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an I-consciousness than there is an object-consciousness. ... The thought of the I is in no way more original and logically simple than the thought of the object.” i
And yet the fact remains that there is a marked difference between critical idealists and certain other contemporary writers who also maintain the priority of logic, but who have no Kantian affiliations. The difference lies in the fact that while Kantians regard logic as the science of thought or knowledge (“Denken" or "Erkenntnis"), these writers regard it as a science of relations,' 'classes, 'manifolds,' 'propositions,' 'propositional functions,' or other special entities, no more related to thought than are the numbers of the mathematician or the elements of the chemist. The peculiarity of these entities lies in their being so highly abstract as to be contained or implied in all other entities. They are necessary for thought only in that they are so ubiquitous that thought can deal with nothing without dealing with them.
Now whether this practice among neo-Kantians of calling logical principles the 'acts' of synthetic unity, or the 'functions' of thought, or the 'presuppositions of knowledge,' or the conditions of objectivity,' is no more than an accident of emphasis and hereditary verbal usage, I shall not seek to determine. But of several conclusions we may be reasonably certain. In the first place, if the principles of logic are essentially inherent in thought or knowledge, and we are to accept the priority of logic over all other sciences, then an idealistic metaphysics is the only possible conclusion, if there is to be any metaphysics at all. The mind that owns the logical structure of reality must own reality outright. That the thought or knowledge in question is not the mental process of the finite individual does not affect this general conclusion in the least. It simply introduces a new conception of mind. The central idealistic thesis, that reality is dependent on some mind, is simply reaffirmed in a new sense. If, on the other hand, the principles of logic are not in any sense mental, then it is confusing and misleading to allude to them as the principles of thought or knowledge. And in either case, critical idealism is in unstable equilibrium. In so far as its logical motive is emphasized, it tends to become a special science like mathematics. In so far as its idealistic motive is emphasized, it tends, as it did in the systems of Kant's immediate successors, Fichte, Hegel, and the Romanticists, to assume the form of a metaphysics and philosophy of religion.
1 Op. cit., p. 392.
' I refer to the “lay” logicians, beginning with Schroeder and Boole and represented most prominently today by Peano, Couturat, and Bertrand Russell. The reader will find Russell's Principles of Mathematics and Principia Mathematica the best source for this movement.
: The best discussion of the matter from the idealistic side is to be found in Cassirer, op. cit., Chap. VII.
The English school of idealists, beginning with Coleridge, and comprising T. H. Green, Edward Caird, F. H. Bradley and Josiah Royce among its more recent exponents, has from the outset offered a religious philosophy based on the supremacy of consciousness. And the latter-day German movement flows steadily from neo-Kantianism to a neo-Fichteanism, neo-Hegelianism, or neo-Romanticism, in which the critique of psychologism’ is only a subordinate motive in the construction of a spiritualistic Weltanschauung.
$ 6. Objective Idealism in its metaphysical form has fluctuated between the two poles of intellectualism and
voluntarism. Its central thesis, as we have Metaphysical Idealism. seen, is the dependence of being on a knowing Intellectualism
mind that transcends and envelops both the physical and the psychical orders. But this subject may be held to consist either in a process of thought governed by logical motives; or in a primary activity, expressing itself in thought, but governed primarily by ethical motives. For Hegel, the classic representative of intellectualistic idealism, mind, or spirit (“Geist”) is a primordial dialectic or train of ideas; an “Absolute Idea," "externalizing" itself in nature and reaching self-consciousness through the historical development of culture. There have been two internal forces affecting the development of this version of idealism.
In the first place, the categories themselves, the several ideas with their own relations of logical necessity, tend to replace and render unnecessary the unifying conception of mind. The Absolute Idea tends to assume the form of a self-sufficient system, like logic or mathematics. As a contemporary idealist complains, “the ‘Absolute Idea' is, in its self-evolution, of all things most inane, because it figures as thought — 'the impersonal life of thought, as it has been termed - without a live Thinker."2 Thus in
” tellectualistic idealism tends to develop into a bare rationalism or necessitarianism, that is really closer to mechanism, than to spiritualism in the ordinary moral and religious sense. So that in the so-called “left wing” of the Hegelian school, idealism passed very easily and naturally over into its opposite.
