by Arthur Schopenhauer
translated by Arthur Brodrick Bullock
Critique of Kant’s Basis of Ethics: ON THE BASIS OF THE KANTIAN ETHICS.
With the imperative Form of Ethics, which in Chapter II. we proved to be a petitio principii, is directly connected a favourite idea of Kant’s, that may be excused, but cannot be adopted. Sometimes we see a physician, after having employed a certain remedy with conspicuous success, henceforth prescribing it for almost all diseases; to such a one Kant may be likened. By separating the a priori from the a posteriori in human knowledge he made the most brilliant and pregnant discovery that Metaphysics can boast of. What wonder then that thereafter he should try to apply this method, this sundering of the two forms, everywhere, and should consequently make Ethics also consist of two parts, a pure, i.e. an a priori knowable part, and an empirical? The latter of these he rejects as unreliable for the purpose of founding Ethics. To trace out the former and; exhibit it by itself is his purpose in the Grundlegung der Metaphysik der Sitten, which he accordingly represents as a science purely a priori, exactly in the same way as he sets forth the Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Naturwissenschaft. He asserts in fact that the Moral Law, which without warrant, without deduction, or proof of any sort, he postulates as existing, is furthermore a Law knowable a priori and independent of all internal or external experience; it “rests” (he says) “solely on conceptions of pure Reason; and is to be taken as a synthetic proposition a priori” (Kritik der Praktischen Vernunft: p. 56 of fourth Edition; R., p. 142). But from this definition the implication immediately follows that such a Law can only be formal, like everything else known a priori, and consequently has only to do with the Form of actions, not with their Essence. Let it be thought what this means! He emphatically adds (p. vi of the preface to the Grundlegung; R., p. 5) that it is “useless to look for it either subjectively in man’s nature, or objectively in the accidents of the external world,” and (preface of the same, page vii; R., p. 6) that “nothing whatever connected with it can be borrowed from knowledge relating to man, i.e., from anthropology.” On page 59 (R., p. 52) he repeats, “That one ought on no account to fall into the mistake of trying to derive one’s principle of morality from the special constitution of human nature”; and again, on page 60 (R., p. 52), he says that, “Everything derived from any natural disposition peculiar to man, or from certain feelings and propensities, or indeed from any special trend attaching solely to human nature, and not necessarily to be taken as the Will of every rational being,” is incapable of affording a foundation for the moral law. This shows beyond all possibility of contradiction that Kant does not represent the alleged moral law as a fact of consciousness, capable of empirical proof—which is how the later would-be philosophers, both individually and collectively, wish to pass it off. In discarding every empirical basis for Morals, he rejects all internal, and still more decidedly all external, experience., Accordingly he founds—and I call special attention to this—his moral principle not on any provable fact of consciousness, such as an inner natural disposition, nor yet upon any objective relation of things in the external world. No! That would be an empirical foundation. Instead of this, pure conceptions a priori, i.e., conceptions, which so far contain nothing derived from internal or external experience, and thus are simply shells without kernels—these are to be made the basis of Morals. Let us consider the full meaning of such a position. Human consciousness as well as the whole external world, together with all the experience and all the facts they comprise, are swept from under our feet. We have nothing to stand upon. And what have we to hold to? Nothing but a few entirely abstract, entirely unsubstantial conceptions, floating in the air equally with ourselves. It is from these, or, more correctly, from the mere form of their connection with judgments made, that a Law is declared to proceed, which by so-called absolute necessity is supposed to be valid, and to be strong enough to lay bit and bridle on the surging throng of human desires, on the storm of passion, on the giant might of egoism. We shall see if such be the case.
With this preconceived notion that the basis of Morals must be necessarily and strictly a priori, and entirely free from everything empirical, another of Kant’s favourite ideas is closely connected. The moral principle that he seeks to establish is, he says, a synthetic proposition a priori, of merely formal contents, and hence exclusively a matter of Pure Reason; and accordingly, as such, to be regarded as valid not only for men, but for all possible rational beings; indeed he declares it to hold good for man “on this account alone,” i.e., because per accidens man comes under the category of rational beings. Here lies the cause of his basing the Moral principle not on any feeling, but on pure Reason (which knows nothing but itself and the statement of its antithesis). So that this pure Reason is taken, not as it really and exclusively is—an intellectual faculty of man—but as a self-existent hypostatic essence, yet without the smallest authority; the pernicious effects of such example and precedent being sufficiently shown in the pitiful philosophy of the present day. Indeed, this view of Morals as existing not for men, as men, but for all rational beings, as such, is with Kant a principle so firmly established, an idea so favourite, that he is never tired of repeating it at every opportunity.
I, on the contrary, maintain that we are never entitled to raise into a genus that which we only know of in a single species. For we could bring nothing into our idea of the genus but what we had abstracted from this one species; so that what we should predicate of the genus could after all only be understood of the single species. While, if we should attempt to think away (without any warrant) the particular attributes of the species, in order to form our genus, we should perhaps remove the exact condition whereby the remaining attributes, hypostatised as a genus, are made possible. Just as we recognise intelligence in general to be an attribute of animal beings alone, and are therefore never justified in thinking of it as existing outside, and independent, of animal nature; so we recognise Reason as the exclusive attribute of the human race, and have not the smallest right to suppose that Reason exists externally to it, and then proceed to set up a genus called “Rational Beings,” differing from its single known species “Man”; still less are we warranted in laying down laws for such imaginary rational beings in the abstract. To talk of rational beings external to men is like talking of heavy beings external to bodies. One cannot help suspecting that Kant was thinking a little of the dear cherubim, or at any rate counted on their presence in the conviction of the reader. In any case this doctrine contains a tacit assumption of an anima rationalis, which as being entirely different from the anima sensitiva, and the anima vegetativa, is supposed to persist after death, and then to be indeed nothing else but rationalis. But in the Kritik der Reinen Vernunft Kant himself has expressly and elaborately made an end of this most transcendent hypostasis. Nevertheless, in his ethics generally, and in the Kritik der Praktischen Vernunft especially, there seems always to hover in the background the thought that the inner and eternal essence, of man consists of Reason. In this connection, where the matter only occurs incidentally, I must content myself with simply asserting the contrary. Reason, as indeed the intellectual faculty as a whole, is secondary, is an attribute of phaenomena, being in point of fact conditioned by the organism; whereas it is the Will in man which is his very self, the only part of him which is metaphysical, and therefore indestructible.
