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temperament. With the single exception of Kant, he was the most original thinker of his times. His writings are elegant, and show forth a profound and harmoniously-developed mind. This elegance and profundity of his philosophical works have gained for him the name of the German Plato, and certainly he has succeeded in reviving much of the spirit of that " cheerful domain of ancient thinking.” His writings are not composed systematically, but “ rhapsodically — as the grasshopper jumps.” “ It was never my intention," he says, “ to set up a system for the school; my writings sprang from my innermost life, following a certain historical order; in a certain way, I was not the author of them — certainly not of my own will so, but drawn on by a higher power which I could not resist." • In its negative, polemical aspect, the leading principle of the philosophy of Jacobi is the positive affirmation that a speculative philosophy, when fully and consistently developed, must necessarily lead to Spinozism ; and Spinozism, he says, is combined fatalism and atheism. The man whose spirit is satisfied with Spinozism cannot, by any force of “ pitiless logic,” he persuaded into an opposite belief; his premises are certain, and his reasoning logically consistent. But such a one, says Jacobi, gives up the noblest elements of spiritual life. This, then, is the conclusion which Jacobi draws from the “ drama of the history of philosophy:" " There is no philosophy but that of Spinoza. Whoever can suppose that all the works and ways of men are due to the mechanism of nature, and that intelligence has no function but, as an attendant consciousness, to look on — him we need no longer oppose ; him we cannot help ; him we must leave go. Philosophical justice has no longer a hold on him ; for what he denies cannot be philosophically proved, nor what he asserts, philosophically refuted.” What resource is there left? “Understanding, isolated, is materialistic and irrational ;.it denies mind, and it denies God. Reason, isolated, is idealistic and illogical ; it denies nature, and makes itself God." How, then, do we cognize the supersensual? Jacobi answers, through feeling, faith, reason. The flight by which we raise ourselves above
the sphere to which, he says, the understanding is confined, is through faith in God and divine things. This is the salto mortale of human reason. As Ueberweg well interprets this deep-seated faith of Jacobi: “ There lives in us a spirit which comes immediately from God, and constitutes man's most intimate essence. As this spirit is present to man in his highest, deepest, and most personal consciousness, so the Giver of this spirit, God Himself, is present to man through the heart, as nature is present to him through the external senses. No sensible object can so move the spirit, or so demonstrate itself to it as a true object, as do those absolute objects — the true, good, beautiful, and sublime — which can be seen with the eve of the mind. We may even hazard the bold assertion that we believe in God because we sce Him, although He cannot be seen with the eyes of this body. It is a jewel in the crown of our race, the distinguishing mark of humanity, that these objects reveal themselves to the rational soul. With holy awe man turns his gaze toward those spheres, from which alone light falls in upon the darkness of earth.” This abstract separation of thought and feeling, Jacobi was hardly able to bring into agreement, and he himself confesses : “ There is light in my heart, but when I seek to bring it into the understanding, it is extinguished. Which illumination is the true one that of the understanding, which discloses, indeed, welldefined and fixed shapes, but behind them only a bottomless abyss; or that of the heart, which, while it sends its rays of promise upwards, is unable to supply the want of definite kuowledge? Is it possible for the human mind to attain to truth unless through union of both elements into a single light? And is such a union attainable without the intervention of a miracle?" Jacobi failed to effect a reconciliation of this difference of the heart and the understanding, and calls himself “ a heathen with the understanding, but a Christian with the spirit.”
There is a slight tinge of mysticism in Jacobi, but this seems rather to heighten the beauty of his thoughts than to detract from their force or value. Perhaps, too, it was this very mysticism that preserved him from falling into that all-absorbing spirit of Rationalism which then reigned in Germany. The positive elements of his philosophy coincide very nearly with the doctrines of the Scottish school. His doctrine of the immediate knowledge of the external world, especially, is identical with that of Reid ; and his doctrine of reason, or faith, is nearly convertible with the common-sense doctrines of Reid, Stewart, and Sir W. Hamilton. Jacobi carefully distinguishes, in the first place, between his faith and faith on authority. Blind belief is irrational, and is merely supported on the authority of others. This is far from being the nature of his belief, which is founded rather on the strongest, deepest subjective convictions. Then, again, belief is not purely passive, and, therefore, is not a mere receptivity of the soul; it is reason, and must be opposed to the understanding, which is concerned only with finite and conditioned knowledge — in other words, with the products of demonstration. Now, demonstration is but a continuous repetition of the art of drawing conclusions from certain premises, through a middle term, which links together the terms of the conclusion, though it does not itself appear in the conclusions. But the ultimate principles, the axioms necessary to all reasoning, and from which demonstration begins, must be known without a middle term ; they must be self-evident — immediately known. Moreover, they must be known more accurately than the conclusions deduced from them, and they must be more knowable, absolutely and by nature. The most general principles, then, are not susceptible of demonstration, because all direct demonstration presupposes as its basis or premise something higher and more general than that which is to be proved ; something, also, which must be at least as certain and obvious as the thing to be proved. The more general truths, then, must be immediately certain. This deduction of a thing from its proximate causes Jacobi calls comprehension — we comprehend only what we can explain. The ultimate truths, then, must be absolutely incomprehensible ; but there is an organ of the truth which apprehends them, and this private organ of the truth, in which consists the superiority of man over the brute, is the belief of Reason.
