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Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
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Title: Hegel's Philosophy of Mind
Author: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Release Date: March 5, 2012 [Ebook 39064]
Language: English ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK
HEGEL'S PHILOSOPHY OF MIND*** Hegel's Philosophy of Mind
By Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Translated From The Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical
With Five Introductory Essays
By William Wallace, M.A., LL.D.
Fellow of Merton College, and Whyte's Professor of Moral
Philosophy in the University of Oxford
Preface. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Five Introductory Essays In Psychology And Ethics. . . .
Essay I. On The Scope Of A Philosophy Of Mind. . .
Essay II. Aims And Methods Of Psychology. . . . .
Essay III. On Some Psychological Aspects Of Ethics.
Essay IV. Psycho-Genesis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Essay V. Ethics And Politics. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Section I. Mind Subjective. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sub-Section A. Anthropology. The Soul. . . . . . . .
Sub-Section B. Phenomenology Of Mind. Consciousness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sub-Section C. Psychology. Mind. . . . . . . . . . .
Section II. Mind Objective. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Distribution. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sub-Section A. Law. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sub-Section B. The Morality Of Conscience. . . . .
Sub-Section C. The Moral Life, Or Social Ethics. . .
Section III. Absolute Mind. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sub-Section A. Art. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sub-Section B. Revealed Religion. . . . . . . . . . .
Sub-Section C. Philosophy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Index. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Footnotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
363 [v] Preface. [vi] I here offer a translation of the third or last part of Hegel's
encyclopaedic sketch of philosophy,—the Philosophy of Mind.
The volume, like its subject, stands complete in itself. But it may
also be regarded as a supplement or continuation of the work
begun in my version of his Logic. I have not ventured upon the
Philosophy of Nature which lies between these two. That is a
province, to penetrate into which would require an equipment
of learning I make no claim to,—a province, also, of which the
present-day interest would be largely historical, or at least bound
up with historical circumstances.
The translation is made from the German text given in the
Second Part of the Seventh Volume of Hegel's Collected Works,
occasionally corrected by comparison with that found in the
second and third editions (of 1827 and 1830) published by
the author. I have reproduced only Hegel's own paragraphs,
and entirely omitted the Zusätze of the editors.
addenda—which are in origin lecture-notes—to the paragraphs
are, in the text of the Collected Works, given for the first
section only. The psychological part which they accompany
has been barely treated elsewhere by Hegel: but a good popular
exposition of it will be found in Erdmann's Psychologische
Briefe. The second section was dealt with at greater length by
Hegel himself in his Philosophy of Law (1820). The topics of the
third section are largely covered by his lectures on Art, Religion,
and History of Philosophy.
I do not conceal from myself that the text offers a hard nut
to crack. Yet here and there, even through the medium of the
translation, I think some light cannot fail to come to an earnest
student. Occasionally, too, as, for instance, in §§ 406, 459, 549, Preface. 3 and still more in §§ 552, 573, at the close of which might stand
the words Liberavi animam meam, the writer really “lets himself
go,” and gives his mind freely on questions where speculation
comes closely in touch with life.
In the Five Introductory Essays I have tried sometimes to put
together, and sometimes to provide with collateral elucidation,
some points in the Mental Philosophy. I shall not attempt to
justify the selection of subjects for special treatment further than
to hope that they form a more or less connected group, and to
refer for a study of some general questions of system and method
to my Prolegomena to the Study of Hegel's Philosophy which
appear almost simultaneously with this volume.
[xi] Five Introductory Essays In
Psychology And Ethics.
[xiii] Essay I. On The Scope Of A Philosophy Of
The art of finding titles, and of striking out headings which catch
the eye or ear, and lead the mind by easy paths of association
to the subject under exposition, was not one of Hegel's gifts. A
stirring phrase, a vivid or picturesque turn of words, he often has.
