HEGEL'S PHILOSOPHY OF MIND, by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

HEGEL'S PHILOSOPHY OF MIND, by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Postby admin » Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:37 am

HEGEL'S PHILOSOPHY OF MIND
by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Translated From The Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences, With Five Introductory Essays, By William Wallace, M.A., LL.D., Fellow of Merton College, and Whyte's Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Oxford
Clarendon Press, 1894

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Table of Contents:

• Preface.
• Five Introductory Essays In Psychology And Ethics.
o Essay 1. On The Scope Of A Philosophy Of Mind.
o Essay 2. Aims And Methods Of Psychology.
o Essay 3. On Some Psychological Aspects Of Ethics.
o Essay 4. Psycho-Genesis.
o Essay 5. Ethics And Politics.
• Introduction.
• Section I. Mind Subjective.
o Sub-Section A. Anthropology. The Soul.
o Sub-Section B. Phenomenology Of Mind. Consciousness.
o Sub-Section C. Psychology. Mind.
• Section II. Mind Objective.
o Distribution.
o Sub-Section A. Law.
o Sub-Section B. The Morality Of Conscience.
o Sub-Section C. The Moral Life, Or Social Ethics.
• Section III. Absolute Mind.
o Sub-Section A. Art.
o Sub-Section B. Revealed Religion.
o Sub-Section C. Philosophy.
• Index.
• Footnotes
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Re: HEGEL'S PHILOSOPHY OF MIND, by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich H

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Preface

I here offer a translation of the third or last part of Hegel's encyclopaedic sketch of philosophy,—the Philosophy of Mind. The volume, like its subject, stands complete in itself. But it may also be regarded as a supplement or continuation of the work begun in my version of his Logic. I have not ventured upon the Philosophy of Nature which lies between these two. That is a province, to penetrate into which would require an equipment of learning I make no claim to,—a province, also, of which the present-day interest would be largely historical, or at least bound up with historical circumstances.

The translation is made from the German text given in the Second Part of the Seventh Volume of Hegel's Collected Works, occasionally corrected by comparison with that found in the second and third editions (of 1827 and 1830) published by the author. I have reproduced only Hegel's own paragraphs, and entirely omitted the Zusätze of the editors. These addenda—which are in origin lecture-notes—to the paragraphs are, in the text of the Collected Works, given for the first section only. The psychological part which they accompany has been barely treated elsewhere by Hegel: but a good popular [pg vi] exposition of it will be found in Erdmann's Psychologische Briefe. The second section was dealt with at greater length by Hegel himself in his Philosophy of Law (1820). The topics of the third section are largely covered by his lectures on Art, Religion, and History of Philosophy.

I do not conceal from myself that the text offers a hard nut to crack. Yet here and there, even through the medium of the translation, I think some light cannot fail to come to an earnest student. Occasionally, too, as, for instance, in §§ 406, 459, 549, and still more in §§ 552, 573, at the close of which might stand the words Liberavi animam meam, the writer really “lets himself go,” and gives his mind freely on questions where speculation comes closely in touch with life.

In the Five Introductory Essays I have tried sometimes to put together, and sometimes to provide with collateral elucidation, some points in the Mental Philosophy. I shall not attempt to justify the selection of subjects for special treatment further than to hope that they form a more or less connected group, and to refer for a study of some general questions of system and method to my Prolegomena to the Study of Hegel's Philosophy which appear almost simultaneously with this volume.

Oxford,
December, 1893.
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Re: HEGEL'S PHILOSOPHY OF MIND, by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich H

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Part 1 of 2

Essay 1. On The Scope Of A Philosophy Of Mind.

The art of finding titles, and of striking out headings which catch the eye or ear, and lead the mind by easy paths of association to the subject under exposition, was not one of Hegel's gifts. A stirring phrase, a vivid or picturesque turn of words, he often has. But his lists of contents, when they cease to be commonplace, are apt to run into the bizarre and the grotesque. Generally, indeed, his rubrics are the old and (as we may be tempted to call them) insignificant terms of the text-books. But, in Hegel's use of them, these conventional designations are charged with a highly individualised meaning. They may mean more—they may mean less—than they habitually pass for: but they unquestionably specify their meaning with a unique and almost personal flavour. And this can hardly fail to create and to disappoint undue expectations.

(i.) Philosophy and its Parts.

Even the main divisions of his system show this conservatism in terminology. The names of the three parts of the Encyclopaedia are, we may say, non-significant of their peculiar contents. And that for a good reason. What Hegel proposes to give is no novel or special doctrine, but the universal philosophy which has passed on from age to age, here narrowed and there widened, but still essentially the same. It is conscious of its continuity and proud of its identity with the teachings of Plato and Aristotle.

The earliest attempts of the Greek philosophers to present philosophy in a complete and articulated order—attempts generally attributed to the Stoics, the schoolmen of antiquity—made it a tripartite whole. These three parts were Logic, Physics, and Ethics. In their entirety they were meant to form a cycle of unified knowledge, satisfying the needs of theory as well as practice. As time went on, however, the situation changed: and if the old names remained, their scope and value suffered many changes. New interests and curiosities, due to altered circumstances, brought other departments of reality under the focus of investigation besides those which had been primarily discussed under the old names. Inquiries became more specialised, and each tended to segregate itself from the rest as an independent field of science. The result was that in modern times the territory still marked by the ancient titles had shrunk to a mere phantom of its former bulk. Almost indeed things had come to such a pass that the time-honoured figures had sunk into the misery of rois fainéants; while the real business of knowledge was discharged by the younger and less conventional lines of research which the needs and fashions of the time had called up. Thus Logic, in the narrow formal sense, was turned into an “art” of argumentation and a system of technical rules for the analysis and synthesis of academical discussion. Physics or Natural Philosophy restricted itself to the elaboration of some metaphysical postulates or hypotheses regarding the general modes of physical operation. And Ethics came to be a very unpractical discussion of subtleties regarding moral faculty and moral standard. Meanwhile a theory of scientific method and of the laws governing the growth of intelligence and formation of ideas grew up, and left the older logic to perish of formality and inanition. The successive departments of physical science, each in turn asserting its independence, finally left Natural Philosophy no alternative between clinging to its outworn hypotheses and abstract generalities, or identifying itself (as Newton in his great book put it) with thePrincipia Mathematica of the physical sciences. Ethics, in its turn, saw itself, on one hand, replaced by psychological inquiries into the relations between the feelings and the will and the intelligence; while, on the other hand, a host of social, historical, economical, and other researches cut it off from the real facts of human life, and left it no more than the endless debates on the logical and metaphysical issues involved in free-will and conscience, duty and merit.

It has sometimes been said that Kant settled this controversy between the old departments of philosophy and the new branches of science. And the settlement, it is implied, consisted in assigning to the philosopher a sort of police and patrol duty in the commonwealth of science. He was to see that boundaries were duly respected, and that each science kept strictly to its own business. For this purpose each branch of philosophy was bound to convert itself into a department of criticism—an examination of first principles in the several provinces of reality or experience—with a view to get a distinct conception of what they were, and thus define exactly the lines on which the structures of more detailed science could be put up solidly and safely. This plan offered tempting lines to research, and sounded well. But on further reflection there emerge one or two difficulties, hard to get over. Paradoxical though it may seem, one cannot rightly estimate the capacity and range of foundations, before one has had some familiarity with the buildings erected upon them. Thus you are involved in a circle: a circle which is probably inevitable, but which for that reason it is well to recognise at once. Then—what is only another way of saying the same thing—it is impossible to draw an inflexible line between premises of principle and conclusions of detail. There is no spot at which criticism can stop, and, having done its business well, hand on the remaining task to dogmatic system. It was an instinctive feeling of this implication of system in what professed only to be criticism which led the aged Kant to ignore his own previous professions that he offered as yet no system, and when Fichte maintained himself to be erecting the fabric for which Kant had prepared the ground, to reply by the counter-declaration that the criticism was the system—that “the curtain was the picture.”

The Hegelian philosophy is an attempt to combine criticism with system, and thus realise what Kant had at least foretold. It is a system which is self-critical, and systematic only through the absoluteness of its criticism. In Hegel's own phrase, it is an immanent and an incessant dialectic, which from first to last allows finality to no dogmatic rest, but carries out Kant's description of an Age of Criticism, in which nothing, however majestic and sacred its authority, can plead for exception from the all-testing Elenchus. Then, on the other hand, Hegel refuses to restrict philosophy and its branches to anything short of the totality. He takes in its full sense that often-used phrase—the Unity of Knowledge. Logic becomes the all-embracing research of “first principles,”—the principles which regulate physics and ethics. The old divisions between logic and metaphysic, between induction and deduction, between theory of reasoning and theory of knowledge,—divisions which those who most employed them were never able to show the reason and purpose of—because indeed they had grown up at various times and by “natural selection” through a vast mass of incidents: these are superseded and merged in one continuous theory of real knowledge considered under its abstract or formal aspect,—of organised and known reality in its underlying thought-system. But these first principles were only an abstraction from complete reality—the reality which nature has when unified by mind—and they presuppose the total from which they are derived. The realm of pure thought is only the ghost of the Idea—of the unity and reality of knowledge, and it must be reindued with its flesh and blood. The logical world is (in Kantian phrase) only the possibility of Nature and Mind. It comes first—because it is a system of First Principles: but these first principles could only be elicited by a philosophy which has realised the meaning of a mental experience, gathered by interpreting the facts of Nature.

Natural Philosophy is no longer—according to Hegel's view of it—merely a scheme of mathematical ground-work. That may be its first step. But its scope is a complete unity (which is not a mere aggregate) of the branches of natural knowledge, exploring both the inorganic and the organic world. In dealing with this endless problem, philosophy seems to be baulked by an impregnable obstacle to its progress. Every day the advance of specialisation renders any comprehensive or synoptic view of the totality of science more and more impossible. No doubt we talk readily enough of Science. But here, if anywhere, we may say there is no Science, but only sciences. The generality of science is a proud fiction or a gorgeous dream, variously told and interpreted according to the varying interest and proclivity of the scientist. The sciences, or those who specially expound them, know of no unity, no philosophy of science. They are content to remark that in these days the thing is impossible, and to pick out the faults in any attempts in that direction that are made outside their pale. Unfortunately for this contention, the thing is done by us all, and, indeed, has to be done. If not as men of science, yet as men—as human beings—we have to put together things and form some total estimate of the drift of development, of the unity of nature. To get a notion, not merely of the general methods and principles of the sciences, but of their results and teachings, and to get this not as a mere lot of fragments, but with a systematic unity, is indispensable in some degree for all rational life. The life not founded on science is not the life of man. But he will not find what he wants in the text-books of the specialist, who is obliged to treat his subject, as Plato says, “under the pressure of necessity,” and who dare not look on it in its quality “to draw the soul towards truth, and to form the philosophic intellect so as to uplift what we now unduly keep down1.” If the philosopher in this province does his work but badly, he may plead the novelty of the task to which he comes as a pioneer or even an architect. He finds little that he can directly utilise. The materials have been gathered and prepared for very special aims; and the great aim of science—that human life may be made a higher, an ampler, and happier thing,—has hardly been kept in view at all, except in its more materialistic aspects. To the philosopher the supreme interest of the physical sciences is that man also belongs to the physical universe, or that Mind and Matter as we know them are (in Mr. Spencer's language) “at once antithetical and inseparable.” He wants to find the place of Man,—but of Man as Mind—in Nature.

If the scope of Natural Philosophy be thus expanded to make it the unity and more than the synthetic aggregate of the several physical sciences—to make it the whole which surpasses the addition of all their fragments, the purpose of Ethics has not less to be deepened and widened. Ethics, under that title, Hegel knows not. And for those who cannot recognise anything unless it be clearly labelled, it comes natural to record their censure of Hegelianism for ignoring or disparaging ethical studies. But if we take the word in that wide sense which common usage rather justifies than adopts, we may say that the whole philosophy of Mind is a moral philosophy. Its subject is the moral as opposed to the physical aspect of reality: the inner and ideal life as opposed to the merely external and real materials of it: the world of intelligence and of humanity. It displays Man in the several stages of that process by which he expresses the full meaning of nature, or discharges the burden of that task which is implicit in him from the first. It traces the steps of that growth by which what was no better than a fragment of nature—an intelligence located (as it seemed) in one piece of matter—comes to realise the truth of it and of himself. That truth is his ideal and his obligation: but it is also—such is the mystery of his birthright—his idea and possession. He—like the natural universe—is (as the Logic has shown) a principle of unification, organisation, idealisation: and his history (in its ideal completeness) is the history of the process by which he, the typical man, works the fragments of reality (and such mere reality must be always a collection of fragments) into the perfect unity of a many-sided character. Thus the philosophy of mind, beginning with man as a sentient organism, the focus in which the universe gets its first dim confused expression through mere feeling, shows how he “erects himself above himself” and realises what ancient thinkers called his kindred with the divine.

In that total process of the mind's liberation and self-realisation the portion specially called Morals is but one, though a necessary, stage. There are, said Porphyry and the later Platonists, four degrees in the path of perfection and self-accomplishment. And first, there is the career of honesty and worldly prudence, which makes the duty of the citizen. Secondly, there is the progress in purity which casts earthly things behind, and reaches the angelic height of passionless serenity. And the third step is the divine life which by intellectual energy is turned to behold the truth of things. Lastly, in the fourth grade, the mind, free and sublime in self-sustaining wisdom, makes itself an “exemplar” of virtue, and is even a “father of Gods.” Even so, it may be said, the human mind is the subject of a complicated Teleology,—the field ruled by a multifarious Ought, psychological, aesthetical, social and religious. To adjust their several claims cannot be the object of any science, if adjustment means to supply a guide in practice. But it is the purpose of such a teleology to show that social requirements and moral duty as ordinarily conceived do not exhaust the range of obligation,—of the supreme ethical Ought. How that can best be done is however a question of some difficulty. For the ends under examination do not fall completely into a serial order, nor does one involve others in such a way as to destroy their independence. You cannot absolve psychology as if it stood independent of ethics or religion, nor can aesthetic considerations merely supervene on moral. Still, it may be said, the order followed by Hegel seems on the whole liable to fewer objections than others.

Mr. Herbert Spencer, the only English philosopher who has even attempted a System of Philosophy, may in this point be compared with Hegel. He also begins with a First Principles,—a work which, like Hegel's Logic, starts by presenting Philosophy as the supreme arbiter between the subordinate principles of Religion and Science, which are in it “necessary correlatives.” The positive task of philosophy is (with some inconsistency or vagueness) presented, in the next place, as a “unification of knowledge.” Such a unification has to make explicit the implicit unity of known reality: because “every thought involves a whole system of thoughts.” And such a programme might again suggest the Logic. But unfortunately Mr. Spencer does not (and he has Francis Bacon to justify him here) think it worth his while to toil up the weary, but necessary, mount of Purgatory which is known to us as Logic. With a naïve realism, he builds on Cause and Power, and above all on Force, that “Ultimate of Ultimates,” which seems to be, however marvellously, a denizen both of the Known and the Unknowable world. In the known world this Ultimate appears under two forms, matter and motion, and the problem of science and philosophy is to lay down in detail and in general the law of their continuous redistribution, of the segregation of motion from matter, and the inclusion of motion into matter.

Of this process, which has no beginning and no end,—the rhythm of generation and corruption, attraction and repulsion, it may be said that it is properly not a first principle of all knowledge, but the general or fundamental portion of Natural Philosophy to which Mr. Spencer next proceeds. Such a philosophy, however, he gives only in part: viz. as a Biology, dealing with organic (and at a further stage and under other names, with supra-organic) life. And that the Philosophy of Nature should take this form, and carry both the First Principles and the later portions of the system with it, as parts of a philosophy of evolution, is what we should have expected from the contemporaneous interests of science2. Even a one-sided attempt to give speculative unity to those researches, which get—for reasons the scientific specialist seldom asks—the title of biological, is however worth noting as a recognition of the necessity of a Natur-philosophie,—a speculative science of Nature.

The third part of the Hegelian System corresponds to what in the Synthetic Philosophy is known as Psychology, Ethics, and Sociology. And here Mr. Spencer recognises that something new has turned up. Psychology is “unique” as a science: it is a “double science,” and as a whole quite sui generis. Whether perhaps all these epithets would not, mutatis mutandis, have to be applied also to Ethics and Sociology, if these are to do their full work, he does not say. In what this doubleness consists he even finds it somewhat difficult to show. For, as his fundamental philosophy does not on this point go beyond noting some pairs of verbal antitheses, and has no sense of unity except in the imperfect shape of a “relation3” between two things which are “antithetical and inseparable,” he is perplexed by phrases such as “in” and “out of” consciousness, and stumbles over the equivocal use of “inner” to denote both mental (or non-spatial) in general, and locally sub-cuticular in special. Still, he gets so far as to see that the law of consciousness is that in it neither feelings nor relations have independent subsistence, and that the unit of mind does not begin till what he calls two feelings are made one. The phraseology may be faulty, but it shows an inkling of the a priori. Unfortunately it is apparently forgotten; and the language too often reverts into the habit of what he calls the “objective,” i.e. purely physical, sciences.

Mr. Spencer's conception of Psychology restricts it to the more general physics of the mind. For its more concrete life he refers us to Sociology. But his Sociology is yet unfinished: and from the plan of its inception, and the imperfect conception of the ends and means of its investigation, hardly admits of completion in any systematic sense. To that incipiency is no doubt due its excess in historical or anecdotal detail—detail, however, too much segregated from its social context, and in general its tendency to neglect normal and central theory for incidental and peripheral facts. Here, too, there is a weakness in First Principles and a love of catchwords, which goes along with the fallacy that illustration is proof. Above all, it is evident that the great fact of religion overhangs Mr. Spencer with the attraction of an unsolved and unacceptable problem. He cannot get the religious ideas of men into co-ordination with their scientific, aesthetic, and moral doctrines; and only betrays his sense of the high importance of the former by placing them in the forefront of inquiry, as due to the inexperience and limitations of the so-called primitive man. That is hardly adequate recognition of the religious principle: and the defect will make itself seriously felt, should he ever come to carry out the further stage of his prospectus dealing with “the growth and correlation of language, knowledge, morals, and aesthetics.”

(ii.) Mind and Morals.

A Mental Philosophy—if we so put what might also be rendered a Spiritual Philosophy, or Philosophy of Spirit—may to an English reader suggest something much narrower than it actually contains. A Philosophy of the Human Mind—if we consult English specimens—would not imply much more than a psychology, and probably what is called an inductive psychology. But as Hegel understands it, it covers an unexpectedly wide range of topics, the whole range from Nature to Spirit. Besides Subjective Mind, which would seem on first thoughts to exhaust the topics of psychology, it goes on to Mind as Objective, and finally to Absolute mind. And such combinations of words may sound either self-contradictory or meaningless.

The first Section deals with the range of what is usually termed Psychology. That term indeed is employed by Hegel, in a restricted sense, to denote the last of the three sub-sections in the discussion of Subjective Mind. The Mind, which is the topic of psychology proper, cannot be assumed as a ready-made object, or datum. A Self, a self-consciousness, an intelligent and volitional agent, if it be the birthright of man, is a birthright which he has to realise for himself, to earn and to make his own. To trace the steps by which mind in its stricter acceptation, as will and intelligence, emerges from the general animal sensibility which is the crowning phase of organic life, and the final problem of biology, is the work of two preliminary sub-sections—the first entitled Anthropology, the second the Phenomenology of Mind.

The subject of Anthropology, as Hegel understands it, is the Soul—the raw material of consciousness, the basis of all higher mental life. This is a borderland, where the ground is still debateable between Nature and Mind: it is the region of feeling, where the sensibility has not yet been differentiated to intelligence. Soul and body are here, as the phrase goes, in communion: the inward life is still imperfectly disengaged from its natural co-physical setting. Still one with nature, it submits to natural influences and natural vicissitudes: is not as yet master of itself, but the half-passive receptacle of a foreign life, of a general vitality, of a common soul not yet fully differentiated into individuality. But it is awaking to self-activity: it is emerging to Consciousness,—to distinguish itself, as aware and conscious, from the facts of life and sentiency of which it is aware.

From this region of psychical physiology or physiological psychology, Hegel in the second sub-section of his first part takes us to the “Phenomenology of Mind,”—to Consciousness. The sentient soul is also conscious—but in a looser sense of that word4: it has feelings, but can scarcely be said itself to know that it has them. As consciousness, the Soul has come to separate what it is from what it feels. The distinction emerges of a subject which is conscious, and an object ofwhich it is conscious. And the main thing is obviously the relationship between the two, or the Consciousness itself, as tending to distinguish itself alike from its subject and its object. Hence, perhaps, may be gathered why it is called Phenomenology of Mind. Mind as yet is not yet more than emergent or apparent: nor yet self-possessed and self-certified. No longer, however, one with the circumambient nature which it feels, it sees itself set against it, but only as a passive recipient of it, a tabula rasa on which external nature is reflected, or to which phenomena are presented. No longer, on the other hand, a mere passive instrument of suggestion from without, its instinct of life, its nisus of self-assertion is developed, through antagonism to a like nisus, into the consciousness of self-hood, of a Me and Mine as set against a Thee and Thine. But just in proportion as it is so developed in opposition to and recognition of other equally self-centred selves, it has passed beyond the narrower characteristic of Consciousness proper. It is no longer mere intelligent perception or reproduction of a world, but it is life, with perception (or apperception) of that life. It has returned in a way to its original unity with nature, but it is now the sense of its self-hood—the consciousness of itself as the focus in which subjective and objective are at one. Or, to put it in the language of the great champion of Realism5, the standpoint of Reason or full-grown Mind is this: “The world which appears to us is our percept, therefore in us. The real world, out of which we explain the phenomenon, is our thought: therefore in us.”

The third sub-section of the theory of Subjective Mind—the Psychology proper—deals with Mind. This is the real, independent Psyché—hence the special appropriation of the term Psychology. “The Soul,” says Herbart, “no doubt dwells in a body: there are, moreover, corresponding states of the one and the other: but nothing corporeal occurs in the Soul, nothing purely mental, which we could reckon to our Ego, occurs in the body: the affections of the body are no representations of the Ego, and our pleasant and unpleasant feelings do not immediately lie in the organic life they favour or hinder.” Such a Soul, so conceived, is an intelligent and volitional self, a being of intellectual and “active” powers or phenomena: it is a Mind. And “Mind,” adds Hegel6, “is just this elevation above Nature and physical modes and above the complication with an external object.” Nothing is external to it: it is rather the internalising of all externality. In this psychology proper, we are out of any immediate connexion with physiology. “Psychology as such,” remarks Herbart, “has its questions common to it with Idealism”—with the doctrine that all reality is mental reality. It traces, in Hegel's exposition of it, the steps of the way by which mind realises that independence which is its characteristic stand-point. On the intellectual side that independence is assured in language,—the system of signs by which the intelligence stamps external objects as its own, made part of its inner world. A science, some one has said, is after all only une langue bien faite. So, reversing the saying, we may note that a language is an inwardised and mind-appropriated world. On the active side, the independence of mind is seen in self-enjoyment, in happiness, or self-content, where impulse and volition have attained satisfaction in equilibrium, and the soul possesses itself in fullness. Such a mind7, which has made the world its certified possession in language, and which enjoys itself in self-possession of soul, called happiness, is a free Mind. And that is the highest which Subjective Mind can reach.

At this point, perhaps, having rounded off by a liberal sweep the scope of psychology, the ordinary mental philosophy would stop. Hegel, instead of finishing, now goes on to the field of what he calls Objective Mind. For as yet it has been only the story of a preparation, an inward adorning and equipment, and we have yet to see what is to come of it in actuality. Or rather, we have yet to consider the social forms on which this preparation rests. The mind, self-possessed and sure of itself or free, is so only through the objective shape which its main development runs parallel with. An intelligent Will, or a practical reason, was the last word of the psychological development. But a reason which is practical, or a volition which is intelligent, is realised by action which takes regular shapes, and by practice which transforms the world. The theory of Objective Mind delineates the new form which nature assumes under the sway of intelligence and will. That intellectual world realises itself by transforming the physical into a social and political world, the given natural conditions of existence into a freely-instituted system of life, the primitive struggle of kinds for subsistence into the ordinances of the social state. Given man as a being possessed of will and intelligence, this inward faculty, whatever be its degree, will try to impress itself on nature and to reproduce itself in a legal, a moral, and social world. The kingdom of deed replaces, or rises on the foundation of, the kingdom of word: and instead of the equilibrium of a well-adjusted soul comes the harmonious life of a social organism. We are, in short, in the sphere of Ethics and Politics, of Jurisprudence and Morals, of Law and Conscience.

Here,—as always in Hegel's system—there is a triad of steps. First the province of Law or Right. But if we call it Law, we must keep out of sight the idea of a special law-giver, of a conscious imposition of laws, above all by a political superior. And if we call it Right, we must remember that it is neutral, inhuman, abstract right: the right whose principle is impartial and impassive uniformity, equality, order;—not moral right, or the equity which takes cognisance of circumstances, of personal claims, and provides against its own hardness. The intelligent will of Man, throwing itself upon the mere gifts of nature as their appointed master, creates the world of Property—of things instrumental, and regarded as adjectival, to the human personality. But the autonomy of Reason (which is latent in the will) carries with it certain consequences. As it acts, it also, by its inherent quality of uniformity or universality, enacts for itself a law and laws, and creates the realm of formal equality or order-giving law. But this is a mere equality: which is not inconsistent with what in other respects may be excess of inequality. What one does, if it is really to be treated as done, others may or even must do: each act creates an expectation of continuance and uniformity of behaviour. The doer is bound by it, and others are entitled to do the like. The material which the person appropriates creates a system of obligation. Thus is constituted—in the natural give and take of rational Wills—in the inevitable course of human action and reaction,—a system of rights and duties. This law of equality—the basis of justice, and the seed of benevolence—is the scaffolding or perhaps rather the rudimentary framework of society and moral life. Or it is the bare skeleton which is to be clothed upon by the softer and fuller outlines of the social tissues and the ethical organs.

And thus the first range of Objective Mind postulates the second, which Hegel calls “Morality.” The word is to be taken in its strict sense as a protest against the quasi-physical order of law. It is the morality of conscience and of the good will, of the inner rectitude of soul and purpose, as all-sufficient and supreme. Here is brought out the complementary factor in social life: the element of liberty, spontaneity, self-consciousness. The motto of mere inward morality (as opposed to the spirit of legality) is (in Kant's words): “There is nothing without qualification good, in heaven or earth, but only a good will.” The essential condition of goodness is that the action be done with purpose and intelligence, and in full persuasion of its goodness by the conscience of the agent. The characteristic of Morality thus described is its essential inwardness, and the sovereignty of the conscience over all heteronomy. Its justification is that it protests against the authority of a mere external or objective order, subsisting and ruling in separation from the subjectivity. Its defect is the turn it gives to this assertion of the rights of subjective conscience: briefly in the circumstance that it tends to set up a mere individualism against a mere universalism, instead of realising the unity and essential interdependence of the two.

The third sub-section of the theory of Objective Mind describes a state of affairs in which this antithesis is explicitly overcome. This is the moral life in a social community. Here law and usage prevail and provide the fixed permanent scheme of life: but the law and the usage are, in their true or ideal conception, only the unforced expression of the mind and will of those who live under them. And, on the other hand, the mind and will of the individual members of such a community are pervaded and animated by its universal spirit. In such a community, and so constituting it, the individual is at once free and equal, and that because of the spirit of fraternity, which forms its spiritual link. In the world supposed to be governed by mere legality the idea of right is exclusively prominent; and when that is the case, it may often happen that summum jus summa injuria. In mere morality, the stress falls exclusively on the idea of inward freedom, or the necessity of the harmony of the judgment and the will, or the dependence of conduct upon conscience. In the union of the two, in the moral community as normally constituted, the mere idea of right is replaced, or controlled and modified, by the idea of equity—a balance as it were between the two preceding, inasmuch as motive and purpose are employed to modify and interpret strict right. But this effect—this harmonisation—is brought about by the predominance of a new idea—the principle of benevolence,—a principle however which is itself modified by the fundamental idea of right or law8 into a wise or regulated kindliness.

