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THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS

AS BASED

ON

THE SCIENCE OF KNOWLEDGE

BY THE SAME AUTHOR.


SCIENCE OF KNOWLEDGE.
With an Introduction by

Prof.

W.

T.

Translated by A. E. KROEGER.
HARRIS.

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SCIENCE OF RIGHTS.

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THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS


AS BASED ON

THE SCIENCE OF KNOWLEDGE.

BY

JOHANN GOTTLIEB

FICHTE.

TRANSLATED BY

A. E.

KROEGER.

EDITED BY

THE HON. DR. W.

T.

HAEEIS,

COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION.

LONDON
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER &
:

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l8 97

EDITOR S PREFACE
work is a translation by Mr. A. E.
from
the original edition of Das System der
Kroeger
Sittenlehre nach den Principien der Wissenschaftslehrc,
von Johann Gottlieb Fichte (Jena imd Leipzig, 1798),
together with an appendix containing a chapter on
Ascetism, or practical moral culture, translated from the
present

volume

posthumous works, published in


Bonn, 1835, the same being a lecture given by Fichte in
1798 as an appendix to The Science of Morals, published
third

of Fichte s

in that year.
This work, together with the Philos<phy
of Right, translated by Mr. Kroeger, and already pub

lished

by Messrs. Kegan Paul, Trench, Triibner

&

Co.,

gives the entire system of ethics as it stood in Fichte s


mind.
The Science of Morals gives the subjective side to
and
the Science of Plights gives the objective side,
ethics,

and protect
The
individual against attacks upon his freedom.
which
civil
institutions
are
and
State
the
family,
society,
or the institutions founded to realize morals

the

make

secure the moral freedom of man.

writings form the classics of introspection.


They furnish the best discipline for training in the
ability to seize the activities of the mind and become

Fichte

conscious

of

is

Anyone who

method.

their

a few minutes

competent
methods

difficulty in seizing the

comparatively easy

to

think
A

for

reflects

bear testimony to the

to

of mind-activity.

of

objects

It is

belonging

to

EDITOR S PREFACE.

vi

but the method of thinking eludes one, and it


not easy to make an inventory of the facts of con

nature
is

Kant made an epoch

sciousness.

subjective

his

by

philosophy

searching

co-efficient

of

in

the

investigation

knowledge.

He

history of
into
the

discovered

what belongs essentially to the constitution of percep


tion and thought, arid by this discovery was able to

make

a large contribution to rational psychology.


By
rational psychology one understands the necessary truths
which are founded on the nature of the mind itself.

Fichte was singularly gifted for the work of acquiring


Almost every
perfecting them.

Kant s methods and

writing that is to be found in his complete works is an


example of the Kantian method of introspection. There

everywhere an attempt at a separation of the transient


and variable in the mental operation from the formal
and permanent activity.
This formal and permanent
is

upon the logical structure of the mind,


and does not vary it furnishes us with the universal and
necessary truths which lie at the basis of metaphysics,
psychology, and ethics.
There is no possible way of giving the results of
activity depends

in

introspection

the

form

of

observation.

objective

not a substitute for objective observa


Introspection
nor
is
the latter a substitute for the former.
The
tion,
is

two modes

of

thinking

involve

different

fundamental

categories.
Objective observation thinks in
of time and space and external causation.

tion thinks in the

take

form

of self-activity,

and

the

form

Introspec
its

objects

the

shape of feelings, volitions, or ideas. While


objective observation sees things and dead results, intro
spection thinks persons and living beings.
enough that a knowledge of nature as

It is evident

is
not
it is
completed without introspection, for this operation enters
as a factor in
knowing all living beings, such as plants,

EDITOR S PREFACE.

vii

But this use of introspection is


The Kantian and Fichtian introspection
conscious and systematic, and those who have used

or animals,

and men.

unconscious.
is

much, or who have attained to a familiar acquaint


ance with it, love to speak of it as scientific in a higher
sense of that word.
Looking upon mathematics as
systematic and strictly scientific, they would claim for
the philosophic introspection a precision and strictness
it

which exceeds that of mathematics.


To anyone who obtains a first and superficial view
of the history of philosophy it seems absurd to think of
introspection as affording anything approaching the
character of scientific system.
There seems to be endless
opinion.
Every thinker, however, arrives
convictions of his own, although he combats the
convictions of his fellows.
Those who attain to any

difference of
at

mastery of the

critical

system of Kant, with

its

higher
order of introspection, reach a series of necessary truths
belonging within the sphere of rational psychology.
Any candid student of the History of Philosophy, who

has given

much time

to

understand the different systems,

will testify that the agreements of these thinkers are


numerous, and of such a character as to demonstrate the

claims

made

introspection.

mathematical
he

is

forced

for the scientific character of

the higher

In so far as the amateur follows the


demonstrations

of

he

into

Newton
sees

agreement;
the mathematical author he is studying.

or

Leibnitz,

the insight

So

it

is

of

in

the higher introspection


sufficient care and attention
will discover to the reader the philosophical necessity
which the insight of a Kant or a Fichte had attained.
:

But just as there comes a point in the study of mathe


matics where the mind of the student stops before a
realm of
in

unexplored quantity, so there comes a place


philosophical introspection where the student stops,

EDITOR S PREFACE.

Vlll

next step, until further strength


being unable to take the
further
him
to
comes
discipline.
by

With
that

philosophy,

the

as

positive

great

with

it

mathematics,

results

are

is

attained in

true

some

form even in the elementary stages of thinking. God,


are
freedom, and immortality, as objects of philosophy,
almost
Aristotle
and
reached in the ontology of Plato
insight; they are seen as
The same
the necessary presupposition of the world.
the logical condition
results, too, are seen very soon as

with the

for

the

first

speculative

One needs only to read


Kant s Critique of Pure

the facts of introspection.

hundred pages

first

of

Reason to see that his doctrine of time and space, which


makes them to be subjective forms of the mind, at the
same time establishes the transcendence of mind over

and time are the necessary conditions


for the existence of nature, and for all material existence,
and all manifestations of life in plants and animals.

nature

for space

kit space

and time themselves are forms

in

pure mind or

furnishes the ground


pure reason. Hence pure reason
for time and space and for the realms of nature.
work is
Perhaps the greatest merit of the present

Fichte
of

the

clear setting forth of the will in the first third


Fichte sees clearly the autonomy and

book.

He

self-activity of the ego.

fact of consciousness.

is

To him

new determinations

originate
link in a chain of

able to describe this as a

it is

clear that the will can

in the world.