But his lists of contents, when they cease to be commonplace,
are apt to run into the bizarre and the grotesque. Generally,
indeed, his rubrics are the old and (as we may be tempted to call
them) insignificant terms of the text-books. But, in Hegel's use of
them, these conventional designations are charged with a highly
individualised meaning. They may mean more—they may mean
less—than they habitually pass for: but they unquestionably
specify their meaning with a unique and almost personal flavour.
And this can hardly fail to create and to disappoint undue
expectations. (i.) Philosophy and its Parts.
Even the main divisions of his system show this conservatism in
terminology. The names of the three parts of the Encyclopaedia
are, we may say, non-significant of their peculiar contents. And
that for a good reason. What Hegel proposes to give is no novel or
special doctrine, but the universal philosophy which has passed
on from age to age, here narrowed and there widened, but still
essentially the same. It is conscious of its continuity and proud
of its identity with the teachings of Plato and Aristotle.
The earliest attempts of the Greek philosophers to present
philosophy in a complete and articulated order—attempts
generally attributed to the Stoics, the schoolmen of
antiquity—made it a tripartite whole. These three parts were
Logic, Physics, and Ethics. In their entirety they were meant [xiv] 6 [xv] Hegel's Philosophy of Mind to form a cycle of unified knowledge, satisfying the needs of
theory as well as practice. As time went on, however, the
situation changed: and if the old names remained, their scope and
value suffered many changes. New interests and curiosities, due
to altered circumstances, brought other departments of reality
under the focus of investigation besides those which had been
primarily discussed under the old names. Inquiries became more
specialised, and each tended to segregate itself from the rest as
an independent field of science. The result was that in modern
times the territory still marked by the ancient titles had shrunk
to a mere phantom of its former bulk. Almost indeed things
had come to such a pass that the time-honoured figures had
sunk into the misery of rois fainéants; while the real business of
knowledge was discharged by the younger and less conventional
lines of research which the needs and fashions of the time had
called up. Thus Logic, in the narrow formal sense, was turned
into an “art” of argumentation and a system of technical rules
for the analysis and synthesis of academical discussion. Physics
or Natural Philosophy restricted itself to the elaboration of some
metaphysical postulates or hypotheses regarding the general
modes of physical operation. And Ethics came to be a very
unpractical discussion of subtleties regarding moral faculty and
moral standard. Meanwhile a theory of scientific method and of
the laws governing the growth of intelligence and formation of
ideas grew up, and left the older logic to perish of formality and
inanition. The successive departments of physical science, each
in turn asserting its independence, finally left Natural Philosophy
no alternative between clinging to its outworn hypotheses and
abstract generalities, or identifying itself (as Newton in his great
book put it) with the Principia Mathematica of the physical
sciences. Ethics, in its turn, saw itself, on one hand, replaced
by psychological inquiries into the relations between the feelings
and the will and the intelligence; while, on the other hand, a host
of social, historical, economical, and other researches cut it off Essay I. On The Scope Of A Philosophy Of Mind. 7 from the real facts of human life, and left it no more than the
endless debates on the logical and metaphysical issues involved
in free-will and conscience, duty and merit.
It has sometimes been said that Kant settled this controversy
between the old departments of philosophy and the new branches
of science. And the settlement, it is implied, consisted in
assigning to the philosopher a sort of police and patrol duty in
the commonwealth of science. He was to see that boundaries
were duly respected, and that each science kept strictly to its
own business. For this purpose each branch of philosophy
was bound to convert itself into a department of criticism—an
examination of first principles in the several provinces of reality
or experience—with a view to get a distinct conception of
what they were, and thus define exactly the lines on which
the structures of more detailed science could be put up solidly
and safely. This plan offered tempting lines to research, and
sounded well. But on further reflection there emerge one or two
difficulties, hard to get over. Paradoxical though it may seem,
one cannot rightly estimate the capacity and range of foundations,
before one has had some familiarity with the buildings erected
upon them. Thus you are involved in a circle: a circle which
is probably inevitable, but which for that reason it is well to
recognise at once. Then—what is only another way of saying the
same thing—it is impossible to draw an inflexible line between
premises of principle and conclusions of detail. There is no
spot at which criticism can stop, and, having done its business
well, hand on the remaining task to dogmatic system. It was an
instinctive feeling of this implication of system in what professed
only to be criticism which led the aged Kant to ignore his own
previous professions that he offered as yet no system, and when
Fichte maintained himself to be erecting the fabric for which Kant
had prepared the ground, to reply by the counter-declaration that
the criticism was the system—that “the curtain was the picture.”
