists in protraction of time (παρατάσει χρόνου); the sixth speaks of the beautiful; the seventh of the highest (πρώτου) good and of the other goods; the eighth inquires into the origin of evil; the ninth treats of a rational departure from life. Other Enneads are of a metaphysical nature. Porphyrius says in his Life of Plotinus (pp. 3-5, 9, 17-19) that they are unequal. He states that twenty-one of these books were already in written form before he came to Plotinus, which was when the latter was fifty-nine years of age; and in that year and the five following, which Porphyrius spent with Plotinus as his disciple, other four-and-twenty were added. During the absence of Porphyrius in Sicily, Plotinus wrote nine more books, in the last years before his death, which later books are weaker. Creuzer is preparing to bring out an edition of Plotinus. To give an account of him would be a difficult task, and would amount to a systematic explanation. The mind of Plotinus hovers over each of the particular matters that he deals with; he treats them rationally and dialectically, but traces them all back to one[407] Idea. Many beautiful detached quotations could be made from Plotinus, but as there is in his works a continual repetition of certain leading thoughts, the reading of them is apt to prove wearisome. Since then it is the manner of Plotinus to lead the particular, which he makes his starting-point, always back again to the universal, it is possible to grasp the ideas of Plotinus from some of his books, knowing that the reading of those remaining would not reveal to us any particular advance. Plato’s ideas and expressions are predominant with him, but we find also many very lengthy expositions quite in the manner of Aristotle; for he makes constant use of terms borrowed from Aristotle—force, energy, &c.—and their relations are essentially the object of his meditations. The main point is that he is not to be taken as placing Plato and Aristotle in opposition; on the contrary, he went so far as to adopt even the Logos of the Stoics.

It is very difficult to give a systematic account of his philosophy. For it is not the aim of Plotinus, as it was of Aristotle, to comprehend objects in their special determinations, but rather to emphasize the truth of the substantial in them as against the phenomenal. The point of greatest importance and the leading characteristic in Plotinus is his high, pure enthusiasm for the elevation of mind to what is good and true, to the absolute. He lays hold of knowledge, the simply ideal, and of intellectual thought, which is implicitly life, but not silent nor sealed. His whole philosophy is on the one hand metaphysics, but the tendency which is therein dominant is not so much an anxiety to explain and interpret and comprehend what forces itself on our attention as reality, or to demonstrate the position and the origin of these individual objects, and perhaps, for instance, to offer a deduction of matter, of evil; but rather to separate the mind from these externals, and give it its central place in the simple, clear Idea. The whole tenor of his philosophy thus leads up to virtue and to the intellectual[408] contemplation of the eternal, as source of the same; so that the soul is brought to happiness of life therein. Plotinus then enters to some extent on special considerations of virtue, with the view of cleansing the soul from passions, from false and impure conceptions of evil and destiny, and also from incredulity and superstition, from astrology and magic and all their train. This gives some idea of the general drift of his teaching.

If we now go on to consider the philosophy of Plotinus in detail, we find that there is no longer any talk of the criterion, as with the Stoics and Epicureans,—that is all settled; but a strenuous effort is made to take up a position in the centre of things, in pure contemplation, in pure thought. Thus what with the Stoics and Epicureans is the aim, the unity of the soul with itself in untroubled peace, is here the point of departure; Plotinus takes up the position of bringing this to pass in himself as a condition of ecstasy (ἔκστασις), as he calls it, or as an inspiration. Partly in this name and partly in the facts themselves, a reason has been found for calling Plotinus a fanatic and visionary, and this is the cry universally raised against this philosophy; to this assertion the fact that for the Alexandrian school all truth lies in reason and comprehension alone, presents a very marked antithesis and contradiction.

And firstly, with regard to the term ecstasy, those who call Plotinus a fanatic associate with the idea nothing but that condition into which crazy Indians, Brahmins, monks and nuns fall, when, in order to bring about an entire retreat into themselves, they seek to blot out from their minds all ordinary ideas and all perception of reality; thus this in some measure exists as a permanent and fixed condition; and again as a steady gaze into vacuity it appears as light or as darkness, devoid of motion, distinction, and, in a word, of thought. Fanaticism like this places truth in an existence which stands midway between reality and the Notion, but is neither the one nor the other,—and[409] therefore only a creature of the imagination. From this view of ecstasy, however, Plotinus is far removed.

But in the second place there is something in the thing itself which has contributed to bring upon him this reproach, and it is this, that very often the name of fanaticism is given to anything that transcends sensuous consciousness or the fixed notions of the finite understanding, which in their limitation are held to constitute real existence. Partly, however, the imputation is due to the manner in which Plotinus speaks in general of Notions, spiritual moments as such, as if they had a substantial existence of their own. That is to say, Plotinus sometimes introduces sensuous modes, modes of ordinary conception, into the world of Notions, and sometimes he brings down Ideas into the sphere of the sensuous, since, for instance, he utilizes the necessary relations of things for purposes of magic. For the magician is just he who attributes to certain words and particular sensuous signs a universal efficacy, and who attempts by prayers, &c., to lift them up to the universal. Such a universal this is not, however, in itself, in its own nature: universality is only attributed to it; or the universal of thought has not yet given itself therein a universal reality, while the thought, the act of a hero is the true, the universal, whose effects and whose means have equal greatness and universality. In a certain sense therefore the Neo-Platonists have well deserved the reproach of fanaticism, for in the biographies of the great teachers of this school, Plotinus, Porphyrius and Iamblichus we certainly find much recounted that comes under the category of miracle-working and sorcery, just as we found it in the case of Pythagoras (Vol. I. p. 200). Upholding as they did the belief in the gods of heathendom, they asserted in reference to the worship of images that these really were filled with the divine power and presence. Thus the Alexandrian school cannot be altogether absolved[410] from the charge of superstition.[224] For in the whole of that period of the world’s history, among Christians and heathen alike, the belief in miracle-working prevailed, because the mind, absorbed in itself and filled with astonishment at the infinite power and majesty of this self, paid no heed to the natural connection of events, and made the interference of a supreme power seem easy. But what the philosophers taught is utterly remote therefrom; except the quite theoretical observation regarding the images of the gods which we mentioned above, the writings of Plotinus contain nothing in any way related thereto.

He then who gives the name of fanaticism to every effort of the soul to rise to the supersensuous, to every belief that man can have in the virtuous, the noble, the divine, the eternal, to every religious conviction,—may count the Neo-Platonists as being fanatics; but fanaticism is in this case an empty name employed only by the dull finite understanding, and by unbelief in all that is high and noble. If we, however, give the name of fanatics to those who rise to speculative truths which contradict the categories of the finite understanding, the Alexandrians have indeed incurred this imputation, but with quite equal reason may the Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy be also termed fanaticism. For Plato most certainly speaks with enthusiasm of the elevation of the spirit into thought, or rather the Platonic enthusiasm proper consists in rising into the sphere of the movement of thought. Those who are convinced that the absolute essence in thought is not thought itself, constantly reiterate that God is beyond consciousness, and that the thought of Him is the notion of One whose existence or reality is nevertheless an utterly different thing; just as, when we think of or imagine an animal or a stone, our notion or imagination is something quite different from the animal itself,—which is making this [411]last to be the truth. But we are not speaking of this or that animal perceived by our senses, but of its essential reality, and this is the Notion of it. The essential reality of the animal is not present as such in the animal of our senses, but as being one with the objective individuality, as a mode of that universal; as essence it is our Notion, which indeed alone is true, whereas what the senses perceive is negative. Thus our Notion of absolute essence is the essence itself, when it is the Notion of absolute essence, not of something else. But this essence does not seem to be co-extensive with the idea of God; for He is not only Essence or His Notion, but His existence. His existence, as pure essence, is our thought of Him; but His real existence is Nature. In this real existence the ‘I’ is that which has the faculty of individual thought; it belongs to this existence as a moment present in it, but does not constitute it. From the existence of essence as essence we must pass over to existence, to real existence as such. As such, God is doubtless a Beyond to individual self-consciousness, that is to say, of course, in the capacity of essence or pure thought; thus to a certain extent He, as individual reality, is Nature which is beyond thought. But even this objective mode comes back into essence, or the individuality of consciousness is overcome. Therefore what has brought upon Plotinus the reproach of fanaticism is this, that he had the thought of the essence of God being Thought itself and present in Thought. As the Christians said that He was once present to sensuous perception at a certain time and in a certain place—but also that He ever dwells in His people and is their Spirit—so Plotinus said that absolute essence is present in the self-consciousness that thinks, and exists in it as essence, or Thought itself is the Divine.

In further defining the relation of individual self-consciousness to the knowledge of absolute essence, Plotinus asserts (Ennead. VI. l. 7, c. 35, 36) that the soul which[412] withdraws from the corporeal and loses every conception but that of pure essence brings itself nigh to the Deity. The principle of the philosophy of Plotinus is therefore the Reason which is in and for itself. The condition of ecstasy through which alone that which has true Being comes to be known, is named by Plotinus (Ennead. VI. l. 9, c. 11) a simplification of the soul, through which it is brought into a state of blissful repose, because its object is itself simple and at rest. But it is evident that we are not to imagine this simplification of self-consciousness to be a condition of fanaticism, seeing that even an immediate knowledge of God such as this is a thinking of Him and a comprehension of Him, and not a vacant feeling, or what is quite as vacant, an intuition. This withdrawal of the soul from the body takes place through pure thought; thought is the activity and at the same time the object. It is thus a tranquil state, without any wild turmoil of the blood or of the imagination. Ecstasy is not a mere rapturous condition of the senses and fancy, but rather a passing beyond the content of sensuous consciousness; it is pure thought that is at home with itself, and is its own object. Plotinus often speaks of this condition in the same way as in the following passage: “Often when I out of the body awaken to myself, and am beyond the other,” the external, “and have entered into my inmost nature, and have a wondrous intuition, and live a godlike life,” &c.[225] In this way Plotinus certainly approaches to the intuitive point of view. Yet his figurative mode of expression separates itself still more from the, in great measure, confused mythical ideas. The Idea of the philosophy of Plotinus is thus an intellectualism or a higher idealism, which indeed from the side of the Notion is not yet a perfect idealism; that of which Plotinus becomes conscious in his ecstasy is, however, philosophic thought, speculative Notions and Ideas.


As for the determinate principle of Plotinus, the objective, the content, which is at home with itself in this ecstasy, in this Being of Thought—this content, as regards its chief moments in the universal, is that already dealt with. The three principles are for him the One, the νοῦς and the soul.

a. The first, the absolute, the basis, is here, as with Philo, pure Being, the unchangeable, which is the basis and the cause of all Being that appears, whose potentiality is not apart from its actuality, but is absolute actuality in itself. It is the unity which is likewise essence, or unity as the essence of all essence. The true principle is not the multiplicity of present Being, the ordinary substantiality of things, according to which each appears as one separated from the others, for really and truly their unity is their essence. This unity is, properly speaking, not All; for All is nothing but the result of the units, the comprehension of them—forming the basis, as they do, as essence—in a unity which is strange to them. Nor is it before all; for it is not different from the all in actual existence, since otherwise it would again be only something thought.[226] The later unity, as regulative of the Reason, has the force of a subjective principle; but Plotinus establishes it as the highest objectivity, as Being.

This unity has no multiplicity in it, or multiplicity is not implicit; unity is only as it was for Parmenides and Zeno, absolute, pure Being; or else the absolute Good, in the sense in which the absolute was spoken of in the writings of Plato and especially in those of Aristotle. In the first place, what is the Good?—“It is that on which all depends (ἀνήρτηται),[227] and which all things desire (ἐφίεται)”—also according to Aristotle—“and have as principle, and [414]which they are all in want of, while itself it has lack of nothing, is sufficient for itself, and is the measure and limit of all, which out of itself gives the νοῦς and essence (οὐσίαν) and soul and life, and the activity of reason (περὶ νοῦν ἐνήργειαν). And up to this point all is beautiful, but it is more than beautiful (ὑπέρκαλος) and better than the best (ἐπέκεινα τῶν ἀρίστων), the superlatively good, bearing free rule, exercising royal rights in Thought (βασιλεύων ἐν τῷ νοητῷ). But it is itself by no means that whose principle it is. For when thou hast said “the Good,” add nothing thereto, and think of nothing beyond. When thou hast abrogated Being itself, and takest it in this wise, astonishment will seize thee; and, making this thy aim and resting therein, thou wilt understand it and its greatness by what is derived from it. And when thou hast Being thus before thee, and regardest it in this purity, wonder will lay hold of thee.”[228]

Of absolute Being Plotinus then asserted that it is unknowable—which Philo also said—and that it remains in itself. On this point Plotinus expatiates at great length, and frequently recurs to the fact that the soul must really first attain to the thought of this unity through negative movement, which is something different from mere assertion, and is rather sceptical movement which makes trial of all predicates and finds nothing except this One. All such predicates as Being and substance do not conform to it in the opinion of Plotinus; for they express some determination or other. There is no sensation, no thought, no consciousness; for in all these there lies a distinction. Because the determination of the One is the main point, with Plotinus the Good is the aim for subjective thought as well as for practical; but although the Good is the absolutely free, it is nevertheless without resolution and [415]will; for will has in it the distinction of itself and the Good.[229]

That Being is and remains God, and is not outside of Him, but is His very self: “Absolute unity upholds things that they fall not asunder; it is the firm bond of unity in all, penetrating all—bringing together and unifying things which in mutual opposition were in danger of separation. We term it the One and the Good. It neither is, nor is it something, nor is it anything, but it is over all. All these categories are negatived; it has no magnitude, is not infinite. It is the middle point of the universe, the eternal source of virtue and the origin of divine love, around which all moves, by which every thing directs its course, in which νοῦς and self-consciousness ever have their beginning and their end.”[230] To this substance Plotinus leads back everything; it alone is the true, and in all remains simply identical with itself.