It is not a

causality necessarily determined by


what has gone before it. It can modify the chain of
in which it finds itself, and initiate new forms

causality
of existence for
of

which

it

alone

is

responsible.

The idea

to
responsibility is the key to all questions relating
are not responsible for that which we do

freedom.

We

Human beings are conscious that they


not originate.
are authors of deeds for which they are wholly respon-

EDITOR
sible.

this

S"^

PREEA CE.

ix

The institutions of civilization are founded on


Even those who are agnostics or sceptics in
fact.

the will, do not go so far as to


regard to the freedom of
act on any other principle than that of freedom and
on the part of their fellow-men. They

responsibility
are partly of the conviction that their mental difficulties
are merely subjective.
They are unable to square their
intellectual conviction with their common- sense convic
tion,

and they are almost willing

practical position
intellectual sceptism

Kant shows

is

admit that the

to

one,

and that

due to weakness

of insight.

the

is

correct

in his Third

Antimony

the

that he admits

first, that of external


equal validity to the two categories
of
higher introspection.
observation, and, second, that
It was only necessary for another thinker to show that

the category of external observation has the foundation


of its validity in the category of higher introspection
to refute the Third
causality of deter

Antimony.

mination
^for

its

of

succeeding
validity upon a

events

by prior events
of

rests

freedom.

higher causality
a causality that originates in self-determination
there could be no perseverance of causal influence, and

Without

would
consequently no chain of causality. Everything
of
side
the
to
and
nothing
belong to the side of effect,
a
without
for
This would be self-contradictory,
cause.
cause there could be no

effect.

that he was obliged to acknowledge this


in his Critique of the Practical Reason, but he did not

Kant found

the necessity belonged quite as well to his


To Fichte this became clear,
Critique of Pure Reason.
and hence the Wissenschaftslehre, especially in its
the
later
forms, and hence, too, these works on

see

that

science
i

of

rights

and the science

of

morals.

Fichte

both of the intellect


insight into freedom, as the condition
and of the will, is the foundation-stone of the subsequent

EDITOR S PREFACE,

philosophies of Schelling and Hegel, in which the

movement

initiated

by Kant completes

its

German

union with

those of Plato and Aristotle.


The psychology movement
comes into harmony with the ontology movement, both
reach the same highest principles, namely, the personality
of God, human freedom and responsibility, individual
immortality in an eternal church invisible.

W.
WASHINGTON, D.C., December,

1896.

T.

HAREIS.

CONTENTS
Pages in

J.

G. Fichte,

Edition, Werter Band.

1-12

INTRODUCTION

(Original pages 1-18.)

PART

I.

13-62

BOOK

I.

DEDUCTION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY

(Original pages

1 -70.

17

63-156

BOOK

II.

DEDUCTION OF THE REALITY AND APPLICA


BILITY OF THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY

67

(Original pages 71-202.)

PART

II.

SYSTEMATIC APPLICATION OF THE MORAL PRINCIPLE


OR, MORALITY IN ITS MORE RESTRICTED MEANING.

157-205

BOOK

III.

CONCERNING THE FORMAL CONDITIONS OF


THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS
.167
.

(Original pages 203-271.)

206-253

BOOK

IV.

CONCERNING THE MATERIAL CONDITIONS


OF THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS
.

(Original pages 272-339.

254-365

BOOK V.

THEORY OF DUTIES

(Original pages 340-494.

APPENDIX

ON ASCETISM

...
...

(Printed pages 469-550.

N.B.

The work

is

217

translated from the edition of 1798.

269

373

INTRODUCTION
How

an objective can ever become a subjective, or how a

this
being can ever become an object of representation
curious change will never be explained by anyone who
does not find a point wherein the objective and subjective
:

are not distinguished at all, but are altogether one.


Now,
such a point is established by, and made the starting-

our system. This point is the Egohood, the


Intelligence, Keason, or whatever it may be named.
This absolute identity of subject and. object in the
Ego can be shown up only through mediation, and cannot

point

of,

be found immediately as part of actual consciousness.


the realization of actual consciousness, even though

With
it

be self-consciousness,

we always have

in so far as I distinguish myself,

Only
from myself, the object

the diremption.
the conscious,

of this consciousness,

am

I at all

mechanism of conscious
ness rests upon the manifold views of this separation and
reunion of the subjective and the objective.
conscious of myself.

The

ivhole

2.

The subjective and objective are viewed as united, or


as harmonious, in the following manner
First, as if the subjective resulted from the objective,
as if the former conformed itself to the latter.
This
:

view

is

called Knowledge, Cognition.

of theoretical philosophy to

such a harmony.

It is the business

show how we come

to assert

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

Second, as if the objective resulted from the subjective,


as if a being resulted from a conception (from the con
This view is that of a moral
ception of a purpose).
of practical philosophy to
business
the
It is
activity.
a harmony.
such
assert
to
come
show how we
we
come to assert the
how
The first
namely,

harmony

point,
of our representations

with things, assumed to

have independent existence, has been entertained in


the second point, namely,
previous philosophy, but not
how we come to think some of our conceptions as repre-

and in part actually represented in this very


same independent nature. It has been considered quite
a matter of course that we can influence nature.
Every
one knows that we do it every moment: it is a part of

sentable,

consciousness

so

why

trouble ourselves about

it.

3.

The

doctrine of

morals

is

As

practical philosophy.

it

is the province of theoretical philosophy to represent the


system of necessarily thinking that our representations

to a being/so practical philosophy has to exhaust


the system of necessarily thinking that a being conforms

conform
to

results

from our representations.

Hence,

it

becomes

our duty to enter upon this last-mentioned question, and


to show, first, how we come at all to consider some of our
and,
representations as being the ground of a being
;

whence we get particularly that system of those


conceptions from which a being is absolutely to result.
The object of this Introduction is to gather into one
short statement what the subsequent investigation is to
second,

elaborate in detail concerning this matter.

4.
^

I find

myself as active in the sensuous world.

