The World As Will and Representation, by Arthur Schopenhauer

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.

Re: The World As Will and Representation, by Arthur Schopenh

Postby admin » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:17 pm

Second Half: The Doctrine of the Abstract Representation or of Thinking

CHAPTER V: On the Intellect Devoid of Reason [1]

It must be possible to arrive at a complete knowledge of the consciousness of animals, in so far as we are able to construct such consciousness by merely taking away certain properties of our own. On the other hand, instinct is closely associated with animal consciousness, and in all animals this instinct is more developed than in man; in some animals it extends to mechanical instinct.

Animals have understanding without the faculty of reason, and consequently they have knowledge of perception, but no abstract knowledge. They apprehend correctly, and also grasp the immediate causal connexion, the higher animals even through several links of its chain; but properly speaking they do not think. For they lack concepts, in other words abstract representations. The first consequence of this is the want of a real memory, which applies even to the most intelligent animals; and it is just this that establishes the main difference between their consciousness and man's. Perfect reflectiveness or circumspection (Besonnenheit) rests on distinct consciousness of the past and of the eventual future as such and in connexion with the present. Therefore the real memory required for this is a systematic, orderly, coherent, and thinking recollection. This, however, is possible only by means of general concepts, whose aid is required even by what is entirely individual, so that it is recalled in its order and concatenation. For the boundless multitude of things and events of the same and similar kinds in the course of our life does not admit directly of a perceptive and individual recollection of each particular thing; for that neither the powers of the most comprehensive faculty of memory nor our time would be sufficient. Therefore all this can be preserved only by subsuming it under universal concepts and by the reference arising out of this to relatively few principles. By means of these principles we then have constantly at our disposal a systematic, orderly, and adequate survey of our past. We can conjure up in our minds through perception only particular scenes of the past, but of the time that has since elapsed and of its content we are conscious only in abstracto by means of concepts of things and of numbers that now represent days and years, together with the content thereof. On the other hand, the faculty of recollection of animals, like their whole intellect, is confined to what they perceive. Primarily this faculty consists merely in a recurring impression that presents itself as having existed already, since the present perception revives the trace of an earlier one. Therefore their recollection is always brought about by means of something now actually present. But on this very account this stimulates anew the sensation and the mood that the earlier phenomenon had produced. Accordingly, the dog recognizes acquaintances, distinguishes friends from enemies, easily finds again the path he has once travelled, houses he has formerly visited, and is at once put into the appropriate mood by the sight of a plate or of a stick. All kinds of training depend on the use of this perceptive faculty of recollection and on force of habit, which in the case of animals is exceedingly strong. Therefore this training is just as different from human education as perceiving is from thinking. In particular cases, where memory proper breaks down, even we are confined to that merely perceptive recollection, and so can from our own experience measure the difference between the two. For example, at the sight of a person who seems known to us, without our remembering when and where we have seen him; likewise, when we visit a place where we were in early childhood, while our faculty of reason was still undeveloped, which we have therefore entirely forgotten; but now we feel the impression of what is present as of something that has already existed. All the recollections of animals are of this kind. We have only to add that, in the case of the most intelligent, this merely perceptive memory rises to a certain degree of fantasy which again assists it, and in virtue of which, for example, the image of his absent master floats before the dog's mind and excites a longing for him; thus, in the master's prolonged absence, the dog looks for him everywhere. His dreams also depend on this fantasy. Accordingly, the consciousness of animals is a mere succession of present events, none of which, however, exists as future before its appearance, or as past after its disappearance, this being the distinctive characteristic of human consciousness. Therefore the animals have infinitely less to suffer than have we, since they know no other sufferings than those directly brought about by the present. But the present is without extension; the future and the past, on the other hand, which contain most of the causes of our sufferings, are widely extended. To their actual content the merely possible is added, whereby an unlimited field is opened up to desire and fear. The animals, on the other hand, are undisturbed by these; they peacefully and serenely enjoy every present moment, even if it is only bearable. In this they may be approached by human beings of very limited capacity. Further, the sufferings that belong solely to the present can be merely physical. Animals do not really feel even death; they can get to know it only when it appears, and then they already are no more. Thus the life of the animal is a continual present. It lives on without reflection and is deeply engrossed in the present; the great majority of men, even, live with very little reflection. Another consequence of the nature of the intellect of animals, which we have discussed, is the exact agreement of their consciousness with their environment. Nothing stands between the animal and the external world; but between us and that world there are always our thoughts and ideas about it, and these often make us inaccessible to it, and it to us. Only in the case of children and of very uneducated persons does this wall sometimes become so thin that to know what is going on within them we need only see what is going on around them. Therefore animals are not capable either of purpose or of dissimulation; they have nothing in reserve. In this respect, the dog is related to the man as a glass tumbler is to a metal one, and this greatly helps to endear the dog so much to us. It affords us great pleasure to see simply and openly displayed in him all those inclinations and emotions that in ourselves we so often conceal. In general, animals play always with their cards on the table, so to speak; we therefore contemplate with so much pleasure their behaviour towards one another, not only when they belong to the same species, but also when they are of different species. It is characterized by a certain stamp of innocence, in contrast to the conduct of human beings, which is withdrawn from the innocence of nature by the first appearance of the faculty of reason, and therewith of prudence or deliberation. Instead of this, human conduct has throughout the stamp of intention or deliberate purpose, the absence of which, and the consequent determination by the impulse of the moment, constitute the fundamental characteristic of all animal conduct. Thus no animal is capable of a purpose or intention proper; to conceive and follow out a purpose is the prerogative of man; and this has extremely important consequences. Of course an instinct like that of birds of passage or of bees, and moreover a permanent and persistent desire, a longing like that of the dog for his absent master, may produce the appearance of purpose, but it is not to be confused therewith. All this has its ultimate ground in the relation be tween human and animal intellect, which can be expressed as follows. The animals have only an immediate knowledge; we have a mediate knowledge in addition; and the advantage which the indirect has over the direct in many things, e.g., in trigonometry and analysis, in machine-work instead of hand-labour, and so on, occurs here also. In accordance with this, we can also say that animals have merely a simple or single intellect, we a double, a thinking as well as a perceiving intellect; and the operations of the two often take place independently of each other; we perceive one thing and think another. Again, they are often connected with each other. This characterizing of the matter enables us specially to understand the essential openness and naivety of animals above mentioned in contrast with human concealment and reserve.

However, the law natura non facit saItus [2] is not entirely abolished even with regard to the intellect of animals, although the step from the animal to the human intellect is indeed the greatest nature has made in the production of her creatures. Certainly in the most select individuals of the highest animal species there sometimes appears, always to our astonishment, a feeble trace of reflection, of the faculty of reason, of the understanding of words, of thought, purpose, or deliberation. The most striking features of this kind are furnished by the elephant, whose highly developed intellect is enhanced and sustained by the practice and experience of a life lasting sometimes two hundred years. He has often given unmistakable signs, recorded in well-known anecdotes, of premeditation, which always astonishes us above all else in animals. Of particular interest is the story of the tailor on whom an elephant wreaked his vengeance for having been pricked by a needle. I wish to rescue from oblivion a parallel case to this, because it has the advantage of being substantiated by judicial inquiry. On 27 August 1830, a coroner's inquest was held at Morpeth in England on Baptist Bernhard, a keeper who had been killed by his elephant. From the evidence, it appeared that two years previously he had grossly offended the elephant; and now, without any cause but at a favourable opportunity, the elephant had suddenly seized and crushed him. (See the Spectator and other English newspapers of those days.) For special information on the intellect of animals, I recommend the excellent book of Leroy, Sur I'intelligence des animaux, new ed., 1802.



1. This chapter, together with the following, is connected with §§ 8 and 9 of volume 1.

2. "Nature makes no leaps." [Tr.]
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Re: The World As Will and Representation, by Arthur Schopenh

Postby admin » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:18 pm

CHAPTER VI: On the Doctrine of Abstract Knowledge, or Knowledge of Reason

The outer impression on the senses, together with the mood that it alone and by itself evokes in us, vanishes with the presence of things. Therefore these two cannot themselves constitute experience proper, whose teaching is to guide our conduct for the future. The image of that impression preserved by the imagination is already weaker than the impression itself; day by day it grows weaker still, and in time becomes completely extinct. There is only one thing, the concept, which is not subject either to that instantaneous vanishing of the impression, or to the gradual disappearance of its image, and consequently is free from the power of time. Therefore in the concept the teaching of experience must be stored up, and it alone is suitable as a safe guide for our steps in life. Therefore Seneca rightly says: Si vis tibi omnia subjicere, te subjice rationi (Ep. 37). [1] And I add that, to be superior (uberlegen) to others in real life, the indispensable condition is to be thoughtful and deliberate (iiberlegt), in other words, to set to work in accordance with concepts. So important an instrument of intelligence as the concept obviously cannot be identical with the word, that mere sound, which as a sense-impression passes away with the present moment, or as a phantasm of hearing will die away with time. But the concept is a representation, whose distinct consciousness and preservation are tied to the word. Therefore the Greeks called word, concept, relation, thought, idea, and reason (Vernunft) by the name of the first, [x] . Yet the concept is entirely different not only from the word to which it is tied, but also from the perceptions from which it originates. It is of a nature entirely different from these sense-impressions; yet it is able to take up into itself all the results of perception, in order to give them back again unchanged and undiminished even after the longest period of time; only in this way does experience arise. But the concept does not preserve what is perceived or what is felt; rather it preserves what is essential thereof in an entirely altered form, yet as an adequate representative of those results. Thus, flowers cannot be preserved, but their ethereal oil, their essence, with the same smell and the same virtues, can. The conduct that has had correct concepts for its guidance will, in the result, coincide with the reality intended. We can judge the inestimable value of concepts, and consequently of the faculty of reason, if we glance at the endless multitude and variety of things and conditions coexisting and succeeding one another, and then reflect that language and writing (the signs of concepts) are nevertheless able to afford us accurate information about everything and every relation, whenever and wherever it may have been, in that comparatively few concepts concern and represent an infinite number of things and conditions. In our reflection, abstraction is a throwing off of useless luggage for the purpose of handling more easily the knowledge to be compared and manoeuvred in all directions. Thus, much that is inessential, and therefore merely confusing, in real things is omitted, and we operate with few but essential determinations conceived in the abstract. But just because universal concepts result only from thinking away and leaving out actual and existing determinations, and are therefore the emptier the more universal they are, the use of this procedure is limited to the elaboration of knowledge already acquired. To this elaboration belongs also the drawing of conclusions from premisses contained in our knowledge. Fresh insight, on the contrary, can be drawn only from knowledge of perception with the aid of the facuIty of judgement, for such knowledge alone is complete and abundant. Further, since the content and extent of concepts are in inverse relation to each other, and thus the more that is thought under a concept, the less is thought in it, concepts form a sequence, a hierarchy, from the most special to the most universal, at the lower end of which scholastic realism, and at the upper end nominalism, are almost right. For the most special concept is almost the individual and thus almost real; and the most universal concept, e.g., Being (the infinitive of the copula) is scarcely anything but a word. Therefore philosophical systems, keeping within such very universal concepts without descending to the real, are scarcely anything but a mere idle display of words. For, as all abstraction consists in mere thinking away, the farther we continue it, the less we have left. Therefore when I read those modem philosophemes that constantly move in nothing but very wide abstractions, I am soon unable to think of hardly anything more in connexion with them, in spite of all my attention, because I receive no material for thinking, but am supposed to operate with nothing but empty husks. This gives me a feeling similar to that which occurs when I attempt to throw very light bodies; the strength and exertion are there, but the object to take them up, so as to supply the other moment of motion, is lacking. Whoever wishes to experience this should read the works of Schellingians, and better still of Hegelians. Simple concepts would necessarily be in reality such as are irresolvable; accordingly, they could never be the subject of an analytical judgement. This I regard as impossible, for, if we think of a concept, we must be able to state its content also. What are usually quoted as examples of simple concepts are not concepts at all, but in part mere sensations of the senses, say those of a definite colour, and in part the forms of perception known to us a priori, and so, properly speaking, the ultimate elements of knowledge of perception. This itself, however, is for the system of all our ideas what granite is for geology, the final firm ground that supports everything, beyond which we cannot go. The distinctness of a concept requires not only that we should be able to split it up into its attributes, but also that we should be able to analyse these once more, even in the event of their being abstractions, and so on, until we reach down to knowledge of perception, and consequently refer to concrete things: Through the clear perception of these we verify the final abstractions, and thus assure reality to them, as also to all higher abstractions resting on them. Therefore the ordinary explanation that the concept is distinct as soon as we can state its attributes is not sufficient. For the splitting up of these attributes may possibly lead again and again only to concepts without there being that ultimate basis of perceptions which would impart reality to all those concepts. Take, for example, the concept "spirit," and analyse it into its attributes: "a thinking, willing, immaterial, simple, indestructible being, occupying no space." Nothing distinct is thought in connexion with it, because the elements of these concepts cannot be verified by perceptions, for a thinking being without a brain is like a digesting being without a stomach. Only perceptions, not concepts, are really clear; concepts can at best be distinct. Therefore, absurd as it was, "clear and confused" were put together and used as synonyms, when knowledge of perception was declared to be only confused abstract knowledge, because this latter was the only distinct knowledge. This was first done by Duns Scotus, but at bottom Leibniz also has this view, on which depends his Identitas indiscernibilium. [2] See Kant's refutation of it, p. 275 of the first edition of the Critique of Pure Reason.

The close connexion of the concept with the word, and thus of language with reason (Vernunft), which was touched on above, rests ultimately on the following. Our whole consciousness with its inward and outward apprehension has time as its form throughout. On the other hand, concepts have arisen through abstraction, and are wholly universal representations which differ from all particular things. In this property they have, to a certain extent, an objective existence that yet does not belong to any time-series. Therefore, to enter the immediate present of an individual consciousness, and consequently to be capable of insertion into a time-series, they must be to a certain extent brought down again to the nature of particular things, individualized, and thus linked to a representation of the senses; this is the word. Accordingly, this is the sensible sign of the concept, and as such is the necessary means of fixing it, in other words, of presenting it vividly to the consciousness that is tied to the form of time, and thus of establishing a connexion between our faculty of reason, whose objects are merely general universalia knowing neither place nor time, and consciousness which is tied to time, sensuous, and to this extent merely animal. Only by this means is the arbitrary reproduction, and thus the recollection and preservation of concepts, possible and open to us; and only by this means are the operations possible which are to be undertaken with concepts, namely judging, inferring, comparing, limiting, and so on. Of course, it sometimes happens that concepts occupy consciousness even without their signs, since occasionally we run through a chain of reasoning so rapidly that we could not have thought of the words in so short a time. But such cases are exceptions that assume great exercise of the faculty of reason, which it could have attained only by means of language. We see how much the use of the faculty of reason is tied to language in the case of deaf-mutes. If they have learnt no kind of language, they show hardly any more intelligence than do orangutans and elephants; for they have the faculty of reason almost entirely potentia, not actu.

Word and speech, therefore, are the indispensable means to clear thinking. But just as every means, every machine, at the same time burdens and obstructs, so does language, since it forces the infinitely shaded, mobile, and modifiable idea into certain rigid, permanent forms, and by fixing the idea it at the same time fetters it. This hindrance is partly eliminated by our learning several languages; for then the thought is cast from one form into another; and in each form it alters its shape somewhat, and thus is stripped more and more of each form and covering. In this way its own proper nature comes more distinctly into consciousness, and it again obtains its original capacity for modification. The ancient languages, however, perform this service very much better than the modem, because, on account of their great difference from these, the same idea must be expressed in them in quite a different way, and so assume a very different form. In addition to this is the fact that the more perfect grammar of the ancient languages makes a more artistic and perfect construction of the ideas and of their association and relation possible. Therefore a Greek or Roman could, if need be, rest content with his own language; but the man who does not understand anything more than a single modern patois, will soon betray this poverty in writing and speaking, since his thinking, tied firmly to such wretched, stereotyped forms, is bound to appear stiff and monotonous. Genius, of course, makes up for this as for everything; for example, in Shakespeare.

Burke, in his Inquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful, p. 5, sect. 4 and 5, has given a perfectly correct and very detailed explanation of what I expounded in § 9 of the first volume, that the words of a speech are perfectly understood without giving rise to representations of perception, to pictures in our head. But from this he draws the entirely false conclusion that we hear, apprehend, and use words without associating any representation with them, whereas he should have concluded that not all representations a-re images of perception, but that precisely those that must be expressed by words are mere concepts (abstract notions), and these are by their nature not perceivable. Just because words communicate mere universal concepts which are absolutely different from the representations of perception, all the hearers will of course receive the same concepts during the narration of an event, for example. But if subsequently they wish to make the event clear to themselves, each will sketch in his imagination a different picture or image of it, and this differs considerably from the correct picture that only the eyewitness has. Here is to be found the primary reason (there are others as well) why every fact is necessarily distorted through further narration. The second narrator communicates concepts which he has abstracted from the picture of his imagination, and from these a third narrator again sketches for himself a picture or image differing still more widely, which he now converts in turn into concepts, and so the process goes on. He who is matter-of-fact enough to stick to the concepts imparted to him, and to pass these on to the next person, will be the most trustworthy reporter.

The best and most logical explanation concerning the essence and nature of concepts which I have been able to find is in Thomas Reid's Essays on the Powers of Human Mind, Vol. II, Essay 5, ch. 6. This has since been rejected by Dugald Stewart in his Philosophy of the Human Mind. In order not to waste paper on this man, I will only say briefly that he was one of the many who obtained an unmerited reputation through favour and friends. Therefore I can only recommend that not an hour be wasted over the scribblings of that shallow mind.

The princely scholastic, Pico de Mirandola, already saw that reason is the faculty of abstract representations, and the understanding the faculty of representations of perception. For in his book De Imaginatione, ch. 11, he carefully distinguishes understanding and reason, and explains the latter as the discursive faculty pecdliar to man, and the former as the intuitive faculty akin to the angels', and indeed God's, method of knowledge. Spinoza also quite correctly characterizes reason as the faculty for forming universal concepts, Ethics, II, prop. 40, schol. 2. It would not be necessary to mention such things, were it not by reason of the tricks and farces that have been played in the last fifty years with the concept of reason by all the philosophasters of Germany. For with shameless audacity they wanted to smuggle in under this name a wholly false and fabricated faculty of immediate, metaphysical, so-called supersensuous knowledge. Actual reason, on the other hand, they called understanding, and understanding proper, as something very strange to them, they entirely overlooked; they ascribed its intuitive functions to sensibility.

