The history of the internet repeats (somehow) the history of modern
technology and the history of modern economics and politics, although
the history of the internet itself is also a part of the modern
history. The history of the internet is faster than the history
of the whole modernity. Therefore, we can say: The history of the
internet will show us how the modern history will end - probably
both will end up at the same time. In the end we will be real and
virtual slaves - slaves as never before.
Fight for our freedom!
Or is it already too late?
Has the internet had its day?
Maybe that there will be an »internet« colosseum
- otherwise there is no constructive future for the internet, because
we've got many comparisons and analogies, for example: every kind
of bread-and-games-techniques or (as an occidental not-old-example)
telephone, radio, television in their significance for the behaviour
of the people (humans) and their relationship to each
other. All this shows us the goal.
In short: the internet has and will have no harmonious future.
The history of the internet repeats (somehow) the history of modern
technology and the history of modern economics and politics, although
the history of the internet itself is also a part of the modern
history. The process can also be described as an exponential increase
of the loss of intelligence, wealth and descendants (children),
and - of course - culture. The history of the internet is faster
than the history of the whole modernity. Therefore, we can say:
The history of the internet will show us how the modern history
will end - probably both will end up at the same time. In the end
we will be real and virtual slaves - slaves as never before.
Fight for our freedom!
Or is it already too late?
Anti-racists always have to refer to racists and racism. If there
were no racist and racism, aniti-racists would never exist. The
existence of anticacists and anti-racisms depends on racists and
racism. So to anti-racists, it makes much sense to invent, to weave
more and more racists and racism. It seems to be absurd, but it
is true, because it is a fact, an absurd fact: Anti-racists are
more racists than racist.
Every organic system (life) has to struggle for its
life, thus for itself, by antagonising the entropy. The entropy
is at last the winner anyway, but temporarily life defaets the entropy
by the charge (expenditure) of energy, and this temporary
fight against the entropy is what we call life.
Anentropy means not entropy, non-entropy,
thus the lowest degree of order, which means: order itself. Antientropy
means the antagonist of entropy, and the best example
of an antagonist of entropy is life. Anentropy means the absence
of entropy, but antientropy needs entropy because of fighting against
An interessing question is, whether a living being is able (capable,
competent) enough to be completely anentropic. I negate because
a living being isn't able to be completely entropic. If a living
being were able to be completely entropic, it would be dead, and
if a living being is dead, it is no living being anymore, its time
is over. Life is not capable of being completely organised (100%
order) and not capable of being completely chaotic (100% chaos).
Who is synthetical to Hegel (Thesis) and Marx (Antithesis)
and who is synthetical to Schopenhauer (Thesis) and
Nietzsche (Antithesis)? Find the Synthesis!
The history of the internet repeats (somehow) the history of modern
technology and the history of modern economics and politics, although
the history of the internet itself is also a part of the modern
history. The process can also be described as an exponential increase
of the loss of intelligence, wealth and descendants (children),
and - of course - culture. The history of the internet is faster
than the history of the whole modernity. Therefore, we can say:
The history of the internet will show us how the modern history
will end - probably both will end up at the same time. In the end
we will be real and virtual slaves - slaves as never before.
Fight for our freedom!
Or is it already too late?
If there is no thymos but only eros, then there is
no harmony between this two foci of the ellipse named human soul.
For being successful in e.g. science, technique (technology), economy,
intelligence (brainpower), there must be a very good cultural system,
be it a culture itself (like the Occidental one) or a nation (like
the German one) or a person, and this must be based on good and
thus advantageous nature conditions.
I give you an example for the almost proved fact that southern
people are not made for philosophy, science, technique (technology),
industry, economy, intelligence (brainpower), but made for religion
and idolatry: the climate in the south makes the people more
passive, lazy or even motionless (think of the Indian culture with
its meditative people), but receptive to religion, but the climate
in the north makes the people more active, busy, ..., etc.. The
cause or reason therefor is a logical phenomenon which can easily
be proved by science. We are endotherm animals, and endotherm animals
produce their temperature by themselves (in their bodies). So if
the ambient temperature is hot, endotherm animals get more passive,
lazy, or even motionless, and if the ambient temperature is cold,
endotherm animals get more active, busy, ..., etc.. High temperature
means lazy endotherm animals, low temperature means busy endotherm
animals. The logical implication for this eaxmple is:
And we have the syllogistic form:
|If the climate is hot, then the endotherm animals are lazy.
This could still be continued, although it gets more and more difficult
when it comes to proving the thesis that northern people are made
for philosophy, science, technique (technology), industry, economy,
intelligence (brainpower), while southern people are made for
religion, but in all probability this thesis is true. Exceptions
prove the rule. And the history has also shown that this thesis is
|1.premise (propositio maior):
||Endotherm animals are lazy in hot climate zones.
|2. premise (propositio minor):
||Human beings are endotherm animals.
||Human beings are lazy in hot climate zones.
Some people are interested in making the other people stupid. And
because of that they want the mass of people to have less or even
no more knowledge, no more wisdom etc., because this mass of humans
can easily be replaced by machines (e.g. robots and androids) which
are lovely slaves because this servants never rebell, if they are
well constructed by their constructers (architects). This is and
will be not a game, but this are and will be scientific,
technical, engineering (also social engineering), economical, political,
social, and, last but not least, cultural / civilised (more: civilisationised)
facts! Faustian it is, and that means in terms of Kultur:
Occidental it is, and that means in geographical terms: Northern
and Western European it is, and that means in historical
terms: German it is. Shall we complain about its advanced
decline after thousands of years? In the meantime the facts are
going on. For this and the following century, or even the entire
future there are two or even three possibilities of human development
If the mass of humans had, have, or will ever have a knowledge of
that and a free will or a free decision, than
this mass of humans would not have decided, would not decide, or will
not decide to become slaves.
||Extinction of all human beings (and even more beings) in this
or the following century.
||The world of the last men (die
letzen Menschen [Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche]) will be
totally installed and last forever.
||A new regional Kultur will arise (but I don't believe in this
although it wouldy be the best of this three possibilities).
If you want to do Nietzsche a favour, then argue for him by arguing
What I mean with the relatively free will is
a kind of a partly restricted will because a
will as such can only be a free will and is not
observable, not cognoscible , thus not provable or
disprovable, so we can agree with Schopenhauer and say that the
will is Kants Ding an sich (thing as such
/ thing in itself).
A modern society is velociferic, expanded in any case, accelerated
in any case, greedy in any case, too fat, too ugly ....
Newton was a scientist and theologian while his German Zeitgenosse
(time accomplice, coeval, contemporary) Leibniz was
a scientist and philosopher; so theology and philosophy make
the crucial difference. Newton had political power, Leibniz had
no political power. Calculus was invented by Leibniz. Wether calculus
was also, simultaneously and independently of Leibniz, invented
by Newton too is doubtable because of Newtons political power.
Goethe ... war in seiner ganzen Denkweise, ohne es zu wissen,
ein Schüler von Leibniz gewesen. (Oswald Spengler, Der
Untergang des Abendlandes, 1918, S. IX **).
Goethe ... had been in his whole way of thinking, without
knowing it, a disciple of Leibniz.
What has been found and brought in a formula by Newton could also
have been found and brought in a formula by another person. It was
Newton's political power that made him and his laws
famous. If he hadn't had this political power, he and his laws
would probably not have become famous. The history of Western science
would have remained a Faustian one anyway but been written in a
different way and probably never mentioned Newton. The history of
Western science would have remained a Faustian one anyway but been
written in a different way and probably never mentioned Newton.
So without any doubt, Newton was also a Faustian scientist but he
gave a very special form to the Faustian science. And what I just
said about Newton, applies similarly for Einstein. So Newton and
Einstein are not the most typical Faustian scientists but nevertheless
also Faustian scientists. Their relativity theories are not as absolute
and dynamic as other Faustian theories but nevertheless also Faustian
The other Faustian theories are all the other Occidental (Western)
theories. They are so many that I didn't want to list them in my
last post. In this case, it doesn't matter wether they are
right (true) or wrong (false)
because in this case it is crucial and essential wether they
belong to the type, the form, the character of the Faustian culture,
for example: dynamic, infinity, infiniteness, endlessness, everlastingness,
boundlessness, illimitableness, force(s), dilatation, expansiveness,
... and so on.
The Non-Faustian cultures had and have a completely different
idea when it comes to undertand what nature, physics,
universe, life, ... means. Humans at different
places and times understood, understand, and will understand their
environment differently, they even have their own worlds,
and so they also value and justify differently. If you know how
science was and/or is understood by the Mesopotamian
culture, by the Egyptian culture, by the Indian (or
South-Asian) culture, by the Chinese (or East-Asian) culture,
by the Apollonian culture (our ancestor), by the Inka/Maya
culture, by the Magic/Arabian/Islamic culture, and the Faustian
culture (the descendant of the Apollinian culture), then you know
also the differences in their theories and even their philosophies
(metaphysics, ontologies, ...). Merely the Faustian culture has
developed a real science; partly ,and merely partly also the other
cultures, partly because they had and have (a)
a too hot climate, (b) a too dominant
religion, so that something which could be called science
nearly remained or remains a religion, or (c)
other conditions that prevented or prevent the developmet of a real
You may say (for example): there were the constructions of
the Tower of Babel, the pyramids of the Egyptians and the Maya,
the inventions and discoveries of the Mesopotamian culture, the
Chinese (East-Asian) culture, the Apollonian culture (our ancestor).
Alright, but they weren't like that what the Faustian constructions,
inventions, and discoveries were and are. Merely the Faustian culture
had and has a concept of an autonomous science and technique/technology.
You may see what it means to have a more religious science
and technique/technology when you look at thre current
Faustian science which is again more dominated by religion
than in former times of the Faustian culture, for example the era
of the so-called enlightenment (Aufklärung).
It is comparable to humans personal development: the most scientific
time is the time of the adolescence and around the adolescence;
the era of the enlightenment (Aufklärung)
was such a time for the Faustian culture. A younger one is
too unripe, an older one is already too ripe
- for example too conservative, too philosophical,
thus too wise - for science as an enlightenment
(Aufklärung), but not too ripe for a more
religious or philosophical (metaphysical, ontological) science.
According to Schopenhauer the WILL is Kants thing-in-itself
(Ive been told that the better English term could be: thing
as such), and Einstein often quoted Schopenhauer, agreed with
Schopenhauer, but also with Kant, and the only one who was accepted
as philosopher by Schopenhauer was Kant.
Do you think and/or imagine nothing when you think of zero,
or nothing, or the nothingness?
When I think of nothing or the nothingness I often think of the
word nothing (n-o-t-h-i-n-g) or the word
nothingness (n-o-t-h-i-n-g-n-e-s-s), because
the words nothing and nothingness exist
as well as (for example) the words zero and infinity.
What do you think when you think of God?
It is in fact impossible to show or even prove respectively disprove
with physical means and methods what physics is; that is only possible
with language and with philosophy. This is roughly that what Heidegger
once said in an interview.
Humans pleasure and replication are already separated. So
humans are now a species between animals (humans) and (humans,)
machines or gods, not far away from (those) machines between humans
Do you know the difference between the real being (existence)
and the ideal being (essence)? The real being is spatiotemporal,
the ideal being (essence) lacks temporality. According to
Platon and other philosophers the ideal being (essence) is
the true, the actual real being, while the so-called
real being is merely the appearance, the
If our definitions merely accepted spatiotemporality as the property
of being, then being without temporality would not be possible by
defintion. If our definitions accepted that temporality is not required
for being, then we being without temporality would be possible by
Does essence also have affect? Do both the real being
and the ideal being have affect? Dont forget:
According to Platon and other philosophers the ideal being is the
true, the actual real being.
Those who think deeply are the best, and those who report to the
public are the worst.
To a peasant population it is an advantage if the the Earth is
at the center of the universe, but to an urban population it is
an advantage if the the Earth is not at the center of the universe.
Mind is nuch more than psychology.
The brain is a biological (especially a neurological)
Do not forget that!
Being a materialist doesent automatically mean being right,
being intelligent, being wise, being a God, .... but does probably
mean being a Godwannabe.
Six situations are possible relating to a mother and her feelings
she holds towards her husband and / or children:
1.) She holds his feelings equally to her husband and to her children.
2.) She holds his feelings more to her children than to her husband.
3.) He holds his feelings only to her children, thus not to her
4.) He holds his feelings more to her husband than to her children.
5.) He holds his feelings only to her husband, thus not to her children.
6.) He holds his feelings neither to her husband nor to her children.
The same applies analogously for a father.
In modern times that normal sequence (1 to 6) stands on its head
(6 to 1).
Not we but the independent, sovereign, and therefore
responsible rulers are arrogant and blind. This blindness is because
of their dictated libertarianism, egalitarianism. and fraternalism
(humanitarism), thus: their totalitarianism. When I say there is
a difference between the intelligence of the humans, most of the
people cry: You cant say that because it is IQ racism!
But it isn't! You have no idea, my stupids and hypocrites.
Some or even many of those stupids and hypocrites could know better,
provided that they were allowed to know better - but they are not
allowed to know better.
There are more differences between huamans and also or even especially
between male humans and female humans than you (are allowed to)
think - confused by the political correctness. Those differences
are very important when it comes to develop successfully. People
who want to reduce those differences are people who want to reduce
The problem with the psychology (**)
is that it has no real object because nobody knows what psyche really
is, means, how it can be defined. ... and so on.
Brain is a natural, especially a biological, more especially a
neurological object, soul is a cultural, religious, theological,
philosophical object, and mind is a cultural, semiotic, linguistic,
theological (partly also religious), philosophical object. According
to the psychologists psyche is a psychological object
because psychologists say that psyche is something between
brain, soul, and mind; but why do they hide their object if they
have one? The answer is that they have no object, or at least no
real object. According to this we have the same problem with the
psyche as all our ancestors had - except one point:
since the occidental modernity psychology and especially sociology
have been becoming the main part of the new theology and
especially the new religion because the old theology
and especially the old religion have been becoming the losers
This refers mainly to the occidental culture, but more and more
also to the other cultures on our planet.
The brain does its job, as you say, in a natural way,
and the mind does its job, as you say, in a cultural
Philosophy - also as a mind-science, spirit-science, awareness-science,
knowledge-science etc. - can be subjective and objective like any
other branch of science, but when it comes to a very expensive research,
then the other branches of science depend more on money. Provided
that there is an interest on both sides of buying, everyone
can by everything as well as everyone can be bought by everyone,
thus also a philosopher who lives in the desert with no human contact
can be bought. But who is really more expensive: a physicist
or a philosopher?
Heidegger was the greatest philosopher of the 20th century.
