« AnteriorContinuar »
The transcendental philosopher does not inquire, what ulti. mate ground of our knowledge there may lie out of our know. ing, but what is the last in our knowing itself, beyond which we cannot pass. The principle of our knowing is sought within the sphere of our knowing. It must be something, therefore, which can itself be known. It is asserted only, that the act of selfconsciousness is for us the source and principle of all our possible knowledge. Whether abstracted from us there exists any. thing higher and beyond this primary self-knowing, which is for ụs the form of all our knowing, must be decided by the result.
That the self-consciousness is the fixed point, to which for us all is mortised and annexed, needs no further proof. But that the self-consciousness may be the modification of a higher form of being, perhaps of a higher consciousness, and this again of a yet higher, and so on in an infinite regressus ; in short, that selfconsciousness may be itself something explicable into something, which must lie beyond the possibility of our knowledge, because the whole synthesis of our intelligence is first formed in and through the self-consciousness, does not at all concern us as transcendental philosophers. For to us the self-consciousness
32 [Thesis x, as far as the words “furthest that exists for us” is taken from pp. 27-29 of the Transcendental Idealism ;-the remainder of the second paragraph, as far as the words “ will or intelligence” from p. 29, with the exception of some explanatory sentences. Schelling's words in the last passage from which Mr. Coleridge has borrowed, are as follows: “ To go yet further, it may be shown, and has already been shown in part (Introd., § 1) that even when the objective is arbitrarily placed as the first, still we never go beyond self-consciousness. We are then in our explanations either driven back into the infinite, from the grounded to the ground; or we must arbitrarily break off the series by setting up an Absolute, which of itself is cause and effect-subject and object; and since this originally is possible only through self-consciousness—by again putting it scif-consciousness as a First ; this takes place in natural philosophy, for which Being is not more original than it is for Transcendental philosophy, and which places the Reality in an Absolute, which is of itself cause and effect-in the absolute identity of the subjective and objective which we name Nature, and which again in its highest power is no other than seif. consciousness.” Transl. S. C.]
is not a kind of being, but a kind of knowing, and that too the highest and furthest that exists for us. It may however be shown, and has in part already been shown in pages 346, 347, that even when the Objective is assumed as the first, we yet can never pass beyond the principle of self-consciousness. Should we attempt it, we must be driven back from ground to ground, each of which would cease to be a ground the moment we pressed on it. We must be whirled down the gulf of an infinite series. But this would make our reason baffle the end and purpose of all reason, namely, unity and system. Or we must break off the series arbitrarily, and affirm an absolute something that is in and of itself at once cause and effect (causa sui), subject and object, or rather the absolute identity of both. But as this is inconceivable, except in a self-consciousness, it follows, that even as natural philosophers we must arrive at the same principle from which as transcendental philosophers we set out; that is, in a self-consciousness in which the principium essendi does not stand to the principium cognoscendi in the relation of cause to effect, but both the one and the other are coinherent and identical. Thus the true system of natural philosophy places the sole reality of things in an ABSOLUTE, which is at once causa sui et effectus, narop autorárwp, vios lauroi—in the absolute identity of subject and object, which it calls nature, and which in its highest power is nothing else but self-conscious will or intelligence. In this sense the position of Malebranche," that we see all things in God, is a strict philosophical truth ; and equally true is the assertion of Hobbes, of Hartley, and of their masters in ancient Greece, that all real knowledge supposes a prior sensation. For sensation itself is but vision nascent, not the cause of intelligence, but intelligence itself revealed as an earlier power in the process of self-construction.
Μάκαρ, ίλαθι μου
Των σων θιγον !34 so (See his treatise De la Recherche de la Vérité. Book III., espocially a ap. 6. See Appendix Q.]
M (Synesii Episcopi. Hymn III., 113.]
Bearing then this in mind, that intelligence is a self-development, not a quality supervening to a substance, we may abstract from all degree, and for the purpose of philosophic construction. reduce it to kind, under the idea of an indestructible power with two opposite and counteracting forces, which, by a metaphor borrowed from astronomy, we may call the centrifugal and cen. tripetal forces. The intelligence in the one tends to objectize itself, and in the other to know itself in the object. It will be hereafter
business to construct by a series of intuitions the progressive schemes, that must follow from such a power with such forces, till I arrive at the fulness of the human intelligence. For my present purpose, I assume such a power as my princi. ple, in order to deduce from it a faculty, the generation, agency, and application of which form the contents of the ensuing chapter.