The success with which Kant had applied his method to the theoretical side of philosophy led him on to extend it to the practical. Here also he endeavoured to separate pure a priori from empirical a posteriori knowledge. For this purpose he assumed that just as we know a priori the laws of Space, of Time, and of Causality, so in like manner, or at any rate analogously, we have the moral plumb-line for our conduct given us prior to all experience, and revealed in a Categorical Imperative, an absolute “Ought.” But how wide is the difference between this alleged moral law a priori, and our theoretical knowledge a priori of Space, Time, and Causality! The latter are nothing but the expression of the forms, i.e., the functions of our intellect, whereby alone we are capable of grasping an objective world, and wherein alone it can be mirrored; so that the world (as we know it) is absolutely conditioned by these forms, and all experience must invariably and exactly correspond to them—just as everything that I see through a blue glass must appear blue. While the former, the so-called moral law, is something that experience pours ridicule on at every step; indeed, as Kant himself says, it is doubtful whether in practice it has ever really been followed on any single occasion. How completely unlike are the things which are here classed together under the conception of apriority! Moreover, Kant overlooked the fact that, according to his own teaching, in theoretical philosophy, it is exactly the Apriority of our knowledge of Time, Space, and Causality—independent as this is of experience—that limits it strictly to phaenomena, i.e., to the picture of the world as reflected in our consciousness, and makes it entirely invalid as regards the real nature of things, i.e., as regards whatever exists independently of our capacity to grasp it.
Similarly, when we turn to practical philosophy, his alleged moral law, if it have an a priori origin in ourselves, must also be only phaenomenal, and leave entirely untouched the essential nature of things. Only this conclusion would stand in the sharpest contradiction as much to the facts themselves, as to Kant’s view of them. For it is precisely the moral principle in us that he everywhere (e.g., Kritik der Praktischen Vernunft, p. 175; R., p. 228) represents as being in the closest connection with the real essence of things, indeed, as directly in contact with it; and in all passages in the Kritik der Reinen Vernunft, where the mysterious Thing in itself comes forward a little more clearly, it shows itself as the moral principle in us, as Will. But of this he failed to take account.
In Chapter II. of this Part, I explained how Kant took over bodily from theological Morals the imperative form of Ethics, i.e., the conception of obligation, of law, and of duty; and how at the same time he was constrained to leave behind that which in the realm of theology alone lends force and significance to these ideas. But he felt the need of some basis for them, and accordingly went so far as to require that the conception of duty itself should be also the ground of its fulfilment; in other words, that it should itself be its own enforcement. An action, he says (p. 11; R., p. 18), has no genuine moral worth, unless it be done simply as a matter of duty, and for duty’s sake, without any liking for it being felt; and the character only begins to have value, if a man, who has no sympathy in his heart, and is cold and indifferent to others’ sufferings, and who is not by nature a lover of his kind, is nevertheless a doer of good actions, solely out of a pitiful sense of duty. This assertion, which is revolting to true moral sentiment; this apotheosis of lovelessness, the exact opposite, as it is, of the Christian doctrine of Morals, which places love before everything else, and teaches that without it nothing profiteth (1 Cor. xiii. 3); this stupid moral pedantry has been ridiculed by Schiller in two apposite epigrams, entitled Gewissensskrupel (Scruples of Conscience) and Entscheidung (Decision).
It appears that some passages in the Kritik der Praktischen Vernunft, which exactly suit this connection, were the immediate occasion of the verses. Thus, for instance, on p. 150 (R., p. 211) we find: “Obedience to the moral law, which a man feels incumbent on him, is based not on voluntary inclination, nor on endeavour willingly put forth, without any authoritative command, but on a sense of duty.” Yes, it must be commanded! What slavish morality! And again on p. 213 (R., p. 257): “Feelings of compassion, and of tender-hearted sympathy would be actually troublesome to persons who think aright, because through such emotions their well weighed maxims would become confused, and so the desire would grow up to be rid of them, and to be subject solely to the lawgiver—Reason.” Now I maintain without hesitation that what opens the hand of the above-described (p. 11; R., p. 18) loveless doer of good, who is indifferent to the sufferings of other people, cannot (provided he have no secondary motives) be anything else than a slavish δεισιδαιμονία (fear of the gods), equally whether he calls his fetich “Categorical Imperative” or Fitzlipuzli. For what but fear can move a hard heart?
Furthermore, on p. 13 (R., p. 19), in accordance with the above view, we find that the moral worth of an action is supposed to lie, by no means in the intention which led to it, but in the maxim which was followed. Whereas I, on the contrary, ask the reader to reflect that it is the intention alone which decides as to the moral worth, or worthlessness, off an action, so that the same act may deserve condemnation or praise according to the intention which determined it. Hence it is that, whenever men discuss a proceeding to which some moral importance is attached, the intention is always investigated, and by this standard alone the matter is judged; as, likewise, it is in the intention alone that every one seeks justification, if he see his conduct misinterpreted or excuse, if its consequence be mischievous.
On p. 14 (R., p. 20) we at last reach the definition of Duty, which is the fundamental conception of Kant’s entire ethical system. It is: “The necessity of an action out of respect for the law.” But what is necessary takes place with absolute certainty while conduct based on pure duty generally does not come off at all. And not only this; Kant himself admits (p. 25; R., p. 28) that there are no certain instances on record of conduct determined solely by pure duty; and on p. 26 (R., p. 29) he says: “It is utterly impossible to know with certainty from experience whether there has ever really been one single case in which an action, however true to duty, has rested simply on its idea.”—And similarly on p. 28 (R., p. 30) and p. 49 (R., p. 50). In what sense then can necessity be attributed to such an action? As it is only fair always to put the most favourable interpretation on an author’s words, we will suppose him to mean that an act true to duty is objectively necessary, but subjectively accidental. Only it is precisely this that is more easily said than thought for where is the Object of this objective necessity, the consequence of which for the most part, perhaps indeed always, fails to be realised in objective reality! With every wish to be unbiassed, I cannot but think that the expression—necessity of an action—is nothing but an artificially concealed, very forced paraphrase of the word “ought.” This will become clearer if we notice that in the same definition the word Achtung (respect) is employed, where Gehorsam (obedience) is meant. Similarly in the note on p. 16 (R., p. 20) we read: “Achtung signifies simply the subordination of my will to a law. The direct determination of the will by a law, and the consciousness that it is so determined—this is what is denoted by Achtung” In what language? In German the proper term is Gehorsam. But the word Achtung, so unsuitable as it is, cannot without a reason have been put in place of the word Gehorsam. It must serve some purpose; and this is obviously none other than to veil the derivation of the imperative form, and of the conception of duty, from theological Morals; just as we saw above that the expression “necessity of an action,” which is such a forced and awkward substitute for the word “shall,” was only chosen because “shall” is the exact language of the Decalogue. The above definition: “Duty is the necessity of an action out of respect for the law,” would therefore read in natural, undisguised, plain language: “Duty signifies an action which ought to be done out of obedience to a law.” This is “the real form of the poodle.”