Heidegger's existence philosophy teaches that the nothing(ness)
becomes obvious or evident by the fear (Angst)
in which always lies a move back from something which is in reality
the nothing(ness). The essence of the nothing(ness) is the nihilation,
namely the repellent or resisting reference to the sinking entity
in the entirety, meaning to the nothingness of all entity.
Martin Heidegger wrote:
Worum sich die Angst ängstet, ist das In-der-Welt-sein
selbst. - Martin Heidegger, Sein und Zeit, 1927, S.
Martin Heidegger wrote:
In der hellen Nacht des Nichts der Angst entsteht
erst die ursprüngliche Offenbarkeit des Seienden als eines
solchen: daß es Seiendes ist - und nicht Nichts. Einzig weil
das Nichts im Grunde des Daseins offenbar ist, kann die volle Befremdlichkeit
des Seienden über uns kommen und die Grundfrage der Metaphysik:
Warum ist überhaupt Seiendes und nicht vielmehr Nichts?
- Martin Heidegger, Was ist Metaphysik?, 1929 (**).
The fear (Angst) isolates the existence
(Dasein) and opens it in this way as possible
being (Möglich-Sein), as free being
(Frei-Sein) for the freedom (Freiheit)
of the self chosing (Sich-selbst-wählen)
and self seizing (Sich-selbst-Ergreifen).
The being in the world (In-der-Welt-Sein)
is the transcendental basic constitution (Grundverfassung)
of the existence (Dasein). The concept
of the In-der-Welt-Sein deactivates the consciousness
concept and the of subject/object dualism.
It is useful to refer to Leibniz monadology, especially when
it comes to understand the meaning of Sloterdijk's hubbles
For example: Foams. What doese Sloterdijk's foam
Peter Sloterdijk wrote:
Die Schaumtheorie ist unverhohlen neo-monadologisch
orientiert: Ihre Monaden jedoch haben die Grundform von Dyaden oder
komplexeren seelenräumlichen, gemeindlichen und mannschaftlichen
Gebilden. - Peter Sloterdijk, Sphären III - Schäume,
2004; S. 61 (**).
Peter Sloterdijk wrote:
The foam theory is openly neo-monadological oriented: Its
monads, however, have the basic form of dyads or more complex formations
of emotional rooms, communities and team unions.
Die Schaum-Metapher bietet den Vorzug, die topologische
Anordnung von kreativ-selbstsichernden Lebensraumschöpfungen
im Bild zu erfassen. .... So evoziert die Schaumvorstellung sowohl
die Ko-Fragilität als auch die Ko-Isolation der in dichten
Verbänden gestapelten Einheiten. (Peter Sloterdijk, Sphären
III - Schäume, 2004; S. 255 **).
The foam metaphor offers the advantage to gather the image
of the topological arrangement of creative-self-securing habitat
creations. .... In this way the foam idea evokes both the co-fragility
and the co-isolation of the stacked units in dense associations.
Sloterdijk's trilogy is called Sphären, which
1) Spheres I = Bubbles.
2) Spheres II = Globes.
3) Spheres III = Foams.
Sloterdijks trilogy Spheres - the title is to
be understood as an anthropological concept and cultural theory
- refers to Sloterdijks Spenglerian main thesis, according
to which life is a formality. And that main thesis suggests that
life, spheres forming, and thinking are different terms for the
same thing. This Spheres could also be called Space
and Time because it is a connection project to Heideggers
Being and Time and describes the cultural development
of mankind from a philosophical-anthropological perspective.
I think Leibniz was the philosopher who knew more about science
than all other philosophers; one can even say that Leibniz was a
great philosopher, a great scientist, and a great technician.
Do you prefer the first part (Bubbles) of Sloterdijks
trilogy Spheres? This trilogy is divided into three
parts (volumes) not only because of three different types of spheres
but also because of three different ages. Sloterdijks trilogy
Spheres could also be called Being and Sphere(s)
or Being and Space because it is the completion of Heideggers
Being and Time. Especially the first paragraphs of Spheres
care the book that Heidegger should have written (Peter
Sloterdijk), a companion volume to Heideggers Being
and Time, namely, Being and Space. It has much
to with the idea of Dasein in the sense of Heideggers
existential philosophy, especially his fundamental ontology.
Kant (or/and Hegel) is (are) the Father of Modernity
(Vater der Moderne [**|**]).
Do you really know what Father of the Modernitymeans?
What is modernity? The meaning of modernity is not automatically
a positive one, but it can be a postive one. There are many people
and many values.
It is difficult to translate Kants Ding an sich.
One would do better to not translate it and after the use of it
to describe what is meant. The Ding an sich has much
to do with Erkenntnis (knowledge, cognition),
Erkenntnistheorie (theory of knowledge,
theory of cognition). It is not possible to (exactly,
really) know the Ding an sich.
Schopenhauer (some people call him Eurobuddhist) accpeted
merely two philosophers before himself: Kant and Platon.
If Kant (or Hegel) is the father of the current modernity, the
Occidental modernity, then Platon (or Aristoteles) was the father
of the former modernity, the Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman modernity.
Or do we have to say: Hegel (or Kant) ... and Aristoteles (or Platon)
You should read the third part (Foams) of Sloterdijk's
trilogy Spheres. There are bubbles in a foam; so the
first part recurs in the third part. I like the second part (Globes)
teh most The first part was published in 1998, the second in 1999,
and the third in 2004. So we may suppose that Sloterdijk needed
more time for the third part than for the other parts.
Sloterdijk is influenced by Hegel and Nietzsche. So his trilogy
Spheres can also be interpreted as a dialectic, thus
(1.) Bubbles as the thesis, (2.) Globes
as the antithesis, and (3.) Foam as the synthesis. Dur
to the fact that bubbles (thesis) and foam (synthesis) are easily
breakable, thus very much instable, the spheres Sloterdijk means
can easily lead to a new Hegelian dialectic.
The following pictures may illustrate what I mean:
Peter Sloterdijk says (in his book Du mußt dein Leben
ändern - You Must Change Your Life, p. 12
and p.133): es gibt keine Religionen (translation:
there are no religions), sondern nur mißverstandene
spirituelle Übungssysteme (translation:
but misunderstood spiritual exercise systems).
B.t.w.: Sloterdijk's Insulierungen (the processes of forming
an island) have 12 dimensions, namely 3 superordinate dimensions and
9 subordinate dimensions:
1.) Absolute islands.
2.) Atmospheric islands.
3.) Anthropogenic islands.
have never heard of Herder? Are you sure that you are an ILP member?
Have you ever herad of philosophy?
I am not a Kantian and not a Schopenhauerian. Other famous Prussian
German philosophers are Christian Wolff, Johann Gottlieb Fichte (more
Brandenburgian than Prussian), Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (more
Prussian-Saxon than mere Prussian), Oswald A. G. Spengler (also
more Prussian-Saxon than mere Prussian). Do you know them? Georg
Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a Swabian, not a Prussian, but he became
a Swabian in Prussian commission.
The internet, mass communication, multi-culturalism, feminism,
and other isms are the current means or tools of control and - of
course - the accompanying symptoms of the current Occident.
According to Peter Sloterdijk human beings live in symbolic immune
systems and in ritual hulls / shells. If it is right that humans
yield or produce humans, then they do it not mainly by work and
its products and also not by work on themselves or by interaction
or communication; they do it by their lives in exercises
/ trainings. So humans arise out of repetitions /recurrences, Sloterdijk
Yes, that's right: Kant pointed to the necessity of that
3rd element, »relevance« or usefulness. He proclaimed
that it is of necessity that we presume causality. And in that regard,
he was right. But that doesn't exactly answer whether causality
is true, but merely why we accept it as true. (**).
Is causality true? Is an exact answer possible?
First Kant was an enlightener (Aufklärer), then
he was an idealist because he stopped or overcame the era of enlightenment
and started the era of the post-enlightenment idealism (post
because there were some idealists long before Kant, for example
Leibniz). In any case, Kant was the father of the modernity.
I guess that, if you had lived at Kant's time, you would have tried
to prolong the era of enlightenment by saying yes to
the question is causality true?. Kant referred to the
epistemology, to the knowledge, thus also to causality but not so
much to the metaphysical question of the truth of causality.
After Kant the question of a true causality has been occurring
again - similar to the time before Kant but (and that is the huge
difference) by referring to Kant, thus not without Kants philosophy.
A rational ontology includes causality, yes. But does it really
make the causality true? One could also say that we accept the world
as the truth but do not know whether it is the truth or not.
According to the question of truth there are four answerse possible:
1) There is truth.
2) There is only truth outside of the (brains of the) subjects.
This answer is philosophically called objectivism.
3) There is only truth in the (brains of the) subjects. This
answer is philosophically called subjectivism, as an extreme
4) There is no truth.
So we have one absolute affirmation (see: 1), two relative affirmations
/ negations (see: 2 and 3), and one absolute negation (see: 4)
It seems that no one of them can be proved or disproved.
In summation: Kant was right.
Kant referred to both indeterminism and determinism, because he
taught (1) an empirical (thus: close to nature) person and (2) an
ethical (thus: close to culture) person. So according to Kant humans
are citizens of two worlds: (1) a visible world
and (2) an intelligible world. The humans as (1) empirical
(natural) persons or citizens of the visible world do
not have an absolute free will becaue they are subordinated
by nature and its law of causality; but the humans as
(2) ethical (cultural) persons or as citizens of the intelligible
world have an absolute free will. The moral
law is based only on the existence of the intelligible
Ted Honderich wrote:
One summary of the great Kant's view, to the extent
that it can be summed up, is that he takes determinism to be a kind
of fact, and indeterminism to be another kind of fact, and our freedom
to be a fact too -- but takes this situation to have nothing to
do with the kind of compatibility of determinism and freedom proclaimed
by such Compatibilists as Hobbes and Hume. Thus Kant does not make
freedom consistent with determinism by taking up a definition of
freedom as voluntariness -- at bottom, being able to do what you
want. This he dismisses as a wretched subterfuge, quibbling about
words. Rather, the freedom he seeks to make consistent with determinism
does indeed seem to be the freedom of the Incompatibilists -- origination.
Is he then an Incompatibilist? Well, against that, it can be said
he does not allow the existence of origination in what can be called
the world we know, as Incompatibilists certainly do.
Kant's main idea, whatever sense can finally be made of it, depends
on his fundamental two-worlds doctrine. He locates determinism in
the empirical world or world of appearances, and freedom in the
world of things-in-themselves, the world of reason. It is important
that the latter world is not in time.
So he is a determinist of a kind, opposed to the tradition of Compatibilism,
not really in the Incompatibilist tradition, but tries to make his
determinism and freedom-as-origination consistent by his own private
means. You may well wonder if he can succeed in all this -- and
suspect too, at the beginning of the 21st Century, that something
so radical as his view is actually needed. **
Who ist Ted Honderich?
Ted Honderich (born 30 January 1933) is a Canadian-born
British philosopher, Grote Professor Emeritus of the Philosophy
of Mind and Logic, University College London and Visiting Professor,
University of Bath. His work has been mainly about five things:
determinism's truth and its consequences for our lives; the nature
of consciousness and its relation to the brain; right and wrong
in the contemporary world, in particular with respect to terrorism;
the supposed justifications of punishment by the state; and the
political tradition of conservatism. **
Excerpt from The Critique of Pure Reason:
Immanuel Kant wrote:
.... Every human being has an empirical character for his
power of choice, which is nothing other than a certain causality
of his reason, insofar as in its effects in appearance this reason
exhibits a rule, in accordance with which one could derive the
rational grounds and the actions themselves according to their
kind and degree, and estimate the subjective principles of his
power of choice. Because this empirical character itself must
be drawn from appearances as effect, and from the rule which experience
provides, all the actions of the human being in appearance are
determined in accord with the order of nature by his empirical
character and the other cooperating causes; and if we could investigate
all the appearances of his power of choice down to their basis,
then there would be no human action that we could not predict
with certainty, and recognize as necessary given its preceding
conditions. Thus in regard to this empirical character there is
no freedom, and according to this character we can consider the
human being solely by observing, and, as happens in anthropology,
by trying to investigate the moving causes of his actions physiologically
But if we consider the very same actions in relation to reason,
not, to be sure, in relation to speculative reason, in order to
explain them as regards their origin, but insofar as reason is
the cause of producing them by themselves in a word, if
we compare them with reason in a practical respect then
we find a rule and order that is entirely other than the natural
order. For perhaps everything that has happened in the course
of nature, and on empirical grounds inevitably had to happen,
nevertheless ought not to have happened. At times, however, we
find, or at least believe we have found, that the ideas of reason
have actually proved their causality in regard to the actions
of human beings as appearances, and that therefore these actions
have occurred not through empirical causes, no, but because they
were determined by grounds of reason.
Suppose now that one could say reason has causality in regard
to appearance; could reasons action then be called free
even though in its empirical character (in the mode of sense)
it is all precisely determined and necessary? The empirical character
is once again determined in the intelligible character (in the
mode of thought). We are not acquainted with the latter, but it
is indicated through appearances, which really give only the mode
of sense (the empirical character) for immediate cognition. Now
the action, insofar as it is to be attributed to the mode of thought
as its cause, nevertheless does not follow from it in accord with
empirical laws, i.e. in such a way that it is preceded by the
conditions of pure reason, but only their effects in the appearance
of inner sense precede it. Pure reason, as a merely intelligible
faculty, is not subject to the form of time, and hence not subject
to the conditions of the temporal sequence. The causality of reason
in the intelligible character does not arise or start working
at a certain time in producing an effect. For then it would itself
be subject to the natural law of appearances, to the extent that
this law determines causal series in time, and its causality would
then be nature and not freedom.
Thus we could say that if reason can have causality in regard
to appearances, then it is a faculty through which the sensible
condition of an empirical series of effects first begins. For
the condition that lies in reason is not sensible and does not
itself begin. Accordingly, there takes place here what we did
not find in any empirical series: that the condition of a successive
series of occurrences could itself be empirically unconditioned.
For here the condition is outside the series of appearances (in
the intelligible) and hence not subject to any sensible condition
or to any determination of time through any passing cause.
Nevertheless, this very same cause in another relation also belongs
to the series of appearances. The human being himself is an appearance.
His power of choice has an empirical character, which is the (empirical)
cause of all his actions. There is not one of these conditions
determining human beings according to this character which is
not contained in the series of natural effects and does not obey
the laws of nature according to which no empirically unconditioned
causality is present among the things that happen in time. Hence
no given action (since it can be perceived only as appearance)
can begin absolutely from itself. But of reason one cannot say
that before the state in which it determines the power of choice,
another state precedes in which this state itself is determined.
For since reason itself is not an appearance and is not subject
at all to any conditions of sensibility, no temporal sequence
takes place in it even as to its causality, and thus the dynamical
law of nature, which determines the temporal sequence according
to rules, cannot be applied to it.