Jacobi affirms that all ultimate and absolutely simple facts are facts of Consciousness, and in the veracity of Consciousness he has an implicit faith. To him the great fact of the Duality of Consciousness was clear and manifest. He declares that we are immediately conscious in perception of an Ego and a nonEgo, known together, and known in contrast to each other. As Hamilton says — and in this he but gives clearer utterance to what was the beliet of Jacobi — “ In this act I am conscious of myself as the perceiving subject, and of an external reality as the object perceived ; and I am conscious of both existences in the same indivisible moment of intuition. The knowledge of the subject does not precede, nor follow, the knowledge of the object; neither determines, neither is determined by, the other.” It is the universal judgment of mankind that there is an external world, existing entirely independent of us. But any attempt of speculative philosophy to deduce the knowledge of it from our understanding must prove vain and useless — a mere empty logomachy. The duality of spirit and nature cannot be explained by the supposition of some higher principle above the antithesis, in which both the terms meet. Such a supposition is not an explanation, and only advances the problem one step further. The reconciliation must, therefore, if attempted at all, be accomplished in the opposing sides themselves; and this is possible in one of two ways: either from the position of the material side to explain the ideal, as in Spinoza's materialism ; or from the ideal side to explain the material, as in Schelling's idealism. Consciousness, to Jacobi, declared our knowledge of material qualities to be intuitive or immediate, not representative or mediate. And thus it is that we find the peculiar and appropriate sphere of Reason in inmediate contact with the great realities of existence — God, liberty, immortality, the true, good, and beautiful. - In this highest sphere, especially, it appears how Reason is the life of the mind. It alone can reveal to us the objects which form the food of that life. And it is only in proportion as we are in harmony with these that the revelations can be made.”
Jacobi spurns the proof of the existence of God which is derived from the evidence of design in the universe. " Is it unreasonable to confess,” he says, “ that we believe in God, not by reason of the nature which conceals Him, but by reason of the supernatural in man, which alone reveals and proves Him to exist? Nature conceals God; for through her whole domain Nature reveals only fate, only an indissoluble chain of mere efficient causes without beginning and without end, excluding, with equal necessity, both providence and chance. An independent agency — a free original commencement within her sphere, and proceeding from her powers — is absolutely impossible. Working without will, she takes counsel neither of the good nor of the beautiful; creating nothing, she casts up from her dark abyss only eternal transformations of herself, unconsciously and without an end ; furthering, with the same ceaseless industry, decline and increase, death and, life; never producing what alone is of God – and what supposes liberty — the virtuous, the immortal. Man reveals God; for man, by his intelligence, rises above nature, and, in virtue of this intelligence, is conscious of himself as a power not only independent of, but opposed to, nature, and capable of resisting, conquering, and controlling her. As man has a living faith in this power, superior to nature, which dwells in him, so he has a belief in God, a feeling, an experience of His existence. As he does not believe in this power, so does he not believe in God; he sees, he experiences naught in existence but nature, necessity, fate.” In other words, “We must recognize a God in our own minds before we can detect a God in the Universe of nature.”
We have now seen how Jacobi traced back all our knowledge to a primitive revelation made by Reason — pure objective feeling — of the realities independent of thought. He mainly occupied himself in vindicating the authority of this primitive revelation, and failed to give any complete systematic exposition of its contents. With him, philosophy began and ended in mystery — the primitive revealer itself is mysterious and inexplicable; and the omnipresence of that great Something — which passes human comprehension, which the most unsparing criticism leaves unquestionable — is a transcendent mystery. The belief in these mysteries has nothing to fear from the most inexorable logic; nay, rather, such a belief