But now as to the Law, which is the real foundation stone of the Kantian Ethics. What does it contain? And where is it inscribed? This is the chief point of inquiry. In the first place, be it observed that we have two questions to deal with: the one has to do with the Principle, the other with the Basis of Ethics—two entirely different things, although they are frequently, and sometimes indeed intentionally, confused.
The principle or main proposition of an ethical system is the shortest and most concise definition of the line of conduct which it prescribes, or, if it have no imperative form, of the line of conduct to which it attaches real moral worth. It thus contains, in the general terms of a single enunciation, the direction for following the path of virtue, which is derived from that system: in other words, it is the ὅ,τι of virtue. Whereas the Basis of any theory of Ethics is the διότι of virtue, the reason of the obligation enjoined, of the exhortation or praise given, whether it be sought in human nature, or in the external conditions of the world, or in anything else. As in all sciences, so also in Ethics the ὅ,τι must be clearly distinguished from the διότι. But most teachers of Morals wilfully confound this difference: probably because the ὅ,τι is so easy, the διότι so exceedingly difficult, to give. They are therefore glad to try to make up for the poverty on the one hand, by the riches on the other, and to bring about a happy marriage between Πενία (poverty) and Πόρος (plenty), by putting them together in one proposition. This is generally done by taking the familiar ὅ,τι out of the simple form in which it can be expressed, and forcing it into an artificial formula, from which it is only to be deduced as the conclusion of given premises; and the reader is led by this performance to feel as if he had grasped not only the thing, but its cause as well. We may easily convince ourselves of this by recalling all the most familiar principles of Morals. As, however, in what follows I have no intention of imitating acrobatic tricks of this sort, but purpose proceeding with all honesty and straightforwardness, I cannot make the principle of Ethics equivalent to its basis, but must keep the two quite separate. Accordingly, this ὅ,τι—i.e., the principle, the fundamental proposition—as to which in its essence all teachers of Morals are really at one, however much they may clothe it in different costumes, I shall at once express in the form which I take to be the simplest and purest possible, viz.: Neminem laede, immo omnes, quantum potes, juva. (Do harm to no one; but rather help all people, as far as lies in your power.) This is in truth the proposition which all ethical writers expend their energies in endeavouring to account for. It is the common result of their manifold and widely differing deductions; it is the ὅ,τι for which the διότι is still sought after; the consequence, the cause of which is wanting. Hence it is itself nothing but the Datum (the thing given), in relation to which the Quaesitum (the thing required) is the problem of every ethical system, as also of the present prize essay. The solution of this riddle will disclose the real foundation of Ethics, which, like the philosopher’s stone, has been searched for from time immemorial. That the Datum, the ὅ,τι, the principle is most purely expressed by the enunciation I have given, can be seen from the fact that it stands to every other precept of Morals as a conclusion to given premises, and therefore constitutes the real goal it is desired to attain; so that all other ethical commandments can only be regarded as paraphrases, as indirect or disguised statements, of the above simple proposition. This is true, for instance, even of that trite and apparently elementary maxim: Quod tibi fieri non vis, alteri ne feceris (Do not to another what you are unwilling should be done to yourself.) The defect here is that the wording only touches the duties imposed by law, not those required by virtue;—a thing which can be easily remedied by the omission of non and ne. Thus changed, it really means nothing else than: Neminem laede, immo omnes, quantum potes, juva. But as this sense is only reached by a periphrasis, the formula gains the appearance of having also revealed its own ultimate foundation, its διότι; which, however, is not the case, because it does not in the least follow that, if I am unwilling that something be done to myself, I ought not to do it to others. The same is true of every other principle or leading proposition of Ethics that has hitherto been put forward.
If we now return to the above question:—how does the law read, in obeying which, according to Kant, duty consists? and on what is it based?—we shall find that our philosopher, like most others, has in an extremely artificial manner closely connected the principle of Morals with its basis. I again call attention to what I have already examined at the outset—I mean, the Kantian claim that the principle of Ethics must be purely a priori and purely formal, indeed an a priori synthetical proposition, which consequently may not contain anything material, nor rest upon anything empirical, whether objectively in the external world, or subjectively in consciousness, such as any feeling, inclination, impulse, and the like. Kant was perfectly aware of the difficulty of this position; for on p. 60 (R., p. 53) he says: “It will be seen that philosophy has here indeed reached a precarious standpoint, which yet is to be immovable, notwithstanding that it is neither dependent on, nor supported by, anything in heaven or on earth.” We shall therefore with all the greater interest and curiosity await the solution of the problem he has set himself, namely, how something is to arise out of nothing, that is, how out of purely a priori conceptions, which contain nothing empirical or material, the laws of material human action are to grow up. This is a process which we may find symbolised in chemistry, where out of three invisible gases (Azote, Hydrogen, and Chlorine), and thus in apparently empty space, solid sal-ammoniac is evolved before our eyes.
I will, however, explain, more clearly than Kant either would or could, the method whereby he accomplishes this difficult task. The demonstration is all the more necessary because what he did appears to be seldom properly understood. Almost all Kant’s disciples have fallen into the mistake of supposing that he presents his Categorical Imperative directly as a fact of consciousness. But in that case its origin would be anthropological, and, as resting on experience, although internal, it would have an empirical basis: a position which runs directly counter to the Kantian view, and which he repeatedly rejects. Thus on p. 48 (R., p. 44) he says: “It cannot be empirically determined whether any such Categorical Imperative exists everywhere”; and again, on p. 49 (R., p. 45): “The possibility of the Categorical Imperative must be investigated entirely on a priori grounds, because here we are not helped by any testimony of experience as to its reality.” Even Reinhold, his first pupil, missed this point; for in his Beitrage zur Uebersicht der Philosophie am Anfange des 19. Jahrhunderts, No. 2, p. 21, we find him saying: “Kant assumes the moral law to be a direct and certain reality, an original fact of the moral consciousness.” But if Kant had wished to make the Categorical Imperative a fact of consciousness, and thus give it an empirical foundation, he certainly would not have failed at least to put it forward as such. And this is precisely what he never does. As far as I know, the Categorical Imperative appears for the first time in the Kritik der Reinen Vernunft (p. 802 of the first, and p. 830 of the fifth edition), entirely ex nuncPg 58, without any preamble, and merely connected with the preceding sentence by an altogether unjustifiable “therefore.”; It is only in the Grundlage zur Metaphysik der Sitten—a book to which we here devote especial attention—that it is first introduced expressly and formally, as a deduction from certain concepts. Whereas in Reinhold’s Formula concordiae des Kriticismus, we actually read on p. 122 the following sentence: “We distinguish moral self-consciousness from the experience with which it, as an original fact transcending all knowledge, is bound up in the human consciousness; and we understand by such self-consciousness the direct consciousness of duty, that is, of the necessity we are under of admitting the legitimacy—whether pleasurable or the reverse—of the will, as the stimulus and as the measure of its own operations.”