But out of this First all proceeds, owing to its revealing itself; that is the connection with creation and all production. But the Absolute cannot be conceived as creative, if it is determinate as an abstract, and is not rather comprehended as the One which has energy in itself. This transition to the determinate is thus not made by Plotinus philosophically or dialectically, but the necessity of it is expressed in representations and images. Thus he says (Ennead. III. l. 8, c. 9) of the νοῦς, his second principle, “The one absolute Good is a source which has no other principle, but is the principle for all streams, so that it is not swallowed up by these, but as source remains at rest in itself,” and thus contains these streams as such in itself; so that they, “flowing out in one direction and another, have yet not flowed away, but know whence and whither they are flowing.” [416]This distinction is the point to which Plotinus often returns, and this advance from the unrevealed to the revelation, this production, is a point of importance.

b. Now what is first begotten by this Unity, the Son, is finite understanding (νοῦς), the second Divine Being, the other principle. Here the main difficulty confronts us—the task known and recognized long years ago—the comprehension of how the One came to the decision to determine itself; and the endeavour to elucidate this fact still constitutes the essential point of interest. The ancients did not frame this question in the definite form in which we have it; but they nevertheless occupied themselves with it. For the νοῦς is nothing more or less than the self-finding of self; it is the pure duality (δυάς), itself and its object; it contains all that is thought, it is this distinction, but pure distinction that remains at the same time identical with itself. Simple unity is, however, the First. Plotinus thus also says in a somewhat Pythagorean fashion that things are as numbers in this λόγος. “But number is not the First, for unity is not a number. The first number is the two, but as indeterminate duality; and the one is what determines it; the two is also the soul. Number is the solid; what sensuous perception takes to be existent, is a later development.”[231]

Plotinus has here (Ennead. V. l. 1, c. 6) all sorts of modes of representation in order to make clear to himself the development out of the One: “How then this process is accomplished, how out of unity proceed two and plurality in general—if we would know how to express this, we must call on God, not, however, with audible voice, but pouring out our soul in prayer to Him; this we can do only by coming all alone to Him who is alone. He who contemplates must retire into his secret heart as into a temple, and remain there at rest, being elevated above all [417]things, and in such contemplation as admits of no change.” This is always the mood of the thinking soul, to which Plotinus exhorts and would lead everything back. In this pure thought or contemplation the νοῦς is actual; and this is divine activity itself.

Plotinus continues: “This production is not a movement nor a change; change and what comes to pass through change, the changeable, we arrive at only in the third place;” change implies other-Being and is directed to something else, νοῦς is still the remaining at home with self of meditation. “The finite understanding originating thus from absolute essence, yet without change, is the immediate reflection of the same; it is not established by an act of will or a resolution. But God,” as One, the Good, “is the immovable; and production is a light proceeding from Him who endures. The One sheds light round about Himself; the finite understanding flows from Him, the enduring one, just as the light from the sun encircles it. All things which are permanent give forth and diffuse from their substance an essence which is dependent upon them;” or, as Plotinus really says, it is identical with them. “As fire diffuses warmth, and snow cold, around itself, but especially as the fragrance of things clings round them,” so does νοῦς, like light, diffuse Being around. “That which has come to perfection passes into the emanation, into the circle of light,” spreads a fragrance around.[232] For this going forth (πρόοδον) or production, Plotinus also employs the image of overflowing, whereby, however, the One remains simply one. “Because it is complete in itself, without anything lacking, it overflows; and this overflow is what is produced. This that is produced merely, however, returns to the One,” the Good, “which is its object, content and fulfilling; and this is finite understanding,”—this the reversion of what is produced[418] to the original unity. “The first state of Being that is restful is absolute essence, and finite understanding is the contemplation of this essence;” or it comes into existence by means of the first essence, through return upon itself, seeing itself, by its being a seeing seeing. The light shed around is a contemplation of the One; this reflection of self on self (ἐπιστρέφειν) is then thought, or the νοῦς is this movement in a circle (ἐπιστροφή).[233]

These are the main principles of Plotinus; and he has in this way truly determined the nature of the Idea in all its moments. Only there is a difficulty here which makes us pause; and it is found in this development. We can imagine the infinite disclosing itself in a variety of ways; in later times there has been much talk of an issuing-forth from God, which, however, is still a sensuous conception or something quite immediate. The necessity of self-disclosure is not expressed thereby, for it is stated only as something having come to pass. That the Father begets the eternal Son satisfies the imagination; the Idea is according to its content quite correctly conceived as the Trinity, and this is an important matter. But although these determinations are true, the form of the immediacy of movement is at the same time neither sufficient nor satisfying for the Notion. For because the Becoming of the simple unity, as the abrogation of all predicates, is that same absolute negativity which is implicitly the production of itself, we must not begin with unity and only then pass over into duality, but we must grasp them both as one. For, according to Plotinus, the object of the finite understanding is clearly nothing which is alien or opposite to this or to itself; the manifold Ideas are alone the content of the same. God therefore through distinction and extension is likewise a return to Himself, that is, this very duality is simply in the unity, and is its object. What is[419] thought is not outside of νοῦς in thought νοῦς merely possesses itself as thinking. The object of thought, that to which thought turns back, is absolute unity; into this, however, as such, there is no forcing a way, and it is not determined, but remains the unknown. Since thinking is, however, only the fact of having itself as object, it has thus already an object which contains mediation and activity, or, to speak generally, duality in itself. This is Thought as the thought of Thought. Or in the perfecting of this thought in itself, inasmuch as it is its own object, there lies for Plotinus the first and truly intellectual world, which thus stands to the world of sense in such a relation that the latter is only a distant imitation of the former. Things, looked at as they exist in this absolute Thought, are their own Notions and essence (λόγοι); and these are the patterns of sensuous existences, as Plato also expressed it.[234]

That the nature of thought is to think itself, is a quite Aristotelian definition. But with Plotinus and the Alexandrians it is likewise the case that the true universe, the intellectual worlds is produced from thought; what Plato termed the Ideas, is here the understanding that forms, the intelligence that produces, which is actual in that which is produced, and has itself as object, thinks itself. Of the relation of these many Notions in the understanding, Plotinus states that they are present there, just as the elements are present in a thing, and therefore not as mutually indifferent species, but as being diverse and yet entirely one. They are not indifferent through space, but only differ through an inner difference, that is, not in the manner of existent parts.[235] The finite understanding is thereby expressed as negative unity. But it is utterly inappropriate when the relation of the elements which constitute[420] a thing is defined as that of the parts of which the whole consists, and each of which is absolute—for instance, when it is represented that in a crystal, water, flint, &c., are still present as such. Their Being is really neutrality, in which each of them is abrogated as indifferent and existent: therefore their unity is negative unity, the inner essence, the principle of individuality as containing in itself elements that differ.

c. The world that changes, which is subject to difference, arises from this, that the multiplicity of these forms is not only implicitly in the understanding, but they also exist for it in the form of its object. Further, there is for it a three-fold mode of thinking: in the first place it thinks the unchangeable, its unity, as object. This first mode is the simple undifferentiated contemplation of its object, or it is light; not matter, but pure form, activity. Space is the abstract pure continuity of this activity of light, not the activity itself, but the form of its uninterruptedness. The understanding, as the thought of this light, is itself light, but light real in itself, or the light of light.[236] In the second place the understanding thinks the difference between itself and essence; the differentiated multiplicity of the existent is object for it. It is the creation of the world; in it everything has its determinate form in regard to everything else, and this constitutes the substance of things. Since, in the third place, substantiality or permanency in the faculty of thought is determination, its production, or the flowing out of all things from it, is of such a nature that it remains filled with all things, or likewise absorbs all immediately. It is the abrogation of these differences, or the passing over from one to another; this is its manner of thinking itself, or it is object to itself in this fashion. This is change; thinking has thus the three principles in it. Inasmuch as νοῦς thinks of itself as changing, but yet in change remaining[421] simple and at home with itself, the subject of its thought is life as a whole; and the fact of its establishing its moments as existing in opposition to each other is the true, living universe. This turning round on itself of the outflow from itself, this thinking of itself, is the eternal creation of the world.[237] It is plain that in these thoughts of Plotinus the Being-another, the foreign element, is abrogated, existent things are implicitly Notions. The Divine understanding is the thinking of them, and their existence is nothing else than this very fact of their being the object of thought of the Divine understanding; they are moments of thought and, for this very reason, of Being. Plotinus thus distinguishes in νοῦς thinking (νοῦς), the object thought of (νοητόν), and thought (νόησις), so that νοῦς is one, and at the same time all; but thought is the unity of what had been distinguished.[238] We would term thought not so much unity as product; yet even thought, that is, the subject, soars upwards to God. The distinction between thought and an external God is thus doubtless at an end; for this reason the Neo-Platonists are accused of being visionaries, and in truth they do themselves propound wondrous things.

α. Plotinus now goes on to describe the third principle, the soul: “Νοῦς is eternally active in exactly the same way as now. The movement to it and around it is the activity of the soul. Reason (λόγος), which passes from it to the soul, confers on the soul a power of thought, placing nothing between them. Thinking (νοῦς) is not a manifold; thinking is simple, and consists in the very fact of thinking. The true νοῦς (not ours, as it is found, for instance, in desire) thinks in thoughts, and the object of its thought is not beyond it; for it is itself the object of its thought, has of necessity itself in thought and sees itself; and sees itself [422]not as non-thinking, but as thinking. Our soul is partly in the eternal” (light), “a part of the universal soul; this itself is in part in the eternal, and flows out thence, remaining in contemplation of itself, without any designed regulation. The embellishment of the whole gives to every corporeal object what in view of its determination and nature it is capable of carrying out, just as a central fire diffuses warmth all around it. The One must not be solitary, for were it so all things would be hidden, and would have no form present in them; nothing of what exists would exist if the One stood by itself, neither would there be the multitude of existent things, produced by the One, if those who have attained to the order of souls had not received the power to go forth. Similarly souls must not exist alone, as if what is produced through them should not appear, for in every nature it is immanent to make and bring to light something in conformity with itself, as the seed does from an undivided beginning. There is nothing to prevent all from having a share in the nature of the Good.”[239] Plotinus leaves the corporeal and sensuous on one side, as it were, and does not take pains to explain it, his sole and constant aim being to purify therefrom, in order that the universal soul and our soul may not be thereby endangered.

