Archive for February, 2010

February 15, 2010

20. When reflection is brought to bear on impulses, they are imaged, estimated, compared with one another, with their means of satisfaction and their consequences, &c., and with a sum of satisfaction (i.e. with happiness). In this way reflection invests this material with abstract universality and in this external manner purifies it from its crudity and barbarity. This growth of the universality of thought is the absolute value in education (compare Paragraph 187).



February 15, 2010

19. In the demand for the purification of impulses there lies the general notion that they should be freed both from their form as immediate and natural determinations, and also from the subjectivity and contingency of their content, and so brought back to their substantial essence. The truth behind this vague demand is that the impulses should become the rational system of the will’s volitions. To grasp them like that, proceeding out of the concept of the will, is the content of the philosophical science of right.

The content of this science through every single one of its moments, e.g. right, property, morality, family, state, and so forth, may be expounded in the form: man has by nature the impulse towards right, also the impulse to property and morality, also the impulse of love between the sexes, the impulse to sociability, &c. This form is to be found in empirical psychology. But if in its stead the greater dignity of a philosophical dress is desired, then according to what, as was remarked before, has passed in recent times, and still passes, for philosophy, this dress may be had cheap by the simple device of saying that man discovers within himself as a ‘fact of his consciousness’ that right, property, the state, &c., are objects of his volition. Later in the text,  this same subject-matter, which appears here in the shape of impulses, will come on the scene in another form, i.e. in the shape of duties.


February 15, 2010

18. In connexion with the judgement of impulses, this dialectic appears in the following form: (a) As immanent and so positive, the determinations of the immediate will are good; thus man is said to be by nature good. (b) But, in so far as these determinations are natural and thus are in general opposed to freedom and the concept of mind, and hence negative, they must be uprooted, and so man is said to be by nature evil.—At this point a decision in favour of either thesis depends equally on subjective arbitrariness.


February 15, 2010

17. The contradiction which the arbitrary will is (see Paragraph 15), comes into appearance as a dialectic of impulses and inclinations; each of them is in the way of every other—the satisfaction of one is unavoidably subordinated or sacrificed to the satisfaction of another, and so on. An impulse is simply a uni-directional urge and thus has no measuring-rod in itself, and so this determination of its subordination or sacrifice is the contingent decision of the arbitrary will which, in deciding, may proceed either by using intelligence to calculate which impulse will give most satisfaction, or else in accordance with any other optional consideration


February 15, 2010

16. What the will has decided to choose (see Paragraph 14) it can equally easily renounce (see Paragraph 5). But its ability to go beyond any other choice which it may substitute, and so on ad infinitum, never enables it to get beyond its own finitude, because the content of every such choice is something other than the form of the will and therefore something finite, while the opposite of determinacy, namely indeterminacy, i.e. indecision or abstraction from any content, is only the other, equally one-sided, moment of the will.


February 15, 2010

15. At this stage, the freedom of the will is arbitrariness (Willkür) and this involves two factors: (a) free reflection, abstracting from everything, and (b) dependence on a content and material given either from within or from without. Because this content, implicitly necessary as purpose, is at the same time qualified in the face of free reflection as possible, it follows that arbitrariness is contingency manifesting itself as will.

The idea which people most commonly have of freedom is that it is arbitrariness—the mean, chosen by abstract reflection, between the will wholly determined by natural impulses, and the will free absolutely. If we hear it said that the definition of freedom is ability to do what we please, such an idea can only be taken to reveal an utter immaturity of thought, for it contains not even an inkling of the absolutely free will, of right, ethical life, and so forth. Reflection, the formal universality and unity of self-consciousness, is the will’s abstract certainty of its freedom, but it is not yet the truth of freedom, because it has not yet got itself as its content and aim, and consequently the subjective side is still other than the objective; the content of this self-determination, therefore, also remains purely and simply finite. Instead of being the will in its truth, arbitrariness is more like the will as contradiction.