From

this self-finding all consciousness proceeds, and without


this consciousness of
activity there is no self-

my

INTRODUCTION.

consciousness, as witllout this self-consciousness there

Whoever

of

At present we merely

the second book of this work.


assert

it

sake of

an immediate fact of consciousness


connecting our argument to it ?
as

What

is

another, which I myself am not.


desires a proof of this assertion will find it in

no consciousness

manifoldness does

and how do

activity contain,

Even when we admit,

this

representation

I arrive at this

for the

of

manifold

my
?

for the present, that the


repre

upon which my activity is


and which remains permanent and unchanged
and the representation of the qualities
activity
matter, which my activity changes; and the

sentation

of

the

matter,

directed,

by

this

of

this

representation of this progressive change, which continues


until that form is realised which I purposed to realise

even when we admit, I say, that all these representations,


which are involved in the representation of my activity,
are given

me

although I confess I do not


even granted that it is
empirical perception, or whatever other words may be used
to express this not-thought, it nevertheless remains
quite
externally

understand what this

clear that there

sentation

of

is

my

may mean

given, but must


perceive or learn, but

namely, that

change which
I

am

/
is

else besides in the repre

something

activity which cannot be


lie in me, which I cannot

myself

which

am

externally
empirically

must know immediately,

to be the last

ground

of the

to occur.

the ground of this change signifies:


that that
of the change is that which
effects it; the

which Imoivs

subject of consciousness and the principle of causality are


one.
But that which I assert, at the origin of all

knowing, of the subject

itself

of

this

knowing,

or,

in

other words, that which I know because I know at all


this I can have derived from no other
knowing; I know

it

immediately I posit it absolutely.


Hence, as soon as I know at all, I know that I am
active.
The mere form of knowing generally contains
;

THE SCIENCE OF

ETHICS.

the consciousness of myself as an active principle, and,


hence, posits myself as such.
Now, it might well be that the same mere form of
does alone if not immediately, at any rate

knowing

contain all the


through the just discovered immediate
other manifold which is involved in the representation of
my activity, as mentioned before. If this should turn
out to be so, we should at once be relieved of the very

vexatious assumption that this manifold is given to us


from without, since we should be able to explain it in

another and more natural manner.

Such an explanation

would show how we come to ascribe to ourselves a


the
causality in an external sensuous world by deducing
the
from
necessity of such an assumption immediately
pre-supposed consciousness.
will attempt to decide whether such a deduction is
have just now seen
Its plan is as follows

We

We

possible.

what the representation of our causality involves. The


and
pre-supposition now is that the same is contained in,
in general.
necessarily posited together with, consciousness
in
consciousness
form
of
from
the
Hence we proceed
general,

and commence our deduction with

it;

and our

in the course of our deduction,

investigation is closed if,


we arrive again at the representation of

our sensuous

activity from which we started.

5-

active, signifies according to the


within
above
myself a knowing and an
actual power, which, as such, does not knoiv, but is ; but,
How do
at the same time, I view both as absolutely one.

posit
:

come

myself

as

I distinguish

to

make

the distinction

How

to determine the

distinguished in precisely this manner?


second question will find its answer in the

Probably the
answer to the

first

question.
I do not know without

knowing somewhat ;

do not

INTRODUCTION.
know

myself without becoming precisely through this


knowledge somewhat for myself; or, which is the same,
without distinguishing within myself a subjective and
of

an objective.
tion

is

If a

consciousness

posited, this distinc

is

and without it, consciousness is not


But this diremption posits immediately

posited;

possible at all.
likewise the relation of the dirempter, of the subjective
The latter, the objective, is to exist
and objective.
itself independently of the subjective; whereas
the former, the subjective, is to be dependent upon and
receive its material determination through the latter.

through

Being is to be through itself, whereas knowing is depen


dent upon being as such the relation must appear to
us, if anything appears to us, or if we have consciousness
;

at

all.

The important insight thus obtained is the following


Knowing and being are not separated outside and inde
:

separated only in
consciousness, because this separation is a condition of
and it is only
the possibility of all consciousness
of

pendent

consciousness,

but

are

through this separation that both those separates arise.


There is no being except through the mediation of
consciousness, as there is likewise no knowing, as a

mere subjective knowing having


except

am

to

say

I,"

does

its

being for

its object,

Even

if

already compelled

to

separate

through consciousness.

arise

try

merely
but
;

likewise

also

my

The one, which is separated, and


therefore at the basis of all consciousness, and

this

separation

only

through

"

saying thus,

which

is

I."

in consequence whereof the subjective and objective in


consciousness are immediately posited as one, is absolutely
= X, and can, as such simple one, arise in no manner
in consciousness.

We

discover

here an immediate agreement between


I know of myself because

the subjective and objective.


I

am, and I

am

because I

know

of myself.

that all other agreements of both

It is possible

whether the objective

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

6
is

from the subjective, as when the conception


purpose is realized, or whether the subjective is to

to result

of

a,

from the objective, as when the conception

result

of

but particular views of that


applied
cognition
one immediate harmony. If this could really be proven,
it would also prove that everything which may occur
in consciousness is posited through the mere form of
are

is

consciousness, since that immediate diremption and har


mony is the form of consciousness itself, and since those

diremptions and harmonies exhaust the total


How this may
content of all possible consciousness.
other

be,

we

shall doubtless see in the course of our investi

gation.
(5.

posit myself as active, as described above, signifies


but I
I ascribe to myself activity in general
ascribe to myself a determm^&etiyiky, i.e., this activity
I

not

and no

other.

We

have seen how the subjective, through its mere


separation from the objective, becomes quite dependent
and necessitated
and the ground of this, its material
;

determinateness, of its determinateness in regard to the


what thereof, does not lie in itself, but in the objective.

The subjective appears as a mere cognizing of a some


thing which it perceives, but on no account as an active
producing of the representation. Thus it must, indeed,
be, at the origin of all consciousness, where the separation
But in the
of the subjective and objective is complete.
progress

of

consciousness

the

subjective

also

appears,

through the mediation of a synthesis, as free and deter


mining, for

may

very

appears as abstracting; in which case it


well at least freely describe, though not
it

At present, however, we
perceive, activity in general.
stand at the origin of all consciousness, and the repre
sentation which we have to investigate is therefore
necessarily a perception

i.e.,

in this representation the

INTRODUCTION.

subjective appears as altogether and completely deter


mined through an external other.

Now what
And how

determined activity.
does this signify ?
it become a determined activity ?
Solely

does

through opposing to

it

ji

resistance,jopposing

it

through

in other words, solely through thinking


Wherever
a
resistance as opposed to it.
imagining
also
in so far as
perceive
activity, you

ideal activity;

and
and

you perceive

No

necessarily resistance.

appearance of resistance, no

of activity.

appearance
Let not this be overlooked.

and

That such a resistance

purely result of the laws of consciousness,


hence the resistance may properly be regarded as

does appear

is

a result of those laws.