β. Plotinus speaks, moreover, of the principle of the sensuous world, which is matter, and with which the origin of evil is closely connected. He dwells much on this subject of matter in his philosophy. Matter is the non-existent (οῦκ ὄν), which presents an image of the existent. Things differ in their pure form, the difference that distinguishes them; the universal of difference is the negative, and this is matter. As Being is the first absolute unity, this unity of the objective is the pure negative; it lacks all predicates and properties, figure, &c. It is thus itself a thought or pure Notion, and indeed the Notion of pure[423] indeterminateness; or it is universal potentiality without energy. Plotinus describes this pure potentiality very well, and defines it as the negative principle. He says, “Brass is a statue only in potentiality; for in what is not permanent, the possible, as we have seen, was something utterly different. But when the grammarian in potentiality becomes the grammarian in actuality, the potential is the same as the actual. The ignorant man may be a grammarian, as it were by accident (κατὰ συμβεβηκός), and it is not in virtue of his present ignorance that he has the possibility of knowledge. It is for the very reason of its possessing a certain measure of knowledge that the soul which is actual attains to what it was potentially. It would not be inappropriate to give the name of form and idea to energy, in so far as it exists as energy and not as mere potentiality—not simply as energy, but as the energy of something determinate. For we might give the name more properly, perhaps, to another energy, namely that which is opposed to the potentiality which leads to actuality, for the possible has the possibility of being something else in actuality. But through possibility the possible has also in itself actuality, just as skill has the activity related thereto, and as bravery has brave action. When in the object of thought (ἐν τοῖς νοηντοῖς)[240] there is no matter,—as in the case of something existing in potentiality—and it does not become something that does not yet exist, nor something that changes into something else, nor something that—itself permanent—produces another, or emerging from itself permits another to exist in its place—in that case we have then no mere potential but the existent, which has eternity and not time. Should we consider matter to [424]be there as form, as even the soul, although a form, is matter in respect to what is different? But, speaking generally, matter is not in actuality, it is what exists in potentiality. Its Being only announces a Becoming, so that its Being has always to do with future Being. That which is in potentiality is thus not something, but everything;” energy alone is determinate. “Matter consequently always leans towards something else, or is a potentiality for what follows; it is left behind as a feeble and dim image that cannot take shape. Is it then an image in respect to reality, and therefore a deception? This is the same as a true deception, this is the true non-existent;” it is untrue by reason of energy. “That is therefore not existent in actuality which has its truth in the non-existent;” it exists not in truth, for “it has its Being in non-Being. If you take away from the false its falseness, you take away all the existence that it has. Similarly, if you introduce actuality into that which has its Being and its essence in potentiality, you destroy the cause of its substance (ὑποστάσεως), because Being consisted for it in potentiality. If we would therefore retain matter uninjured, we must keep it as matter; apparently we must therefore say that it is only in potentiality, in order that it may remain what it is.”[241]

In accordance with this, therefore, Plotinus (Ennead. III. l. 6, c. 7, 8) defines it: “Matter is truly non-existent, a motion which abrogates itself, absolute unrest, yet itself at rest—what is opposed in itself; it is the great which is small, the small which is great, the more which is less, the less which is more. When defined in one mode, it is really rather the opposite; that is to say, when looked at and fixed, it is not fixed and escapes, or when not fixed it is fixed—the simply illusory.” Matter itself is therefore imperishable; there is nothing into which it can change. The Idea of change is itself imperishable, but what is implied[425] in this Idea is changeable. This matter is nevertheless not without form; and we have seen that the finite understanding has a third relationship to its object, namely in reference to differences. As now this relation and alteration, this transition, is the life of the universe, the universal soul of the same, its Being is in like manner not a change which takes place in the understanding, for its Being is its being the immediate object of thought through the understanding.

γ. The Evil likewise, as contrasted with the Good, now begins to be the object of consideration, for the question of the origin of evil must always be a matter of interest to the human consciousness. These Alexandrians set up as matter the negative of thought, but since the consciousness of the concrete mind entered in, the abstract negative is apprehended in this concrete fashion as within the mind itself, therefore as the mentally negative. Plotinus regards this question of evil from many sides; but thoughtful consideration of this subject does not yet go very far. The following conceptions are those that prevail at this time: “The Good is νοῦς, but not the understanding in the sense it used to bear for us, which from a pre-supposition both satisfies itself and understands what is said to it, which forms a conclusion and from what follows draws up a theory, and from the consequence comes to a knowledge of what is, having now obtained something not formerly possessed; for before this its knowledge was empty, although it was understanding. But νοῦς, as we now understand it, contains all things in itself, is all things, and is at home with itself; it has all things while not having them,” because it is in itself ideal. “But it does not possess all in the sense in which we regard what we possess as something different or alien from ourselves; what is possessed is not distinguished from itself. For it is each thing and everything and not confounded, but absolute. What partakes of the same does not partake of all things at once, but partakes in so far as it can. Νοῦς[426] is the first energy and the first substance of the soul, which has activity in regard thereto. The soul, externally revolving round νοῦς, contemplating it and gazing into its depths, beholds God by means of it; and this is the life of the gods, free from evil and filled with blessedness”—in so far as the intelligence which goes forth from itself has in its difference to do only with itself, and remains in its divine unity. “If it remained thus constant there would be no evil. But there are goods of the first and second and third rank, all surrounding the King over all; and He is the originator of all good, and all is His, and those of the second rank revolve round the second, and those of the third round the third. If this is the existent and something even higher than the existent, evil is not included in what is existent or higher than the existent; for this is the good. Nothing remains then but that evil, if it exists, is in the non-existent, as a form of the non-existent—but the non-existent not as altogether non-existent, but only as something other than the existent.” Evil is no absolute principle independent of God, as the Manichæans held it to be. “It is not non-existent in the same way that motion and rest are existent, but is like an image of the existent, or non-existent in an even greater degree; it is the sensuous universe.”[242]. Thus evil has its root in the non-existent.

In the eighth book of the first Ennead Plotinus says (c. 9, 3, 4, 7): “But how is evil recognized? It is owing to thought turning away from itself that matter arises; it exists only through the abstraction of what is other than itself. What remains behind when we take away the Ideas is, we say, matter; thought accordingly becomes different, the opposite of thought, since it dares to direct itself on that which is not within its province. Like the eye turning away from the light in order to see the darkness which in the light it does not see—and this is a seeing which yet is[427] non-seeing—so thought experiences the opposite of what it is, in order that it may see what is opposed to itself.” This abstract other is nothing but matter, and it is also evil; the seeing of the less measure is nothing but a non-seeing. “The sensuous in regard to measure, or the limited, is the less measure, the boundless, the undefined, unresting, insatiable, the utterly deficient; such is not accidental to it, but its substance.” Its aim is always Becoming; we cannot say that it is, but only that it is always about to be. “The soul which makes νοῦς its aim is pure, holds off matter and all that is indeterminate and measureless. But why then, when there is the Good, is there also necessarily Evil? Because there must be matter in the whole, because the whole necessarily consists of opposites. It would not be there, if matter were not present; the nature of the world is compounded of νοῦς and necessity. To be with the gods means to be in thought; for they are immortal. We may also apprehend the necessity of evil in this wise: As the Good cannot exist alone, matter is a counterpart to the Good, necessary to its production. Or we might also say that Evil is that which by reason of constant deterioration and decay has sunk until it can sink no lower; but something is necessary after the first, so that the extreme is also necessary. But that is matter, which has no longer any element of good in it; and this is the necessity of evil.”

With Plotinus, as with Pythagoras, the leading of the soul to virtue is also an important subject. Plotinus has for this reason blamed the Gnostics frequently, especially in the ninth book of the second Ennead (c. 15), because “they make no mention at all of virtue and the Good, nor of how they may be reached, and the soul rendered better and purer. For no purpose is served by saying,[243] ‘Look unto God;’ it must also be shown how we can succeed [428]in causing man thus to behold God. For it may be asked, What is to prevent a man from beholding, while at the same time he refrains from the gratification of no desire, and allows anger to take possession of him? Virtue, which sets a final end before itself and dwells in the soul with wisdom, manifests God; but without true virtue God is an empty word.” The Gnostics limit truth to the mental and intellectual; to this mere intellectuality Plotinus declares himself distinctly opposed, and holds firmly to the essential connection of the intelligible and the real. Plotinus honoured the heathen gods, attributing to them a deep meaning and a profound efficacy. He says in the same treatise (c. 16), “It is not by despising the world and the gods in it, and all else that is beautiful, that man attains to goodness. The wicked man holds the gods in contempt, and it is only when he has completely reached this stage that he becomes utterly depraved. The above-mentioned reverence of the Gnostics for the intelligible gods (νοητοὺς θεούς) is nothing corresponding with this (ἀσυμπαθὴς ἂν γένοιτο):” that is to say, there is no harmony between thoughts and the real world, when one does not go beyond the object of thought. “He who loves anything loves also all things related to the same, therefore also the children of the father whom he loves. Every soul is the daughter of this father. But souls in the heavenly spheres are more intelligible, and better, and far more nearly related to the higher Power than our souls are. For how could this world of reality be cut off from that higher sphere? Those who despise that which is related thereto know it only in name. How could it be pious to believe that Divine providence (πρόνοια) does not reach to matters here below? Why is God not also here? For how otherwise could He know what takes place within this sphere? Therefore He is universally present, and is in this world, in whatever way it be, so that the world participates in Him. If He is at a distance from the world, He is at a distance also from us,[429] and you could say nothing of Him or of what He produces. This world also partakes of Him, and is not forsaken by Him, and never will be so. For the whole partakes of the divine much more than the part does, and the world-soul shares in it to a still greater degree. The Being and the rationality of the world are a proof of this.”

In this we have the main ideas on which the intellectualism of Plotinus is based, the general conceptions to which everything particular is led back; the instances in which this is done are often, however, figurative. What, in the first place, is lacking in them, as we have already remarked, is the Notion. Severance, emanation, effluence or process, emergence, occurrence, are words which in modern times have also had to stand for much, but in fact nothing is expressed by them. Scepticism and dogmatism, as consciousness or knowledge, establish the opposition of subjectivity and objectivity. Plotinus has rejected it, has soared upwards into the highest region, into the Aristotelian thought of Thought; he has much more in common with Aristotle than with Plato, and thereby he is not dialectic, nor does he proceed out of himself, nor as consciousness does he go back out of himself into himself again. With this, in the second place, there is connected the fact that the further descent either to nature or to manifested consciousness, even when expressed as the operation of the higher soul, yet contains much that is arbitrary, and is devoid of the necessity of the Notion; for that which ought to be defined in Notions is expressed in many-coloured pictures, in the form of a reality; and this, to say the least, is a useless and inadequate expression. I quote one example only: our soul belongs not only to the sphere of the finite understanding, where it was perfect, happy, lacking nothing; its power of thought alone belongs to the first, the finite understanding. Its power of motion, or itself looked on as life, had as its source the intelligent world-soul, but sensation had its source in the soul of the world of sensation.[430] That is to say, Plotinus makes the first world-soul to be the immediate activity of the finite understanding, which is an object to itself; it is pure soul above the sublunar region, and dwells in the upper heaven of the fixed stars. This world-soul has power to originate; from it again there flows an entirely sensuous soul. The desire of the individual and particular soul separated from the whole gives it a body; this it receives in the higher region of the heavens. With this body it obtains fancy and memory. At last it repairs to the soul of the sensible world; and from this it acquires sensation, desires, and the life that is vegetative in nature.[244]

This declension, this further step towards the corporeality of the soul, is described by the followers of Plotinus as if the soul sank from the Milky Way and the Zodiac into the orbits of planets which have their place lower down, and in each of these it receives new powers, and in each begins also to exercise these powers. In Saturn the soul first acquires the power of forming conclusions with regard to things; in Jupiter it receives the power of effectiveness of the will; in Mars, affections and impulses; in the Sun, sensation, opinion, and imagination; in Venus, sensuous desires aiming at the particular; in the Moon, lastly, the power of production.[245] In such a way as this Plotinus makes into a particular existence for the spiritual the very things that he declares to be, on the one hand, intelligible moments. The soul which only has desires is the beast; that which only vegetates, which has only power of reproduction, is the plant. But what we spoke of above are not particular conditions of mind, outside of the universal spirit, in the world-spirit’s particular stages of its self-consciousness regarding itself; and Saturn and Jupiter have nothing further to do with it. When they in their potency are expressed[431] as moments of the soul, this is not a whit better than when each of them was supposed to express a particular metal. As Saturn expresses lead, Jupiter tin, and so forth, so Saturn also expresses argumentation, Jupiter will, &c. It is doubtless easier to say that Saturn corresponds with lead, &c., that it is the power of drawing conclusions, or that it represents lead and the power of drawing conclusions, or anything else you like, instead of expressing its Notion, its essence. The above is a comparison with a thing that in like manner does not express a Notion, but is apparent to the senses, which is laid hold of out of the air, or rather indeed from the ground. Such representations are warped and false; for if we say that this is lead, we mean thereby the essence or the implicitness of lead, with which the soul has an affinity; but this is no longer the sensuous Being which is known as lead, nor has this moment of such a state any reality for the soul.

3. Porphyry and Iamblichus.

Porphyry and Iamblichus, who have already been mentioned as the biographers of Pythagoras (Vol. I. p. 197), are distinguished followers of Plotinus. The first, a Syrian, died in 304: the latter, likewise of Syria, in the year 333.[246] Amongst other works by Porphyrius, we possess an “Introduction to the Organon of Aristotle on Genera, Species, and Judgments,” in which his logic is propounded in its principal elements. This work is one which has at all times been the text-book of Aristotelian Logic, and also an authority from which the knowledge of its form has been derived; and our ordinary books of logic contain little more than what is found in this Introduction. The fact that Porphyry devoted himself to logic shows that a determinate form of thought was coming into favour with the Neo-Platonists; but this is something pertaining altogether to[432] the understanding and very formal. Thus we here have the characteristic fact that with the Neo-Platonists the logic of the understanding, the quite empiric treatment of the sciences, is found in conjunction with the entirely speculative Idea, and in respect of practical life with a belief in theurgy, the marvellous and strange: in his life of Plotinus, Porphyry, indeed, describes him a miracle-worker, which statement we, however, must set aside as appertaining to literature.