Reason is thus the persisting condition of all voluntary actions
under which the human being appears. Even before it happens, every
one of these actions is determined beforehand in the empirical
character of the human being. In regard to the intelligible character,
of which the empirical one is only the sensible schema, no before
or after applies, and every action, irrespective of the temporal
relation in which it stands to other appearances, is the immediate
effect of the intelligible character of pure reason; reason therefore
acts freely, without being determined dynamically by external
or internal grounds temporally preceding it in the chain of natural
causes, and this freedom of reason can not only be regarded negatively,
as independence from empirical conditions (for then the faculty
of reason would cease to be a cause of appearances), but also
indicated positively by a faculty of beginning a series of occurrences
from itself, in such a way that in reason itself nothing begins,
but as the unconditioned condition of every voluntary action,
it allows of no condition prior to it in time, whereas its effect
begins in the series of appearances, but can never constitute
an absolutely first beginning in this series.
In order to clarify the regulative principle of reason through
an example of its empirical use not in order to confirm
it (for such proofs are unworkable for transcendental propositions)
one may take a voluntary action, e.g. a malicious lie,
through which a person has brought about a certain confusion in
society; and one may first investigate its moving causes, through
which it arose, judging on that basis how the lie and its consequences
could be imputed to the person. WIth this first intent one goes
into the sources of the persons empirical character, seeking
them in a bad upbringing, bad company, and also finding them in
the wickedness of a natural temper insensitive to shame, partly
in carelessness and thoughtlessness; in so doing one does not
leave out of account the occasioning causes. In all this one proceeds
as with any investigation in the series of determining causes
for a given natural effect.
Now even if one believes the action to be determined by these
causes, one nonetheless blames the agent, and not on account of
his unhappy natural temper, not on account of the circumstances
influencing him, not even on account of the life he has led previously;
for one presupposes that it can be entirely set aside how that
life was constituted, and that the series of conditions that transpired
might not have been, but rather that this deed could be regarded
as entirely unconditioned in regard to the previous state, as
though with that act the agent had started a series of consequences
entirely from himself.
This blame is grounded on the law of reason, which regards reason
as a cause that, regardless of all the empirical conditions just
named, could have and ought to have determined the conduct of
the person to be other than it is. And indeed one regards the
causality of reason not as a mere concurrence with other causes,
e but as complete in itself, even if sensuous incentives were
not for it but were indeed entirely against it; the action is
ascribed to the agents intelligible character: now, in the
moment when he lies, it is entirely his fault; hence reason, regardless
of all empirical conditions of the deed, is fully free, and this
deed is to be attributed entirely to its failure to act.
Excerpt from The Critique of Practical Reason:
Immanuel Kant wrote:
The concept of causality as natural necessity, as distinguished
from the concept of causality as freedom, concerns only the existence
of things insofar as it is determinable in time and hence as appearances,
as opposed to their causality as things in themselves. Now, if
one takes the determinations of the existence of things in time
for determinations of things-in-themselves (which is the most
usual way of representing them), then the necessity in the causal
relation can in no way be united with freedom; instead they are
opposed to each other as contradictory. For, from the first it
follows that every event, and consequently every action that takes
place at a point of time, is necessary under the condition of
what was in the preceding time. Now, since time past is no longer
within my control, every action that I perform must be necessary
by determining grounds that are not within my control, that is,
I am never free at the point of time in which I act.
Indeed, even if I assume that my whole existence is independent
from any alien cause (such as God), so that the determining grounds
ot my causality and even of my whole existence are not outside
me, this would not in the least transform that natural necessity
into freedom. For, at every point of time I still stand under
the necessity of being determined to action by that which is not
within my control, and the series of events infinite a parte priori
which I can only continue in accordance with a predetermined order
would never begin of itself: it would be a continuous natural
chain, and therefore my causality would never be freedom.
If, then, one wants to attribute freedom to a being whose existence
is determined in time, one cannot, so far at least, except this
being from the law of natural necessity as to all events in its
existence and consequently as to its actions as well; for, that
would be tantamount to handing it over to blind chance. But since
this law unavoidably concerns all causality of things so far as
their existence in time is determinable, if this were the way
in which one had to represent also the existence of these things-in-themselves
then freedom would have to be rejected as a null and impossible
Consequently, if one still wants to save it, no other path remains
than to ascribe the existence of a thing so far as it is determinable
in time, and so too its causality in accordance with the law of
natural necessity, only to appearance, and to ascribe freedom
to the same being as a thing-in-itself. This is certainly unavoidable
if one wants to maintain both these mutually repellent concepts
together; but in application, when one wants to explain them as
united in one and the same action, and so to explain this union
itself, great difficulties come forward, which seem to make such
a unification unfeasible.
If I say of a human being who commits a theft that this deed
is, in accordance with the natural law of causality, a necessary
result of determining grounds in preceding time, then it was impossible
that it could have been left undone; how, then, can appraisal
in accordance with the moral law make any change in it and suppose
that it could have been omitted because the law says that it ought
to have been omitted? That is, how can that man be called quite
free at the same point of time and in regard to the same action
in which and in regard to which he is nevertheless subject to
an unavoidable natural necessity?
It is a wretched subterfuge to seek to evade this by saying that
the kind of determining grounds of his causality in accordance
with natural law agrees with a comparative concept of freedom,
according to which that is sometimes called a free effect, the
determining natural ground of which lies within the acting being,
e.g., that which a projectile accomplishes when it is in free
motion, in which case one uses the word »freedom«
because while it is in flight it is not impelled from without;
or as we also call the motion of a clock a free motion because
it moves the hands itself, which therefore do not need to be pushed
externally; in the same way the actions of the human being, although
they are necessary by their determining grounds which preceded
them in time, are yet called free because the actions are caused
from within, by representations produced by our own powers, whereby
desires are evoked on occasion of circumstances and hence actions
are produced at our own discretion.
Some still let themselves be put off by this subterfuge and so
think they have solved, with a little quibbling about words, that
difficult problem on the solution of which millennia have worked
in vain and which can therefore hardly be found so completely
on the surface, That is to say, in the question about that freedom
which must be put at the basis of all moral laws and the imputation
appropriate to them, it does not matter whether the causality
determined in accordance with a natural law is necessary through
determining grounds lying within the subject or outside him, or
in the first case whether these determining grounds are instinctive
or thought by reason, if, as is admitted by these men themselves,
these determining representations have the ground of their existence
in time and indeed in the antecedent state; and this in turn in
a preceding state, and so forth.
These determinations may be internal and they may have psychological
instead of mechanical causality, that is, produce actions by means
of representations and not by bodily movements; [still] they are
always determinining grounds of the causality of a being insofar
as its existence is determinable in time and therefore under the
necessitating conditions of past time, which are thus, when the
subject is to act, no longer within his control and which may
therefore bring with them psychological freedom (if one wants
to use this term for a merely internal chain of representations
in the soul) but nevertheless natural necessity; and they therefore
leave no transcendental freedom, which must be thought as independence
from everything empirical and so from nature generally, whether
it is regarded as an object of inner sense in time only or also
of outer sense in both space and time; without this freedom (in
the latter and proper sense), which alone is practical a priori,
no moral law is possible and no imputation in accordance with
Just for this reason, all necessity of events in time in accordance
with the natural law of causality can be called the mechanism
of nature, although it is not meant in this that the things which
are subject to it must be really material machines. Here one looks
only to the necessity of the connection of events in a time series
as it develops in accordance with natural law, whether the subject
in which this development takes place is called automaton materiale,
when the machinery is driven by matter, or with Leibniz spirituale,
when it is driven by representations; and if the freedom of our
will were none other than the latter (say, psychological and comparative
but not also transcendental, i.e., absolute), then it would at
bottom be nothing better than the freedom of a turnspit, which,
when once it is wound up, also accomplishes its movements of itself.
Now, in order, in the case at hand, to remove the apparent contradiction
between the mechanism of nature and freedom in one and the same
action, one must recall what was said in the Critique of Pure
Reason or follows from it: that the natural necessity which cannot
coexist with the freedom of the subject attaches merely to the
determinations of a thing which stands under conditions of time
and so only to the determinations of the acting subject as appearance,
and that, accordingly, the determining grounds of every action
of the subject so far lie in what belongs to past time and is
no longer within his control (in which must be counted his past
deeds and the character as a phenomenon thereby determinable for
him in his own eyes).
But the very same subject, being on the other side conscious
of himself as a thing-in-itself, also views his existence insofar
as it does not stand under conditions of time and himself as determinable
only through laws that he gives himself by reason; and in this
existence of his nothing is, for him, antecedent to the determination
of his will, but every action and in general every determination
of his existence changing conformably with inner sense, even the
whole sequence of his existence as a sensible being is
to be regarded in the consciousness of his intelligible existence
as nothing but the consequence and never as the determining ground
of his causality as a noumenon.
So considered, a rational being can now rightly say of every
unlawful action he performed that he could have omitted it even
though as appearance it is sufficiently determined in the past
and, so far, is inevitably necessary; for this action, with all
the past which determines it, belongs to a single phenomenon of
his character, which he gives to himself and in accordance with
which he imputes to himself, as a cause independent of all sensibility,
the causality of those appearances.
The judicial sentences of that wonderful capacity in us which
we call conscience are in perfect agreement with this. A human
being may use what art he will to paint some unlawful conduct
he remembers as an unintentional fault as a mere oversight
which one can never avoid altogether, and so as something in which
he was carried away by the stream of natural necessity
and to declare himself innocent of it. He nevertheless finds that
the advocate who speaks in his favor can by no means reduce to
silence the prosecutor within him, if only he is aware that at
the time he did this wrong he was in his senses, that is, had
the use of his freedom; and while he explains his misconduct by
certain bad habits, which by gradual neglect of attention he has
allowed to grow in him to such a degree that he can regard his
misconduct as their natural consequence, yet this cannot protect
him from the reproach and censure he casts upon himself.
This is also the ground of repentance for a deed long past at
every recollection of it, a painful feeling aroused by the moral
disposition, which is empty in a practical way to the extent that
it cannot serve to undo what has been done and would even be absurd.
(Priestley, a genuine fatalist proceeding consistently, declares
it absurd; and for this candor he deserves more applause than
those who, while maintaining the mechanism of the will in deeds
but its freedom in words, yet want it to be thought that they
include it in their syncretistic system, though without making
the possibility of such imputation comprehensible.) But repentance,
as pain, is still quite legitimate because reason, when it is
a question of the law of our intelligible existence (the moral
law), recognizes no distinction of time and asks only whether
the event belongs to me as a deed and, if it does, then always
connects the same feeling with it morally, whether it was done
just now or long ago. For, the sensible ljfe has, with respect
to the intelligible consciousness of its existence (consciousness
of freedom), the absolute unity of a phenomenon, which, so far
as it contains merely appearances of the disposition that the
moral law is concerned with (appearances of the character), must
be appraised not in accordance with the natural necessity that
belongs to it as appearance but in accordance with the absolute
spontaneity of freedom.
One can therefore grant that if it were possible for us to have
such deep insight into a human beings cast of mind, as shown
by inner as well as outer actions, that we would know every incentive
to action, even the smallest, as well as all the external occasions
affecting them, we could calculate a human beings conduct
for the future with as much certainty as a lunar or solar eclipse
and could nevertheless maintain that the human beings conduct
is free. If, that is to say, we were capable of another view,
namely an intellectual intuition of the same subject (which is
certainly not given to us and in place of which we have only the
rational concept), then we would become aware that this whole
chain of appearances, with respect to all that the moral law is
concerned with, depends upon the spontaneity of the subject as
a thing-in-itself, for the determination of which no physical
explanation can be given.
In default of this intuition, the moral law assures us of this
difference between the relation of our actions as appearances
to the sensible being of our subject and relation by which this
sensible being is itself referred to the intelligible substratum
in us. From this perspective, which is natural to our reason though
inexplicable, appraisals can be justified which, though made in
all conscientiousness, yet seem at first glance quite contrary
to all equity. There are cases in which human beings, even with
the same education that was profitable to others, yet show from
childhood such early wickedness and progress in it so continuously
into their adulthood that they are taken to be born villains and
quite incapable of improvement as far as their cast of mind is
concerned; and nevertheless they are so judged for what they do
or leave undone that they are censured as guilty of their crimes;
indeed, they themselves (the children) find these censures as
well founded as if, despite the hopeless natural constitution
of minds ascribed to the, they remained as accountable as any
other human being.
This could not happen if we did not suppose that whatever arises
from ones choice (as every action intentionally performed
undoubtedly does) has as its basis a free causality which from
early youth expresses its character in its appearances (actions);
these actions, on account of the uniformity of conduct, make knowable
a natural connection that does not, however, make the vicious
constitution of the will necessary but is instead the consequence
of the evil and unchangeable principles freely adopted, which
make it only more culpable and deserving of punishment.
Hume said that there is no knowledge or epistemology of causality
by reason / rationality but only by experience. So according to
Hume cause and effects can not be discovered by mere reason / rationality
but merely by experience. He said that there is no knowledge or
epistemology by reason / rationality / a priori.
Hume was a diplomat, and, although he was also a philosopher of
the Occidental Enlightenment, he was not a good logician, not a
good rationalist, and thus not a good proponent of the Enlightenment.
According tu Hume thinking is not more than a function, for example
in order to link / join / connect, to shift / convert / permute,
to widen / extend / expand, or to cut / shrink / reduce what the
senses and experience liver. So according to Hume thinking (logic,
rationality, ..., thus just the characteristics of the Occidental
Enlightenment) is less important than senses and experience; according
to Hume thinking is merely a slave of senses and experience.
If there is no Western philosopher greater than Kant, then there
is no philosopher greater than Kant.
Perhaps Leibniz war greater than Kant ... (!) ... (?) ...(!). But
Leibniz was a Western philosopher - like Kant.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) was an universal genius;
he was a philosopher, the originator of the monadology and of the
pre-established harmony, he was a scientist, especially a mathematician,
the originator of the infinitesimal calculus (1665, published 1684),
a physicist, and a historician, he was a technician, he was the
builder of the first mechanical calculator, a machine of multiplication,
he was a diplomat and a political consultant.
Okay, Leibniz lived from 1646 to 1716 and Kant from 1724 to 1804
- so according to that birth-and-death dates they are not as much
comparable as they are according to other facts, So Leibniz was
much more a scientist (mathematician, physicist, historcian) and
technician than Kant, because Leibniz was an universal genius and
one of the greatest scientists and technicians ever, whereas Kant
was merely an average scientist and even no technician - and that
does not necessarily or even automatically mean that Kant was a
greater philosopher than Leibniz.
But perhaps you are right by saying that Kant was the greatest
And what about Hegel?