As in the case of all things in this world, new drawbacks or disadvantages cleave at once to every expedient, every privilege, and every advantage; and thus the faculty of reason also, which gives man such great advantages over the animals, has its special disadvantages, and opens up to him paths of error into which the animal can never stray. Through the faculty of reason an entirely new species of motives, to which the animal is inaccessible, obtains power over man's will. These are the abstract motives, the mere thoughts or ideas, which are by no means always drawn from his own experience, but often come to him only through the talk and example of others, through tradition and the written word. Having become accessible to the thought or idea, he is at once exposed to error. But sooner or later every error must do harm, and this harm is all the greater, the greater the error. He who cherishes the individual error must one day atone for it, and often pay dearly for it. The same thing will hold good on a large scale as regards the common errors of whole nations. Therefore it cannot be repeated too often that, wherever we come across any error, it is to be pursued and eradicated as an enemy of mankind, and there cannot be any privileged or even sanctioned errors. The thinker should attack them, even though mankind should cry aloud, like a sick person whose ulcer is touched by the physician. The animal can never stray far from the path of nature, for its motives lie only in the world of perception, where only the possible, only the actual indeed, finds room. On the other hand, all that is merely imaginable or conceivable, and consequently also what is false, impossible, absurd, and senseless, enters into abstract concepts, into thoughts, ideas, and words. Now since the faculty of reason is given to all, but power of judgement to few, the consequence is that man is exposed to delusion, since he is abandoned to every conceivable chimera into which he is talked by anyone, and which, acting as motive to his willing, can induce him to commit perversities and follies of all kinds, and to indulge in the most unheard-of extravagances, even in actions most contrary to his animal nature. Real culture, where knowledge and judgement go hand in hand, can be brought to bear only on a few, and fewer still are capable of assimilating it. For the great majority of people a kind of training everywhere takes the place of culture. It is achieved by example, custom, and the very early and firm impression of certain concepts, before any experience, understanding, and power of judgement existed to disturb the work. Thus ideas are implanted which afterwards cling so firmly, and are not to be shaken by any instruction, just as if they were innate; and they have often been regarded as such, even by philosophers. In this way we can with equal effort impress people with what is right and rational, or with what is most absurd. For example, we can accustom them to approach this or that idol imbued with sacred awe, and, at the mention of its name, to prostrate themselves in the dust not only with their body, but also with their whole spirit; we can accustom them to stake their property and their lives willingly on words, names, and the defence of the strangest whims, to attach arbitrarily the greatest honour or the deepest disgrace to this or that, and accordingly to esteem highly or disdain everyone with inner conviction; we can accustom them to renounce all animal food, as in Hindustan, or to devour the still warm and quivering pieces cut from the living animal, as in Abyssinia; to eat human beings as in New Zealand, or to sacrifice their children to Moloch, to castrate themselves, to fling themselves voluntarily on to the funeral pile of the deceased -- in a word, to do anything we wish. Hence the Crusades, the excesses of fanatical sects; hence Chiliasts and Flagellants, persecutions of heretics, autos da fe, and whatever else is offered by the long register of human perversities and absurdities. Lest it may be thought that only the dark ages afford such examples, I add a couple of more recent ones. In the year 1818 seven thousand Chiliasts moved from Wurtemberg into the neighbourhood of Ararat, because the new kingdom of God, specially announced by Jung-Stilling, was to appear there. [3] Gall relates that in his time a mother killed and roasted her child, in order to cure her husband's rheumatism with its fat. [4] The tragic side of error and of prejudice lies in the practical, the comic is reserved for the theoretical. For example, if we were firmly to persuade only three persons that the sun is not the cause of daylight, we might hope to see it soon accepted as the general conviction. In Germany it was possible to proclaim Hegel, a repulsive and dull charlatan and an unparalleled scribbler of nonsense, the greatest philosopher of all time. For twenty years many thousands have stubbornly and firmly believed this, and even outside Germany the Danish Academy denounced me in support of his fame, and wished to accept him as a summus philosophus. (On this see the preface to my Grundprobleme der Ethik.) These, then, are the disadvantages involved in the existence of the faculty of reason, on account of the rarity of the power of judgement. To them is also added the possibility of madness. Animals do not go mad, although carnivora are liable to fury, and graminivora to a kind of frenzy.



1. If you want to subject everything to yourself, then subject yourself to reason." [Tr.]

2. The principle of Leibniz according to which two things that are not discernible are identical. [Tr.]

3. Illgen's Zeitschrift fur historische Theologie, 1839, first part, p. 182.

4. Gall and Spurzheim, Des dispositions innees, 1811, p. 253
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Re: The World As Will and Representation, by Arthur Schopenh

Postby admin » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:22 pm

CHAPTER VII: On the Relation of Knowledge of Perception to Abstract Knowledge [1]

It has been shown that concepts borrow their material from knowledge of perception, and that therefore the whole structure of our world of thought rests on the world of perceptions. It must therefore be possible for us to go back from every concept, even if through intermediate stages, to the perceptions from which it has itself been directly drawn, or from which have been drawn the concepts of which it is in turn an abstraction. In other words, it must be possible for us to verify the concept with perceptions that stand to abstractions in the relation of examples. Therefore these perceptions furnish us with the real content of all our thinking, and wherever they are missing we have had in our heads not concepts, but mere words. In this respect our intellect is like a bank of issue which, if it is to be sound, must have ready money in the safe, in order to be able, on demand, to meet all the notes it has issued; the perceptions are the ready money, the concepts are the notes. In this sense the perceptions might very appropriately be called primary representations, the concepts, on the other hand, being secondary. Not quite so appropriately the scholastics, at the instance of Aristotle (Metaphysics, vi, 11; xi, 1), called real things substantiae primae and concepts substantiae secundae. Books communicate only secondary representations. Mere concepts of a thing without perception give a merely general knowledge of it. We have a thorough understanding of things and their relations only in so far as we are capable of representing them to ourselves in purely distinct perceptions without the aid of words. To explain words by words, to compare concepts with concepts, in which most philosophizing consists, is at bottom playing with concept-spheres and shifting them about, in order to see which goes into the other and which does not. At best, we shall in this way arrive at conclusions; but even conclusions by no means give new knowledge. On the contrary they only show us all that lay in the knowledge already existing, and what part of this might perhaps be applicable to each particular case. On the other hand, to perceive, to allow the things themselves to speak to us, to apprehend and grasp new relations between them, and then to precipitate and deposit all this into concepts, in order to possess it with certainty; this is what gives us new knowledge. But whereas almost everyone is capable of comparing concepts with concepts, to compare concepts with perceptions is a gift of the select few. According to its degree of perfection, this gift is the condition of wit, power of judgement, sagacity, and genius. With the former faculty, on the other hand, the result is never much more than possibly rational reflections. The innermost kernel of every genuine and actual piece of knowledge is a perception; every new truth is also the fruit of such a perception. All original thinking is done in pictures or images; the imagination is therefore so necessary an instrument of thinking, and minds without imagination will never achieve anything great, unless it be in mathematics. On the other hand, merely abstract ideas, which have no kernel of perception, are like cloud formations without reality. Even writing and speaking, whether didactic or poetical, have as their ultimate aim the guidance of the reader to that knowledge of perception from which the author started; if they do not have this aim, they are bad. For this reason, the contemplation and observation of everything actual, as soon as it presents something new to the observer, is more instructive than all reading and hearing about it. For indeed, if we go to the bottom of the matter, all truth and wisdom, in fact the ultimate secret of things, is contained in everything actual, yet certainly only in concreto and like gold hidden in the ore. The question is how to extract it. From a book, on the other hand, we obtain the truth only second-hand at best, and often not at all.

With most books, quite apart from really bad ones, if they are not entirely of empirical content, it is true that the author has thought, but not perceived; he has written from reflection, not from intuition. It is just this that makes them mediocre and wearisome. For what the author has thought, the reader also could have thought, at any rate with some effort; for it is just rational ideas, more detailed explanations of what is contained implicite in the theme. But no really new knowledge comes into the world in this way; that is produced only at the moment of perception, of directly apprehending a new side of things. Therefore where a perception or intuition was the basis of an author's thinking, it is as if he wrote from a land where his reader has never been, for everything is fresh and new, since it is drawn directly from the primary source of all knowledge. I will illustrate the difference here touched on by a quite easy and simple example. Every commonplace writer will readily describe profound contemplation or petrifying astonishment by saying: "He stood like a statue"; but Cervantes says: "Like a draped statue; for the wind moved his garments" (Don Quixote, Bk. vi, ch. 19). In such a way have all great minds always thought in the presence of perception, and in their thinking kept their gaze steadily on it. We recognize this, among other things, in the fact that even the most heterogeneous of them so often agree and concur in detail, just because they all speak of the same thing which they all had before their eyes, namely the world, the actuality of perception. In fact, to a certain extent they all say the same thing, and others never believe them. It is further recognized in the appropriateness and originality of their expression, which is always exactly suited to the case, because perception has prompted that expression; it is recognized in the naivety of the statements, the freshness of the images, and the striking effect of the similes. All this without exception distinguishes the works of great minds; whereas it is always lacking in the works of others. For this reason, only trite and humdrum modes of expression and hackneyed similes are at the latter's disposal; and they never dare allow themselves to be naive, on pain of displaying their vulgarity in all its dreary emptiness; instead of this they are affected in their style. Therefore Buffon said: Le style est l'homme meme. [2] When ordinary minds write poetry they have a few traditional, indeed conventional, opinions, passions, noble sentiments, and the like, obtained in the abstract; and these they attribute to the heroes of their poems. In this way such heroes become a mere personification of those opinions; and hence to a certain extent they are themselves abstractions, and thus dull and wearisome. If they philosophize, they take possession of a few wide abstract concepts which they cast about in all directions, as though it were a matter of algebraical equations, and hope that something will result therefrom. At most we see that they have all read the same thing. Such casting about with abstract concepts, after the manner of algebraical equations, nowadays called dialectic, does not, like real algebra, give us sure and certain results; for here the concept, represented by the word, is not a quantity positively and precisely determined, like that denoted by the letters of algebra, but something that is wavering, ambiguous, and capable of extension and contraction. Strictly speaking, all thinking, in other words all combining of abstract concepts, has at best for its material recollections of what was previously perceived, and this indirectly, that is in so far as it constitutes the basis of all concepts. Actual, i.e., immediate knowledge, on the other hand, is perception alone, new, fresh perception itself. But the concepts that are formed by the faculty of reason and preserved by memory can never all be present in consciousness at the same time; only a very small number of them are present at one moment. On the other hand, the energy with which we apprehend what is present in perception -- and in this the essential of all things in general is really always contained and represented virtualiter -- fills the consciousness in one moment with all its force. On this rests the infinite superiority of genius to learning; they are related to each other as is the text of an ancient classical author to its commentary. Actually all truth and all wisdom ultimately lie in perception; but unfortunately perception cannot be either retained or communicated. At the most, the objective conditions for this can be presented to others purified and elucidated through the plastic and pictorial arts, and much more indirectly through poetry; but it rests just as much on subjective conditions that are not at everyone's disposal, and not at anyone's at all times; in fact, such conditions in the higher degrees of perfection are the advantage and privilege of only the few. Only the poorest knowledge, abstract secondary knowledge, the concept, the mere shadow of knowledge proper, is unconditionally communicable. If perceptions were communicable, there would then be a communication worth the trouble; but in the end everyone must remain within his own skin and his own skull, and no man can help another. To enrich the concept from perception is the constant endeavour of poetry and philosophy. But the essential aims of man are practical; and for these it is sufficient that what is apprehended in perception should leave behind traces in him, by virtue of which he again recognizes it in the next similar case; he thus becomes world-wise. Therefore, as a rule, the man of the world cannot impart his accumulated truth and wisdom, but only practise it. He rightly comprehends everything that occurs, and decides what is conformable thereto. That books do not take the place of experience, and that learning is no substitute for genius, are two kindred phenomena; their common ground is that the abstract can never take the place of the perceptive. Therefore books do not take the place of experience, because concepts always remain universal, and so do not reach down to the particular; yet it is precisely the particular that has to be dealt with in life. In addition to this is the fact that all concepts are abstracted from the particular and perceptive of experience; we must therefore have come to know this, in order to understand adequately even only what is universal and is communicated by books. Learning does not take the place of genius, because it also furnishes only concepts; the knowledge of genius, however, consists in the apprehension of the (Platonic) Ideas of things, and is therefore essentially intuitive. Accordingly, with the first phenomenon, the objective condition for perceiving knowledge is wanting; with the second, the subjective; the former can be attained, but not the latter.

Wisdom and genius, those two summits of the Parnassus of human knowledge, are rooted not in the abstract and discursive, but in the perceptive faculty. Wisdom proper is something intuitive, not something abstract. It does not consist in principles and ideas which a person carries round ready in his head, as results of his own or others' investigation; it is the whole way in which the world presents itself in his head. This is so exceedingly different, that by reason of it the wise man lives in a different world from the fool, and the genius sees a world different from that of the dull-witted person. The works of the genius immeasurably surpass those of all others, and this is due simply to the fact that the world which he sees, and from which he takes his utterances, is so much clearer, more profoundly worked out, so to speak, than that. in the heads of others. This world naturally contains the same objects, but it is related to the world of the genius as is a Chinese picture without shade and perspective to a finished oil-painting. The material is the same in all minds, but the difference lies in the perfection of the form it assumes in each, and on this difference ultimately rest the many varying grades of intelligence. This difference, therefore, exists already in the root, in the perceiving apprehension, and does not originate in the abstract. Therefore original mental superiority readily shows itself on every occasion, and is instantly felt and detested by others.

In practical affairs, the intuitive knowledge of the understanding is able to guide our action and behaviour directly, whereas the abstract knowledge of the faculty of reason can do so only by means of the memory. From this springs the superiority of intuitive knowledge for all those cases that do not allow of any time for reflection, and so for daily intercourse, in which women excel on this precise account. Only the person who intuitively knows the true nature of men as they generally are, and comprehends the individuality of the particular person before him, will understand how to deal with him correctly and with certainty. Another person may know by heart all the three hundred maxims of wisdom by Gracian, but this will not protect him from stupid blunders and mistakes, if he lacks that intuitive knowledge. For all abstract knowledge gives primarily only universal principles and rules; but the particular case is hardly ever shaped exactly according to the rule. Then the memory should first present the rule at the right time, and this is seldom done promptly; the propositio minor should be formed from the present case, and finally the conclusion should be drawn. Before all this is done, the opportunity will in most cases already have turned its back on us, and then at best those excellent principles and rules enable us to estimate, when it is too late, the magnitude of the mistake we have made. In time, of course, and with experience and practice, worldly wisdom will slowly result from this; and therefore, in connexion with these, the rules in the abstract can certainly become fruitful. On the other hand, intuitive knowledge, always apprehending only the particular things, is in direct relation to the present case; rule, case, and application are identical for it, and action follows immediately thereon. This explains why the scholar, whose merit lies in abundance of abstract knowledge, is so inferior to the man of the world, whose merit consists in perfect intuitive knowledge, which an original disposition has conceded to him, and a rich experience has developed. Between the two kinds of knowledge there always appears the relation of paper money to hard cash; yet just as for many cases and affairs the former is to be preferred to the latter, so there are also things and situations for which abstract is more useful than intuitive knowledge. Thus, if it is a concept that guides our action in a matter, it has the advantage, when once grasped, of being unalterable; hence under its guidance we go to work with perfect certainty and determination. But this certainty granted by the concept on the subjective side is counterbalanced by the uncertainty that accompanies it on the objective side. Thus the whole concept may be false and groundless, or the object to be dealt with may not come under it, since it may not be in any way, or indeed entirely, of its species. Now if, in the particular case, we suddenly become aware of something of the sort, we are disconcerted; if we do not become aware of it, then the result tells us. Therefore, Vauvenargues says Personne n'est sujet a plus de fautes que ceux qui n'agissent que par reflexion. [3] On the other hand, if it is direct perception of the objects to be dealt with and of their relations that guides our action, we easily falter at every step; for perception is usually modifiable, is ambiguous, has inexhaustible details in itself, and shows many sides in succession; we therefore act without full confidence. But this subjective uncertainty is compensated by objective certainty, for here no concept stands between the object and us; we do not lose sight of it. Therefore, if only we see correctly what we have before us and what we do, we shall hit the right spot. Accordingly, our action is perfectly certain and sure only when it is guided by a concept, whose correct ground, completeness, and applicability to the existing case are quite certain. Conduct according to concepts can turn into pedantry; conduct according to the impression of perception can turn into levity and folly.