Iamblichus evinces more mistiness and confusion still; he certainly was a teacher highly esteemed in his time, so that he even received the name of divine instructor; but his philosophic writings form a compilation without much specially to characterize them, and his biography of Pythagoras does not do much credit to his understanding. It was likewise in the Pythagorean philosophy that the Neo-Platonists gloried, and more particularly they revived the form of number-determination which pertains to it. In Iamblichus thought sinks into imagination, the intellectual universe to a kingdom of demons and angels with a classification of the same, and speculation comes down to the methods of magic. The Neo-Platonists called this theurgy (θεουργία); for in the miracle speculation, the divine Idea, is, so to speak, brought into immediate contact with actuality, and not set forth in a universal way. As to the work De mysteriis Ægyptiorum, it is not known for certain whether it had Iamblichus as its author or not; later on Proclus makes great ado concerning him, and testifies that he was indebted to Iamblichus for his main ideas.[247]

4. Proclus.

Proclus, a later Neo-Platonist who has still to be mentioned, is more important. He was born in 412 at Constantinople, but carried on his studies and spent most of his life[433] with Plutarchus in Athens, where he also died in 485. His life is written by Marinus, in a style similar to that of the biographies just mentioned. According to this his parents came from Xanthus in Lycia, a district of Asia Minor; and since Apollo and Minerva were the tutelary deities of this town, he rendered grateful worship to them. They, themselves, vouchsafed to him, as their favourite, particular regard and personal manifestations; indeed, he was healed of an illness by Apollo touching his head; by Minerva, however, he was called upon to go to Athens. First of all he went to Alexandria to study rhetoric and philosophy, and then to Athens, to be with Plutarchus and Syrianus, the Platonists. Here he first studied Aristotelian and then Platonic philosophy. Above all the daughter of Plutarchus, Asclepigenia, initiated him into the profound secrets of philosophy; she, as Marinus assures us, was the only individual at that time who retained the knowledge, transmitted to her by her father, of the mystic ceremonies and of the whole theurgic discipline. Proclus studied everything pertaining to the mysteries, the Orphic hymns, the writings of Hermes, and religious institutions of every kind, so that, wherever he went, he understood the ceremonies of the pagan worship better than the priests who were placed there for the purpose of performing them. Proclus is said to have had himself initiated into all the pagan mysteries. He himself kept all the religious festivals and observances pertaining to nations the most various; he was even familiar with the Egyptian form of worship, observed the Egyptian days of purification and festivals, and spent certain fast days in offering up prayers and praise. Proclus himself composed many hymns—of which we still possess some that are very beautiful—both in honour of the better known divinities and of those whose fame is entirely local. Of the circumstance that he—“the most God-fearing man”—had dealings with so many religions, he himself says: “It is not fitting for a philosopher to be[434] minister (θεραπευτήν) to the worship of one town or of what pertains to the few, for he should be the universal hierophant of the whole world.” He considered Orpheus to be the originator of all Greek theology, and set a specially high value on the Orphic and Chaldaic oracles. It was in Athens that he taught. Of course his biographer, Marinus, relates the most marvellous things about him, that he brought down rain from heaven and tempered great heat, that he stilled the earthquake, healed diseases, and beheld visions of the divine.[248]

Proclus led a most intellectual life; he was a profoundly speculative man, and the scope of his knowledge was very great. In his case, as also in that of Plotinus, the contrast between the insight of such philosophers and what their disciples relate of them in biographies, must strike one very forcibly, for of the wonders described by the biographers few traces are to be found in the works of the subjects themselves. Proclus left behind him a great number of writings, many of which we now possess; he was the author of several mathematical works which we also have, such as that on the Sphere. His more important philosophic works are the Commentaries on Plato’s Dialogues, certain of which have been published from time to time; that on the Timæus was the most famous. But several were only found in manuscript, and of these Cousin issued in Paris the Commentaries on the Alcibiades (Vols. II. III.), and the Parmenides (Vols. IV.-VI.) for the first time. The first volume of Cousin’s edition contains some writings by Proclus which now exist only in Latin, on Freedom, Providence, and Evil. Works separately published are his important writings, The Platonic Theology (εἰς τὲν Πλάτωνος θεολογίαν) and his Theological Elements (συοιχείωσις θεολογική); the latter short work Creuzer has had re-published, as also some of the before-mentioned Commentaries.


Proclus lived, so to speak, in the worship of science. We cannot fail to see in him great profundity of perception, and greater capacity for working a matter out and clearness of expression than are found in Plotinus; scientific development also advanced with him, and on the whole he possesses an excellent manner of expression. His philosophy, like that of Plotinus, has the form of a Commentary on Plato; his book “On the Theology of Plato,” is in this respect his most interesting work. The main ideas of his philosophy may easily be recognized from this work, which possesses many difficulties for this reason in particular, that in it the pagan gods are considered, and philosophic significations derived from them. But he distinguishes himself entirely from Plotinus by the fact that with him the Neo-Platonic philosophy, as a whole, has at least reached a more systematic order, and also a more developed form; thus in his Platonic theology especially (dialectic as the work undoubtedly is) a more distinct progression and distinction between the spheres in the Idea is to be found, than is noticeable in Plotinus. His philosophy is an intellectual system; we must see how we can work it out. His way of putting it is not perfectly clear, but leaves much to be desired.

Proclus differs first of all from Plotinus in not making Being his principle or purely abstract moment, but by beginning from unity, and for the first time understanding Being or subsistence as the third; thus to him everything has a much more concrete form. But the self-development of this unity is not made the necessity of the Notion with Proclus any more than with Plotinus; we must once for all give up seeking here for the Notion of disunion. Proclus (Theol. Plat. II. p. 95) says, “The one is in itself inexpressible and unknowable; but it is comprehended from its issuing forth and retiring into itself.” Proclus in the same place (pp. 107, 108) defines this self-differentiation, the first characteristic of unity, as a production (παράγειν), a[436] going forth (πρόοδος), and also as a representation or demonstration. The relation to difference of the unity which brings forth is, however, not an issuing forth from self, for an issuing forth would be a change, and unity would be posited as no more self-identical. Hence through its bringing forth unity suffers no loss or diminution, for it is the thought that suffers no deterioration through the creation of a determinate thought, but remains the same, and also receives what is brought forth into itself.[249] As far as this goes, the Notion is, properly speaking, no clearer than with Plotinus.

What distinguishes Plotinus is his more profound study of the Platonic dialectic; in this way he occupies himself in his Platonic theology with the most acute and far-reaching dialectic of the One. It is necessary for him to demonstrate the many as one and the one as many, to show forth the forms which the One adopts. But it is a dialectic which to a greater or less extent is externally worked out, and which is most wearisome. But while with Plato these pure notions of unity, multiplicity, Being, &c., appear naturally, and so to speak devoid of other significance than that which they immediately possess (for we designate them as universal ideas which are present in our thought), with Proclus they have another and higher meaning; and hence it comes to pass that, as we have seen (pp. 59, 60), he found in the apparently negative result of the Platonic Parmenides the nature of absolute existence particularly and expressly recognized. Proclus now shows, according to the Platonic dialectic, how all determinations, and particularly that of multiplicity, are resolved into themselves and return into unity. What to the conceiving consciousness is one of its most important truths—that many substances exist, or that the many things, each of which is termed a one, and hence substance, exist in truth in themselves—is lost in this[437] dialectic, and the result ensues that only unity is true existence, all other determinations are merely vanishing magnitudes, merely moments, and thus their Being is only an immediate thought. But since we now ascribe no substantiality, no proper Being to a thought, all such determinations are only moments of a thing in thought. The objection at this point made and constantly maintained against the Neo-Platonists and Proclus is this, that certainly for thought everything goes back within unity, but that this is a logical unity alone, a unity of thought and not of actuality, and that consequently there can be no arguing from the formal to actuality. From this they say it by no means follows that all actual things are not actual substances, that they have not different principles independent of one another, and even that they are not different substances, each of which is separated from the other and in and for itself. That is to say, this contradiction always begins the whole matter over again when it says of actuality that it is something implicit, for those who do this call actuality a thing, a substance, a one—which last are merely thoughts; in short they always again bring forward, as something implicitly existent, that whose disappearance or non-implicitude has been already demonstrated.

But in this regard Proclus displays great sagacity in a remark he makes on the manner in which this mode of production appears in the Parmenides of Plato, who shows in a negative way in this Dialogue that if the existence of unity is affirmed, the existence of multiplicity, &c., must be denied. Respecting these negations (ἀποφάσεις) Proclus now says (Theol. Plat. II. pp. 108, 109) that they do not signify an abrogation of the content (στερητικαὶ τῶν ὑποκειμένων) of which they are predicated, but are the creation of determinatives in accordance with their opposites (γεννητικαὶ τῶν οἷον ἀντικειμένων). “Thus if Plato shows that the first is not many, this has the significance that the many proceed from the first; if he shows that it is not a[438] whole, it proves that the fact of being a whole proceeds from it. The mode (τρόπος) of negations is thus to be taken as perfection which remains in unity, issues forth from everything, and is in an inexpressible and ineffable preponderance of simplicity. On the other hand, God must likewise be derived from these negations; else there would be no Notion (λόγος) of them, and also no negation. The Notion of the inexpressible revolves round itself, never resting, and it strives with itself;” i.e. the one implies its determinations ideally, the whole is contained in the one. Multiplicity is not taken empirically and then merely abrogated; the negative, as dividing, producing, and active, not merely contains what is privative, but also affirmative determinations. In this way the Platonic dialectic wins for Proclus a positive significance; through dialectic he would lead all differences back to unity. With this dialectic of the one and many Proclus makes much ado, more especially in his famous elementary doctrines. The submersion of everything in unity remains, however, merely beyond this unity, instead of which this very negativity must really be grasped as signifying its production.

That which brings forth, according to Proclus, furthermore brings forth through a superfluity of power. There certainly also is a bringing forth through want; all need, all desire, for example, becomes cause through want; and its bringing forth is its satisfaction. The end here is incomplete, and the energy arises from the endeavour to complete itself, so that only in production the need becomes less, the desire ceases to be such, or its abstract Being-for-self disappears. Unity, on the other hand, goes forth out of itself through the superfluity of potentiality, and this superabundant potentiality is actuality generally: this reflection of Proclus is quite Aristotelian. Hence the coming forth of the unity consists in the fact that it multiplies itself, pure number comes forth; but this multiplication does not negate or diminish that first unity,[439] but rather takes place in the method of unity (ἑνιαίως). The many partakes of the unity, but the unity does not partake of multiplicity.[250] The absolute unity which multiplies itself into many ones has consequently generated multiplicity as it is in these ones. Proclus makes use of a many-sided dialectic to show that the many does not exist in itself, is not the creator of the many, that everything goes back into unity, and thus unity is also the originator of the many. It is, however, not made clear how this is the negative relation of the one to itself; what we see is then a manifold dialectic, which merely passes backwards and forwards over the relationship of the one to the many.

To Proclus an important characteristic of this progression is the fact that it takes place through analogy, and what is dissimilar to the truth is the further removed from the same. The many partakes of unity, but it is in a measure likewise not one, but dissimilar to one. But since the many is also similar to what produces it, it likewise has unity as its essence; hence the many are independent unities (ἑνάδες). They contain the principle of unity within themselves, for if as being many they are likewise different, they are, so to speak, only many for a third, being in and for themselves unities. These unities again beget others which must, however, be less perfect, for the effect is not exactly like the cause, that which is brought forth is not quite similar to what brings it forth. These next unities are wholes, i.e., they are no longer real unities, unities in themselves, since in them the unity is only an accident. But because things themselves are in their synthetic nature merely wholes because their souls bind them together, they are dissimilar to the first unity, and cannot be immediately united to it. The abstractly conceived multiplicity is thus their mean; multiplicity is analogous to absolute unity, and is that which [440]unites unity with the whole universe. Pure multiplicity makes the different elements like one another, and hence unites them to unity; but things only have similarity to unity. Thus things that are begotten ever remove themselves more and more from unity, and partake of it less and less.[251]

The further determination of the Idea is known as the trinity (τριάς). Of this Proclus (Theol. Plat. III. p. 140) first of all gives the abstract definition that its three forms are three gods, and now we have more especially to find out how he defined the trinity. This trinity is certainly interesting in the Neo-Platonists, but it is specially so in the case of Proclus, because he did not leave it in its abstract moments. For he again considers these three abstract determinations of the absolute, each on its own account, as a totality of triunity, whereby he obtains one real trinity. Thus in the whole there are three spheres, separated from one another, which constitute the totality, but in such a way that each has again to be considered as complete and concrete in itself; and this must be acknowledged as a perfectly correct point of view which has been reached. Because each of these differences in the Idea, as remaining in unity with itself, is really again the whole of these moments, there are different orders in production; and the whole is the process of the three totalities establishing themselves in one another as identical. It will be shown directly which orders these are, and Proclus occupies himself much with these, because he tries to demonstrate the different powers again in them. Proclus is hence much more detailed, and he went much further than did Plotinus; it may indeed be said that in this respect we find in him the most excellent and best that was formulated by any of the Neo-Platonists.