By the way:
Heinrich Heine compared Kant with the French revolution, Fichte
with the Napoleonic empire, Schelling with the Restauration, but
in Hegel he saw the philosophical king, the finisher of all philosophical
revolutions, of all philosophy. - Compare: Heinrich Heine, Zur
Geschichte der Religion und Philosophie in Deutschland (Religion
and Philosophy in Germany), 1834, S. 33-34.
Right or wrong - it is an interesting comparison.
The time of GREAT philosophy ended at about 1800 when the NIHILISTIC
philosophy started. Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi used the word Nihilismus
(nihilism) already 1799 in his Sendschreiben an
Fichte. So since about 1800 or e.g. with Schopenhauer's Die
Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (1818) there have been being
either nihilistic or just eclecticistic philosophers. We really
have to separate the period of pre-nihilistic philosophy from the
period of nihilistic philosophy in that case.
It may be up to each person to value that. The historians of philosophy,
provided that they are not corrupt, speak more about facts
Nietzsche turned Schopenhauer's pessimism into optimism but remained
The more change the more cycle.
The more development the more repetition.
The more evolution the more mimicry.
The more history the more eclectics and eclecticists.
It is not Kant's fault that he lived later than the first philosophers
of human history.
Kant was a typical Occidental philosopher; he was an enlightener
and at last an overcomer of enlightenment, the first modern, especially
modern-idealistic philosopher of the Occidental culture.
Some thoughts of Kant can be found in Ancient thoughts too,
but that is not preventable, if they are not too many and not
core-thoughts. Kant thoughts and ideas were Occidental thoughts
and ideas, regardless of whether he had some Ancient non-core-thoughts
History shows the greatness of philosophers.
The current world institutions like UNO, WTO, World Bank, and many
other global institutions have their origin in Kant's philosophy.
Compare for example Kant's Ewigen Frieden (1795) - Perpetual
Peace (1795). How to value it is one point, but the historical
fact of the influence is another point. Another example: Platon
was probably the greatest Ancient philosopher, but would
you live according to his philosophy, especially his ideas, today,
just because he was probably the greatest Ancient philosopher?
To value philosophies are meaningful in another sense but not in
the sense of greatness.
I say that Kant belongs to the pre-nihilistic period and in his
latest stage also to the nihilistic period whereas Nietzsche belongs
merely to the nihilistic period.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche:
1) What did he say about the philosophy of technique / technology
- Nothing at all.
2) What did he say about the philosophy of physics / kosmology / astronomy?
- Nearly nothing.
3) What did he say about the philosophy of economy / economics?
- Nearly nothing.
4) What did he say about the philosophy of sociology?
- Not much (his statements about the fact that he was really terrified
of socialism have not much to do with sociology).
5) What did he say about the philosophy of law / right?
- Not much (his statements about ethics and moral have not
much to do with law / right - but much with his concept "will
6) What did he say about epistemology?
- Not much.
Wenn »es« den Menschen »gibt«, dann
nur, weil eine Technik ihn aus der Vormenschheit hervorgebracht
hat. Sie ist das eigentlich Menschen-Gebende .... Technik, hat Heidegger
doziert, ist eine Weise der Entbergung. Sie holt Ergebnisse ans
Licht, die von ihnen selbst her so nicht und nicht zu dieser Zeit
an den Tag gekommen wären. - Peter Sloterdijk, Nicht
gerettet - Versuche nach Heidegger, 2001, S. 224, 228.
If there »is« the human being, then only because
the technique / technology has brought him out of the pre-humankind.
That is actually the human-giver. .... Technique / technology, Heidegger
has teached, is a way of unconcealing. It brings results to light
that would not have come to light by themselves and not at that
Here are some examples of modern Occidental
imperatives like Kant's Categorical Imperative and other's
(1) Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the
same time will that it should become a universal law without contradiction.
(2) Be revolutionary.
(3) Trust in the absolute spirit and the dialectic processes.
(5) Be yourself.
(7) Be autarkic as much as you can.
(8) Take care of you, your relatives and dependants, your surrounding
and ecolgical environment.
(9) Participate in the discourse.
(10) Take care of your foam, because you live in it.
That all leads always to the same imperative, namely Kant's Categorical
The first formulation: Act only according to that maxim whereby
you can at the same time will that it should become a universal
law without contradiction.
The second formulation: Act in such a way that you treat humanity,
whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never
merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.
The thrid formulation: Therefore, every rational being must
so act as if he were through his maxim always a legislating member
in the universal kingdom of ends.
The first formulation of the Categorical Imperative appears
similar to the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity
is a maxim, ethical code or morality.
The Golden Rule (in its positive form) says: Treat
others how you wish to be treated. One should treat others
as one would like others to treat oneself (directive form).
The Golden Rule (in its negative form) says: Do not
impose on others what you do not wish for yourself. One should
not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated (cautionary
form, also known as the Silver Rule).
Augustinus is right: Prosperity inevitably leads to depravity.
Nietzsche was a nihilist respectively - because he was at least
a little bit a philosopher - a nihilstic philosopher.
If Nietzsche had been an ILP member, in which subforum would he
have posted the most?
Fact is that Kant had an entire philosophical system and that Hegel
was the last philosopher who had an entire philosophical system.
Since then there has never been a an entiere philosophical system
and all entire philosophical systems have systematically or not
systematically been deconstructed or destroyed - by nihilists respectively
Philosophy was born in the Ancient Greece and means
love to wisdom (to - not of).
So we have to interpret and measure philosophy and philosophers
mainly according to the Ancient Greek interpretation. So Nietzsche's
question Were there already such philosophers? (in:
Beyond Good and Evil, aphorism 211, my translation) is more
rhetoric than a serious question, because Nietzsche wanted the philosophers
to be commanders and lawgivers (ibid) and the philosophy
to be a hammer (ibid.). According to the the Ancient
Greek definition of philosophy and philosophers
philosophers are primarily not commanders and lawgivers;
and when philosophy comes in like a hammer, then it
is not a real philosophy but a nihilistic philosophy
If Nietzsche is a member of the third league of philosophy,
then Kant is the champion of the first league
Criticism, scepticism, and (as the extreme form) nihilism are historically
justified as well but lack of solutions - that's tautological, because
they are what they are: criticism, scepticism, nihilism. The solutions
come from history itself. The next Kant will come in
about 2000 years or will not come (because humans will be too stupid
or not live anymore).
In a world of a society that lives in a foam (Peter
Sloterdijk), everything has merely little stability or even
Will there ever be any tiny institution with an origin in Nietzsche's
Hegel was the last philosopher with a philosophical system. It
is always easy to follow criticism, especially social criticism,
but criticism is no philosophical system, often even not or merely
a little bit philosophy.
In modern times critique is very fashionable
and popular, but it makes a philosopher not necessarily, not automatically
better or even greater. In the first place critique is only critique;
in the second place it may lead to a philosophical system, and it
did in Kant's case, but it did not in all cases
after Hegel, thus it also did not in the cases Schopenhauer
Persoanlly I can say (for example): I am not a Kantian, I
am not a Hegelian, I am not a Schopenhauerian / Nietzschean / Sloterdijkian
or the reverse; but as an Occidental human I have to say:
I am a Kantian, and I am a Hegelian, because Kant and
Hegel have influenced the Occidental culture vehemently but Schopenhauer,
Nietzsche, and Sloterdijk merely a little bit.
When the German chancellor Helmut Schmidt met the Chinese communistic
leader Mao Tsetung (Zedong) in the middle 1970's, Mao Tsetung said
to him: You are a Kantian; and Helmut Schmidt responded:
Yes, and you are a Konfuzian (Confucian). Kant is typical
Occidental, Konfuzius (Confucius) is typical Chinese - each of both
influenced his culture more than anyone else of his culture. And
by the way: Mao Tsetung, although he was a communist (thus an ideologist
of an Occidental ideology), did not contradict Helmut Schmidt.
Kant's Categorical Imperative is expandable.
Kant was the first philosopher who showed that also the philosophy
can come to an end. After having its climax the philosophy became
more and more redundant and at last something like a pensioner.
It was not a coincidence that Kant was a contemporary of Mozart,
Hegel a contemporary of Beethoven, and Nietzsche a contemporary
of Brahms - and by the way: Sloterdijk is a contemporary of Zappa
No one of the skepticists has ever achieved and will never achieve
such a huge influence that Kant has achieved. And that belongs to
the answer of the question in the topic of this thread. I remind
you again: please refer to the topic. This little philosophers you
mean are dwarfs in comparison to Kant.
In the 1790's Johann Gottlieb Fichte was accused of atheism. And
because of this Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi used also the word Nihilismus
(nihilism) in his Sendschreiben an Fichte
(1799). I know for a fact that at least since then the God-is-dead-philosophem
has been knowing and keeping in mind. Later, Nietzsche just repeated
it, but he did it with much language violence, because he was powerfully
Please show me one moral, if it both works and is not derivable
from Kant's Categorical Imperative
Nietzscheans use and Nietzscheanists misuse Nietzsche in the same
way as (for example) Marxians use and Marxists misuse Marx. There
is no difference at all when it comes to use or misuse idols, false
gods. And because of this religious behavior, their religious delirium,
they make mountains out of molehills.
Leibniz' philosophy contains all things philosophy needs, thus
also mathematics. After Leibniz mathematics vanished from
philosophy. Kant's philosophy contains all things philosophy needs
except mathematics, thus Kant's philosophy contains also physics
/ cosmology / astronomy. After the middle (not the
late) Kant physics / cosmology / astronomy vanished from philosophy.
So the base of metaphysics vanished - which necessarily means: nihilism.
A philosophy without any metaphysics is not a complete philosophy
anymnore. Since then the nihilistic philosophy has been triumphing
over the non-nihilistic philosophy as the very much more
real philosophy, the destruction has been triumphing over the
construction, the chaos has been triumphing over the order, the
emotion has been triumphing over the logic, ..., and so on.
Nihilistic philosophy has merely a litte bit
to do with philosophy. The greater or better philosopher can never
be a nihilistic philosopher. A partly destroyed house can never
be the greater or better house.
Nietzsche was not the only, not the best, and even not the frist
one who negated the negation by affirmation
Trying to compare a nihilistic philosopher with a non-nhilistic
philosopher is difficult but not impossible.
There is realitiy, and so there is objectivity. There should be
science, thus there should be history too. Thers is still science,
thus there is still history too. We have logic, empirical evidence,
and history in order to know that a nihilistic philosopher can never
be the greater or better philosopher. Nihilistic philosophy has
merely a litte bit to do with philosophy.
Nihilistic philosophers may be more sympathic - and in nihlistic
times they mostly are, at least for other nihilists -, but they
can never be the greater or better philosophers.
It is the definition itself that makes it impossible to really
have a little philosophy as the greatest or better philosophy
The dialectic process as Hegel's method is pretty fundamental.
One can not deny it. It is true. it is true in the sense that Hegel
Kant argued that a too speculative metaphysics which his philosophical
predecessors excessively used is not able to realise without any
perception. Many of his philosophical predecessors had tried to
realise God by pure reason. Kant has changed the (concept
of) metaphysics, because according to him metaphysics should not
longer be the science of the absolute what it had been
to all his philosophical predecessors, the dogmatic philosophers.
According to Kant metaphysics is the science of the knowledge borders.
Kant re-created i.e. the epistemology, but he did not say that metaphysics
in general is an impossibility. The epistemology is the border
policeagainst all pretension, hubris, border crossing beyond
that what is experiencable, Kant said for example.
Schopenhauer used Kant's Ding an sich for his will-concept.
The internet is a digital modernity within the modernity. If you
know who did benefit, who benefits, and who will benefit from modernity,
then you also know who did benefit, who benefits, and who will benefit
from the internet as the digital modernity.
Wo immer das Interesse an Enterbung und Neubeginn aufflammt,
stehen wir auf dem Boden der authentischen Moderne. - Peter
Sloterdijk, Die schrecklichen Kinder der Neuzeit, 2014.
Wherever the interest in disinheritance and a new start flares,
we stand on the floor of the authentic modernity.
The so-called free will:
The so-called free will is merely a relatively free
will. The whole history of philosophy is full of that topic.
According to it there have always been philosophers of determinism,
philosophers of indeterminism, philosophers of a mixture of both
determinism and indeterminism, and all of them have always taken
One can also do what Kant did: divide the world into two parts,
one for the senses and one for intelligibility. According to the
first part humans have an unfree will, thus no free will, because
they are slaves of the causality; but according to the second part
humans have a free will.
Kant also (**)
said that nothing is free from causality, thus also human beings
are not free from causality; but he said humans have an intelligible
freedom, thus they have a free will according to their intelligibility.
In other words: Kant was both a determinist and an indeterminist,
because he said humans have an unfree will because of the causality,
but they have a free will because of their intelligibility. Therefore
he demanded: You shall because you can! (loosely translated).
Beings like the human beings tend to power, thus they want to dominate
the nature with its causality as well. The accent here is on the
word tend, because they never can be free from causality.
But according to their thoughts (=> intelligibility) they are
capable of doing anything what they will, although they are not
capable of doing anything what they will when it comes to causality.
Therefore the conclusion must be that humans have a relatively
The facts speak in the sense of Kant, at least more than in the
sense of the representatives of the total nihilism.
It is a fact that all human beings are not free from causality,
and it is also a fact that humans are spiritually or intellctually
free from everything they can think and imagine, because thoughts
and imaginations are also facts. We have two parts of the world,
at least for humans, and the first part is one of the unfree will
because of the causality, whereas the second part is one of the
free will because of the intelligibility. Because of the fact that
the first part dominates it is impossible that humans have a free
will; because of the fact that humans can partly control causality
it is possible that humans have at least a relatively free will
(you may also call it relatively unfree will). So the position
of determinism that includes an indeterminism is correct.
This means: The human will is determined, and this can never be
changed, and indetermined, and this can be changed.
Relatively free will means both detmerminism and
indeterminism. So the human life is not as much determined as you
think. It is determined by causality - of course (!) - but not by
spirituality (thinking etc.). The indetermination is an island
in the infinte ocean of the determination.
It is not true that the will can no longer be a representation,
and the lobby of the deconstructivists is not capable of changing
this fact. The deconstructivism is just another expression of the
There is fate (destiny), of course, but there is chance (opportunity)
too. There is determination, of course, but there is indetermination
Schopenhauer's Wille (will) is Kant's Ding an sich (thing
in itself / thing as such).
The German existentialism as Heidegger's Existenzphilosophie
(existential philosophy) was the basis for the French; when
Sartre started his philosophical career he was a Heideggerian, thus
a scholar of the German existentialism as Heidegger's Existenzphilosophie
(existential philosophy); and when the WW2 was over (!) Sartre became
more and more communistic, because it was opportune (!) at that
time. Sartre failed at last.
By dasein I roughly mean what Heidegger's existence
philosophy means by it.
The Nietzschean(ist)s do not know what Nietzsche meant - as usual.
But perhaps the German philologist Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
did also not know what he meant.