Perception is not only the source of all knowledge, but is itself knowledge [x]; [4] it alone is the unconditionally true genuine knowledge, fully worthy of the name. For it alone imparts insight proper; it alone is actually assimilated by man, passes into his inner nature, and can quite justifiably be called his, whereas the concepts merely cling to him. In the fourth book we see that even virtue really comes from knowledge of perception; for only those actions which it directly calls forth, and which are consequently done from the pure impulse of our own nature, are real symptoms of our true and unalterable character; but not those which, resulting from reflection and its dogmas, are often wrung from the character, and therefore have no unalterable ground in us. But wisdom also, the true view of life, correct insight, and clear judgement result from the way in which man apprehends the world of perception, not from his mere abstract knowledge, not from abstract concepts. The foundation or basic content of every science does not consist in proofs or in what is proved, but in the unproved foundation of the proofs; and this is ultimately apprehended only through perception. So too the foundation of every man's real wisdom and actual insight does not consist in concepts and in abstract knowledge, but in what is perceived, and in the degree of acuteness, accuracy, and profundity with which he has apprehended this. Whoever excels in this, recognizes the (Platonic) Ideas of the world and of life; every case he has seen represents for him innumerable cases; he always apprehends every being according to its true nature, and his action, like his judgement, corresponds to his insight. By degrees, even his countenance assumes the expression of the correct glance, of true judiciousness, and when it goes far enough, of wisdom. For it is only superiority in knowledge of perception that stamps its impression even on the features, whereas superiority in abstract knowledge cannot do so. According to what has been said, we find among all classes persons of intellectual superiority, often without any learning at all. For natural understanding can take the place of almost every degree of intellectual culture, but no culture can take the place of natural understanding. The scholar certainly has the advantage of such people in an abundance of cases and facts (historical knowledge), and of causal determinations (natural science), everything in well arranged, easily surveyed sequence; but yet, with all this, he does not have a more accurate and profound insight into what is really essential in all those cases, facts, and causalities. The unlearned man of acuteness and penetration knows how to dispense with that abundance; we are sparing of much, we make do with little. One case from his own experience teaches him more than many a scholar is taught by a thousand cases which he knows, but does not really understand. For the little knowledge of that unlearned man is alive, since every fact known to him is verified by accurate and well-apprehended perception. Thus this fact is for him the representative of a thousand similar facts. On the other hand, much of the ordinary scholar's knowledge is dead, since, even if it does not consist of mere words, as often is the case, it nevertheless consists of nothing but abstract knowledge. Such knowledge, however, obtains its value only through the individual's knowledge of perception, to which it must refer, and which must ultimately realize all the concepts. Now if this knowledge of perception is very scanty, such a mind is constituted like a bank whose liabilities are ten times in excess of its cash reserve, so that it ultimately becomes bankrupt. Therefore, while the correct apprehension of the world of perception has impressed the stamp of insight and wisdom on the brow of many an unlearned man, the face of many a scholar bears no other traces of his many studies than those of exhaustion and weariness through excessive and forced straining of the memory for the unnatural accumulation of dead concepts. Such a man frequently looks so simple, silly, and sheepish, that it must be supposed that the excessive strain of the indirect faculty of knowledge, applied to the abstract, produces a direct weakening of the immediate knowledge of perception, and that the natural and correct view is dazzled more and more by the light of books. The constant influx of other people's ideas must certainly stop and stifle our own, and indeed, in the long run, paralyse the power of thought, unless it has a high degree of elasticity able to withstand that unnatural flow. Therefore incessant reading and study positively ruin the mind; this, moreover, is caused by the fact that the system of our own ideas and knowledge loses its completeness and uninterrupted continuity, when we arbitrarily upset this so often in order to gain room for an entirely foreign range of ideas. To banish my thoughts in order to make room for those of a book would seem to me to be just what Shakespeare [4a] censures in the travellers of his time, that they sell their own land in order to see those of others. However, the mania of most scholars for reading is a kind of fuga vacui from the lack of ideas in their own heads, which forcibly draws in the ideas of others. To have ideas, they must read a few, just as lifeless bodies obtain movement only from outside; whereas the person who thinks for himself is like the living body that moves of itself. It is even risky to read about a subject before we ourselves have reflected on it. For with the new material, another person's view and treatment of it creep into the mind, all the more since laziness and apathy urge us to save ourselves the trouble of thinking, to accept what has already been thought, and to allow this to become current. This now gains a footing, and hereafter the thoughts and ideas on it always take the accustomed path, like small streams led into ditches; to find a new idea of one's own is then doubly difficult. This contributes much to. the lack of originality in scholars. In addition to this is the fact that they imagine they must divide their time, like other people, between pleasure and work. They regard reading as their work and real occupation, and therefore gorge themselves with it beyond what they can digest. Reading no longer merely anticipates thinking, but entirely takes its place. They think of things only just so long as they are reading about them, and hence with the mind of another and not with their own. But if the book is laid aside, quite different things make much more lively claims on their interest, namely personal affairs, the theatre, card-playing, skittles, the events of the day, and gossip. The thinking mind is what it is by the fact that such things have no interest for it, whereas its problems have; and so it becomes absorbed in these by itself and without a book. It is impossible to give ourselves this interest if we do not have it; that is the point. Moreover, on this rests the fact that the former always speak only of what they have read, the latter, on the other hand, of what he has thought, and that they are, as Pope says:

"For ever reading, never to be read." [4b]

The mind is by its nature free, not a slave; only what it does by itself and willingly is successful. On the other hand, the compulsory exertion of the mind in studies that are beyond its capacity, or when it has become tired, or generally too continuously and invita Minerva, [5] dulls the brain, just as reading by moonlight dulls the eyes. In particular, this comes about also by straining the immature brain in the early years of childhood. I believe that the learning of Latin and Greek grammar from the sixth to the twelfth year lays the foundation for the subsequent dulness of most scholars. The mind certainly requires nourishment, namely material from outside. All that we eat, however, is not incorporated into the organism at once, but only in so far as it has been digested, whereby only a small part of it is actually assimilated, the remainder passing from the system, so that to eat more than we can assimilate is useless, and even injurious. It is precisely the same as regards what we read; only in so far as it gives material for thinking does it increase our insight and our knowledge proper. Therefore Heraclitus said: [x] (multiscitia non dat intellectum). [6] It seems to me that learning can be compared to a heavy suit of armour, which indeed makes the strong man quite invincible, but to the weak man is a burden under which he breaks down completely.

The detailed discussion given in our third book of the knowledge of the (Platonic) Ideas as the highest attainable by man, and at the same time as a knowledge entirely of perception or intuition, is a proof for us that the source of true wisdom lies not in the abstract rational knowledge, but in the correct and profound apprehension of the world in perception. Therefore wise men can live in any age, and those of antiquity remain so for all the generations to come. Learning, on the other hand, is relative; the learned men of antiquity are for the most part children as compared with us, and need indulgence.

However, for the man who studies to gain insight, books and studies are merely rungs of the ladder on which he climbs to the summit of knowledge. As soon as a rung has raised him one step, he leaves it behind. On the other hand, the many who study in order to fill their memory do not use the rungs of the ladder for climbing, but take them off and load themselves with them to take away, rejoicing at the increasing weight of the burden. They remain below for ever, because they bear what should have borne them.

On the truth, here discussed, that the kernel of all knowledge is perceptive or intuitive apprehension, rests also the correct and profound observation of Helvetius that the really characteristic and original views of which a gifted individual is capable, and the elaboration, development, and manifold use whereof are his whole work, although produced much later, originate in him only up to his thirty-fifth, or at the latest his fortieth year; in fact they are really the result of combinations made in his earliest youth. For they are not mere concatenations of abstract concepts, but the intuitive apprehension, peculiar to him, of the objective world and the nature of things. That this intuitive apprehension must have completed its work by the age mentioned depends partly on the fact that, by that time, the ectypes of all the (Platonic) Ideas have presented themselves to the man. Therefore, later on, no ectype is any longer able to appear with the strength of the first impression. To some extent also the highest energy of brain-activity is demanded for this quintessence of all knowledge, for these impressions of apprehension avant la lettre. [7] Such energy of brain-activity is conditioned by the freshness and flexibility of the brain's fibres, and the intensity with which the arterial blood flows to the brain. But this is at its strongest only so long as the arterial system has a decided predominance over the venous; it is already declining in the early thirties, until finally, after the forty-second year, the venous system obtains the upper hand, as has been admirably and instructively explained by Cabanis. Therefore the twenties and early thirties are for the intellect what May is for the trees; only at that time do the blossoms, of which all the later fruits are the development, begin to show. The world of perception has made its impression, and thus has laid the foundation of all the subsequent ideas of the individual. By reflection this individual can make clear to himself what has been apprehended; he can still acquire much knowledge as nourishment for the fruit that has once begun to show. He can enlarge his views, correct his concepts and judgements, and really become master of the material acquired only through endless combinations. In fact, he will often produce his best works much later, just as the greatest heat begins only when the days are already growing shorter. But he has no longer any hope of new original knowledge from the only living source of perception. Byron feels this when he breaks out into the exceedingly beautiful lament:

No more -- no more -- Oh! never more on me The freshness of the heart can fall like dew, Which out of all the lovely things we see Extracts emotions beautiful and new, Hived in our bosoms like the bag o' the bee: Think'st thou the honey with those objects grew? Alas! 'twas not in them, but in thy power To double even the sweetness of a flower. [7a]

By all that has been said so far, I hope I have placed in a clear light the important truth that, just as all abstract knowledge has sprung from knowledge of perception, so has it its whole value only through its relation to this knowledge of perception, and hence through the fact that its concepts, or their partial representations, can be realized, in other words proved through perceptions; likewise that the greater part depends on the quality of these perceptions. Concepts and abstractions that do not ultimately lead to perceptions are like paths in a wood that end without any way out. Concepts have their great use in the fact that by means of them the original material of knowledge can be more easily handled, surveyed, and arranged. But however many different logical and dialectical operations are possible with them, an entirely original and new knowledge will never result from them, in other words, knowledge whose material did not already lie in perception, or was drawn from self-consciousness. This is the true meaning of the doctrine ascribed to Aristotle: Nihil est in intellectu nisi quod antea fuerit in sensu. [8] It is likewise the sense of Locke's philosophy that made an epoch in philosophy for all time by finally starting the serious discussion of the question of the origin of our knowledge. In the main, it is also what is taught by the Critique of Pure Reason. Thus it also bids us not to remain at the concepts, but to go back to their origin, that is to perception; only with the true and important addition that what holds good of perception itself refers also to its subjective conditions, to the forms lying predisposed in the perceiving and thinking brain as its natural functions, although these functions precede, at any rate virtualiter, the actual sense-perception; in other words, they are a priori, and so do not depend on this sense-perception, but rather this perception depends on them. For these forms, in fact, have no other purpose or use than to produce empirical perception on the stimulation of the nerves of sense which occurs, just as from the material of this perception other forms are subsequently fixed for constructing ideas in the abstract. Therefore the Critique of Pure Reason is related to Locke's philosophy as the analysis of the infinite is to elementary geometry; it is, however, to be regarded in every way as the continuation of Locke's philosophy. Accordingly, the given material of every philosophy is no other than the empirical consciousness which is divided into the consciousness of one's self (self-consciousness) and the consciousness of other things (external perception); for this alone is the immediate, the actually given. Every philosophy which, instead of starting from this, takes as its starting-point arbitrarily chosen abstract concepts such as, for example, the absolute, absolute substance, God, infinite, finite, absolute identity, being, essence, and so on, floats in air without any support, and so can never lead to a real result. However, philosophers have at all times attempted it with such material; therefore even Kant at times, according to common usage, and more from custom than consistency, defines philosophy as a science of mere concepts. But such a science would really undertake to extract from mere partial representations (for this is what the abstractions are) what is not to be found in complete representations (the perceptions), from which the former are drawn off by omission. The possibility of syllogisms leads to this error, because here the construction of judgements gives a new result, although more apparent than real, since the syllogism only brings out what already lay in the given judgements, for the conclusion, of course, cannot contain more than the premisses. Concepts are naturally the material of philosophy, but only as marble is the material of the sculptor. Philosophy is not supposed to work out of concepts, but into them, in other words, to deposit its results in them, but not to start from them as that which is given. Whoever wants to have a really glaring example of such a wrong and perverse start from mere concepts should consider the Institutio Theologica of Proclus, to convince himself of the futility of the whole method. There abstractions like [x], (unum, multa, bonum, producens et productum, sibi sufjiciens, causa, melius, mobile, immobile, motum) [9] and so on, are raked up, but the perceptions to which alone they owe their origin and content are ignored and disregarded with an air of superiority. From those concepts a theology is then constructed, and here the goal, the [x], is kept concealed; thus the procedure is apparently quite impartial, as if the reader, as well as the author, did not know already on the first page where all this would end. I have previously quoted a fragment of this above. Actually this production of Proclus is specially appropriate for showing how utterly unsuitable and illusory such combinations of abstract concepts are, since we can make of them whatever we like, particularly if we make use of the ambiguity of many words, such as [x] (better), for example. If such an architect of concepts were present in person, we should need only to ask him naively where all the things are of which he has so much to tell us, and whence he knows the laws from which he draws his conclusions about them. He would then soon be compelled to refer to empirical perception, in which alone the real world exhibits itself, and from which those concepts are drawn. Then we would still have merely to ask why he did not quite honestly start from the given perception of such a world, where he could verify his assertions by it at every step, instead of operating with concepts, which are nevertheless drawn only from perception, and can therefore have no further validity than that which it imparts to them. But, of course, this is just his trick. Through such concepts, in which, by virtue of abstraction, what is inseparable is thought as separated, and what cannot be united as united, he goes far beyond the perception that was their origin, and thus beyond the limits of their applicability, to an entirely different world from the one that supplied the building material, and on this very account to a world of chimeras and phantasms. I have mentioned Proclus here, just because in him this method becomes particularly clear through the open audacity with which it is carried out. But even in Plato we find some examples of this kind, although less glaring ones; and in general the philosophical literature of all times affords a whole host of such instances. That of our own time abounds in them. Consider, for example, the writings of the school of Schelling, and see the constructions that are built up from such abstractions as finite and infinite -- being, non-being, other-being -- activity, hindrance, product -- determining, being determined, determinateness -- limit, limiting, being limited -- unity, plurality, multiplicity -- identity, diversity, indifference -- thinking, being, essence, and so on. Not only does all that we have said hold good of constructions out of such material, but because an infinite amount is thought through such wide abstractions, only extremely little can be thought in them; they are empty husks. But in this way the material of the whole of philosophizing becomes astonishingly poor and paltry; and from this results the unspeakable and tormenting tediousness characteristic of all such writings. If I were to call to mind the way in which Hegel and his companions have misused such wide and empty abstractions, I should necessarily be afraid that both the reader and I would be ill, for the most sickening and loathsome tediousness hangs over the empty bombast of this repulsive philosophaster.

That likewise in practical philosophy no wisdom is brought to light from mere abstract concepts is the one thing to be learnt from the moral discourses of the theologian Schleiermacher. With the delivery of these he has bored the Berlin Academy for a number of years; quite recently they have been printed and published in one volume. Only abstract concepts, such as duty, virtue, highest good, moral law, and so on, are taken as the starting-point without further introduction than that they commonly occur in moral systems, and are now treated as given realities. These are then discussed with great subtlety from all angles; but no attempt is ever made to go straight to the source of those concepts, to the thing itself, the actual life of man, to which alone those concepts refer, from which they should be drawn, and with which morality is really concerned. For this reason, these diatribes are just as unfruitful and useless as they are tedious, which is saying a great deal. Men like this theologian, who is only too fond of philosophizing, are found at all times, famous while they are alive, forgotten soon afterwards. On the other hand, I advise as to be preferred the reading of those whose fate has been the opposite of this, for time is short and valuable.

Now if, in accordance with all that has been said here, wide, abstract concepts, and in particular those that are not to be realized in any perception, can never be the source of knowledge, the starting-point or the proper material of philosophizing, nevertheless particular results of philosophy can occasionally so turn out that they can be thought merely in the abstract, but cannot be verified by any perception. Knowledge of this kind will, of course, be only half-knowledge; it indicates, so to speak, only the place where that which is to be known is found; this itself remains concealed. We should therefore be satisfied with such concepts only in the extreme case, and when we have reached the limit of the knowledge possible to our faculties. An example of this kind might possibly be the concept of an existence or being out of time, such as the proposition: The indestructibility of our true nature by death is not a continued existence of it. With concepts of this sort, the firm ground that supports the whole of our knowledge trembles, as it were. Therefore philosophizing may occasionally, and in case of necessity, extend to such knowledge, but it must never begin with it.

Operating with wide abstractions, which was censured above, to the entire neglect of knowledge of 'perception, from which they have been drawn, and which is therefore their permanent and natural controller, has at all times been the main source of the errors of dogmatic philosophizing. A science constructed from the mere comparison of concepts, that is, from universal principles, could be certain only if all its principles were synthetic a priori, as is the case with mathematics; for such principles alone admit of no exceptions. But if the principles have any empirical material, we must always keep this at hand, in order to control the universal principles. For no truths in any way drawn from experience are ever unconditionally certain. They have only an approximate universal validity, since here no rule is valid without exception. Now if I link such principles one with another by virtue of the intersection of their concept-spheres, one concept will easily touch another precisely where the exception lies. But if this has happened even only once in the course of a long chain of reasoning, the whole structure is tom from its foundation, and floats in air. For example, if I say: "Ruminants are without front incisors," and I apply this, and what follows from it, to camels, then everything becomes false, for it holds good only of homed ruminants. What Kant calls subtle argumentation (Vernunfteln) and so often condemns, is precisely what is here meant; for it consists simply in subsuming concepts under concepts without regard to their origin, and without examining the correctness and exclusiveness of such a subsumption. In this way we can arrive by a longer or shorter circuitous path at almost any result we like which we have fixed as our goal. Hence this subtle argumentation differs only in degree from sophistry proper. But sophistry in the theoretical is just what chicanery is in the practical. Yet even Plato has very frequently taken upon himself to use this subtle argumentation, and, as mentioned already, Proclus, after the manner of all imitators, carried this fault of his prototype much farther. Dionysius the Areopagite, De Divinis Nominibus, is also strongly affected with it. Even in the fragments of the Eleatic Melissus we find clear instances of such subtle argumentation (especially § § 2-5 in Brandis's Comment. Eleat.). His method with concepts resembles blows given for the sake of appearance, which never hit the mark; these concepts never touch the reality from which they have their content, but, floating in the atmosphere of abstract universality, pass lightly over it. A further real specimen of such subtle argumentation is the little book De Diis et Mundo of the philosopher Sallust, especially chaps. 7, 12, and 17. A real gem of philosophical subtle argumentation, passing into decided sophistication, is the following reasoning of the Platonist Maximus Tyrius, which I will quote, as it is short. "Every injustice is the taking away of a good thing; there is no good thing other than virtue. Virtue, however, cannot be taken away, therefore it is not possible for the virtuous to suffer injustice from the wicked. It remains either that no injustice at all can be suffered, or that the wicked endures it from the wicked. But the wicked person possesses no good at all, for only virtue is such a good; therefore no good can be taken from him. Thus he also cannot suffer any injustice; hence injustice is an impossible thing." The original, which through repetitions is less concise, runs as follows: [x] (Sermo 2). I will also add a modern example of such proof from abstract concepts, by which an obviously absurd proposition is set up as truth, and I take it from the works of a great man, namely Giordano Bruno. In his book Del Infinito, Universo e Mondi (p. 87 of the edition of A. Wagner) he makes an Aristotelian prove (with the aid and exaggeration of the passage of Aristotle's De Coelo, i, 5) that there can be no space beyond the world. Thus he says that the world is enclosed by the eight spheres of Aristotle, but that beyond these there cannot be any space; for if there were a body beyond these, this body would be either simple or compound. It is now sophistically proved, simply from principles that are begged, that no simple body can be there, and likewise no compound body, for that would necessarily consist of simple ones. Hence there is, in general, no body there; and so also no space. For space is defined as "that in which bodies can be"; but it has just been demonstrated that no bodies can be there. Therefore there is also no space there. This last is the master-stroke of that proof from abstract concepts. At bottom, it rests on the fact that the proposition: "Where no space is, there can be no bodies" is taken as a universal negative, and is accordingly simply converted: "Where no bodies can be, there is no space." But, closely considered, the former proposition is a universal affirmative, namely: "Everything spaceless is bodiless"; and so we may not convert it simply. But not every proof from abstract concepts, with a result obviously conflicting with perception (as in this case the finiteness of space), can be reduced to such a logical mistake. For what is sophistical does not always lie in the form, but often in the matter, in the premisses, and in the indefiniteness of the concepts and-of their range or extent. Numerous instances of this are found in Spinoza, whose method indeed it is to prove from concepts; see for example the pitiable sophisms in his Ethica, part iv, prop. 29-31, by means of the ambiguity of the vague and indefinite concepts convenire and commune habere. However, things like this do not prevent the Neo-Spinozists of our own day from taking all that he said for gospel. Of these the Hegelians, of whom there are actually still a few, are particularly amusing by their traditional reverence for his proposition omnis determinatio est negatio. At this, in accordance with the charlatan-spirit of the school, they put on a face as if it were able to shake the world to its foundations, whereas it cannot be of any use at all, since even the simplest person sees for himself that, if I limit anything by determinations, I exclude, and thus deny, in this way what lies beyond the limit.