This would of course be “a charming thesis, with a very pretty hypothesis to boot.” But seriously: into what an outrageous petitio principii do we find Kant’s moral law here developed! If that were true, Ethics would indubitably have a basis of incomparable solidity, and there would be no need of any questions being set for prize essays, to encourage inquiry in this direction. But the greatest marvel would be, that men had been so slow in discovering such a fact of consciousness, considering that for the space of thousands of years a basis for Morals has been sought after with zealous patient toil. How Kant himself is responsible for this deplorable mistake, I shall explain further on; nevertheless, one cannot but wonder at the undisputed predominance of such a radical error among his disciples. Have they never, whilst writing all their numberless books on the Kantian philosophy, noticed the disfigurement which the Kritik der Reinen Vernunft underwent in the second edition, and which made it an incoherent, self-contradictory work? It seems that this has only now come to light; and, in my opinion, the fact has been quite correctly analysed in Rosenkranz’s preface to the second volume of his complete edition of Kant’s works. We must, however, remember that many scholars, being unceasingly occupied as teachers and authors, find very little time left for private and exact research. It is certain that docendo disco (I learn by teaching) is not unconditionally true; sometimes indeed one is tempted to parody it by saying: semper docendo nihil disco (by always teaching I learn nothing); and even what Diderot puts into the mouth of Rameau’s nephew is not altogether without reason: “‘And as for these teachers, do you suppose they understand the sciences they give instruction in? Not a bit of it, my dear sir, not a bit of it. If they possessed sufficient knowledge to be able to teach them, they would not do so.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because they would have devoted their lives to the study of them.'”—(Goethe’s translation, p. 104.) Lichtenberg too says: “I have rather observed that professional people are often exactly those who do not know best.” But to return to the Kantian Ethics: most persons, provided only the conclusion reached agrees with their moral feelings, immediately assume that there is no flaw to be found in its derivation; and if the process of deduction looks difficult, they do not trouble themselves much about it, but are content to trust the faculty.
Thus the foundation which Kant gave to his moral law by no means consists in its being proved empirically to be a fact of consciousness; neither does he base it on an appeal to moral feeling, nor yet on a petitio principii, under its fine modern name of an “absolute Postulate.” It is formed rather of a very subtle process of thought, which he twice advances, on p. 17 and p. 51 (R., p. 22, and p. 46), and which I shall now proceed to make clear.
Kant, be it observed, ridiculed all empirical stimuli of the will, and began by removing everything, whether subjective or objective, on which a law determining the will’s action could be empirically based. The consequence is, that he has nothing left for the substance of his law but simply its Form. Now this can only be the abstract conception of lawfulness. But the conception of lawfulness is built up out of what is valid for all persons equally. Therefore the substance of the law consists of the conception of what is universally valid, and its contents are of course nothing else than its universal validity. Hence the formula will read as follows: “Act only in accordance with that precept which you can also wish should be a general law for all rational beings.” This, then, is the real foundation—for the most part so greatly misunderstood—which Kant constructed for his principle of Morals, and therefore for his whole ethical system. Compare also the Kritik der Praktischen Vernunft, p. 61 (R., p. 147); the end of Note 1.
I pay Kant a tribute of sincere admiration for the great acumen he displayed in carrying out this dexterous feat, but I continue in all seriousness my examination of his position according to the standard of truth. I will only observe—and this point I shall take up again later on—that here reason, because, and in so far as, it works out the above explained special ratiocination, receives the name of practical reason. Now the Categorical Imperative of Practical Reason is the law which results from this process of thought. Consequently Practical Reason is not in the least what most people, including even Fichte, have regarded it—a special faculty that cannot be traced to its source, a qualitas occulta, a sort of moral instinct, like Hutcheson’s “moral sense”; but it is (as Kant himself in his preface, p. xii. [R., p. 8], and elsewhere, often enough declares) one and the same with theoretical reason—is, in fact, theoretical reason itself, in so far as the latter works out the ratiocinative process I have described. It is noticeable that Fichte calls the Categorical Imperative of Kant an absolute Postulate (Grundlage der gesammten Wissenschaftslehre, Tübingen, 1802, p. 240, Note). This is the modern, more showy, expression for petitio principii, and thus we see that he, too, regularly accepted the Categorical Imperative, and consequently must be included among those who have fallen into the mistake above criticised.
The objection, to which this Kantian basis of Morals is at once and directly exposed, lies in the fact that such an origin of a moral law in us is impossible, because of its assumption that man would quite of his own accord hit on the idea of looking about for, and inquiring after, a law to which his will should be subject, and which should shape its actions. This procedure, however, cannot possibly occur to him of itself; at best it could only be after another moral; stimulus had supplied the first impulse and motive thereto; and such a stimulus would have to be positively operative, and real; and show itself to be such, as well as spontaneously influence, indeed force its presence upon, the mind. But anything of this sort would run counter to Kant’s assumption, which, according to the chain of reasoning above described, is to be regarded as itself the origin of all moral conceptions—in fact, the punctum saliens of Morality. Consequently, as long as there is no such antecedent incentive (because, ex hypothesi, there exists no other moral stimulus but the process of thought already explained), so long Egoism alone must remain as the plumb-line of human conduct, as the guiding thread of the law of motivation; so long the entirely empirical and egoistic motives of the moment, alone and unchecked, must determine, in each separate case, the conduct of a man; since, on this assumption, there is no voice to arrest him, neither does any reason whatever exist, why he should be minded to inquire after, to say nothing of anxiously searching for, a law which should limit and govern his will. And yet it is only possible on this supposition that he should think out the above remarkable piece of mental legerdemain. It matters not how far we may care to put a strict and exact interpretation on this Kantian process, or whether we choose to tone it down to some dim, obscurely felt operation of thought. No modification of it can attack the primary truths that out of nothing, nothing comes, and that an effect requires a cause. The moral stimulus, like every motive that effects the will, must in all cases make itself felt spontaneously, and therefore have a positive working, and consequently be real. And because for men the only thing which has reality is the empirical, or else that which is supposed to have a possibly empirical existence, therefore it follows that the moral stimulus cannot but be empirical, and show itself as such of its own accord; and without waiting for us to begin our search, it must come and press itself upon us, and this with such force that it may, at least possibly, overcome the opposing egoistic motives in all their giant strength. For Ethics has to do with actual human conduct, and not with the a priori building of card houses—a performance which yields results that no man would ever turn to in the stern stress and battle of life, and which, in face of the storm of our passions, would be about as serviceable as a syringe in a great fire.