As regards the further details of his trinity there are, [441]according to his account, three abstract moments present in it, which are worked out in his Platonic theology—the one, the infinite and the limitation; the last two we have likewise seen in Plato (p. 68). The first, God, is just the absolute unity already frequently discussed, which by itself is unknowable and undisclosed, because it is a mere abstraction; it can only be known that it is an abstraction, since it is not yet activity. This unity is the super-substantial (ὑπερούσιον), and in the second place its first production is the many ones (ἑνάδες) of things, pure numbers. In these we have the thinking principles of things, through which they partake of absolute unity; but each partakes of it only through a single individual unity, through the one, while souls do so through thought-out, universal unities. To this Proclus refers the forms of ancient mythology. That is to say, as he calls that first unity God, he calls these numerous unities of thought that flow from it, gods, but the following moments are likewise so called. He says, (Institut. theol. c. 162): “The gods are named in accordance with what depends upon the orders (τάξεων); hence it is possible to know from this their unknowable substances, which constitute their determinate nature. For everything divine is inexpressible on its own account and unknowable as forming part of the inexpressible one; but from differentiation, from change, it comes to pass that we know its characteristics. Thus there are gods capable of being known, which radiate true Being; hence true Being is the knowable divine, and the incommunicable is made manifest for the νοῦς.” But there always remains a compulsion to represent mythology in the determinateness of the Notion. These gods or unities do not correspond to the order of things in such a way that there are just as many and such unities (ἑνάδες) or gods as there are things; for these unities only unite things with the absolute unity. The third is just the limit which holds these unities (ἑνάδες) together, and constitutes their unity with the absolute[442] unity; the limit asserts the unity of the many and the one.[252]

This is better expressed by what follows, in which Proclus takes up the three fundamental principles—the limit, the infinite and what is mingled—of Plato’s Philebus, because the opposition is thus more clearly determined; and therefore these appear to be the original gods. But to such abstractions the name gods is not applicable, for it is as returning that we first of all see them as divine. Proclus says (Theol. Plat. III. pp. 133-134): “From that first limit (πέρας),” the absolute one, “things have (ἐξέρτηται) union, entirety and community,” the principle of individuality, “and divine measure. All separation and fertility and what makes for multiplicity, on the contrary, rest on the first infinitude (ἄπειρον);” the infinite is thus quantity, the indeterminate, just as Plato in the Philebus calls the infinite the evil, and pleasure the untrue, because no reason is present in it (pp. 68, 69). “Hence when we speak of the process of anything divine, it is implied that in the individuals it remains steadfastly one, and only progresses towards infinitude,” continuity as self-production, “and has at the same time the one and multiplicity present in it—the former from the principle of limitation, and the latter from the principle of infinitude. In all opposition which is found in species that are divine, what is more excellent belongs to limitation, and what is less excellent to the infinite. From these two principles everything derives its progress until it steps forth into Being. Thus the eternal, in so far as it is measure as intellectual, partakes of limitation, but in so far as it is the cause of unceasing effort after Being, of infinitude. Thus the understanding in so far as it has the standard (ραραδειγματικὰ μέτρα) within it, is a product of limitation; in so far as it eternally produces everything, it has undiminished[443] capacity for infinitude.” Multiplicity as Notion, not as the many, is itself unity; it is duality, or the determinateness which stands over against indeterminateness. Now according to Proclus (Theol. Plat. III. p. 137) the third is a whole, the unity of determinate and indeterminate, or that which is mingled (μικτόν). “This is first of all everything existent, a monad of many possibilities, a completed reality, a many in one (ἓν πολλά).” The expression “mingled” is not very suitable, is indeed faulty, because mixture at first expresses only an external union, while here the concrete, the unity of opposites, and even more the subjective, is properly speaking indicated.

Now if we consider further the nature of what is mingled we find the three triads likewise, for each of those three abstract principles is itself a similar complete triad, but under one or these particular forms. Proclus says (Theol. Plat. III. p. 135); “The first Being (τὸ πρώτως ὄν) is the mingled, the unity of the triad with itself; it is the Being of the life as well as of the understanding. The first of what is mingled is the first of all existence, the life and the spirit are the two other orders; everything is consequently in triads. These three triads determine themselves thus as absolute Being, life and spirit; and they are spiritual and to be grasped in thought.” According to this only the intelligible world is true for Proclus. But that Proclus did not make the understanding proceed immediately from the unity, is the second point in which he differs from Plotinus; in this Proclus is more logical, and he follows Plato more closely. His sequence is excellent, and he is right in placing the understanding, as the richer, last, since it is not until after the development of the moments which are present in life that the understanding springs forth, and from it in turn the soul.[253] Proclus says (Theol. Plat. I. pp. 21, 22, 28) that certainly in the first unity all agree, but that Plotinus[444] makes the thinking nature appear just after the unity; yet the instructor of Proclus, who led him into all divine truth, limited better this indefinite way of looking at things adopted by the ancients, and differentiated this disorderly confusion of various orders into a comprehensible plan, and succeeded in satisfactorily following and maintaining the distinction of determinations. As a matter of fact we find more distinction and clearness in Proclus than in the turbidity of Plotinus; he is quite correct in recognizing the νοῦς as the third, for it is, that which turns back.

Regarding the relationship of the three orders Proclus now expresses himself in the passage already quoted (Theol. Plat. III. pp. 135-136) thus: “These three are themselves really contained in the existent, for in it is substance, life, the νοῦς and[254] what is the culminating point of all existence (ἀκρότης τῶν ὄντων),” the individuality of the self, the existent on its own account, the subjective, the point of negative unity. “The life that is grasped by thought is the very centre-point of existence. But the understanding is the limit of the existent, and it is thought as known (ὁ νοητὸς νοῦς), for in what is thought is thinking, and in thinking what is thought. But in what is thought thinking is in the mode of thought (νοητῶς), in thinking what is thought is in the mode of thinking (νοερῶς). Substance is the enduring element in existence and that which is interwoven with the first principles and which does not proceed from the one.” The second, “the life, is however that which proceeds from the principles and is born with infinite capacity;” it is itself the whole totality in the determination of infinitude, so that it is a concrete manifold. “The understanding is, again, the limit which leads back once more to the principles, brings about conformity with the principle, and accomplishes an intellectual circle. Now since it is a three-fold in itself, in part it is the substantial [445]in itself, in part the living, in part the intellectual, but everything is substantially contained in it, and hence it is the foremost in existence, that which is united from the first principles.” That is the first reality. Excellent! “I call it substance, since the first substance (αὐτοουσία) is supreme over all existence and is, so to speak, the monad of everything. The understanding itself is that which knows, but life is thinking, and Being is just what is thought. Now if the whole of what exists is mingled, but the first existence (τὸ αὐτοόν) is substance, the substance that comes from the three principles (ὑφισταμένε) is mingled. What is mingled is thus substance as thought; it is from God, from whom also come the infinite and limitation. There are thus four moments, since what is mingled is the fourth.” The first is the monad, the absolute one, then come the many which themselves are units, the infinite of Plato; the third is limitation. The one is clearly all-penetrating, remaining at home with itself, all-embracing; it does not thus appear as one of the three moments, for Proclus adds a fourth which then likewise appears as the third moment, since it is the totality. “This united one is not only derived from those principles which are according to the one, but it also goes forth from them and is three-fold.” It is one trinity and three trinities. The limit and the infinite are, according to Proclus (Theol. Plat. III. pp. 138, 139), before substance and again in it; and this unity of moments is what comes first in all existence (πρωτίστη οὐσία). In the abstract trinity everything is thus contained in itself. Proclus says (Theol. Plat. III. pp. 139, 140): “The truly existent has the trinity of Beauty, Truth, and Symmetry in itself” (this is the way in which, like Plato, he names these three triads), “Beauty for order, Truth for purity, and Symmetry for the unity of what is joined together. Symmetry gives the cause that the existent is unity; Truth, that it is Being; Beauty, that it is thought.” Proclus shows that in each of the three triads, limit, the unlimited, and that[446] which is mingled, are contained; each order is thus the same, but set forth in one of the three forms which constitute the first triad.

a. Proclus says (Theol. Plat. III. p. 140): “Now this is the first triad of all that is thought—the limit, the infinite, and that which is mingled. The limit is God going forth to the culminating point of thought from the uncommunicable and first God, measuring and determining everything, admitting all that is paternal and coherent, and the unblemished race of gods. But the infinite” (quantity) “is the inexhaustible potentiality of this God, that which makes all productions and orders to appear, and the whole infinitude, the primeval essence as well as the substantial, and even the ultimate matter. What is mingled is, however, the first and highest order (διάκοσμος) of the gods, and it is that which holds everything concealed in itself, completed in accordance with the intelligible and all-embracing triad, comprehending in simple form the cause of all that exists, and establishing in the first objects of thought the culminating point which is derived from the wholes.” The first order is thus in its culminating point the abstract substance in which the three determinations as such are shut up without development and maintained in strict isolation; this pure reality is in so far the undisclosed. It is the greatest height reached by thought and likewise really the turning back, as this likewise appears in Plotinus; and this first begets in its culminating point the second order which in the whole is life, and culminates in its turn in the νοῦς.

b. This second triad is placed in the determination of the infinite. On making this step forward Proclus (Theol. Plat. III. pp. 141, 142) breaks into a transport of bacchanalian ecstasy, and says, “After this first triad which remains in unity, let us now in hymns praise the second which proceeds from this, and is brought to pass through the abolition of that which comes before it. As the first unity begets the culminating point of existence, the middle unity[447] begets the middle existence; for it is likewise begetting and self-retaining.” In the second order three moments again appear as before: “Here the principle or the first is the substance which was the completion of the first triad; the second, which was there the infinite, is here potentiality (δύναμις). The unity of both these is Life (ζωή),” the centre, or what gives determinateness to the whole order; “the second existence is life as thought, for in the most external thought Ideas have their subsistence (ὑπόστασιν). The second order is a triad analogous to the first, for the second is likewise a God.” The relationship of these trinities is hence this: “As the first triad is everything, but is so intellectually (νοητῶς) and as proceeding immediately from the one (ἑνκαίως), and remaining within limits (περατοειδῶς), so the second is likewise everything, but in living fashion and in the principle of infinitude (ζωτικῶς καὶ ἀπειροειδῶς), and similarly the third has proceeded after the manner of what is mingled. Limitation determines the first trinity, the unlimited the second, the concrete (μικτόν) the third. Each determination of unity, the one placed beside the other, also explains the intelligible order of gods; each contains all three moments subordinate to itself, and each is this trinity set forth under one of these moments.” These three orders are the highest gods; later on, we find in Proclus (in Timæum, pp. 291, 299) four orders of gods appearing.

c. Proclus comes (Theol. Plat. III. p. 143) to the third triad, which is thought itself as such, the νούς: “The third monad places round itself the νούς as thought, and fills it with divine unity; it places the middle between itself and absolute existence, fills this last by means of the middle and turns it to itself. This third triad does not resemble cause (κατ̓ αἰτίαν), like the first existence, nor does it reveal the all like the second; but it is all as act and expression (ἐκφανῶς); hence it is also the limit of all that is thought. The first triad remains concealed in limit itself, and has all[448] subsistence of intellectuality fixed in it. The second is likewise enduring, and at the same time steps forward;” the living appears, but is in so doing led back to unity. “The third after progression shifts and turns the intelligible limit back to the beginning, and bends the order back into itself; for the understanding is the turning back to what is thought” (to unity), “and the giving of conformity with it. And all this is one thought, one Idea: persistence, progression and return.” Each is a totality on its own account, but all three are led back into one. In the νοῦς the first two triads are themselves only moments; for spirit is just the grasping in itself of the totality of the first two spheres. “Now these three trinities announce in mystic form the entirely unknown (ἄγνωστον) cause of the first and unimparted (ἀμεθεκτοῦ) God,” who is the principle of the first unity, but is manifested in the three: “the one has inexpressible unity, the second the superfluity of all powers, but the third the perfect birth of all existence.” In this the mystic element is that these differences which are determined as totalities, as gods, become comprehended as one. The expression “mystic” often appears with the Neo-Platonists. Thus Proclus for example says (Theol. Plat. III. p. 131): “Let us once more obtain initiation into the mysteries (μυσταγωγίαν) of the one.” Mysticism is just this speculative consideration of Philosophy, this Being in thought, this self-satisfaction and this sensuous perception. However, μυστήριον has not to the Alexandrians the meaning that it has to us, for to them it indicates speculative philosophy generally. The mysteries in Christianity have likewise been to the understanding an incomprehensible secret, but because they are speculative, reason comprehends them, and they are not really secret, for they have been revealed.