The German philosopher, logician, mathematician Friedrich Ludwig
Gottlob Frege (1848-1925) is the father of analytic philosophy,
thus the philosophical father of Bertrand Russel (1872-1970)
and all other analytic philosophers.
The German philosopher, logician, mathematician Friedrich Ludwig
Gottlob Frege (1848-1925), the father of analytic philosophy thus
the philosophical father of Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) and all
other analytic philosophers.
Kant's theory about the emergence and development of planets has
been true since 1755 when he invented this theory by thinking about
it - without science, because the scientists knew nothing about
it at that time. Compare: Immanuel Kant, Allgemeine Naturgeschichte
und Theorie des Himmels, 1755.
Immanuel Kant was sure that (1) the
sun emerged from a cosmic cloud, that (2)
a dust disk with floating particles was formed by the centrifugal
force of the still rapidly rotating sun, and that (3)
the planets were glued in this dust disk with floating
particles. According to Kant suns and solar systems originate in
a rotating cloud of gas that has thus become dense so that it collapses,
and planets originate as collections of sun durst parts.
Kant said, for example, one should overcome dogmatism by using
the own intellect.
Again: Frege is the father of analytic philosophy, thus the philosophical
father of Russell and all other analytic philosophers.
The German Einstein had even two scientifical fathers who were
also German: Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann (1826-1866) as the
precursor of Einstein's relativity theory and David Hilbert (1862-1943)
who submitted the theory of the general realativiy five days before
Einstein did it.
The German philosopher, mathematician, inventor, engineer, technologist,
historian, diplomat, and policy adviser Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
(1646-1713) was probably the greatest universal genius of all times
- besides Leonardo da Vinci. Leibniz invented the infinitesimal
calculus in 1665 (published 1684 - 3 years before Newton published
it, 1687); Leibniz also invented and engineered the first calculating
machine in the world (the earliest form of a computer), in 1673
- 268 years before the German inventor and engineer Konrad Zuse
invented and engineered the first real computer in the world. Leibniz
invented and originated more tham the said things, and he also founded
the academy of sciences in Berlin and became the first president
Do not forget what Hegel said about the recognition.
Leibniz said: Die beste aller möglichen Welten.
Translation: The best of all
Schopenhauer said: Die schlechteste aller möglichen Welten.
Translation: The worst of all
Humans have a relatively free will. They do not as much
depend on nature (=> Darwin) as other living beings do; they
do not as much depend on economy as a living basis (=> Marx)
as other living beings do; they do not as much depend on fate /destiny
(=> Nietzsche) as other living beings do; they do not as much
depend on the unconscious (=> Freud) as other living
beings do. Humans are relatively free because of their high
developed brains, because high developed brains mean a relatively
high intelligence, thus also relatively high culture/s,
and that means a relative indepencence of nature.
Kant's transcendental idealism / transcendental philosophy is to
be understood as a methodological reflection on the cognitive capacity
of rational beings and as a response to the dispute between empiricism
Empiricists are of the opinion that only the sensual perception
delivers knowledge, cognition; without this the mind is a blank
sheet of paper, a tabula rasa. The rationalists - initially Kant
himself was also a rationalist - assume that only the mind is capable
of delivering deception-free knowledge, cognition. In his Kritik
der reinen Vernunft (Critique of Pure Reason)
Kant objected both empirists and rationalists, although
his solution was: both ... and ..., because knowledge
(cognition) needs both the empirical way and the rational
Gedanken ohne Inhalt sind leer, Anschauungen ohne Begriffe
sind blind. (Immanuel Kant).
It is crucial for the Kantian epistemology that one does not directly
perceive the reality of objects but forms the appearances of objects
in the consciousness. Real is the appearance (phenomenon), while
the world and their individual objects remain unknowable as a Ding
an sich (thing as such or thing in itself,
noumenon). The Ding an sich is unknowable.
According to Kant transcendental refers to the knowledge
(cognition) of the conditions of the knowledge (cognition) itself,
which is prior to all experience.
So there is both a both ... and ... and
If it comes to the human possibility of knowledge (cognition),
then knowledge (cognition) needs both the rational way and
the empirical way; but if it comes to the Ding an sich,
then knowledge (cognition) is not possible.
Kant was an enlightener before he overcame the enlightenment; so
he was a rationalists before he curbed the superior power of the
rationalism and became an idealist. But then the idealist Hegel
came and campaigned again for the rationalism.
An Answer to the Question: »What is Enlightenment?«
Königsberg, Prussia, 30th September, 1784.
Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-incurred
immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one's own understanding
without the guidance of another. This immaturity is self-incurred
if its cause is not lack of understanding, but lack of resolution
and courage to use it without the guidance of another. The motto
of enlightenment is therefore: Sapere aude! Have courage to use
your own understanding!
Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why such a large proportion
of men, even when nature has long emancipated them from alien
guidance (naturaliter maiorennes), nevertheless gladly remain
immature for life. For the same reasons, it is all too easy for
others to set themselves up as their guardians. It is so convenient
to be immature! If I have a book to have understanding in place
of me, a spiritual adviser to have a conscience for me, a doctor
to judge my diet for me, and so on, I need not make any efforts
at all. I need not think, so long as I can pay; others will soon
enough take the tiresome job over for me. The guardians who have
kindly taken upon themselves the work of supervision will soon
see to it that by far the largest part of mankind (including the
entire fair sex) should consider the step forward to maturity
not only as difficult but also as highly dangerous. Having first
infatuated their domesticated animals, and carefully prevented
the docile creatures from daring to take a single step without
the leading-strings to which they are tied, they next show them
the danger which threatens them if they try to walk unaided. Now
this danger is not in fact so very great, for they would certainly
learn to walk eventually after a few falls. But an example of
this kind is intimidating, and usually frightens them off from
Thus it is difficult for each separate individual to work his way
out of the immaturity which has become almost second nature to him.
He has even grown fond of it and is really incapable for the time
being of using his own understanding, because he was never allowed
to make the attempt. Dogmas and formulas, those mechanical instruments
for rational use (or rather misuse) of his natural endowments, are
the ball and chain of his permanent immaturity. And if anyone did
throw them off, he would still be uncertain about jumping over even
the narrowest of trenches, for he would be unaccustomed to free
movement of this kind. Thus only a few, by cultivating their own
minds, have succeeded in freeing themselves from immaturity and
in continuing boldly on their way.
Imagine Sloterdijk's trilogy being called Being and Space.
It is a continuation of Heidegger's Sein und Zeit (Being
Sloterdijk's Sphärologie (logic of spheres) is the method
that increases the spaciousness of the world very much, while the
usual discourses of the globalization decreases the world disgustfully.
The book with the following title should be translated soon, or
you read it in German: Die schrecklichen Kinder der Neuzeit
The awful children of the modern era) - by Peter Sloterdijk,
Reprogramming always starts with education because
the young people are the most influenceable people.
There is a great interest in the prevention of learning from history.
Another sucker (**)
or the end-consumer or the last man.
»Wir haben das Glück erfunden« sagen
die letzten Menschen und blinzeln. Translation:
»We have discovered happiness«- say the last men
and blink. (Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche).
Where Fichte had lectured: »Act like nobody!«,
Stirner replicated: »Do what you can do alone on the world:
Enjoy yourself!« - My translation of: Peter Sloterdijk,
Die schrecklichen Kinder der Neuzeit, 2014, S. 461. **
»The rhizome is an anti-genealogy.
The rhizome passes through conversion, expansion, conquest, catch
and stitch .... The rhizome is about ... becoming of all kinds.«
(Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, Rhizome, p. 35.) The
invisible underground mesh (network) against the visibly sprouting,
striving upward tree .... - My translation of: Peter Sloterdijk,
Die schrecklichen Kinder der Neuzeit, 2014, S. 472. **
Against any past and future - the anti-genealogy - that is one
of the main aspects of the modernity, when fashion replaces customs
For the modern human there is only consumption, no past, no future,
no children, no parents, thus no familiy, no genealogy but only
consumption, enjoy-yourself-ism. So there is also no sacred thing
for the modern human, because for the modern human there is only
consumption, no custom (moral) but fashion that has replaced all
customs (morals), no sacred things, unless they are consumable.
The modern religion (ideology, consumistic manifesto) is consumption,
enjoy-yourself-here-and-now-ism, anti-genealogy, the devil-may-care-attitude.
The main mistake of the modernity is to put the social question
in the foreground and to forget to ask the genealogical
The idea behind the rhizome was, as I already said, to have a symbol
for the anti-genealogy. No ancestors, no origin, no parents, no
past, no descendants, no children, no future, no hierarchy - but
a mesh (network) of consumers (also drug consumers, of course, because
Deleuze and Guattari themselves were professing drug consumers).
Deleuze and Guattari had the obsession that the original sin was
ancestry, descent, origin, just genealogy. So they said consequently
their rhizome was an anti-genealogy.
Deleuze and Guattari took that up from Friedrich Nietszche's books,
for example Morgenröte (1881), Zur Genealogie der
Moral (1887), but they probably took that also up from Max Stirner's
book Der Einzelne und sein Eigentum (1844), because (to me)
Deleuze's and Guattari's anti-genealogical philosophy is more like
Stirner's than Nietzsche's philosophy. By the way: Max Stirner (actually:
Johann Kaspar Schmidt) published his book Der Einzelne und sein
Eigentum when Nietzsche was born (1844).
The invisible underground mesh (network) against the visibly sprouting,
striving upward tree. The roots of trees are not networked like
rootstocks (rhizomes) of mushrooms, and mushrooms do not have such
a long stems like trees have, and do not have branches, twigs, leaves
like trees have.
Schopenhauer was the first European Buddhist, an Eurobuddhist,
so to say, a syncretistic Buddhist.
Buddhism is not only a religion but also a Weltanschauung, a philosophy,
an ethical system. And ethically it has much in common with Christianity
as in stark contrast to Judaism and Islam.
Kant was right in almost all aspects (except some ethical aspects):
his cosmological hypotheis, his theory about the emergence of the
solar system, his theory about life, his theory about human beings,
his anthropology and other philosophical or scientifical theories
From an ancient point of view, some parts or at least the consequences
of the Platonism were also nihilistic. So if non-ancient nihilists
are against Platonism, then they are nihilists who are against a
part of the ancient nihilism. This seems to be a contradiction,
but this contradiction can be solved, at least partly, because the
ancient nihilism is different from the non-ancient nihilism.
Socratism and Platonism changed the Ancient-Greek philosophy and
this change was criticised by the ancient cynics (Antisthenes, Diogenes
and others), but later this became normal, so Socratism and especially
Platonism and followers became cynical as well and they mixed with
movements like the Stoics and the Christians. I know
,this statement is especially a Nietzschean statement, but nevertheless:
it is true. Nietzsche called himself a Cyniker instead
of Zyniker (this is the correct spelling form in German)
just to show that he did not want to be a modern cynic (Zyniker)
but an ancient cynik (Cyniker). By the way: To make
it more Ancient-Greek-alike he should have called himself a Kyniker,
I think. So a Cyniker or Kyniker is cynical
towards the Zyniker - because the ancient cynics have
become normal, thus more and more the modern cynics which can only
be cynically criticised by cynics who are more again like the ancient
cynics (therefore: Cyniker/Kyniker versus Zyniker). Now I am saying
that there are two different forms of nihilism as well, because
cynism and nihilism belong together, although they are not the same
(cynism is a subset of nihilism, so to say), and there are more
than two forms of nihilism. So here we have two different forms
of nihilism: one of the Ancient-Greek culture and one of the Occidental
culture. They are different. Our modern nihilism we are confrontated
with is (1) a more regulated one than the ancient one was and (2)
much more active than the ancient one was. But I don't exactly know
whether they can be used against each other. Probably this phenomenon
is comparable with the speed of light, because it has always the
same amount, whereas other velocities can have different amounts.
»I don't see any reason to care.« What else is
That is more the Ancient-Greek variant of nihilism, whereas our
Modern-Occidental variant of nihilism is more regulated and more
active than the Ancient-Greek variant of nihilism was. The Modern-Occidental
nihilist says: You are allowed to do x, although he/she
knows that it is unethical, immoral. This is the cynically regulated
side of the Modern-Occidental nihilism, the cynically unregulated
side of the Modern-Occidental nihilism is the destruction of all
values with the support of the cynically regulated side.
Cheegster has an interesting philosophy youtube channel called
On Ice. There I found a video with the title You
We dont know much about our own death. This means
that it is an incredibly fearful thing to most humans, and we
mostly spend our time trying to avoid it. The fact that we know
of this impending doom however, means that we can in turn really
enjoy life. In this video, I discuss why knowledge of our own
death is actually a good thing for us. Let me know your view with
a comment! - Martin
Heidegger's Being & Time. **
I also recommend Spenglers: Preußentum und Sozialismus
(translation: Prussiandom and Socialism), 1919. This
book can be read as a the direct continuation of his most popular
The book can be interpreted as a continuation of his most popular
book, as I already said before, and about the comparision resp.
the juxtaposition of Prussiandom and socialism. According to Spengler
Prussiandom is just the opposite of socialism in a Marxistic sense.
Spengler debunks Marx and says for example, that the Marxism betrays
itself by any sentence that it stems from a theological and not
political mindset, and that Marxism has internalized the Manchestertum
(Manchesterdom) in spite of denying it. In another chapter
of the book Spengler compares Prussians and Englishmen as well as
Prussians and Spaniards by interpreting their history, comnig to
the conclusion that they are the most socialistic (not
meant in a Marxistic but in a Spenglerian or Goethean sense, namely
in a morphological sense, as a way of life) peoples
of the Occident, whereas Frenchmen and Italians are their antipodes.
In order to understand Spengler rightly, one has to know that his
method is a Goethean one, mostly based on contrastive pairs.
1) Einleitung (Introduction).
2) Die Revolution (The Revolution).
3) Sozialismus als Lebensform (Socialism as Way
4) Engländer und Preußen (Prussians
5) Marx (Marx).
6) Die Internationale (The International).
There is, for example, an internet version of the book as it has
been translated by Donald O. White (**).
Note: The appropriate translation of Preußentum
or Preussentum is not Prussianism (as it
is translated by Donald O. White) but Prussiandom, because
it was never meant as an ism. That also is important
for the right understanding.
Max Weher's Leistungsethik must be translated by performance
ethic or achievement ethic, because he did not
mean Arbeitsethik which is correctly translated by work
I know much about the biography and the works of the physicist
Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker and that he and, for example,
Otto Hahn and Werner Heisenberg were members of the Uranprojekt
(Uran Project) before and during the Second World War.
If I had to choose only one attribute for describing the Occidental
culture, then I would always choose faustic (just like
Spengler did with reference to Goethes Faust).
I like philosophical issues dealing with prenatal and
perinatal metaphors. Humans have to come into the world
somehow, even if their real birth is past.