Therefore, in all sophistical reasonings of this kind, it becomes very obvious what false paths are open to that algebra with mere concepts uncontrolled by any perception, and that consequently perception is for our intellect what the firm ground on which it stands is for our body. If we forsake perception, everything is instabilis tellus, innabilis unda. [10] Allowance will be made for the fulness of these explanations and examples, on account of their instructive nature. I wanted in this way to stress and demonstrate the great difference, indeed opposition, between knowledge of perception and abstract or reflected knowledge. Hitherto this difference has received too little attention, and its establishment is a fundamental feature of my philosophy; for many phenomena of our mental life can be explained only from this difference. The connecting link between these two such different kinds of knowledge forms the power of judgement, as I have explained in § 14 of volume one. It is true that this power of judgement is also active in the province of merely abstract knowledge, where it compares concepts only with concepts. Therefore every judgement, in the logical sense of this word, is certainly a work of the power of judgement, since here a narrower concept is always subsumed under a wider. Yet this activity of the power of judgement, where it merely compares concepts with one another, is one that is inferior to and easier than the activity by which it makes the transition from what is quite particular, thus perception, to what is essentially universal, thus the concept. Thus, as it must be possible, by analysing the concepts into their essential predicates, to decide their consistency or inconsistency in a purely logical way, for which the mere faculty of reason inherent in everyone is sufficient, so here the power of judgement is active only in shortening that process, since the person gifted with it surveys rapidly what others bring out only through a series of reflections. But its activity in the narrower sense certainly appears only where the perceptively known, and thus the real, experience is to be carried over into distinct abstract knowledge, subsumed under exactly corresponding concepts, and thus deposited in reflected rational knowledge. It is therefore this faculty which has to lay down the firm foundations of all the sciences which consist always in what is immediately known and what is not to be further derived. Here, therefore, in the fundamental judgements lies also the difficulty of the sciences, not in the inferences from them. To infer is easy, to judge difficult. False inferences are a rarity; false judgements are always the order of the day. No less in practical life has the power of judgement to turn the scale in the case of all fundamental decisions and principal determinations; for in the main, its work is like the judicial sentence. Just as the burning-glass focuses the sun's rays at one point, so with the activity of the power of judgement the intellect must bring all the data it has on a matter so close together, that it grasps them at a glance, which it correctly fixes, and then makes the result clear to itself with thoughtfulness and discernment. Moreover, the great difficulty of the judgement depends in most cases on the fact that we have to pass from the consequent to the ground or reason, and this path is always uncertain; indeed, I have shown that here lies the source of all error. Yet in all the empirical sciences, as also in the affairs of real life, this path is often the only one open to us. The experiment is an attempt to go over the path in the reverse direction; it is therefore decisive, and at any rate brings the error to light, always assuming that it is correctly chosen and honestly carried out, not as were Newton's experiments on the theory of colours. But again, even the experiment must be judged and reviewed. The complete certainty of the a priori sciences, logic and mathematics, depends mainly on the fact that in them the path from ground to consequent is open to us, and is always certain. This endows them with the character of purely objective sciences, in other words, of sciences about whose truths all must judge in common, when they understand them. This is all the more surprising, as it is precisely these that rest on the subjective forms of the intellect, whereas the empirical sciences alone have to do with what is palpably objective.

Wit and discernment are also manifestations of the power of judgement; in the former it is reflecting, in the latter subsuming. With most people, the power of judgement is present only nominally. It is a kind of irony that this power is numbered among the normal faculties of the mind, instead of being ascribed only to the monstra per excessum. [11] Ordinary minds show, even in the smallest affairs, a want of confidence in their own judgement, just because they know from experience that it is of no use to them. With them prejudice and following the judgement of others take its place. In this way they are kept in a state of permanent nonage, from which scarcely one in many hundreds is emancipated. Naturally this is not avowed, for even to themselves they seem to judge; yet all the time they are casting a furtive glance at the opinion of others, which remains their secret point of direction. While any of them would be ashamed to go about in a borrowed coat, hat, or cloak, none of them has anything but borrowed opinions which they eagerly scrape up wherever they can get possession of them; and then they proudly strut around with them, giving them out as their own. Others in turn borrow these opinions from them, and do just the same thing with them. This explains the rapid and wide dissemination of errors, as well as the fame of what is bad. For the professional purveyors of opinion, such as journalists and the like, as a rule give out only false goods, just as those who hire out fancy dresses give only false jewellery. [90] The World As Will and Representation.



1. This chapter is connected with § 12 of volume 1.

2. "The style is the man himself." [Tr.]

3. "None are so prone to make mistakes as those who act only on reflection." [Tr.]

4. "Par excellence." [Tr.]

4a. As You Like It, Act iv, Sc. i. [Tr.]

4b. Dunciad, iii, 194. [Tr.]

5. "Against the will of Minerva [i.e., despite its inclination]." [Tr.]

6. "A smattering of many things does not form the mind." [Tr.]

7. Impressions "avant la lettre" are in copper-engraving the first fresh impressions taken before the insertion of the signature. [Tr.]

7a. Don Juan, I, 214 [Tr.]

8. "There is nothing in the intellect that was not previously in sense-perception." [Tr.]

9. "One, plurality, good, producer and product, self-sufficing, cause, better, mobile, immobile, moved," are abstractions with which Proclus operates in the Institutio Theologica. [Tr.]

10. "Land on which we cannot stand, water in which we cannot swim" (Ovid, Metamorphoses, I, 16). [Tr.]

11. "Phenomena that are monstrous through excess." [Tr.]
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Re: The World As Will and Representation, by Arthur Schopenh

Postby admin » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:24 pm

CHAPTER VIII: On the Theory of the Ludicrous [1]

My theory of the ludicrous also depends on the contrast, which I have explained in the preceding chapters and so forcibly stressed, between representations of perception and abstract representations. Therefore what is still to be said in explanation of this theory finds its place here, although, in accordance with the arrangement of the text, it should follow only later.

The problem of the origin, everywhere identical, and at the same time of the real significance of laughter was already recognized by Cicero, but was at once given up as insoluble (De Oratore, II, 58). The oldest attempt I am aware of at a psychological explanation of laughter is to be found in Hutcheson's Introduction into Moral Philosophy, Bk. I, ch. 1, § 14. A somewhat later anonymous work, Traite des causes physiques et morales du rire, 1768, is not without merit as a ventilation of the subject. Platner in his Anthropology, § 894, has collected the opinions of the philosophers from Home to Kant who attempt an explanation of that phenomenon peculiar to human nature. Kant's and Jean-Paul's theories of the ludicrous are well known. I regard it as superfluous to demonstrate their incorrectness, for anyone who attempts to refer given cases of the ludicrous to them will be at once convinced of their inadequacy in the great majority of instances.

According to my explanation, put forward in volume one, the origin of the ludicrous is always the paradoxical, and thus unexpected, subsumption of an object under a concept that is in other respects heterogeneous to it. Accordingly, the phenomenon of laughter always signifies the sudden apprehension of an incongruity between such a concept and the real object thought through it, and hence between what is abstract and what is perceptive. The greater and more unexpected this incongruity in the apprehension of the person laughing, the more violent will be his laughter. Accordingly, in everything that excites laughter it must always be possible to show a concept and a particular, that is to say, a thing or an event, which can of course be subsumed under that concept, and thus be thought through it, yet which in another and predominating respect does not belong under it at all, but differs strikingly from everything else thought through that concept. If, as is often the case especially with witticisms, instead of such a real object of perception, a species-concept appears that is subordinate to the higher or genus-concept, it will nevertheless excite laughter merely by the fact that the imagination realizes it, in other words, makes a representative of perception stand for it; and thus the conflict takes place between the conceived and the perceived. In fact, if we want to know the thing absolutely explicitly, we can refer everything ludicrous to a syllogism in the first figure, with an undisputed major and an unexpected minor maintained, to a certain extent, only by chicanery; and it is in consequence of this combination that the conclusion has the quality of the ludicrous.

In volume one I regarded it as superfluous to illustrate this theory by examples, as everyone can easily do this for himself by reflecting a little on the cases of the ludicrous which he calls to mind. However, to come to the aid of the mental inertness of those readers who always prefer to remain in a passive state, I will meet their wishes here. Indeed, in this third edition I will add more examples, so that there will be no question that here, after so many fruitless attempts, the true theory of the ludicrous is given, and the problem propounded but given up by Cicero definitely solved.

Bearing in mind that for an angle two lines meeting each other are required which when produced intersect each other; that the tangent, on the other hand, touches the circle only at one point, but at this point really runs parallel to it; and if we thus have present in our mind the abstract conviction of the impossibility of an angle between the circumference of a circle and the tangent, but yet have such an angle visibly before us on paper, all this will easily make us smile. In this case, of course, the ludicrous is extremely feeble; on the other hand, the origin of the ludicrous from the incongruity of the conceived with the perceived appears in it with unusual distinctness. According as we pass, when discovering such an incongruity, from the real, i.e., the perceptive, to the concept, or conversely from the concept to the real, the ludicrous that thus results is either a witticism or an absurdity, and in the higher degree, especially in the practical sphere, a folly, as was explained in the text. To consider examples of the first case, that is, of wit, we will first of all take the well-known anecdote of the Gascon at whom the king laughed on seeing him in the depth of winter in light summer clothes, and who said to the king: "If your Majesty had put on what I have put on, you would find it very warm"; then to the question what he had put on, replied: "My whole wardrobe." Under this latter concept is to be thought the immense wardrobe of a king as well as the single summer jacket of a poor devil, the sight of which on his freezing body appears very incongruous with the concept. The audience at a theatre in Paris once asked for the Marseillaise to be played, and as this was not done, they began shrieking and howling, so that in the end a police commissioner in uniform came on to the stage, and explained that for anything to be done in the theatre other than what appeared on the play-bill was not allowed. A voice then shouted: Et vous, Monsieur, etes-vous aussi sur l'affiche? [2] a hit that raised universal laughter. For here the subsumption of the heterogeneous is immediately distinct and unforced. The epigram:

"Bav is the true shepherd of whom the Bible spake:
If his flock be asleep, he alone remains awake,"

subsumes under the concept of a shepherd watching over his sleeping flock, the tedious preacher who has sent his whole congregation to sleep, and then goes on bellowing without being heard. Analogous to this is the epitaph of a physician: "Here like a hero he lies, and those he has slain lie around him": this subsumes under the concept "lying surrounded by the slain," which is honourable to the hero, the physician who is supposed to preserve life. Very frequently the witticism consists in a single expression, through which only the concept is stated under which the case before us can be subsumed, but which is very different from everything else thought under it. Thus in Romeo, the vivacious Mercutio, mortally wounded but a moment previously, answers his' friends who promise to visit him the next day: "Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man." Under this concept a dead man is here subsumed; but in addition, there is in English a pun, for "a grave man" means both a serious man and a man of the grave. Of this kind is also the anecdote of the actor Unzelmann. After he had been strictly forbidden to improvise at all in the Berlin theatre, he had to appear on the stage on horseback. Just as he came on the stage, the horse dunged, and at this the audience were moved to laughter, but they laughed much more when Unzelmann said to the horse: "What are you doing? don't you know that we are forbidden to improvise?" Here the subsumption of the heterogeneous under the more general concept is very distinct, and so the witticism is exceedingly striking, and the ludicrous effect obtained extremely powerful. Further, to this class belongs a newspaper report from Hall of March 1851: "The band of Jewish swindlers which we have mentioned, was again delivered up to us with obbligato accompaniment." This subsuming of a police escort under a musical expression is very happy, although it approaches the mere play on words. On the other hand, it is exactly a case of the kind we are here considering when Saphir, in a pen-and-ink war with the actor Angeli, describes him as "Angeli, equally great in mind and in body." By reason of the actor's diminutive stature, well known to the town, the unusually small is presented in perception under the concept "great." So too, when the same Saphir calls the airs of a new opera "good old friends," and so brings under a concept used in other cases to praise, the very quality most to be condemned. Also, if we were to say of a lady, on whose favour presents would have an influence, that she knew how to combine the utile with the dulci. In this way we bring what is morally base under the concept of the rule that is commended by Horace in an aesthetic context. Likewise if, to signify a brothel, we were perhaps to describe it as a "modest abode of peaceful pleasures." Good society, in order to be thoroughly insipid, has banned all decided utterances, and therefore all strong expressions. To denote things that are scandalous or in any way shocking, it is in the habit of getting over the difficulty by expressing them in moderation by means of universal concepts. But in this way what is more or less heterogeneous to these is subsumed under them, and thus in a corresponding degree the effect of the ludicrous is produced. To this class belong the utile dulci mentioned above; also expressions such as "He has had unpleasantnesses at the ball," when he was thrashed and kicked out; or "He has done somewhat too well," when he is the worse for drink; also "The woman is said to have weak moments," when she is unfaithful to her husband, and so on. To this class also belong equivocations, namely concepts which in and by themselves contain nothing improper, yet the actual case brought under them leads to an improper conception. These are very frequent in society. But a perfect specimen of a sustained and magnificent equivocation is Shenstone's incomparable epitaph on a justice of the peace, which in its high-sounding lapidary style appears to speak of noble and sublime things, whereas under each of their concepts something quite different is to be subsumed, which appears only in the last word of all as the unexpected key to the whole, and the reader discovers with loud laughter that he has read merely a very obscene equivocation. In this smooth-combed age it is quite inadmissible to quote it here, much less to translate it. It is found in Shenstone's poetical works under the title "Inscription." Occasionally equivocations pass into mere puns, about which all that is necessary has been said in the text.

The subsumption, underlying everything ludicrous, of what is heterogeneous in one respect under a concept in other respects appropriate to it, may also take place contrary to our intention. For example, one of the free Negroes in North America, who endeavour to imitate the whites in all respects, recently placed an epitaph over his dead child, which begins: "Lovely, early broken lily." On the other hand, if with deliberate intention something real and perceptible is brought directly under the concept of its opposite, the result is plain, common irony. For example, if during heavy rain we say: "It is pleasant weather today"; or, of an ugly bride it is said: "He has found himself a lovely treasure"; or of a rogue: "This man of honour," and so on. Only children and people without any education will laugh at anything of this kind; for here the incongruity between the conceived and the perceived is total. Yet precisely in this deliberate exaggeration in the achievement of the ludicrous does its fundamental character, namely the aforesaid incongruity, appear very distinctly. This species of the ludicrous is, on account of the exaggeration and distinct intention, in some respects akin to the parody. The method of this consists in substituting for the incidents and words of a serious poem or drama insignificant, inferior persons, or petty motives and actions. It therefore subsumes the plain realities it sets forth under the lofty concepts given in the theme, under which in a certain respect they must now fit, whereas in other respects they are very incongruous therewith. In this way the contrast between the perceived and the conceived appears very glaring. There is no lack of well-known examples of this, and so I quote only one from the Zobeide of Carlo Gozzi, Act 4, Scene 3, where the famous stanza of Ariosto (Orlando Furioso, i, 22), Oh gran bonta de' cavalieri antichi, etc., [3] is put word for word into the mouths of two clowns who have just been thrashing each other, and then, tired of this, lie quietly side by side. This is also the nature of the application, so popular in Germany, of serious verses, especially Schiller's, to trivial incidents, which obviously contains a subsumption of the heterogeneous under the universal concept expressed by the verse. Thus, for example, when anyone has displayed a really characteristic trait, someone will rarely be wanting who will say: "By that I know my man." But it was original and very witty of a man, who was fond of the bride, to address to a newly married couple (I know not how loudly) the concluding words of Schiller's ballad, The Surety:

"Let me be, I pray you,
In your bond the third."

Here the effect of the ludicrous is strong and inevitable, because under the concepts by which Schiller enables us to think of a morally noble relation, a forbidden and immoral relation is subsumed, yet correctly and without change, and is thus thought through it. In all the examples of wit here mentioned, we find that under a concept, or generally an abstract thought, a real thing is subsumed directly, or by means of a narrower concept; and strictly speaking, of course, this real thing belongs under it, yet is vastly different from the proper and original intention and tendency of the thought. Accordingly, wit as a mental faculty consists entirely in the facility for finding for every object that presents itself a concept under which it can certainly be thought, although it is very different from all the other objects that come under that concept.