But what Hegel chiefly deals with under this head is the interdependence of form and content, of social order and personal progress. In the picture of an ethical organisation or harmoniously-alive moral community he shows us partly the underlying idea which gave room for the antithesis between law and conscience, and partly the outlines of the ideal in which that conflict becomes only the instrument of progress. This organisation has three grades or three typical aspects. These are the Family, Civil Society, and the State. The first of these, the Family, must be taken to include those primary unities of human life where the natural affinity of sex and the natural ties of parentage are the preponderant influence in forming and maintaining the social group. This, as it were, is the soul-nucleus of social organisation: where the principle of unity is an instinct, a feeling, an absorbing solidarity. Next comes what Hegel has called Civil Society,—meaning however by civil the antithesis to political, the society of those who may be styled bourgeois, not citoyens:—and meaning by society the antithesis to community. There are other natural influences binding men together besides those which form the close unities of the family, gens, tribe, or clan. Economical needs associate human beings within a much larger radius—in ways capable of almost indefinite expansion—but also in a way much less intense and deep. Civil Society is the more or less loosely organised aggregate of such associations, which, if, on one hand, they keep human life from stagnating in the mere family, on another, accentuate more sharply the tendency to competition and the struggle for life. Lastly, in the Political State comes the synthesis of family and society. Of the family; in so far as the State tends to develope itself on the nature-given unit of the Nation (an extended family, supplementing as need arises real descent by fictitious incorporations), and has apparently never permanently maintained itself except on the basis of a predominant common nationality. Of society; in so far as the extension and dispersion of family ties have left free room for the differentiation of many other sides of human interest and action, and given ground for the full development of individuality. In consequence of this, the State (and such a state as Hegel describes is essentially the idea or ideal of the modern State)9 has a certain artificial air about it. It can only be maintained by the free action of intelligence: it must make its laws public: it must bring to consciousness the principles of its constitution, and create agencies for keeping up unity of organisation through the several separate provinces or contending social interests, each of which is inclined to insist on the right of home mis-rule.

The State—which in its actuality must always be a quasi-national state—is thus the supreme unity of Nature and Mind. Its natural basis in land, language, blood, and the many ties which spring therefrom, has to be constantly raised into an intelligent unity through universal interests. But the elements of race and of culture have no essential connexion, and they perpetually incline to wrench themselves asunder. Blood and judgment are for ever at war in the state as in the individual10: the cosmopolitan interest, to which the maxim is Ubi bene, ibi patria, resists the national, which adopts the patriotic watchword of Hector11. The State however has another source of danger in the very principle that gave it birth. It arose through antagonism: it was baptised on the battlefield, and it only lives as it is able to assert itself against a foreign foe. And this circumstance tends to intensify and even pervert its natural basis of nationality:—tends to give the very conception of the political a negative and superficial look. But, notwithstanding all these drawbacks, the State in its Idea is entitled to the name Hobbes gave it,—the Mortal God. Here in a way culminates the obviously objective,—we may almost say, visible and tangible—development of Man and Mind. Here it attains a certain completeness—a union of reality and of ideality: a quasi-immortality, a quasi-universality. What the individual person could not do unaided, he can do in the strength of his commonwealth. Much that in the solitary was but implicit or potential, is in the State actualised.

But the God of the State is a mortal God. It is but a national and a limited mind. To be actual, one must at least begin by restricting oneself. Or, rather actuality is rational, but always with a conditioned and a relative rationality12: it is in the realm of action and re-action,—in the realm of change and nature. It has warring forces outside it,—warring forces inside it. Its unity is never perfect: because it never produces a true identity of interests within, or maintains an absolute independence without. Thus the true and real State—the State in its Idea—the realisation of concrete humanity,—of Mind as the fullness and unity of nature—is not reached in any single or historical State: but floats away, when we try to seize it, into the endless progress of history. Always indeed the State, the historical and objective, points beyond itself. It does so first in the succession of times. Die Weltgeschichte ist das Weltgericht.13 And in that doom of the world the eternal blast sweeps along the successive generations of the temporal, one expelling another from the stage of time—each because it is inadequate to the Idea which it tried to express, and has succumbed to an enemy from without because it was not a real and true unity within.

But if temporal flees away before another temporal, it abides in so far as it has, however inadequately, given expression and visible reality—as it points inward and upward—to the eternal. The earthly state is also the city of God; and if the republic of Plato seems to find scant admission into the reality of flesh and blood, it stands eternal as a witness in the heaven of idea. Behind the fleeting succession of consulates and dictatures, of aristocracy and empire, feuds of plebeian with patrician, in that apparent anarchy of powers which the so-called Roman constitution is to the superficial observer, there is the eternal Rome, one, strong, victorious, semper eadem: the Rome of Virgil and Justinian, the ghost whereof still haunts with memories the seven-hilled city, but which with full spiritual presence lives in the law, the literature, the manners of the modern world. To find fitter expression for this Absolute Mind than it has in the Ethical community—to reach that reality of which the moral world is but one-sidedly representative—is the work of Art, Religion, and Philosophy. And to deal with these efforts to find the truth and the unity of Mind and Nature is the subject of Hegel's third Section.
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Re: HEGEL'S PHILOSOPHY OF MIND, by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich H

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Part 2 of 2

(iii.) Religion and Philosophy.

It may be well at this point to guard against a misconception of this serial order of exposition14. As stage is seen to follow stage, the historical imagination, which governs our ordinary current of ideas, turns the logical dependence into a time-sequence. But it is of course not meant that the later stage follows the earlier in history. The later is the more real, and therefore the more fundamental. But we can only understand by abstracting and then transcending our abstractions, or rather by showing how the abstraction implies relations which force us to go further and beyond our arbitrary arrest. Each stage therefore either stands to that preceding it as an antithesis, which inevitably dogs its steps as an accusing spirit, or it is the conjunction of the original thesis with the antithesis, in a union which should not be called synthesis because it is a closer fusion and true marriage of minds. A truth and reality, though fundamental, is only appreciated at its true value and seen in all its force where it appears as the reconciliation and reunion of partial and opposing points of view. Thus, e.g., the full significance of the State does not emerge so long as we view it in isolation as a supposed single state, but only as it is seen in the conflict of history, in its actual “energy” as a world-power among powers, always pointing beyond itself to a something universal which it fain would be, and yet cannot be. Or, again, there never was a civil or economic society which existed save under the wing of a state, or in one-sided assumption of state powers to itself: and a family is no isolated and independent unit belonging to a supposed patriarchal age, but was always mixed up with, and in manifold dependence upon, political and civil combinations. The true family, indeed, far from preceding the state in time, presupposes the political power to give it its precise sphere and its social stability: as is well illustrated by that typical form of it presented in the Roman state.

So, again, religion does not supervene upon an already existing political and moral system and invest it with an additional sanction. The true order would be better described as the reverse. The real basis of social life, and even of intelligence, is religion. As some thinkers quaintly put it, the known rests and lives on the bosom of the Unknowable. But when we say that, we must at once guard against a misconception. There are religions of all sorts; and some of them which are most heard of in the modern world only exist or survive in the shape of a traditional name and venerated creed which has lost its power. Nor is a religion necessarily committed to a definite conception of a supernatural—of a personal power outside the order of Nature. But in all cases, religion is a faith and a theory which gives unity to the facts of life, and gives it, not because the unity is in detail proved or detected, but because life and experience in their deepest reality inexorably demand and evince such a unity to the heart. The religion of a time is not its nominal creed, but its dominant conviction of the meaning of reality, the principle which animates all its being and all its striving, the faith it has in the laws of nature and the purpose of life. Dimly or clearly felt and perceived, religion has for its principle (one cannot well say, its object) not the unknowable, but the inner unity of life and knowledge, of act and consciousness, a unity which is certified in its every knowledge, but is never fully demonstrable by the summation of all its ascertained items. As such a felt and believed synthesis of the world and life, religion is the unity which gives stability and harmony to the social sphere; just as morality in its turn gives a partial and practical realisation to the ideal of religion. But religion does not merely establish and sanction morality; it also frees it from a certain narrowness it always has, as of the earth. Or, otherwise put, morality has to the keener inspection something in it which is more than the mere moral injunction at first indicates. Beyond the moral, in its stricter sense, as the obligatory duty and the obedience to law, rises and expands the beautiful and the good: a beautiful which is disinterestedly loved, and a goodness which has thrown off all utilitarian relativity, and become a free self-enhancing joy. The true spirit of religion sees in the divine judgment not a mere final sanction to human morality which has failed of its earthly close, not the re-adjustment of social and political judgments in accordance with our more conscientious inner standards, but a certain, though, for our part-by-part vision, incalculable proportion between what is done and suffered. And in this liberation of the moral from its restrictions, Art renders no slight aid. Thus in different ways, religion presupposes morality to fill up its vacant form, and morality presupposes religion to give its laws an ultimate sanction, which at the same time points beyond their limitations.

But art, religion, and philosophy still rest on the national culture and on the individual mind. However much they rise in the heights of the ideal world, they never leave the reality of life and circumstance behind, and float in the free empyrean. Yet there are degrees of universality, degrees in which they reach what they promised. As the various psychical nuclei of an individual consciousness tend through the course of experience to gather round a central idea and by fusion and assimilation form a complete mental organisation; so, through the march of history, there grows up a complication and a fusion of national ideas and aspirations, which, though still retaining the individuality and restriction of a concrete national life, ultimately present an organisation social, aesthetic, and religious which is a type of humanity in its universality and completeness. Always moving in the measure and on the lines of the real development of its social organisation, the art and religion of a nation tend to give expression to what social and political actuality at its best but imperfectly sets in existence. They come more and more to be, not mere competing fragments as set side by side with those of others, but comparatively equal and complete representations of the many-sided and many-voiced reality of man and the world. Yet always they live and flourish in reciprocity with the fullness of practical institutions and individual character. An abstractly universal art and religion is a delusion—until all diversities of geography and climate, of language and temperament, have been made to disappear. If these energies are in power and reality and not merely in name, they cannot be applied like a panacea or put on like a suit of ready-made clothes. If alive, they grow with individualised type out of the social situation: and they can only attain a vulgar and visible universality, so far as they attach themselves to some simple and uniform aspects,—a part tolerably identical everywhere—in human nature in all times and races.

Art, according to Hegel's account, is the first of the three expressions of Absolute Mind. But the key-note to the whole is to be found in Religion15: or Religion is the generic description of that phase of mind which has found rest in the fullness of attainment and is no longer a struggle and a warfare, but a fruition. “It is the conviction of all nations,” he says16, “that in the religious consciousness they hold their truth; and they have always regarded religion as their dignity and as the Sunday of their life. Whatever excites our doubts and alarms, all grief and all anxiety, all that the petty fields of finitude can offer to attract us, we leave behind on the shoals of time: and as the traveller on the highest peak of a mountain range, removed from every distinct view of the earth's surface, quietly lets his vision neglect all the restrictions of the landscape and the world; so in this pure region of faith man, lifted above the hard and inflexible reality, sees it with his mind's eye reflected in the rays of the mental sun to an image where its discords, its lights and shades, are softened to eternal calm. In this region of mind flow the waters of forgetfulness, from which Psyche drinks, and in which she drowns all her pain: and the darknesses of this life are here softened to a dream-image, and transfigured into a mere setting for the splendours of the Eternal.'”

If we take Religion, in this extended sense, we find it is the sense, the vision, the faith, the certainty of the eternal in the changeable, of the infinite in the finite, of the reality in appearance, of the truth in error. It is freedom from the distractions and pre-occupations of the particular details of life; it is the sense of permanence, repose, certainty, rounding off, toning down and absorbing the vicissitude, the restlessness, the doubts of actual life. Such a victory over palpable reality has no doubt its origin—its embryology—in phases of mind which have been already discussed in the first section. Religion will vary enormously according to the grade of national mood of mind and social development in which it emerges. But whatever be the peculiarities of its original swaddling-clothes, its cardinal note will be a sense of dependence on, and independence in, something more permanent, more august, more of a surety and stay than visible and variable nature and man,—something also which whether God or devil, or both in one, holds the keys of life and death, of weal and woe, and holds them from some safe vantage-ground above the lower realms of change. By this central being the outward and the inward, past and present and to come, are made one. And as already indicated, Religion, emerging, as it does, from social man, from mind ethical, will retain traces of the two foci in society: the individual subjectivity and the objective community. Retain them however only as traces, which still show in the actually envisaged reconciliation. For that is what religion does to morality. It carries a step higher the unity or rather combination gained in the State: it is the fuller harmony of the individual and the collectivity. The moral conscience rests in certainty and fixity on the religious.

But Religion (thus widely understood as the faith in sempiternal and all-explaining reality) at first appears under a guise of Art. The poem and the pyramid, the temple-image and the painting, the drama and the fairy legend, these are religion: but they are, perhaps, religion as Art. And that means that they present the eternal under sensible representations, the work of an artist, and in a perishable material of limited range. Yet even the carvers of a long-past day whose works have been disinterred from the plateaux of Auvergne knew that they gave to the perishable life around them a quasi-immortality: and the myth-teller of a savage tribe elevated the incident of a season into a perennial power of love and fear. The cynic may remind us that from the finest picture of the artist, readily

“We turn
To yonder girl that fords the burn.”

And yet it may be said in reply to the cynic that, had it not been for the deep-imprinted lesson of the artist, it would have been but a brutal instinct that would have drawn our eyes. The artist, the poet, the musician, reveal the meaning, the truth, the reality of the world: they teach us, they help us, backward younger brothers, to see, to hear, to feel what our rude senses had failed to detect. They enact the miracle of the loaves and fishes, again and again: out of the common limited things of every day they produce a bread of life in which the generations continue to find nourishment.

But if Art embodies for us the unseen and the eternal, it embodies it in the stone, the colour, the tone, and the word: and these are by themselves only dead matter. To the untutored eye and taste the finest picture-gallery is only a weariness: when the national life has drifted away, the sacred book and the image are but idols and enigmas. “The statues are now corpses from which the vivifying soul has fled, and the hymns are words whence faith has departed: the tables of the Gods are without spiritual meat and drink, and games and feasts no longer afford the mind its joyful union with the being of being. The works of the Muse lack that intellectual force which knew itself strong and real by crushing gods and men in its winepress. They are now (in this iron age) what they are for us,—fair fruits broken from the tree, and handed to us by a kindly destiny. But the gift is like the fruits which the girl in the picture presents: she does not give the real life of their existence, not the tree which bore them, not the earth and the elements which entered into their substance, nor the climate which formed their quality, nor the change of seasons which governed the process of their growth. Like her, Destiny in giving us the works of ancient art does not give us their world, not the spring and summer of the ethical life in which they blossomed and ripened, but solely a memory and a suggestion of this actuality. Our act in enjoying them, therefore, is not a Divine service: were it so, our mind would achieve its perfect and satisfying truth. All that we do is a mere externalism, which from these fruits wipes off some rain-drop, some speck of dust, and which, in place of the inward elements of moral actuality that created and inspired them, tries from the dead elements of their external reality, such as language and historical allusion, to set up a tedious mass of scaffolding, not in order to live ourselves into them, but only to form a picture of them in our minds. But as the girl who proffers the plucked fruits is more and nobler than the natural element with all its details of tree, air, light, &c. which first yielded them, because she gathers all this together, in a nobler way, into the glance of the conscious eye and the gesture which proffers them; so the spirit of destiny which offers us those works of art is more than the ethical life and actuality of the ancient people: for it is the inwardising of that mind which in them was still self-estranged and self-dispossessed:—it is the spirit of tragic destiny, the destiny which collects all those individualised gods and attributes of substance into the one Pantheon. And that temple of all the gods is Mind conscious of itself as mind17.”

Religion enters into its more adequate form when it ceases to appear in the guise of Art and realises that the kingdom of God is within, that the truth must be felt, the eternal inwardly revealed, the holy one apprehended by faith18, not by outward vision. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, the things of God. They cannot be presented, or delineated: they come only in the witness of the spirit. The human soul itself is the only worthy temple of the Most High, whom heaven, and the heaven of heavens, cannot contain. Here in truth God has come down to dwell with men; and the Son of Man, caught up in the effusion of the Spirit, can in all assurance and all humility claim that he is divinified. Here apparently Absolute Mind is reached: the soul knows no limitation, no struggle: in time it is already eternal. Yet, there is, according to Hegel, a flaw,—not in the essence and the matter, but in the manner and mode in which the ordinary religious consciousness represents to itself, or pictures that unification which it feels and experiences.

“In religion then this unification of ultimate Being with the Self is implicitly reached. But the religious consciousness, if it has this symbolic idea of its reconciliation, still has it as a mere symbol or representation. It attains the satisfaction by tacking on to its pure negativity, and that externally, the positive signification of its unity with the ultimate Being: its satisfaction remains therefore tainted by the antithesis of another world. Its own reconciliation, therefore, is presented to its consciousness as something far away, something far away in the future: just as the reconciliation which the other Self accomplished appears as a far-away thing in the past. The one Divine Man had but an implicit father and only an actual mother; conversely the universal divine man, the community, has its own deed and knowledge for its father, but for its mother only the eternal Love, which it only feels, but does not behold in its consciousness as an actual immediate object. Its reconciliation therefore is in its heart, but still at variance with its consciousness, and its actuality still has a flaw. In its field of consciousness the place of implicit reality or side of pure mediation is taken by the reconciliation that lies far away behind: the place of the actually present, or the side of immediacy and existence, is filled by the world which has still to wait for its transfiguration to glory. Implicitly no doubt the world is reconciled with the eternal Being; and that Being, it is well known, no longer looks upon the object as alien to it, but in its love sees it as like itself. But for self-consciousness this immediate presence is not yet set in the full light of mind. In its immediate consciousness accordingly the spirit of the community is parted from its religious: for while the religious consciousness declares that they are implicitly not parted, this implicitness is not raised to reality and not yet grown to absolute self-certainty19.”

Religion therefore, which as it first appeared in art-worship had yet to realise its essential inwardness or spirituality, so has now to overcome the antithesis in which its (the religious) consciousness stands to the secular. For the peculiarly religious type of mind is distinguished by an indifference and even hostility, more or less veiled, to art, to morality and the civil state, to science and to nature. Strong in the certainty of faith, or of its implicit rest in God, it resents too curious inquiry into the central mystery of its union, and in its distincter consciousness sets the foundation of faith on the evidence of a fact, which, however, it in the same breath declares to be unique and miraculous, the central event of the ages, pointing back in its reference to the first days of humanity, and forward in the future to the winding-up of the business of terrestrial life. Philosophy, according to Hegel's conception of it, does but draw the conclusion supplied by the premisses of religion: it supplements and rounds off into coherence the religious implications. The unique events in Judea nearly nineteen centuries ago are for it also the first step in a new revelation of man's relationship to God: but while it acknowledges the transcendent interest of that age, it lays main stress on the permanent truth then revealed, and it insists on the duty of carrying out the principle there awakened to all the depth and breadth of its explication. Its task—its supreme task—is to explicate religion. But to do so is to show that religion is no exotic, and no mere revelation from an external source. It is to show that religion is the truth, the complete reality, of the mind that lived in Art, that founded the state and sought to be dutiful and upright: the truth, the crowning fruit of all scientific knowledge, of all human affections, of all secular consciousness. Its lesson ultimately is that there is nothing essentially common or unclean: that the holy is not parted off from the true and the good and the beautiful.

Religion thus expanded descends from its abstract or “intelligible” world, to which it had retired from art and science, and the affairs of ordinary life. Its God—as a true God—is not of the dead alone, but also of the living: not a far-off supreme and ultimate Being, but also a man among men. Philosophy thus has to break down the middle partition-wall of life, the fence between secular and sacred. It is but religion come to its maturity, made at home in the world, and no longer a stranger and a wonder. Religion has pronounced in its inmost heart and faith of faith, that the earth is the Lord's, and that day unto day shows forth the divine handiwork. But the heart of unbelief, of little faith, has hardly uttered the word, than it forgets its assurance and leans to the conviction that the prince of this world is the Spirit of Evil. The mood of Théodicée is also—but with a difference—the mood of philosophy. It asserts the ways of Providence: but its providence is not the God of the Moralist, or the ideal of the Artist, or rather is not these only, but also the Law of Nature, and more than that. Its aim is the Unity of History. The words have sometimes been lightly used to mean that events run on in one continuous flow, and that there are no abrupt, no ultimate beginnings, parting age from age. But the Unity of History in its full sense is beyond history: it is history “reduced” from the expanses of time to the eternal present: its thousand years made one day,—made even the glance of a moment. The theme of the Unity of History—in the full depth of unity and the full expanse of history—is the theme of Hegelian philosophy. It traces the process in which Mind has to be all-inclusive, self-upholding, one with the Eternal reality.

“That process of the mind's self-realisation” says Hegel in the close of his Phenomenology, “exhibits a lingering movement and succession of minds, a gallery of images, each of which, equipped with the complete wealth of mind, only seems to linger because the Self has to penetrate and to digest this wealth of its Substance. As its perfection consists in coming completely to know what it is (its substance), this knowledge is its self-involution in which it deserts its outward existence and surrenders its shape to recollection. Thus self-involved, it is sunk in the night of its self-consciousness: but in that night its vanished being is preserved, and that being, thus in idea preserved,—old, but now new-born of the spirit,—is the new sphere of being, a new world, a new phase of mind. In this new phase it has again to begin afresh and from the beginning, and again nurture itself to maturity from its own resources, as if for it all that preceded were lost, and it had learned nothing from the experience of the earlier minds. Yet is that recollection a preservation of experience: it is the quintessence, and in fact a higher form, of the substance. If therefore this new mind appears only to count on its own resources, and to start quite fresh and blank, it is at the same time on a higher grade that it starts. The intellectual and spiritual realm, which is thus constructed in actuality, forms a succession in time, where one mind relieved another of its watch, and each took over the kingdom of the world from the preceding. The purpose of that succession is to reveal the depth, and that depth is the absolute comprehension of mind: this revelation is therefore to uplift its depth, to spread it out in breadth, so negativing this self-involved Ego, wherein it is self-dispossessed or reduced to substance. But it is also its time: the course of time shows this dispossession itself dispossessed, and thus in its extension it is no less in its depth, the self. The way to that goal,—absolute self-certainty—or the mind knowing itself as mind—is the inwardising of the minds, as they severally are in themselves, and as they accomplish the organisation of their realm. Their conservation,—regarded on the side of its free and apparently contingent succession of fact—is history: on the side of their comprehended organisation, again, it is the science of mental phenomenology: the two together, comprehended history, form at once the recollection and the grave-yard of the absolute Mind, the actuality, truth, and certitude of his throne, apart from which he were lifeless and alone.”

Such in brief outline—lingering most on the points where Hegel has here been briefest—is the range of the Philosophy of Mind. Its aim is to comprehend, not to explain: to put together in intelligent unity, not to analyse into a series of elements. For it psychology is not an analysis or description of mental phenomena, of laws of association, of the growth of certain powers and ideas, but a “comprehended history” of the formation of subjective mind, of the intelligent, feeling, willing self or ego. For it Ethics is part and only part of the great scheme or system of self-development; but continuing into greater concreteness the normal endowment of the individual mind, and but preparing the ground on which religion may be most effectively cultivated. And finally Religion itself, released from its isolation and other-world sacrosanctity, is shown to be only the crown of life, the ripest growth of actuality, and shown to be so by philosophy, whilst it is made clear that religion is the basis of philosophy, or that a philosophy can only go as far as the religious stand-point allows. The hierarchy, if so it be called, of the spiritual forces is one where none can stand alone, or claim an abstract and independent supremacy. The truth of egoism is the truth of altruism: the truly moral is the truly religious: and each is not what it professes to be unless it anticipate the later, or include the earlier.

(iv.) Mind or Spirit.

It may be said, however, that for such a range of subjects the term Mind is wretchedly inadequate and common-place, and that the better rendering of the title would be Philosophy of Spirit. It may be admitted that Mind is not all that could be wished. But neither is Spirit blameless. And, it may be added, Hegel's own term Geist has to be unduly strained to cover so wide a region. It serves—and was no doubt meant to serve—as a sign of the conformity of his system with the religion which sees in God no other-world being, but our very self and mind, and which worships him in spirit and in truth. And if the use of a word like this could allay the “ancient variance” between the religious and the philosophic mood, it would be but churlish perhaps to refuse the sign of compliance and compromise. But whatever may be the case in German,—and even there the new wine was dangerous to the old wine-skin—it is certain that to average English ears the word Spiritual would carry us over the medium line into the proper land of religiosity. And to do that, as we have seen, is to sin against the central idea: the idea that religion is of one blood with the whole mental family, though the most graciously complete of all the sisters. Yet, however the word may be chosen, the philosophy of Hegel, like the august lady who appeared in vision to the emprisoned Boëthius, has on her garment a sign which “signifies the life which is on earth,” as also a sign which signifies the “right law of heaven”; if her right-hand holds the “book of the justice of the King omnipotent,” the sceptre in her left is “corporal judgment against sin20.”

There is indeed no sufficient reason for contemning the term Mind. If Inductive Philosophy of the Human Mind has—perhaps to a dainty taste—made the word unsavoury, that is no reason for refusing to give it all the wealth of soul and heart, of intellect and will. The mens aeterna which, if we hear Tacitus, expressed the Hebrew conception of the spirituality of God, and the Νοῦς which Aristotelianism set supreme in the Soul, are not the mere or abstract intelligence, which late-acquired habits of abstraction have made out of them. If the reader will adopt the term (in want of a better) in its widest scope, we may shelter ourselves under the example of Wordsworth. His theme is—as he describes it in the Recluse—“the Mind and Man”: his

“voice proclaims
How exquisitely the individual Mind
(And the progressive powers perhaps no less
Of the whole species) to the external World
Is fitted;—and how exquisitely too
The external World is fitted to the Mind;
And the creation (by no lower name
Can it be called) which they with blended might
Accomplish.”
The verse which expounds that “high argument” speaks
“Of Truth, of Grandeur, Beauty, Love and Hope
And melancholy Fear subdued by Faith.”
And the poet adds:
“As we look
Into our Minds, into the Mind of Man—
My haunt, and the main region of my song;
Beauty—a living Presence of the earth
Surpassing the most fair ideal forms
... waits upon my steps.”
The reality duly seen in the spiritual vision
“That inspires
The human Soul of universal earth
Dreaming of things to come”
will be a greater glory than the ideals of imaginative fiction ever fancied:
“For the discerning intellect of Man,
When wedded to this goodly universe
In love and holy passion, shall find these
A simple produce of the common day.”
If Wordsworth, thus, as it were, echoing the great conception of Francis Bacon,
“Would chant, in lonely peace, the spousal verse
Of this great consummation,”

perhaps the poet and the essayist may help us with Hegel to rate the Mind—the Mind of Man—at its highest value.
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Re: HEGEL'S PHILOSOPHY OF MIND, by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich H

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Part 1 of 2

Essay 2. Aims And Methods Of Psychology.

It is not going too far to say that in common estimation psychology has as yet hardly reached what Kant has called the steady walk of science—der sichere Gang der Wissenschaft. To assert this is not, of course, to throw any doubts on the importance of the problems, or on the intrinsic value of the results, in the studies which have been prosecuted under that name. It is only to note the obvious fact that a number of inquiries of somewhat discrepant tone, method, and tendency have all at different times covered themselves under the common title of psychological, and that the work of orientation is as yet incomplete. Such a destiny seems inevitable, when a name is coined rather as the title of an unexplored territory, than fixed on to describe an accomplished fact.

(i.) Psychology as a Science and as a Part of Philosophy.

The De Anima of Aristotle, gathering up into one the work of Plato and his predecessors, may be said to lay the foundation of psychology. But even in it, we can already see that there are two elements or aspects struggling for mastery: two elements not unrelated or independent, but hard to keep fairly and fully in unity. On one hand there is the conception of Soul as a part of Nature, as a grade of existence in the physical or natural universe,—in the universe of things which suffer growth and change, which are never entirely “without matter,” and are always attached to or present in body. From this point of view Aristotle urged that a sound and realistic psychology must, e.g. in its definition of a passion, give the prominent place to its physical (or material) expression, and not to its mental form or significance. It must remember, he said, that the phenomena or “accidents” are what really throw light on the nature or the “substance” of the Soul. On the other hand, there are two points to be considered. There is, first of all, the counterpoising remark that the conception of Soul as such, as a unity and common characteristic, will be determinative of the phenomena or “accidents,”—will settle, as it were, what we are to observe and look for, and how we are to describe our observations. And by the conception of Soul, is meant not a soul, as a thing or agent (subject) which has properties attaching to it; but soul, as the generic feature, the universal, which is set as a stamp on everything that claims to be psychical. In other words, Soul is one, not as a single thing contrasted with its attributes, activities, or exercises of force (such single thing will be shown by logic to be a metaphysical fiction); but as the unity of form and character, the comprehensive and identical feature, which is present in all its manifestations and exercises. But there is a second consideration. The question is asked by Aristotle whether it is completely and strictly accurate to put Soul under the category of natural objects. There is in it, or of it, perhaps, something, and something essential to it, which belongs to the order of the eternal and self-active: something which is “form” and “energy” quite unaffected by and separate from “matter.” How this is related to the realm of the perishable and changeable is a problem on which Aristotle has been often (and with some reason) believed to be obscure, if not even inconsistent21.