I have already noticed above how Kant considered it a special merit of his moral law that it is founded solely on abstract, pure a priori conceptions, consequently on pure reason; whereby its validity obtains (he says) not only for men, but for all rational beings as such. All the more must we regret that pure, abstract conceptions a priori, without real contents, and without any kind of empirical basis can never move, at any rate, men; of other rational beings I am of course incapable of speaking. The second defect, then, in Kant’s ethical basis is its lack of real substance. So far this has escaped notice, because the real nature of his foundation has in all probability been thoroughly understood only by an exceedingly small number of those who were its enthusiastic propagandists. The second fault, I repeat, is entire want of reality, and hence of possible efficacy. The structure floats in the air, like a web of the subtlest conceptions devoid of all contents; it is based on nothing, and can therefore support nothing, and move nothing. And yet Kant loaded it with a burden of enormous weight, namely, the hypothesis of the Freedom of the Will. In spite of his oft declared conviction that freedom in human action has absolutely no place; that theoretically not even its possibility is thinkable (Kritik der Praktischen Vernunft, p. 168; R., p. 223); that, if the character of a man, and all the motives which work on him were exactly known, his conduct could be calculated as certainly and as precisely as an eclipse of the moon (ibidem, p. 177; R., p. 230): he nevertheless makes an assumption of freedom (although only idealiter, and as a postulate) by his celebrated conclusion: “You can, because you ought”; and this on the strength of his precious ethical basis, which, as we see, floats in the air incorporeal. But if it has once been clearly recognised that a thing is not, and cannot be, what is the use of all the postulates in the world? It would be much more to the purpose to cast away that on which the postulate is based, because it is an impossible supposition; and this course would be justified by the rule a non posse ad non esse valet consequentia; and by a reductio ad absurdum, which would at the same time be fatal to the Categorical Imperative. Instead of which one false doctrine is built up on the other.
The inadmissibility of a basis for Morals consisting of a few entirely abstract and empty conceptions must have been apparent to Kant himself in secret. For in the Kritik der Praktischen Vernunft, where (as I have already said) he is not so strict and methodical in his work, and where we find him becoming bolder on account of the fame he had gained, it is remarkable how the ethical basis gradually changes its nature, and almost forgets that it is a mere web of abstract ideas; in fact, it seems distinctly desirous of becoming more substantial. Thus, for instance, on p. 81 (R., p. 163) of the above work are the words: “The Moral Law in some sort a fact of Pure Reason.” What is one to think of this extraordinary expression? In every other place that which is fact is opposed to what is knowable by pure reason. Similarly on p. 83 (R., p. 164) we read of “a Reason which directly determines the Will”; and so on.
Now let us remember that in laying his foundation Kant expressly and repeatedly rejects every anthropological basis, everything that could prove the Categorical Imperative to be a fact of consciousness, because such a proof would be empirical. Nevertheless, his successors were so emboldened by incidental utterances like the above that they went to much greater lengths. Fichte in his work, System der Sittenlehre, p. 49, warns us expressly “not to allow ourselves to be misled into trying to explain, and derive from external sources, the consciousness that we have duties, because this would be detrimental to the dignity and absoluteness of the law.” A very nice excuse! Again on p. 66 he says: “The principle of Morality is a thought which is based on the intellectual intuition of the absolute activity of the intelligence, and which is directly conceived by the pure intelligence of its own accord.” What a fine flourish to conceal the helplessness of this clap-trap! Whoever may like to convince himself how Kant’s disciples, little by little, totally forgot and ignored the real nature of the foundation and derivation which their master originally gave to the moral law, should read a very interesting essay in Reinhold’s Beitrage zur Uebersicht der Philosophie im Anfange des 19. Jahrhunderts, No. 2, 1801. In it, on pp. 105 and 106, it is maintained “that in the Kantian philosophy Autonomy (which is the same thing as the Categorical Imperative) is a fact of consciousness, and cannot be traced further back, inasmuch as it declares itself by means of a direct consciousness.”
But in this case, it would have an anthropological, and consequently empirical, foundation—a position which is diametrically opposed to Kant’s explicit and repeated utterances. Again, on p. 108 we find: “Both in the practical philosophy of criticism, and in the whole of the purified or higher transcendental philosophy, Autonomy is that which is founded, and which founds, by itself alone; and which is neither capable of, nor requires, any other foundation; it is that which is absolutely original, true and certain per se; the primal truth; the prius κατ’ ἐξοχήν (par excellence); the absolute principle. Whoever, therefore, imagines, requires, or seeks any basis for this Autonomy external to itself, can only be regarded by the Kantian School as wanting in moral consciousness; or else as failing to interpret this consciousness correctly, through the employment of false first principles in his speculations. The School of Fichte and Schelling declares him to be afflicted with a dulness of intellect that renders him incapable of being a philosopher, and forms the characteristic of the unholy canaille, and the sluggish brute, or (to use Schelling’s more veiled expression) of the profanum vulgus and the ignavum pecus.” Every one will understand how much truth there can be in a doctrine which it is sought to uphold by such defiant and dogmatic rhetoric. Meanwhile, we must doubtless explain by the respect that this language inspired, the really childish credulity with which Kant’s followers accepted the Categorical Imperative, and at once treated it as a matter beyond dispute. The truth is that in this case any objections raised to a theoretical assertion might easily be confounded with moral obliquity; so that every one, although he had no very clear idea in his own mind of the Categorical Imperative, yet preferred to be silent, believing, as he did, in secret, that others were probably better off, and had succeeded in evolving a clearer and more definite mental picture of it. For no one likes to turn his conscience inside out.