The second species of the ludicrous, as we have mentioned, goes in the opposite direction, namely from the abstract concept to the real thing of perception that is thought through this concept. But this real thing now brings to light any incongruity with the concept which was overlooked; and in this way there arises an absurdity, and consequently in practice a foolish action. As the play requires action, this species of the ludicrous is essential to comedy. On this rests Voltaire's remark: J'ai cru remarquer aux spectacles qu'il ne s'eleve presque jamais de ces eclats de rire universels, qu'a l'occasion d'une MEPRISE. (Preface to L'Enfant prodigue.) [4] The following can be considered as examples of this species of the ludicrous. When someone had stated that he was fond of walking alone, an Austrian said to him: "You like to walk alone; so do I; then we can walk together." He starts from the concept "A pleasure which two people like can be enjoyed by them in common," and he subsumes under this the very case that excludes community. Again, the servant who rubs the worn sealskin in his master's box with Macassar oil, so that it may be covered with hair again. Here he starts from the concept "Macassar oil makes hair grow." The soldiers in the guardroom who let a prisoner, just brought in, take part in their game of cards, but because he cheats, a dispute occurs, and they throw him out. They allow themselves to be guided by the general concept "Bad companions are turned out," but forget that he is at the same time under arrest, i.e., a man whom they ought to keep in custody. Two young peasants had loaded their gun with coarse shot which they wished to extract, in order to substitute fine shot for it, but without losing the powder. One of them put the mouth of the barrel into his hat, which he then took between his legs, and said to the other: "Now press the trigger quite gently, gently, gently, and then the shot will come first." He starts from the concept "Retarding the cause produces a retardation of the effect." Further, most of the actions of Don Quixote are illustrations, for he subsumes under concepts drawn from the romances of chivalry the realities he encounters, which are very different from such romances. For example, to protect the oppressed he frees the galley-slaves. Properly speaking, all Baron Munchhausen's tales also belong here, only they are not foolish actions performed, but impossible actions palmed off on the hearer as having actually happened. In them the fact is always grasped so that when thought merely in the abstract, and thus comparatively a priori, it appears possible and plausible. But if we afterwards come down to the perception of the individual case, and thus a posteriori, the impossibility of the thing, in fact the absurdity of the assumption, is brought into prominence, and excites laughter through the obvious incongruity between the perceived and the conceived. For example, when the melodies frozen in the postilion's horn thaw out in the warm room; when Munchhausen, sitting on a tree during a hard frost, draws up his knife that has fallen to the ground on the freezing water-jet of his own urine, and so on. Of this kind also is the story of the two lions who during the night break through the partition between them, and devour each other in their rage, so that nothing is found in the morning but their two tails.

There are still cases of the ludicrous where the concept under which the thing of perception is brought need not be either expressed or alluded to, but comes into consciousness of itself by virtue of the association of ideas. There is the case of the laughter into which Garrick burst in the middle of playing a tragedy, because a butcher, standing in front of the pit, had put his wig for a while on his large dog, so as to wipe the sweat from his own head. The dog was supported by his fore-feet on the pit railings, and was looking towards the stage. This laughter was occasioned by the fact that Garrick started from the concept of a spectator, which was added in his own mind. This is just the reason why certain animal forms, such as apes, kangaroos, jumping hares, and the like, sometimes appear ludicrous, because something in them resembling man causes us to subsume them under the concept of the human form, and, starting from this concept, we perceive their incongruity with it.

Now the concepts whose evident incongruity with perception moves us to laughter are either those of another, or they are our own. In the first case, we laugh at the other person; in the second case, we feel a" surprise, often agreeable, or at any rate amusing. Therefore children and uneducated people laugh at the most trifling things, even at untoward events, if they were unexpected, and thus found their preconceived notion guilty of error. As a rule, laughing is a pleasant state; accordingly, the apprehension of the incongruity between what is conceived and what is perceived, i.e., reality, gives us pleasure, and we gladly give ourselves up to the spasmodic convulsion excited by this apprehension. The reason for this is the following. In the case of that suddenly appearing contrast between the perceived and the conceived, the perceived is always undoubtedly in the right, for it is in no way subject to error, and needs no confirmation from outside, but is its own advocate. Its conflict with what is thought springs ultimately from the fact that the latter, with its abstract concepts, cannot come down to the infinite multifariousness and fine shades of what is perceived. This triumph of knowledge of perception over thought gives us pleasure. For perception is the original kind of knowledge, inseparable from animal nature, in which everything that gives immediate satisfaction to the will presents itself. It is the medium of the present, of enjoyment and cheerfulness; moreover it is not associated with any exertion. With thinking the opposite holds good; it is the second power of knowledge, whose exercise always requires some, often considerable, exertion; and it is the concepts of thinking that are so often opposed to the satisfaction of our immediate desires, since, as the medium of the past, of the future, and of what is serious, they act as the vehicle of our fears, our regrets, and all our cares. It must therefore be delightful for us to see this strict, untiring, and most troublesome governess, our faculty of reason, for once convicted of inadequacy. Therefore on this account the mien or appearance of laughter is very closely related to that of joy.

Because of the lack of the faculty of reason, and thus of the lack of universal concepts, the animal is incapable of laughter as well as of speech. Laughter is therefore a prerogative and characteristic of man. Incidentally, his sole friend, the dog, also has an analogous and characteristic action peculiar to him alone, and as an advantage over all other animals, namely fawning and tail-wagging, which are so expressive, so kindly disposed, and thoroughly honest. Yet how favourably does this salutation, given to him by nature, contrast with the bows and simpering civilities of men! At any rate for the present, it is a thousand times more reliable than their assurance (\f close friendship and devotion.

The opposite of laughter and joking is seriousness. This, accordingly, consists in the consciousness of the perfect agreement and congruity of the concept, or the idea, with what is perceptive, with reality. The serious person is convinced that he conceives things as they are, and that they are as he conceives them. This is just why the transition from profound seriousness to laughter is particularly easy, and can be brought about by trifles. For the more perfect that agreement, assumed by seriousness, appears to be, the more easily is it abolished, even by a trifling incongruity unexpectedly coming to light. Therefore the more capable of complete seriousness a person is, the more heartily can he laugh. Persons whose laughter is always affected and forced are intellectually and morally of little worth, just as generally the way of laughing, and, on the other hand, the occasion of it, are very characteristic of the person. The relations of the sexes afford the readiest material for jokes always to hand and accessible even to the feeblest wit, as is shown by the frequency of obscene jests; this would be impossible if the deepest seriousness did not lie at their very root.

That the laughter of others at what we do or seriously say offends us so easily, is due to its asserting that there is a very great incongruity between our concepts and objective reality. For the same reason, the predicate "ludicrous," "ridiculous," is offensive and insulting. The real scornful laugh shouts triumphantly to the baffled adversary how incongruous were the concepts he cherished with the reality that now reveals itself to him. Our own bitter laughter when the terrible truth by which firmly cherished expectations are shown to be delusive reveals itself to us, is the vivid expression of the discovery now made of the incongruity between the thoughts entertained by us in our foolish confidence in men or in fate, and the reality unveiled.

The intentionally ludicrous is the joke. This is the effort to bring about a discrepancy between another's concepts and reality by displacing one of the two; whereas its opposite, seriousness, consists in the exact suitability of the two to each other which is at any rate striven after. If the joke is concealed behind seriousness, the result is irony. For example, when, in apparent seriousness, we assent to the opinions of another which are the opposite of our own, and pretend to share them with him, till at last the result confuses him as regards both us and them. This was the attitude of Socrates to Hippias, Protagoras, Gorgias, and other sophists, and to his collocutors generally. Accordingly, the opposite of irony would be the seriousness concealed behind a joke, and this is humour. It might be called the double counterpoint of irony. Explanations such as "Humour is the interpenetration of the finite and the infinite" express nothing but the total incapacity for thinking on the part of those who find satisfaction in such empty phrases. Irony is objective, and so is aimed at another; but humour is subjective, and thus exists primarily only for one's own self. Accordingly, we find the masterpieces of irony among the ancients, of humour among the modems. For, more closely considered, humour depends on a subjective yet serious and sublime mood, involuntarily coming in conflict with a common external world very different from it. It cannot avoid or abandon itself to this world; hence, for a reconciliation, it attempts to think its own view and this external world through the same concepts, which in this way take on a double incongruity, now on one side now on the other, with the real thing thought through them. In this way the impression of the intentionally ludicrous, and thus of the joke, arises, yet behind this the deepest seriousness is concealed and shines through. Irony begins with a serious air and ends with a smile; with humour it is the reverse. The above-quoted expression of Mercutio may be regarded as an example of this. Similarly in Hamlet [Act II, Sc. 2]: Polonius: "My honourable lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you. Hamlet: You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will more willingly part withal, except my life, except my life, except my life." Again, before the performance of the play at court, Hamlet says to Ophelia [Act III, Sc. 2]: "What should a man do but be merry? For, look you, how cheerfully my mother looks, and my father died within these two hours. Ophelia: Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord. Hamlet: So long? Nay, then let the devil wear black, for I'll have a suit of sables." Again, in Jean-Paut's Titan, when Schoppe, who has become melancholy and is brooding over himself, frequently looks at his hands and says to himself: "There sits a lord in the flesh, and I in him; but who is such?" Heinrich Heine appears as a real humorist in his Romancero; behind all his jokes and farces we discern a deep seriousness that is ashamed to appear unveiled. Accordingly, humour depends on a special kind of mood or frame of mind (the German Laune is probably from Luna), through which concept, in all its modifications, a decided predominance of the subjective over the objective is thought in the apprehension of the external world. Moreover, every poetical or artistic presentation of a comic, or even a farcical scene, through which a serious thought yet gleams as its concealed background, is a product of humour, and thus is humorous. Such, for example, is a coloured drawing of Tischbein's, depicting an entirely empty room that obtains its illumination only from the fire blazing in the grate. Before the fire stands a man with his coat off, so that the shadow of his person starting from his feet stretches across the whole room. Tischbein commented thus: "This is a man who did not want to succeed in anything in the world, and made nothing of life; now he is glad that he can cast such a large shadow." If I were to express the seriousness concealed behind this jest, I could best do so by the following verse taken from the Persian poem of Anwari Soheili:

"If you have lost possession of a world,
Be not distressed, for it is nought;
And have you gained possession of a world,
Be not o'erjoyed, for it is nought.
Our pains, our gains all pass away;
Get beyond the world, for it is nought."

That at the present day "humorous" is generally used in German literature in the sense of "comic," arises from the miserable mania for giving things a more distinguished name than belongs to them, and hence the name of a class standing above them. Thus every public-house is called a hotel, every money-changer a banker, every trouper's stall a circus, every concert a musical academy, the merchant's counting-house a bureau, the potter an artist in clay, [5] and so also every clown a humorist. The word humour is borrowed from the English, in order to single out and denote a quite peculiar species of the ludicrous which, as was shown above, is even akin to the sublime, and was first observed by them. But it is not meant to be used as a title for any jest and buffoonery, as is now done universally in Germany without opposition from men of letters and scholars. For the true concept of that variety, of that mental tendency, of that child of the ludicrous and sublime, would be too subtle and too elevated for their public, to please whom they endeavour to make everything flat and vulgar. Well, "high words and low meaning" is generally the motto of the noble "nowadays." [6] Accordingly, what was formerly called a clown is today called a humorist.



1. This chapter refers to § 15 of volume 1.

2. From Schiller's Die Philosophen. [Tr.]

3. "Let no one enter who has not studied geometry." [Tr.]

4. "His own experience had convinced him of the small utility of mathematics, especially when it is pursued merely for its own sake.... Nothing seemed to him more pointless than to be occupied with mere numbers and imaginary figures." [Tr.]
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Re: The World As Will and Representation, by Arthur Schopenh

Postby admin » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:25 pm

CHAPTER IX: On Logic in General [1]

Logic, dialectic, and rhetoric belong together, since they make up the whole of a technique of reason. Under this title they should also be taught together, logic as the technique of our own thinking, dialectic as that of disputing with others, and rhetoric as that of speaking to many (concionatio); thus corresponding to the singular, dual, and plural, also to the monologue, dialogue, and panegyric.

By dialectic I understand, in agreement with Aristotle (Metaphysics, iii, 2, and Analytica Posteriora, i, 11), the art of conversation directed to the common investigation of truth, especially philosophical truth. But a conversation of this kind necessarily passes, more or less, into controversy; therefore dialectic can also be explained as the art of disputation. We have examples and models of dialectic in the Platonic dialogues; but hitherto very little has been done for the real and proper theory of it, that is for the technique of disputation, namely eristic. I have worked out an attempt of the kind, and furnished a specimen of it in volume 2 of the Parerga and Paralipomena. I will therefore entirely omit the discussion of this science.

The rhetorical figures are in rhetoric roughly what the syllogistic figures are in logic; in any case they are worth considering. In Aristotle's time they do not appear to have been an object of theoretical investigation, for he does not discuss them in any of his Rhetorics, and in this regard we are referred to Rutilius Lupus, the epitomizer of a later Gorgias.

All three sciences have in common the fact that we follow their rules without having learnt them; indeed these rules themselves are first abstracted from this natural practice. Therefore, in spite of much theoretical interest, they have but little practical use, partly because they give the rule indeed, but not the case of application; partly because in practice there is usually no time to recall the rules. They therefore teach only what everyone already knows and practises of himself; yet the abstract knowledge of this is interesting and important. Logic will not readily have any practical use, at any rate for our thinking; for the faults of our reasoning hardly ever lie in the conclusions or otherwise in the form, but in the judgements, and hence in the matter of thinking. On the other hand, in controversy we can occasionally derive some practical use from logic, by reducing to the strict form of regular syllogisms the opponent's argument which is deceptive from distinctly or vaguely conscious intention, and which he advances under the embellishment and cover of continuous speech. We then point out to him logical mistakes, e.g., simple conversion of universally affirmative judgements, syllogisms with four terms, conclusions from the consequent to the ground, syllogisms in the second figure from merely affirmative premisses, and many such cases.

It seems to me that the doctrine of the laws of thought could be simplified by our setting up only two of them, namely the law of the excluded middle, and that of sufficient reason or ground. The first law thus: "Any predicate can be either attributed to or denied of every subject." Here already in the "either, or" is the fact that both cannot occur simultaneously, and consequently the very thing expressed by the laws of identity and of contradiction. Therefore these laws would be added as corollaries of that principle, which really states that any two concept-spheres are to be thought as either united or separated, but never as both simultaneously; consequently, that where words are joined together which express the latter, such words state a process of thought that is not feasible. The awareness of this want of feasibility is the feeling of contradiction. The second law of thought, the principle of sufficient reason, would state that the above attribution or denial must be determined by something different from the judgement itself, which may be a (pure or empirical) perception, or merely another judgement. This other and different thing is then called the ground or reason of the judgement. In so far as a judgement satisfies the first law of thought, it is thinkable; in so far as it satisfies the second, it is true, at any rate logically or formally true, namely when the ground of the judgement is itself in turn only a judgement. But material or absolute truth is ultimately always only the relation between a judgement and a perception, hence between the abstract representation and the representation of perception. This relation is either an immediate one, or is brought about by means of other judgements, in other words through other abstract representations. Accordingly, it is easy to see that one truth can never overthrow another, but all must ultimately be in agreement, since in the perceptible, which is their common foundation, no contradiction is possible. Therefore no truth has anything to fear from other truths. Deception and error, on the contrary, have to fear every truth, because, through the logical concatenation of all truths, even the most remote is bound at some time to transmit its blow to every error. Accordingly this second law of thought is the point of contact between logic and that which is no longer logic, but the material of thinking. Consequently, on the side of the object, truth, and on the side of the subject, knowledge, consists in the agreement of the concepts, and thus of the abstract representation, with what is given in the representation of perception.

To express the above union or separation of two concept-spheres is the business of the copula, "is -- is not." Through this every verb is expressible by means of its participle. Therefore all judging consists in the use of a verb, and vice versa. Accordingly, the significance of the copula is that in the subject the predicate is to be thought at the same time -- nothing more. Now let us consider what the content of the infinitive of the copula "to be" amounts to. This is a principal theme of the professors of philosophy of the present time; yet we must not be too strict with them. Most of them do not want to express by it anything but material things, the corporeal world, to which they, as perfectly innocent realists, at the bottom of their hearts attribute the utmost reality. But to speak of bodies so unceremoniously seems to them too vulgar; they therefore say "being," which sounds more elegant and dignified, and here they picture to themselves the tables and chairs in front of them.

"For, because, why, therefore, thus, as, since, although, indeed, yet, but, if, either-or," and more like these, are really logical particles, their sole purpose being to express what is formal in the thought-processes. They are therefore a valuable possession of a language, and do not belong to all languages in equal number. In particular "zwar" (the contracted "es ist wahr") seems to belong exclusively to German; it always refers to an "aber" that follows or is added in thought, just as "if" refers to "then."

The logical rule that judgements, singular as regards quantity, and hence judgements having as their subject a singular concept (notio singularis), are to be treated just like universal judgements, depends on the fact that they are actually universal judgements, having merely the peculiarity that their subject is a concept which can be supported only by a single real object, and which therefore contains under itself only a single thing; thus when the concept is denoted by a proper name. This is really to be taken into consideration, however, only when we go from the abstract representation to the representation of perception, and thus when we wish to realize the concepts. In thinking itself, in operating with judgements, no difference results from this, just because there is no logical difference between single concepts and universal concepts. "Immanuel Kant" signifies logically "every Immanuel Kant." Accordingly, the quantity of judgements is really only twofold, namely universal and particular. An individual representation cannot be in any way the subject of a judgement, because it is not an abstraction, is not something thought, but something of perception. Every concept, on the other hand, is essentially universal, and every judgement must have a concept as its subject.

The difference between particular judgements (propositiones particulares) and universal judgements often rests only on the external and accidental circumstance that the language has no word to express by itself the part of the universal concept here to be detached, which is the subject of such a judgement. If it had, many a particular judgement would be a universal one. For example, the particular judgement: "Some trees bear gall-nuts" becomes the universal, because for this detached part of the concept "tree" we have a special word: "All oaks bear gall-nuts." The judgement: "Some persons are black" is related in just the same way to the judgement: "All Negroes are black." Or else this difference depends on the fact that, in the mind of the person judging, the concept he makes the subject of the particular judgement has not been clearly detached from the general concept, as a part of which he denotes it; otherwise, instead of the particular judgement, he would be able to express a universal judgement. For example, instead of the judgement: "Some ruminants have upper incisors," this judgement: "All ruminants without horns have upper incisors."

The hypothetical and disjunctive judgements are statements about the relation to each other of two (in the case of the disjunctive even several) categorical judgements. The hypothetical judgement states that the truth of the second of the two categorical judgements here linked together depends on the truth of the first, and that the falsity of the first depends on the falsity of the second; hence that these two propositions are in direct alliance with regard to truth and falsity. The disjunctive judgement, on the other hand, states that on the truth of one of the categorical judgements here linked together depends the falsity of the remainder, and vice versa; hence that these propositions are in conflict with regard to truth and falsity. The question is a judgement, and of the three parts of this one is left open; thus either the copula: "Is Caius a Roman -- or not?" or the predicate: "Is Caius a Roman -- or something else?" or the subject: "Is Caius a Roman -- or is someone else a Roman?" The place of the concept left open may also remain quite empty; for example, "What is Caius?" -- "Who is a Roman?"