In conclusion, Proclus institutes a comparison between these triads. “In the first order the concrete is itself substance, in the second it is life, and in the third the thought[449] that is known.” Proclus calls substance likewise Ἑστία, the fixed, the principle. “The first trinity is the God of thought (θεὸς νοητός); the second the thought of and thinking (θεὸς νοητὸς καὶ νοερός)” the active; “the third the” pure, “thinking God (θεὸς νοερός),” who is in himself this return to unity in which, as return, all three are contained; for “God is the whole in them.” These three are thus clearly the absolute one, and this then constitutes one absolute concrete God. “God knows the divided as undivided, what pertains to time as timeless, what is not necessary as necessary, the changeable as unchangeable, and, speaking generally, all things more excellently than in accordance with their order. Whose are the thoughts, his also are the substances, because the thought of every man is identical with the existence of every man, and each is both the thought and the existence,” and so on.[255]

These are the principal points in the theology of Proclus, and it only remains to us to give some external facts. The individuality of consciousness is partially in the form of an actuality, as magic and theurgy; this often appears among the Neo-Platonists and with Proclus, and is called making a god. The element of theurgy is thus brought into relation with the heathen divinities: “The first and chief names of the gods, one must admit, are founded in the gods themselves. Divine thought makes names of its thoughts, and finally shows the images of the gods; each name gives rise, so to speak, to an image of a god. Now as theurgy through certain symbols calls forth the unenvying goodness of God to the light of the images of the artist, the science of thought makes the hidden reality of God appear through the uniting and separating of the tones.”[256] Thus the statues and pictures of artists show the inward speculative thought, the being replete with the divinity that brings itself into[450] externality; thus the consecration of images is likewise represented. This connecting fact—that the Neo-Platonists have even inspired the mythical element with the divine—is thereby expressed, so that in images, &c., the divine power is present. Nevertheless I have only wished to call this moment to mind because it plays a great part at this particular time.

5. The Successors of Proclus.

In Proclus we have the culminating point of the Neo-Platonic philosophy; this method in philosophy is carried into later times, continuing even through the whole of the Middle Ages. Proclus had several successors who were scholarchs at Athens—Marinus, his biographer, and then Isidorus of Gaza, and finally Damascius. Of the latter we still possess some very interesting writings; he was the last teacher of the Neo-Platonic philosophy in the Academy. For in 529 A.D. the Emperor Justinian caused this school to be closed, and drove all heathen philosophers from his kingdom: amongst these was Simplicius, a celebrated commentator on Aristotle, several of whose commentaries are not yet printed. They sought and found protection and freedom in Persia under Chosroïs. After some time they ventured to return to the Roman Empire, but they could no longer form any school at Athens; thus as far as its external existence is concerned, the heathen philosophy went utterly to ruin.[257] Eunapius treats of this last period, and Cousin has dealt with it in a short treatise. Although the Neo-Platonic school ceased to exist outwardly, ideas of the Neo-Platonists, and specially the philosophy of Proclus, were long maintained and preserved in the Church; and later on we shall on several occasions refer to [451]it. In the earlier, purer, mystical scholastics we find the same ideas as are seen in Proclus, and until comparatively recent times, when in the Catholic Church God is spoken of in a profound and mystical way, the ideas expressed are Neo-Platonic.

In the examples given by us perhaps the best of the Neo-Platonic philosophy is found; in it the world of thought has, so to speak, consolidated itself, not as though the Neo-Platonists had possessed this world of thought alongside of a sensuous world, for the sensuous world has disappeared and the whole been raised into spirit, and this whole has been called God and His life in it. Here we witness a great revolution, and with this the first period, that of Greek philosophy, closes. The Greek principle is freedom as beauty, reconciliation in imagination, natural free reconciliation that is immediately realized, and thus represents an Idea in sensuous guise. Through philosophy thought, however, desires to tear itself away from what is sensuous, for philosophy is the constitution of thought into a totality beyond the sensuous and the imaginary. Herein is this simple progression contained, and the points of view which we have noticed are, as cursorily surveyed, the following.

First of all we saw the abstract in natural form: then abstract thought in its immediacy, and thus the one, Being. These are pure thoughts, but thought is not yet comprehended as thought; for us these thoughts are merely universal thoughts to which the consciousness of thought is still lacking. Socrates is the second stage, in which thought appears as self, the absolute is the thought of itself; the content is not only determined, e.g. Being, the atom, but is concrete thought, determined in itself and subjective. The self is the most simple form of the concrete, but it is still devoid of content; in as far as it is determined it is concrete, like the Platonic Idea. This content, however, is only implicitly concrete and is not yet known as such;[452] Plato, beginning with what is given, takes the more determinate content out of sensuous perception. Aristotle attains to the highest idea; the thought about thought takes the highest place of all; but the content of the world is still outside of it. Now in as far as this manifold concrete is led back to the self as to the ultimate simple unity of the concrete, or, on the other hand, the abstract principle has content given to it, we saw the systems of dogmatism arising. That thought of thought is in Stoicism the principle of the whole world, and it has made the attempt to comprehend the world as thought. Scepticism, on the other hand, denies all content, for it is self-consciousness, thought, in its pure solitude with itself, and likewise reflection on that beginning of pre-suppositions. In the third place the absolute is known as concrete, and this is as far as Greek philosophy goes. That is to say, while in the system of Stoics the relation of difference to unity is present only as an “ought,” as an inward demand, without the identity coming to pass, in the Neo-Platonist school the absolute is finally set forth in its entirely concrete determination, the Idea consequently as a trinity, as a trinity of trinities, so that these ever continue to emanate more and more. But each sphere is a trinity in itself, so that each of the abstract moments of this triad is itself likewise grasped as a totality. Only that which manifests itself, and therein retains itself as the one, is held to be true. The Alexandrians thus represent the concrete totality in itself, and they have recognized the nature of spirit; they have, however, neither gone forth from the depths of infinite subjectivity and its absolute chasm, nor have they grasped the absolute, or, if we will, abstract freedom of the “I” as the infinite value of the subject.

The Neo-Platonic standpoint is thus not a philosophic freak, but a forward advance on the part of the human mind, the world and the world-spirit. The revelation of God has not come to it as from an alien source. What we here[453] consider so dry and abstract is concrete. “Such rubbish,” it is said, “as we consider when in our study we see philosophers dispute and argue, and settle things this way and that at will, are verbal abstractions only.” No, no; they are the deeds of the world-spirit, gentlemen, and therefore of fate. The philosophers are in so doing nearer to God than those nurtured upon spiritual crumbs; they read or write the orders as they receive them in the original; they are obliged to continue writing on. Philosophers are the initiated ones—those who have taken part in the advance which has been made into the inmost sanctuary; others have their particular interests—this dominion, these riches, this girl. Hundreds and thousands of years are required by the world-spirit to reach the point which we attain more quickly, because we have the advantage of having objects which are past and of dealing with abstraction.



[1] Diog. Laërt. III. 1-4 (Tennemann, Vol. I. p. 416; II. p. 190).

[2] Diog. Laërt. III. 5, 29.

[3] Plat. Epist. VII, p. 324-326 (p. 428-431); Diog. Laërt. III., 5, 6, 8.

[4] Diog. Laërt. III, 6, 7, 9, 18-21; Plat. Epist. VII., p. 326, 327 (p. 431-433).

[5] Plat. Epist. VII. p. 327-330 (p. 433-439); III. p. 316, 317 (p. 410, 411).

[6] This circumstance is assigned by Diogenes Laërtius, in the passage quoted (III. 21, 22), not to the time of Plato’s second journey to Dionysius the younger, i.e. of his third visit to Sicily, where it is placed by the writers of Plato’s Letters, but to the second journey of Plato to Sicily, which corresponds with his first visit to Dionysius the younger.—[Editor’s note.]

[7] Plat. Epist. VII. p. 337-342 (p. 453-461), p. 344-350 (p. 466-477); III. p. 317, 318 (p. 411-415).

[8] Plat. Epist. VII. p. 326 (p. 431).

[9] From the lectures of 1825.

[10] Diog. Laërt. III. 23 (Menag. ad h.l.); Ælian Var. Histor. II. 42; Plutarch, ad principem ineruditum, init. p. 779, ed. Xyl.

[11] Diog. Laërt. III. 2; Bruckeri Hist. Crit. Philos. Vol. I, p. 653.

[12] Compare Vol. I. p. 47-53.

[13] Brandis: De perditis Aristotelis libris de ideis et de bono, sive philosophia, p. 1-13. (Compare Michelet: Examen critique de l’ouvrage d’Aristote intitulé Métaphysique, 1835, p. 28-78.)—[Editor’s note.]

[14] Scholia in Timæum, p. 423, 424 (ed. Bekk: Commentar crit. in Plat. Vol. II.).

[15] Plat. De Republica, V. p. 471-474 (p. 257-261).

[16] Plat. De Republica VII. pp. 514-516 (pp. 326-328).

[17] Plato De Republica, V. p. 475, 476 (p. 265, 266).

[18] Diog. Laërt. VI. 53; cf. Plato De Rep. VI. p. 508 (p. 319).

[19] Plat. De Republ. V. p. 476-479 (p. 266-273).

[20] Plat. Meno, p. 81 (p. 348, 349).

[21] Plat. Phædrus, p. 246 (p. 39, 40).

[22] Plat. Phædrus, p. 246 (p. 40).

[23] Plat. Phædrus, pp. 246-251 (pp. 40-50).

[24] Plat. Phædo, pp. 65-67 (pp. 18-23).

[25] Ibid. p. 72 (p. 35), p. 75 (p. 41).

[26] Ibid. pp. 78-80 (pp. 46-51).

[27] Plat. Phædo, pp. 85, 86 (pp. 62, 63), pp. 92-94 (pp. 74-80).

[28] Ibid. pp. 110-114 (pp. 111-120).

[29] Plat. Timæus, p. 20 et seq. (p. 10 seq.); Critias, p. 108 seq. (p. 149 seq.).

[30] Cf. Vol. I. pp. 318, 319, and the remarks there made. [Editor’s Note.]

[31] Hegel’s Werke, Vol. VI., Pt. I, p. 8.

[32] Plat. Parmenides, pp. 135, 136 (pp. 21-23).

[33] Ibid. p. 129 (pp. 9, 10).

[34] Plat. Parmenides, p. 142 (pp. 35, 36); cf. Arist. Eth. Nicom. ed. Michelet, T. I. Præf. p. VII. sqq.

[35] Plat. Parmenides, p. 166 (p. 84); cf. Zeller; Platonische Studien, p. 165.

[36] Plat. Sophist, pp. 246-249 (pp. 190-196).

[37] Ibid. p. 258 (p. 219).

[38] Plat. Sophist. p. 259 (pp. 220, 221).

[39] Plat. Sophist. pp. 260, 261 (pp. 222-224).

[40] Plat. Sophist. pp. 258, 259 (pp. 218-220).

[41] Cf. also Plat. Phileb. p. 14 (p. 138).

[42] Plat. Phileb. pp. 11-23 (pp. 131-156); pp. 27, 28 (pp. 166, 167).

[43] Plat. Phileb. pp. 23-30 (pp. 156-172).

[44] Plat. Phileb. p. 33 (p. 178).

[45] Cf. Plat. Tim. p. 34 (p. 31); p. 48 (pp. 56, 57); p. 69 (p. 96).

[46] Ibid. p. 29 (p. 25).

[47] Plat. Timæus, p. 30, 31 (pp. 25-27).

[48] Plat. Timæus, pp. 31, 32 (pp. 27, 28).

[49] Plat. Timæus p. 32 (p. 28).

[50] Plat. Timæus, pp. 32-34 (pp. 28-31).

[51] Plat. Timæus, p. 35 (p. 32).

[52] Ibid.

[53] Plat. Timæus, pp. 35, 36 (pp. 32-34).

[54] Plat. Timæus, p. 37 (p. 35).

[55] Plat. Timæus, p. 48 (p. 57); pp. 37, 38 (pp. 36, 37).