The Hegelian philosophy is an attempt to combine criticism [xvi] 8 [xvii] Hegel's Philosophy of Mind with system, and thus realise what Kant had at least foretold. It
is a system which is self-critical, and systematic only through
the absoluteness of its criticism. In Hegel's own phrase, it is
an immanent and an incessant dialectic, which from first to
last allows finality to no dogmatic rest, but carries out Kant's
description of an Age of Criticism, in which nothing, however
majestic and sacred its authority, can plead for exception from
the all-testing Elenchus. Then, on the other hand, Hegel refuses
to restrict philosophy and its branches to anything short of the
totality. He takes in its full sense that often-used phrase—the
Unity of Knowledge. Logic becomes the all-embracing research
of “first principles,”—the principles which regulate physics
and ethics. The old divisions between logic and metaphysic,
between induction and deduction, between theory of reasoning
and theory of knowledge,—divisions which those who most
employed them were never able to show the reason and purpose
of—because indeed they had grown up at various times and
by “natural selection” through a vast mass of incidents: these
are superseded and merged in one continuous theory of real
knowledge considered under its abstract or formal aspect,—of
organised and known reality in its underlying thought-system.
But these first principles were only an abstraction from complete
reality—the reality which nature has when unified by mind—and
they presuppose the total from which they are derived. The
realm of pure thought is only the ghost of the Idea—of the unity
and reality of knowledge, and it must be reindued with its flesh
and blood. The logical world is (in Kantian phrase) only the
possibility of Nature and Mind. It comes first—because it is a
system of First Principles: but these first principles could only
be elicited by a philosophy which has realised the meaning of a
mental experience, gathered by interpreting the facts of Nature.
Natural Philosophy is no longer—according to Hegel's view
of it—merely a scheme of mathematical ground-work. That
may be its first step. But its scope is a complete unity (which Essay I. On The Scope Of A Philosophy Of Mind. 9 is not a mere aggregate) of the branches of natural knowledge,
exploring both the inorganic and the organic world. In dealing
with this endless problem, philosophy seems to be baulked by
an impregnable obstacle to its progress. Every day the advance
of specialisation renders any comprehensive or synoptic view of
the totality of science more and more impossible. No doubt we
talk readily enough of Science. But here, if anywhere, we may
say there is no Science, but only sciences. The generality of
science is a proud fiction or a gorgeous dream, variously told and
interpreted according to the varying interest and proclivity of the
scientist. The sciences, or those who specially expound them,
know of no unity, no philosophy of science. They are content to
remark that in these days the thing is impossible, and to pick out
the faults in any attempts in that direction that are made outside
their pale. Unfortunately for this contention, the thing is done
by us all, and, indeed, has to be done. If not as men of science,
yet as men—as human beings—we have to put together things
and form some total estimate of the drift of development, of
the unity of nature. To get a notion, not merely of the general
methods and principles of the sciences, but of their results and
teachings, and to get this not as a mere lot of fragments, but
with a systematic unity, is indispensable in some degree for all
rational life. The life not founded on science is not the life of
man. But he will not find what he wants in the text-books of
the specialist, who is obliged to treat his subject, as Plato says,
“under the pressure of necessity,” and who dare not look on it
in its quality “to draw the soul towards truth, and to form the
philosophic intellect so as to uplift what we now unduly keep
down1 .” If the philosopher in this province does his work but
badly, he may plead the novelty of the task to which he comes as
a pioneer or even an architect. He finds little that he can directly
utilise. The materials have been gathered and prepared for very
1 Plato, Rep. 527. [xviii] 10 [xix] [xx] Hegel's Philosophy of Mind special aims; and the great aim of science—that human life may
be made a higher, an ampler, and happier thing,—has hardly
been kept in view at all, except in its more materialistic aspects.