In the controversy carried on especially at the time of Wolff’s metaphysic as to whether the will were really free or whether the conviction of its freedom were only a delusion, it was arbitrariness which was in view. In opposition to the certitude of this abstract self-determination, determinism has rightly pointed to the content which, as something met with, is not contained in that certitude and so comes to it from outside, although ‘outside’ in this case means impulses, ideas, or, in general, consciousness so filled in one way or another that its content is not intrinsic to its self-determining activity as such. Since, then, arbitrariness has immanent in it only the formal element in willing, i.e. free self-determination, while the other element is something given to it, we may readily allow that, if it is arbitrariness which is supposed to be freedom, it may indeed be called an illusion. In every philosophy of reflection, like Kant’s, and Kant’s deprived of all its depth by Fries, freedom is nothing else but this empty self-activity.


February 15, 2010

14. The finite will as, in respect of its form, though only its form, the self-reflecting, independent, and infinite ego (see Paragraph 5), stands over its content, i.e. its various impulses, and also over the further separate ways in which these are actualized and satisfied. At the same time, since it is infinite in form only, it is tied to this content (see Paragraphs 6 and II) as to the specific determinations of its nature and its external actuality; though since it is indeterminate, it is not tied to this or that specific content. From the point of view of the ego reflected into itself, this content is only a possible one, i.e. it may be mine or it may not; and the ego similarly is the possibility of determining myself to this or to something else, of choosing between these specific determinations, which at this point I regard as external to me.


February 15, 2010

13. By resolving, the will posits itself as the will of a specific individual and as a will separating itself off against another individual. But apart from this finitude as consciousness (see Paragraph 8), the immediate will is on account of the difference between its form and its content (see Paragraph II) a will only in form. The decision which belongs to it as such is only abstract and its content is not yet the content and product of its freedom.

In so far as intelligence thinks, its object and content remains something universal, while its own behaviour consists of a universal activity. In the will, ‘the universal’ also means in essence ‘mine’, ‘individuality’; and in the immediate willthe will which iswill in form only it means abstract individuality, individuality not yet filled with its free universality. Hence it is in the will that the intrinsic finitude of intelligence has its beginning; and it is only by raising itself to become thought again, and endowing its aims with immanent universality, that the will cancels the difference of form and content and makes itself the objective, infinite, will. Thus they understand little of the nature of thinking and willing who suppose that while, in willing as such, man is infinite, in thinking, he, or even reason itself, is restricted. In so far as thinking and willing are still distinguished, the opposite is rather the truth, and will is thinking reason resolving itself to finitude.


February 15, 2010

12. The whole of this content, as we light upon it in its immediacy in the will, is there only as a medley and multiplicity of impulses, each of which is merely ‘my desire’ but exists alongside other desires which are likewise all ‘mine’, and each of which is at the same time something universal and indeterminate, aimed at all kinds of objects and satiable in all kinds of ways. When, in this twofold indeterminacy, the will gives itself the form of individuality (see Paragraph 7), this constitutes the resolution of the will, and it is only in so far as it resolves that the will is an actual will at all.

To resolve on something is to cancel the state of indeterminacy in which one content is prima facie just as much of a possibility as any other. As an alternative to etwas beschliessen (to resolve on something) the German language also contains the expression sick entschliessen. This expresses the fact that the indeterminate character of the will itself, as itself neutral yet infinitely prolific, the original seed of all determinate existence, contains its determinations and aims within itself and simply brings them forth out of itself.


February 15, 2010

11. The will which is but implicitly free is the immediate or natural will. The specific characteristics of the difference which the self-determining concept sets up within the will appear in the natural will as an immediately existing content, i.e. as the impulses, desires, inclinations, whereby the will finds itself determined in the course of nature. This content, together with the specific differences developed within it, arises from the rationality of the will and so is implicitly rational; but, poured out in this way into the mould of immediacy, it still lacks the form of rationality. It is true that this content has for me the general character of being mine; but this form is still different from the content, and hence the will is still a will finite in character.

Empirical psychology details and describes these impulses and inclinations, and the needs arising from them, as it finds them, or presumes it finds them, in experience, and it proceeds in the usual way to classify this given material. Consideration is given below to the objective element in these impulses, both to its true character stripped of the form of irrationality which it possesses as impulse and also to the manner in which at the same time it is shaped externally.