The law

itself,

which gives

rise

may be deduced from the necessary sepa


ration of a subjective from an objective, and from the
the latter,
absolutely posited relation of the former to
to it for us,

This is the ground


as established previously.
consciousness of the resistance is a mediated,

an immediate consciousness.
this,

that I

It

must regard myself

is

mediated

why

the

and not
through

as merely a cognizing

and in this cognition utterly dependent upon


the objectivity.
Next, let the characteristics of this representation of
This resist
a resistance be developed in their genesis.

subject,

as
represented as the opposite of activity hence,
as
some
not
act,
something, which merely is, but does

ance

is

to remain in
thing quiet and dead, which merely strives
existence, and which, therefore, does certainly resist (with
a measure of power to remain what it is) all influences
in 110 wise attack
of freedom
it, but which can

upon

freedom upon its own ground; in short, mere objectivity.


Such objectivity is called with its familiar name, matter.
all consciousness is conditioned by the con
Again,

This, again, is conditioned by the


activity, and this again is conditioned

sciousness of myself.

perception of

my

by the positing

of

resistance

as

such.

Hence

this

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

resistance,

with the characteristic just ascribed to

it,

extends necessarily throughout the whole sphere of ray


Nor can
consciousness, and remains along with it.
freedom ever be posited as having the slightest influence
over this resistance, because if it had, itself and all con
sciousness and all being would become annihilated.
The representation of a matter, which cannot be in any

manner changed through

my

causality,

and which we

discovered above to be contained in the perception of our


of con
activity, has thus been deduced from the laws
sciousness.

One of our chief questions has been answered, namely,


how we come to assume a subjective, a conception which
is

to result from,

and

to be

determined by, an objective,

This assumption is, as we have shown, the


necessary consequence of our separating in our conscious
ness a subjective from an objective, and yet, at the same

by a

being.

and the determined relation,


to be determined by the
objective, and not vice versa, arises from the absolutely
posited relation of the subjective as such to the objective
as such.
And thus the principle and the problem of all
theoretical philosophy have been deduced.
time, regarding both as one
namely, that subjective is
;

I posit myself as active.

We

have said enough con

cerning the subjective and objective in this positing, their


direinption,
each other.

their union,

and their original relation

to

But we have not yet investigated the predi


attached to the one and inseparable Ego.
What does it signify to be active ? and what do I really

cate which

posit

when

is

I ascribe
activity to

The schema

of

activity

in

myself

general,

as

an

agility,

mobility, or whatever words you may choose to express


it in, we presuppose in the reader, since it can be demon
strated to no one, who does not find it in himself.
This

INTRODUCTION.

internal agility cannot in any way be ascribed to the


objective as such, as we have just seen, for the objective
is and remains
only what and as it is. This agility, so
far as the

only
so

form

of its activity is

concerned, appertains

to the subjective, to the intelligence as such.

as

far

form

the

concerned, for,
above that the material or the content

minedness

to

is

be

say

we have shown

is

another

in

of

relation

the deter-

determined

through the objective.


Kepresenting, in its form, is
Now
/therefore contemplated as freest internal motion.
that,
I, the one inseparable Ego, am to be active, and
which acts upon the object, is doubtless this objective
in me, the real power.
Considering all this, my activity
can also be posited as proceeding from the subjective and

determining the objective

in short, as a causality of the

objective, which conception


cannot in so far be again determined through another
objective, but is determined absolutely in and through

mere conception upon the

itself.

We

have thus also replied to our second questionI come to assume that an objective results from
a subjective, a being from a conception ? and in doing so
have deduced the principle of all practical philosophy.
For this assumption arises because I am absolutely

how do

bound

to posit myself as active, and because, having


distinguished within myself a subjective and an objective,
I cannot posit this activity in any other manner than as

Absolute activity is
causality of the conception.
the one predicate, which immediately and absolutely
belongs to me and causality, through the conception, is

only possible manifestation of this activity, made


In this latter
necessary by the laws of consciousness.
the

form absolute activity


the

sensuous

is

also called freedom.

representation

of

self-activity ,

Freedom is
and arises

through the opposition of ourselves as intelligence to the


determinateness of the object, in so far as we relate the
latter

to ourselves.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS,

io

I posit myself as free in so far as I explain a sensuous


acting or a being through my conception, which conception
is then called the conception of a purpose.
Hence the

which was assumed above, that I find myself active,


only possible on condition, that I presuppose a concep

fact
is

tion originated through myself, which


causality
accept as a guide, and to be as well formaliter based

my

as materialiter determined by.


characteristic to those already

We

thus obtain a

is

to

upon

new

mentioned as involved in
the representation of our activity, a characteristic which
it was not
necessary to point out before, and which we
have here, at the same time, deduced. But it is to be
well observed, that this previous originating of a concep
is only posited, and
pertains only to the sensuous

tion

view of our
is

self-activity.

The conception, from which an objective determination


to result, and which we call the
conception of a purpose,
not

determined again by an objective, but is


determined
For if it were
absolutely
through itself.
otherwise I should not be absolutely active, nor im
mediately posited as absolutely active, but my activity
would be dependent upon, and mediated through, an
is

itself

It
objective being, which is against our presupposition.
that in the course of connected consciousness the

is true,

conception

of

determined

purpose appears
the

as

conditioned
of

not

some objective

through
cognition
this view cannot be entertained here, at
the origin of all consciousness, where we take our
starting-point from activity, and where this activity is

being.

But

absolute.

The most important result of this consideration is as


There is an absolute independence and selfdetermination of the mere conception by virtue of the
causality, which the subjective has upon the objective;
/precisely as we asserted an absolute and self -posited
follows:

the material substance in


consequence of the
which
the
has
causality,
objective
upon the subjective.
being of

INTRODUCTION.
Both ends

of the

connected by

whole world

u
have thus been

of reason

us.