Thus in the Kantian School Practical Reason with its Categorical Imperative appears more and more as a hyperphysical fact, as a Delphian temple in the human soul, out of whose dark recesses proceed oracles that infallibly declare not, alas! what will, but what ought to, happen. This doctrine of Practical Reason, as a direct and immediate fact, once it had been adopted, or rather introduced by artifice combined with defiance, was unhappily later on extended also to Theoretical Reason; and not unnaturally: for Kant himself had often said that both are but one and the same Reason (e.g., Preface, p. xii; R., p. 8). After it had been once admitted that in the domain of the Practical there is a Reason which dictates ex tripode, it was an easy step to concede the same privilege to Theoretical Reason also, closely related as the latter is to the former—indeed, consubstantial with it. The one was thus pronounced to be just as immediate as the other, the advantage of this being no less immense than obvious.
Then it was that all philosophasters and fancy-mongers, with J.H. Jacobi—the denouncer of atheists—at their head, came crowding to this postern which was so unexpectedly opened to them. They wanted to bring their small wares to market, or at least to save what they most valued of the old heirlooms which Kant’s teaching threatened to pulverise. As in the life of the individual a single youthful mistake often ruins the whole career; so when Kant made that one false assumption of a Practical Reason furnished with credentials exclusively transcendent, and (like the supreme courts of appeal) with powers of decision “without grounds,” the result was that out of the austere gravity of the Critical Philosophy was evolved a teaching utterly heterogeneous to it. We hear of a Reason at first only dimly “surmising,” then clearly “comprehending” the “Supersensuous,” and at last endowed with a perfect “intellectual intuition” of it. Every dreamer could now promulgate his mental freaks as the “absolute,” i.e., officially issued, deliverances, and revelations of this Reason. Nor need we be surprised if the new privilege was fully taken advantage of.
Here, then, is the origin of that philosophical method which appeared immediately after Kant, and which is made up of clap-trap, of mystification, of imposture, of deception, and of throwing dust in the eyes. This era will be known one day in the History of Philosophy as “The Period of Dishonesty.” For it was signalised by the disappearance of the characteristic of honesty, of searching after truth in common with the reader, which was well marked in the writings of all previous philosophers. The philosophaster’s object was not to instruct, but to befool his hearers, as every page attests. At first Fichte and Schelling shine as the heroes of this epoch; to be followed by the man who is quite unworthy even of them, and greatly their inferior in point of talent—I mean the stupid and clumsy charlatan Hegel. The Chorus is composed of a mixed company of professors of philosophy, who in solemn fashion discourse to their public about the Endless, the Absolute, and many other matters of which they can know absolutely nothing.
As a stepping-stone to raise Reason to her prophetic throne a wretched jeu d’esprit was actually dragged in, and made to serve. It was asserted that, as the word Vernunft (Reason) comes from vernehmen (to comprehend), therefore Vernunft means a capacity to comprehend the so-called “Supersensuous,” i.e., Νεϕελοκοκκυγία, or Cloud-cuckoo-town. This pretty notion met with boundless, approval, and for the space of thirty years was constantly repeated in Germany with immense satisfaction; indeed, it was made the foundation of philosophic manuals. And yet it is as clear as noon-day that of course Vernunft (Reason) comes from. vernehmen (to comprehend), but only because Reason makes man superior to animals, so that he not only hears, but also comprehends (vernimmt)—by no means, what is going on in Cloud-cuckoo-town—but what is said, as by one reasonable person to another, the words spoken being comprehended (vernommen) by the listener; and this capacity is called Reason (Vernunft).
Such is the interpretation that all peoples, ages, and languages have put on the word Reason. It has always been understood to mean the possession of general, abstract, non-intuitive ideas, named concepts, which are denoted and fixed by means of words. This faculty alone it is which in reality gives to men their advantage over animals. For these abstract ideas, or concepts, that is, mental impressions formed of the sum of many separate things, are the condition of language and through it of actual thought; through which again they determine the consciousness not only of the present (which animals also have), but of the past and the future as such; whence it results that they are the modulus, so to say, of clear recollection, of circumspection, of foresight, and of intention; the constant factor in the evolution of systematic co-operation, of the state, of trades, arts, sciences, religions, and philosophies, in short, of everything that so sharply distinguishes human from animal life. Beasts have only intuitive ideas, and therefore also only intuitive motives; consequently the dependence of their volition on motives is manifest. With man this dependence is no less a fact; he, too (with due allowance for individual character), is affected by motives under the strictest law of necessity. Only these are for the most part not intuitive but abstract ideas, that is, conceptions, or thoughts, which nevertheless are the result of previous intuitions, hence of external influences. This, however, gives him a relative freedom—relative, that is, as compared with an animal. For his action is not determined (as it is in all other creatures) by the surroundings of the moment as intuitively perceived, but by the thoughts he has derived from experience, or gained by instruction. Consequently the motive, by which he, too, is necessarily swayed, is not always at once obvious to the looker-on simultaneously with the act; it lies concealed in the brain. It is this that lends to all his movements, as well as to his conduct and work as a whole, a character manifestly different from that observable in the habits of beasts. He seems as though guided by finer, invisible threads; whence all his acts bear the stamp of deliberation and premeditation, thus gaining an appearance of independence, which sufficiently distinguishes them from those of animals. All these great differences, however, spring solely out of the capacity for abstract ideas, concepts. This capacity is therefore the essential part of Reason, that is, of the faculty peculiar to man, and it is called το λόγιμον, το λογιστικον, ratio, la ragione, il discorso, raison, reason, discourse of reason. If I were asked what the distinction is between it and Verstand, νοῡς, intellectus, entendement, understanding; I should reply thus: The latter is that capacity for knowledge which animals also possess in varying degrees, and which is seen in us at its highest development; in other words, it is the direct consciousness of the law of Causality—a consciousness which precedes all experience, being constituted by the very form of the understanding, whose essential nature is, in fact, therein contained. On it depends in the first place the intuitive perception of the external world; for the senses by themselves are only capable of impression, a thing which is very far from being intuitive perception; indeed, the former is nothing but the material of the latter: νοῡς ὁρᾷ, καὶ νοῡς ἀκούει, τ’ἄλλα κωϕὰ καὶ τυϕλά. (The mind sees, the mind hears; everything else is deaf and blind.) Intuitive perception is the result of our directly referring the impressions of the sense-organs to their cause, which, exactly because of this act of the intelligence, presents itself as an external object under the mode of intuition proper to us, i.e., in space. This is a proof that the Law of Causality is known to us a priori, and does not arise from experience, since experience itself, inasmuch as it presupposes intuitive perception, is only possible through the same law. All the higher qualities of the intellect, all cleverness, sagacity, penetration, acumen are directly proportional to the exactness and fulness with which the workings of Causality in all its relations are grasped; for all knowledge of the connection of things, in the widest sense of the word, is based on the comprehension of this law, and the clearness and accuracy with which it is understood is the measure of one man’s superiority to another in understanding, shrewdness, cunning. On the other hand, the epithet reasonable has at all times been applied to the man who does not allow himself to be guided by intuitive impressions, but by thoughts and conceptions, and who therefore always sets to work logically after due reflection and forethought. Conduct of this sort is everywhere known as reasonable. Not that this by any means implies uprightness and love for one’s fellows. On the contrary, it is quite possible to act in the most reasonable way, that is, according to conclusions scientifically deduced, and weighed with the nicest exactitude; and yet to follow the most selfish, unjust, and even iniquitons maxims. So that never before Kant did it occur to any one to identify just, virtuous, and noble conduct with reasonable; the two lines of behaviour have always been completely separated, and kept apart. The one depends on the kind of motivation; the other on the difference in fundamental principles. Only after Kant (because he taught that virtue has its source in Pure Reason) did the virtuous and the reasonable become one and the same thing, despite the usage of these words which all languages have adopted—a usage which is not fortuitous, but the work of universal, and therefore uniform, human judgment. “Reasonable” and “vicious” are terms that go very well together; indeed great, far-reaching crimes are only possible from their union. Similarly, “unreasonable” and “noble-minded” are often found associated; e.g., if I give to-day to the needy man what I shall myself require to-morrow more urgently than he; or, if I am so far affected as to hand over to one in distress the sum which my creditor is waiting for; and such cases could be multiplied indefinitely.