In these divergent elements which come to the fore in Aristotle's treatment we have the appearance of a radical difference of conception and purpose as to psychology. He himself does a good deal to keep them both in view. But it is evident that here already we have the contrast between a purely physical or (in the narrower sense) “scientific” psychology, empirical and realistic in treatment, and a more philosophical—what in certain quarters would be called a speculative or metaphysical—conception of the problem. There is also in Aristotle the antithesis of a popular or superficial, and an accurate or analytic, psychology. The former is of a certain use in dealing, say, with questions of practical ethics and education: the latter is of more strictly scientific interest. Both of these distinctions—that between a speculative and an empirical, and that between a scientific and a popular treatment—affect the subsequent history of the study. Psychology is sometimes understood to mean the results of casual observation of our own minds by what is termed introspection, and by the interpretation of what we may observe in others. Such observations are in the first place carried on under the guidance of distinctions or points of view supplied by the names in common use. We interrogate our own consciousness as to what facts or relations of facts correspond to the terms of our national language. Or we attempt—what is really an inexhaustible quest—to get definite divisions between them, and clear-cut definitions. Inquiries like these which start from popular distinctions fall a long way short of science: and the inquirer will find that accidental and essential properties are given in the same handful of conclusions. Yet there is always much value in these attempts to get our minds cleared: and it is indispensable for all inquiries that all alleged or reported facts of mind should be realised and reproduced in our own mental experience. And this is especially the case in psychology, just because here we cannot get the object outside us, we cannot get or make a diagram, and unless we give it reality by re-constructing it,—by re-interrogating our own experience, our knowledge of it will be but wooden and mechanical. And the term introspection need not be too seriously taken: it means much more than watching passively an internal drama; and is quite as well describable as mental projection, setting out what was within, and so as it were hidden and involved, before ourselves in the field of mental vision. Here, as always, the essential point is to get ourselves well out of the way of the object observed, and to stand, figuratively speaking, quite on one side.

But even at the best, such a popular or empirical psychology has no special claim to be ranked as science. It may no doubt be said that at least it collects, describes, or notes down facts. But even this is not so certain as it seems. Its so-called facts are very largely fictions, or so largely interpolated with error, that they cannot be safely used for construction. If psychology is to accomplish anything valuable, it must go more radically to work. It must—at least in a measure—discard from its preliminary view the data of common and current distinctions, and try to get at something more primary or ultimate as its starting-point. And this it may do in two ways. It may, in the one case, follow the example of the physical sciences. In these it is the universal practice to assume that the explanation of complex and concrete facts is to be attained by (a) postulating certain simple elements (which we may call atoms, molecules, and perhaps units or monads), which are supposed to be clearly conceivable and to justify themselves by intrinsic intelligibility, and by (b) assuming that these elements are compounded and combined according to laws which again are in the last resort self-evident, or such that they seem to have an obvious and palpable lucidity. Further, such laws being always axioms or plain postulates of mechanics (for these alone possess this feature of self-evident intelligibility), they are subject to and invite all the aids and refinements of the higher mathematical calculus. What the primary and self-explicative bits of psychical reality may be, is a further question on which there may be some dispute. They may be, so to say, taken in a more physical or in a more metaphysical way: i.e. more as units of nerve-function or more as elements of ideative-function. And there may be differences as to how far and in what provinces the mathematical calculus may be applicable. But, in any case, there will be a strong tendency in psychology, worked on this plan, to follow, mutatis mutandis, and at some distance perhaps, the analogy of material physics. In both the justification of the postulated units and laws will be their ability to describe and systematise the observed phenomena in a uniform and consistent way.

The other way in which psychology gets a foundation and ulterior certainty is different, and goes deeper. After all, the “scientific” method is only a way in which the facts of a given sphere are presented in thoroughgoing interconnexion, each reduced to an exact multiple or fraction of some other, by an inimitably continued subtraction and addition of an assumed homogeneous element, found or assumed to be perfectly imaginable (conceivable). But we may also consider the province in relation to the whole sphere of reality, may ask what is its place and meaning in the whole, what reality is in the end driving at or coming to be, and how far this special province contributes to that end. If we do this, we attach psychology to philosophy, or, if we prefer so to call it, to metaphysics, as in the former way we established it on the principles generally received as governing the method of the physical sciences.

This—the relation of psychology to fundamental philosophy—is a question which also turns up in dealing with Ethics. There is on the part of those engaged in either of these inquiries a certain impatience against the intermeddling (which is held to be only muddling) of metaphysics with them. It is clear that in a very decided way both psychology and ethics can, up to some extent at least, be treated as what is called empirical (or, to use the more English phrase, inductive) sciences. On many hands they are actually so treated: and not without result. Considering the tendency of metaphysical inquiries, it may be urged that it is well to avoid preliminary criticism of the current conceptions and beliefs about reality which these sciences imply. Yet such beliefs are undoubtedly present and effective. Schopenhauer has popularised the principle that the pure empiricist is a fiction, that man is a radically metaphysical animal, and that he inevitably turns what he receives into a part of a dogmatic creed—a conviction how things ought to be. Almost without effort there grows up in him, or flows in upon him, a belief and a system of beliefs as to the order and values of things. Every judgment, even in logic, rests on such an order of truth. He need not be able to formulate his creed: it will influence him none the less: nay, his faith will probably seem more a part of the solid earth and common reality, the less it has been reduced to a determinate creed or to a code of principles. For such formulation presupposes doubt and scepticism, which it beats back by mere assertion. Each human being has such a background of convictions which govern his actions and conceptions, and of which it so startles him to suggest the possibility of a doubt, that he turns away in dogmatic horror. Such ruling ideas vary, from man to man, and from man to woman—if we consider them in all their minuteness. But above all they constitute themselves in a differently organised system or aggregate according to the social and educational stratum to which an individual belongs. Each group, engaged in a common task, it may be in the study of a part of nature, is ideally bound and obliged by a common language, and special standards of truth and reality for its own. Such a group of ideas is what Bacon would have called a scientific fetich or idolum theatri. A scientific idolum is a traditional belief or dogma as to principles, values, and methods, which has so thoroughly pervaded the minds of those engaged in a branch of inquiry, that they no longer recognise its hypothetical character,—its relation of means to the main end of their function.

Such a collected and united theory of reality (it is what Hegel has designated the Idea) is what is understood by a natural metaphysic. It has nothing necessarily to do with a supersensible or a supernatural, if these words mean a ghostly, materialised, but super-finely-materialised nature, above and beyond the present. But that there is a persistent tendency to conceive the unity and coherence, the theoretic idea of reality, in this pseudo-sensuous (i.e. super-sensuous) form, is of course a well-known fact. For the present, however, this aberration—this idol of the tribe—may be left out of sight. By a metaphysic or fundamental philosophy, is, in the present instance, meant a system of first principles—a secular and cosmic creed: a belief in ends and values, a belief in truth—again premising that the system in question is, for most, a rudely organised and almost inarticulate mass of belief and hope, conviction and impression. It is, in short, a natural metaphysic: a metaphysic, that is, which has but an imperfect coherence, which imperfectly realises both its nature and its limits.

In certain parts, however, it is more and better than this crude background of belief. Each science—or at least every group of sciences—has a more definite system or aggregate of first principles, axioms, and conceptions belonging to it. It has, that is,—and here in a much distincter way—its special standard of reality, its peculiar forms of conceiving things, its distinctions between the actual and the apparent, &c. Here again it will probably be found that the scientific specialist is hardly conscious that these are principles and concepts: on the contrary, they will be supposed self-evident and ultimate facts, foundations of being. Instead of being treated as modes of conception, more or less justified by their use and their results, these categories will be regarded as fundamental facts, essential conditions of all reality. Like popular thought in its ingrained categories, the specialist cannot understand the possibility of any limitation to his radical ideas of reality. To him they are not hypotheses, but principles. The scientific specialist may be as convinced of the universal application of his peculiar categories, as the Chinese or the Eskimo that his standards are natural and final.

Under such metaphysical or extra-empirical presuppositions all investigation, whether it be crudely empirical or (in the physical sense) scientific, is carried on. And when so carried on, it is said to be prosecuted apart from any interference from metaphysic. Such a naïve or natural metaphysic, not raised to explicit consciousness, not followed as an imposed rule, but governing with the strength of an immanent faith, does not count for those who live under it as a metaphysic at all. M. Jourdain was amazed suddenly to learn he had been speaking prose for forty years without knowing it. But in the present case there is something worse than amazement sure to be excited by the news. For the critic who thus reveals the secrets of the scientist's heart is pretty sure to go on to say that a good deal of this naïve unconscious metaphysic is incoherent, contradictory, even bad: that it requires correction, revision, and readjustment, and has by criticism to be made one and harmonious. That readjustment or criticism which shall eliminate contradiction and produce unity, is the aim of the science of metaphysic—the science of the meta-physical element in physical knowledge: what Hegel has chosen to call the Science of Logic (in the wide sense of the term). This higher Logic, this science of metaphysic, is the process to revise and harmonise in systematic completeness the imperfect or misleading and partial estimates of reality which are to be found in popular and scientific thought.

In the case of the run of physical sciences this revision is less necessary; and for no very recondite reason. Every science by its very nature deals with a special, a limited topic. It is confined to a part or aspect of reality. Its propositions are not complete truths; they apply to an artificial world, to a part expressly cut off from the concrete reality. Its principles are generally cut according to their cloth,—according to the range in which they apply. The only danger that can well arise is if these categories are transplanted without due reservations, and made of universal application, i.e. if the scientist elects on his speciality to pronounce de omnibus rebus. But in the case of psychology and ethics the harmlessness of natural metaphysics will be less certain. Here a general human or universal interest is almost an inevitable coefficient: especially if they really rise to the full sweep of the subject. For as such they both seem to deal not with a part of reality, but with the very centre and purpose of all reality. In them we are not dealing with topics of secondary interest, but with the very heart of the human problem. Here the questions of reality and ideals, of unity and diversity, and of the evaluation of existence, come distinctly to the fore. If psychology is to answer the question, What am I? and ethics the question, What ought I to do? they can hardly work without some formulated creed of metaphysical character, without some preliminary criticisms of current first principles.

(ii.) Herbart.

The German thinker, who has given perhaps the most fruitful stimulus to the scientific study of psychology in modern times—Johann Friedrich Herbart—is after all essentially a philosopher, and not a mere scientist, even in his psychology. His psychological inquiry, that is, stands in intimate connexion with the last questions of all intelligence, with metaphysics and ethics. The business of philosophy, says Herbart, is to touch up and finish off conceptions (Bearbeitung der Begriffe)22. It finds, as it supervenes upon the unphilosophical world, that mere and pure facts (if there ever are or were such purisms) have been enveloped in a cloud of theory, have been construed into some form of unity, but have been imperfectly, inadequately construed: and that the existing concepts in current use need to be corrected, supplemented and readjusted. It has, accordingly, for its work to “reconcile experience with itself23,” and to elicit “the hidden pre-suppositions without which the fact of experience is unthinkable.” Psychology, then, as a branch of this philosophic enterprise, has to readjust the facts discovered in inner experience. For mere uncritical experience or merely empirical knowledge only offers problems; it suggests gaps, which indeed further reflection serves at first only to deepen into contradictions. Such a psychology is “speculative”: i.e. it is not content to accept the mere given, but goes forward and backward to find something that will make the fact intelligible. It employs totally different methods from the “classification, induction, analogy” familiar to the logic of the empirical sciences. Its “principles,” therefore, are not given facts: but facts which have been manipulated and adjusted so as to lose their self-contradictory quality: they are facts “reduced,” by introducing the omitted relationships which they postulate if they are to be true and self-consistent24. While it is far from rejecting or ignoring experience, therefore, psychology cannot strictly be said to build upon it alone. It uses experimental fact as an unfinished datum,—or it sees in experience a torso which betrays its imperfection, and suggests completing.

The starting-point, it may be said, of Herbart's psychology is a question which to the ordinary psychologist (and to the so-called scientific psychologist) has a secondary, if it have any interest. It was, he says, the problem of Personality, the problem of the Self or Ego, which first led to his characteristic conception of psychological method. “My first discovery,” he tells us25, “was that the Self was neither primitive nor independent, but must be the most dependent and most conditioned thing one can imagine. The second was that the elementary ideas of an intelligent being, if they were ever to reach the pitch of self-consciousness, must be either all, or at least in part, opposed to each other, and that they must check or block one another in consequence of this opposition. Though held in check, however, these ideas were not to be supposed lost: they subsist as endeavours or tendencies to return into the position of actual idea, as soon as the check became, for any reason, either in whole or in part inoperative. This check could and must be calculated, and thus it was clear that psychology required a mathematical as well as a metaphysical foundation.”

The place of the conception of the Ego in Kant's and Fichte's theory of knowledge is well known. Equally well known is Kant's treatment of the soul-reality or soul-substance in his examination of Rational Psychology. Whereas the (logical) unity of consciousness, or “synthetic unity of apperception,” is assumed as a fundamental starting-point in explanation of our objective judgments, or of our knowledge of objective existence, its real (as opposed to its formal) foundation in a “substantial” soul is set aside as an illegitimate interpretation of, or inference from, the facts of inner experience. The belief in the separate unity and persistence of the soul, said Kant, is not a scientifically-warranted conclusion. Its true place is as an ineffaceable postulate of the faith which inspires human life and action. Herbart did not rest content with either of these—as he believed—dogmatic assumptions of his master. He did not fall in cheerfully with the idealism which seemed ready to dispense with a soul, or which justified its acceptance of empirical reality by referring to the fundamental unity of the function of judgment. With a strong bent towards fully-differentiated and individualised experience Herbart conjoined a conviction of the need of logical analysis to prevent us being carried away by the first-come and inadequate generalities. The Ego which, in its extremest abstraction, he found defined as the unity of subject and object, did not seem to him to offer the proper guarantees of reality: it was itself a problem, full of contradictions, waiting for solution. On the other hand, the real Ego, or self of concrete experience, is very much more than this logical abstract, and differs widely from individual to individual, and apparently from time to time even in the same individual. Our self, of which we talk so fluently, as one and the self-same—how far does it really possess the continuity and identity with which we credit it? Does it not rather seem to be an ideal which we gradually form and set before ourselves as the standard for measuring our attainments of the moment,—the perfect fulfilment of that oneness of being and purpose and knowledge which we never reach? Sometimes even it seems no better than a name which we move along the varying phenomena of our inner life, at one time identifying it with the power which has gained the victory in a moral struggle, at another with that which has been defeated26, according as the attitude of the moment makes us throw now one, now another, aspect of mental activity in the foreground.

The other—or logical Ego—the mere identity of subject and object,—when taken in its utter abstractness and simplicity, shrivels up to something very small indeed—to a something which is little better than nothing. The mere I which is not contra-distinguished by a Thou and a He—which is without all definiteness of predication (the I=I of Fichte and Schelling)—is only as it were a point of being cut off from all its connexions in reality, and treated as if it were or could be entirely independent. It is an identity in which subject and object have not yet appeared: it is not a real I, though we may still retain the name. It is—as Hegel's Logic will tell us—exactly definable as Being, which is as yet Nothing: the impossible edge of abstraction on which we try—and in vain—to steady ourselves at the initial point of thought. And to reach or stand at that intangible, ungraspable point, which slips away as we approach, and transmutes itself as we hold it, is not the natural beginning, but the result of introspection and reflection on the concrete self. But with this aspect of the question we are not now concerned.

That the unity of the Self as an intelligent and moral being, that the Ego of self-consciousness was an ideal and a product of development, was what Herbart soon became convinced of. The unity of Self is even as given in mature experience an imperfect fact. It is a fact, that is, which does not come up to what it promised, and which requires to be supplemented, or philosophically justified. Here and everywhere the custom of life carries us over gaps which yawn deep to the eye of philosophic reflection: even though accident and illness force them not unfrequently even upon the blindest. To trace the process of unification towards this unity—to trace, if you like, even the formation of the concept of such unity, as a governing and guiding principle in life and conduct, comes to be the problem of the psychologist, in the largest sense of that problem. From Soul (Seele) to Mind or Spirit (Geist) is for Herbart, as for Hegel, the course of psychology27. The growth and development of mind, the formation of a self, the realisation of a personality, is for both the theme which psychology has to expound. And Herbart, not less than Hegel, had to bear the censure that such a conception of mental reality as a growth would destroy personality28.

But with so much common in the general plan, the two thinkers differ profoundly in their special mode of carrying out the task. Or, rather, they turn their strength on different departments of the whole. Herbart's great practical interest had been the theory of education: “paedagogic” is the subject of his first important writings. The inner history of ideas—the processes which are based on the interaction of elements in the individual soul—are what he specially traces. Hegel's interests, on the contrary, are more towards the greater process, the unities of historical life, and the correlations of the powers of art, religion, and philosophy that work therein. He turns to the macrocosm, almost as naturally as Herbart does to the microcosm. Thus, even in Ethics, while Herbart gives a delicate analysis of the distinct aspects or elements in the Ethical idea,—the diverse headings under which the disinterested spectator within the breast measures with purely aesthetic eye his approach to unity and strength of purpose, Hegel seems to hurry away from the field of moral sense or conscience to throw himself on the social and political organisation of the moral life. The General Paedagogic of Herbart has its pendant in Hegel's Philosophy of Law and of History.

At an early period Herbart had become impressed with the necessity of applying mathematics to psychology29. To the usual objection, that psychical facts do not admit of measurement, he had a ready reply. We can calculate even on hypothetical assumptions: indeed, could we measure, we should scarcely take the trouble to calculate30. To calculate (i.e. to deduce mathematically) is to perform a general experiment, and to perform it in the medium where there is least likelihood of error or disturbance. There may be anomalies enough apparent in the mental life: there may be the great anomalies of Genius and of Freedom of Will; but the Newton and the Kepler of psychology will show by calculation on assumed conditions of psychic nature that these aberrations can be explained by mechanical laws. “The human Soul is no puppet-theatre: our wishes and resolutions are no marionettes: no juggler stands behind; but our true and proper life lies in our volition, and this life has its rule not outside, but in itself: it has its own purely mental rule, by no means borrowed from the material world. But this rule is in it sure and fixed; and on account of this its fixed quality it has more similarity to (what is otherwise heterogeneous) the laws of impact and pressure than to the marvels of an alleged inexplicable freedom31.”

Psychology then deals with a real, which exhibits phenomena analogous in several respects to those discussed by statics and mechanics. Its foundation is a statics and mechanics of the Soul,—as this real is called. We begin by presupposing as the ultimate reality, underlying the factitious and generally imperfect unity of self-consciousness and mind, an essential and primary unity—the unity of an absolutely simple or individual point of being—a real point which amongst other points asserts itself, maintains itself. It has a character of its own, but that character it only shows in and through a development conditioned by external influences. The specific nature of the soul-reality is to be representative, to produce, or manifest itself in, ideas (Vorstellungen). But the character only emerges into actuality in the conflict of the soul-atom with other ultimate realities in the congregation of things. A soul per se or isolated is not possessed of ideas. It is merely blank, undeveloped, formal unity, of which nothing can be said. But like other realities it defines and characterises itself by antithesis, by resistance: it shows what it is by its behaviour in the struggle for existence. It acts in self-defence: and its peculiar style or weapon of self-defence is an idea or representation. The way the Soul maintains itself is by turning the assailant into an idea32: and each idea is therefore a Selbsterhaltung of the Soul. The Soul is thus enriched—to appearance or incidentally: and the assailant is annexed. In this way the one Soul may develop or evolve or express an innumerable variety of ideas: for in response to whatever it meets, the living and active Soul ideates, or gives rise to a representation. Thus, while the soul is one, its ideas or representations are many. Taken separately, they each express the psychic self-conservation. But brought in relation with each other, as so many acts or self-affirmations of the one soul, they behave as forces, and tend to thwart or check each other. It is as forces, as reciprocally arresting or fostering each other, that ideas are objects of science. When a representation is thus held in check, it is reduced to a mere endeavour or active tendency to represent. Thus there arises a distinction between representations proper, and those imperfect states or acts which are partly or wholly held in abeyance. But the latent phase of an idea is as essential to a thorough understanding of it as what appears. It is the great blunder of empirical psychology to ignore what is sunk below the surface of consciousness. And to Herbart consciousness is not the condition but rather the product of ideas, which are primarily forces.

But representations are not merely in opposition,—impinging and resisting. The same reason which makes them resist, viz. that they are or would fain be acts of the one soul, but are more or less incompatible, leads them in other circumstances to form combinations with each other. These combinations are of two sorts. They are, first, complications, or “complexions”: a number of ideas combine by quasi-addition and juxtaposition to form a total. Second, there is fusion: ideas presenting certain degrees of contrast enter into a union where the parts are no longer separately perceptible. It is easy to see how the problems of psychology now assume the form of a statics and mechanics of the mind. Quantitative data are to be sought in the strength of each separate single idea, and the degree in which two or more ideas block each other: in the degree of combination between ideas, and the number of ideas in a combination: and in the terms of relation between the members of a series of ideas. A statical theory has to show the conditions required for what we may call the ideal state of equilibrium of the “idea-forces”: to determine, that is, the ultimate degree of obscuration suffered by any two ideas of different strength, and the conditions of their permanent combination or fusion. A mechanics of the mind will, on the contrary, deal with the rate at which these processes are brought about, the velocity with which in the movement of mind ideas are obscured or reawakened, &c.

It is fortunately unnecessary, here, to go further into details. What Herbart proposes is not a method for the mathematical measurement of psychic facts: it is a theory of mechanics and statics specially adapted to the peculiarities of psychical phenomena, where the forces are given with no sine or cosine, where instead of gravitation we have the constant effort (as it were elasticity) of each idea to revert to its unchecked state. He claims—in short—practically to be a Kepler and Newton of the mind, and in so doing to justify the vague professions of more than one writer on mind—above all, perhaps of David Hume, who goes beyond mere professions—to make mental science follow the example of physics. And a main argument in favour of his enterprise is the declaration of Kant that no body of knowledge can claim to be a science except in such proportion as it is mathematical. And the peculiarity of this enterprise is that self-consciousness, the Ego, is not allowed to interfere with the free play of psychic forces. The Ego is—psychologically—the result, the product, and the varying product of that play. The play of forces is no doubt a unity: but its unity lies not in the synthesis of consciousness, but in the essential unity of Soul. And Soul is in its essence neither consciousness, nor self-consciousness, nor mind: but something on the basis of whose unity these are built up and developed33. The mere “representation” does not include the further supervenience of consciousness: it represents, but it is not as yet necessary that we should also be conscious that there is representation. It is, in the phrase of Leibniz, perception: but not apperception. It is mere straight-out, not as yet reflected, representation. Gradually there emerges through the operation of mechanical psychics a nucleus, a floating unity, a fixed or definite central aggregate.

The suggestion of mathematical method has been taken up by subsequent inquirers (as it was pursued even before Herbart's time), but not in the sense he meant. Experimentation has now taken a prominent place in psychology. But in proportion as it has done so, psychology has lost its native character, and thrown itself into the arms of physiology. What Herbart calculated were actions and reactions of idea-forces: what the modern experimental school proposes to measure are to a large extent the velocities of certain physiological processes, the numerical specification of certain facts. Such ascertainments are unquestionably useful; as numerical precision is in other departments. But, taken in themselves, they do not carry us one bit further on the way to science. As experiments, further,—to note a point discussed elsewhere34—their value depends on the point of view, on the theory which has led to them, on the value of the general scheme for which they are intended to provide a special new determination. In many cases they serve to give a vivid reality to what was veiled under a general phrase. The truth looks so much more real when it is put in figures: as the size of a huge tree when set against a rock; or as when Milton bodies out his fallen angel by setting forth the ratio between his spear and the tallest Norway pine. But until the general relationship between soul and body is more clearly formulated, such statistics will have but a value of curiosity.
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Re: HEGEL'S PHILOSOPHY OF MIND, by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich H

Postby admin » Sun Sep 20, 2015 4:06 am

Part 2 of 2

(iii.) The Faculty-Psychology and its Critics.

What Herbart (as well as Hegel) finds perpetual ground for objecting to is the talk about mental faculties. This objection is part of a general characteristic of all the higher philosophy; and the recurrence of it gives an illustration of how hard it is for any class of men to see themselves as others see them. If there be anything the vulgar believe to be true of philosophy, it is that it deals in distant and abstruse generalities, that it neglects the shades of individuality and reality, and launches out into unsubstantial general ideas. But it would be easy to gather from the great thinkers an anthology of passages in which they hold it forth as the great work of philosophy to rescue our conceptions from the indefiniteness and generality of popular conception, and to give them real, as opposed to a merely nominal, individuality.

The Wolffian school, which Herbart (not less than Kant) found in possession of the field, and which in Germany may be taken to represent only a slight variant of the half-and-half attitude of vulgar thought, was entrenched in the psychology of faculties. Empirical psychology, said Wolff35, tells the number and character of the soul's faculties: rational psychology will tell what they “properly” are, and how they subsist in soul. It is assumed that there are general receptacles or tendencies of mental operation which in course of time get filled or qualified in a certain way: and that when this question is disposed of, it still remains to fix on the metaphysical bases of these facts.

That a doctrine of faculties should fix itself in psychology is not so wonderful. In the non-psychical world objects are easily discriminated in space, and the individual thing lasts through a time. But a phase of mind is as such fleeting and indeterminate: its individual features which come from its “object” tend soon to vanish in memory: all freshness of definite characters wears off, and there is left behind only a vague “recept” of the one and same in many, a sort of hypostatised representative, faint but persistent, of what in experience was an ever-varying succession. We generalise here as elsewhere: but elsewhere the many singulars remain to confront us more effectually. But in Mind the immense variety of real imagination, memory, judgment is forgotten, and the name in each case reduced to a meagre abstract. Thus the identity in character and operation, having been cut off from the changing elements in its real action, is transmuted into a substantial somewhat, a subsistent faculty. The relationship of one to another of the powers thus by abstraction and fancy created becomes a problem of considerable moment, their causal relations in particular: till in the end they stand outside and independent of each other, engaged, as Herbart says, in a veritable bellum omnium contra omnes.

But this hypostatising of faculties becomes a source of still further difficulties when it is taken in connexion with the hypostasis of the Soul or Self or Ego. To Aristotle the Soul in its general aspect is Energy or Essence; and its individual phases are energies. But in the hands of the untrained these conceptions came to be considerably displaced. Essence or Substance came to be understood (as may be seen in Locke, and still more in loose talk) as a something,—a substratum,—or peculiar nature—(of which in itself nothing further could be said36 but which notwithstanding was permanent and perhaps imperishable): this something subsistent exhibited certain properties or activities. There thus arose, on one hand, the Soul-thing,—a substance misunderstood and sensualised with a supernatural sensuousness,—a denizen of the transcendental or even of the transcendent world: and, on the other hand, stood the actual manifestations, the several exhibitions of this force, the assignable and describable psychic facts. We are accordingly brought before the problem of how this one substance or essence stands to the several entities or hypostases known as faculties. And we still have in the rear the further problem of how these abstract entities stand to the real and concrete single acts and states of soul and mind.

This hypostatising of faculties, and this distinction of the “Substantial” soul from its “accidentia” or phenomena, had grown—through the materialistic proclivities of popular conception—from the indications found in Aristotle. It attained its climax, perhaps in the Wolffian school in Germany, but it has been the resort of superficial psychology in all ages. For while it, on one hand, seemed to save the substantial Soul on whose incorruptibility great issues were believed to hinge, it held out, on the other, an open hand to the experimental inquirer, whom it bade freely to search amongst the phenomena. But if it was the refuge of pusillanimity, it was also the perpetual object of censure from all the greater and bolder spirits. Thus, the psychology of Hobbes may be hasty and crude, but it is at least animated by a belief that the mental life is continuous, and not cut off by abrupt divisions severing the mental faculties. The “image” (according to his materialistically coloured psychology) which, when it is a strong motion, is called sense, passes, as it becomes weaker or decays, into imagination, and gives rise, by its various complications and associations with others, to reminiscence, experience, expectation. Similarly, the voluntary motion which is an effect or a phase of imagination, beginning at first in small motions—called by themselves “endeavours,” and in relation to their cause “appetites” or “desires37”—leads on cumulatively to Will, which is the “last appetite in deliberating.” Spinoza, his contemporary, speaks in the same strain38. “Faculties of intellect, desire, love, &c., are either utterly fictitious, or nothing but metaphysical entities, or universals which we are in the habit of forming from particulars. Will and intellect are thus supposed to stand to this or that idea, this or that volition, in the same way as stoniness to this or that stone, or as man to Peter or Paul.” They are supposed to be a general something which gets defined and detached. But, in the mind, or in the cogitant soul, there are no such things. There are only ideas: and by an “idea” we are to understand not an image on the retina or in the brain, not a “dumb something, like a painting on a panel39,” but a mode of thinking, or even the act of intellection itself. The ideas are the mind: mind does not have ideas. Further, every “idea,” as such, “involves affirmation or negation,”—is not an image, but an act of judgment—contains, as we should say, an implicit reference to actuality,—a reference which in volition is made explicit. Thus (concludes the corollary of Eth. ii. 49) “Will and Intellect are one and the same.” But in any case the “faculties” as such are no better than entia rationis (i.e. auxiliary modes of representing facts).