The [x], inductio, is with Aristotle the opposite of the [x] . The latter proves a proposition to be false by showing that what would follow from it is not true; that is, by the instantia in contrarium. The [x] , on the other hand, proves the truth of a proposition by showing that what would follow from it is true. Accordingly, it urges one through examples to an acceptance; the [x] likewise urges one away from an acceptance. Therefore the [x] , or induction, is an inference from the consequents to the ground, and in fact modo ponente; for out of many cases it establishes the rule from which these are again the consequents. On this very account it is never perfectly certain, but at most attains a high degree of probability. But this formal uncertainty can, through the large number of the enumerated consequents, make room for a material certainty, in a similar way as in mathematics irrational relations are brought infinitely near to rationality by means of decimal fractions. The [x], on the other hand, is primarily the conclusion or inference from the ground to the consequents, yet subsequently it proceeds modo tollente, since it proves the non-existence of a necessary consequent, and thereby abolishes the truth of the assumed ground or reason. Precisely on this account it is always perfectly certain, and through a single, certain example in contrarium, achieves more than the induction does through innumerable examples in favour of the proposition laid down. It is so very much easier to refute than to prove, to overthrow than to set up.



1. This chapter, together with the following, refers to § 9 of volume 1.
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Re: The World As Will and Representation, by Arthur Schopenh

Postby admin » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:28 pm

CHAPTER X: On the Science of Syllogisms

Although it is very difficult to establish a new, correct, and fundamental view of a subject that has been handled by innumerable writers for more than two thousand years, one moreover that does not receive any additions through experience, this will not prevent me from presenting to the thinker for examination the following attempt at such a view.

An inference or conclusion is the operation of our faculty of reason by virtue of which, through the comparison of two judgements, a third judgement arises without the assistance of any knowledge obtained from elsewhere. The condition for this is that two such judgements should have one concept in common, for otherwise they are foreign to each other and without any common element. Under this condition, however, they become the father and mother of a child which has in itself something of both. Moreover, the operation aforesaid is no arbitrary act, but an act of the faculty of reason; for when reason has devoted itself to a consideration of such judgements, it performs the act of itself according to its own laws. So far the act is objective, not subjective, and is therefore amenable to the strictest rules.

Incidentally, it may be asked whether the person inferring or concluding really gets to know something new, something previously unknown to him, through the proposition that has just come into existence. Not absolutely, but yet to a certain extent. What he gets to know resided in what he knew; thus he knew it already, but did not know that he knew it. This is like a person having something, but not knowing that he has it; and this is as good as if he did not have it. That is to say, he knew it only implicite; now he knows it explicite. This difference, however, can be so great that the concluding proposition appears to him as a new truth. For example:

All diamonds are stones;
All diamonds are combustible;
Therefore some stones are combustible.

Consequently, the nature of the inference or conclusion consists in our bringing to distinct consciousness the fact of having thought already in the premisses the statement of the conclusion. Accordingly it is a means of becoming more distinctly conscious of our own knowledge, of getting to know more fully, or becoming aware of what we know. The knowledge afforded by the proposition of the conclusion was latent; it therefore had as little effect as latent heat has on the thermometer. He who has salt has also chlorine; but it is as if he did not have it, for only when it is chemically disengaged or evolved can it act as chlorine; hence only then does he actually possess it. It is just the same as regards the gain afforded by a mere conclusion from premisses already known; a previously bound or latent knowledge thereby becomes free. It is true that these comparisons might appear somewhat overdrawn, but they are not really so. For since we draw very soon, very rapidly, and without formality many of the conclusions possible from our knowledge, so that no distinct recollection of them remains, it seems that no premisses to possible conclusions long remained stored up unused, but that we had the conclusions already prepared for all the premisses that lie within the sphere of our knowledge. But this is not always the case; on the contrary, two premisses can have an isolated existence for a long time in a man's head, till at last an occasion brings them together. Then the conclusion suddenly springs forth, just as the spark appears from steel and stone only when they are struck together. Actually, the premisses received from outside for theoretical insight as well as for motives that bring about resolves, often reside within us for a long time. Partly through half-conscious, and even inarticulate, acts of thinking they are compared with our remaining store of knowledge, ruminated on, and as it were shaken up together, till finally the right major comes across the right minor. These at once take up their proper places, and then, at one stroke the conclusion stands out like a light that has suddenly dawned on us, without any action on our part, as if it were an inspiration. Then we do not understand how we and others were so long in ignorance of it. Of course, in the happily organized mind this process will occur more rapidly and easily than in the ordinary mind; and just because it is carried out spontaneously, indeed without distinct consciousness, it cannot be acquired by study. Therefore Goethe says:

"How easy anything is, he knows
Who has thought it out and arrived at it." [1]

We can look upon the thought-process here described as like those padlocks which consist of rings and letters. Hanging on the box of a travelling-coach, they are shaken for so long, until at last the letters of the word come together in the right order, and the lock opens. For the rest, it must be borne in mind that the syllogism consists in the line of thought itself. The words and propositions by which it is expressed indicate merely the trace of it left behind; they are related to it as the acoustic figures of sand are to the sounds whose vibrations they represent. When we wish to think over something, we bring our data together, and reduce them to actual judgements; these are all quickly brought together and compared, and in this way the conclusions possible from them are instantly separated out by the use of all three syllogistic figures. Yet on account of the great rapidity of these operations, only a few words, and sometimes none at all, are used, and only the conclusion is formally expressed. Thus it sometimes happens that, since in this manner, or even in the merely intuitive way, i.e., through a happy apercu, we have brought some new truth to consciousness, we now look for the premisses to it as the conclusion, in other words, we should like to establish a proof for it; for, as a rule, knowledge exists earlier than its proofs. We then ransack our store of knowledge, in order to see whether we cannot find in it some truth in which the newly discovered truth was already implicitly contained, or two propositions, the regular joining together of which gives this truth as a result. On the other hand, every judicial proceeding furnishes the most formal and imposing syllogism, in fact in the first figure. The civil or criminal transgression complained of is the minor; it is established by the prosecutor. The law for such a case is the major, and the judgement is the conclusion which, as something necessary, is merely "pronounced" by the judge.

However, I will now attempt to give the simplest and most correct description of the real mechanism of inference.

Judging, that elementary and most important process of thinking, consists in comparing two concepts; inference consists in comparing two judgements. In text-books, however, inference is usually referred also to a comparison of concepts, although of three, since from the relation two of these concepts have to the third, the relation they have to one another would be known. Truth cannot be denied to this view, and since this gives rise to the perceptible demonstration of syllogistic relations by means of drawn concept-spheres, a method I have also commended in the text, it has the advantage of making the matter easy to understand. But it seems to me that here, as in so many cases, comprehensibility is attained at the expense of thoroughness. The real thought-process in inference, with which the three syllogistic figures and their necessity are strictly connected, is not recognized in this way. When inferring, we operate not with mere concepts, but with whole judgements, to which quality, lying only in the copula and not in the concepts, and also quantity are absolutely essential; and to these modality also is added. This description of the syllogism as a relation of three concepts is wrong in that it resolves judgements at once into their ultimate elements (the concepts). In this way the means of binding these together is lost, and that which is peculiar to the judgements as such and in their completeness, and which entails just that necessity of the conclusion that results from them, is lost sight of. It thus falls into an error analogous to that which organic chemistry would commit if, for example in the analysis of plants, it resolved these at once into their ultimate elements. It would then obtain in all plants carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, but would lose the specific differences. To obtain these, we must stop at the more particular constituents, the so-called alkaloids, and must guard against analysing those alkaloids in their turn. From three given concepts no conclusion can as yet be drawn; for, of course, we say that the relation of two of them to the third must be given with them. But it is just the judgements combining those concepts that are the expression of this relation; and so judgements, not mere concepts, are the material of the syllogism. Accordingly, inferring or concluding is essentially a comparing of two judgements. The thought-process in our heads takes place with these judgements, with the ideas expressed by them, and not merely with three concepts, even when the process is expressed imperfectly, or not at all in words. We must take the process into consideration as such, as a bringing together of the complete, unanalysed judgements, in order properly to understand the technical procedure when inferring. From this, then, will also result the necessity of three really rational, syllogistic figures.

Just as, in the description of syllogistic science by means of concept-spheres, we present these to the mind in the form of circles, so, in the description by means of whole judgements, we have to picture these in the form of rods. For the purpose of comparison, these rods are held together now by one end, now by the other; and the different ways in which this can be done give the three figures. Now as every premiss contains its subject and its predicate, these two concepts are to be imagined as situated at the two ends of each rod. The two judgements are then compared with regard to the two different concepts in them; for, as already mentioned, the third concept must be the same in both. It is therefore not liable to any comparison, but is that by which, in other words, with reference to which, the other two are compared: it is the middle term. Accordingly, this is always only the means and not the main thing. On the other hand, the two dissimilar concepts are the object of reflection, and the purpose of the syllogism is to bring out their relation to each other by means of the judgements in which they are contained. Therefore the conclusion speaks only of them, not of the middle term, which was a mere means, a measuring rod that we let go as soon as we have used it. Now if this concept, identical in the two propositions, and thus the middle term, is the subject in one premiss, then the concept to be compared must be its predicate, and conversely. Here at once is established a priori the possibility of three cases: either the subject of one premiss is compared with the predicate of the other, or the subject of one with the subject of the other, or, finally, the predicate of one with the predicate of the other. From these arise the three syllogistic figures of Aristotle; the fourth, which was added somewhat obtrusively, is ungenuine and a spurious form. It is attributed to Galen; but this rests only on Arabian authorities. Each of the three figures in inferring or concluding exhibits an entirely different, correct, and natural thought-process of our faculty of reason.

Thus, if in the two judgements to be compared the relation between the predicate of the one and the subject of the other is the purpose of the comparison, the result is the first figure. This figure alone has the advantage that the concepts, which in the conclusion are subject and predicate, both appear already in the premisses in the same capacity, whereas in the other two figures one of them must always change its role in the conclusion. But in this way the result in the first figure always has less novelty and surprise than in the other two. That advantage of the first figure is obtained only by the predicate of the major being compared with the subject of the minor, not conversely; and so this is essential here, and involves that the middle term occupies the two positions of different names, in other words, is subject in the major and predicate in the minor. From this again follows its subordinate significance, since it figures as a mere weight that we lay arbitrarily now in one scale, now in the other. With this figure the course of thought is that the predicate of the major belongs to the subject of the minor, because the subject of the major is the minor's own predicate, or in the negative case the converse for the same reason. Here, therefore, a property is attributed to the things thought through a concept, because it belongs to another property that we already know in them; or con versely. Therefore, the guiding principle here is: nota notae est nota rei ipsius, et repugnans notae repugnat rei ispi. [2]

On the other hand, if we compare two judgements with the intention of bringing out the relation which the subjects of both may have to each other, we must take their predicate as the common measure. Accordingly, that will here be the middle term, and consequently must be the same in the two judgements. The result of this is the second figure. Here the relation of the two subjects to each other is determined by that which they have to one and the same predicate. This relation, however, can become of significance only by the same predicate being attributed to one subject and denied to the other, as in this way it becomes an essential ground of distinction between the two. For if it were attributed to both subjects, this could not decide anything as to their relation to each other, since almost every predicate pertains to innumerable subjects. Still less would it decide, if the predicate were denied to both subjects. From this follows the fundamental characteristic of the second figure, namely that the two premisses must have opposite quality; one must affirm and the other deny. Here, then, the principal rule is: sit altera negans, [3] the corollary of which is: e meris affirmativis nihil sequitur, [4] a rule that is sometimes transgressed in a loose argument covered up by many inserted clauses. The course of thought exhibited by this figure appears distinctly from what has been said. It is the investigation of two kinds of things with the intention of distinguishing them, and hence of establishing that they are not of the same species. This is here decided by the fact that to one species a property is essential which the other species lacks. That this course of thought assumes the second figure entirely of its own accord, and is strongly marked only in this figure, may be shown by an example:

All fishes have cold blood;
No whale has cold blood:
Therefore no whale is a fish.

On the other hand, in the first figure this thought is exhibited as something fiat, feeble, forced, and ultimately patched up:

Nothing that has cold blood is a whale;
All fishes have cold blood:
Therefore no fish is a whale,
And consequently no whale is a fish.

Also an example with an affirmative minor:

No Mohammedan is a Jew;
Some Turks are Jews:
Therefore some Turks are not Mohammedans.

As the guiding principle for this figure I therefore lay down: for the moods with negative minor: cui repugnat nota, etiam repugnat notatum. [5] and for the moods with affirmative minor: notato repugnat id cui nota repugnat. [6] Translated, these can be summarized thus: Two subjects standing in opposite relationship to a predicate have a negative relation to each other.

The third case is where we place two judgements together, in order to investigate the relation of their predicates; hence arises the third figure. Accordingly, in this figure the middle term appears in both premisses as subject. Here also it is the tertium comparationis, [7] the measure applied to the two concepts to be investigated, or, so to speak, a chemical reagent, by which we test both, in order to learn from their relation to it the relation that exists between themselves. Consequently the conclusion then states whether a relation of subject and predicate exists between the two, and how far this goes. Accordingly, what is exhibited in this figure is reflection on two properties which we are inclined to regard either as incompatible, or else as inseparable, and in order to decide this we attempt to make them the predicates of one and the same subject in two judgements. Now the result of this is either that both properties belong to one and the same thing, consequently their compatibility; or else that a thing has one property but not the other, consequently their separableness. The former in all moods with two affirmative premisses, the latter in all moods with a negative premiss: e.g.,

Some animals can speak;
All animals are irrational:
Therefore some irrational beings can speak.

According to Kant (Die falsche Spitzfindigkeit, § 4) this syllogism would be conclusive only if we added in thought: "Therefore some irrational beings are animals." But this seems to be quite superfluous here, and by no means the natural process of thought. However, in order to carry out the same process of thought directly by means of the first figure, I should have to say:

"All animals are irrational;
Some beings able to speak are animals,"

which is obviously not the natural course of thought. In fact, the conclusion that then results, namely "Some beings able to speak are irrational," would have to be converted, in order to preserve the conclusion which the third figure gives of itself, and at which the whole course of thought has aimed. Let us take another example:

All alkaline metals float in water;
All alkaline metals are metals:
Therefore some metals float in water.

With transposition into the first figure, the minor must be converted, and therefore runs: "Some metals are alkaline metals": consequently, it asserts merely that some metals lie in the sphere "alkaline metals," thus:


whereas our actual knowledge is that all alkaline metals lie in the sphere "metals," thus:


Consequently, if the first figure is to be the only normal one, in order to think naturally we should have to think less than we know, and to think indefinitely what we know definitely. This assumption has too much against it. Therefore in general it is undeniable that, when inferring or concluding in the second and third figures, we tacitly convert a proposition. On the other hand, the third figure, and the second also, exhibit just as rational a process of thought as does the first. Let us now consider another example of the other kind of the third figure, where the separableness of the two predicates is the result, on account of which one premiss must here be negative:

No Buddhist believes in a God;
Some Buddhists are rational:
Therefore some rational beings do not believe in a God.

As in the above examples the compatibility of the two properties is the problem of reflection, so now their separableness is its problem; and here also this problem is decided by our comparing them with one subject and demonstrating in this subject one property without the other. In this way we attain our end directly, whereas through the first figure we could do so only 'indirectly. For in order to reduce the syllogism to the first figure, we should have to convert the minor, and therefore say: "Some rational beings are Buddhists," which would be only a faulty expression of its meaning, which is: "Some Buddhists are yet certainly rational."

Accordingly I lay down as the guiding principle of this figure: for the affirmative moods: ejusdem rei notae, modo sit altera universalis, sibi invicem sunt notae particulares; and for the negative moods: nota rei competens, notae eidem repugnanti, particulariter repugnat, modo sit altera universalis. In plain English: If two predicates are affirmed of one subject, and at least one universally, then they are also affirmed of each other particularly; on the other hand, they are particularly denied of each other as soon as one of them contradicts the subject of which the other is affirmed; only the contradiction or affirmation must be made universally.

In the fourth figure the subject of the major is now to be compared with the predicate of the minor; but in the conclusion both must again exchange their value and position, so that what was subject in the major appears as predicate in the conclusion, and what was predicate in the minor appears as subject in the conclusion. From this it is clear that this figure is merely the first wilfully turned upside down, and by no means the expression of an actual process of thought natural to our faculty of reason.

On the other hand, the first three figures are the ectype of three actual and essentially different operations of thought. These have in common the fact that they consist in the comparison of two judgements; but such a comparison becomes fruitful only when they have one concept in common. If we picture the premisses to ourselves in the form of two rods, we can think of this concept as a tie uniting them with each other; in fact, we might make use of such rods in lecturing. On the other hand, the three figures are distinguished by the fact that those judgements are compared either with regard to their two subjects, or to their two predicates, or lastly with regard to the subject of one and to the predicate of the other. Now as every concept has the property of being subject or predicate only in so far as it is already part of a judgement, this confirms my view that in the syllogism primarily only judgements are compared, and concepts only in so far as they are parts of judgements. But in the comparison of two judgements the essential question is in respect of what they are compared, not by what means they are compared. The former is the dissimilar concepts of the judgements, the latter is the middle term, in other words, the concept identical in both. It is therefore not the right point of view which Lambert, and indeed really Aristotle and almost all the modems have taken, to start from the middle term in the analysis of syllogisms, and to make it the principal thing and its position the essential characteristic of syllogisms. On the contrary, its role is only a secondary one, and its position a consequence of the logical value of the concepts really to be compared in the syllogism. These are comparable to two substances that are chemically tested, the middle term being comparable to the reagent in which they are tested. Therefore it always takes the place left vacant by the concepts to be compared, and no longer occurs in the conclusion. It is chosen according as its relation to both concepts is known, and it is suitable for the place to be occupied. Therefore in many cases we can exchange it arbitrarily for another without affecting the syllogism. For example, in the syllogism:

All men are mortal;
Caius is a man:

I can exchange the middle term "man" for "animal being." In the syllogism:

All diamonds are stones;
All diamonds are combustible:

I can exchange the middle term "diamond" for "anthracite." As an external characteristic, by which the figure of a syllogism is at once recognized, the middle term is certainly very useful. But for the fundamental characteristic of a thing to be explained, we must take what is essential to the thing. But what is essential here is whether we place two propositions together, in order to compare their predicates, or their subjects, or the predicate of the one and the subject of the other.