(Whosoever has but properly seized

this self-determin

the conception, has thereby attained the most


perfect insight into our whole system, and, as a conse
quence, an unshakeable conviction of its truth.)
ing of

From
is

How

the conception there results an objective.

this possible,

and what can

it

signify

Nothing, but

that the conception itself should appear to me as some


Now the conception of a purpose,
thing objective.
regarded objectively, is called a willing, and the repre

sentation of a will

is

nothing but this necessary view

of the conception of a purpose posited, if only for the


sake of becoming conscious of our activity. The spiritual
within me, viewed immediately as the principle of a

causality,

But

to me a will.
/ who am to have causality upon

becomes

it is

stance or matter, which

and

it is

impossible for

we have

me

to think a causality

matter except through what

Hence

described in

is

the sub

its

origin;

upon that

likewise matter

itself.

and must think, myself as


matter, I become matter for

in so far as I think,

having causality upon this


myself, and in so far as I thus regard myself, I call
I, regarded as principle of a
myself a material body.
in
world
the
of
niatter, am an articulated body;
causality
.

and the representation

of my body itself is nothing else


than the representation of myself as a cause in the world
of matter
hence mediately as simply a certain view I
take of my absolute activity.
;

Nevertheless, the will is to have causality and im


mediate causality upon my body, and only so far as
this immediate causality of the will extends does the

body, as tool, or the articulation extend.


is

also separated

Hence the

will

and distinguished from the body, and

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

12

But
as not the same as the body.
appears, therefore,
another
but
is
distinction
and
nothing
this diremption

and objective, or, still more


separation of the subjective
The
this
of
view
familiar
a
original separation.
definite,
the
in this relation, is the subjective, and the body
will,

objective.
9-

But what is my actual causality, what is the change


which it is to produce in the sensuous world, and what
this
is the sensuous world which is changeable through
causality ?
If a subjective within

me is to change into an objective,


a conception of a purpose into a resolve of the will, and
I
this again into a certain modification of my body,
as having changed.
evidently represent myself to myself
But my final appurtenance, i.e., my substantial body, is
to be connected with the whole material world, and

hence, as

it

is

world
regarded as having changed, the

is

necessarily also so regarded.

The

which

thing,

qualitativeness of

my

Nature,

can change, or the

causality
is

as the
precisely the same
the
Both are
matter.
same,

unchangeable thing, or mere


as the causality
only viewed from different sides, precisely
which the conception exercises upon the objective ap
as will and as
peared to us, when viewed from two sides,
The changeable thing is Nature, when viewed
body.
with me, the active intelli
subjectively, and, as connected
same Nature, when
gence the unchangeable thing is that
;

viewed altogether and merely objectively.


All that was involved in the perception of our
sensuous causality has now been deduced from the laws
of consciousness, as was required, and we find as the last
link of our conclusions the very same from which we
started.
itself,

and

Our

into
investigation has therefore returned

is closed.

Its result

is,

in short, as follows

The only

absolute,

INTR OD UCTION.

consciousness and all being is based, is


This
activity appears by virtue of the
pure activity.
laws of consciousness, and particularly of the funda
mental law of consciousness, that the active can only

upon which

all

be considered as united

As a

subject

and object

something outside of me, all

causality upon
contained in this appearance

(as

Ego).

which

is

from the end or purpose


of
absolutely posited through myself to the raw matter
are but mediating links of this appearance,
the world
and hence are themselves appearances. The only purely
true

is

my

self-determination.

PART

I.

THE SCIENCE OF MORALITY

fr

-h

BOOK

FIRST.

DEDUCT/ON OF THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


PRELIMINARY.
IT

is

of

man an

asserted

that

there

manifests

do

to

impulsion

itself

certain

in

things

the soul
utterly

independent of external purposes, merely for the sake


of doing them
arid, on the other hand, to leave undone
:

other things equally independent of external


purposes,
and merely for the sake of leaving them undone. The

condition

of

man, in

so

far

as

such an impulsion

necessarily to manifest itself within him, as sure


he is a rational being, is called his moral nature.

The power of cognition, which belongs to man,


relate in a twofold manner to this, his moral nature.
Firstly.

in his self

When

that impulsion
observation as a fact

is

is

as

may

discovered by him

and

it

certainly

is

assumed that each rational being will thus discover it,


if
he but closely observes himself; man
may simply
accept it as such fact, may rest content to have
discovered that it is thus, without
inquiring in what
manner and from ivhat grounds it becomes thus. Per
haps he may even freely resolve, from inclination, to
place unconditioned faith in the requirements of that
impulsion, and actually to tiiink, as his highest destina
tion, what that impulsion represents to him as

such;

nay, perhaps even to act constantly in conformity with


this faith.
Thus there arises within him the common,
or ordinary,
knowledge, as well of his moral nature in
c

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

if he carefully attends to the dictates


general, as also
of his conscience in the particular phases of his life

common knowledge is
particular duties; which
the
standpoint of ordinary consciousness, and
possible from
his

of

for the generation of

is sufficient

moral sentiments and

a moral behaviour.

But man may

Secondly.

also not rest content

with

the immediate perception; he may desire to know the


he may not
grounds of what he has thus discovered
;

be content with a partical, but desire a genetical know


not only that such an
ledge or he may desire to know
likewise how it arises
but
within
exists
him,
impulsion
;

within him.

If

he obtains this knowledge,

it

will be

a speculative knowledge, and to attain it he must rise


from the standpoint of ordinary consciousness to a

higher standpoint.

problem to be solved, or how are the


nature of man to be discovered ?
moral
grounds
The only matter which excludes all asking for a higher
ground is this that we are we, or, in other words, our
is
Egoness, or Rationality, which latter word, however,

Now, how

this

is

of the

not nearly as expressively correct as the former. Every


thing else, whether it be withm us, like the impulsion
above mentioned, or for us, like the external world which

we
it,

assume,

is

only thus within or for us because we are


be easily proven in general, whereas

as can indeed

the particular insight into the


thing connects within, or for
precisely the speculative

and

manner

in

which some

that

rationality, is
scientific knowledge of the
us,

The
something whereof we speak.
grounds
it is,
as
of
these
deduced,
grounds being
development
from the highest and absolute principle of Egoness, and
shown to be a necessary* result thereof, is a deduction. It
is therefore our present task to furnish a deduction of the
of

this

moral nature or principle in man.


Instead of enumerating at length the advantages of
such a deduction, it is sufficient to remark that only

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

19

through it does a science of morality arise. And science


no matter whereof is end in itself.
In relation to a scientific complete philosophy, the
science

present
science

of

morality

of

is

connected
the

with

the

deduction.

knowledge through
present
is derived from
principles of the latter
/science, and shows how the particular science of morality
/proceeds from the general science of knowledge, and thus
becomes a separate philosophical science.
This deduction

If, as is maintained, the morality of our nature follows


from our rationality, in accordance with necessary laws,
the mentioned impulsion is itself
primary and immediate

for

that is to say, it will manifest itself


perception
without our interference, and we cannot change this, its
manifestation, through our freedom in any manner what
soever. In generating through a deduction an
insight into
;

the grounds thereof, we do not in any manner receive


the power to change anything in it, since only our
cognition,

and not our power, extends so

the whole relation

nature

is

necessarily our

far,

and since

own unchangeable

itself.