[56] Plat, Timæus, pp. 47-53 (pp. 55-66).

[57] Plat. Timæus, pp. 53-56 (pp. 66-72).

[58] Plat. Timæus, pp. 67-70 (pp. 93-99).

[59] Plat. Timæus pp. 70-72 (pp. 99-102).

[60] Plat. De Republica, II., pp. 368, 369 (p. 78.)

[61] Following the outline here given by Plato, Hegel, in an earlier attempt to treat the philosophy of Justice (Werke, Vol. I. pp. 380, 381), included in one these two classes, and later named them the general class (Werke, Vol. VIII. p. 267); the “other” class (as Hegel expresses it, in the first of the passages referred to above), which by Plato is not included in this, Hegel divided, however, in both his narratives, into the second class (that of city handicraftsmen), and the third (that of tillers of the soil).—[Editor’s note.]

[62] Plat. de Republica, II. pp. 369-376 (pp. 79-93); III. p. 414 (pp. 158, 159).

[63] Plat. De Republica, V. p. 463, (p. 241,); p. 460 (p. 236).

[64] Plat. De Republica, IX. pp. 427, 428 (pp. 179-181).

[65] Ibid. IV. pp. 428, 429 (pp. 181, 182).

[66] Ibid. pp. 429, 430 (pp. 182-185).

[67] Plat. De Republica, IV. pp. 430-432 (pp. 185-188).

[68] Plat. De Republica, IV. pp. 432, 433 (pp. 188-191).

[69] Plat. De Republica, IV. pp. 437-443 (pp. 198-210).

[70] Plat. De Republica, IV. p. 421 (pp. 167, 168).

[71] Ibid. II. p.376-III. p. 412 (pp. 93-155); V. p. 472-VII. fin. (pp. 258-375).

[72] Plat. De Legibus, IV. pp. 722, 723 (pp. 367-369).

[73] Plat. De Republica, III. pp. 412-415 (pp. 155-161.)

[74] Plat. De Republica, V. pp. 457-461 (pp. 230-239).

[75] Ibid. pp. 451-457 (pp. 219-230); p. 471 (p. 257).

[76] Cf. Hegel: On the Scientific Modes of treating Natural Law (Werke, Vol. I.), pp. 383-386.

[77] Plat. Hippias Major, p. 292 (p. 433); p. 295 sqq. (p. 439 sqq.) p. 302 (pp. 455, 456).

[78] In quoting the chapters of Aristotle both hitherto and in future, Becker’s edition is adopted; where a second number is placed in brackets after the first, different editions are indicated, e.g., for the Organon, Buhle’s edition, for the Nicomachiean Ethics those of Zell and the editor, &c.—[Editor’s note.]

[79] Diog. Laërt. V. 1, 9, 12, 15; Buhle: Aristotelis vita (ante Arist. Opera, T. I.) pp. 81, 82; Ammonius Saccas: Aristotelis vita (ed. Buhle in. Arist. Op. T. I.), pp. 43, 44.

[80] Diog. Laërt. V. 3, 4; 7, 8; Buhle: Aristotel. vita, pp. 90-92.

[81] Aristotelis Opera (ed. Pac. Aurel. Allobrog, 1607), T. I., in fine: Aristotelis Fragmenta. (Cf. Stahr. Aristotelia, Pt. I. pp. 85-91.)

[82] Aulus Gellius: Noctis Atticæ, XX. 5

[83] Diog. Laërt. V. 5, 6; Suidas, s. v. Aristoteles; Buhle: Aristot. vit. p. 100; Ammon. Saccas: Arist. vit. pp. 47, 48; Menag. ad. Diog. Laërt. V. 2; Stahr. Aristotelia, Pt. I. pp. 108, 109; Bruckeri Hist. crit. phil. T. I. pp. 788, 789.

[84] Strabo, XIII. p. 419 (ed. Casaub. 1587); Plutarch in Sulla, c. 26; Brucker. Hist. crit. phil. T. I. pp. 798-800 (cf. Michelet: Examen critique de l’ouvrage d’Aristote, intitulé Métaphysique, pp. 5-16.)

[85] Cf. Michelet: Examen critique, &c., pp. 17-23; 28-114; 199-241.

[86] Gellius: Noct. Atticæ, XX. 5; Stahr: Aristotelia, Pt. I. pp 110-112.

[87] Arist. Metaphys. VI. 1; Physic. II. 2; I. 9. (Cf. Michelet: Examen critique, etc., pp. 23-27.)

[88] Michelet: Examen critique, pp. 115-198.

[89] Not only the form which is to be abrogated, but also matter is spoken of by Aristotle as τι, because in truth the form which is to be abrogated serves only as material for the form which is to be posited; so that he in the first passage names the three moments ἔκ τινος, τι, ὑπό τινος, and in the last passage names them τι, εἴς τι, ὑπό τινος.—[Editor’s Note.]

[90] As this explanation by Hegel of Aristotle’s celebrated passage has so many authorities to support it, the editor cannot here, as frequently elsewhere in these lectures, remain faithful to the directions of his colleagues, quietly to set right anything that is incorrect. It is, nevertheless, clear that Aristotle is speaking of three substances: a sublunar world, which the heavens move; the heavens as the centre which is both mover and moved; and God, the unmoved Mover. The passage must therefore, on the authority of Alexander of Aphrodisias (Schol. in Arist. ed. Brandis, p. 804 b), of Cardinal Bessarion (Aristoteles lat. ed. Bekk. p. 525 b) and others, be thus read: ἔστι τοίνυν τι καὶ ὃ κινεῖ (sc. ὁ οὐρανός)· ἐπεὶ δε τὸ κινούμενον καὶ κινοῦν καὶ μέσον τοίνυν, ἔυτι τι ὃ οὐ κινούμενον κινεῖ. The translation, if this reading be adopted, would be as follows: Besides the heavens in perpetual motion “there is something which the heavens move. But since that which at the same time is moved and causes movement cannot be other than a centre, there is also a mover that is unmoved.” (Cf. Michelet: Examen critique, etc., p. 192; Jahrbücher für wisseuschaftliche Kritik, November, 1841, No. 84, pp. 668, 669). [Editor’s note]

[91] συστοιχία is a good word, and might also mean an element which is itself its own element, and determines itself only through itself.

[92] The word τὸ εἶναι, when it governs the dative (τὸ εἶναι νοήσεί καὶ νοουμένῳ) invariably expresses the Notion, while, when it governs the accusative, it denotes concrete existence. (Trendelenburg: Comment, in Arist. De anima, III. 4, p. 473.) [Editor’s Note.]

[93] Aristotle here distinguishes four determinations: what is moved in capacity, or the movable [das Bewegbare] (κινητόν); what is moved in actuality (κινούμενον); the moving in capacity (κινητικόν), or what Hegel calls the motive [das Bewegliche]; the moving in actuality (κινοῦν). It might have been better to translate κινητόν by motive [Beweglich] and κινητικόν by mobile [Bewegerisch].—[Editor’s note.]

[94] While above (p. 164) we must take the expression τὸ εἶναι as immediate existence because it is opposed to the Notion, here it has the meaning of Notion, because it stands in opposition to immediate existence (καὶ οὺ χωριστὴ μὲν ὕλη, δ̓ εἶναι, καὶ μία τῷ ἀριθμῷ). Cf. Michelet: Comment. in Arist. Eth. Nicom. V. I., pp. 209-214.—[Editor’s note.]

[95] Here τὸ εἶναι has again the signification of Notion, as above (p. 169), because in the preceding words (ἔστι δὲ ταὐτὸ καὶ κατὰ ταὐτὸ ἡ διαίρεσις καὶ ἥ ἕνωσις) immediate existence is expressed.—[Editor’s note.]

[96] The editor has considered himself justified in adopting this rendering, which was commonly used by the Scholastics, and revived by Leibnitz. (Cf. Michelet, Examen Critique, &c., pp. 165, 261, 265.)

[97] Here and once again on this page τὸ εἶναι is the immediate existence of the separate sides of sense-perception, therefore their mere potentiality; while, on the other hand, the active unity of the perceived and the percipient may be expressed as the true Notion of sense-perception.—[Editor’s Note.]

[98] Cf. supra, p. 169, and note there given. The two significations of τῷ εἶναι here come into immediate contact with one another, being likewise intermingled; for immediate existence (ἀριθμῷ ἀδιαίρετον καὶ ἀχωριστον), which is opposed to the Notion (τῷ εἶναι) becomes in what directly follows mere possibility, to which the true reality (δυνάμει μὲν γὰρ τὸ αὐτὸ καὶ ἀδιαίρετον εἶναι) is opposed (δυνάμει μὲν γὰρ τὸ αὐτὸ καὶ ἀδιαίρετον τἀναντία, δ̓ εἶναι ου, ἀλλα τῷ ἐνεργεῖσθαι διαίρετον).—[Editor’s Note.]

[99] Cf. Tenneman, Vol. III. p. 198.

[100] While Aristotle’s reply is short, and given in the manner usually adopted by him, that of following up by a second question the first question proposed (ἢ οὐδὲ τἆλλα φαντάσματα, ἀλλʹ οὐκ ἄνευ φαντασμάτον;), this answer seems quite sufficient. For Aristotle’s words certainly bear the meaning that the original thoughts of the active understanding (the reason), in contradistinction to those of the passive understanding, have quite obliterated in themselves the element of pictorial conception; while in the latter this has not been thoroughly carried out, though even in them pictorial conception is not the essential moment.—[Editor’s Note.]

[101] Against this we have only to remember that in Aristotle’s way of speaking ὕστερον and πρότερον always refer to the work they occur in, while he marks quotations from his other writings by the words: ἐν ἄλλοις, ἐν ἑτέροις, ἄλλοτε, or εἰς ἐκεῖνον τὸν καιρὸν ἀποκείσθω (De Ausc. phys. I. 9). And if it be said, as it may be with truth, that all the physical and psychological works, including the Metaphysics, form one great scientific system, so that ὕστερον and πρότερον may very well be used in relating these works to one another, I have yet proved that the treatise περὶ ψυχῆς must be placed much later than the Metaphysics (Michelet: Examen Critique, &c., pp. 209-222). Might not then the expression ὕστερον refer to the following chapter? In truth, the difficulty raised at the end of the seventh chapter seems completely solved by the words of the eighth chapter quoted above (pp. 198, 199).—[Editor’s Note.]

[102] See Michelet, De doli et culpæ in jure criminali notionibus; System der philosophischen Moral. Book II. Part I; Afzelius, Aristotelis De imputatione actionum doctrina.—[Editor’s Note.]

[103] Ethic, Nicom. I. 2-12 (4-12); X. 6-8; Eth. Eudem. II. 1.

[104] Magn. Moral. I. 5, 35; Eth. Nic. I. 13; Eth. Eud. II. 1.

[105] Ethic. Nicomach. II. 5-7 (6, 7); Maga. Moral. I. 5-9; Eth. Eud. II. 3.

[106] Cf. Arist. Ethic. Nicom. I. 1 (3).

[107] Arist. Eth. Nic. I. 1 (2).

[108] Arist. Polit. III. 1; IV. 14-16.

[109] Ibid. III. 7 (5)-IV. 13.

[110] Arist. Polit. III. 13 (8-9).

[111] Categor. c. 3 (c. 2, § 3-5.)

[112] Categor. c. 4 (c. 2, § 6-8).

[113] Categor. c. 10-14 (8-11); cf. Kant, Kritik der reinen Vernunft, p. 79 (6th Ed.).

[114] Categor. c. 5 (3).

[115] Arist. Categor. c. 4 (2); De Interpretat. c. 4-6.

[116] Arist. Analytic. prior. I. 1; Topic I. 1.

[117] Arist. Topic I. 13 (11) et 1.

[118] Ibid. I. 16-18 (14-16); II. 7, 8, 10.

[119] Ibid. III. 1; Buhle, Argum. p. 18.

[120] Analyt. prior. II. 23 (25).

[121] Diog. Laërt. VII. I, 12, 31, 32, 5, 2 (IV. 6, 7), 13, 6-11, 28, 29. Tennemann, Vol. IV. p. 4; Vol. II. pp. 532, 534; Bruck. Hist. Crit. Phil. T. I. pp. 895, 897-899. (Cf. Fabric. Biblioth. Græc. T. II. p. 413), 901.

[122] Diog. Laërt, VII. 168, 169, 176.

[123] Diog. Laërt. VII. 179-181, 184, 189-202; Tennemann, Vol. IV. p. 443.

[124] Diog. Laërt. VI. 81; Cicer. Acad. Quæst. IV. 30; De Oratore II. 37, 38; De Senectute, c. 7; Tennemann, Vol. IV. p. 444.