Therefore, in order as premisses to produce a conclusion, two judgements must have a concept in common; further, they must not be both negative or both particular; finally, in the case where the two concepts to be compared in them are their subjects, they cannot be both affirmative.

The voltaic pile can be regarded as a sensible image of the syllogism. Its point of indifference at the centre represents the middle term holding together the two premisses. By virtue of the middle term they have the power of forming a conclusion. On the other hand, the two dissimilar concepts, which are really what we have to compare, are represented by the two opposite poles of the pile. Only on these being brought together. by means of their two conducting wires which represent the copulas of the two judgements does the spark leap forth on their contact -- the new light of the conclusion.



1. Westostlicher Divan, VI, 4. [Tr.]

2. "A property belonging to the predicate belongs also to the subject of the predicate, and a property not belonging to the predicate also does not belong to the subject of the predicate." [Tr.]

3. "The one premiss must be negative." [Tr.]

4. "From two affirmative premisses nothing follows" (in the second syllogistic figure dependent on this rule). [Tr.]

5. "The subject that is contradicted by a predicate, is also contradicted by the subject of this predicate." [Tr.]

6. "The subject of a predicate is contradicted by every subject that that predicate contradicts." [Tr.]

7. "What is common to two objects compared." [Tr.]
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Re: The World As Will and Representation, by Arthur Schopenh

Postby admin » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:30 pm

CHAPTER XI: On Rhetoric [1]

Eloquence is the faculty of stirring up in others our view of a thing, or our opinion regarding it, of kindling in them our feeling about it, and thus of putting them in sympathy with us; and all this by our conducting the stream of our ideas into their heads by means of words, with such force that this stream diverts that of their own thoughts from the course already taken, and carries this away with it along its own course. The more the course of their ideas differed previously from ours, the greater will be this masterly achievement. It is easy to understand from this why a man's own conviction and passion make him eloquent, and generally why eloquence is rather the gift of nature than the work of art. Yet even here art will support nature.

In order to convince another of a truth that conflicts with an error he holds firmly, the first rule to be observed is an easy and natural one, namely: Let the premisses come first, and the conclusion follow. This rule, however, is seldom observed, and people go to work the reverse way, since zeal, hastiness, and dogmatic positiveness urge us to shout out the conclusion loudly and noisily at the person who adheres to the opposite error. This easily makes him shy and reserved, and he then sets his will against all arguments and premisses, knowing already to what conclusion they will lead. Therefore we should rather keep the conclusion wholly concealed and give only the premisses distinctly, completely, and from every point of view. If possible, we should not even express the conclusion at all. It will appear of its own accord necessarily and legitimately in the reason (Vernunft) of the hearers, and the conviction thus born within them will be all the more sincere; in addition, it will be accompanied by self-esteem instead of by a feeling of shame. In difficult cases, we can even assume the air of wanting to arrive at quite the opposite conclusion to the one we really have in view. An example of this kind is Antony's famous speech in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

In defending a thing, many people make the mistake of confidently advancing everything imaginable that can be said in its favour, and of mixing up what is true, half true, and merely plausible. But the false is soon recognized, or at any rate felt, and then casts suspicion even on the cogent and true that is advanced along with it. Therefore let us give the cogent and true pure and alone, and guard against defending a truth with grounds and arguments that are inadequate, and are thus sophistical, in so far as they are set up as adequate. For the opponent upsets these, and thus gains the appearance of having upset also the truth itself that is supported by them; in other words he brings forward argumenta ad hominem as argumenta ad rem. Perhaps the Chinese go too far in the other direction, since they have the following maxim: "The man who is eloquent and has a sharp tongue can always leave half a sentence unspoken; and he who has right on his side can confidently yield three-tenths of his assertion."



1. This chapter is connected with the conclusion of § 9 of volume 1.
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Re: The World As Will and Representation, by Arthur Schopenh

Postby admin » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:31 pm

CHAPTER XII: On the Doctrine of Science [1]

From the analysis of the various functions of our intellect, which is given in all the preceding chapters, it is clear that, for its correct and methodical use, whether for a theoretical or a practical purpose, the following are necessary: (1) the correct apprehension through perception of the real things taken into consideration, and of all their essential properties and relations, hence of all the data. (2) The formation from these of correct concepts, thus the summarizing of those properties under correct abstractions that then become the material of the subsequent thinking. (3) The comparison of these concepts partly with what is perceived, partly with one another, partly with the remaining store of concepts, so that correct judgements, appropriate to the matter, and fully comprehending and exhausting it, result from them; thus a correct examination or analysis of the matter. (4) The placing together or combination of these judgements for the premisses of syllogisms. This can turn out very differently according to the choice and arrangement of the judgements, and yet the real result of the whole operation is primarily dependent on it. Here the principal thing is that, from so many possible combinations of these different judgements appertaining to the matter, free deliberation should hit on precisely those that serve the purpose and are decisive. But if in the first function, and thus in the apprehension through perception of things and relations, any essential point has been overlooked, then the correctness of all the subsequent operations of the mind cannot prevent the result from proving false; for there lie the data, the material of the whole investigation. Without the certainty that I these taken together are correct and complete, we should refrain from making any definite decision in important matters.

A concept is correct; a judgement is true; a body is real; a relation is evident. A proposition of immediate certainty is an axiom. Only the fundamental principles of logic and those of mathematics drawn a priori from intuition or perception, and finally the law of causality, have immediate certainty. A proposition of indirect certainty is a precept or theorem, and what brings about this certainty is the proof. If immediate certainty is attributed to a proposition that has no such certainty, then it is a petitio principii. [2] A proposition that refers directly to empirical perception is an assertion; confronting it with such perception demands power of judgement. Primarily, empirical perception can establish only particular, not universal, truths. Through manifold repetition and confirmation, such truths obtain universality as well, yet this is only comparative and precarious, because it is still always open to attack. But if a proposition has absolute, universal validity, the perception or intuition to which it refers is not empirical, but a priori. Accordingly, only logic and mathematics are perfectly certain sciences; but they really teach us only what we already knew beforehand. For they are mere elucidations of that of which we are a priori conscious, namely the forms of our own knowledge, the one being the science of the form of thinking, the other that of the form of perceiving. We therefore spin them entirely out of ourselves. All other rational knowledge is empirical.

A proof proves too much, if it extends to things or cases to which what is to be proved obviously does not apply; hence it is apagogically refuted by these. The deductio ad absurdum really consists in our taking the false assertion set up as the major, adding a correct minor, and obtaining a conclusion that contradicts facts known from experience or indubitable truths. But by a roundabout way such a conclusion is possible for every false doctrine, in so far as the advocate of this does acknowledge and admit some truth. Then the inferences from this, and again those from the false assertion, must be capable of extension so far that we arrive at two propositions directly contradicting each other. In Plato we find many examples of this beautiful artifice of genuine dialectic.

A correct hypothesis is nothing more than the true and complete expression of the fact before us which the originator of the hypothesis has intuitively apprehended in its real nature and inner connexion. For it tells us only what really takes place here.

The contrast of the analytical and synthetical methods is found already indicated in Aristotle, yet it is perhaps first clearly described by Proclus, who says quite correctly: [x] . (Methodi traduntur sequentes: pulcherrima quidem ea, quae per analysin quaesitum refert ad principium, de quo jam convenit; quam etiam Plato Laodamanti tradidisse dicitur.) In primum Euclidis librum, Bk. iii. [3] Certainly the analytical method consists in referring the given thing to an acknowledged principle; the synthetic method, on the contrary, consists in deduction from such a principle. Therefore they are analogous to the [x] and [x] discussed in chapter IX; only that the latter is aimed not at establishing propositions, but always at overthrowing them. The analytical method goes from the facts, the particular, to the propositions, the universal, or from consequents to grounds; the other method proceeds in the reverse direction. Therefore it would be much more correct to name them the inductive and deductive methods, for the traditional names are unsuitable and express the matter badly.

If a philosopher tried to begin by thinking out for himself the method by which he wished to philosophize, he would be like a poet who first wrote for himself a system of aesthetics, in order afterwards to write poetry in accordance with it. Both would be like a person who first sang a song to himself, and afterwards danced to it. The thinking mind must find its way from original inclination. Rule and application, method and achievement, must appear inseparable, like matter and form. But after we have reached the goal, we may consider the path we have followed. By their nature, aesthetics and methodology are younger than poetry and philosophy, just as grammar is younger than language, thorough-bass younger than music, logic younger than thought.

Room may be found here for an incidental remark by which I should like to put a stop to a growing evil while there is still time. That Latin has ceased to be the language of all scientific investigation has the disadvantage that there is no longer an immediately common scientific literature for the whole of Europe, but only national literatures. In this way every scholar is primarily limited to a much smaller public, and moreover to a public steeped in national narrow views and prejudices. Then he must now learn the four principal European languages together with the two ancient languages. It will be a great relief for him that the termini technici of all sciences (with the exception of mineralogy) are Latin or Greek, as an inheritance from our predecessors; and so all nations wisely retain these. Only the Germans have hit upon the unfortunate idea of wanting to Germanize the termini technici of all the sciences. This has two great disadvantages. In the first place the foreign as well as the German scholar is obliged to learn all the technical expressions of his science twice over, and, where there are many, as for example in anatomy, this is an incredibly wearisome and complicated business. If other nations were not more sensible than the Germans in this respect, we should have the trouble of learning every terminus technicus five times. If the Germans continue with this, foreign scholars will leave their books entirely unread; for, in addition, they are usually much too lengthy, and are written in a careless, bad, often even affected, tasteless, and inelegant style, and are frequently drawn up with an ill-mannered disregard of the reader and his requirements. In the second place, those Germanizations of the termini technici are almost always long, patched up, awkwardly chosen, cumbersome, hollow-sounding words that are not sharply separated from the rest of the language. Therefore such words are with difficulty impressed on the memory, whereas the Greek and Latin expressions chosen by the ancient and memorable originators of the sciences have all the opposite good qualities, and are easily impressed on the memory by their sonorous sound. For instance, how ugly and cacophonous a word is "Stickstoff" [nitrogen] instead of Azot! "Verb," "substantive," "adjective" are retained and distinguished more easily than "Zeitwort," ,"Nennwort," "Beiwort," or even "Umstandswort" instead of "adverb." In anatomy it is quite intolerable; moreover, it is vulgar and savours of barber's assistants. Even "Pulsader" and "Blutader" are more readily exposed to momentary confusion than are "artery" and "vein"; but expressions like "Fruchthalter," "Fruchtgang," and "Fruchtleiter" instead of "uterus," "vagina," and "tuba Faloppii," which every doctor must know, and with which he can manage in all European languages, are utterly bewildering. The same with "Speiche" and "Ellenbogenrohre" instead of "radius" and "ulna," which the whole of Europe has understood for thousands of years. Why all this clumsy, confusing, wearisome, and silly Germanizing? No less objectionable is the translation of the technical terms in logic, where our gifted professors of philosophy are the creators of a new terminology, and almost everyone has his own. For example, with G. E. Schulze the subject is called "Grundbegriff," the predicate "Beilegungsbegriff"; then there are "Beilegungsschlusse," "Voraussetzungsschlusse," and "Entgegungsschlusse"; judgements have "Grosse," "Beschaffenheit," "Verhaltnis," and "Zuverlassigkeit," in other words, quantity, quality, relation, and modality. The same perverse influence of this Teutomania is found in all the sciences. The Latin and Greek expressions have the further advantage that they stamp the scientific concept as such, and separate it from the words of common intercourse, and the associations of ideas that cling thereto. On the other hand, "Speisebrei" instead of "chyme," for example, seems to speak of the food of little children, and "Lungensack" instead of "pleura," and "Herzbeutel" instead of "pericardium" seem to have originated with butchers rather than anatomists. Finally, the most immediate necessity for learning the ancient languages is connected with the old termini technici; and by the use of living languages for learned investigation, the study of the ancient languages is more and more in danger of being set aside. But if it comes to this, if the spirit of the ancients tied to their languages disappears from a literary and scientific education, then coarseness, insipidity, and vulgarity will take possession of all literature. For the works of the ancients are the pole star for every artistic or literary effort; if it sets, you are lost. Even now in the pitiable and puerile style of most writers, we notice that they have never written Latin. * Devotion to the authors of antiquity is very appropriately called the study of humanity, for through it the student above all becomes a human being again, since he enters into the world that was still free from all the buffoonery and absurdities of the Middle Ages and of romanticism. Afterwards, mankind in Europe was so deeply infected with these that even now everyone comes into the world covered with them, and has first to strip them off, merely in order to become a human being again. Think not that your modern wisdom can ever take the place of that initiation into being a human being; you are not, like the Greeks and Romans, born free, unprejudiced sons of nature. In the first place, you are the sons and heirs of the crude Middle Ages and of their folly and nonsense, of infamous priestcraft, and of half brutal, half idiotic chivalry. Although both are now gradually coming to an end, you are still unable, for that reason, to stand on your own feet. Without the school of the ancients, your literature will degenerate into vulgar gossip and flat philistinism. Therefore, for all these reasons, it is my well-meant advice that we put an end without delay to the Germanizing mania censured above.

Further, I wish to take this opportunity of censuring the mischief that has been done in an unheard-of manner for some years with German orthography. Scribblers of every description have heard something about brevity of expression; yet they do not know that this consists in the careful omission of everything superfluous, to which of course the whole of their scribblings belong. But they imagine they can obtain it by force by clipping words as swindlers clip coins. Every syllable that appears superfluous to them, because they do not feel its value, they nip off without more ado. For example, our ancestors said with true delicacy of feeling "Beweis" and "Verweis," and on the other hand, "Nachweisung." The fine distinction, analogous to that between "Versuch" and "Versuchung," "Betracht" and "Betrachtung," cannot be felt by thick ears and thick skulls. They therefore invented the word "Nachweis," which at once came into general use; for this only requires that an idea or notion be really crude and coarse, and an error really gross. Accordingly, the same amputation has already been made in innumerable words; for example, instead of "Untersuchung" people write "Untersuch",· instead of "allmalig," "malig"; "nahe" instead of "beinahe," "standig" instead of "bestandig." If a Frenchman ventured to write "pres" instead of "presque," and an Englishman "most" instead of "almost," everyone would laugh at them as fools; in Germany, however, anyone who does anything of this sort is considered to have an original mind. Chemists are already writing "loslich" and "unloslich" instead of "unaufloslich"; and, if the grammarians do not rap them over the knuckles, they will rob the language of a valuable word. Knots, shoe-laces, conglomerates whose cement is softened, and everything analogous to this, are loslich (capable of being loosened); on the other hand, whatever vanishes entirely in a liquid, like salt in water, is aufloslich (soluble). "Auflosen" (to dissolve) is the terminus ad hoc which states this and nothing else, separating out a definite concept. But our clever language-improvers want to pour it into the general rinsing-tub of "losen" (to loosen). Then, to be consistent, they would have to use "losen" also instead of "ablosen" (to relieve, used of guards), "auslosen" (to release), "einlosen" (to redeem), and so on, and in this, as in the previous case, deprive the language of definiteness of expression. But to make the language poorer by a word is the same as making a nation's thinking poorer by a concept. This, however, has been the tendency of the united efforts of almost all our scribblers and compilers for the last ten to twenty years. For what I have here shown by one example could be demonstrated in a hundred others, and the meanest stinting of syllables rages like a pestilence. The wretches actually count the letters, and do not hesitate to mutilate a word, or to use one in a false sense, whenever only a couple of letters are to be gained by doing so. He who is incapable of any new ideas will at least come forward with new words, and every quill-driver regards it as his vocation to improve the language. Journalists practise this most shamelessly, and as their papers have the greatest public of all by virtue of the trivial nature of their contents, and that a public that for the most part reads nothing else, a great danger threatens the language through them. Therefore I earnestly recommend that they be subjected to an orthographical censorship, or be made to pay a fine for every unusual or mutilated word; for what could be more unworthy than that changes in language should come from the lowest branch of literature? Language, especially a relatively original language like German, is a nation's most precious heritage; it is also an exceedingly complicated work of art that is easily damaged and cannot be restored again, hence a noli me tangere. [4] Other nations have felt this, and have shown great reverence for their languages, though these are far less perfect than German. Thus the language of Dante and Petrarch differs only in trifles from that of today; Montaigne is still quite readable, and so also is Shakespeare in his oldest editions. For a German it is even good to have somewhat lengthy words in his mouth, for he thinks slowly, and they give him time to reflect. But that prevailing economy of language still shows itself in several characteristic phenomena. For example, contrary to all logic and grammar, they put the imperfect instead of the perfect and pluperfect; they often put the auxiliary verb in their pocket; they use the ablative instead of the genitive. To gain a pair of logical particles, they make such involved and complicated periods that we have to read them four times in order to get at the meaning; for they want to save only the paper, not the reader's time. With proper names, just like Hottentots, they do not indicate the case either by inflexion or by the article; the reader may guess it. But they are particularly fond of swindling with the double vowel and with the sound-lengthening h, those letters dedicated to prosody. This proceeding is precisely the same as if we were to exclude [x] and [x] from Greek and put [x] and [x] in their place. He who writes Scham, Miirchen, Mass, Spass, ought also to write Lon, Son, Stat, Sat, Jar, Al, and so on. As writing is the copy of speech, posterity will imagine that one has to pronounce and articulate as one writes, and so of the German language there will remain only a clipped and hollow noise of consonants from a pointed snout, and all prosody will be lost. For the sake of saving a letter, the spelling "Literatur" instead of the correct "Litteratur" is very popular. In defence of this, the particle of the verb linere is given out as the origin of the word; but linere means to smear, to scribble. Thus the favourite spelling might actually be the correct one for the greater part of German hack writing, so that we could distinguish a very small "Litteratur" from a very extensive "Literatur." To write briefly, let us improve and refine our style, and avoid all useless gossip and chatter; then we need not swindle with syllables and letters because of the cost of paper. But to write so many useless pages, useless sheets, useless books, and then seek to make up for this waste of time and paper at the expense of innocent syllables and letters -- this is truly the superlative of what is called in English being penny wise and pound foolish. It is to be regretted that there exists no German academy to protect the language against literary sansculottism, especially in an age when even those who are ignorant of the ancient languages can dare to employ the press. In my Parerga and Paralipomena, Vol. II, chap. 23, I have expressed my opinion at greater length on the unpardonable mischief that is being done at the present day to the German language.