Hence the deduction generates nothing

else,

and must

not be expected to generate anything else than


simply
theoretical cognition.
Just as we do not place things
differently in time and space after we have obtained the
insight into the grounds of our doing so at all, than we
did

previously^-so also morality does not manifest itself

Nor is
differently in man before and after its deduction.
the science of morality a science of wisdom
as, indeed,
were impossible, since wisdom is rather an art than a
but morality is like all philosophy a science of
In its peculiar characteristic, however, it is
knowledge.
the theory of the consciousness of our moral nature in
general, and of our determined duties in particular.
So much concerning the significance and the object of
our intended deduction.
One more preliminary remark
for its proper
comprehension a remark made necessary
science

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

20

by the general ignorance regarding the nature

of trans

cendental philosophy.
The procedure of our deduction will be as follows

We shall make our problem, to think ourselves under


a certain specified characteristic, and to observe how we
are compelled to think ourselves under such condition.
it

From

our thus discovered nature

we

shall

deduce the

moral impulsion before mentioned as necessary y/JSTow, at


think ourselves
first, it would seem arbitrary that we
he
who has an
But
condition.
a
under
such
precisely
outlook over all philosophy, and over the connection of
the several philosophical sciences in a system, knows this
whereas anyone else may
to be necessary

condition

temporarily regard

as

it

mere assumption

the

for

means, a science of
constructing, by
purpose
or not, and the
succeed
The
may
attempt
morality.
correctness of the assumption will riot have been proven
until the required science has actually been established
of

its

by its means. The objection, therefore, that the condition


assumed is arbitrary would seem to be of little weight.
A more important objection, and more instructive in
Some one may
its consequences, would be the following.

You are going to think yourself. Very well but


say,
as a critical philosopher you ought to know, or it can at
least be easily shown to you, that all your thinking
"

proceeds according to certain inner laws of this thinking,


that hence all that you think is modified by the manner
of thinking, and that everything is for you as it is, simply
because you think it thus.
This, doubtless, will also be
the case in the present instance in thinking yourself you
;

become modified according to your thinking, and


hence you cannot say Thus am I in and for myself
since you never can know that unless you have some
but you can
means of knowledge besides thinking
will

merely say Thus must I necessarily think myself. Now,


if
you always remain conscious of this true signifi
cance of your result, and limit yourself to it, no objec:

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

21

tion can be raised against your procedure, but you can


how much it will be worth. You do not,
however, seem to limit yourself to this, its significance.
see yourself

You pretend to deduce from it that moral impulsion


which manifests itself in us all, hence to deduce some
thing actual from a mere thought, or to pass from the
region of thinking into the utterly different region of
actual being."

we

This we pretend to do on no
reply
remain altogether in the region of thinking,
and the ever-continuing misapprehension of transcen

To

this

account.

We

dental philosophy consists precisely in this


that such
a transition from the region of thinking to that of being
is still considered possible, is still
required, and that a
:

That
being in itself is still considered to be thinkable.
impulsion within us, what else is it than a thinking
which forces itself upon us than a necessary conscious
ness ?
Can we then ever proceed from a consciousness
of

mere

consciousness

to

the

a requirement within us
in the deduction is a

The

itself?

object

know anything else concerning


than that we must necessarily think
then

Do we

this

requirement,
that there is such

result of our conclusions

and that which is


thinking
within us, independently of all conclusions as primary
and immediate, is also a thinking. The only difference
;

between this mediated and immediate thinking is this,


that in regard to the latter we do not become conscious
of its grounds, but find it to force itself upon us with
immediate necessity, thereby receiving the predicate of
while the former lies within a
reality or perceivability
series of grounds, whereof we become conscious.
It is
;

the very object of philosophy to discover that within our


reason which remains unknown to us on the standpoint
of ordinary consciousness.
cannot speak of a being

We

in itself, for reason

cannot go beyond

itself.

Eor the

intelligence there is no being and since there is a being


only for the intelligence, there is no being at all; there
;

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

22

This necessity of
only a necessary consciousness.
itself
forces
consciousness
immediately upon us on the
on the transcen
consciousness
of
ordinary
standpoint

is

The
standpoint we investigate its grounds.
whole
the
as
well
as
system of
following deduction,
is to be erected upon it, furnishes only
which
morality
a part of this necessary consciousness, and would be
very incorrectly apprehended if taken to signify any
dental

thing

else.

CHAPTER

I.

To think myself as self, that


which is not myself.

PROBLEM.
apart from

is

to

say,

all

I find myself, as self, only as willing.

A. SOLUTION.

EXPLANATION.
First.

What

does this mean:

I find myself?

guide anyone to the correct


and
understanding of the conception / is as
thinking
follows -.-Think, I would say to him, any object, for
You doubtless assume a
instance, this wall, this desk.
and this thinking
in
this
thinks
which
thought,
thinking,

The

easiest

you are

manner

yourself.
thinking in this,

You

to

are immediately conscious of your

your thinking.

But the

object

which

not to be the thinking itself, is not to be


identical with it, but is to be an opposite somewhat, of
which oppositeness you are also immediately conscious

you think

is

in this

your thinking.
think again not a wall, however, but yourself.
As sure as you do this, you posit the thinking and the

Now

thought, not as opposites, as you did in the previous case,


not as a twofold, but as one and the same and you are
there
immediately conscious of it in this manner. You
fore think the conception Ego or I, when the thinking
;

and the thought are assumed in thinking as one and


the same, and vice versa, whatever arises in such a
thinking

is

Applying

the conception of the Ego.


this to our case, I find myself would signify

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

24
I

assume that which I find to be the same as that which


the finding and the found are to be the same.

finds

What

does this mean I find myself ?


here opposed to that which is produced
and more particularly the
through our free activity
finding is here determined as that which finds; i.e., in
Second.

The found

is

so

far

as

find

am

conscious of

no other activity

than that of a mere taking hold of something that which


I take hold of being neither produced nor in any manner
modified by my taking hold of it.
It is to be, and to be
;

precisely as

independently of

it is,

my taking hold of

it.

It

was without having been taken hold of, and would have
remained as it was although I had not taken hold of it.
My taking hold of it was altogether accidental for it, and
did not change

it

in the least.

Thus, at

least,

do

appear

to myself in finding, and at present we are merely con


cerned in establishing the facts of consciousness, but not

showing how

in

it

may

be in truth, i.e., from the highest


In short, something is given

standpoint of speculation.
to the perceiving subject
;

to force itself

is

to be purely passive, and


upon him, which, in our case

he

is

something
he is to recognize as himself.

