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to thought. The chemist in his analysis is brought to a stand by fixed bounds. He comes upon finalities, whether given in his material or in the limited capacity of his instruments. But there is no finality in speculation; there, the analytic process — the process of abstraction — may be continued ad libitum. The university professor has so many lectures to give : the further he pushes his analysis, the longer the material will hold out. Hence perhaps the ductility of certain systems given in the form of lectures. Hegel seems to have known no limit to his abstractionism but that of practical necessity, — the kind of necessity we express by the saying, "one must draw the line somewhere." In saying this I am by no means insensible to the real value of Hegel's works. No doubt he was one of the most acute of modern thinkers. In his attempt to apprehend the absolute and construct the universe a priori, he failed, indeed, as they all did; but the noble thoughts, the luminous intuitions with which he has enriched so many fields of investigation, establish beyond reasonable question his rank among the magnates of speculative philosophy. But as a writer he is very unsatisfactory, not to say repulsive; and, here and there, liable, as I said before, to the charge of charlatanism, — of a word-juggle which promises to the eye or the ear a meaning impossible to appropriate with the understanding; as in the instances I have cited from the "Encyclopedic" From this vice of infinitesimal analysis, of hair-splitting abstruseness, of nihilistic refinement; from this compelling of language to perform impossible feats, — Schopenhauer is entirely free. With a clearly defined, intelligible, presentable thought, and a crystalline, colorless, and yet singularly vivid and commanding style, he approaches the great problem which has occupied the dii majores of philosophy in all time, — the problem of ontology, the mystery of being, the origin and ground of the universe of things.
Here am I, and there, confronting me, is the world in its manifoldness. This is a fact of universal consciousness. No need to go back of that for a starting-point. I am conscious of myself and a world external to myself. Philosophy busies itself with this fact. We soon come to see that what we call the world is simply our own impression of it, or, — using the word in its popular sense — our idea. Hence the title of Schopenhauer's principal work, "The World as Will and Idea." The German word is Vorstellung, which means literally "representation," — that which is represented to me, or which I represent to myself. We might say, "The world as willed and represented," or "The, world as willed and ^s it appears ;" but "Idea" is sufficiently exact, and a less awkward rendering.
We have the idea of a world external to ourselves, which we suppose in all its phenomena and forms to correspond with our conception. Whence have we that idea? Primarily and apparently through the senses. We see, we hear, we smell, we feel, the objects that compose the world of our experience; but if we diligently consider and analyze all that the senses actually and ultimately furnish of this experience, we find that it falls far short of our idea of external things. What, for example, do we get through the eye? Neither form nor distance, but only color and different degrees of light and shade. What do we get by touch? Differences of temperature, different degrees of resistance, a different pressure on the tactual nerves. All that the senses give us is certain affections of our nervous system. But these do not constitute the world of things as it lies in our experience; they do not account for that experience. Clearly, another supplementary agent is required for that purpose; that agent is the intellect. We have a brain, weighing on the average about three pounds. It is the action of that brain, it is the intellect, that gives us the world of our idea. The eye sees objects inverted; the intellect sets them upright. The eye sees objects equally near; the intellect places them in right perspective. The eye sees objects double ; the intellect construes one from the two. The experience of every blindborn whose eyes have been successfully couched confirms this statement. But the new-born infant, whose eyes are sound, arrives at its perceptions in the same way. Infants at first see only color and different degrees of light and shade. They have to experiment a long while, to turn the objects about and about, to view them in different lights, to call in the aid of touch, to reason from one aspect to another, from one sensation to another, before they can see aright, and distinguish the distant from the near, the single object from the medley of objects presented to the eye. That the intellect in all this business acts unconsciously, does not alter the fact; it is the intellect, nevertheless, that does the work. The understanding is the architect that builds the sensible world of our experience; the senses but furnish the raw material to this great artist.
And this is true of brutes as well as man. In the lower orders of the brute creation the action of the intellect is of course less perfect, and the world which they perceive corresponds with their limitation; it is not our world. They may not even have a brain in the proper sense of that term.
Mere separate ganglia, little knots of nerves, may answer their need. Still, in the very lowest stages of animal nature it is mental action that does the work. It is this "that mediates for the dull worm the existence of its formless and soundless world."
"With more developed brain and organs of sense, the world becomes more manifold, richer in objects, until it reaches its perfect idea in man. But always it is the same agency, the understanding, that informs the worm, that prompts the infant to reach after the moon, and that reveals to Leverrier the existence of an unseen planet. In these instances the agency differs only in degree. To the imperfectly organized animal it shows only the creature's own relation to the world of its perception. In man it appears as the effort to combine the thousandfold variety of objects and impressions in one chain of cause and effect. By means of the same function which acts in the worm, man, ascending from effect to cause, creates his mechanics, his astronomy, physics, chemistry, physiology. By means of the same he learns to view as a whole the life of humanity, in which causes become motives, and so deduces from chronicles pragmatic history. Or, proceeding in the opposite direction, from causes to effects, he invents machines, and on thrones or in cabinets, by commercial speculation or from the orator's rostrum, rules his kind."*
It is the merit of Schopenhauer, building as he did on Kant, to have greatly simplified the method
1 Weigelt: Zur Geschichte der neueren Philosophie, p. 125.