Leibniz speaks no less distinctly and sanely in this direction. “True powers are never mere possibilities: they are always tendency and action.” The “Monad”—that is the quasi-intelligent unit of existence,—is essentially activity, and its actions are perceptions and appetitions, i.e. tendencies to pass from one perceptive state or act to another. It is out of the variety, the complication, and relations of these miniature or little perceptions and appetitions, that the conspicuous phenomena of consciousness are to be explained, and not by supposing them due to one or other faculty. The soul is a unity, a self-developing unity, a unity which at each stage of its existence shows itself in a perception or idea,—each such perception however being, to repeat the oft quoted phrase, plein de l'avenir et chargé du passé:—each, in other words, is not stationary, but active and urgent, a progressive force, as well as a representative element. Above all, Leibniz has the view that the soul gives rise to all its ideas from itself: that its life is its own production, not a mere inheritance of ideas which it has from birth and nature, nor a mere importation into an empty room from without, but a necessary result of its own constitution acting in necessary (predetermined) reciprocity and harmony with the rest of the universe.

But Hobbes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, were most attentively heard in the passages where they favoured or combatted the dominant social and theological prepossessions. Their glimpses of truer insight and even their palpable contributions in the line of a true psychology were ignored or forgotten. More attention, perhaps, was attracted by an attempt of a very different style. This was the system of Condillac, who, as Hegel says (p. 61), made an unmistakable attempt to show the necessary interconnexion of the several modes of mental activity. In his Traité des Sensations (1754), following on hisEssai sur l'origine des connaissances humaines (1746), he tried to carry out systematically the deduction or derivation of all our ideas from sense, or to trace the filiation of all our faculties from sensation. Given a mind with no other power than sensibility, the problem is to show how it acquires all its other faculties. Let us then suppose a sentient animal to which is offered a single sensation, or one sensation standing out above the others. In such circumstances the sensation “becomes” (devient) attention: or a sensation “is” (est) attention, either because it is alone, or because it is more lively than all the rest. Again: before such a being, let us set two sensations: to perceive or feel (apercevoir ou sentir) the two sensations is the same thing (c'est la même chose). If one of the sensations is not present, but a sensation made already, then to perceive it is memory. Memory, then, is only “transformed sensation” (sensation transformée). Further, suppose we attend to both ideas, this is “the same thing” as to compare them. And to compare them we must see difference or resemblance. This is judgment. “Thus sensation becomes successively attention, comparison, judgment.” And—by further steps of the equating process—it appears that sensation again “becomes” an act of reflection. And the same may be said of imagination and reasoning: all are transformed sensations.

If this is so with the intelligence, it is equally the case with the Will. To feel and not feel well or ill is impossible. Coupling then this feeling of pleasure or pain with the sensation and its transformations, we get the series of phases ranging from desire, to passion, hope, will. “Desire is only the action of the same faculties as are attributed to the understanding.” A lively desire is a passion: a desire, accompanied with a belief that nothing stands in its way, is a volition. But combine these affective with the intellectual processes already noticed, and you have thinking (penser)40. Thus thought in its entirety is, only and always, transformed sensation.

Something not unlike this, though scarcely so simply and directly doctrinaire, is familiar to us in some English psychology, notably James Mill's41. Taken in their literal baldness, these identifications may sound strained,—or trifling. But if we look beyond the words, we can detect a genuine instinct for maintaining and displaying the unity and continuity of mental life through all its modifications,—coupled unfortunately with a bias sometimes in favour of reducing higher or more complex states of mind to a mere prolongation of lower and beggarly rudiments. But otherwise such analyses are useful as aids against the tendency of inert thought to take every name in this department as a distinguishable reality: the tendency to part will from thought—ideas from emotion—and even imagination from reason, as if either could be what it professed without the other.

(iv.) Methods and Problems of Psychology.

The difficulties of modern psychology perhaps lie in other directions, but they are not less worth guarding against. They proceed mainly from failure or inability to grasp the central problem of psychology, and a disposition to let the pen (if it be a book on the subject) wander freely through the almost illimitable range of instance, illustration, and application. Though it is true that the proper study of mankind is man, it is hardly possible to say what might not be brought under this head. Homo sum, nihil a me alienum puto, it might be urged. Placed in a sort of middle ground between physiology (summing up all the results of physical science) and general history (including the contributions of all the branches of sociology), the psychologist need not want for material. He can wander into ethics, aesthetic, and logic, into epistemology and metaphysics. And it cannot be said with any conviction that he is actually trespassing, so long as the ground remains so ill-fenced and vaguely enclosed. A desultory collection of observations on traits of character, anecdotes of mental events, mixed up with hypothetical descriptions of how a normal human being may be supposed to develop his so-called faculties, and including some dictionary-like verbal distinctions, may make a not uninteresting and possibly bulky work entitled Psychology.

It is partly a desire of keeping up to date which is responsible for the copious extracts or abstracts from treatises on the anatomy and functions of the nerve-system, which, accompanied perhaps by a diagram of the brain, often form the opening chapter of a work on psychology. Even if these researches had achieved a larger number of authenticated results than they as yet have, they would only form an appendix and an illustration to the proper subject42. As they stand, and so long as they remain largely hypothetical, the use of them in psychology only fosters the common delusion that, when we can picture out in material outlines a theory otherwise unsupported, it has gained some further witness in its favour. It is quite arguable indeed that it may be useful to cut out a section from general human biology which should include the parts of it that were specially interesting in connexion with the expression or generation of thought, emotion, and desire. But in that case, there is a blunder in singling out the brain alone, and especially the organs of sense and voluntary motion,—except for the reason that this province of psycho-physics alone has been fairly mapped out. The preponderant half of the soul's life is linked to other parts of the physical system. Emotion and volition, and the general tone of the train of ideas, if they are to be connected with their expression and physical accompaniment (or aspect), would require a sketch of the heart and lungs, as well as the digestive system in general. Nor these alone. Nerve analysis (especially confined to the larger system), though most modern, is not alone important, as Plato and Aristotle well saw. So that if biology is to be adapted for psychological use (and if psychology deals with more than cognitive processes), a liberal amount of physiological information seems required.

Experimental psychology is a term used with a considerable laxity of content; and so too is that of physiological psychology, or psycho-physics. And the laxity mainly arises because there is an uncertainty as to what is principal and what secondary in the inquiry. Experiment is obviously a help to observation: and so far as the latter is practicable, the former would seem to have a chance of introduction. But in any case, experiment is only a means to an end and only practicable under the guidance of hypothesis and theory. Its main value would be in case the sphere of psychology were completely paralleled with one province of physiology. It was long ago maintained by Spinoza and (in a way by) Leibniz, that there is no mental phenomenon without its bodily equivalent, pendant, or correspondent. The ordo rerum (the molecular system of movements) is, he held, the same as the order of ideas. But it is only at intervals, under special conditions, or when they reach a certain magnitude, that ideas emerge into full consciousness. As consciousness presents them, they are often discontinuous, and abrupt: and they do not always carry with them their own explanation. Hence if we are confined to the larger phenomena of consciousness alone, our science is imperfect: many things seem anomalous; above all, perhaps, will, attention, and the like. We have seen how Herbart (partly following the hints of Leibniz), attempted to get over this difficulty by the hypothesis of idea-forces which generate the forms and matter of consciousness by their mutual impact and resistance. Physiological psychology substitutes for Herbart's reals and his idea-forces a more materialistic sort of reality; perhaps functions of nerve-cells, or other analogous entities. There, it hopes one day to discover the underlying continuity of event which in the upper range of consciousness is often obscured, and then the process would be, as the phrase goes, explained: we should be able to picture it out without a gap.

These large hopes may have a certain fulfilment. They may lead to the withdrawal of some of the fictitious mental processes which are still described in works of psychology. But on the whole they can only have a negative and auxiliary value. The value, that is, of helping to confute feigned connexions and to suggest truer. They will be valid against the mode of thought which, when Psyché fails us for an explanation, turns to body, and interpolates soul between the states of body: the mode which, in an older phraseology, jumps from final causes to physical, and from physical (or efficient) to final. Here, as elsewhere, the physical has its place: and here, more than in many places, the physical has been unfairly treated. But the whole subject requires a discussion of the so-called “relations” of soul and body: a subject on which popular conceptions and so-called science are radically obscure.

“But the danger which threatens experimental psychology,” says Münsterberg, “is that, in investigating details, the connexion with questions of principle may be so lost sight of that the investigation finally lands at objects scientifically quite worthless43. Psychology forgets only too easily that all those numerical statistics which experiment allows us to form are only means for psychological analysis and interpretation, not ends in themselves. It piles up numbers and numbers, and fails to ask whether the results so formed have any theoretical value whatever: it seeks answers before a question has been clearly and distinctly framed; whereas the value of experimental answers always depends on the exactitude with which the question is put. Let me remind the reader, how one inquirer after another made many thousand experiments on the estimation of small intervals of time, without a single one of them raising the question what the precise point was which these experiments sought to measure, what was the psychological occurrence in the case, or what psychological phenomena were employed as the standard of time-intervals. And so each had his own arbitrary standard of measurement, each of them piled up mountains of numbers, each demonstrated that his predecessor was wrong; but neither Estel nor Mehner have carried the problem of the time-sense a single step further.

“This must be all changed, if we are not to drift into the barrenest scholastic.... Everywhere out of the correct perception that problems of principle demand the investigation of detailed phenomena, and that the latter investigation must proceed in comparative independence of the question of principles, there has grown the false belief that the description of detail phenomena is the ultimate aim of science. And so, side by side with details which are of importance to principles, we have others, utterly indifferent and theoretically worthless, treated with the same zeal. To the solution of their barren problems the old Schoolmen applied a certain acuteness; but in order to turn out masses of numbers from barren experiments, all that is needed is a certain insensibility to fits of ennui. Let numbers be less collected for their own sake: and instead, let the problems be so brought to a point that the answers may possess the character of principles. Let each experiment be founded on far more theoretical considerations, then the number of the experiments may be largely diminished44.”

What is thus said of a special group of inquiries by one of the foremost of the younger psychologists, is not without its bearings on all the departments in which psychology can learn. For physiological, or what is technically called psychological, experiment, is co-ordinate with many other sources of information. Much, for instance, is to be learnt by a careful study of language by those who combine sound linguistic knowledge with psychological training. It is in language, spoken and written, that we find at once the great instrument and the great document of the distinctively human progress from a mere Psyche to a mature Nous, from Soul to Mind. Whether we look at the varieties of its structure under different ethnological influences, or at the stages of its growth in a nation and an individual, we get light from language on the differentiation and consolidation of ideas. But here again it is easy to lose oneself in the world of etymology, or to be carried away into the enticing questions of real and ideal philology.

“The human being of the psychologist,” says Herbart45, “is the social and civilised human being who stands on the apex of the whole history through which his race has passed. In him is found visibly together all the multiplicity of elements, which, under the name of mental faculties, are regarded as a universal inheritance of humanity. Whether they are originally in conjunction, whether they are originally a multiplicity, is a point on which the facts are silent. The savage and the new-born child give us far less occasion to admire the range of their mind than do the nobler animals. But the psychologists get out of this difficulty by the unwarranted assumption that all the higher mental activities exist potentially in children and savages—though not in the animals—as a rudimentary predisposition or psychical endowment. Of such a nascent intellect, a nascent reason, and nascent moral sense, they find recognisable traces in the scanty similarities which the behaviour of child or savage offers to those of civilised man. We cannot fail to note that in their descriptions they have before them a special state of man, and one which, far from accurately defined, merely follows the general impression made upon us by those beings we name civilised. An extremely fluctuating character inevitably marks this total impression. For there are no general facts:—the genuine psychological documents lie in the momentary states of individuals: and there is an immeasurably long way from these to the height of the universal concept of man in general.”

And yet Man in general,—Man as man and therefore as mind—the concept of Man—normal and ideal man—the complete and adequate Idea of man—is the true terminus of the psychological process; and whatever be the difficulties in the way, it is the only proper goal of the science. Only it has to be built up, constructed, evolved, developed,—and not assumed as a datum of popular imagination. We want a concept, concrete and real, of Man and of Mind, which shall give its proper place to each of the elements that, in the several examples open to detailed observation, are presented with unfair or exaggerated prominence. The savage and the child are not to be left out as free from contributing to form the ideal: virtues here are not more important than vices, and are certainly not likely to be so informing: even the insane and the idiot show us what human intelligence is and requires: and the animals are also within the sweep of psychology. Man is not its theatre to the exclusion of woman; if it records the results of introspection of the Me, it will find vast and copious quarries in the various modes in which an individual identifies himself with others as We. And even the social and civilised man gets his designation, as usual, a potiori. He is more civilised and social than others: perhaps rather more civilised than not. But always, in some measure, he is at the same time unsocial or anti-social, and uncivilised. Each unit in the society of civilisation has to the outside observer—and sometimes even to his own self-detached and impartial survey—a certain oddity or fixity, a gleam of irrationality, which shows him to fall short of complete sanity or limpid and mobile intelligence. He has not wholly put off the savage,—least of all, says the cynic, in his relations with the other sex. He carries with him even to the grave some grains of the recklessness and petulance of childhood. And rarely, if ever, can it be said of him that he has completely let the ape and tiger die.

But that is only one way of looking at the matter—and one which, perhaps, is more becoming to the pathologist and the cynic, than to the psychologist. Each of these stages of psychical development, even if that development be obviously describable as degeneration, has something which, duly adjusted, has its place and function in the theory of the normally-complete human mind. The animal, the savage, and the child,—each has its part there. It is a mutilated, one-sided and superficial advance in socialisation which cuts off the civilised creature from the natural stem of his ancestry, from the large freedom, the immense insouciance, the childlikeness of his first estate. There is something, again, wanting in the man who utterly lacks the individualising realism and tenderness of the woman, as in the woman who can show no comprehension of view or bravery of enterprise. Even pathological states of mind are not mere anomalies and mere degenerations. Nature perhaps knows no proper degenerations, but only by-ways and intricacies in the course of development. Still less is the vast enormity or irregularity of genius to be ignored. It is all—to the philosophic mind—a question of degree and proportion,—though often the proportion seems to exceed the scale of our customary denominators. If an element is latent or quiescent (in arrest), that is no index to its absolute amount: “we know not what's resisted.” Let us by all means keep proudly to our happy mediocrity of faculty, and step clear of insanity or idiotcy on one hand, and from genius or heroism on the other. But the careful observer will notwithstanding note how delicately graded and how intricately combined are the steps which connect extremes so terribly disparate. It is only vulgar ignorance which turns away in hostility or contempt from the imbecile and the deranged, and only a worse than vulgar sciolism which sees in genius and the hero nothing but an aberration from its much-prized average. Criminalistic anthropology, or the psychology of the criminal, may have indulged in much frantic exaggeration as to the doom which nature and heredity have pronounced over the fruit of the womb even before it entered the shores of light: yet they have at least served to discredit the free and easy assumption of the abstract averagist, and shown how little the penalties of an unbending law meet the requirements of social well-being.

Yet, if psychology be willing to learn in all these and other provinces of the estate of man, it must remember that, once it goes beyond the narrow range in which the interpretations of symbol and expression have become familiar, it is constantly liable to blunder in the inevitable effort to translate observation into theory. The happy mean between making too much of palpable differences and hurrying on to a similar rendering of similar signs is the rarest of gifts. Or, perhaps, it were truer to say it is the latest and most hardly won of acquirements. To learn to observe—observe with mind—is not a small thing. There are rules for it—both rules of general scope and, above all, rules in each special department. But like all “major premisses” in practice, everything depends on the power of judgment, the tact, the skill, the “gift” of applying them. They work not as mere rules to be conned by rote, but as principles assimilated into constituents of the mental life-blood: rules which serve only as condensed reminders and hints of habits of thought and methods of research which have grown up in action and reflection. To observe we must comprehend: yet we can only comprehend by observing. We all know how unintelligible—save for epochs of ampler reciprocity, and it may be even of acquired unity of interest—the two sexes are for each other. Parents can remember how mysteriously minded they found their own elders; and in most cases they have to experience the depth of the gulf which in certain directions parts them from their children's hearts. Even in civilised Europe, the ordinary member of each nation has an underlying conviction (which at moments of passion or surprise will rise and find harsh utterance) that the foreigner is queer, irrational, and absurd. If the foreigner, further, be so far removed as a Chinaman (or an Australian “black”), there is hardly anything too vile, meaningless, or inhuman which the European will not readily believe in the case of one who, it may be, in turn describes him as a “foreign devil.” It can only be in a fit of noble chivalry that the British rank and file can so far temporise with its insular prejudice as to admit of “Fuzzy-wuzzy” that

“He's a poor benighted 'eathen—but a first-class fightin' man.”

Not every one is an observer who chooses to dub himself so, nor is it in a short lapse of time and with condescension for foreign habits, that any observer whatever can become a trustworthy reporter of the ideas some barbarian tribe holds concerning the things of earth and air, and the hidden things of spirits and gods. The “interviewer” no doubt is a useful being when it is necessary to find “copy,” or when sharp-drawn characters and picturesque incidents are needed to stimulate an inert public, ever open to be interested in some new thing. But he is a poor contributor to the stored materials of science.

It is of other stuff that true science is made. And if even years of nominal intercourse and spatial juxtaposition sometimes leave human beings, as regards their inner selves, in the position of strangers still, what shall be said of the attempt to discern the psychic life of animals? Will the touch of curiosity which prompts us to watch the proceedings of the strange creatures,—will a course of experimentation on their behaviour under artificial conditions,—justify us in drawing liberal conclusions as to why they so behaved, and what they thought and felt about it? It is necessary in the first place to know what to observe, and how, and above all what for. But that presumed, we must further live with the animals not only as their masters and their examiners, but as their friends and fellow-creatures; we must be able—and so lightly that no effort is discernable—to lay aside the burden and garb of civilisation; we must possess that stamp of sympathy and similarity which invites confidence, and breaks down the reserve which our poor relations, whether human or others, offer to the first approaches of a strange superior. It is probable that in that case we should have less occasion to wonder at their oddities or to admire their sagacity. But a higher and more philosophical wonder might, as in other cases when we get inside the heart of our subject, take the place of the cheap and childish love of marvels, or of the vulgar straining after comic traits.

Of all this mass of materials the psychologist proper can directly make only a sparing use. Even as illustrations, his data must not be presented too often in all their crude and undigested individuality, or he runs the risk of leaving one-sided impressions. Every single instance, individualised and historical,—unless it be exhibited by that true art of genius which we cannot expect in the average psychologist—narrows, even though it be but slightly, the complete and all-sided truth. Anecdotes are good, and to the wise they convey a world of meaning, but to lesser minds they sometimes suggest anything but the points they should accentuate. Without the detail of individual realistic study there is no psychology worth the name. History, story, we must have: but at the same time, with the philosopher, we must say, I don't give much weight to stories. And this is what will always—except in rare instances where something like genius is conjoined with it—make esoteric science hard and unpopular. It dare not—if it is true to its idea—rest on any amount of mere instances, as isolated, unreduced facts. Yet it can only have real power so far as it concentrates into itself the life-blood of many instances, and indeed extracts the pith and unity of all instances.

Nor, on the other hand, can it turn itself too directly and intently towards practical applications. All this theory of mental progress from the animate soul to the fullness of religion and science deals solely with the universal process of education: “the education of humanity” we may call it: the way in which mind is made true and real46. It is therefore a question of intricacy and of time how to carry over this general theory into the arena of education as artificially directed and planned. To try to do so at a single step would be to repeat the mistake of Plato, if Plato may be taken to suppose (which seems incredible) that a theoretical study of the dialectics of truth and goodness would enable his rulers, without the training of special experience, to undertake the supreme tasks of legislation or administration. All politics, like all education, rests on these principles of the means and conditions of mental growth: but the schooling of concrete life, though it may not develop the faculty of formulating general laws, will often train better for the management of the relative than a mere logical Scholastic in first or absolute principles.

In conclusion, there are one or two points which seem of cardinal importance for the progress of psychology. (1) Its difference from the physical sciences has to be set out: in other words, the peculiarity of psychical fact. It will not do merely to say that experience marks out these boundaries with sufficient clearness. On the contrary, the terms consciousness, feeling, mind, &c., are evidently to many psychologists mere names. In particular, the habits of physical research when introduced into mental study lead to a good deal of what can only be called mythology. (2) There should be a clearer recognition of the problem of the relations of mental unity to mental elements. But to get that, a more thorough logical and metaphysical preparation is needed than is usually supposed necessary. The doctrine of identity and necessity, of universal and individual, has to be faced, however tedious. (3) The distinction between first-grade and second-grade elements and factors in the mental life has to be realised. The mere idea as presentative or immediate has to be kept clear of the more logico-reflective, or normative ideas, which belong to judgment and reasoning. And the number of these grades in mental development seems endless. (4) But, also, a separation is required—were it but temporary—between what may be called principles, and what is detail. At present, in psychology, “principles” is a word almost without meaning. A complete all-explaining system is of course impossible at present and may always be so. Yet if an effort of thought could be concentrated on cardinal issues, and less padding of conventional and traditional detail were foisted in, much might thereby be done to make detailed research fruitful. (5) And finally, perhaps, if psychology be a philosophical study, some hint as to its purpose and problem would be desirable. If it is only an abstract branch of science, of course, no such hint is in place.
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Re: HEGEL'S PHILOSOPHY OF MIND, by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich H

Postby admin » Sun Sep 20, 2015 4:08 am

Part 1 of 4

Essay 3. On Some Psychological Aspects Of Ethics.

Allusion has already been made to the question of the boundaries between logic and psychology, between logic and ethics, ethics and psychology, and psychology and epistemology. Each of these occasionally comes to cover ground that seems more appropriate to the others. Logic is sometimes restricted to denote the study of the conditions of derivative knowledge, of the canons of inference and the modes of proof. If taken more widely as the science of thought-form, it is supposed to imply a world of fixed or stereotyped relations between ideas, a system of stable thoughts governed by inflexible laws in an absolute order of immemorial or eternal truth. As against such fixity, psychology is supposed to deal with these same ideas as products—as growing out of a living process of thought—having a history behind them and perhaps a prospect of further change. The genesis so given may be either a mere chronicle-history, or it may be a philosophical development. In the former case, it would note the occasions of incident and circumstance, the reactions of mind and environment, under which the ideas were formed. Such a psychological genesis of several ideas is found in the Second Book of Locke's Essay. In the latter case, the account would be more concerned with the inner movement, the action and reaction in ideas themselves, considered not as due to casual occurrences, but as self-developing by an organic growth. But in either case, ideas would be shown not to be ready-made and independently existing kinds in a world of idea-things, and not to form an unchanging diagram or framework, but to be a growth, to have a history, and a development. Psychology in this sense would be a dynamical, as opposed to the supposed statical, treatment of ideas and concepts in logic. But it may be doubted how far it is well to call this psychology: unless psychology deals with the contents of the mental life, in their meaning and purpose, instead of, as seems proper, merely in their character of psychic events. Such psychology is rather an evolutionist logic,—a dialectic process more than an analytic of a datum.

In the same way, ethics may be brought into one kind of contact with psychology. Ethics, like logic, may be supposed to presuppose and to deal with a certain inflexible scheme of requirements, a world of moral order governed by invariable or universal law; an eternal kingdom of right, existing independently of human wills, but to be learned and followed out in uncompromising obedience. As against this supposed absolute order, psychology may be said to show the genesis of the idea of obligation and duty, the growth of the authority of conscience, the formation of ideals, the relativity of moral ideas. Here also it may reach this conclusion, by a more external or a more internal mode of argument. It may try to show, in other words, that circumstances give rise to these forms of estimating conduct, or it may argue that they are a necessary development in the human being, constituted as he is. It may again be doubted whether this is properly called psychology. Yet its purport seems ultimately to be that the objective order is misconceived when it is regarded as an external or quasi-physical order: as a law written up and sanctioned with an external authority—as, in Kant's words, a heteronomy. If that order is objective, it is so because it is also in a sense subjective: if it is above the mere individuality of the individual, it is still in a way identical with his true or universal self-hood. Thus “psychological” here means the recognition that the logical and the moral law is an autonomy: that it is not given, but though necessary, necessary by the inward movement of the mind. The metaphor of law is, in brief, misleading. For, according to a common, though probably an erroneous, analysis of that term, the essence of a law in the political sphere is to be a species of command. And that is rather a one-sidedly practical or aesthetic way of looking at it. The essence of law in general, and the precondition of every law in special, is rather uniformity and universality, self-consistency and absence of contradiction: or, in other words, rationality. Its essential opposite—or its contradiction in essence—is a privilege, an attempt at isolating a case from others. It need not indeed always require bare uniformity—require i.e. the same act to be done by different people: but it must always require that every thing within its operation shall be treated on principles of utter and thorough harmony and consistency. It requires each thing to be treated on public principles and with publicity: nothing apart and mere singular, as a mere incident or as a world by itself. Differently it may be treated, but always on grounds of common well-being, as part of an embracing system.

There is probably another sense, however, in which psychology comes into close relation with ethics. If we look on man as a microcosm, his inner system will more or less reproduce the system of the larger world. The older psychology used to distinguish an upper or superior order of faculties from a lower or inferior. Thus in the intellectual sphere, the intellect, judgment, and reason were set above the senses, imagination, and memory. Among the active powers, reasonable will, practical reason and conscience were ranked as paramount over the appetites and desires and emotions. And this use of the word “faculty” is as old as Plato, who regards science as a superior faculty to opinion or imagination. But this application—which seems a perfectly legitimate one—does not, in the first instance, belong to psychology at all. No doubt it is psychically presented: but it has an other source. It springs from an appreciation, a judgment of the comparative truth or reality of what the so-called psychical act means or expresses. Such faculties are powers in a hierarchy of means and ends and presuppose a normative or critical function which has classified reality. Psychically, the elements which enter into knowledge are not other than those which belong to opinion: but they are nearer an adequate rendering of reality, they are truer, or nearer the Idea. And in the main we may say, that is truer or more real which succeeds in more completely organising and unifying elements—which rises more and more above the selfish or isolated part into the thorough unity of all parts.

The superior faculty is therefore the more thorough organisation of that which is elsewhere less harmoniously systematised. Opinion is fragmentary and partial: it begins abruptly and casually from the unknown, and runs off no less abruptly into the unknown. Knowledge, on the contrary, is unified: and its unity gives it its strength and superiority. The powers which thus exist are the subjective counterparts of objectively valuable products. Thus, reason is the subjective counterpart of a world in which all the constituents are harmonised and fall into due relationship. It is a product or result, which is not psychologically, but logically or morally important. It is a faculty, because it means that actually its possessor has ordered and systematised his life or his ideas of things. Psychologically, it, like unreason, is a compound of elements: but in the case of reason the composition is unendingly and infinitely consistent; it is knowledge completely unified. The distinction then is not in the strictest sense psychological: for it has an aesthetic or normative character; it is logical or ethical: it denotes that the idea or the act is an approach to truth or goodness. And so, when Butler or Plato distinguishes reason or reflection from appetites and affections, and even from self-love or from the heart which loves and hates, this is not exactly a psychological division in the narrower sense. That is to say: these are, in Plato's words, not merely “parts,” but quite as much “kinds” and “forms” of soul. They denote degrees in that harmonisation of mind and soul which reproduces the permanent and complete truth of things. For example, self-love, as Butler describes it, has but a partial and narrowed view of the worth of acts: it is engrossing and self-involved: it cannot take in the full dependence of the narrower interest on the larger and eternal self. So, in Plato, the man of heart is but a nature which by fits and starts, or with steady but limited vision, realises the larger life. These parts or kinds are not separate and co-existent faculties: but grades in the co-ordination and unification of the same one human nature.

(i.) Psychology and Epistemology.