There is causality and there is the will and the spirit with its
thinking. So it is not possible that determinists are completely
wrong because of the causality, and it is not possible that indeterminists
are completely wrong because of the will and the spirit with its
thinking. Therefore Kant distinguished the empiric character
(cp.: causality, determinism) from the intelligible character
(cp. will, indeterminism). .
Compatibilism means that indeterminism and determinism are compatible,
and that it is possible to believe or think both without being logically
Arthur Schopenhauer: Der Mensch kann tun, was er will, aber
er kann nicht wollen, was er will. Translation:
Man can do what he wills (wants to), but cannot will (want)
what he wills (wants to).
Philosophy is Friendship is similar to Heidegger's
Denken ist Danken (thinking is thanking).
Life philosophy is a philosophy not only of or about but
also within life, thus also a practical or empirical philosophy
(more or less also including existential philosophy and cultural
philosophy, for example), which is not like but merely close to
To me, the best example for a literary form of a philosophy of
life, existence, and culture is Goethe's Faust and Faust
the best literary character of a life philosophy. Goethe was not
mainly a philosopher, but all what he did can also be used as a
philosophy, especially his knowledge about morphology (cp. for example
his Die Metamorphose der Pflanzen), his novels, for
example Die Leiden des jungen Werthers or Wilhelm
Meister ..., his tragedy Faust I and II (as I
alraedy mentioned) or his books Aus meinem Leben - Dichtung
und Wahrheit, Maximen und Reflexionen and others.
And (by the way): Goethe lived in a time of two philosophically
and scientifically important Occidental eras: (1) Enlightenment,
Eine Würdigung Nietzsches wird immer stark davon abhängen,
wie man den » Willen zur Macht« auffaßt. Ermunterung
zu imperialem Zynismus? Kathartisches Geständnis ? Ästhetisches
Motto ? Selbstkorrektur eines Gehemmten ? Vitalistischer Slogan?
Metaphysik des Narzißmus? Enthemmungspropaganda? - Peter Sloterdijk,
Kritik der zynischen Vernunft, 1983, S. 389. **
An appreciation of Nietzsche will always strongly depend on
how one understands the »will to the power«. Encouragement
to imperial cynicism? Cathartic confession? Aesthetic motto? Self-correction
of an inhibited? Vitalistic slogan? Metaphysics of the narcissism?
Propaganda of disinhibition?
There are three most important branches of philosophy: aesthetics,
ethics, logic. As Goethe said: dem Schönen, Guten, Wahren
(to the beauty, good, true). This was meant as unit,
thus as the classical philosophy. So I think that there are some
aspects or things that can also objectively be considered as beauty:
symmetry, shapeliness (well-proportioned aspects or things), certain
geometrical figures, beings consisting of structures that are based
on certain mathematical numbers (e.g.: the Fibonacci sequence or
the golden cut).
Fibonacci sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144,
233, 377, 610, 987, 1597, 2584, 4181, 6765, ...):
Golden cut (1,6180339887...):
Interestingly, the Fibonacci numbers show some noteworthly mathematical
Due to the relations to the previous and the following number
growth in nature seems to follow an addition law. The Fibonacci
numbers are directly associated with the golden cut. The further
one progresses subsequently, the more the quotient of successive
numbers approaches to the golden cut (1,6180339887...) - for example:
13:8=1.625; 21:13=1.6153846; 34:21=1.6190476; 55:34=1.6176471; 89:55=1.6181818;
144:89=1.617978; 233:144=1.6180556; ... and so on). This approach
is alternating - the quotients are alternately smaller and bigger
than the golden cut (golden number, golden ratio):
The Fibonacci numbers are the sums of the shallowdiagonals
(shown in red) of Pascal's triangle:
Liber Abaci posed, and solved, a problem involving the
growth of a population of rabbits based on idealized assumptions.
The solution, generation by generation, was a sequence of numbers
later known as Fibonacci numbers. Although Fibonacci's Liber Abaci
contains the earliest known description of the sequence outside
of India, the sequence had been noted by Indian mathematicians
as early as the sixth century.
In the Fibonacci sequence of numbers, each number is the sum
of the previous two numbers. Fibonacci began the sequence not
with 0, 1, 1, 2, as modern mathematicians do but with 1,1, 2,
etc. He carried the calculation up to the thirteenth place (fourteenth
in modern counting), that is 233, though another manuscript carries
it to the next place: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144,
233, 377. Fibonacci did not speak about the golden ratio as the
limit of the ratio of consecutive numbers in this sequence.
There is symmetry almost everywhere in that picture (**).
The woman is very syymmetrical. Her face would be more beautiful
if it was not covered. This covered face is nevertheless beautiful,
because everyone knows how the face looks like if it is not covered.
But what if she has only one eye?
Symmetry is not the only but one of the most important aspects
of beauty. Others are shapeliness (well-proportioned aspects or
things), certain geometrical figures, beings consisting of structures
that are based on certain mathematical numbers (e.g.: the Fibonacci
sequence or the golden cut).
Baroque gardens are full of symmetry, and that is the reason why
some people do not like them as much as other gardens. But there
are people too who like baroque gardens. And they have good reasons
for liking baroque gardens. The aspect that beauty is in the eyes
of the beholder is relevant too.
Lovely. Cute. Cuteness (schema of childlike characteristics). Evolutionarily
necessary. Morally good (but do cats have moral in a human manner?).
Russell and Whitehead built upon Frege, yes. But Einstein did not
built upon Newton, although both can cosmologically be regarded
as relativists. Einstein was influenced by the physicist Planck
and the mathematician Hilbert. (Hilbert submitted the same general
relativity theorie [GRT] on the 20th of November 1915, five days
before [!] Einstein), but Einstein published it before Hilbert).
According to Schiller there is an ideal human (as something like
the last guideline of each humans will) in each human.
It is possible that Schiller meant both an ideal man and an ideal
human (both as something like the last guideline of each humans
will) in each human. Accordance of both reason/morality and freedom
is the task/purpose
The Wiener Kreis (Viennese Circle) and the Berliner
Kreis (Berlinese Circle, a.k.a. Berliner Gesellschaft
für empirische Philosophie founded the Neupositivismus
The Berliner Kreis (Berlinese Circle, a.k.a. Berliner
Gesellschaft für empirische Philosophie) and the Wiener
Kreis (Vienese Circle) and the founded the Neupositivismus
(Neopositivism), also known as Logischer Empirismus
Peter Sloterdijk is one of the best or even the best philosopher
of the current era.
Sloterdijk's ideas seek to integrate different components that
have been erroneously considered detached from each other. Consequently,
he proposes the creation of an ontological constitution
that would incorporate all beingshumans, animals, plants,
Sloterdijk regards cultures and civilizations as anthropogenic
hothouses, installations for the cultivation of human beings;
just as we have established wildlife preserves to protect certain
animal species, so too ought we to adopt more deliberate policies
to ensure the survival of Aristotle's zoon politikon.
The exploration of Sloterdijks Spheres
begins with the basic difference between mammals and other animals:
the biological and utopian comfort of the mothers womb, which
humans try to recreate through science, ideology, and religion.
From these microspheres (ontological relations such as fetus-placenta)
to macrospheres (macro-uteri such as nations or states), Sloterdijk
analyzes spheres where humans try but fail to dwell and traces a
connection between vital crisis (e.g., emptiness and narcissistic
detachment) and crises created when a sphere shatters.
Sloterdijk has said that the first paragraphs of Spheres are the
book that Heidegger should have written, a companion volume
to Being and Time, namely Being and Space.
He was referring to his initial exploration of the idea of Dasein,
which is then taken further.
Sloterdijk also argues that the current concept of globalization
lacks historical perspective. In his view it is merely the third
wave in a process of overcoming distances (the first wave being
the metaphysical globalization of the Greek cosmology and the second
the nautical globalization of the 15th century). The difference
for Sloterdijk is that, while the second wave created cosmopolitanism,
the third is creating a global provincialism. Sloterdijks
sketch of a philosophical history of globalization can be found
in Im Weltinnenraum des Kapitals (2005; translated as
In the World Interior of Capital), subtitled Die
letzte Kugel (The final sphere).
Sloterdijk claimed that the welfare state is a fiscal kleptocracy
that had transformed the country into a swamp of resentment
and degraded its citizens into mystified subjects of tax law.
Sloterdijk opened the text with the famous quote of leftist critics
of capitalism (made famous in the 19th century by Proudhon in his
What Is Property?) Property is theft, stating,
however, that it is nowadays the modern state that is the biggest
taker. We are living in a fiscal grabbing semi-socialism
and nobody calls for a fiscal civil war.
He repeated his statements and stirred up the debate in his articles
titled Kleptokratie des Staates (transl. Kleptocracy
of the state) and Aufbruch der Leistungsträger
(transl. Uprising of the performers) in the German monthly
Cicero Magazin für politische Kultur.
According to Sloterdijk, the institutions of the welfare state
lend themselves to a system that privileges the marginalized, but
relies, unsustainably, on the class of citizens who are materially
In January 2010, an English translation was published, titled A
Grasping Hand The modern democratic state pillages its productive
citizens, in Forbes and in the Winter 2010 issue of City Journal.
Sloterdijk's 2010 book, Die nehmende Hand und die gebende
Seite, contains the texts that triggered the 20092010
welfare state dispute.
Die moderne Welt wird sich als eine Zeit erweisen,
in der die Wünsche durch ihr Wahrwerden das Fürchten
- Peter Sloterdijk, Die schrecklichen Kinder der Neuzeit.
Kant knew much about science.
Kant is best known for his work in the philosophy of ethics
and metaphysics, but he made significant contributions to other
disciplines. He made an important astronomical discovery about
the nature of Earth's rotation, for which he won the Berlin Academy
Prize in 1754. According to Lord Kelvin in 1897, Kant made contributions
useful to mathematicians or physical astronomers. According to
Thomas Huxley in 1867 Kant made contributions to geology as well
when, in 1775 , he wrote his General Natural History
and Theory of the Celestial Bodies; or, an Attempt to Account
for the Constitutional and Mechanical Origin of the Universe,
upon Newtonian Principles."
In the General History of Nature and Theory of the Heavens
(Allgemeine Naturgeschichte und Theorie des Himmels) (1755),
Kant laid out the Nebular hypothesis, in which he deduced that
the Solar System formed from a large cloud of gas, a nebula. Thus
he tried to explain the order of the solar system, which Isaac
Newton had explained as imposed from the beginning by God. Kant
also correctly deduced that the Milky Way was a large disk of
stars, which he theorized also formed from a (much larger) spinning
cloud of gas. He further suggested that other nebulae might also
be similarly large and distant disks of stars. These postulations
opened new horizons for astronomy: for the first time extending
astronomy beyond the solar system to galactic and extragalactic
Kant knew much about the biological sciences too, ecpecially about
anthropological sciences. Kant was really ingenious.
Peter Sloterdijk and Norbert Bolz have not seldom written about
Gotthard Günther (1900-1984) and even oftener about Niklas
Luhmann (1927-1998). As far as I remember this has often had to
do with Günthers concept of Rejektion (also:
Rejektionsfunktion, Rejektionswert) and
with Luhmanns concept of Kommunikation and of
Because I am much interested in the history of machines, I thankfully
can say that Gotthard Günther also wrote: Das Bewußtsein
der Maschinen, 1960 (The Consciousness of Machines,
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote:
Am Ende hängen wir doch ab, von Kreaturen, die wir
My translation: At the end, nevertheless, we depend, on the
creatures which we made.
Immanuel Kant wrote:
Der Mensch ist ein Tier, was eine Erziehung nötig
My translation: The human is
an animal that needs an education.
Those modern guys who say religion is opium for
the people want to give them their religion, a modern religion
(examples: liberalism, egalitarianism/communism,
which has always to do with the elimination of the old religion
and with antitheism (with slogans like religion is opium for
the people, God is an impossibility ...). The
main problem ist that the new, the modern religion is
even worse than the old one.
Do not buy the modern opium!
Tiernan Morgan and Lauren Purje wrote:
Hegels ... teleological understanding of history
served as a useful template for Dantos conclusions. Hegel
understood progress as an overarching dialectic a process
of self-realization and understanding that culminates in pure
knowledge. This state is ultimately achieved through philosophy,
though it is initially preceded by an interrogation into the qualities
of religion and art. As Danto summarized in a later essay entitled
»The Disenfranchisement of Art« (1984):
When art internalizes its own history, when it becomes self-conscious
of its history as it has come to be in our time, so that its consciousness
of its history forms part of its nature, it is perhaps unavoidable
that it should turn into philosophy at last. And when it does
so, well, in an important sense, art comes to an end.
Danto is not the only philosopher to have adopted an Hegelian
dialectic. Both Francis Fukuyama and Karl Marx utilized Hegelianism
to reach their own historical conclusions. Fukuyama argued that
liberal democracy and free market capitalism represented the zenith
of Western civilization, whilst Marx argued that communism would
replace capitalism (neither of these developments have quite panned
Arthur C. Danto wrote:
HEGELS END-OF ART THESIS.
»Art , considered in its highest voc ation, is and remains
for us a thing of the past. Thereby it has lost for us genuine
truth and life, and has rather been transferred into our ideas
instead of maintaining its earlier necessity in reality and
occupying its higher place.« - Hegels
Aesthetics: Lectures on Fine Arts. Translated by T. M.
Knox. Oxford; The Clarendon Press, 1975. 10. Unless otherwise
indicated, all references to Hegels writing are to this
superb translation. This is the most forceful of Hegels
many formulations of what we may designate his End-of-Art Thesis,
and it appears very near the beginning of the published version
of his Lectures on Aesthetics - his Vorlesungen über
die Aesthetic - delivered for the fourth and final time
in the Winter Semester of 1828, at the University of Berlin.
The thesis is so intricately woven into the texture of Hegels
text, however, that it must be regarded as a central and indeed
as tructural feature of his philosophy of art, rather than a critical
obiter dictum regarding the art of his time. And it as much addresses
what other philosophers have said about art, as art itself.
Of course art will go on being made. There w ill be art after
the end of art.
»Art can be used as a fleeting play, affording recreation
and entertainment, decorating our surroundings, giving pleasantness
to the externals of our life, and making other objects stand
out by artistic adornm ent.« - Ibid.,
So understood, art will play any number of roles in what Hegel
terms the objective spirit of a society - the system of
meanings and practices that constitute the form of life its members
live. But Hegel was not speaking of art in terms of objective
spirit when he advanced the End-of-Art Thesis.
»The universal need for art ... is mans rational
need to lift the inner and outer world into his spiritual consciousness
as an object in which he recognizes again his own self.«
- Ibid., 31.