We have seen that this exaltation of Reason to be the source of all virtue rests on two assertions. First, as Practical Reason, it is said to issue, like an oracle, peremptory Imperatives purely a priori. Secondly, taken in connection with the false explanation of Theoretical Reason, as given in the Kritik der Reinen Vernunft, it is presented as a certain faculty essentially concerned with the Unconditioned, as manifested in three alleged Ideas (the impossibility of which the intellect at the same time recognises a priori). And we found that this position, as an exemplar vitiis imitabile, led our muddy-headed philosophers, Jacobi at their head, from bad to worse. They talked of Reason (Vernunft) as directly comprehending (vernehmend) the “Supersensuous,” and absurdly declared that it is a certain mental property which has to do essentially with things transcending all experience, i.e., with metaphysics; and that it perceives directly and intuitively the ultimate causes of all things, and of all Being, the Supersensuous, the Absolute, the Divine, etc. Now, had it been wished to use Reason, instead of deifying it, such assertions as these must long ago have been met by the simple remark that, if man, by virtue of a special organ, furnished by his Reason, for solving the riddle of the world, possessed an innate metaphysics that only required development; in that case there would have to be just as complete agreement on metaphysical matters as on the truths of arithmetic and geometry; and this would make it totally impossible that there should exist on the earth a large number of radically different religions, and a still larger number of radically different systems of philosophy. Indeed, we may rather suppose that, if any one were found to differ from the rest in his religious or philosophical views, he would be at once regarded as a subject for mental pathology. Nor would the following plain reflection have failed to present itself. If we discovered a species of apes which intentionally prepared instruments for fighting, or building, or for any other purpose; we should immediately admit that it was endowed with Reason. On the other hand, if we meet with savages destitute of all metaphysics, or of all religion (and there are such); it does not occur to us to deny them Reason on that account. The Reason that proves its pretended supersensuous knowledge was duly brought back to bounds by Kant’s critique; but Jacobi’s wonderful Reason, that directly comprehends the supersensuous, he must indeed have thought beneath all criticism. Meanwhile, a certain imperious and oracular Reason of the same kind is still, at the Universities, fastened on the shoulders of our innocent youth.
If we wish to reach the real origin of this hypothesis of Practical Reason, we must trace its descent a little further back. We shall find that it is derived from a doctrine, which Kant totally confuted, but which nevertheless, in this connection, lies secretly (indeed he himself is not aware of it) at the root of his assumption of a Practical Reason with its Imperatives and its Autonomy—a reminiscence of a former mode of thought. I mean the so-called Rational Psychology, according to which man is composed of two entirely heterogeneous substances—the material body, and the immaterial soul. Plato was the first to formulate this dogma, and he endeavoured to prove it as an objective truth. But it was Descartes who, by working it out with scientific exactness, perfectly developed and completed it. And this is just what brought its fallacy to light, as demonstrated by Spinoza, Locke, and Kant successively. It was demonstrated by Spinoza; because his philosophy consists chiefly in the refutation of his master’s twofold dualism, and because he entirely and expressly denied the two Substances of Descartes, and took as his main principle the following proposition: “Substantia cogitans et substantia externa una eademque est substantia, quae jam sub hoc, jam sub illo attribute comprehenditur.” It was demonstrated by Locke; for he combated the theory of innate ideas, derived all knowledge from the sensuous, and taught that it is not impossible that Matter should think. And lastly, it was demonstrated by Kant, in his Kritik der Rationalen Psychologie, as given in the first edition. Leibnitz and Wolff were the champions on the bad side; and this brought Leibnitz the undeserved honour of being compared to the great Plato, who was really so unlike him.
But to enter into details here would be out of place. According to this Rational Psychology, the soul was originally and in its essence a perceiving substance, and only as a consequence thereof did it become possessed of volition. According as it carried on these two modes of its activity, Perception and Volition, conjoined with the body, or incorporeal, and entirely per se, so it was endowed with a lower or higher faculty of perception, and of volition in like kind. In its higher faculty the immaterial soul was active solely by itself, and without co-operation of the body. In this case it was intellectus purus, being composed of concepts, belonging exclusively to itself, and of the corresponding acts of will, both of which were absolutely spiritual, and had nothing sensuous about them—the sensuous being derived from the body. So that it perceived nothing else but pure Abstracts, Universals, innate conceptions, aeternae veritates, etc.; wherefore also its volition was entirely controlled by purely spiritual ideas like these. On the other hand, the soul’s lower faculty of Perception and Volition was the result of its working in concert and close union with the various organs of the body, whereby a prejudicial effect was produced on its an mixed spiritual activity. Here, i.e., to this lower faculty, was supposed to belong every intuitive perception, which consequently would have to be obscure and confused, while the abstract, formed by separating from objects their qualities, would be clear! The will, which was determined by preceptions thus sensuously conditioned, formed the lower Volition, and it was for the most part bad; for its acts were guided by the impulse of the senses; while the other will (the higher) was untrammelled, was guided by Pure Reason, and appertained only to the immaterial soul. This doctrine of the Cartesians has been best expounded by De la Forge, in his Tractatus de Mente Humana, where in chap. 23 we read: Non nisi eadem voluntas est, quae appellatur appetitus sensitivus, quando excitatur per judicia, quae formantur consequenter ad perceptiones sensuum; et quae appetitus rationalis nominatur, cum mens judicia format de propriis suis ideis, independenter a cogitationibus sensuum confusis, quae inclinationum ejus sunt causae…. Id, quod occasionem dedit, ut duae istae diversae voluntatis propensiones pro duobus diversis appetitibus sumerentur, est, quod saepissime unus alteri opponatur, quia propositum, quod mens superaedificat propriis suis perceptionibus, non semper consentit cum cogitationibus, quae menti a corporis dispositione suggeruntur, per quam saepe obligatur ad aliquid volendum, dum ratio ejus earn aliud optare facit.