In a preceding page I have justified the use of technical terms in philosophy, whenever they tend to preclude confusion of thought, and when they assist the memory by the exclusive sin gleness of their meaning more than they may, for a short time, bewilder the attention by their strangeness. I trust that I have not extended this privilege beyond the grounds on which I have claimed it, namely, the conveniency of the scholastic phrase to distinguish the kind from all degrees, or rather to express the kind with the abstraction of degrees as, for instance, multeity in. stead of multitude; or, secondly, for the sake of correspondence in sound in interdependent or antithetical terms, as subject and object; or, lastly, to avoid the wearying recurrence of circumlocutions and definitions. Thus, I shall venture to use potence, in order to express a specific degree of a power, in imitation of the Algebraists. I have even hazarded the new verb potenziate, with its derivatives, in order to express the combination or transfer of powers. It is with new or unusual terms, as with privileges in courts of justice or legislature ; there can be no legitimate privilege where there already exists a positive law adequate to the purpose ; and, when there is no law in existence, the privi. lege is to be justified by its accordance with the end, or final cause, of all law. Unusual and new.coined words are, doubt. less, an evil; but vagueness, confusion, and imperfeet convey. ance of our thoughts, are a far greater. Every system, which is under the necessity of using terms not familiarized by the metaphysics in fashion, will be described as written in an unin. telligible style, and the author must expect the charge of having substituted learned jargon for clear conception; while, according to the creed of our modern philosophers, nothing is deemed a clear conception but what is representable by a distinct image. Thus the conceivable is reduced within the bounds of the pictur. able. Hinc patet, qui fiat, ut cum irrepræsentabile et impossibile vulgo ejusdem significatus habeantur, conceptus tam continui, quam infiniti, a plurimis rejiciantur, quippe quorum, secundum leges cognitionis intuitivæ, representatio est impossibilis. Quan. quam autem harum e non paucis scholis explosarum notionum, presertim prioris, causam hic non gero, maximi tamen momenti erit monuisse : gravissimo illos errore labi, qui tam perversa argumentandi ratione utuntur. Quicquid enim repugnat legibus intellectus et rationis, utique est impossibile ; quod autem, cum rationis puræ sit objectum, legibus cognitionis intuitivæ tantummodo non subest, non item. Nam hic dissensus inter facultatem sensitivam et intellectualem (quarum indolem mox exponam), nihil indigitat, nisi, quas mens ab intellectu acceptas fert ideas abstractas, illas in concreto exsequi et in intuitus commutare sæpenumero non posse. Hæc autem reluctantia subjectiva mentitur, ut plurimum, repugnantiam aliquam objectivam, et incautos facile fallit, limiti. bus, quibus mens humana circumscribitur, pro iis habitis, quibus ipsa rerum essentia continetur. 56
35 TRANSLATION. “ Hence it is clear, from what cause many reject the notion of the continuous and the infinite. They take, namely, the words irrepresentable and impossible in one and the same meaning; and, according to the forms of sensuous evidence, the notion of the continuous and the infinite is doubt. less impossible. I am not now pleading the cause of these laws, which not a few schools have thought proper to explode, especially the former (the law of continuity). But it is of the highest importance to admonish the reader, that those, who adopt so perverted a mode of reasoning, are under a grievous error. Whatever opposes the formal principles of the understanding and the reason is confessedly impossible; but not therefore that, which is therefore not amenable to the forms of sensuous evidence, because it is exclusively an object of pure intellect. For this non-coinci.
Critics," who are most ready to bring this charge of pedantry and unintelligibility, are the most apt to overlook the important fact, that, besides the language of words, there is a language of spirits-(sermo interior)—and that the former is only the vehicle of the latter. Consequently, their assurance, that they do not understand the philosophic writer, instead of proving anything against the philosophy, may furnish an equal, and (cæteris pari. bus) even a stronger presumption against their own philosophic talent.
Great, indeed, are the obstacles which an English metaphysi. cian has to encounter. Amongst his most respectable and intel. ligent judges, there will be many who have devoted their atten. tion exclusively to the concerns and interests of human life, and who bring with them to the perusal of a philosophic system an habitual aversion to all speculations, the utility and application of which are not evident and immediate. To these I would, in the first instance, merely oppose an authority, which they themselves hold venerable, that of Lord Bacon-non inutiles Scientiæ
dence of the sensuous and the intellectual (the nature of which I shall presently lay open) proves nothing more, but that the mind cannot always adequately represent in the concrete, and transform into distinct images, abstract notions derived from the pure intellect. But this contradiction, which is, in itself, merely subjective (i. e. an incapacity in the nature of man), too often passes for an incongruity or impossibility in the object (i. e. the notions themselves), and seduces the incautious to mistake the limitations of the human faculties for the limits of things, as they really exist."
I take this occasion to observe, that here and elsewhere Kant uses the term intuition, and the verb active (intueri Germanice anschauen) for which we have unfortunately no correspondent word, exclusively for that which can be represented in space and time. He therefore consistently and rightly denies the possibility of intellectual intuitions. But as I see an adequate reason for this exclusive sense of the term, I have reverted to its wider signification, authorized by our elder theologians and metaphysicians, according to whom the term comprehends all truths known to us without a medium.
From Kant's Treatise De mundi sensibilis et intelligibilis forma et priz. cipiis, 1770. ((Sect. I., § 1. Works, vol. III, pp 126–7.) S. C.]
36 [This paragraph and the second sentence of the following are nearly the same as some sentences that occur in Abhandlungen, Phil. Schrist., pp. 203-4.)