That is arts »highest vocation«,to
which alone the End-of-Art Thesis has application. So the truth
of the thesis was consistent with art, and even great art, continuing
to be made. In the Epilogue to his lecture, Origins of the
Work of Art (1935-36), Martin Heidegger wrote:
»The judgment that Hegel passes in these statements cannot
be evaded by pointing out that since Hegels lectures ...
we have seen many new art works and art movements arise. Hegel
did not mean to deny this possibility. The question, however,
remains: is art still an essential and necessary way in which
truth that is decisive for our historical existence happens,
or is art no longer of this character?« -
Martin Heidegger, »The Origin
of the Work of Art«. Translation by Albert Hofstadter,
Philosophies of Art and Beauty: Selected Readings in Aesthetics
from Plato to Heidegger. Edited by Albert Hofstadter and
Richard Kuhns. New York; The Modern Library, 1964. 700.
The end of art could be a sign, an omen for the end
of history in the relatively soon future.
So, we should not claim that nobody is making art any more, but
that a certain history of western art has come to an end, in about
the way that Hegel suggested it would. The end of art
refers to the beginning of our modern era of art in which art no
longer adheres to the constraints of imitation theory but serves
a new purpose. But what exactly serves this new purpose?
The inevitable way that modernity has been following since the
so-called industrial revolution has reached a point
where the very much accelerated development gets even more accelerated.
Can we slow down the modern velocity? If the answer is no,
what does this mean for the future? It is likely that this does
not mean that the people will sit there and be sad, no, they will
likely be happy according to their situation in general and their
spiritually limited capabilities in particular.
One of the examples could be a cyborg with many artificially optimized
muscles and joints but a consciousness that does not work better
and more than the consciousness of a dog.
The above example was already anticipated in the last decades of
the 18th and the first decades of the 19th century when Johann Wolfgang
von Goethe studied the real Faust, designed his story of Faust and
wrote it down. And his Faust of the second part died, because he
had reached his goal.
Another example could be the humans of the end of history as Georg
Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel described it in his main work Phänomenologie
des Geistes, published in 1807.
A further example could be the last men who became
famous in 1883: »Wir haben das Glück erfunden«
sagen die letzten Menschen und blinzeln. - Friedrich
Wilhelm Nietzsche. (»We have discovered happiness«
say the last men and blink.)
However, these humans or post-humans will not be unhappy.
They will live without history (**)
and without work. We - the current humans - think that this will
be very sad, and we are absolutely right about that. But they will
not think so. And they will not think much but believe much on a
very low level. They will be almost absolutely dependent and very
naively believe in the opposite.
To me, this development is the most probable one for the future
(although presignals have been becoming apparent since the beginning
of our modernity). One of the presignals of this situation in the
future is the increasing replacement of the human nature by the
artificially human technology, thus machines.
The humans will have merely two options or chances in order to
stop the continuation of this development or, at least, to slow
down the modern velocity. One option or chance is the avoidance
of the complete replacement of humans by machines, because this
complete replacement will lead to the lost of the human control
over the machines, so that the machines will control or even kill
the humans. The other option or chance is a huge catastrophe in
the very near future that will lead to a new beginning, provided
that there will be enough survivors of that catastrophe. The difference
between this two scenarios and the most probable scenario is that
the humans will not lose their relatively freedom and the extent
and independence of their consciousness in the case of the said
two scenarios and the exact opposite in the case of the most probably
scenario. What will be the worst case scenario then?
Oswald Spengler wrote:
It remains, now, to say a word as to the morphology of a history
There is no such thing as Philosophy »in itself«.
Every Culture has its own philosophy, which is a part of its total
symbolic expression and forms with its posing of problems and
methods of thought an intellectual ornamentation that is closely
related to that of architecture and the arts of form. From the
high and distant standpoint it matters very little what »truths«
thinkers have managed to formulate in words within their respective
schools, for, here as in every great art, it is the schools, conventions
and repertory of forms that are the basic elements. Infinitely
more important than the answers are the questions the choice
of them, the inner form of them. For it is the particular way
in which a macrocosm presents itself to the understanding man
of a particular Culture that determines a priori the whole necessity
of asking them, and the way in which they are asked.
The Classical and the Faustian Culture, and equally the Indian
and the Chinese, have each their proper ways of asking, and further,
in each case, all the great questions have been posed at the very
outset. There is no modern problem that the Gothic did not see
and bring into form, no Hellenistic problem that did not of necessity
come up for the old Orphic temple-teachings.
It is of no importance whether the subtilizing turn of mind expresses
itself here in oral tradition and there in books, whether such
books are personal creations of an »I« as they are
amongst ourselves or anonymous fluid masses of texts as in India,
and whether the result is a set of comprehensible systems or,
as in Egypt, glimpses of the last secrets are veiled in expressions
of art and ritual. Whatever the variations, the general course
of philosophies as organisms is the same. At the beginning of
every springtime period, philosophy, intimately related to great
architecture and religion, is the intellectual echo of a mighty
metaphysical living, and its task is to establish critically the
sacred causality in the world-image seen with the eye of faith.
The basic distinctions, not only of science but also of philosophy,
are dependent on, not divorced from, the elements of the corresponding
religion. In this springtime, thinkers are, not merely in spirit
but actually in status, priests. Such were the Schoolmen and the
Mystics of the Gothic and the Vedic as of the Homeric (1) and
the Early-Arabian centuries. With the setting-in of the Late period,
and not earlier, philosophy becomes urban and worldly, frees itself
from subservience to religion and even dares to make that religion
itself the object of epistemological criticism. The great theme
of Brahman, Ionic and Baroque philosophies is the problem of knowing.
The urban spirit turns to look at itself, in order to establish
the proposition that there is no higher judgment-seat of knowing
beyond itself, and with that thought draws nearer to higher mathematics
and instead of priests we have men of the world, statesmen and
merchants and discoverers, tested in high places and by high tasks,
whose ideas about thought rest upon deep experience of life. Of
such are the series of great thinkers from Thales to Protagoras
and from Bacon to Hume, and the series of pre-Confucian and pre-Buddha
thinkers of whom we hardly know more than the fact that they existed.
(1) It is possible that the peculiar style of Heraclitus, who came
of a priestly family of the temple of Ephesus, is an example of
the form in which the old Orphic wisdom was orally transmitted.
At the end of such series stand Kant and Aristotle (2), and after
them there set in the Civilization-philosophies. In every Culture,
thought mounts to a climax, setting the questions at the outset
and answering them with ever-increasing force of intellectual
expression and, as we have said before, ornamental significance
until exhausted; and then it passes into a decline in which
the problems of knowing are in every respect stale repetitions
of no significance. There is a metaphysical period, originally
of a religious and finally of a rationalistic cast in which
thought and life still contain something of chaos, an unexploited
fund that enables them effectively to create and an ethical
period in which life itself, now become megalopolitan, appears
to call for inquiry and has to turn the still available remainder
of philosophical creative-power on to its own conduct and maintenance.
In the one period life reveals itself, the other has life as its
object. The one is »theoretical« (contemplative) in
the grand sense, the other perforce practical. Even the Kantian
system is in its deepest characters contemplated in the first
instance and only afterwards logically and systematically formulated
(2) Here we are considering only the scholastic side. The mystic
side, from which Pythagoras and Leibniz were not very far, reached
its culminations in Plato and Goethe, and in our own case it has
been extended beyond Goethe by the Romantics, Hegel and Nietzsche,
whereas Scholasticism exhausted itself with Kant and Aristotle
and degenerated thereafter into a routine-profession.
We see this evidenced in Kants attitude to mathematics.
No one is a genuine metaphysician who has not penetrated into
the form-world of numbers, who has not lived them into himself
as a symbolism. And in fact it was the great thinkers of the Baroque
who created the analytical mathematic, and the same is true, mutatis
mutandis, of the great pre-Socratics and Plato. Descartes and
Leibniz stand beside Newton and Gauß, Pythagoras and Plato
by Archytas and Archimedes, at the summits of mathematical development.
But already in Kant the philosopher has become, as mathematician,
negligible. Kant no more penetrated to the last subtleties of
the Calculus as it stood in his own day than he absorbed the axiomatic
of Leibniz. The same may be said of Aristotle. And thenceforward
there is no philosopher who is counted as a mathematician. Fichte,
Hegel and the Romantics were entirely unmathematical, and so were
Zeno (3) and Epicurus. Schopenhauer in this field is weak to the
point of crudity, and of Nietzsche the less said the better. When
the form-world of numbers passed out of its ken, philosophy lost
a great convention, and since then it has lacked not only structural
strength but also what may be called the grand style of thinking.
Schopenhauer himself admitted that he was a hand-to-mouth thinker
(3) Zeno the Stoic, not to be confused with Zeno of Elea, whose
mathematical fineness has already been alluded to.
With the decline of metaphysics, ethics has outgrown its status
as a subordinate element in abstract theory. Henceforth it is
philosophy, the other divisions being absorbed into it and practical
living becoming the centre of consideration. The passion of pure
thought sinks down. Metaphysics, mistress yesterday, is handmaid
now; all it is required to do is to provide a foundation for practical
views. And the foundation becomes more and more superfluous. It
becomes the custom to despise and mock at the metaphysical, the
unpractical, the philosophy of »stone for bread«.
In Schopenhauer it is for the sake of the fourth book that the
first three exist at all. Kant merely thought that it was the
same with him; in reality, pure and not applied reason is still
his centre of creation. There is exactly the same difference in
Classical philosophy before and after Aristotle on the
one hand, a grandly conceived Cosmos to which a formal ethic adds
almost nothing, and, on the other, ethics as such, as programme,
as necessity with a desultory ad hoc metaphysic for basis. And
the entire absence of logical scruple with, which Nietzsche, for
instance, dashes off such theories makes no difference whatever
to our appreciation of his philosophy proper.
It is well known (4) that Schopenhauer did not proceed to Pessimism
from his metaphysic but, on the contrary, was led to develop his
system by the pessimism that fell upon him in his seventeenth
year. Shaw, a most significant witness, observes in his »Quintessence
of Ibsenism« that one may quite well accept Schopenhauers
philosophy and reject his metaphysics therein quite accurately
discriminating between that which makes him the first thinker
of the new age and that which is included because an obsolete
tradition held it to be indispensable in a complete philosophy.
No one would undertake to divide Kant thus, and the attempt would
not succeed if it were made. But with Nietzsche one has no difficulty
in perceiving that his »philosophy« was through-and-through
an inner and very early experience, while he covered his metaphysical
requirements rapidly and often imperfectly by the aid of a few
books, and never managed to state even his ethical theory with
any exactitude. Just the same overlay of living seasonable ethical
thought on a stratum of metaphysics required by convention (but
in fact superfluous) is to be found in Epicurus and the Stoics.
We need have no doubt after this as to what is the essence of
(4) Neue Paralipomena, § 656.
Strict metaphysics has exhausted its possibilities. The world-city
has definitely overcome the land, and now its spirit fashions
a theory proper to itself, directed of necessity outward, soulless.
Henceforward, we might with some justice replace the word »soul«
by the word »brain«. And, since in the Western »brain«
the will to power, the tyrannical set towards the Future and purpose
to organize everybody and everything, demands practical expression,
ethics, as it loses touch more and more with its metaphysical
past, steadily assumes a social-ethical and social-economic character.
The philosophy of the present that starts from Hegel and Schopenhauer
is, so far as it represents the spirit of the age (which, e.g.,
Lotze and Herbart do not), a critique of society.
The attention that the Stoic gave to his own body, the Westerner
devotes to the body social. It is not chance that Hegelian philosophy
has given rise to Socialism (Marx, Engels), to Anarchism (Stirner)
and to the problem-posing social drama (Hebbel). Socialism is
political economy converted into the ethical and, moreover, the
imperative mood. So long as a metaphysic existed (that is, till
Kant) political economy remained a science. But as soon as »philosophy«
became synonymous with practical ethics, it replaced mathematics
as the basis of thought about the world hence the importance
of Cousin, Bentham, Comte, Mill and Spencer.
To choose his material at will is not given to the philosopher,
neither is the material of philosophy always and everywhere the
same. There are no eternal questions, but only questions arising
out of the feelings of a particular being and posed by it. Alles
Vergängliche ist nur ein Gleichnis applies also to every
genuine philosophy as the intellectual expression of this being,
as the actualization of spiritual possibilities in a form-world
of concepts, judgments and thought-structures comprised in the
living phenomenon of its author. Any and every such philosophy
is, from the first word to the last, from its most abstract proposition
to its most telltale trait of personality, a thing-become, mirrored
over from soul into world, from the realm of freedom into that
of necessity, from the immediate-living into the dimensional-logical;
and on that very account it is mortal, and its life has prescribed
rhythm and duration. The choice of them, therefore, is subject
to strict necessity. Each epoch has its own, important for itself
and for no other epoch. It is the mark of the born philosopher
that he sees his epoch and his theme with a sure eye. Apart from
this, there is nothing of any importance in philosophical production
merely technical knowledge and the industry requisite for
the building up of systematic and conceptual subtleties.
Consequently, the distinctive philosophy of the 19th Century
is only Ethics and social critique in the productive sense
nothing more. And consequently, again, its most important representatives
(apart from actual practitioners) are the dramatists. They are
the real philosophers of Faustian activism, and compared with
them not one of the lecture-room philosophers and systematics
counts at all. All that these unimportant pedants have done for
us is, so to write and rewrite the history of philosophy (and
what history! collections of dates and »results«)
that no one today knows what the history of philosophy is or what
it might be.
Thanks to this, the deep organic unity in the thought of this
epoch has never yet been perceived. The essence of it, from the
philosophical point of view, can be precised by asking the question:
In how far is Shaw the pupil and fulfiller of Nietzsche? The question
is put in no ironic spirit. Shaw is the one thinker of eminence
who has consistently advanced in the same direction as that of
the true Nietzsche namely, productive criticism of the
Western morale while following out as poet the last implications
of Ibsen and devoting the balance of the artistic creativeness
that is in him to practical discussions.
Save in so far as the belated Romanticist in him has determined
the style, sound and attitude of his philosophy, Nietzsche is
in every respect a disciple of the materialistic decades. That
which drew him with such passion to Schopenhauer was (not that
he himself or anyone else was conscious of it) that element of
Schopenhauers doctrine by which he destroyed the great metaphysic
and (without meaning to do so) parodied his master Kant; that
is to say, the modification of all deep ideas of the Baroque age
into tangible and mechanistic notions. Kant speaks in inadequate
words, which hide a mighty and scarcely apprehensible intuition,
an intuition of the world as appearance or phenomenon. In Schopenhauer
this becomes the world as brain-phenomenon (Gehirnphänomen).
The change-over from tragic philosophy to philosophical plebeianism
is complete. It will be enough to cite one passage. In »The
World as Will and Idea« Schopenhauer says: »The will,
as thing-in-itself, constitutes the inner, true and indestructible
essence of the man; in itself, however, it is without consciousness.