Out of the dim reminiscence of such views there finally arose Kant’s doctrine of the Autonomy of the Will, which, as the mouth-piece of Pure, Practical Reason, lays down the law for all rational beings as such, and recognises nothing but formal motives, as opposed to material; the latter determining only the lower faculty of desires, to which the higher is hostile. For the rest, this whole theory, which was not really systematically set forth till the time of Descartes, is nevertheless to be found as far back as Aristotle. In his De Anima I. 1, it is sufficiently clearly stated; while Plato in the Phaedo (pp. 188 and 189, edit. Bipont.) had already paved the way, with no uncertain hints. After being elaborated to great perfection by the Cartesian doctrine, we find it a hundred years later waxed bold and strong, and occupying the foremost place; but precisely for this reason forced to reveal its true nature. An excellent résumé of the view which then prevailed is presented in Muratori’s Della Forza della Fantasia, chaps. 1-4 and 13. In this work the imagination is regarded as a purely material, corporeal organ of the brain (the lower faculty of perception), its function being to intuitively apprehend the external world on the data of the senses; and nought remains for the immaterial soul but thinking, reflecting, and determining. It must have been felt how obviously this position involves the whole subject in doubt. For if Matter is capable of the intuitive apprehension of the world in all its complexity, it is inconceivable that it should not also be capable of abstracting this intuition; wherefrom everything else would follow. Abstraction is of course nothing else than an elimination of the qualities attaching to things which are not necessary for general purposes, in other words, the individual and special differences. For instance, if I disregard, or abstract, that which is peculiar to the sheep, ox, stag, camel, etc., I reach the conception of ruminants. By this operation the ideas lose their intuitiveness, and as merely abstract, non-intuitive notions or concepts, they require words to fix them in the consciousness, and allow of their being adequately handled. All this shows that Kant was still under the influence of the after-effect of that old-time doctrine, when he propounded his Practical Reason with its Imperatives.
These epigrams form the close of Schiller’s poem “Die Philosophen,” which is worth reading in this connection—(Translator.)
More correctly, Huitzilopochtli: a Mexican deity.
Or “shall,” as in the “thou shall,” of the Decalogue —(Translator.)
”Des Pudels Kern”; V. Goethe’s Faust, Part I. Studirzimmer. Schopenhauer means that his analysis has forced the real meaning out of Kant’s language, just as Faust by his exorcism compels Mephistopheles, who was in the form of a poodle, to resume his true form.—(Translator.)
ὅ,τι: i.e., the “what” a thing is; its principle, or essence.—(Translator.)
διότι: i.e., the “wherefore” of a thing; its raison d’être, its underlying cause.—(Translator.)
Schopenhauer was doubtless thinking of the famous myth in Plato’s Symposium Chap. 23 (Teubner’s edition, Leipzig, 1875), where Eros is represented as the offspring of Πόρος and Πενία, who on the birthday of Aphrodite were united in the garden of Zeus.—(Translator.)
Hugo Grotius attributes it to the Emperor Severus.
Azote=Nitrogen. The formula for Ammonium Chloride or Sal-ammoniac is NH4Cl.—(Translator).
To be found in the fifth number of the Beiträge zur Uebersicht der Philosophie am Anfange des 19. Jahrhunderts—a journal of the greatest importance for critical philosophy.
”Einen erklecklichen SATZ, ja, und der auch was SETZT.” SCHILLER.
To argue from impossibility to non-existence is valid—i.e. the impossibility of a thing makes its non-existence a safe conclusion.—(Translator.)
Dacht’ ich’s doch! Wissen sie nichts Vernünftiges mehr
Schieben sie’s Einem geschwind in das Gewissen hinein.
—SCHILLER, Die Philosophen.
Just as I thought! Can they give no more any answer of reason,
Quickly the ground is changed: Conscience, they say,
is at fault.
As from the Pythian tripod: i.e.,—with official authority, ex cathedra.
V. Aristoph., Aves, 819 et alibi.—(Translator.)
λόγιμος means “remarkable,” being never used in the sense of “rational.” Tὸ logikὸn is perhaps a possible expression; the right word is λόγος.—(Translator.)
The three Ideas are: (1) The Psychological; (2) The Cosmological; (3) The Theological. V. The Paralogisms of Pure Reasons, in the Dialectics: Kritik der Reinen Vernunft, Part I.—(Translator.)
An example easy to be imitated in its faults. V. Horace, Ep. Lib. I., xix. 17.—(Translator.)
The thinking substance, and substance in extension are one and the self-same substance, which is contained now under the latter attribute (i.e., extension), now under the former (i.e., the attribute of thinking).—Ethica, Part II., Prop. 7. Corollary.
Intellectio pura est intellectio, quae circa nullas imagines corporeas versatur. (Pure intelligence is intelligence that has nothing to do with any bodily forms.)—Cart., Medit., p. 188.
It is nothing but one and the same will, which at one time is called sensuous desire, when it is stimulated by acts of judgment, formed in consequence of perceptions of the senses; and which at another time is called rational desire (i.e. desire of the reason), when the mind forms acts of judgment about its own proper ideas, independently of the thoughts belonging to, and mixed up with, the senses; which thoughts are the causes of the mind’s tendencies…. That these two diverse propensities of the will should be regarded as two distinct desires is occasioned by the fact that very often the one is opposed to the other, because the intention, which is built up by the mind on the foundation of its own proper perceptions, does not always agree with the thoughts which are suggested to the mind by the body’s disposition; whereby it (the mind) is often constrained to will something, while its reason makes it choose something different.—(Translator.)
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