Psychology however in the strict sense is extremely difficult to define. Those who describe it as the “science of mind,” the “phenomenology of consciousness,” seem to give it a wider scope than they really mean. The psychologist of the straiter sect tends, on the other hand, to carry us beyond mind and consciousness altogether. His, it has been said, is a psychology without a Psyché. For him Mind, Soul, and Consciousness are only current and convenient names to designate the field, the ground on which the phenomena he observes are supposed to transact themselves. But they must not on any account interfere with the operations; any more than Nature in general may interfere with strictly physical inquiries, or Life and vital force with the theories of biology. The so-called Mind is only to be regarded as a stage on which certain events represent themselves. In this field, or on this stage, there are certain relatively ultimate elements, variously called ideas, presentations, feelings, or states of consciousness. But these elements, though called ideas, must not be supposed more than mechanical or dynamical elements; consciousness is rather their product, a product which presupposes certain operations and relations between them. If we are to be strictly scientific, we must, it is urged, treat the factors of consciousness as not themselves conscious: we must regard them as quasi-objective, or in abstraction from the consciousness which surveys them. The Ego must sink into a mere receptacle or arena of psychic event; its independent meaning or purport is to be ignored, as beside the question.

When this line is once fixed upon, it seems inevitable to go farther. Comte was inclined to treat psychology as falling between two stools: it must, he thought, draw all its content either from physiology on the one hand, or from social factors on the other. The dominant or experimental psychology of the present day seems inclined, without however formulating any very definite statement, to pronounce for the former alternative. It does not indeed adopt the materialistic view that mind is only a function of matter. Its standpoint rather is that the psychical presents itself even to unskilled observation as dependent on (i.e. not independent of) or as concomitant with certain physical or corporeal facts. It adds that the more accurately trained the observer becomes, the more he comes to discover a corporeal aspect even where originally he had not surmised its existence, and to conclude that the two cycles of psychical and physical event never interfere with each other: that soul does not intervene in bodily process, nor body take up and carry on psychical. If it is said that the will moves the limbs, he replies that the will which moves is really certain formerly unnoticed movements of nerve and muscle which are felt or interpreted as a discharge of power. If the ocular impression is said to cause an impression on the mind, he replies that any fact hidden under that phrase refers to a change in the molecules of the brain. He will therefore conclude that for the study of psychical phenomena the physical basis, as it may be called, is all important. Only so can observation really deal with fact capable of description and measurement. Thus psychology, it may be said, tends to become a department of physiology. From another standpoint, biology may be said to receive its completion in psychology. How much either phrase means, however, will depend on the estimate we form of biology. If biology is only the study of mechanical and chemical phenomena on the peculiar field known as an organism, and if that organism is only treated as an environment which may be ignored, then psychology, put on the same level, is not the full science of mind, any more than the other is the full study of life. They both have narrowed their subject to suit the abstract scheme of the laboratory, where the victim of experiment is either altered by mutilation and artificial restrictions, or is dead. If, on the contrary, biology has a substantial unity of its own to which mechanical and chemical considerations are subordinate and instrumental, psychology may even take part with physiology without losing its essential rank. But in that case, we must, as Spinoza said47, think less mechanically of the animal frame, and recognise (after the example of Schelling) something truly inward (i.e. not merely locally inside the skin) as the supreme phase or characteristic of life. We must, in short, recognise sensibility as the culmination of the physiological and the beginning of the psychological.

To the strictly scientific psychologist, as has been noted—or to the psychology which imitates optical and electrical science—ideas are only psychical events: they are not ideas of anything, relative, i.e. to something else; they have no meaning, and no reference to a reality beyond themselves. They are presentations;—not representations of something outside consciousness. They are appearances: but not appearances of something: they do not reveal anything beyond themselves. They are, we may almost say, a unique kind of physical phenomena. If we say they are presentations of something, we only mean that in the presented something, in the felt something, the wished something, we separate the quality or form or aspect of presentativeness, of feltness, of wishedness, and consider this aspect by itself. There are grades, relations, complications, of such presentations or in such presentedness: and with the description and explanation of these, psychology is concerned. They are fainter or stronger, more or less correlated and antithetical. Presentation (or ideation), in short, is the name of a train of event, which has its peculiarities, its laws, its systems, its history.

All reality, it may be said, subsists in such presentation; it is for a consciousness, or in a consciousness. All esse, in its widest sense, is percipi. And yet, it seems but the commonest of experiences to say that all that is presented is not reality. It is, it has a sort of being,—is somehow presumed to exist: but it is not reality. And this reference and antithesis to whatis presented is implied in all such terms as “ideas,” “feelings,” “states of consciousness”: they are distinguished from and related to objects of sense or external facts, to something, as it is called, outside consciousness. Thoughts and ideas are set against things and realities. In their primitive stage both the child and the savage seem to recognise no such difference. What they imagine is, as we might say, on the same plane with what they touch and feel. They do not, as we reproachfully remark, recognise the difference between fact and fiction. All of us indeed are liable to lapses into the same condition. A strong passion, a keen hope or fear, as we say, invests its objects with reality: even a sanguine moment presents as fact what calmer reflection disallows as fancy. With natural and sane intelligences, however, the recrudescence of barbarous imagination is soon dispelled, and the difference between hallucinations and realities is established. With the utterly wrecked in mind, the reality of hallucinations becomes a permanent or habitual state. With the child and the untrained it is a recurrent and a disturbing influence: and it need hardly be added that the circle of thesedecepti deceptores—people with the “lie in the Soul”—is a large one. There thus emerges a distinction of vast importance, that of truth and falsehood, of reality and unreality, or between representation and reality. There arise two worlds, the world of ideas, and the world of reality which it is supposed to represent, and, in many cases, to represent badly.

With this distinction we are brought across the problem sometimes called Epistemological. Strictly speaking, it is really part of a larger problem: the problem of what—if Greek compounds must be used—may be styled Aletheiology—the theory of truth and reality: what Hegel called Logic, and what many others have called Metaphysics. As it is ordinarily taken up, “ideas” are believed to be something in us which is representative or symbolical of something truly real outside us. This inward something is said to be the first and immediate object of knowledge48, and gives us—in a mysterious way we need not here discuss—the mediate knowledge of the reality, which is sometimes said to cause it. Ideas in the Mind, or in the Subject, or in us, bear witness to something outside the mind,—trans-subjective—beyond us. The Mind, Subject, or Ego, in this parallelism is evidently in some way identified with our corporeal organism: perhaps even located, and provided with a “seat,” in some defined space of that organism. It is, however, the starting-point of the whole distinction that ideas do not, no less than they do, conform or correspond to this supra-conscious or extra-conscious world of real things. Truth or falsehood arises, according to these assumptions, according as psychical image or idea corresponds or not to physical fact. But how, unless by some miraculous second-sight, where the supreme consciousness, directly contemplating by intuition the true and independent reality, turns to compare with this immediate vision the results of the mediate processes conducted along the organs of sense,—how this agreement or disagreement of copy and original, of idea and reality, can be detected, it is impossible to say.

As has been already noted, the mischief lies in the hypostatisation of ideas as something existing in abstraction from things—and, of things, in abstraction from ideas. They are two abstractions, the first by the realist, the second by the idealist called subjective and psychological. To the realist, things exist by themselves, and they manage to produce a copy of themselves (more or less exact, or symbolical) in our mind, i.e. in a materialistically-spiritual or a spiritualistically-material locus which holds “images” and ideas. To the psychological idealist, ideas have a substantive and primary right to existence, them alone do we really know, and from them we more or less legitimately are said (but probably no one takes this seriously) to infer or postulate a world of permanent things. Now ideas have no substantive existence as a sort of things, or even images of things anywhere. All this is pure mythology. It is said by comparative mythologists that in some cases the epithet or quality of some deity has been substantialised (hypostatised) into a separate god, who, however (so still to keep up the unity), is regarded as a relative, a son, or daughter, of the original. So the phrase “ideas of things” has been taken literally as if it was double. But to have an idea of a thing merely means that we know it, or think it. An idea is not given: it is a thing which is given in the idea. An idea is not an additional and intervening object of our knowledge or supposed knowledge. That a thing is our object of thought is another word for its being our idea, and that means we know it.

The distinction between truth and falsehood, between reality and appearance, is not arrived at by comparing what we have before us in our mind with some inaccessible reality beyond. It is a distinction that grows up with the growth and organisation of our presentations—with their gradual systematisation and unification in one consciousness. But this consciousness which thinks, i.e. judges and reasons, is something superior to the contrast of physical and psychical: superior, i.e. in so far as it includes and surveys the antithesis, without superseding it. It is the “transcendental unity of consciousness” of Kant—his synthetic unity of apperception. It means that all ideas ultimately derive their reality from their coherence with each other in an all-embracing or infinite idea. Real in a sense ideas always are, but with an imperfect reality. Thus the education to truth is not—such a thing would be meaningless—ended by a rough and ready recommendation to compare our ideas with facts: it must teach the art which discovers facts. And the teaching may have to go through many grades or provinces: in each of which it is possible to acquire a certain virtuosoship without being necessarily an adept in another. It is through what is called the development of intellect, judgment, and reasoning that the faculty of truth-detecting or truth-selecting comes. And the common feature of all of these is, so to say, their superiority to the psychological mechanism, not in the sense of working without it and directly, but of being the organising unity or unifier and controller and judge of that mechanism. The certainty and necessity of truth and knowledge do not come from a constraint from the external thing which forces the inner idea into submission; they come from the inner necessity of conformity and coherence in the organism of experience. We in fact had better speak of ideas as experience—as felt reality: a reality however which has its degrees and perhaps even its provinces. All truth comes with the reasoned judgment, i.e. the syllogism—i.e. with the institution or discovery of relations of fact or element to fact or element, immediate or derivative, partial and less partial, up to its ideal coherence in one Idea. It is because this coherence is so imperfectly established in many human beings that their knowledge is so indistinguishable from opinion, and that they separate so loosely truth from error. They have not worked their way into a definitely articulated system, where there are no gaps, no abrupt transitions: their mental order is so loosely put together that divergences and contradictions which vex another drop off ineffectual from them.

(ii.) Kant, Fichte, and Hegel.

This was the idealism which Kant taught and Fichte promoted. Of the other idealism there are no doubt abundant traces in the language of Kant: and they were greedily fastened on by Schopenhauer. To him the doctrine, that the world is my idea, is adequately represented when it is translated into the phrase that the world is a phantasmagoria of my brain; and escape from the subjective idealism thus initiated is found by him only through a supposed revelation of immediate being communicated in the experience of will. But according to the more consistently interpreted Kant, the problem of philosophy consists in laying bare the supreme law or conditions of consciousness on which depend the validity of our knowledge, our estimates of conduct, and our aesthetic standards. And these roots of reality are for Kant in the mind—or, should we rather say—in mind—in “Consciousness in General.” In the Criticism of Pure Reason the general drift of his examination is to show that the great things or final realities which are popularly supposed to stand in self-subsistent being, as ultimate and all-comprehensive objects set up for knowledge, are not “things” as popularly supposed, but imperative and inevitable ideas. They are not objects to be known—(these are always finite): but rather the unification, the basis, or condition, and the completion of all knowledge. To know them—in the ordinary petty sense of knowledge—is as absurd and impossible as it would be, in the Platonic scheme of reality, to know the idea of good which is “on the further side of knowledge and being.” God and the Soul—and the same would be true of the World (though modern speculators sometimes talk as if they had it at least within their grasp)—are not mere objects of knowledge. It would be truer to say they are that by which we know, and they are what in us knows: they make knowledge possible, and actual. Kant has sometimes spoken of them as the objects of a faith of reason. What he means is that reason only issues in knowledge because of and through this inevitable law of reason bidding us go on for ever in our search, because there can be nothing isolated and nowhere any ne plus ultra in science, which is infinite and yet only justified as it postulates or commands unity.

Kant's central idea is that truth, beauty, goodness, are not dependent on some qualities of the object, but on the universal nature or law of consciousness. Beauty is not an attribute of things in their abstractness: but of things as ideas of a subject, and depends on the proportion and symmetry in the play of human faculty. Goodness is not conformity to an outward law, but is obligatory on us through that higher nature which is our truer being. Truth is not conformity of ideas with supposed trans-subjective things, but coherence and stability in the system of ideas. The really infinite world is not out there, but in here—in consciousness in general, which is the denial of all limitation, of all finality, of all isolation. God is the essential and inherent unity and unifier of spirit and nature—the surety that the world in all its differentiations is one. The Soul is not an essential entity, but the infinite fruitfulness and freshness of mental life, which forbids us stopping at anything short of complete continuity and unity. The Kingdom of God—the Soul—the moral law—is within us: within us, as supreme, supra-personal and infinite intelligences, even amid all our littleness and finitude. Even happiness which we stretch our arms after is not really beyond us, but is the essential self which indeed we can only reach in detail. It is so both in knowledge and in action. Each knowledge and enjoyment in reality is limited and partial, but it is made stable, and it gets a touch of infinitude, by the larger idea which it helps to realise. Only indeed in that antithesis between the finite and the infinite does the real live. Every piece of knowledge is real, only because it assumes pro tempore certain premisses which are given: every actual beauty is set in some defect of aesthetic completeness: every actually good deed has to get its foil in surrounding badness. The real is always partial and incomplete. But it has the basis or condition of its reality in an idea—in a transcendental unity of consciousness, which is so to say a law, or a system and an order, which imposes upon it the condition of conformity and coherence; but a conformity which is essential and implicit in it.

Fichte has called his system a Wissenschaftslehre—a theory of knowledge. Modern German used the word Wissenschaft, as modern English uses the word Science, to denote the certified knowledge of piecemeal fact, the partial unification of elements still kept asunder. But by Wissen, as opposed to Erkennen, is meant the I know, am aware and sure, am in contact with reality, as opposed to the derivative and conditional reference of something to something else which explains it. The former is a wider term: it denotes all consciousness of objective truth, the certainty which claims to be necessary and universal, which pledges its whole self for its assertion. Fichte thus unifies and accentuates the common element in the Kantian criticisms. In the first of these Kant had begun by explaining the nature and limitation of empirical science. It was essentially conditioned by the given sensation—dependent i.e. on an unexplained and preliminary element. This is what makes it science in the strict or narrow sense of the term: its being set, as it were, in the unknown, the felt, the sense-datum. The side of reality is thus the side of limitation and of presupposition. But what makes it truth and knowledge in general, on the other hand,—as distinct from a truth (i.e. partial truth) and a knowledge,—is the ideal element—the mathematical, the logical, the rational law,—or in one word, the universal and formal character. So too every real action is on one hand the product of an impulse, a dark, merely given, immediate tendency to be, and without that would be nothing: but on the other hand it is only an intelligent and moral action in so far as it has its constitution from an intelligence, a formal system, which determine its place and function.

It is on the latter or ideal element that Kant makes the emphasis increasingly turn. Not truths, duties, beauties, but truth, duty, beauty, form his theme. The formal element—the logical or epistemological condition of knowledge and morality and of beauty—is what he (and still more Fichte) considers the prime question of fundamental philosophy. His philosophy is an attempt to get at the organism of our fundamental belief—the construction, from the very base, of our conception of reality, of our primary certainty. In technical language, he describes our essential nature as a Subject-object. It is the unity of an I am which is also I know that I am: an I will which is also I am conscious of my will49. Here there is a radical disunion and a supersession of that disunion. Action and contemplation are continually outrunning each other. The I will rests upon one I know, and works up to another: the I know reflects upon an I will, and includes it as an element in its idea.

Kant had brought into use the term Deduction, and Fichte follows him. The term leads to some confusion: for in English, by its modern antithesis to induction, it suggests a priori methods in all their iniquity. It means a kind of jugglery which brings an endless series out of one small term. Kant has explained that he uses it in the lawyer's sense in which a claim is justified by being traced step by step back to some acknowledged and accepted right50. It is a regressive method which shows us that if the original datum is to be accepted it carries along with it the legitimation of the consequence. This method Fichte applies to psychology. Begin, he says like Condillac, with the barest nucleus of soul-life; the mere sentiency, or feeling: the contact, as it were, with being, at a single point. But such a mere point is unthinkable. You find, as Mr. Spencer says, that “Thought” (or Consciousness) “cannot be framed out of one term only.” “Every sensation to be known as one must be perceived.” Such is the nature of the Ego—a subject which insists on each part being qualified by the whole and so transformed. As Mr. Spencer, again, puts it, the mind not merely tends to revive, to associate, to assimilate, to represent its own presentations, but it carries on this process infinitely and in ever higher multiples. Ideas as it were are growing in complexity by re-presenting: i.e. by embracing and enveloping elements which cannot be found existing in separation. In the mind there is no mere presentation, no bare sensation. Such a unit is a fiction or hypothesis we employ, like the atom, for purposes of explanation. The pure sensation therefore—which you admit because you must have something to begin with, not a mere nothing, but something so simple that it seems to stand out clear and indisputable—this pure sensation, when you think of it, forces you to go a good deal further. Even to be itself, it must be more than itself. It is like the pure or mere being of the logicians. Admit the simple sensation—and you have admitted everything which is required to make sensation a possible reality. But you do not—in the sense of vulgar logic—deduce what follows out of the beginning. From that, taken by itself, you will get only itself: mere being will give you only nothing, to the end of the chapter. But, as the phrase is, sensation is an element in a consciousness: it is, when you think of it, always more than you called it: there is a curious “continuity” about the phenomena, which makes real isolation impossible.

Of course this “deduction” is not history: it is logic. It says, if you posit sensation, then in doing so, you posit a good deal more. You have imagination, reason, and many more, all involved in your original assumption. And there is a further point to be noted. You cannot really stop even at reason, at intelligence and will, if you take these in the full sense. You must realise that these only exist as part and parcel of a reasonable world. An individual intelligence presupposes a society of intelligences. The successive steps in this argument are presented by Fichte in the chief works of his earlier period (1794-98). The works of that period form a kind of trilogy of philosophy, by which the faint outlines of the absolute selfhood is shown acquiring definite consistency in the moral organisation of society. First comes the “Foundation for the collective philosophy.” It shows how our conception of reality and our psychical organisation are inevitably presupposed in the barest function of intelligence, in the abstractest forms of logical law. Begin where you like, with the most abstract and formal point of consciousness, you are forced, as you dwell upon it (you identifying yourself with the thought you realise), to go step by step on till you accept as a self-consistent and self-explanatory unity all that your cognitive and volitional nature claims to own as its birthright. Only in such an intelligent will is perception and sensation possible. Next came the “Foundation of Natural Law, on the principles of the general theory.” Here the process of deduction is carried a step further. If man is to realise himself as an intelligence with an inherent bent to action, then he must be conceived as a person among persons, as possessed of rights, as incapable of acting without at the same moment claiming for his acts recognition, generality, and logical consecution. The reference, which in the conception of a practical intelligence was implicit,—the reference to fellow-agents, to a world in which law rules—is thus, by the explicit recognition of these references, made a fact patent and positive—gesetzt,—expressly instituted in the way that the nature and condition of things postulates. But this is not all: we step from the formal and absolute into the material and relative. If man is to be a real intelligence, he must be an intelligence served by organs. “The rational being cannot realise its efficient individuality, unless it ascribes to itself a material body”: a body, moreover, in which Fichte believes he can show that the details of structure and organs are equally with the general corporeity predetermined by reason51. In the same way it is shown that the social and political organisation is required for the realisation—the making positive and yet coherent—of the rights of all individuals. You deduce society by showing it is required to make a genuine individual man. Thirdly came the “System of Ethics.” Here it is further argued that, at least in a certain respect52, in spite of my absolute reason and my absolute freedom, I can only be fully real as a part of Nature: that my reason is realised in a creature of appetite and impulse. From first to last this deduction is one process which may be said to have for its object to determine “the conditions of self-hood or egoity.” It is the deduction of the concrete and empirical moral agent—the actual ego of actual life—from the abstract, unconditioned ego, which in order to be actual must condescend to be at once determining and determined.

In all of this Fichte makes—especially formally—a decided advance upon Kant. In Ethics Kant in particular, (—especially for readers who never got beyond the beginning of his moral treatise and were overpowered by the categorical imperative of duty) had found the moral initiative or dynamic apparently in the other world. The voice of duty seemed to speak from a region outside and beyond the individual conscience. In a sense it must do so: but it comes from a consciousness which is, and yet is more than, the individual. It is indeed true that appearances here are deceptive: and that the idea of autonomy, the self-legislation of reason, is trying to become the central conception of Kant's Ethics. Still it is Fichte's merit to have seen this clearly, to have held it in view unfalteringly, and to have carried it out in undeviating system or deduction. Man, intelligent, social, ethical, is a being all of one piece and to be explained entirely immanently, or from himself. Law and ethics are no accident either to sense or to intelligence—nothing imposed by mere external or supernal authority53. Society is not a brand-new order of things supervening upon and superseding a state of nature, where the individual was entirely self-supporting. Morals, law, society, are all necessary steps (necessary i.e. in logic, and hence in the long run also inevitable in course of time) to complete the full evolution or realisation of a human being. The same conditions as make man intelligent make him social and moral. He does not proceed so far as to become intelligent and practical, under terms of natural and logical development, then to fall into the hands of a foreign influence, an accident ab extra, which causes him to become social and moral. Rather he is intelligent, because he is a social agent.

Hence, in Fichte, the absence of the ascetic element so often stamping its character on ethics, and representing the moral life as the enemy of the natural, or as mainly a struggle to subdue the sensibility and the flesh. With Kant,—as becomes his position of mere inquirer—the sensibility has the place of a predominant and permanent foreground. Reason, to his way of talking, is always something of an intruder, a stranger from a far-off world, to be feared even when obeyed: sublime, rather than beautiful. From the land of sense which we habitually occupy, the land of reason is a country we can only behold from afar: or if we can be said to have a standpoint in it, that is only a figurative way of saying that though it is really over the border, we can act—it would sometimes seem by a sort of make-believe—as if we were already there. But these moments of high enthusiasm are rare; and Kant commends sobriety and warns against high-mindedSchwärmerei, or over-strained Mysticism. For us it is reserved to struggle with a recalcitrant selfhood, a grovelling sensibility: it were only fantastic extravagance, fit for “fair souls” who unfortunately often lapse into “fair sinners,” should we fancy ourselves already anchored in the haven of untempted rest and peace.

When we come to Fichte, we find another spirit breathing. We have passed from the age of Frederick the Great to the age of the French Revolution; and the breeze that burst in the War of Liberation is already beginning to freshen the air. Boldly he pronounces the primacy of that faith of reason whereby not merely the just but all shall live. Your will shall show you what you really are. You are essentially a rational will, or a will-reason. Your sensuous nature, of impulse and appetite, far from being the given and found obstacle to the realisation of reason,—which Kant strictly interpreted might sometimes seem to imply—(and in this point Schopenhauer carries out the implications of Kant)—is really the condition or mode of being which reason assumes, or rises up to, in order to be a practical or moral being. Far from the body and the sensible needs being a stumbling-block to hamper the free fullness of rationality and morality, the truth rather is that it is only by body and sense, by flesh and blood, that the full moral and rational life can be realised54. Or, to put it otherwise, if human reason (intelligence and will) is to be more than a mere and empty inner possibility, if man is to be a real and concrete cognitive and volitional being, he must be a member of an ethical and actual society, which lives by bread, and which marries and has children.
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Re: HEGEL'S PHILOSOPHY OF MIND, by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich H

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Part 2 of 4

(iii.) Psychology in Ethics.

In this way, for Fichte, and through Fichte still more decidedly for Hegel, both psychology and ethics breathe an opener and ampler air than they often enjoy. Psychology ceases to be a mere description of psychic events, and becomes the history of the self-organising process of human reason. Ethics loses its cloistered, negative, unnatural aspect, and becomes a name for some further conditions of the same development, essentially postulated to complete or supplement its shortcomings. Psychology—taken in this high philosophical acceptation—thus leads on to Ethics; and Ethics is parted by no impassable line from Psychology. That, at least, is what must happen if they are still to retain a place in philosophy: for, as Kant says55, “under the government of reason our cognitions cannot form a rhapsody, but must constitute a system, in which alone can they support and further its essential aims.” As parts of such a system, they carry out their special work in subordination to, and in the realisation of, a single Idea—and therefore in essential interconnexion. From that interconnecting band we may however in detail-enquiry dispense ourselves; and then we have the empirical or inductive sciences of psychology and ethics. But even with these, the necessity of the situation is such that it is only a question of degree how far we lose sight of the philosophical horizon, and entrench ourselves in special enquiry. Something of the philosophic largeness must always guide us; even when, to further the interests of the whole, it is necessary for the special enquirer to bury himself entirely in his part. So long as each part is sincerely and thoroughly pursued, and no part is neglected, there is an indwelling reason in the parts which will in the long run tend to constitute the total.

A philosophical psychology will show us how the sane intelligence and the rational will are, at least approximately, built up out of elements, and through stages and processes, which modify and complement, as they may also arrest and perplex, each other. The unity, coherence, and completeness of the intelligent self is not, as vulgar irreflectiveness supposes and somewhat angrily maintains, a full-grown thing or agent, of whose actions and modes of behaviour the psychologist has to narrate the history,—a history which is too apt to degenerate into the anecdotal and the merely interesting. This unity of self has to be “deduced,” as Fichte would say: it has to be shown as the necessary result which certain elements in a certain order will lead to56. A normal mind, self-possessed, developed and articulated, yet thoroughly one, a real microcosm, or true and full monad, which under the mode of its individuality still represents the universe: that is, what psychology has to show as the product of factors and processes. And it is clearly something great and good, something valuable, and already possessing, by implication we may say, an ethical character.

In philosophy, at least, it is difficult, or rather impossible to draw a hard and fast line which shall demarcate ethical from non-ethical characters,—to separate them from other intellectual and reasonable motives. Kant, as we know, attempted to do so: but with the result that he was forced to add a doubt whether a purely moral act could ever be said to exist57; or rather to express the certainty that if it did it was for ever inaccessible to observation. All such designations of the several “factors” or “moments” in reality, as has been hinted, are only a potiori. But they are misused when it is supposed that they connote abrupt and total discontinuity. And Kant, after all, only repeated in his own terminology an old and inveterate habit of thought:—the habit which in Stoicism seemed to see sage and foolish utterly separated, and which in the straiter sects of Christendom fenced off saint absolutely from sinner. It is a habit to which Hegel, and even his immediate predecessors, are radically opposed. With Herder, he might say, “Ethics is only a higher physics of the mind58.” This—the truth in Spinozism—no doubt demands some emphasis on the word “higher”: and it requires us to read ethics (or something like it) into physics; but it is a step on the right road,—the step which Utilitarianism and Evolutionism had (however awkwardly) got their foot upon, and which “transcendent” ethics seems unduly afraid of committing itself to. Let us say, if we like, that the mind is more than mere nature, and that it is no proper object of a merely natural science. But let us remember that a merely natural science is only a fragment of science: let us add that the merely natural is an abstraction which in part denaturalises and mutilates the larger nature—a nature which includes the natural mind, and cannot altogether exclude the ethical.

What have been called “formal duties59” seem to fall under this range—the province of a philosophical psychology which unveils the conditions of personality. Under that heading may be put self-control, consistency, resolution, energy, forethought, prudence, and the like. The due proportion of faculty, the correspondence of head and heart, the vivacity and quickness of sympathy, the ease and simplicity of mental tone, the due vigour of memory and the grace of imagination, sweetness of temper, and the like, are parts of the same group60. They are lovely, and of good report: they are praise and virtue. If it be urged that they are only natural gifts and graces, that objection cuts two ways. The objector may of course be reminded that religion tones down the self-complacency of morality. Yet, first, even apart from that, it may be said that of virtues, which stand independent of natural conditions—of external supply of means (as Aristotle would say)—nothing can be known and nothing need be said. And secondly, none of these qualities are mere gifts;—all require exercise, habituation, energising, to get and keep them. How much and how little in each case is nature's and how much ours is a problem which has some personal interest—due perhaps to a rather selfish and envious curiosity. But on the broad field of experience and history we may perhaps accept the—apparently one-sided—proverb that “Each man is the architect of his own fortune.” Be this as it may, it will not do to deny the ethical character of these “formal duties” on the ground e.g. that self-control, prudence, and even sweetness of temper may be used for evil ends,—that one may smile and smile, and yet be a villain. That—let us reply,—on one hand, is a fault (if fault it be) incidental to all virtues in detail (for every single quality has its defect): nay it may be a limitation attaching to the whole ethical sphere: and, secondly, its inevitable limitation does not render the virtue in any case one whit less genuine so far as it goes. And yet of such virtues it may be said, as Hume61 would say (who calls them “natural,” as opposed to the more artificial merits of justice and its kin), that they please in themselves, or in the mere contemplation, and without any regard to their social effects. But they please as entering into our idea of complete human nature, of mind and spirit as will and intellect.