What

Third.
willing,

What

and can
willing

does this signify


I find myself as
find myself only as willing?
means is presupposed as well known.
:

This conception is capable of no real explanation, nor


does it need any.
Each one must become conscious in
himself, through intellectual contemplation, as to what
and will doubtless be able to do so without

it signifies,

The fact which the above words suggest


become conscious of a willing. I add
in thinking to this
willing something which exists inde
of
pendently
my consciousness, and which I assert to
be the willing subject in this will, or to be that which
is to have this
How
will, in which this will is to be.
we come to add such a substance in thinking, and what
any

is

difficulty.

as follows

are

the

grounds

of

it,

we do not

discuss

here.

We

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

25

merely assert here that it does occur, and of this each


I become
one must convince himself by self -observation.

But I also become


conscious of, or perceive, this will.
now of this consciousness, or of this perception,
and this conscious
and relate it also to a substance
conscious

substance

is

for

me

I find the willing subject to be


willing.
I find

Hence

the same which has the will.

my

myself only as willing.

or I find myself

self,

have not an

imme

Substance is, indeed, no


diate perception of substance.
is merely that which is
but
at
of
all,
object
perception

added through thinking to an object of perception. I


can immediately perceive only something, which is to be
a manifestation of the substance.

Now

there are only

two manifestations which can be immediately ascribed


that substance:

to

Thinking, in the widest significance of

The former is originally and


word, and willing.
not
at all an object of a special
for
itself
immediately
new consciousness, but is consciousness itself. Only in
the

and opposed to another objective


does itself become objective in this opposition.
Hence,
as original objective manifestation of that substance
so far as it is related

there

remains only the

latter,

the

indeed, remains always only objective,

willing]
is

and

never

this,

itself

thinking, but always only the thought manifestation of


In short, the manifestation which alone I
self-activity.
originally ascribe to myself is the willing,

and

become

conscious of myself only on condition of becoming con


scious of myself as a willing.

PROOF.

Having thus explained the above proposition, we


proceed to establish its proof. This proof is based

now

First.

of
its

On

the conception of the Ego.

The

significance

conception has just been established through


That each one does truly proceed in the
genesis.

this

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

26

described

and

manner when endeavouring

to think his self;

on the other hand, such a proceeding gives rise


to no other thought than that of his self; this each one
must find in himself, and it cannot be specially proved
that,

to him.

Second.

On

of an objective
thinking there

the necessity of the original oppositedness


and a subjective in consciousness. In all

a thought which is not that thinking


itself, in all consciousness there is something of which
we are conscious, and which is not that consciousness
is

The truth

itself.

of

one also must

this assertion each

the self -contemplation of his procedure, and it


cannot be proven to him from conceptions./ It is true
find in

that

of

we become

afterwards

as such,

i.e.,

our thinking

do this

is

conscious

of

our thinking

and thereupon make it an object


and the ease and natural tendency to

as a doing,
;

what constitutes philosophical

genius, without

which no one will grasp the significance of transcendental


But even this is only possible if we im
philosophy.
subsume
under that thinking as merely
perceptibly
for
on
this
condition do we really think
only
thought,
a thinking.
Third. On the character of the original
is

to

objective,

that

it

be something existing independently of thinking,

hence something actual and in and through itself exist


This also each one must convince himself of
ing.
through internal contemplation, for although this relation
of the objective to the subjective is developed in a
science of knowledge, it is by no means proven from
its conception, nor can it be so
proven, since the latter
becomes
that
only
possible through
self-contemplation.

The proof may be stated thus It is the character of


the Ego, that the acting and that which, is acted upon be
one and the same.
This is the case when the Ego is
:

thought.
Only in so far as the thought is the same as
the thinking do I hold the thought to be my self.
But
in the present case

we

are to have nothing to do with

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

27

the thinking and the


the
myself
thinking; but our
the
asserts
that
present proposition
thought, the objective,
It

thinking.

is

true that, since

thought are one, I

am

itself and independently of thinking,


to be recognized in this manner as Ego, for our
proposition asserts that it is found as Ego.
is to be

and

Ego simply by

is

Hence, in the thought as such,

i.e.,

in so far as

it is

to

be merely the objective and never the subjective, there


must be an identity of the acting and that which is
acted upon which, since the thought is to be merely an
;

an actual acting upon

object, is

itself

(not a

mere con

templating of itself like the ideal activity), or in other


words, an actual self- determining of itself through itself.
But such an acting we call willing, and willing we only

Hence the proposition, to find


absolutely identical with the proposition, to

think as such an acting.

my
find

self,

is

my

willing.
Only in so far as I find myself
find myself, and in so far as I find myself
I necessarily find
myself willing.
self

willing do

KEMARK.
It is
I find

clear that the proposition here proved, "When


I necessarily find myself
in order
willing,"

myself

productive of categorical results must be pre


ceded by another one, to
necessarily find myself,
wit/
become necessarily conscious of myself." This self-con
to be

"I

sciousness
diate,

is

but in

proved, not as fact, for as such it is imme


its connection with all other consciousness,

and

as reciprocally determining it in a fundamental


science of knowledge and hence our present proposition,
together with all the results which may flow from it,
;

will itself

become a necessary

dition

self -consciousness.

of

proposition, and these

am
that

I,

or as I

am

necessarily

result as well as a con


It

may

be said

of

this

future results, so certain as I


self-conscious, so certain does this or

exist

its

in

and

for

me.

And

thus

it

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

28

appears
on the

how our present


common ground of

science of morality
all

is

based

philosophy.

SOLUTION CONTINUED. But willing itself is think


only under the presupposition of a something
distinct from the Ego.
B.

able

PROOF.
It

true that in philosophical abstraction we may


which on that very account

is

of a willing in general,

speak
undetermined

but all truly perceivable willing, such as


of here, is necessarily a determined willing, in

is

we speak

which something is willed. To will something is to


require that a determined object, which in the willing of
it is only thought as possible
for if it were thought as
the act would not be a willing, but a perceiv
become actual object of a perception. This

actual

ing

shall

requirement, therefore, clearly refers us to the external.


Hence, all willing involves the postulate of an external

and the conception of willing involves something


which is not our self.
But more than this. The possibility of postulating in
the willing an external object presupposes already within
us the conception of an externality in general, and this
conception is only possible through experience. But this
object,

experience likewise is a relation of our self to something


outside of us.
In other words, that which I will is never

anything

else

than a modification of an object which

to be actually existing outside of me.