To the philosopher the supreme interest of the physical sciences
is that man also belongs to the physical universe, or that Mind
and Matter as we know them are (in Mr. Spencer's language) “at
once antithetical and inseparable.” He wants to find the place of
Man,—but of Man as Mind—in Nature.
If the scope of Natural Philosophy be thus expanded to make
it the unity and more than the synthetic aggregate of the several
physical sciences—to make it the whole which surpasses the
addition of all their fragments, the purpose of Ethics has not
less to be deepened and widened. Ethics, under that title, Hegel
knows not. And for those who cannot recognise anything unless
it be clearly labelled, it comes natural to record their censure of
Hegelianism for ignoring or disparaging ethical studies. But if
we take the word in that wide sense which common usage rather
justifies than adopts, we may say that the whole philosophy of
Mind is a moral philosophy. Its subject is the moral as opposed to
the physical aspect of reality: the inner and ideal life as opposed
to the merely external and real materials of it: the world of
intelligence and of humanity. It displays Man in the several
stages of that process by which he expresses the full meaning of
nature, or discharges the burden of that task which is implicit in
him from the first. It traces the steps of that growth by which what
was no better than a fragment of nature—an intelligence located
(as it seemed) in one piece of matter—comes to realise the truth
of it and of himself. That truth is his ideal and his obligation:
but it is also—such is the mystery of his birthright—his idea and
possession. He—like the natural universe—is (as the Logic has
shown) a principle of unification, organisation, idealisation: and
his history (in its ideal completeness) is the history of the process
by which he, the typical man, works the fragments of reality (and
such mere reality must be always a collection of fragments) into Essay I. On The Scope Of A Philosophy Of Mind. 11 the perfect unity of a many-sided character. Thus the philosophy
of mind, beginning with man as a sentient organism, the focus in
which the universe gets its first dim confused expression through
mere feeling, shows how he “erects himself above himself” and
realises what ancient thinkers called his kindred with the divine.
In that total process of the mind's liberation and self-realisation
the portion specially called Morals is but one, though a necessary,
stage. There are, said Porphyry and the later Platonists, four
degrees in the path of perfection and self-accomplishment. And
first, there is the career of honesty and worldly prudence, which
makes the duty of the citizen. Secondly, there is the progress in
purity which casts earthly things behind, and reaches the angelic
height of passionless serenity. And the third step is the divine
life which by intellectual energy is turned to behold the truth of
things. Lastly, in the fourth grade, the mind, free and sublime
in self-sustaining wisdom, makes itself an “exemplar” of virtue,
and is even a “father of Gods.” Even so, it may be said, the
human mind is the subject of a complicated Teleology,—the
field ruled by a multifarious Ought, psychological, aesthetical,
social and religious. To adjust their several claims cannot be
the object of any science, if adjustment means to supply a guide
in practice. But it is the purpose of such a teleology to show
that social requirements and moral duty as ordinarily conceived
do not exhaust the range of obligation,—of the supreme ethical
Ought. How that can best be done is however a question of some
difficulty. For the ends under examination do not fall completely
into a serial order, nor does one involve others in such a way as
to destroy their independence. You cannot absolve psychology
as if it stood independent of ethics or religion, nor can aesthetic
considerations merely supervene on moral. Still, it may be said,
the order followed by Hegel seems on the whole liable to fewer
objections than others.
Mr. Herbert Spencer, the only English philosopher who has
even attempted a System of Philosophy, may in this point be [xxi] 12 Hegel's Philosophy of Mind compared with Hegel. He also begins with a First Principles,—a
work which, like Hegel's Logic, starts by presenting Philosophy
as the supreme arbiter between the subordinate principles of
Religion and Science, which are in it “necessary correlatives.”
The positive task of philosophy is (with some inconsistency or
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