The moralists of last century sometimes divided the field of ethics by assigning to man three grades or kinds of duty: duties to himself, duties to society, and duties to God. For the distinction there is a good deal to be said: there are also faults to be found with it. It may be said, amongst other things, that to speak of duties to self is a metaphorical way of talking, and that God lies out of the range of human duty altogether, except in so far as religious service forms a part of social obligation. It may be urged that man is essentially a social being, and that it is only in his relations to other such beings that his morality can find a sphere. The sphere of morality, according to Dr. Bain, embraces whatever “society has seen fit to enforce with all the rigour of positive inflictions. Positive good deeds and self-sacrifice ... transcend the region of morality proper and occupy a sphere of their own62.” And there is little doubt that this restriction is in accordance with a main current of usage. It may even be said that there are tendencies towards a narrower usage still, which would restrict the term to questions affecting the relations of the sexes. But, without going so far, we may accept the standpoint which finds in the phrase “popular or social” sanction, as equivalent to the moral sanction, a description of the average level of common opinion on the topic. The morality of an age or country thus denotes, first, the average requirement in act and behaviour imposed by general consent on the members of a community, and secondly, the average performance of the members in response to these requirements. Generally speaking the two will be pretty much the same. If the society is in a state of equilibrium, there will be a palpable agreement between what all severally expect and what all severally perform. On the other hand, as no society is ever in complete equilibrium, this harmony will never be perfect and may often be widely departed from. In what is called a single community, if it reach a considerable bulk, there are (in other words) often a number of minor societies, more or less thwarting and modifying each other; and different observers, who belong in the main to one or other of these subordinate groups, may elicit from the facts before them a somewhat different social code, and a different grade of social observance. Still, with whatever diversity of detail, the important feature of such social ethics is that the stress is laid on the performance of certain acts, in accordance with the organisation of society. So long as the required compliance is given, public opinion is satisfied, and morality has got its due.

But in two directions this conception of morality needs to be supplementing. There is, on one hand, what is called duty to God. The phrase is not altogether appropriate: for it follows too closely the analogy of social requirement, and treats Deity as an additional and social authority,—a lord paramount over merely human sovereigns. But though there may be some use in the analogy, to press the conception is seriously to narrow the divine character and the scope of religion. As in similar cases, we cannot change one term without altering its correlative. And therefore to describe our relation to God under the name of duty is to narrow and falsify that relation. The word is no longer applicable in this connexion without a strain, and where it exists it indicates the survival of a conception of theocracy: of God regarded as a glorification of the magistrate, as king of kings and lord of lords. It is the social world—and indeed we may say the outside of the social world—that is the sphere of duties. Duty is still with these reductions a great august name: but in literal strictness it only rules over the medial sphere of life, the sphere which lies between the individual as such and his universal humanity63. Beyond duty, lies the sphere of conscience and of religion. And that is not the mere insistence by the individual to have a voice and a vote in determining the social order. It is the sense that the social order, however omnipotent it may seem, is limited and finite, and that man has in him a kindred with the Eternal.

It is not very satisfactory, either, as Aristotle and others have pointed out, to speak of man's duties to himself. The phrase is analogical, like the other. But it has the merit, like that of duty to God, of reminding us that the ordinary latitude occupied by morality is not all that comes under the larger scope of ethics. The “ethics of individual life” is a subject which Mr. Spencer has touched upon: and by this title, he means that, besides his general relationship to others, a human being has to mind his own health, food, and amusement, and has duties as husband and parent. But, after all, these are not matters of peculiarly individual interest. They rather refer to points which society at certain epochs leaves to the common sense of the agent,—apparently on an assumption that he is the person chiefly interested. And these points—as the Greeks taught long ago—are of fundamental importance: they are the very bases of life. Yet the comparative neglect in which so-called civilised societies64 hold the precepts of wisdom in relation to bodily health and vigour, in regard to marriage and progeny, serve to illustrate the doctrine of the ancient Stoics that πάντα ὑπόληψις, or the modern idealist utterance that the World is my idea. More and more as civilisation succeeds in its disruption of man from nature, it shows him governed not by bare facts and isolated experiences, but by the systematic idea under which all things are subsumed. He loses the naïveté of the natural man, which takes each fact as it came, all alike good: he becomes sentimental, and artificial, sees things under a conventional point of view, and would rather die than not be in the fashion. And this tendency is apparently irresistible. Yet the mistake lies in the one-sidedness of sentiment and convention. Not the domination of the idea is evil; but the domination of a partial and fragmentary idea: and this is what constitutes the evil of artificiality. And the correction must lie not in a return to nature, but in the reconstruction of a wider and more comprehensive idea: an idea which shall be the unity and system of all nature; not a fantastic idealism, but an attempt to do justice to the more realist as well as the idealist sides of life.

There is however another side of individualist ethics which needs even more especial enforcement. It is the formation of

“The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength and skill:”

the healthy mind in a healthy body. Ethics is only too apt to suppose that will and intelligence are assumptions which need no special justification. But the truth is that they vary from individual to individual in degree and structure. It is the business of ethical psychology to give to these vague attributions the definiteness of a normal standard: to show what proportions are required to justify the proper title of reason and will—to show what reason and will really are if they do what they are encouraged or expected to do. It talks of the diseases of will and personality: it must also set forth their educational ideal. The first problem of Ethics, it may be said, is the question of the will and its freedom. But to say this is of course not to say that, unless freedom of will be understood in some special sense, ethics becomes impossible. If the moral law is the ratio cognoscendi of freedom, then must our conception of morality and of freedom hang together. And it will clearly be indispensable to begin by some attempt to discover in what sense man may be in the most general way described as a moral agent—as an intelligent will, or (more briefly, yet synonymously) as a will. “The soil of law and morality,” says Hegel65, “is the intelligent life: and its more precise place and starting-point the will, which is free, in the sense that freedom is its substance and characteristic, and the system of law the realm of freedom realised, the world of intelligence produced out of itself as a second nature.” Such a freedom is a freedom made and acquired, the work of the mind's self-realisation, not to be taken as a given fact of consciousness which must be believed66. To have a will—in other words, to have freedom, is the consummation—and let us add, only the formal or ideal consummation—of a process by which man raises himself out of his absorption in sensation and impulse, establishes within himself a mental realm, an organism of ideas, a self-consciousness, and a self.

The vulgar apprehension of these things seems to assume that we have by nature, or are born with, a general faculty or set of general faculties, which we subsequently fill up and embody by the aid of experience. We possess—they seem to imply—so many “forms” and “categories” latent in our minds ready to hold and contain the raw materials supplied from without. According to this view we have all a will and an intelligence: the difference only is that some put more into them, and some put less. But such a separation of the general form from its contents is a piece of pure mythology. It is perhaps true and safe to say that the human being is of such a character that will and intelligence are in the ordinary course inevitably produced. But the forms which grow up are the more and more definite and systematic organisation of a graded experience, of series of ideas, working themselves up again and again in representative and re-representative degree, till they constitute a mental or inner world of their own. The will is thus the title appropriate to the final stage of a process, by which sensation and impulse have polished and perfected themselves by union and opposition, by differentiation and accompanying reintegration, till they assume characters quite unsurmised in their earliest aspects, and yet only the consolidation or self-realisation of implications. Thus the mental faculties are essentially acquired powers,—acquired not from without, but by action which generates the faculties it seems to imply. The process of mind is a process which creates individual centres, raises them to completer independence;—which produces an inner life more and more self-centered and also more and more equal to the universe which it has embodied. And will and intelligence are an important stage in that process.

Herbart (as was briefly hinted at in the first essay) has analysed ethical appreciation (which may or may not be accompanied by approbation) into five distinct standard ideas. These are the ideas of inward liberty, of perfection, of right, benevolence, and equity. Like Hume, he regards the moral judgment as in its purity a kind of aesthetic pronouncement on the agreement or proportion of certain activities in relations to each other. Two of these standard ideas,—that of inward liberty and of perfection—seem to belong to the sphere at present under review. They emerge as conditions determining the normal development of human nature to an intelligent and matured personality. By inward freedom Herbart means the harmony between the will and the intellect: what Aristotle has named “practical truth or reality,” and what he describes in his conception of wisdom or moral intelligence,—the power of discerning the right path and of pursuing it with will and temper: the unity, clear but indissoluble, of will and discernment. By the idea of perfection Herbart means the sense of proportion and of propriety which is awakened by comparing a progress in development or an increase in strength with its earlier stages of promise and imperfection. The pleasure such perception affords works in two ways: it is a satisfaction in achievement past, and a stimulus to achievement yet to come.

Such ideas of inward liberty and of growth in ability or in performance govern (at least in part) our judgment of the individual, and have an ethical significance. Indeed, if the cardinal feature of the ethical sentiment be the inwardness and independence of its approbation and obligation, these ideas lie at the root of all true morality. Inward harmony and inward progress, lucidity of conscience and the resolution which knows no finality of effort, are the very essence of moral life. Yet, if ethics is to include in the first instance social relationships and external utilities and sanctions, these conditions of true life must rather be described as pre-ethical. The truth seems to be that here we get to a range of ethics which is far wider than what is ordinarily called practice and conduct. At this stage logic, aesthetic, and ethic, are yet one: the true, the good, and the beautiful are still held in their fundamental unity. An ethics of wide principle precedes its narrower social application; and whereas in ordinary usage the social provinciality is allowed to prevail, here the higher ethics emerge clear and imperial above the limitations of local and temporal duty.

And though it is easy to step into exaggeration, it is still well to emphasise this larger conception of ethics. The moral principle of the “maximising of life,” as it has been called67, may be open to misconception (—so, unfortunately are all moral principles when stated in the effrontery of isolation): but it has its truth in the conviction that all moral evil is marked by a tendency to lower or lessen the total vitality. So too Friedrich Nietzsche's maxim, Sei vornehm68, ensue distinction, and above all things be not common or vulgar (gemein), will easily lend itself to distortion. But it is good advice for all that, even though it may be difficult to define in a general formula wherein distinction consists, to mark the boundary between self-respect and vanity or obstinacy, or to say wherein lies the beauty and dignity of human nature. Kant has laid it down as the principle of duty to ask ourselves if in our act we are prepared to universalise the maxim implied by our conduct. And that this—which essentially bids us look at an act in the whole of its relations and context—is a safeguard against some forms of moral evil, is certain. But there is an opposite—or rather an apparently opposite—principle which bids us be individual, be true to our own selves, and never allow ourselves to be dismayed from our own unique responsibility. Perhaps the two principles are not so far apart as they seem. In any case true individuality is the last word and the first word in ethics; though, it may be added, there is a good deal to be said between the two termini.

(iv.) An Excursus on Greek Ethics.

It is in these regions that Greek ethics loves to linger; on the duty of the individual to himself, to be perfectly lucid and true, and to rise to ever higher heights of achievement. Ceteris paribus, there is felt to be something meritorious in superiority, something good:—even were it that you are master, and another is slave. Thus naïvely speaks Aristotle69. To a modern, set amid so many conflicting ideals, perhaps, the immense possibilities of yet further growth might suggest themselves with overpowering force. To him the idea of perfection takes the form of an idea of perfectibility: and sometimes it smites down his conceit in what he has actually done, and impresses a sense of humility in comparison with what yet remains unaccomplished. An ancient Greek apparently was little haunted by these vistas of possibilities of progress through worlds beyond worlds. A comparatively simple environment, a fixed and definite mental horizon, had its plain and definite standards, or at least seemed to have such. There were fewer cases of the man, unattached or faintly attached to any definite profession—moving about in worlds half realised—who has grown so common in a more developed civilisation. The ideals of the Greek were clearly descried: each man had his definite function or work to perform: and to do it better than the average, or than he himself habitually had done, that was perfection, excellence, virtue. For virtue to the Greek is essentially ability and respectability: promise of excellent performance: capacity to do better than others. Virtue is praiseworthy or meritorious character and quality: it is achievement at a higher rate, as set against one's past and against others' average.

The Greek moralists sometimes distinguish and sometimes combine moral virtue and wisdom, ἀρετή and φρόνησις: capacity to perform, and wisdom to guide that capacity. To the ordinary Greek perhaps the emphasis fell on the former, on the attainment of all recognised good quality which became a man, all that was beautiful and honourable, all that was appropriate, glorious, and fame-giving; and that not for any special reference to its utilitarian qualities. Useful, of course, such qualities were: but that was not in question at the time. In the more liberal commonwealths of ancient Greece there was little or no anxious care to control the education of its citizens, so as to get direct service, overt contribution to the public good. A suspicious Spartan legislation might claim to do that. But in the free air of Athens all that was required was loyalty, good-will—εὔνοια—to the common weal; it might be even a sentiment of human kindliness, of fraternity of spirit and purpose. Everything beyond and upon that basis was left to free development. Let each carry out to the full the development of his powers in the line which national estimation points out. He is—nature and history alike emphasise that fact beyond the reach of doubt, for all except the outlaw and the casual stranger—a member of a community, and as such has a governing instinct and ideal which animates him. But he is also a self-centered individual, with special endowments of nature, in his own person and in the material objects which are his. A purely individualist or selfish use of them is not—to the normal Greek—even dreamed of. He is too deeply rooted in the substance of his community for that: or it is on the ground and in the atmosphere of an assured community that his individuality is to be made to flourish. Nature has secured that his individuality shall rest securely in the presupposition of his citizenship. It seems, therefore, as if he were left free and independent in his personal search for perfection, for distinction. His place is fixed for him: Spartam nactus es; hanc orna: his duty is his virtue. That duty, as Plato expresses it, is to do his own deeds—and not meddle with others. Nature and history have arranged that others, in other posts, shall do theirs: that all severally shall energise their function. The very word “duty” seems out of place; if, at least, duty suggests external obligation, an order imposed and a debt to be discharged. If there be a task-master and a creditor, it is the inflexible order of nature and history:—or, to be more accurate, of nature, the indwelling and permanent reality of things. But the obligation to follow nature is scarcely felt as a yoke of constraint. A man's virtue is to perform his work and to perform it well: to do what he is specially capable of doing, and therefore specially charged to do.

Nowhere has this character of Greek ethics received more classical expression than in the Republic of Plato. In the prelude to his subject—which is the nature of Right and Morality—Plato has touched briefly on certain popular and inadequate views. There is the view that Right has its province in performance of certain single and external acts—in business honesty and commercial straightforwardness. There is the view that it is rendering to each what is due to him; that it consists in the proper reciprocity of services, in the balance of social give and take. There is the critical or hyper-critical view which, from seeing so much that is called justice to be in harmony with the interest of the predominant social order, bluntly identifies mere force or strength as the ground of right. And there are views which regard it as due to social conventions and artifices, to the influence of education, to political arrangements and the operation of irrational prejudices. To all these views Plato objects: not because they are false—for they are all in part, often in large part, true—but because they are inadequate and do not go to the root of the matter. The foundations of right lie, he says, not in external act, but in the inner man: not in convention, but in nature: not in relation to others, but in the constitution of the soul itself. That ethical idea—the idea of right—which seems most obviously to have its centre outside the individual, to live and grow only in the relations between individuals, Plato selects in order to show the independent royalty of the single human soul. The world, as Hume afterwards, called justice artificial: Plato will prove it natural. In a way he joins company with those who bid us drive out the spectre of duty, of obligation coming upon the soul from social authority, from traditional idea, from religious sanctions. He preaches—or he is about to preach—the autonomy of the will.

The four cardinal virtues of Plato's list are the qualities which go to make a healthy, normal, natural human soul, fit for all activity, equipped with all arms for the battle of life. They tell us what such a soul is, not what it does. They are the qualities which unless a soul has, and has them each perfect, yet all co-operant, its mere outward and single acts have no virtue or merit, but are only lucky accidents at the best. On the other hand, if a man has these constitutive qualities, he will act in the social world, and act well. Plato has said scornful things of mere outward and verbal truthfulness, and has set at the very lowest pitch of degradation the “lie in the soul.” His “temperance” or “self-restraint,” if it be far from breathing any suggestion of self-suppression or self-assertion, is still farther from any suspicion of asceticism, or war against the flesh. It is the noble harmony of the ruling and the ruled, which makes the latter a partner of the sovereign, and takes from the dictates of the ruler any touch of coercion. It is literally sanity of soul, integrity and purity of spirit; it is what has been sometimes called the beautiful soul—the indiscernible unity of reason and impulse. Plato's bravery, again, is fortitude and consistency of soul, the full-blooded heart which is fixed in reason, the zeal which is according to knowledge, unflinching loyalty to the idea, the spirit which burns in the martyrs to truth and humanity: yet withal with gentleness and courtesy and noble urbanity in its immediate train. And his truthfulness is that inner lucidity which cannot be self-deceived, the spirit which is a safeguard against fanaticism and hypocrisy, the sunlike warmth of intelligence without which the heart is a darkness full of unclean things.

The full development and crowning grace of such a manly nature Aristotle has tried to present in the character of the Great-souled man—him whom Plato has called the true king by divine right, or the autocrat by the patent of nature. Like all such attempts to delineate a type in the terms necessarily single and successive of abstract analysis, it tends occasionally to run into caricature, and to give partial aspects an absurd prominency. Only the greatest of artists could cope with such a task, though that artist may be found perhaps classed among the historians. Yet it is possible to form some conception of the ideal which Aristotle would set before us. The Great-souled man is great, and he dare not deny the witness of his spirit. He is one who does not quail before the anger and seek the applause of popular opinion: he holds his head as his own, and as high as his undimmed self-consciousness shows it is worth. There has been said to him by the reason within him the word that Virgil erewhile addressed to Dante:

“Libero, dritto, e sano è il tuo arbitrio
E fallo fora non fare a suo cenno;
Per ch' io te sopra te corono e mitrio.”

He is his own Emperor and his own Pope. He is the perfected man, in whom is no darkness, whose soul is utter clearness, and complete harmony. Calm in self-possessed majesty, he stands, if need be, contra mundum: but rather, with the world beneath his feet. The chatter of personality has no interest for him. Bent upon the best, lesser competitions for distinction have no attraction for him. To the vulgar he will seem cold, self-confined: in his apartness and distinction they will see the signs of a “prig.” His look will be that of one who pities men—rather than loves them: and should he speak ill of a foe, it is rather out of pride of heart and unbroken spirit than because these things touch him. Such an one, in many ways, was the Florentine poet himself.

If the Greek world in general thus conceived ἀρετή as the full bloom of manly excellence (we all know how slightly—witness the remarks in the Periclean oration—Greeks, in their public and official utterances, rated womanliness), the philosophers had a further point to emphasise. That was what they variously called knowledge, prudence, reason, insight, intelligence, wisdom, truth. From Socrates to Aristotle, from Aristotle to the Stoics and Epicureans, and from the Stoics to the Neo-Platonists, this is the common theme: the supremacy of knowledge, its central and essential relation to virtue. They may differ—perhaps not so widely as current prejudice would suppose—as to how this knowledge is to be defined, what kind of knowledge it is, how acquired and maintained, and so on. But in essentials they are at one. None of them, of course, mean that in order to right conduct nothing more is needed than to learn and remember what is right, the precepts and commandments of ordinary morality. Memory is not knowledge, especially when it is out of mind. Even an ancient philosopher was not wholly devoid of common sense. They held—what they supposed was a fact of observation and reflection—that all action was prompted by feelings of the values of things, by a desire of something good or pleasing to self, and aimed at self-satisfaction and self-realisation, but that there was great mistake in what thus afforded satisfaction. People chose to act wrongly or erroneously, because they were, first, mistaken about themselves and what they wanted, and, secondly, mistaken in the means which would give them satisfaction. But this second point was secondary. The main thing was to know yourself, what you really were; in Plato's words, to “see the soul as it is, and know whether it have one form only or many, or what its nature is; to look upon it with the eye of reason in its original purity.” Self-deception, confusion, that worst ignorance which is unaware of itself, false estimation—these are the radical evils of the natural man. To these critics the testimony of consciousness was worthless, unless corroborated. To cure this mental confusion, this blindness of will and judgment, is the task set for philosophy: to give inward light, to teach true self-measurement. In one passage, much misunderstood, Plato has called this philosophic art the due measurement of pleasures and pains. It should scarcely have been possible to mistake the meaning. But, with the catchwords of Utilitarianism ringing in their ears, the commentators ran straight contrary to the true teaching of the Protagoras, consentient as it is with that of the Phaedo and the Philebus. To measure, one must have a standard: and if Plato has one lesson always for us, it is that a sure standard the multitude have not, but only confusion. The so-called pleasures and pains of the world's experiences are so entitled for different reasons, for contrary aims, and with no unity or harmony of judgment. They are—not a fact to be accepted, but—a problem for investigation: their reality is in question, their genuineness, solidity and purity: and till you have settled that, you cannot measure, for you may be measuring vacuity under the idea that there is substance. You have still to get at the unit—i.e. the reality of pleasure. It was not Plato's view that pleasure was a separate and independent entity: that it was exactly as it was felt. Each pleasure is dependent for its pleasurable quality on the consciousness it belongs to, and has only a relative truth and reality. Bentham has written about computing the value of a “lot” of pleasures and pains. But Plato had his mind on an earlier and more fundamental problem, what is the truth and reality of pleasure; and his fullest but not his only essay towards determining the value or estimating the meaning of pleasure in the scale of being is that given in the Philebus.

This then is the knowledge which Greek philosophy meant: not mere intellect—though, of course, there is always a danger of theoretical inquiry degenerating into abstract and formal dogma. But of the meaning there can be no serious doubt. It is a knowledge, says Plato, to which the method of mathematical science—the most perfect he can find acknowledged—is only an ouverture, or perhaps, only the preliminary tuning of the strings. It is a knowledge not eternally hypothetical—a system of sequences which have no sure foundation. It is a knowledge which rests upon the conviction and belief of the “idea of good”: a kind of knowledge which does not come by direct teaching, which is not mere theory, but implies a lively conviction, a personal apprehension, a crisis which is a kind of “conversion,” or “inspiration.” It is as it were the prize of a great contest, in which the sword that conquers is the sword of dialectic: a sword whereof the property is, like that of Ithuriel's spear, to lay bare all deceptions and illusions of life. Or, to vary the metaphor: the son of man is like the prince in the fairy tale who goes forth to win the true queen; but there are many false pretenders decked out to deceive his unwary eyes and foolish heart. Yet in himself there is a power of discernment: there is something kindred with the truth:—the witness of the Spirit—and all that education and discipline can do is to remove obstacles, especially the obstacles within the self which perturb the sight and mislead the judgment. Were not the soul originally possessed of and dominated by the idea of good, it could never discern it elsewhere. On this original kindred depends all the process of education; the influence of which therefore is primarily negative or auxiliary. Thus the process of history and experience,—which the work of education only reproduces in an accelerated tempo—serves but to bring out the implicit reason within into explicit conformity with the rationality of the world.

Knowledge, then, in this ethical sphere means the harmony of will, emotion, intellect: it means the clear light which has no illusions and no deceptions. And to those who feel that much of their life and of the common life is founded on prejudice and illusion, such white light will occasionally seem hard and steely. At its approach they fear the loss of the charm of that twilight hour ere the day has yet begun, or before the darkness has fully settled down. Thus the heart and feelings look upon the intellect as an enemy of sentiment. And Plato himself is not without anticipations of such an issue. Yet perhaps we may add that the danger is in part an imaginary one, and only arises because intelligence takes its task too lightly, and encroaches beyond its proper ground. Philosophy, in other words, mistakes its place when it sets itself up as a dogmatic system of life. Its function is to comprehend, and from comprehension to criticise, and through criticising to unify. It has no positive and additional teaching of its own: no addition to the burden of life and experience. And experience it must respect. Its work is to maintain the organic or super-organic interconnexion between all the spheres of life and all the forms of reality. It has to prevent stagnation and absorption of departments—to keep each in its proper place, but not more than its place, and yet to show how each is not independent of the others. And this is what the philosopher or ancient sage would be. If he is passionless, it is not that he has no passions, but that they no longer perturb and mislead. If his controlling spirit be reason, it is not the reason of the so-called “rationalist,” but the reason which seeks in patience to comprehend, and to be at home in, a world it at first finds strange. And if he is critical of others, he is still more critical of himself: critical however not for criticism's sake (which is but a poor thing), but because through criticism the faith of reason may be more fully justified. To the last, if he is true to his mission and faithful to his loyalty to reality, he will have the simplicity of the child.

Whether therefore we agree or not with Plato's reduction of Right and Duty to self-actualisation, we may at least admit that in the idea of perfection or excellence, combined with the idea of knowledge or inward lucidity, he has got the fundamental ideas on which further ethical development must build. Self-control, self-knowledge, internal harmony, are good: and so are the development of our several faculties and of the totality of them to the fullest pitch of excellence. But their value does not lie entirely in themselves, or rather there is implicit in them a reference to something beyond themselves. They take for granted something which, because it is so taken, may also be ignored and neglected, just because it seems so obvious. And that implication is the social humanity in which they are the spirits of light and leading.

To lay the stress on ἀρετή or excellence tends to leave out of sight the force of duty; and to emphasise knowledge is allowed to disparage the heart and feelings. The mind—even of a philosopher—finds a difficulty in holding very different points of view in one, and where it is forced from one to another, tends to forget the earlier altogether. Thus when the ethical philosopher, presupposing as an absolute or unquestionable fact that man the individual was rooted in the community, proceeded to discuss the problem of the best and completest individual estate, he was easily led to lose sight of the fundamental and governing condition altogether. From the moment that Aristotle lays down the thesis that man is naturally social, to the moment when he asks how the bare ideal of excellence in character and life can become an actuality, the community in which man lives has retired out of sight away into the background. And it only comes in, as it first appears, as the paedagogue to bring us to morality. And Plato, though professedly he is speaking of the community, and is well aware that the individual can only be saved by the salvation of the community, is constantly falling back into another problem—the development of an individual soul. He feels the strength of the egoistic effort after perfection, and his essay in the end tends to lose sight altogether of its second theme. Instead of a man he gives us a mere philosopher, a man, that is, not living with his country's life, instinct with the heart and feeling of humanity, inspired by art and religion, but a being set apart and exalted above his fellows,—charged no doubt in theory with the duty of saving them, of acting vicariously as the mediator between them and the absolute truth—but really tending more and more to seclude himself on the edita templa of the world, on the high-towers of speculation.

And what Plato and Aristotle did, so to speak, against their express purpose and effort, yet did, because the force of contemporary tendency was irresistible—that the Stoa and Epicurus did more openly and professedly. With a difference in theory, it is true, owing to the difference in the surroundings. Virtue in the older day of the free and glorious commonwealth had meant physical and intellectual achievement, acts done in the public eye, and of course for the public good—a good with which the agent was identified at least in heart and soul, if not in his explicit consciousness. In later and worse days, when the political world, with the world divine, had withdrawn from actual identity with the central heart of the individual, and stood over-against him as a strange power and little better than a nuisance, virtue came to be counted as endurance, indifference, negative independence against a cold and a perplexing world. But even still, virtue is excellence: it is to rise above the ignoble level: to assert self-liberty against accident and circumstance—to attain self-controlled, self-satisfying independence—and to become God-like in its seclusion. Yet in two directions even it had to acknowledge something beyond the individual. The Epicurean—following out a suggestion of Aristotle—recognised the help which the free society of friends gave to the full development of the single seeker after a self-satisfying and complete life. The Stoic, not altogether refusing such help, tended rather to rest his single self on a fellowship of ideal sort, on the great city of gods and men, the civitas Dei. Thus, in separate halves, the two schools, into which Greek ethics was divided, gave expression to the sense that a new and higher community was needed—to the sense that the visible actual community no longer realised its latent idea. The Stoic emphasised the all-embracing necessity, the absolute comprehensiveness of the moral kingdom. The Epicurean saw more clearly that, if the everlasting city came from heaven, it could only visibly arise by initiation upon the earth. Christianity—in its best work—was a conjunction of the liberty with the necessity, of the human with the divine.