For the consciousness is conditioned by the intellect and this
is a mere accident of our being, since it is a function of the
brain, and that again (with its dependent nerves and spinal cord)
is a mere fruit, a product, nay, even a parasite of the rest of
the organism, inasmuch as it does not intervene directly in the
latters activities but only serves a purpose of self-preservation
by regulating its relations with the outer world.« Here
we have exactly the fundamental position of the flattest materialism.
It was not for nothing that Schopenhauer, like Rousseau before
him, studied the English sensualists. From them he learned to
misread Kant in the spirit of megalopolitan utilitarian modernity.
The intellect as instrument of the will-to-life (5), as weapon
in the struggle for existence, the ideas brought to grotesque
expression by Shaw in »Man and Superman« it
was because this was his view of the world that Schopenhauer became
the fashionable philosopher when Darwins main work was published
in 1859. In contrast to Schelling, Hegel and Fichte, he was a
philosopher, and the only philosopher, whose metaphysical propositions
could be absorbed with ease by intellectual mediocrity. The clarity
of which he was so proud threatened at every moment to reveal
itself as triviality. While retaining enough of formula to produce
an atmosphere of profundity and exclusiveness, he presented the
civilized view of the world complete and assimilable. His system
is anticipated Darwinism, and the speech of Kant and the concepts
of the Indians are simply clothing. In his book »Über
den Willen in der Natur« (1835) we find already the
struggle for self-preservation in Nature, the human intellect
as master-weapon in that struggle and sexual love as unconscious
selection according to biological interest. (6)
(5) Even the modern idea that unconscious and impulsive acts
of life are completely efficient, while intellect can only bungle,
is to be found in Schopenhauer (Vol. II, cap. 30).
(6) In the chapter »Zur Metaphysik der Geschlechtsliebe«
(II, 44) the idea of natural selection for the preservation
of the genus is anticipated in full.
It is the view that Darwin (via Malthus) brought to bear with
irresistible success in the field of zoology. The economic origin
of Darwinism is shown by the fact that the system deduced from
the similarities between men and the higher animals ceases to
fit even at the level of the plant-world and becomes positively
absurd as soon as it is seriously attempted to apply it with its
will-tendency (natural selection, mimicry) to primitive organic
forms. Proof, to the Darwinian, means to the ordering and pictorial
presentation of a selection of facts so that they conform to his
historico-dynamic basic feeling of »Evolution«. Darwinism
that is to say, that totality of very varied and discrepant
ideas, in which the common factor is merely the application of
the causality principle to living things, which therefore is a
method and not a result was known in all details to the
18th Century. Rousseau was championing the ape-man theory as early
as 1754. What Darwin originated is only the »Manchester
School« system, and it is this latent political element
in it that accounts for its popularity.
The spiritual unity of the century is manifest enough here. From
Schopenhauer to Shaw, everyone has been, without being aware of
it, bringing the same principle into form. Everyone (including
even those who, like Hebbel, knew nothing of Darwin) is a derivative
of the evolution-idea and of the shallow civilized and
not the deep Goethean form of it at that whether he issues
it with a biological or an economic imprint. There is evolution,
too, in the evolution-idea itself, which is Faustian through and
through, which displays (in sharpest contrast to Aristotles
timeless entelechy-idea) all our passionate urgency towards infinite
future, our will and sense of aim which is so immanent in, so
specific to, the Faustian spirit as to be the a priori form rather
than the discovered principle of our Nature-picture. And in the
evolution of evolution we find the same change taking place as
elsewhere, the turn of the Culture to the Civilization. In Goethe
evolution is upright, in Darwin it is flat; in Goethe organic,
in Darwin mechanical; in Goethe an experience and emblem, in Darwin
a matter of cognition and law. To Goethe evolution meant inward
fulfilment, to Darwin it meant »progress«. Darwins
struggle for existence, which he read into Nature and not out
of it, is only the plebeian form of that primary feeling which
in Shakespeares tragedies moves the great realities against
one another; but what Shakespeare inwardly saw, felt and actualized
in his figures as destiny, Darwinism comprehends as causal connexion
and formulates as a superficial system of utilities. And it is
this system and not this primary feeling that is the basis of
the utterances of »Zarathustra«, the tragedy
of »Ghosts«, the problems of the »Ring der
Nibelungen«. Only, it was with terror that Schopenhauer,
the first of his line, perceived what his own knowledge meant
that is the root of his pessimism, and the »Tristan«
music of his adherent Wagner is its highest expression
whereas the late men, and foremost among them Nietzsche, face
it with enthusiasm, though it is true, the enthusiasm is sometimes
Nietzsches breach with Wagner that last product
of the German spirit over which greatness broods marks
his silent change of school-allegiance, his unconscious step from
Schopenhauer to Darwin, from the metaphysical to the physiological
formulation of the same world-feeling, from the denial to the
affirmation of the aspect that in fact is common to both, the
one seeing as will-to-life what the other regards as struggle
for existence. In his »Schopenhauer als Erzieher«
he still means by evolution an inner ripening, but the Superman
is the product of evolution as machinery. And »Zarathustra«
is ethically the outcome of an unconscious protest against »Parsifal«
which artistically entirely governs it of the rivalry
of one evangelist for another.
But Nietzsche was also a Socialist without knowing it. Not his
catch-words, but his instincts, were Socialistic, practical, directed
to that welfare of mankind that Goethe and Kant never spent a
thought upon. Materialism, Socialism and Darwinism are only artificially
and on the surface separable. It was this that made it possible
for Shaw in the third act of, Man and Superman (one of the most
important and significant of the works that issued from the transition)
to obtain, by giving just a small and indeed perfectly logical
turn to the tendencies of »master-morale« and the
production of the Superman, the specific maxims of his own Socialism.
Here Shaw was only expressing with remorseless clarity and full
consciousness of the commonplace, what the uncompleted portion
of the Zarathustra would have said with Wagnerian theatricality
and woolly romanticism. All that we are concerned to discover
in Nietzsches reasoning is its practical bases and consequences,
which proceed of necessity from the structure of modern public
life. He moves amongst vague ideas like »new values«,
»Superman«, »Sinn der Erde«, and
declines or fears to shape them more precisely. Shaw does it.
Nietzsche observes that the Darwinian idea of the Superman evokes
the notion of breeding, and stops there, leaves it at a sounding
phrase. Shaw pursues the question for there is no object
in talking about it if nothing is going to be done about it
asks how it is to be achieved, and from that comes to demand the
transformation of mankind into a stud-farm. But this is merely
the conclusion implicit in the Zarathustra, which Nietzsche
was not bold enough, or was too fastidious, to draw. If we do
talk of systematic breeding a completely materialistic
and utilitarian notion we must be prepared to answer the
questions, who shall breed what, where and how? But Nietzsche,
too romantic to face the very prosaic social consequences and
to expose poetic ideas to the test of facts, omits to say that
his whole doctrine, as a derivative of Darwinism, presupposes
Socialism and, moreover, socialistic compulsion as the means;
that any systematic breeding of a class of higher men requires
as condition precedent a strictly socialistic ordering of society;
and that this »Dionysiac« idea, as it involves a common
action and is not simply the private affair of detached thinkers,
is democratic, turn it how you may. It is the climax of the ethical
force of »Thou shalt »; to impose upon the world the
form of his will, Faustian man sacrifices even himself.
The breeding of the Superman follows from the notion of »selection«.
Nietzsche was an unconscious pupil of Darwin from the time that
he wrote aphorisms, but Darwin himself had remoulded the evolution-ideas
of the 18th Century according to the Malthusian tendencies of
political economy, which he projected on the higher animal-world.
Malthus had studied the cotton industry in Lancashire, and already
in 1857 we have the whole system, only applied to men instead
of to beasts, in Buckles History of English Civilization.
In other words, the master-morale of this last of the Romantics
is derived strangely perhaps but very significantly
from that source of all intellectual modernity, the atmosphere
of the English factory. The Machiavellism that commended itself
to Nietzsche as a Renaissance phenomenon is something closely
(one would have supposed, obviously) akin to Darwins notion
of »mimicry«. It is in fact that of which Marx (that
other famous disciple of Malthus) treats in his Das Kapital,
the bible of political (not ethical) Socialism. That is the genealogy
of »Herrenmoral«. The Will-to-Power, transferred
to the realistic, political and economic domain, finds its expression
in Shaws »Major Barbara«. No doubt Nietzsche,
as a personality, stands at the culmination of this series of
ethical philosophers, but here Shaw the party politician reaches
up to his level as a thinker. The will-to-power is to-day represented
by the two poles of public life the worker-class and the
big money-and-brain men far more effectually than it ever
was by a Borgia. The millionaire Undershaft of Shaws best
comedy is a Superman, though Nietzsche the Romanticist would not
have recognized his ideal in such a figure. Nietzsche is for ever
speaking of transvaluations of all values, of a philosophy of
the Future (which, incidentally, is merely the Western, and not
the Chinese or the African future), but when the mists of his
thought do come in from the Dionysiac distance and condense into
any tangible form, the will-to-power appears to him in the guise
of dagger-and-poison and never in that of strike and »deal«.
And yet he says that the idea first came to him when he saw the
Prussian regiments marching to battle in 1870.
The drama, in this epoch, is no longer poetry in the old sense
of the Culture days, but a form of agitation, debate and demonstration.
The stage has become a moralizing institution. Nietzsche himself
often thought of putting his ideas in the dramatic form. Wagners
Nibelung poetry, more especially the first draft of it (1850),
expresses his social-revolutionary ideas, and even when, after
a circuitous course under influences artistic and non-artistic,
he has completed the »Ring«, his »Siegfried«
is still a symbol of the Fourth Estate, his Brünhilde
still the »free woman«. The sexual selection of which
the »Origin of Species« enunciated the theory
in 1859, was finding its musical expression at the very same time
in the third act of »Siegfried« and in »Tristan«.
It is no accident that Wagner, Hebbel and Ibsen, all practically
simultaneously, set to work to dramatize the Nibelung material.
Hebbel, making the acquaintance in Paris of Engelss writings,
expresses (in a letter of April 2., 1844) his surprise at finding
that his own conceptions of the social principle of his age, which
he was then intending to exemplify in a drama Zu irgend einer
Zeit, coincided precisely with those of the future »Communist
Manifesto«. And, upon first making the acquaintance of Schopenhauer
(letter of March 2.9, 1857), he is equally surprised by the affinity
that he finds between the Welt als Wille und Vorstellung and tendencies
upon which he had based his Holofernes and his Herodes und Mariamne.
Hebbels diaries, of which the most important portion belongs
to the years 1835-1845, were (though he did not know it) one of
the deepest philosophical efforts of the century. It would be
no surprise to find whole sentences of it in Nietzsche, who never
knew him and did not always come up to his level.
The actual and effective philosophy of the 19th Century, then,
has as its one genuine theme the Will-to-Power. It considers this
Will-to-Power in civilized-intellectual, ethical, or social forms
and presents it as will-to-life, as life-force, as practical-dynamical
principle, as idea, and as dramatic figure. (The period that is
closed by Shaw corresponds to the period 350-150 in the Classical.)
The rest of the 19th-century philosophy is, to use Schopenhauers
phrase, »professors« philosophy by philosophy-professors«.
The real landmarks are these:
1819. Schopenhauer, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung.
The will to life is for the first time put as the only reality
(original force, Urkraft); but, older idealist influences still
being potent, it is put there to be negatived (zur Verneinung
1836. Schopenhauer, Über den Willen in der Natur.
Anticipation of Darwinism, but in metaphysical disguise.
1840. Proudhon, Quest-ce que la Propriété,
basis of Anarchism. Comte, Cours de philosophie positive;
the formula »order and progress«.
1841. Hebbel, »Judith«, first dramatic conception
of the »New Woman« and the »Superman«.
Feuerbach, Das Wesen des Christenthums.
1844. Engels, Umriß einer Kritik des Nationalokonomie,
foundation of the materialistic conception of history. Hebbel,
Maria Magdalena, the first social drama.
1847. Marx, Misère de la Philosophie (synthesis
of Hegel and Malthus). These are the epochal years in which economics
begins to dominate social ethic and biology.
1848. Wagners »Death of Siegfried«;
Siegfried as social-ethical revolutionary, the Fafnir hoard as
symbol of Capitalism.
1850. Wagners Kunst und Klima; the sexual problem.
1850-1858. Wagners, Hebbels and Ibsens Nibelung
1859 (year of symbolic coincidences). Darwin, »Origin
of Species« (application of economics to biology). Wagners
»Tristan«. Marx, Zur Kritik der politischen
1863. J. S. Mill, »Utilitarianism«.
1865. Dühring, Wert des Lebens a work which
is rarely heard of, but which exercised the greatest influence
upon the succeeding generation.
1867. Ibsen, »Brand«. Marx, Das Kapital.
1878. Wagner, »Parsifal«. First dissolution
of materialism into mysticism.
1879. Ibsen, »Nora«.
1881. Nietzsche, Morgenrdthe; transition from Schopenhauer
to Darwin, morale as biological phenomenon.
1883. Nietzsche, Also sprach Zarathustra; the Will-to-Power,
but in Romantic disguise.
1886. Ibsen, »Rosmersholm«. Nietzsche, Jenseits
von Gut und Böse.
1887-1888. Strindberg, »Fadren« and »Froken
From 1890 the conclusion of the epoch approaches. The religious
works of Strindberg and the symbolical of Ibsen.
1896. Ibsen, »John Gabriel Borkman«: Nietzsches
Übermensch. 1898. Strindberg, »Till Damascus«.
From 1900 the last phenomena.
1903. Weininger, Geschlecht und Charakter; the only serious
attempt to revive Kant within this epoch, by referring him to
Wagner and Ibsen.
1903. Shaw, »Man and Superman«; final synthesis
of Darwin and Nietzsche.
1905. Shaw, »Major Barbara«; the type of the
Superman referred back to its economic origins.
With this, the ethical period exhausts itself as the metaphysical
had done. Ethical Socialism, prepared by Fichte, Hegel, and Humboldt,
was at its zenith of passionate greatness about the middle of
the 19th Century, and at the end thereof it had reached the stage
of repetitions. The 20th Century, while keeping the word Socialism,
has replaced an ethical philosophy that only epigoni suppose to
be capable of further development, by a praxis of economic everyday
questions. The ethical disposition of the West will remain »socialistic«
but its theory has ceased to be a problem. And there remains the
possibility of a third and last stage of Western philosophy, that
of a physiognomic scepticism. The secret of the world appears
successively as a knowledge problem, a valuation problem and a
form problem. Kant saw ethics as an object of knowledge, the 19th
Century saw it as an object of valuation. The Sceptic would deal
with both simply as the historical expression of a Culture.
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of the original*