In the second place, Hegel's account of the process of mind, his enumeration and arrangement of the categories, was soon shown to be inadequate. Science in its independent development refused to comply. The special categories of nature, and even of history, had to be accepted from the several sciences operating in these fields. As a result the history of intellectualistic idealism has been marked by the steady reduction of the strictly spiritual categories — the a priori principles of pure thought — to the scantiest and most formal terms. Indeed it is not far from the truth to say that it now recognizes only one such category, that of unity. This obtains diverse formulations, such as the Caird's "self-consistent and intelligible whole"; Green's “unalterable order of relations"; Bradley's “Indi
1 Cf. Hegel's Encyklopädie (1816-1818), $8 236-244, 381-382; trans. by W. Wallace, in his Logic of Hegel, and Hegel's Philosophy of Mind.
· James Lindsay: Studies in European Philosophy, pp. 223-224.
• This movement was represented by A. L. Feuerbach, David Strauss, Karl Marx, and others.
vidual" or "complete system”; and Joachim's “systematic coherence,” or “completely individual, self-sustained, significant whole."1 In so far as these formulas purport to define a maximum or ideal unity, I shall discuss them in the next chapter. Suffice it here to point out that the terms are so abstract and colorless, that they do not legitimately affect that issue between spiritualism and materialism, in which idealism appears as one of the principal champions.
This is true whichever of the two following courses is pursued. It is possible, on the one hand, to adopt the categories of science, and superimpose the philosophical category of unity. The world is then simply that kind of systematic unity which the several sciences are progressively revealing, and idealism is no more than a formal endorsement of these sciences. Or, on the other hand, it is possible to pursue the agnostic course, and assert that beyond the reach of our knowledge there are categories which transmute the paradoxes of this world into a "total unity of experience," which “cannot, as such, be directly verified." 3 But such an absolute, concerning which nothing more is known than that it is somehow one, selfconsistent, and all-inclusive, cannot properly be said to be spiritual; indeed, in so far as it signifies specific mental and moral predicates, spirituality must be regarded as one of those“ partial aspects” which the absolute transcends.
87. The doubtful spirituality of a world defined exclusively to suit an intellectual demand constitutes a Voluntaristic
powerful motive impelling idealism to shift or Ethical its basis from intellectualism to voluntarism. Idealism
Intellect, so the voluntarist asserts, is only a special activity of consciousness. The general or fundamental activity of consciousness is not intellectual but moral. Consciousness owns and employs the categories in the service of its ulterior practical purposes. We are thus led from Hegelianism to Fichteanism. With Fichte, mind was the pure ego, endowed with freedom and activity, and “positing” in obedience to moral necessities, a "limited ego” in opposition to a "limited non-ego”; in other words, dividing itself into the counterpoise of spirit and nature.
1 E. Caird: "Idealism and the Theory of Knowledge,” reprinted from Proceedings of the British Academy of Science, Vol. I, p. 8; T. H. Green: Prolegomena to Ethics, pp. 29, 30; F. H. Bradley: Appearance and Reality, P. 542; H. H. Joachim: The Nature of Truth, pp. 76, 113.
: Cf. especially, pp. 183–188. • Bradley: op. cit., p. 530.
But the same fate which befell the logical metaphysics of Hegel, befell also the ethical metaphysics of Fichte. He did not succeed in moralizing nature any more than Hegel succeeded in rationalizing it. Mechanical science has pursued its own independent course, steadily and irresistibly; and voluntarism like intellectualism has been forced to ratify its conquests. The result is that voluntarism is forced either to limit the scope of its categories to the field of moral science proper, or to divest these categories of their narrower and stricter meaning in order to maintain their limitless scope.
The former alternative is adopted in so far as voluntaristic idealism is simply a protest against attempts to mechanize the sciences of value. When voluntaristic idealism goes beyond this insistence on the autonomy of moral science within its own limited field, and asserts its ultimate priority, it becomes necessary to construe logic also as a normative science. Judgment becomes an act of will, and truth its norm. Reality, being reduced to
' knowledge by the usual idealistic arguments, is thus made an expression of will. But when the will is thus identified with the will to know, it amounts to no more than the reaffirmation of things as they are. The cognitive or logical will is the will of the passionless sage who has
1 Fichte: Grundlage der gesammten Wissenschaftslehre (Science of Knowledge) (1794), trans. by A. E. Kroeger, pp. 79 sq.; and Das System der Sittenlehre (Science of Elhics) (1798), trans. by Kroeger, pp. 67 sq.
: Cf. below, pp. 161-162. For the voluntarism arising from non-idealistic motives, such as 'neo-vitalism, cf. Bergson, as treated below, pp. 261-264.