More interesting, perhaps, it is to note the misconception of reason and knowledge which grew up. Knowledge came more and more to be identified with the reflective and critical consciousness, which is outside reality and life, and judges it from a standpoint of its own. It came to be esteemed only in its formal and abstract shape, and at the expense of the heart and feelings. The antithesis of philosophy (or knowledge strictly so called) according to Plato was mere opinion, accidental and imperfect knowledge. The knowledge which is truly valuable is a knowledge which presupposes the full reality of life, and is the more and more completely articulated theory of it as a whole. It is—abstractly taken—a mere form of unity which has no value except in uniting: it is—taken concretely—the matter, we may say, in complete unity. It is ideal and perfect harmony of thought, appetite, and emotion: or putting it otherwise, the philosopher is one who is not merely a creature of appetite and production, not merely a creature of feeling and practical energy, but a creature, who to both of these superadds an intelligence which sets eyes in the blind forehead of these other powers, and thus, far from superseding them altogether, only raises them into completeness, and realises all that is worthy in their implicit natures. Always these two impulsive tendencies of our nature are guided by some sort of ideas and intelligence, by beliefs and opinions. But they, like their guides, are sporadically emergent, unconnected, and therefore apt to be contradictory. It is to such erratic and occasional ideas, half-truths and deceptions, that philosophy is opposed. Unfortunately for all parties, the antithesis is carried farther. Philosophy and the philosopher are further set in opposition to the faith of the heart, the intimacy and intensity of feeling, the depth of love and trust, which in practice often go along with imperfect ideas. The philosopher is made one who has emancipated himself from the heart and feelings,—a pure intelligence, who is set above all creeds, contemplating all, and holding none. Consistency and clearness become his idol, to be worshipped at any cost, save one sacrifice: and that one sacrifice is the sacrifice of his own self-conceit. For consistency generally means that all is made to harmonise with one assumed standpoint, and that whatever presents discrepancies with this alleged standard is ruthlessly thrown away. Such a philosophy mistakes its function, which is not, as Heine scoffs, to make an intelligible system by rejecting the discordant fragments of life, but to follow reverently, if slowly, in the wake of experience. Such a “perfect sage,” with his parade of reasonableness, may often assume the post of a dictator.

And, above all, intelligence is only half itself when it is not also will. And both are more than mere consciousness. Plato—whom we refer to, because he is the coryphaeus of all the diverse host of Greek philosophy—seems to overestimate or rather to misconceive the place of knowledge. That it is the supreme and crowning grace of the soul, he sees. But he tends to identify it with the supreme or higher soul:—as Aristotle did after him, to be followed by the Stoics and Neo-Platonists. For them the supreme, or almost supreme reality is the intelligence or reason: the soul is only on a second grade of reality, on the borders of the natural or physical world. When Plato takes that line, he turns towards the path of asceticism, and treats the philosophic life as a preparation for that truer life when intelligence shall be all in all, for that better land where “divine dialogues” shall form the staple and substance of spiritual existence. Aristotle,—who less often treads these solitudes,—still extols the theoretic life, when the body and its needs trouble no more, when the activity of reason—the theory of theory—is attained at least as entirely as mortal conditions allow man to be deified. Of the “apathy” and the reasonable conformity of the Stoics, or of the purely negative character of Epicurean happiness (the excision of all that pained) we need not here speak. And in Plotinus and Proclus the deification of mere reason is at any rate the dominant note; whatever protests the larger Greek nature in the former may from time to time offer. The truth which philosophy should have taught was that Mind or intelligence was the element where the inner life culminated and expanded and flourished: the error which it often tended to spread was that intelligence was the higher life of which all other was a degenerate shortcoming, and something valuable on its own account.

It may be that thus to interpret Plato is to do him an injustice. It has been sometimes said that his division of parts or kinds of soul—or his distinction between its fighting horses—tends to destroy the unity of mental life. But perhaps this was exactly what he wanted to convey. There are—we may paraphrase his meaning—three kinds of human being, three types of human life. There is the man or the life of appetite and the flesh: there is the man of noble emotion and energetic depth of soul: there is the life of reasonable pursuits and organised principle. Or, we may take his meaning to be that there are three elements or provinces of mental life, which in all except a few are but imperfectly coherent and do not reach a true or complete unity. Some unity there always is: but in the life of mere appetite and impulse, even when these impulses are our nobler sentiments of love and hatred, the unity falls very far short. Or, as he puts the theme elsewhere, the soul has a passion for self-completion, a love of beauty, which in most is but a misleading lust. It is the business of the philosophic life to re-create or to foster this unity: or philosophy is the persistent search of the soul for its lost unity, the search to see that unity which is always its animating principle, its inner faith. When the soul has reached this ideal—if it can be supposed to attain it (and of this the strong-souled ancient philosophers feel no doubt),—then a change must take place. The love of beauty is not suppressed; it is only made self-assured and its object freed from all imperfection. It is not that passion has ceased; but its nature is so transfigured, that it seems worthy of a nobler name, which yet we cannot give. To such a life, where battle and conflict are as such unknown, we cannot longer give the title of life: and we say that philosophy is in life a rehearsal of death70. And yet if there be no battle, there is not for that reason mere inaction. Hence, as the Republic concludes, the true philosopher is the complete man. He is the truth and reality which the appetitive and emotional man were seeking after and failed to realise. It is true they at first will not see this. But the whole long process of philosophy is the means to induce this conviction. And for Plato it remains clear that through experience, through wisdom, and through abstract deduction, the philosopher will justify his claim to him who hath ears to hear and heart to understand. If that be so, the asceticism of Plato is not a mere war upon flesh and sense as such, but upon flesh and sense as imperfect truth, fragmentary reality, which suppose themselves complete, though they are again and again confuted by experience, by wisdom, and by mere calculation,—a war against their blindness and shortsightedness.
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Re: HEGEL'S PHILOSOPHY OF MIND, by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich H

Postby admin » Sun Sep 20, 2015 4:09 am

Part 3 of 4

(ii.) Kant, Fichte, and Hegel.

This was the idealism which Kant taught and Fichte promoted. Of the other idealism there are no doubt abundant traces in the language of Kant: and they were greedily fastened on by Schopenhauer. To him the doctrine, that the world is my idea, is adequately represented when it is translated into the phrase that the world is a phantasmagoria of my brain; and escape from the subjective idealism thus initiated is found by him only through a supposed revelation of immediate being communicated in the experience of will. But according to the more consistently interpreted Kant, the problem of philosophy consists in laying bare the supreme law or conditions of consciousness on which depend the validity of our knowledge, our estimates of conduct, and our aesthetic standards. And these roots of reality are for Kant in the mind—or, should we rather say—in mind—in “Consciousness in General.” In the Criticism of Pure Reason the general drift of his examination is to show that the great things or final realities which are popularly supposed to stand in self-subsistent being, as ultimate and all-comprehensive objects set up for knowledge, are not “things” as popularly supposed, but imperative and inevitable ideas. They are not objects to be known—(these are always finite): but rather the unification, the basis, or condition, and the completion of all knowledge. To know them—in the ordinary petty sense of knowledge—is as absurd and impossible as it would be, in the Platonic scheme of reality, to know the idea of good which is “on the further side of knowledge and being.” God and the Soul—and the same would be true of the World (though modern speculators sometimes talk as if they had it at least within their grasp)—are not mere objects of knowledge. It would be truer to say they are that by which we know, and they are what in us knows: they make knowledge possible, and actual. Kant has sometimes spoken of them as the objects of a faith of reason. What he means is that reason only issues in knowledge because of and through this inevitable law of reason bidding us go on for ever in our search, because there can be nothing isolated and nowhere any ne plus ultra in science, which is infinite and yet only justified as it postulates or commands unity.

Kant's central idea is that truth, beauty, goodness, are not dependent on some qualities of the object, but on the universal nature or law of consciousness. Beauty is not an attribute of things in their abstractness: but of things as ideas of a subject, and depends on the proportion and symmetry in the play of human faculty. Goodness is not conformity to an outward law, but is obligatory on us through that higher nature which is our truer being. Truth is not conformity of ideas with supposed trans-subjective things, but coherence and stability in the system of ideas. The really infinite world is not out there, but in here—in consciousness in general, which is the denial of all limitation, of all finality, of all isolation. God is the essential and inherent unity and unifier of spirit and nature—the surety that the world in all its differentiations is one. The Soul is not an essential entity, but the infinite fruitfulness and freshness of mental life, which forbids us stopping at anything short of complete continuity and unity. The Kingdom of God—the Soul—the moral law—is within us: within us, as supreme, supra-personal and infinite intelligences, even amid all our littleness and finitude. Even happiness which we stretch our arms after is not really beyond us, but is the essential self which indeed we can only reach in detail. It is so both in knowledge and in action. Each knowledge and enjoyment in reality is limited and partial, but it is made stable, and it gets a touch of infinitude, by the larger idea which it helps to realise. Only indeed in that antithesis between the finite and the infinite does the real live. Every piece of knowledge is real, only because it assumes pro tempore certain premisses which are given: every actual beauty is set in some defect of aesthetic completeness: every actually good deed has to get its foil in surrounding badness. The real is always partial and incomplete. But it has the basis or condition of its reality in an idea—in a transcendental unity of consciousness, which is so to say a law, or a system and an order, which imposes upon it the condition of conformity and coherence; but a conformity which is essential and implicit in it.

Fichte has called his system a Wissenschaftslehre—a theory of knowledge. Modern German used the word Wissenschaft, as modern English uses the word Science, to denote the certified knowledge of piecemeal fact, the partial unification of elements still kept asunder. But by Wissen, as opposed to Erkennen, is meant the I know, am aware and sure, am in contact with reality, as opposed to the derivative and conditional reference of something to something else which explains it. The former is a wider term: it denotes all consciousness of objective truth, the certainty which claims to be necessary and universal, which pledges its whole self for its assertion. Fichte thus unifies and accentuates the common element in the Kantian criticisms. In the first of these Kant had begun by explaining the nature and limitation of empirical science. It was essentially conditioned by the given sensation—dependent i.e. on an unexplained and preliminary element. This is what makes it science in the strict or narrow sense of the term: its being set, as it were, in the unknown, the felt, the sense-datum. The side of reality is thus the side of limitation and of presupposition. But what makes it truth and knowledge in general, on the other hand,—as distinct from a truth (i.e. partial truth) and a knowledge,—is the ideal element—the mathematical, the logical, the rational law,—or in one word, the universal and formal character. So too every real action is on one hand the product of an impulse, a dark, merely given, immediate tendency to be, and without that would be nothing: but on the other hand it is only an intelligent and moral action in so far as it has its constitution from an intelligence, a formal system, which determine its place and function.

It is on the latter or ideal element that Kant makes the emphasis increasingly turn. Not truths, duties, beauties, but truth, duty, beauty, form his theme. The formal element—the logical or epistemological condition of knowledge and morality and of beauty—is what he (and still more Fichte) considers the prime question of fundamental philosophy. His philosophy is an attempt to get at the organism of our fundamental belief—the construction, from the very base, of our conception of reality, of our primary certainty. In technical language, he describes our essential nature as a Subject-object. It is the unity of an I am which is also I know that I am: an I will which is also I am conscious of my will49. Here there is a radical disunion and a supersession of that disunion. Action and contemplation are continually outrunning each other. The I will rests upon one I know, and works up to another: the I know reflects upon an I will, and includes it as an element in its idea.

Kant had brought into use the term Deduction, and Fichte follows him. The term leads to some confusion: for in English, by its modern antithesis to induction, it suggests a priori methods in all their iniquity. It means a kind of jugglery which brings an endless series out of one small term. Kant has explained that he uses it in the lawyer's sense in which a claim is justified by being traced step by step back to some acknowledged and accepted right50. It is a regressive method which shows us that if the original datum is to be accepted it carries along with it the legitimation of the consequence. This method Fichte applies to psychology. Begin, he says like Condillac, with the barest nucleus of soul-life; the mere sentiency, or feeling: the contact, as it were, with being, at a single point. But such a mere point is unthinkable. You find, as Mr. Spencer says, that “Thought” (or Consciousness) “cannot be framed out of one term only.” “Every sensation to be known as one must be perceived.” Such is the nature of the Ego—a subject which insists on each part being qualified by the whole and so transformed. As Mr. Spencer, again, puts it, the mind not merely tends to revive, to associate, to assimilate, to represent its own presentations, but it carries on this process infinitely and in ever higher multiples. Ideas as it were are growing in complexity by re-presenting: i.e. by embracing and enveloping elements which cannot be found existing in separation. In the mind there is no mere presentation, no bare sensation. Such a unit is a fiction or hypothesis we employ, like the atom, for purposes of explanation. The pure sensation therefore—which you admit because you must have something to begin with, not a mere nothing, but something so simple that it seems to stand out clear and indisputable—this pure sensation, when you think of it, forces you to go a good deal further. Even to be itself, it must be more than itself. It is like the pure or mere being of the logicians. Admit the simple sensation—and you have admitted everything which is required to make sensation a possible reality. But you do not—in the sense of vulgar logic—deduce what follows out of the beginning. From that, taken by itself, you will get only itself: mere being will give you only nothing, to the end of the chapter. But, as the phrase is, sensation is an element in a consciousness: it is, when you think of it, always more than you called it: there is a curious “continuity” about the phenomena, which makes real isolation impossible.

Of course this “deduction” is not history: it is logic. It says, if you posit sensation, then in doing so, you posit a good deal more. You have imagination, reason, and many more, all involved in your original assumption. And there is a further point to be noted. You cannot really stop even at reason, at intelligence and will, if you take these in the full sense. You must realise that these only exist as part and parcel of a reasonable world. An individual intelligence presupposes a society of intelligences. The successive steps in this argument are presented by Fichte in the chief works of his earlier period (1794-98). The works of that period form a kind of trilogy of philosophy, by which the faint outlines of the absolute selfhood is shown acquiring definite consistency in the moral organisation of society. First comes the “Foundation for the collective philosophy.” It shows how our conception of reality and our psychical organisation are inevitably presupposed in the barest function of intelligence, in the abstractest forms of logical law. Begin where you like, with the most abstract and formal point of consciousness, you are forced, as you dwell upon it (you identifying yourself with the thought you realise), to go step by step on till you accept as a self-consistent and self-explanatory unity all that your cognitive and volitional nature claims to own as its birthright. Only in such an intelligent will is perception and sensation possible. Next came the “Foundation of Natural Law, on the principles of the general theory.” Here the process of deduction is carried a step further. If man is to realise himself as an intelligence with an inherent bent to action, then he must be conceived as a person among persons, as possessed of rights, as incapable of acting without at the same moment claiming for his acts recognition, generality, and logical consecution. The reference, which in the conception of a practical intelligence was implicit,—the reference to fellow-agents, to a world in which law rules—is thus, by the explicit recognition of these references, made a fact patent and positive—gesetzt,—expressly instituted in the way that the nature and condition of things postulates. But this is not all: we step from the formal and absolute into the material and relative. If man is to be a real intelligence, he must be an intelligence served by organs. “The rational being cannot realise its efficient individuality, unless it ascribes to itself a material body”: a body, moreover, in which Fichte believes he can show that the details of structure and organs are equally with the general corporeity predetermined by reason51. In the same way it is shown that the social and political organisation is required for the realisation—the making positive and yet coherent—of the rights of all individuals. You deduce society by showing it is required to make a genuine individual man. Thirdly came the “System of Ethics.” Here it is further argued that, at least in a certain respect52, in spite of my absolute reason and my absolute freedom, I can only be fully real as a part of Nature: that my reason is realised in a creature of appetite and impulse. From first to last this deduction is one process which may be said to have for its object to determine “the conditions of self-hood or egoity.” It is the deduction of the concrete and empirical moral agent—the actual ego of actual life—from the abstract, unconditioned ego, which in order to be actual must condescend to be at once determining and determined.

In all of this Fichte makes—especially formally—a decided advance upon Kant. In Ethics Kant in particular, (—especially for readers who never got beyond the beginning of his moral treatise and were overpowered by the categorical imperative of duty) had found the moral initiative or dynamic apparently in the other world. The voice of duty seemed to speak from a region outside and beyond the individual conscience. In a sense it must do so: but it comes from a consciousness which is, and yet is more than, the individual. It is indeed true that appearances here are deceptive: and that the idea of autonomy, the self-legislation of reason, is trying to become the central conception of Kant's Ethics. Still it is Fichte's merit to have seen this clearly, to have held it in view unfalteringly, and to have carried it out in undeviating system or deduction. Man, intelligent, social, ethical, is a being all of one piece and to be explained entirely immanently, or from himself. Law and ethics are no accident either to sense or to intelligence—nothing imposed by mere external or supernal authority53. Society is not a brand-new order of things supervening upon and superseding a state of nature, where the individual was entirely self-supporting. Morals, law, society, are all necessary steps (necessary i.e. in logic, and hence in the long run also inevitable in course of time) to complete the full evolution or realisation of a human being. The same conditions as make man intelligent make him social and moral. He does not proceed so far as to become intelligent and practical, under terms of natural and logical development, then to fall into the hands of a foreign influence, an accident ab extra, which causes him to become social and moral. Rather he is intelligent, because he is a social agent.

Hence, in Fichte, the absence of the ascetic element so often stamping its character on ethics, and representing the moral life as the enemy of the natural, or as mainly a struggle to subdue the sensibility and the flesh. With Kant,—as becomes his position of mere inquirer—the sensibility has the place of a predominant and permanent foreground. Reason, to his way of talking, is always something of an intruder, a stranger from a far-off world, to be feared even when obeyed: sublime, rather than beautiful. From the land of sense which we habitually occupy, the land of reason is a country we can only behold from afar: or if we can be said to have a standpoint in it, that is only a figurative way of saying that though it is really over the border, we can act—it would sometimes seem by a sort of make-believe—as if we were already there. But these moments of high enthusiasm are rare; and Kant commends sobriety and warns against high-mindedSchwärmerei, or over-strained Mysticism. For us it is reserved to struggle with a recalcitrant selfhood, a grovelling sensibility: it were only fantastic extravagance, fit for “fair souls” who unfortunately often lapse into “fair sinners,” should we fancy ourselves already anchored in the haven of untempted rest and peace.

When we come to Fichte, we find another spirit breathing. We have passed from the age of Frederick the Great to the age of the French Revolution; and the breeze that burst in the War of Liberation is already beginning to freshen the air. Boldly he pronounces the primacy of that faith of reason whereby not merely the just but all shall live. Your will shall show you what you really are. You are essentially a rational will, or a will-reason. Your sensuous nature, of impulse and appetite, far from being the given and found obstacle to the realisation of reason,—which Kant strictly interpreted might sometimes seem to imply—(and in this point Schopenhauer carries out the implications of Kant)—is really the condition or mode of being which reason assumes, or rises up to, in order to be a practical or moral being. Far from the body and the sensible needs being a stumbling-block to hamper the free fullness of rationality and morality, the truth rather is that it is only by body and sense, by flesh and blood, that the full moral and rational life can be realised54. Or, to put it otherwise, if human reason (intelligence and will) is to be more than a mere and empty inner possibility, if man is to be a real and concrete cognitive and volitional being, he must be a member of an ethical and actual society, which lives by bread, and which marries and has children.

(iii.) Psychology in Ethics.

In this way, for Fichte, and through Fichte still more decidedly for Hegel, both psychology and ethics breathe an opener and ampler air than they often enjoy. Psychology ceases to be a mere description of psychic events, and becomes the history of the self-organising process of human reason. Ethics loses its cloistered, negative, unnatural aspect, and becomes a name for some further conditions of the same development, essentially postulated to complete or supplement its shortcomings. Psychology—taken in this high philosophical acceptation—thus leads on to Ethics; and Ethics is parted by no impassable line from Psychology. That, at least, is what must happen if they are still to retain a place in philosophy: for, as Kant says55, “under the government of reason our cognitions cannot form a rhapsody, but must constitute a system, in which alone can they support and further its essential aims.” As parts of such a system, they carry out their special work in subordination to, and in the realisation of, a single Idea—and therefore in essential interconnexion. From that interconnecting band we may however in detail-enquiry dispense ourselves; and then we have the empirical or inductive sciences of psychology and ethics. But even with these, the necessity of the situation is such that it is only a question of degree how far we lose sight of the philosophical horizon, and entrench ourselves in special enquiry. Something of the philosophic largeness must always guide us; even when, to further the interests of the whole, it is necessary for the special enquirer to bury himself entirely in his part. So long as each part is sincerely and thoroughly pursued, and no part is neglected, there is an indwelling reason in the parts which will in the long run tend to constitute the total.

A philosophical psychology will show us how the sane intelligence and the rational will are, at least approximately, built up out of elements, and through stages and processes, which modify and complement, as they may also arrest and perplex, each other. The unity, coherence, and completeness of the intelligent self is not, as vulgar irreflectiveness supposes and somewhat angrily maintains, a full-grown thing or agent, of whose actions and modes of behaviour the psychologist has to narrate the history,—a history which is too apt to degenerate into the anecdotal and the merely interesting. This unity of self has to be “deduced,” as Fichte would say: it has to be shown as the necessary result which certain elements in a certain order will lead to56. A normal mind, self-possessed, developed and articulated, yet thoroughly one, a real microcosm, or true and full monad, which under the mode of its individuality still represents the universe: that is, what psychology has to show as the product of factors and processes. And it is clearly something great and good, something valuable, and already possessing, by implication we may say, an ethical character.

In philosophy, at least, it is difficult, or rather impossible to draw a hard and fast line which shall demarcate ethical from non-ethical characters,—to separate them from other intellectual and reasonable motives. Kant, as we know, attempted to do so: but with the result that he was forced to add a doubt whether a purely moral act could ever be said to exist57; or rather to express the certainty that if it did it was for ever inaccessible to observation. All such designations of the several “factors” or “moments” in reality, as has been hinted, are only a potiori. But they are misused when it is supposed that they connote abrupt and total discontinuity. And Kant, after all, only repeated in his own terminology an old and inveterate habit of thought:—the habit which in Stoicism seemed to see sage and foolish utterly separated, and which in the straiter sects of Christendom fenced off saint absolutely from sinner. It is a habit to which Hegel, and even his immediate predecessors, are radically opposed. With Herder, he might say, “Ethics is only a higher physics of the mind58.” This—the truth in Spinozism—no doubt demands some emphasis on the word “higher”: and it requires us to read ethics (or something like it) into physics; but it is a step on the right road,—the step which Utilitarianism and Evolutionism had (however awkwardly) got their foot upon, and which “transcendent” ethics seems unduly afraid of committing itself to. Let us say, if we like, that the mind is more than mere nature, and that it is no proper object of a merely natural science. But let us remember that a merely natural science is only a fragment of science: let us add that the merely natural is an abstraction which in part denaturalises and mutilates the larger nature—a nature which includes the natural mind, and cannot altogether exclude the ethical.

What have been called “formal duties59” seem to fall under this range—the province of a philosophical psychology which unveils the conditions of personality. Under that heading may be put self-control, consistency, resolution, energy, forethought, prudence, and the like. The due proportion of faculty, the correspondence of head and heart, the vivacity and quickness of sympathy, the ease and simplicity of mental tone, the due vigour of memory and the grace of imagination, sweetness of temper, and the like, are parts of the same group60. They are lovely, and of good report: they are praise and virtue. If it be urged that they are only natural gifts and graces, that objection cuts two ways. The objector may of course be reminded that religion tones down the self-complacency of morality. Yet, first, even apart from that, it may be said that of virtues, which stand independent of natural conditions—of external supply of means (as Aristotle would say)—nothing can be known and nothing need be said. And secondly, none of these qualities are mere gifts;—all require exercise, habituation, energising, to get and keep them. How much and how little in each case is nature's and how much ours is a problem which has some personal interest—due perhaps to a rather selfish and envious curiosity. But on the broad field of experience and history we may perhaps accept the—apparently one-sided—proverb that “Each man is the architect of his own fortune.” Be this as it may, it will not do to deny the ethical character of these “formal duties” on the ground e.g. that self-control, prudence, and even sweetness of temper may be used for evil ends,—that one may smile and smile, and yet be a villain. That—let us reply,—on one hand, is a fault (if fault it be) incidental to all virtues in detail (for every single quality has its defect): nay it may be a limitation attaching to the whole ethical sphere: and, secondly, its inevitable limitation does not render the virtue in any case one whit less genuine so far as it goes. And yet of such virtues it may be said, as Hume61 would say (who calls them “natural,” as opposed to the more artificial merits of justice and its kin), that they please in themselves, or in the mere contemplation, and without any regard to their social effects. But they please as entering into our idea of complete human nature, of mind and spirit as will and intellect.

The moralists of last century sometimes divided the field of ethics by assigning to man three grades or kinds of duty: duties to himself, duties to society, and duties to God. For the distinction there is a good deal to be said: there are also faults to be found with it. It may be said, amongst other things, that to speak of duties to self is a metaphorical way of talking, and that God lies out of the range of human duty altogether, except in so far as religious service forms a part of social obligation. It may be urged that man is essentially a social being, and that it is only in his relations to other such beings that his morality can find a sphere. The sphere of morality, according to Dr. Bain, embraces whatever “society has seen fit to enforce with all the rigour of positive inflictions. Positive good deeds and self-sacrifice ... transcend the region of morality proper and occupy a sphere of their own62.” And there is little doubt that this restriction is in accordance with a main current of usage. It may even be said that there are tendencies towards a narrower usage still, which would restrict the term to questions affecting the relations of the sexes. But, without going so far, we may accept the standpoint which finds in the phrase “popular or social” sanction, as equivalent to the moral sanction, a description of the average level of common opinion on the topic. The morality of an age or country thus denotes, first, the average requirement in act and behaviour imposed by general consent on the members of a community, and secondly, the average performance of the members in response to these requirements. Generally speaking the two will be pretty much the same. If the society is in a state of equilibrium, there will be a palpable agreement between what all severally expect and what all severally perform. On the other hand, as no society is ever in complete equilibrium, this harmony will never be perfect and may often be widely departed from. In what is called a single community, if it reach a considerable bulk, there are (in other words) often a number of minor societies, more or less thwarting and modifying each other; and different observers, who belong in the main to one or other of these subordinate groups, may elicit from the facts before them a somewhat different social code, and a different grade of social observance. Still, with whatever diversity of detail, the important feature of such social ethics is that the stress is laid on the performance of certain acts, in accordance with the organisation of society. So long as the required compliance is given, public opinion is satisfied, and morality has got its due.

But in two directions this conception of morality needs to be supplementing. There is, on one hand, what is called duty to God. The phrase is not altogether appropriate: for it follows too closely the analogy of social requirement, and treats Deity as an additional and social authority,—a lord paramount over merely human sovereigns. But though there may be some use in the analogy, to press the conception is seriously to narrow the divine character and the scope of religion. As in similar cases, we cannot change one term without altering its correlative. And therefore to describe our relation to God under the name of duty is to narrow and falsify that relation. The word is no longer applicable in this connexion without a strain, and where it exists it indicates the survival of a conception of theocracy: of God regarded as a glorification of the magistrate, as king of kings and lord of lords. It is the social world—and indeed we may say the outside of the social world—that is the sphere of duties. Duty is still with these reductions a great august name: but in literal strictness it only rules over the medial sphere of life, the sphere which lies between the individual as such and his universal humanity63. Beyond duty, lies the sphere of conscience and of religion. And that is not the mere insistence by the individual to have a voice and a vote in determining the social order. It is the sense that the social order, however omnipotent it may seem, is limited and finite, and that man has in him a kindred with the Eternal.

It is not very satisfactory, either, as Aristotle and others have pointed out, to speak of man's duties to himself. The phrase is analogical, like the other. But it has the merit, like that of duty to God, of reminding us that the ordinary latitude occupied by morality is not all that comes under the larger scope of ethics. The “ethics of individual life” is a subject which Mr. Spencer has touched upon: and by this title, he means that, besides his general relationship to others, a human being has to mind his own health, food, and amusement, and has duties as husband and parent. But, after all, these are not matters of peculiarly individual interest. They rather refer to points which society at certain epochs leaves to the common sense of the agent,—apparently on an assumption that he is the person chiefly interested. And these points—as the Greeks taught long ago—are of fundamental importance: they are the very bases of life. Yet the comparative neglect in which so-called civilised societies64 hold the precepts of wisdom in relation to bodily health and vigour, in regard to marriage and progeny, serve to illustrate the doctrine of the ancient Stoics that πάντα ὑπόληψις, or the modern idealist utterance that the World is my idea. More and more as civilisation succeeds in its disruption of man from nature, it shows him governed not by bare facts and isolated experiences, but by the systematic idea under which all things are subsumed. He loses the naïveté of the natural man, which takes each fact as it came, all alike good: he becomes sentimental, and artificial, sees things under a conventional point of view, and would rather die than not be in the fashion. And this tendency is apparently irresistible. Yet the mistake lies in the one-sidedness of sentiment and convention. Not the domination of the idea is evil; but the domination of a partial and fragmentary idea: and this is what constitutes the evil of artificiality. And the correction must lie not in a return to nature, but in the reconstruction of a wider and more comprehensive idea: an idea which shall be the unity and system of all nature; not a fantastic idealism, but an attempt to do justice to the more realist as well as the idealist sides of life.