In my essay On the Principle of Sufficient Reason, § 51, I already proposed the highest classification of the sciences according to the form of the principle of sufficient reason prevailing in them, and touched on it again in § § 7 and 15 of the first volume of this work. Here I will give a brief attempt; it will, of course, undoubtedly be capable of much improvement and completion.

I. Pure Sciences a priori.

1. The doctrine of the ground of being.

(a) in space: Geometry.
(b) in time: Arithmetic and Algebra.

2. The doctrine of the ground of knowing: Logic.

II. Empirical or Sciences a posteriori.

All according to the ground or reason of becoming, i.e., to the law of causality, and indeed to its three modes.

1. The doctrine of causes:

(a) Universal: Mechanics, Hydrodynamics, Physics, Chemistry.
(b) Particular: Astronomy, Mineralogy, Geology, Technology, Pharmacy.

2. The doctrine of stimuli:

(a) Universal: Physiology of plants and animals, together with
its subsidiary science, Anatomy.
(b) Particular: Botany, Zoology, Zootomy, Comparative
Physiology, Pathology, Therapeutics.

3. The doctrine of motives:

(a) Universal: Ethics, Psychology.
(b) Particular: Jurisprudence, History.

Philosophy or metaphysics, as the doctrine of consciousness and its contents in general, or of the whole of experience as such, does not come into the list, because it does not straightway pursue the consideration required by the principle of sufficient reason, but has as its primary object this principle itself. It is to be regarded as the thorough-bass of all the sciences, but is of a higher species than these, and is almost as much related to art as to science. Just as in music every particular period must correspond to the tonality to which thorough-bass has then advanced, so every author, according to his branch of knowledge, will bear the stamp of the philosophy prevailing in his time. In addition to this, however, every science has also its special philosophy; we therefore speak of a philosophy of botany, of zoology, of history, and so on. Reasonably speaking, nothing more is to be understood by this than the principal results of each science itself, considered and comprehended from the highest, i.e., the most universal, point of view possible within the science. These most universal results are directly associated with universal philosophy, since they furnish it with important data, and save it the trouble of looking for these in the philosophically raw material of the special sciences themselves. Accordingly, these special philosophies are intermediate between their special sciences and philosophy proper. For as philosophy proper has to give the most general information about the totality of things, it must be possible for such information to be brought down and applied to the particular of each species of things. But the philosophy of each science originates independently of general philosophy, from the data of its own branch of knowledge. Therefore it need not wait till that philosophy has at last been found, but, worked out in advance, it will in any event agree with the true, universal philosophy. On the other hand, that philosophy must be capable of receiving confirmation and elucidation from the philosophies of the individual sciences; for the most universal truth must be capable of being proved through more special truths. A fine example of the philosophy of zoology has been afforded by Goethe in his reflections on Dalton's and Pander's skeletons of rodents (Helte zur Morphologie, 1824). Kielmayer, Lamarck, Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, Cuvier, and many others have similar merit in connexion with the same science, in so far as they have all clearly brought out the universal analogy, the inner relationship, the permanent type, and the systematic connexion of animal forms. Empirical sciences, pursued purely for their own sake and without philosophical tendency, are like a face without eyes. They are, however, a suitable occupation for people of good capacity, who nevertheless lack the highest faculties that would even be a hindrance to minute investigations of this kind. Such persons concentrate their whole strength and all their knowledge on a single limited field. Therefore in that field they can reach the most complete knowledge possible, on condition that they remain in complete ignorance of everything else, whereas the philosopher must survey all fields, and indeed to a certain extent be at home in them all. That perfection which is attained only through detail is therefore necessarily ruled out here. In this connexion, these persons are to be compared to the Geneva workmen, of whom one makes nothing but wheels, another only springs, and a third merely chains; the philosopher, on the other hand, is to be compared to the watch-maker, who from all these produces a whole that has movement and meaning. They can also be compared to the musicians in an orchestra, each of whom is master of his own instrument; and the philosopher to the conductor, who must be acquainted with the nature and method of handling every instrument, yet without playing them all, or even only one of them, with great perfection. Scotus Erigemi includes all sciences under the name scientia, in opposition to philosophy, which he calls sapientia. The same distinction was made by the Pythagoreans, as is seen from Stobaeus, Florilegium, Vol. i, p. 24, where it is explained very clearly and neatly. But an exceedingly happy and piquant comparison of the relation of the two kinds of mental effort to each other has been repeated by the ancients so often that we no longer know to whom it belongs. Diogenes Laertius (ii, 79) attributes it to Aristippus, Stobaeus (Florilegium, tit. iv, 110) to Ariston of Chios, the Scholiast of Aristotle to Aristotle (p. 8 of the Berlin edition), while Plutarch (De Puerorum Educatione, c. 10) attributes it to Bion, qui aiebat, sicut Penelopes proci, quum non possent cum Penelope concumbere, rem cum ejus ancillis habuissent; ita qui philosophiam nequeunt apprehendere, eos in aliis nullius pretii disciplinis sese conterere. [5] In our predominantly empirical and historical age it can do no harm to recall this.



1. This chapter is connected with § 14 of volume 1.

2. "Begging of the question." [Tr.]

3. "The following are handed down as methods; that method is the best which refers in an analytical way to an acknowledged principle that which it is desired to prove. It is said that Plato handed this down to Laodamas." [Tr.]

* A principal advantage of the study of the ancients is that it guards us from verbosity, since they always take the trouble to write concisely and pregnantly, and the mistake of almost all the moderns is verbosity. The most recent of all try to make amends for this by suppressing syllables and letters. We should therefore continue to study the ancients all through our life, though limiting the time spent on this study. The ancients knew that we ought not to write as we speak. The moderns, on the other hand, even have the effrontery to print the lectures they have given.

4. "Touch me not." [Tr.]

5. "Bion the philosopher wittily remarked that, just as the suitors associated
with Penelope's maidens because they could not lie with her, so those unable
to lay hold of philosophy use up their strength in other inferior branches of
knowledge." [Tr.]
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Re: The World As Will and Representation, by Arthur Schopenh

Postby admin » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:54 pm

CHAPTER XIII: On the Method of Mathematics [1]

The Euclidean method of demonstration has brought forth from its own womb its most striking parody and caricature in the famous controversy over the theory of parallels, and in the attempts, repeated every year, to prove the eleventh axiom. This axiom asserts, and that indeed through the indirect criterion of a third intersecting line, that two lines inclined to each other (for this is the precise meaning of "less than two right angles"), if produced far enough, must meet. Now this truth is supposed to be too complicated to pass as self-evident, and therefore needs a proof; but no such proof can be produced, just because there is nothing more immediate. This scruple of conscience reminds me of Schiller's question of law:

"For years I have already made use of my nose for smelling:
Then have I actually a right to it that can be demonstrated?" [2]

In fact, it seems to me that the logical method is in this way reduced to an absurdity. But it is precisely through the controversies over this, together with the futile attempts to demonstrate the directly certain as merely indirectly certain, that the independence and clearness of intuitive evidence appear in contrast with the uselessness and difficulty of logical proof, a contrast as instructive as it is amusing. The direct certainty will not be admitted here, just because it is no merely logical certainty following from the concept, and thus resting solely on the relation of predicate to subject, according to the principle of contradiction. But that axiom is a synthetic proposition a priori, and as such has the guarantee of pure, not empirical, perception; this perception is just as immediate and certain as is the principle of contradiction itself, from which all proofs originally derive their certainty. At bottom this holds good of every geometrical theorem, and it is arbitrary where we choose to draw the line between what is immediately certain and what has first to be proved. It surprises me that the eighth axiom, "Figures that coincide with one another are equal to one another," is not rather attacked. For "coinciding with one another" is either a mere tautology, or something quite empirical, belonging not to pure intuition or perception, but to external sensuous experience. Thus it presupposes mobility of the figures, but matter alone is movable in space. Consequently, this reference to coincidence with one another forsakes pure space, the sole element of geometry, in order to pass over to the material and empirical.

The alleged inscription over the Platonic lecture-room, [x], [3] of which the mathematicians are so proud, was no doubt inspired by the fact that Plato regarded the geometrical figures as intermediate entities between the eternal Ideas and particular things, as Aristotle frequently mentions in his Metaphysics (especially i, c. 6, pp. 887, 998, and Scholia, p. 827, ed. Berol.). Moreover, the contrast between those eternal forms or Ideas, existing by themselves, and the fleeting individual things could most easily be made intelligible in geometrical figures, and in this way could be laid the foundation for the doctrine of Ideas, which is the central point of Plato's philosophy, and indeed his only serious and positive theoretical dogma. Therefore in expounding it he started from geometry. In the same sense we are told that he regarded geometry as a preliminary exercise, by which the mind of the pupils became accustomed to dealing with incorporeal objects, after this mind had hitherto in practical life had to do only with corporeal things (Schol. in Aristot., pp. 12, 15). This therefore is the sense in which Plato recommended geometry to the philosophers; and so we are not justified in extending it further. On the contrary, I recommend a very thorough and informative article in the form of a review of a book by Whewell in the Edinburgh Review of January 1836, as an investigation of the influence of mathematics on our mental powers and of its use for scientific and literary culture in general. The author of the article, who later published it together with some other essays under his name, is Sir W. Hamilton, Professor of Logic and Metaphysics in Scotland. It has also found a German translator, and has appeared by itself under the title: Ueber den Werth und Unwerth der Mathematik, from the English, 1836. Its conclusion is that the value of mathematics is only indirect, and is found to be in the application to ends that are attainable only through it. In itself, however, mathematics leaves the mind where it found it; it is by no means necessary; in fact, it is a positive hindrance to the general formation and development of the mind. This conclusion is not only proved by thorough dianoiological investigation of the mind's mathematical activity, but is also established by a very learned accumulation of examples and authorities. The only immediate use left to mathematics is that it can accustom fickle and unstable minds to fix their attention. Even Descartes, himself famous as a mathematician, held just the same opinion about mathematics. In the Vie de Descartes by Baillet, 1693, it is said, Bk. ii, ch. 6. p. 54: "Sa propre experience l'avait convaincu du peu d'utilite des mathematiques, surtout lorsqu'on ne les cultive que pour elles memes. ... Il ne voyait rien de moins solide, que de s'occuper de nombres tout simples et de figures imaginaires," [4] and so on.



1. This chapter refers to § 15 of volume 1.

2. From Schiller's Die Philosophen. [Tr.]

3. "Let no one enter who has not studied geometry." [Tr.]

4. "His own experience had convinced him of the small utility of mathematics, especially when it is pursued merely for its own sake.... Nothing seemed to him more pointless than to be occupied with mere numbers and imaginary figures." [Tr.]
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Re: The World As Will and Representation, by Arthur Schopenh

Postby admin » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:56 pm

CHAPTER XIV: On the Association of Ideas

The presence of representations and ideas in our consciousness is as strictly subject to the principle of sufficient reason or ground in its different forms as the movement of bodies is to the law of causality. It is no more possible for an idea to enter consciousness without an occasion than it is for a body to be set in motion without a cause. Now this occasion is either external, and thus an impression on the senses, or internal, and hence itself again an idea which produces another idea by virtue of association. This association in turn rests either on a relation of ground and consequent between the two, or on similarity, or even on mere analogy, or finally on the simultaneity of their first apprehension; and this again can have its ground in the spatial proximity of their objects. The last two cases are denoted by the words a propos. The predominance of one of these three bonds of association of ideas over the others is characteristic of a mind's intellectual worth. In thoughtful and profound minds the first-named will predominate, in witty, ingenious, and poetical minds the second, and in minds of limited capacity the last. No less characteristic is the degree of facility with which an idea brings about others standing in some relation to it; this constitutes the keenness of the mind. But the impossibility of a thought's entry into the mind without its sufficient occasion, even with the strongest wish to call it forth, is testified by all the cases in which we make vain efforts to recollect something. We then go through the whole store of our ideas, in order to find anyone that may be associated with the idea we are seeking. If we find the former, the latter is there also. Whoever wishes to call up a reminiscence always looks first of all for a thread on which it hangs through the association of ideas. On this depends mnemonics; it aims at providing us with easily found occasions for all the concepts, ideas, or words to be preserved. Yet the worst of it is that even these occasions themselves must first be found again, and for this also an occasion is required. How much the occasion achieves in the case of memory can be shown by the fact that anyone who has read fifty anecdotes in a book of anecdotes, and then laid the book aside, is sometimes unable to recall even a single one immediately afterwards. But if the occasion comes, or an idea occurs to him which has any analogy with one of those anecdotes, it comes back to him at once; and so do all the fifty as opportunity offers. The same holds good of all that we read. At bottom, our immediate verbal memory, in other words our memory of words, which is not brought about by means of mnemonic artifices, and with this our whole faculty of speech, depend on the direct association of ideas. For the learning of a language consists in our linking together a concept and a word for all time, so that this word always occurs to us simultaneously with this concept, and this concept with this word. Subsequently, we have to repeat the same process when learning any new language. If, however, we learn a language merely for passive and not for active use, in other words, to read but not to speak it, as is often the case, for example, with Greek, then the concatenation is one-sided, since the concept occurs to us with the word, but the word does not usually occur to us with the concept. The same procedure as in language becomes apparent in the particular case, when we learn every new proper name. But sometimes we have no confidence in ourselves to connect directly the name of this person, or town, river, mountain, plant, animal, and so on, with the thought of these so firmly that it may call up each of them of itself. We then help ourselves mnemonically, and connect the image of the person or thing with any quality of perception whose name occurs in the image of that person or thing. But this is only a temporary stage for support; later on we drop it, since the association of ideas becomes an immediate support.

The search for a thread of recollection shows itself in a peculiar way, when it is a dream that we have forgotten on waking up. Here we look in vain for that which a few minutes previously occupied us with the force of the clearest and brightest present, but has now entirely vanished. We then try to seize any impression that has been left behind, and on which a slender thread hangs. By virtue of association, this thread might draw the dream back again into our consciousness. According to Kieser, Tellurismus, Vol. ii, § 271, recollection even from magnetic somnambulistic sleep is said to be sometimes possible through a sign perceived by the senses and found in the waking state. It depends on the same impossibility of the appearance of an idea without its occasion that, if we propose to do something at a definite time, this can happen only by our thinking of nothing else till then, or by our being reminded of it by something at the time in question. This may be either an external impression previously arranged for it, or an idea that is itself again brought about in a regular manner. Both then belong to the class of motives. Every morning, when we awake, our consciousness is a tabula rasa which is rapidly filled again. First of all, it is the environment of the previous evening which is now again entering consciousness. This environment reminds us of what we thought in these very surroundings; with this are connected the events of the previous day, and thus one idea rapidly calls forth another, until all that occupied us yesterday is present once more. On the fact that this takes place properly depends the health of the mind in contrast to madness, which, as is shown in the third book, consists in the occurrence of great gaps in the continuity of the recollection of the past. But how completely sleep breaks the thread of memory, so that it must be resumed again each morning, is seen in particular instances of the incompleteness of this operation. For example, we are sometimes unable to recall in the morning a melody that the previous evening was running through our head until we were tired of it.

An exception to what has been said seems to be afforded by those cases in which an idea or picture of the imagination suddenly comes into our mind without any conscious occasion. Yet this is in most cases a delusion resting on the fact that the occasion was so trifling, and the idea itself so bright and interesting, that the former was instantly driven out of consciousness by the latter. Yet sometimes such an instantaneous appearance of a representation may have as its cause internal bodily impressions either of the parts of the brain on one another, or of the organic nervous system on the brain.

In general, the thought-process within us is in reality not so simple as its theory, for here the whole thing is involved in a variety of ways. To make the matter clear, let us compare our consciousness to a sheet of water of some depth. Then the distinctly conscious ideas are merely the surface; on the other hand, the mass of the water is the indistinct, the feelings, the after-sensation of perceptions and intuitions and what is experienced in general, mingled with the disposition of our own will that is the kernel of our inner nature. Now this mass of the whole consciousness is more or less, in proportion to intellectual liveliness, in constant motion, and the clear pictures of the imagination, or the distinct, conscious ideas expressed in words, and the resolves of the will are what comes to the surface in consequence of this motion. The whole process of our thinking and resolving seldom lies on the surface, that is to say, seldom consists in a concatenation of clearly conceived judgements; although we aspire to this, in order to be able to give an account of it to ourselves and others. But usually the rumination of material from outside, by which it is recast into ideas, takes place in the obscure depths of the mind. This rumination goes on almost as unconsciously as the conversion of nourishment into the humours and substance of the body. Hence it is that we are often unable to give any account of the origin of our deepest thoughts; they are the offspring of our mysterious inner being. Judgements, sudden flashes of thought, resolves, rise from those depths unexpectedly and to our own astonishment. A letter brings us important news not previously expected, and in consequence our ideas and motives are thrown into confusion. For the time being we dismiss the matter from our minds, and do not think about it again. But on the next day, or on the third or fourth day, the whole situation sometimes stands distinctly before us with what we have to do in the case. Consciousness is the mere surface of our mind, and of this, as of the globe, we do not know the interior, but only the crust.

But in the last instance, or in the secret of our inner being, what puts into activity the association of ideas itself, whose laws have been explained above, is the will. This drives its servant, the intellect, according to its powers to link one idea on to another, to recall the similar and the simultaneous, and to recognize grounds and consequents. For it is in the interest of the will that we should generally think, so that we may be in the best possible situation for all the cases that arise. Therefore the form of the principle of sufficient reason which governs the association of ideas and keeps it active is ultimately the law of motivation. For that which rules the sensorium, and determines it to follow analogy or· another association of ideas in this or that direction, is the will of the thinking subject. Now just as here the laws of the connexion of ideas exist only on the basis of the will, so in the real world the causal nexus of bodies really exists only on the basis of the will manifesting itself in the phenomena of this world. For this reason, the explanation from causes is never absolute and exhaustive, but refers back to forces of nature as their condition, and the inner being of this is just the will as thing-in-itself; here, of course, I have anticipated the following book.

Now because the outward (sensuous) occasions of the presence of our representations, just as much as the inner (of the association of ideas), and both independently of each other, are constantly affecting consciousness, there result from this the frequent interruptions of our course of thought which produce a certain cutting up and confusion of our thinking. This belongs to the imperfections of thinking which cannot be removed, and which we will now consider in a special chapter.
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