[125] Cic. De Officiis III. 2; De Nat. Deor. I. 3; Suidas: s. v. Posidonius, T. III. p. 159.

[126] Aul. Gell. Noct. Att. I. 2 (Gronovius ad h. 1.); II. 18; XV. 11; XIX. 1.

[127] Stob. Eclog. phys. I. p. 32.

[128] Diog. Laërt. VII. 136, 142, 156, 157; Plutarch, de plac. philos. IV. 21.

[129] Diog. Laërt. VII. 135; Stob. Eclog. phys. I. p. 178.

[130] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. IX. 101-103.

[131] Diog. Laërt. VII. 137.

[132] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 234; Diog. Laërt. VII. 138-140, 147, 148.

[133] Diog. Laërt. VII. 54, 46; Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 227-230.

[134] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VIII. 403, sqq.; cf. Senec. Epist. 107.

[135] Diog. Laërt. VII. 63; Sext. Emp. adv. Math. VIII. 70.

[136] Diog. Laërt. VII. 79, 80, 83.

[137] Cicer. De Officiis I. 3, III.; Diog. Laërt. VII. 98, 99.

[138] Diog. Laërt. VII. 94.

[139] Diog. Laërt. VII. 127, 128; Cicer. Paradox, 2.

[140] Cicer. De finibus III. 13; Tusculan. Quæst. II. 25.

[141] Diog. Laërt. VII. 107, 108.

[142] Plutarch. De Stoicorum repugnantia, p. 1031 (ed. Xyl.); Stob. Eclog. ethic. P. II. p. 110 Diog. Laërt. VII. 125.

[143] Diog. Laërt. VII. 121, 122, 116, 117, 129; Sext. Empir. adv. Math. XI. 190-194.

[144] Tacit. Annal. XIV. 53; XIII. 42, 3.

[145] Diog. Laërt. X. 1-8, 10-15; Cic. De Nat. Deor. I. 26; De Finibus, II. 25; Bruck. Hist. Crit. Phil. T. I. pp. 1230, 1231, 1233, 1236; Sext. Emp. adv. Math. X. 18; I. 3.

[146] Diog. Laërt. X. 11, 24, 9; IV. 43; Cic. De Finib. V. 1; Euseb. Præp. evangel. XIV. 5.

[147] Diog. Laërt. X. 26.

[148] Diog. Laërt. X. 31.

[149] Diog. Laërt. X. 31, 32.

[150] Diog. Laërt. X. 33.

[151] Diog. Laërt. X. 33, 34.

[152] Diog. Laërt. X. 34.

[153] Diog. Laërt. X. 48, 49.

[154] Diog. Laërt. X. 50, 51.

[155] Diog. Laërt. X. 54, 55.

[156] Diog. Laërt. X. 55-58.

[157] Diog. Laërt. X. 43, 44, 60, 61; Cic. De fato, c. 10; De finibus, l. 6; Plutarch. De animæ procreat. e Timæo, p. 1015.

[158] Diog. Laërt. X. 78-80, 86, 87, 93-96, 101, 97.

[159] Diog. Laërt. X. 113, 114.

[160] Cicer. De natura Deorum, I. 20.

[161] Diog. Laërt. X. 66, 63, 64.

[162] Diog. Laërt. X. 141-143.

[163] Diog. Laërt. X. 122, 123, 139.

[164] Cicer. De nat. Deor. I. 17, 19, 20.

[165] Cicer. De divinat. II. 17; De nat. Deor. I. 8.

[166] Diog. Laërt. X. 124, 125, 127.

[167] Diog. Laërt. X. 127-132 (119, 135).

[168] Sext. Empir. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 33, § 220.

[169] Diog. Laërt. IV. 28-33, 36-38, 42, 44; Bruck. Hist. crit. phil. T. I. p. 746; Tennemann, Vol. IV. p. 443; Cic. De finib. II. 1.

[170] Sext. Empir. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 33, § 232; Diog. Laërt. IV. 32.

[171] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 154.

[172] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 154-156.

[173] Diog. Laërt. IV. 62, 65; Tennemann, Vol. IV. pp. 334, 443, 444; Cicer. Acad. Quæst. II. 6; Valer. Maxim. VIII. 7, ext. 5.

[174] Plutarch. Cato major, c. 22; Gell. Noct. Attic. VII. 14; Cic. De orat. II. 37, 38; Aelian. Var. hist. III. 17; Bruck. Hist. crit. phil. T. I. p. 763.

[175] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 159, 160.

[176] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 160, 161.

[177] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 161-164, 402.

[178] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 165.

[179] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 166-169.

[180] Ibid. 166, 167.

[181] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 173-175.

[182] Ibid. 176, 177; 187-189; 179.

[183] Ibid. 176, 177; 179; 187-189.

[184] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 181-184.

[185] As it is used here and shortly afterwards, “positive philosophy” has quite an opposite meaning from what we have just seen it to bear in two previous passages (p. 329), because speculation certainly stands in opposition to dogmatism; and at the same time we must in Hegel distinguish altogether this expression in its double significance from the positivism so prevalent in modern times, which, merely escaping from the necessity for thinking knowledge, finally throws itself into the arms of revelation and simple faith, whether it tries to call itself free thought or not.—[Editor’s note.]

[186] Lectures of 1825-1826.

[187] Diog. Laërt. IX. 71-73; cf. Vol. I. pp. 161, 246, 284.

[188] Diog. Laërt. IX. 61-65, 69, 70; Bruck. Hist. crit. phil. T. I. pp. 1320-1323.

[189] Diog. Laërt. IX. 109.

[190] Diog. Laërt. IX. 116; Bruck. Hist. crit. phil. T. I. p. 1328.

[191] Bruck. Hist. crit. phil. T. II. pp. 631-636.

[192] Sext. Empir. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 39, §§ 221-225.

[193] Sext. Empir. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 3, § 7; Diog. Laërt. IX. 69, 70.

[194] Cf. supra, p. 212.

[195] Diog. Laërt. IX. 68.

[196] Sext. Emp. Pyrrh. Hypot. I. c. 8, § 17.

[197] Sext. Emp. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, §§ 40-44.

[198] Sext. Emp, Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, §§ 79-82, 85-89.

[199] Sext. Emp. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, §§ 91, 92.

[200] Sext. Emp. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, §§ 100, 112.

[201] Ibid, §§ 118-120.

[202] Sext. Emp. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, §§ 124-126.

[203] Ibid. §§ 129-131, 133.

[204] Sext. Emp. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, §§ 141-144.

[205] Sext. Emp. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, §§ 145, 148, 149.

[206] Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 15, §§ 164-169. (Diog. Laërt. IX. 88, 89.)

[207] Bruck. Hist. crit. philos. T. II. pp. 797, 799, et notæ; Phil. De legatione ad Cajum, p. 992 (ed. Francf. 1691): Joseph. Antiq. Jud. XVIII. c. 10, p. 649; Euseb. Hist, eccles. II. c. 18; cf. Fabric Biblioth. Gr. Vol. III. p. 115 (Hamburg, 1708).

[208] Phil. De confusione linguarum, p. 358; De special. legib. II. pp. 806, 807; De mundi opificio, p. 15; De migratione Abrahami, pp. 393, 417, 418; Quis. rer. divin. hæres. p. 518; Quod Deus sit immutabilis, pp. 301, 302; De monarchia, I. p. 816; De nominum mutatione, p. 1045; De Cherub. p. 124; De somniis, p. 576.

[209] Phil. De somniis, pp. 574, 575; Liber legis allegoriarum, I. p. 48; Quod Deus sit immut. p. 298.

[210] Phil. De mundi opificio, pp. 4-6; De agricultura, p. 195; De somniis, pp. 597, 599.

[211] Phil. Leg. allegor. I. p. 46, et II. p. 93; Quod deterius potiori insidiari soleat, p. 165; De temulentia, p. 244; De somniis, pp. 578, 586, 588; De confus. ling. pp. 341, 345; Euseb. Præp. ev. VII. c. 13; Phil. De vita Mosis, III. p. 672; De sacrif. Abel., p. 140.

[212] Buhle: Lehrbuch d. Gesch. d. Phil. Pt. IV. p. 124; Phil. De mundi opificio, p. 5.

[213] Phil. De mund. opific. p. 4; De victimas offerentibus, p. 857 (Buhle, ibid. p. 125).

[214] De mundi opificio, pp. 5, 6 (Brucker Hist. crit. phil. Tom. II. pp. 802, 803).

[215] Brucker Hist. crit. phil. T. II. pp. 834-840, 924-927.

[216] Irira: Porta c\nlorum, Dissertatio I. c. 4; c. 6, § 13 et c. 7, § 2; IV. c. 4, sqq.; II. c. 1; V. c. 7, 8; Tiedemann: Geist der speculat. Philosophie, Pt. III. pp. 149, 150, 155-157; Buhle: Lehrbuch der Gesch. der Phil. Pt. IV. pp. 156, 162, 160, 157.

[217] Neander: Genetische Entwickelung der vornehmsten gnostischen Systeme, pp. 10, 33, 34; Philo De nominum mutat. p. 1046.

[218] Neander: Genet. Entwickelung, &c., pp. 168, 170, 171.

[219] Neander: Genet. Entwickelung, &c., pp. 94-97.

[220] Ibid. pp. 160, 10-13; Phil. Quod Deus sit immut. p. 304.

[221] Cf. Buhle, Lehrb. d. Gesch. d. Phil. Pt. IV. pp. 195-200.

[222] Brucker, Hist. crit. phil. T. II. pp. 205, 213, 214.

[223] Porphyrius, Vita Plotini (præmissa Ennead. Plot. Basil. 1580), pp. 2, 3, 5-8; Brucker, Hist. crit. phil. T. II. pp. 218-221; Tiedemann, Geist d. spec. Phil. Vol. III. p. 272; Buhle, Lehrb. d. Gesch. d. Phil. Pt. IV. p. 306.

[224] Cf. Plotin. Ennead. I. l. 6, c. 7; IV. l. 4, c. 39-43; Procli Theol. Plat. I. pp. 69, 70 (ed. Aem. Portus, Hamburg, 1618).

[225] Plot. Ennead. IV. l. 8, c. 1; cf. ibidem, c. 4-7.

[226] Plot. Ennead. III. l. 6, c. 6; VI. l. 9, c. 1, 2; III. l. 8, c. 8.

[227] This Aristotelian word, and also ἐξέρτηται (Procl. Theol. Plat. III. p. 133), often occur in the Neo-Platonists.

[228] Plot. Ennead. I. l. 8: Περὶ τοῦ τίνα καὶ πόθεν τὰ κακά, c. 2 (VI. l. 9, c. 6); III. l. 8, c. 9, 10.

[229] Plot. Ennead. V. l. 3, c. 13, 14; l. 2, c. 1; VI. l. 2, c. 9, 10; l. 8, c. 8, 9; l. 9, c. 3, VI. l. 9, c. 6; l. 8, c. 7 (13, 21).

[230] Steinhart: Quæstiones de dialectica Plotini ratione, p. 21; Plotini Ennead. VI. l. 9, c. 1-9, passim.

[231] Plot. Ennead. III. l. 8, c. 10 fin.; IV. l. 3, c. 17; V. l. 1, c. 4, 5; c. 7; l. 4, c. 2; l. 5, c. 1.

[232] Plot. Ennead. V. l. 1, c. 6 (IV. l. 3, c. 17).

[233] Plot. Ennead. V. l. 2, c. 1; l. 1, c. 7; VI. l. 9, c. 2.

[234] Plot. Ennead. V. l. 3, c. 5; VI. l. 2, c. 8; II. l. 4, c. 4; VI. l. 4, c. 2; V. l. 9, c. 8, 9.

[235] Plot. Ennead. VI. l. 2, c. 2; V. l. 9, c. 8.

[236] Plot. Ennead. IV. l. 3, c. 17.

[237] Plot. Ennead. V. l. 1, c. 7; l. 2, c. 1, 2; l. 6, c. 4; VI. l. 2, c. 22.

[238] Plot. Ennead. V. l. 3, c. 5; ἕν ἅμα πάντα ἔσται, νοῦς, νόησις, τὸ νοητόν.

[239] Plot. Ennead. II. l. 9, c. 1-3, 6.

[240] If we were to translate this by “in the intelligible world,” the expression would be misleading; for “the world” is nowhere. Neither may we say, “intelligible things,” as if there were things of some other kind; such distinctions and definitions are nowhere found.

[241] Plot. Ennead. II. l. 4, c. 4, 12-15; l. 5, c. 2-5.

[242] Plot. Ennead. I. l. 8, c. 2, 3.

[243] Instead of δεῖ in the sentence οὐ γὰρ δεῖ τὸ εἰπεῖν we should certainly read δή, or something of the kind.