There is however another side of individualist ethics which needs even more especial enforcement. It is the formation of

“The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength and skill:”

the healthy mind in a healthy body. Ethics is only too apt to suppose that will and intelligence are assumptions which need no special justification. But the truth is that they vary from individual to individual in degree and structure. It is the business of ethical psychology to give to these vague attributions the definiteness of a normal standard: to show what proportions are required to justify the proper title of reason and will—to show what reason and will really are if they do what they are encouraged or expected to do. It talks of the diseases of will and personality: it must also set forth their educational ideal. The first problem of Ethics, it may be said, is the question of the will and its freedom. But to say this is of course not to say that, unless freedom of will be understood in some special sense, ethics becomes impossible. If the moral law is the ratio cognoscendi of freedom, then must our conception of morality and of freedom hang together. And it will clearly be indispensable to begin by some attempt to discover in what sense man may be in the most general way described as a moral agent—as an intelligent will, or (more briefly, yet synonymously) as a will. “The soil of law and morality,” says Hegel65, “is the intelligent life: and its more precise place and starting-point the will, which is free, in the sense that freedom is its substance and characteristic, and the system of law the realm of freedom realised, the world of intelligence produced out of itself as a second nature.” Such a freedom is a freedom made and acquired, the work of the mind's self-realisation, not to be taken as a given fact of consciousness which must be believed66. To have a will—in other words, to have freedom, is the consummation—and let us add, only the formal or ideal consummation—of a process by which man raises himself out of his absorption in sensation and impulse, establishes within himself a mental realm, an organism of ideas, a self-consciousness, and a self.

The vulgar apprehension of these things seems to assume that we have by nature, or are born with, a general faculty or set of general faculties, which we subsequently fill up and embody by the aid of experience. We possess—they seem to imply—so many “forms” and “categories” latent in our minds ready to hold and contain the raw materials supplied from without. According to this view we have all a will and an intelligence: the difference only is that some put more into them, and some put less. But such a separation of the general form from its contents is a piece of pure mythology. It is perhaps true and safe to say that the human being is of such a character that will and intelligence are in the ordinary course inevitably produced. But the forms which grow up are the more and more definite and systematic organisation of a graded experience, of series of ideas, working themselves up again and again in representative and re-representative degree, till they constitute a mental or inner world of their own. The will is thus the title appropriate to the final stage of a process, by which sensation and impulse have polished and perfected themselves by union and opposition, by differentiation and accompanying reintegration, till they assume characters quite unsurmised in their earliest aspects, and yet only the consolidation or self-realisation of implications. Thus the mental faculties are essentially acquired powers,—acquired not from without, but by action which generates the faculties it seems to imply. The process of mind is a process which creates individual centres, raises them to completer independence;—which produces an inner life more and more self-centered and also more and more equal to the universe which it has embodied. And will and intelligence are an important stage in that process.

Herbart (as was briefly hinted at in the first essay) has analysed ethical appreciation (which may or may not be accompanied by approbation) into five distinct standard ideas. These are the ideas of inward liberty, of perfection, of right, benevolence, and equity. Like Hume, he regards the moral judgment as in its purity a kind of aesthetic pronouncement on the agreement or proportion of certain activities in relations to each other. Two of these standard ideas,—that of inward liberty and of perfection—seem to belong to the sphere at present under review. They emerge as conditions determining the normal development of human nature to an intelligent and matured personality. By inward freedom Herbart means the harmony between the will and the intellect: what Aristotle has named “practical truth or reality,” and what he describes in his conception of wisdom or moral intelligence,—the power of discerning the right path and of pursuing it with will and temper: the unity, clear but indissoluble, of will and discernment. By the idea of perfection Herbart means the sense of proportion and of propriety which is awakened by comparing a progress in development or an increase in strength with its earlier stages of promise and imperfection. The pleasure such perception affords works in two ways: it is a satisfaction in achievement past, and a stimulus to achievement yet to come.

Such ideas of inward liberty and of growth in ability or in performance govern (at least in part) our judgment of the individual, and have an ethical significance. Indeed, if the cardinal feature of the ethical sentiment be the inwardness and independence of its approbation and obligation, these ideas lie at the root of all true morality. Inward harmony and inward progress, lucidity of conscience and the resolution which knows no finality of effort, are the very essence of moral life. Yet, if ethics is to include in the first instance social relationships and external utilities and sanctions, these conditions of true life must rather be described as pre-ethical. The truth seems to be that here we get to a range of ethics which is far wider than what is ordinarily called practice and conduct. At this stage logic, aesthetic, and ethic, are yet one: the true, the good, and the beautiful are still held in their fundamental unity. An ethics of wide principle precedes its narrower social application; and whereas in ordinary usage the social provinciality is allowed to prevail, here the higher ethics emerge clear and imperial above the limitations of local and temporal duty.

And though it is easy to step into exaggeration, it is still well to emphasise this larger conception of ethics. The moral principle of the “maximising of life,” as it has been called67, may be open to misconception (—so, unfortunately are all moral principles when stated in the effrontery of isolation): but it has its truth in the conviction that all moral evil is marked by a tendency to lower or lessen the total vitality. So too Friedrich Nietzsche's maxim, Sei vornehm68, ensue distinction, and above all things be not common or vulgar (gemein), will easily lend itself to distortion. But it is good advice for all that, even though it may be difficult to define in a general formula wherein distinction consists, to mark the boundary between self-respect and vanity or obstinacy, or to say wherein lies the beauty and dignity of human nature. Kant has laid it down as the principle of duty to ask ourselves if in our act we are prepared to universalise the maxim implied by our conduct. And that this—which essentially bids us look at an act in the whole of its relations and context—is a safeguard against some forms of moral evil, is certain. But there is an opposite—or rather an apparently opposite—principle which bids us be individual, be true to our own selves, and never allow ourselves to be dismayed from our own unique responsibility. Perhaps the two principles are not so far apart as they seem. In any case true individuality is the last word and the first word in ethics; though, it may be added, there is a good deal to be said between the two termini.
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Re: HEGEL'S PHILOSOPHY OF MIND, by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich H

Postby admin » Sun Sep 20, 2015 4:09 am

Part 4 of 4

(iv.) An Excursus on Greek Ethics.

It is in these regions that Greek ethics loves to linger; on the duty of the individual to himself, to be perfectly lucid and true, and to rise to ever higher heights of achievement. Ceteris paribus, there is felt to be something meritorious in superiority, something good:—even were it that you are master, and another is slave. Thus naïvely speaks Aristotle69. To a modern, set amid so many conflicting ideals, perhaps, the immense possibilities of yet further growth might suggest themselves with overpowering force. To him the idea of perfection takes the form of an idea of perfectibility: and sometimes it smites down his conceit in what he has actually done, and impresses a sense of humility in comparison with what yet remains unaccomplished. An ancient Greek apparently was little haunted by these vistas of possibilities of progress through worlds beyond worlds. A comparatively simple environment, a fixed and definite mental horizon, had its plain and definite standards, or at least seemed to have such. There were fewer cases of the man, unattached or faintly attached to any definite profession—moving about in worlds half realised—who has grown so common in a more developed civilisation. The ideals of the Greek were clearly descried: each man had his definite function or work to perform: and to do it better than the average, or than he himself habitually had done, that was perfection, excellence, virtue. For virtue to the Greek is essentially ability and respectability: promise of excellent performance: capacity to do better than others. Virtue is praiseworthy or meritorious character and quality: it is achievement at a higher rate, as set against one's past and against others' average.

The Greek moralists sometimes distinguish and sometimes combine moral virtue and wisdom, ἀρετή and φρόνησις: capacity to perform, and wisdom to guide that capacity. To the ordinary Greek perhaps the emphasis fell on the former, on the attainment of all recognised good quality which became a man, all that was beautiful and honourable, all that was appropriate, glorious, and fame-giving; and that not for any special reference to its utilitarian qualities. Useful, of course, such qualities were: but that was not in question at the time. In the more liberal commonwealths of ancient Greece there was little or no anxious care to control the education of its citizens, so as to get direct service, overt contribution to the public good. A suspicious Spartan legislation might claim to do that. But in the free air of Athens all that was required was loyalty, good-will—εὔνοια—to the common weal; it might be even a sentiment of human kindliness, of fraternity of spirit and purpose. Everything beyond and upon that basis was left to free development. Let each carry out to the full the development of his powers in the line which national estimation points out. He is—nature and history alike emphasise that fact beyond the reach of doubt, for all except the outlaw and the casual stranger—a member of a community, and as such has a governing instinct and ideal which animates him. But he is also a self-centered individual, with special endowments of nature, in his own person and in the material objects which are his. A purely individualist or selfish use of them is not—to the normal Greek—even dreamed of. He is too deeply rooted in the substance of his community for that: or it is on the ground and in the atmosphere of an assured community that his individuality is to be made to flourish. Nature has secured that his individuality shall rest securely in the presupposition of his citizenship. It seems, therefore, as if he were left free and independent in his personal search for perfection, for distinction. His place is fixed for him: Spartam nactus es; hanc orna: his duty is his virtue. That duty, as Plato expresses it, is to do his own deeds—and not meddle with others. Nature and history have arranged that others, in other posts, shall do theirs: that all severally shall energise their function. The very word “duty” seems out of place; if, at least, duty suggests external obligation, an order imposed and a debt to be discharged. If there be a task-master and a creditor, it is the inflexible order of nature and history:—or, to be more accurate, of nature, the indwelling and permanent reality of things. But the obligation to follow nature is scarcely felt as a yoke of constraint. A man's virtue is to perform his work and to perform it well: to do what he is specially capable of doing, and therefore specially charged to do.

Nowhere has this character of Greek ethics received more classical expression than in the Republic of Plato. In the prelude to his subject—which is the nature of Right and Morality—Plato has touched briefly on certain popular and inadequate views. There is the view that Right has its province in performance of certain single and external acts—in business honesty and commercial straightforwardness. There is the view that it is rendering to each what is due to him; that it consists in the proper reciprocity of services, in the balance of social give and take. There is the critical or hyper-critical view which, from seeing so much that is called justice to be in harmony with the interest of the predominant social order, bluntly identifies mere force or strength as the ground of right. And there are views which regard it as due to social conventions and artifices, to the influence of education, to political arrangements and the operation of irrational prejudices. To all these views Plato objects: not because they are false—for they are all in part, often in large part, true—but because they are inadequate and do not go to the root of the matter. The foundations of right lie, he says, not in external act, but in the inner man: not in convention, but in nature: not in relation to others, but in the constitution of the soul itself. That ethical idea—the idea of right—which seems most obviously to have its centre outside the individual, to live and grow only in the relations between individuals, Plato selects in order to show the independent royalty of the single human soul. The world, as Hume afterwards, called justice artificial: Plato will prove it natural. In a way he joins company with those who bid us drive out the spectre of duty, of obligation coming upon the soul from social authority, from traditional idea, from religious sanctions. He preaches—or he is about to preach—the autonomy of the will.

The four cardinal virtues of Plato's list are the qualities which go to make a healthy, normal, natural human soul, fit for all activity, equipped with all arms for the battle of life. They tell us what such a soul is, not what it does. They are the qualities which unless a soul has, and has them each perfect, yet all co-operant, its mere outward and single acts have no virtue or merit, but are only lucky accidents at the best. On the other hand, if a man has these constitutive qualities, he will act in the social world, and act well. Plato has said scornful things of mere outward and verbal truthfulness, and has set at the very lowest pitch of degradation the “lie in the soul.” His “temperance” or “self-restraint,” if it be far from breathing any suggestion of self-suppression or self-assertion, is still farther from any suspicion of asceticism, or war against the flesh. It is the noble harmony of the ruling and the ruled, which makes the latter a partner of the sovereign, and takes from the dictates of the ruler any touch of coercion. It is literally sanity of soul, integrity and purity of spirit; it is what has been sometimes called the beautiful soul—the indiscernible unity of reason and impulse. Plato's bravery, again, is fortitude and consistency of soul, the full-blooded heart which is fixed in reason, the zeal which is according to knowledge, unflinching loyalty to the idea, the spirit which burns in the martyrs to truth and humanity: yet withal with gentleness and courtesy and noble urbanity in its immediate train. And his truthfulness is that inner lucidity which cannot be self-deceived, the spirit which is a safeguard against fanaticism and hypocrisy, the sunlike warmth of intelligence without which the heart is a darkness full of unclean things.

The full development and crowning grace of such a manly nature Aristotle has tried to present in the character of the Great-souled man—him whom Plato has called the true king by divine right, or the autocrat by the patent of nature. Like all such attempts to delineate a type in the terms necessarily single and successive of abstract analysis, it tends occasionally to run into caricature, and to give partial aspects an absurd prominency. Only the greatest of artists could cope with such a task, though that artist may be found perhaps classed among the historians. Yet it is possible to form some conception of the ideal which Aristotle would set before us. The Great-souled man is great, and he dare not deny the witness of his spirit. He is one who does not quail before the anger and seek the applause of popular opinion: he holds his head as his own, and as high as his undimmed self-consciousness shows it is worth. There has been said to him by the reason within him the word that Virgil erewhile addressed to Dante:

“Libero, dritto, e sano è il tuo arbitrio
E fallo fora non fare a suo cenno;
Per ch' io te sopra te corono e mitrio.”

He is his own Emperor and his own Pope. He is the perfected man, in whom is no darkness, whose soul is utter clearness, and complete harmony. Calm in self-possessed majesty, he stands, if need be, contra mundum: but rather, with the world beneath his feet. The chatter of personality has no interest for him. Bent upon the best, lesser competitions for distinction have no attraction for him. To the vulgar he will seem cold, self-confined: in his apartness and distinction they will see the signs of a “prig.” His look will be that of one who pities men—rather than loves them: and should he speak ill of a foe, it is rather out of pride of heart and unbroken spirit than because these things touch him. Such an one, in many ways, was the Florentine poet himself.

If the Greek world in general thus conceived ἀρετή as the full bloom of manly excellence (we all know how slightly—witness the remarks in the Periclean oration—Greeks, in their public and official utterances, rated womanliness), the philosophers had a further point to emphasise. That was what they variously called knowledge, prudence, reason, insight, intelligence, wisdom, truth. From Socrates to Aristotle, from Aristotle to the Stoics and Epicureans, and from the Stoics to the Neo-Platonists, this is the common theme: the supremacy of knowledge, its central and essential relation to virtue. They may differ—perhaps not so widely as current prejudice would suppose—as to how this knowledge is to be defined, what kind of knowledge it is, how acquired and maintained, and so on. But in essentials they are at one. None of them, of course, mean that in order to right conduct nothing more is needed than to learn and remember what is right, the precepts and commandments of ordinary morality. Memory is not knowledge, especially when it is out of mind. Even an ancient philosopher was not wholly devoid of common sense. They held—what they supposed was a fact of observation and reflection—that all action was prompted by feelings of the values of things, by a desire of something good or pleasing to self, and aimed at self-satisfaction and self-realisation, but that there was great mistake in what thus afforded satisfaction. People chose to act wrongly or erroneously, because they were, first, mistaken about themselves and what they wanted, and, secondly, mistaken in the means which would give them satisfaction. But this second point was secondary. The main thing was to know yourself, what you really were; in Plato's words, to “see the soul as it is, and know whether it have one form only or many, or what its nature is; to look upon it with the eye of reason in its original purity.” Self-deception, confusion, that worst ignorance which is unaware of itself, false estimation—these are the radical evils of the natural man. To these critics the testimony of consciousness was worthless, unless corroborated. To cure this mental confusion, this blindness of will and judgment, is the task set for philosophy: to give inward light, to teach true self-measurement. In one passage, much misunderstood, Plato has called this philosophic art the due measurement of pleasures and pains. It should scarcely have been possible to mistake the meaning. But, with the catchwords of Utilitarianism ringing in their ears, the commentators ran straight contrary to the true teaching of the Protagoras, consentient as it is with that of the Phaedo and the Philebus. To measure, one must have a standard: and if Plato has one lesson always for us, it is that a sure standard the multitude have not, but only confusion. The so-called pleasures and pains of the world's experiences are so entitled for different reasons, for contrary aims, and with no unity or harmony of judgment. They are—not a fact to be accepted, but—a problem for investigation: their reality is in question, their genuineness, solidity and purity: and till you have settled that, you cannot measure, for you may be measuring vacuity under the idea that there is substance. You have still to get at the unit—i.e. the reality of pleasure. It was not Plato's view that pleasure was a separate and independent entity: that it was exactly as it was felt. Each pleasure is dependent for its pleasurable quality on the consciousness it belongs to, and has only a relative truth and reality. Bentham has written about computing the value of a “lot” of pleasures and pains. But Plato had his mind on an earlier and more fundamental problem, what is the truth and reality of pleasure; and his fullest but not his only essay towards determining the value or estimating the meaning of pleasure in the scale of being is that given in the Philebus.

This then is the knowledge which Greek philosophy meant: not mere intellect—though, of course, there is always a danger of theoretical inquiry degenerating into abstract and formal dogma. But of the meaning there can be no serious doubt. It is a knowledge, says Plato, to which the method of mathematical science—the most perfect he can find acknowledged—is only an ouverture, or perhaps, only the preliminary tuning of the strings. It is a knowledge not eternally hypothetical—a system of sequences which have no sure foundation. It is a knowledge which rests upon the conviction and belief of the “idea of good”: a kind of knowledge which does not come by direct teaching, which is not mere theory, but implies a lively conviction, a personal apprehension, a crisis which is a kind of “conversion,” or “inspiration.” It is as it were the prize of a great contest, in which the sword that conquers is the sword of dialectic: a sword whereof the property is, like that of Ithuriel's spear, to lay bare all deceptions and illusions of life. Or, to vary the metaphor: the son of man is like the prince in the fairy tale who goes forth to win the true queen; but there are many false pretenders decked out to deceive his unwary eyes and foolish heart. Yet in himself there is a power of discernment: there is something kindred with the truth:—the witness of the Spirit—and all that education and discipline can do is to remove obstacles, especially the obstacles within the self which perturb the sight and mislead the judgment. Were not the soul originally possessed of and dominated by the idea of good, it could never discern it elsewhere. On this original kindred depends all the process of education; the influence of which therefore is primarily negative or auxiliary. Thus the process of history and experience,—which the work of education only reproduces in an accelerated tempo—serves but to bring out the implicit reason within into explicit conformity with the rationality of the world.

Knowledge, then, in this ethical sphere means the harmony of will, emotion, intellect: it means the clear light which has no illusions and no deceptions. And to those who feel that much of their life and of the common life is founded on prejudice and illusion, such white light will occasionally seem hard and steely. At its approach they fear the loss of the charm of that twilight hour ere the day has yet begun, or before the darkness has fully settled down. Thus the heart and feelings look upon the intellect as an enemy of sentiment. And Plato himself is not without anticipations of such an issue. Yet perhaps we may add that the danger is in part an imaginary one, and only arises because intelligence takes its task too lightly, and encroaches beyond its proper ground. Philosophy, in other words, mistakes its place when it sets itself up as a dogmatic system of life. Its function is to comprehend, and from comprehension to criticise, and through criticising to unify. It has no positive and additional teaching of its own: no addition to the burden of life and experience. And experience it must respect. Its work is to maintain the organic or super-organic interconnexion between all the spheres of life and all the forms of reality. It has to prevent stagnation and absorption of departments—to keep each in its proper place, but not more than its place, and yet to show how each is not independent of the others. And this is what the philosopher or ancient sage would be. If he is passionless, it is not that he has no passions, but that they no longer perturb and mislead. If his controlling spirit be reason, it is not the reason of the so-called “rationalist,” but the reason which seeks in patience to comprehend, and to be at home in, a world it at first finds strange. And if he is critical of others, he is still more critical of himself: critical however not for criticism's sake (which is but a poor thing), but because through criticism the faith of reason may be more fully justified. To the last, if he is true to his mission and faithful to his loyalty to reality, he will have the simplicity of the child.

Whether therefore we agree or not with Plato's reduction of Right and Duty to self-actualisation, we may at least admit that in the idea of perfection or excellence, combined with the idea of knowledge or inward lucidity, he has got the fundamental ideas on which further ethical development must build. Self-control, self-knowledge, internal harmony, are good: and so are the development of our several faculties and of the totality of them to the fullest pitch of excellence. But their value does not lie entirely in themselves, or rather there is implicit in them a reference to something beyond themselves. They take for granted something which, because it is so taken, may also be ignored and neglected, just because it seems so obvious. And that implication is the social humanity in which they are the spirits of light and leading.

To lay the stress on ἀρετή or excellence tends to leave out of sight the force of duty; and to emphasise knowledge is allowed to disparage the heart and feelings. The mind—even of a philosopher—finds a difficulty in holding very different points of view in one, and where it is forced from one to another, tends to forget the earlier altogether. Thus when the ethical philosopher, presupposing as an absolute or unquestionable fact that man the individual was rooted in the community, proceeded to discuss the problem of the best and completest individual estate, he was easily led to lose sight of the fundamental and governing condition altogether. From the moment that Aristotle lays down the thesis that man is naturally social, to the moment when he asks how the bare ideal of excellence in character and life can become an actuality, the community in which man lives has retired out of sight away into the background. And it only comes in, as it first appears, as the paedagogue to bring us to morality. And Plato, though professedly he is speaking of the community, and is well aware that the individual can only be saved by the salvation of the community, is constantly falling back into another problem—the development of an individual soul. He feels the strength of the egoistic effort after perfection, and his essay in the end tends to lose sight altogether of its second theme. Instead of a man he gives us a mere philosopher, a man, that is, not living with his country's life, instinct with the heart and feeling of humanity, inspired by art and religion, but a being set apart and exalted above his fellows,—charged no doubt in theory with the duty of saving them, of acting vicariously as the mediator between them and the absolute truth—but really tending more and more to seclude himself on the edita templa of the world, on the high-towers of speculation.

And what Plato and Aristotle did, so to speak, against their express purpose and effort, yet did, because the force of contemporary tendency was irresistible—that the Stoa and Epicurus did more openly and professedly. With a difference in theory, it is true, owing to the difference in the surroundings. Virtue in the older day of the free and glorious commonwealth had meant physical and intellectual achievement, acts done in the public eye, and of course for the public good—a good with which the agent was identified at least in heart and soul, if not in his explicit consciousness. In later and worse days, when the political world, with the world divine, had withdrawn from actual identity with the central heart of the individual, and stood over-against him as a strange power and little better than a nuisance, virtue came to be counted as endurance, indifference, negative independence against a cold and a perplexing world. But even still, virtue is excellence: it is to rise above the ignoble level: to assert self-liberty against accident and circumstance—to attain self-controlled, self-satisfying independence—and to become God-like in its seclusion. Yet in two directions even it had to acknowledge something beyond the individual. The Epicurean—following out a suggestion of Aristotle—recognised the help which the free society of friends gave to the full development of the single seeker after a self-satisfying and complete life. The Stoic, not altogether refusing such help, tended rather to rest his single self on a fellowship of ideal sort, on the great city of gods and men, the civitas Dei. Thus, in separate halves, the two schools, into which Greek ethics was divided, gave expression to the sense that a new and higher community was needed—to the sense that the visible actual community no longer realised its latent idea. The Stoic emphasised the all-embracing necessity, the absolute comprehensiveness of the moral kingdom. The Epicurean saw more clearly that, if the everlasting city came from heaven, it could only visibly arise by initiation upon the earth. Christianity—in its best work—was a conjunction of the liberty with the necessity, of the human with the divine.

More interesting, perhaps, it is to note the misconception of reason and knowledge which grew up. Knowledge came more and more to be identified with the reflective and critical consciousness, which is outside reality and life, and judges it from a standpoint of its own. It came to be esteemed only in its formal and abstract shape, and at the expense of the heart and feelings. The antithesis of philosophy (or knowledge strictly so called) according to Plato was mere opinion, accidental and imperfect knowledge. The knowledge which is truly valuable is a knowledge which presupposes the full reality of life, and is the more and more completely articulated theory of it as a whole. It is—abstractly taken—a mere form of unity which has no value except in uniting: it is—taken concretely—the matter, we may say, in complete unity. It is ideal and perfect harmony of thought, appetite, and emotion: or putting it otherwise, the philosopher is one who is not merely a creature of appetite and production, not merely a creature of feeling and practical energy, but a creature, who to both of these superadds an intelligence which sets eyes in the blind forehead of these other powers, and thus, far from superseding them altogether, only raises them into completeness, and realises all that is worthy in their implicit natures. Always these two impulsive tendencies of our nature are guided by some sort of ideas and intelligence, by beliefs and opinions. But they, like their guides, are sporadically emergent, unconnected, and therefore apt to be contradictory. It is to such erratic and occasional ideas, half-truths and deceptions, that philosophy is opposed. Unfortunately for all parties, the antithesis is carried farther. Philosophy and the philosopher are further set in opposition to the faith of the heart, the intimacy and intensity of feeling, the depth of love and trust, which in practice often go along with imperfect ideas. The philosopher is made one who has emancipated himself from the heart and feelings,—a pure intelligence, who is set above all creeds, contemplating all, and holding none. Consistency and clearness become his idol, to be worshipped at any cost, save one sacrifice: and that one sacrifice is the sacrifice of his own self-conceit. For consistency generally means that all is made to harmonise with one assumed standpoint, and that whatever presents discrepancies with this alleged standard is ruthlessly thrown away. Such a philosophy mistakes its function, which is not, as Heine scoffs, to make an intelligible system by rejecting the discordant fragments of life, but to follow reverently, if slowly, in the wake of experience. Such a “perfect sage,” with his parade of reasonableness, may often assume the post of a dictator.

And, above all, intelligence is only half itself when it is not also will. And both are more than mere consciousness. Plato—whom we refer to, because he is the coryphaeus of all the diverse host of Greek philosophy—seems to overestimate or rather to misconceive the place of knowledge. That it is the supreme and crowning grace of the soul, he sees. But he tends to identify it with the supreme or higher soul:—as Aristotle did after him, to be followed by the Stoics and Neo-Platonists. For them the supreme, or almost supreme reality is the intelligence or reason: the soul is only on a second grade of reality, on the borders of the natural or physical world. When Plato takes that line, he turns towards the path of asceticism, and treats the philosophic life as a preparation for that truer life when intelligence shall be all in all, for that better land where “divine dialogues” shall form the staple and substance of spiritual existence. Aristotle,—who less often treads these solitudes,—still extols the theoretic life, when the body and its needs trouble no more, when the activity of reason—the theory of theory—is attained at least as entirely as mortal conditions allow man to be deified. Of the “apathy” and the reasonable conformity of the Stoics, or of the purely negative character of Epicurean happiness (the excision of all that pained) we need not here speak. And in Plotinus and Proclus the deification of mere reason is at any rate the dominant note; whatever protests the larger Greek nature in the former may from time to time offer. The truth which philosophy should have taught was that Mind or intelligence was the element where the inner life culminated and expanded and flourished: the error which it often tended to spread was that intelligence was the higher life of which all other was a degenerate shortcoming, and something valuable on its own account.

It may be that thus to interpret Plato is to do him an injustice. It has been sometimes said that his division of parts or kinds of soul—or his distinction between its fighting horses—tends to destroy the unity of mental life. But perhaps this was exactly what he wanted to convey. There are—we may paraphrase his meaning—three kinds of human being, three types of human life. There is the man or the life of appetite and the flesh: there is the man of noble emotion and energetic depth of soul: there is the life of reasonable pursuits and organised principle. Or, we may take his meaning to be that there are three elements or provinces of mental life, which in all except a few are but imperfectly coherent and do not reach a true or complete unity. Some unity there always is: but in the life of mere appetite and impulse, even when these impulses are our nobler sentiments of love and hatred, the unity falls very far short. Or, as he puts the theme elsewhere, the soul has a passion for self-completion, a love of beauty, which in most is but a misleading lust. It is the business of the philosophic life to re-create or to foster this unity: or philosophy is the persistent search of the soul for its lost unity, the search to see that unity which is always its animating principle, its inner faith. When the soul has reached this ideal—if it can be supposed to attain it (and of this the strong-souled ancient philosophers feel no doubt),—then a change must take place. The love of beauty is not suppressed; it is only made self-assured and its object freed from all imperfection. It is not that passion has ceased; but its nature is so transfigured, that it seems worthy of a nobler name, which yet we cannot give. To such a life, where battle and conflict are as such unknown, we cannot longer give the title of life: and we say that philosophy is in life a rehearsal of death70. And yet if there be no battle, there is not for that reason mere inaction. Hence, as the Republic concludes, the true philosopher is the complete man. He is the truth and reality which the appetitive and emotional man were seeking after and failed to realise. It is true they at first will not see this. But the whole long process of philosophy is the means to induce this conviction. And for Plato it remains clear that through experience, through wisdom, and through abstract deduction, the philosopher will justify his claim to him who hath ears to hear and heart to understand. If that be so, the asceticism of Plato is not a mere war upon flesh and sense as such, but upon flesh and sense as imperfect truth, fragmentary reality, which suppose themselves complete, though they are again and again confuted by experience, by wisdom, and by mere calculation,—a war against their blindness and shortsightedness.
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