All

is

my

willing is
therefore conditioned by the perception of an external
object, and in willing I do not perceive myself as I am
in and for myself, but merely as I may become in a

certain relation to external things.


C.

SOLUTION CONCLUDED.

true essence, I
istic in willing.
is

my

Hence, in order to find

must abstract from


That which

pure being.

my

this foreign character


remains after this abstraction

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

29

EXPLANATION.
This proposition

is

the immediate result of the previous

Hence, we have only to investigate what


propositions.
that is which remains after having undertaken the
required abstraction.
Willing, as such, is a first; is
absolutely grounded in itself, and in nothing external
whatsoever.
Let us make clear this conception, upon

which all depends here, and which can only be negatively


comprehended and explained since a first signifies merely
that which is derived from nothing else, and absolutely
grounded in
thing

itself signifies

merely not grounded in any

else.

Whatsoever

dependent, conditioned, or
be cognized, in so far as

is

through another

may

mediately, namely, from a cognition of that


it
depends, or in which it is grounded.
instance,

if

a ball

is set

grounded
it

is

thus,

upon which

Thus, for
can certainly have
movement, of the point from

in motion, I

immediate perception of its


which it starts, the point where it rests, and the celerity
with which it moves; but I could likewise obtain a
knowledge of all this if I were merely made acquainted
with the conditions under which the ball rests, and the
force of the stroke with which it is set in motion,
although I had no immediate perception of the motion
whatever. Hence the motion of the ball is considered as
something dependent, or conditioned

An

absolute

first,

and in

itself

as

not primary.

grounded somewhat, must

therefore be of such a character that

it cannot be
cognized
mediately through another, but only immediately through
itself.
It is what it is because it is so.
In so far, therefore, as the willing is absolute and

primary,

it

cannot be explained in any manner from

something outside of the Ego, but only from the


itself.

This absoluteness

when we

it

is,

therefore,

Ego

which remains

abstract from all foreign elements.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.


REMARK.
.

That

willing, in the

significance here attached to

it,

does appear as absolute is a fact of consciousness which


each one will find in himself, and which cannot be
externally proved to anyone who has not this immediate
of it as a fact.
Nevertheless, it is quite
of
it as absolute may be
that
this
appearance
possible
further explained and deduced, whereby the appearing

knowledge

be further explained and cease


appearance thereof changing into
mere semblance. In a similar manner it also appears to
us, as an immediate fact of consciousness, that certain
things exist independently of us in time and space, and
absoluteness will itself
to be absoluteness, the

transcendental philosophy further explains and


deduces this appearance; although it does not change
that appearance into a mere semblance, for reasons not
It is true no one will be able to
here to be stated.

yet

furnish such an explanation of willing.


Nevertheless, if
anyone should say that willing has an external and to

ground, there can be no theoretical

us incomprehensible

rational ground objected against the assertion, although


The
it likewise can also prefer no ground in its favour.

truth
as

is

that

when we

resolve to consider this appearance


or, rather, as absolutely in

no further explicable,

and as our only


must be judged
and accepted and upon this resolve our whole philosophy
is erected.
In that case, we make this resolve not from
that

explicable

is

truth, according to

to

say,

which

all

as truth,

other truth

insight, but in consequence of a practical


hence I resolve to
will be independent

any theoretical
interest.

Such a resolve is called


independent.
Hence our philosophy starts from a faith, and

consider myself
Faith.

knows it. yl)ogmatism, which,


/
makes the same assertion, starts

logically carried out,


also from a faith (in

In
the thing in itself), but generally does not know it.
our philosophy each one makes himself the absolute

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


starting-point,

or

basis,

of

his

philosophy:

31

hence our

system appears as without a basis to all those


incapable of doing so.

But we can

who

are

also assure all these,

in advance, that they will never find a basis


elsewhere,
unless they are satisfied with this.
It is necessary that

our philosophy should say this openly, so that it


may no
be
called
to
demonstrate
longer
upon
externally to men
what each one must create within himself.

How

do we think this absoluteness in willing ?


In order to assist the reader at the very
beginning
obtaining

some insight into

probably, in the abstractness

most

this
it

in

conception (which is
has received here, the

difficult of

all conceptions in
philosophy, although
doubtless receive the highest clearness in the
progress of our present science, the whole object of
it

will

which

is

merely to further determine this conception),


of an

we make use

ILLUSTRATION.

Let the reader imagine a steel spring, bent


together.
is doubtless in the
spring a tendency to repel the
Such a spring is
pressure, hence a tendency outwards.
the picture of an actual
willing, as the state or condition

There

of a rational

me now

Let
being but of it I do not speak here.
ask what is the first ground (not
condition) of
;

tendency, as a real and determined manifestation


Doubtless an inner action of the spring
upon itself, a self-determination. For no one surely will
say that the outward force which presses the spring is
the ground of the spring s
This selfreacting against it.
this

of the
spring?

is the same as the mere ad of


willing in
the rational being.
Both together would produce in the
spring, if it could contemplate itself, the consciousness
of a will to
But all these
repel the pressing force.

determining

moments

are possible only on condition that such an


external pressure is actually exercised
upon the spring.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

32

In the same way the rational being cannot determine


an actual willing, unless it stands in reciprocal
relation with something external (for as such the rational

itself to

being appears to

But

this

is

itself).

also to be abstracted from,

and hence we

moment any more than of


Now if we abstract from the

do not speak here of this


the first-mentioned one.

external pressure altogether, does there yet remain any


as such, and
thing whereby we think the steel spring

Evidently that, by which I


judge the steel spring to have a tendency to repel any
outside pressure as soon as it occurs hence the own inner

what

is

this

remainder

tendency thereof to determine

itself to react, or

the real

essence of elasticity as the final and no further explicable


of all the appearances of the spring, whenever

ground

the conditions of

its

manifestation are given.

(The very
between this original tendency in
spring, and the same in the rational being,

essential distinction

the steel

will appear in the following investigations.)

In the same manner in which we removed all foreign


elements from the conception of elasticity in the steel
elements
spring, we now proceed to remove all foreign
in the
to

Ego comprehended through

arrive

at

comprehension

of

its

willing,

its

pure

and thus
absolute

ness.

So far as the form of this problem is concerned, it is a


problem to think the Ego in the required abstraction as
a permanent, and hence that, through which it is to be

comprehended and characterized in

this thinking,

must

Its manifestations and


be an essential and permanent.
the conditions under
can
because
change,
appearances

which
fests

it

manifests itself change; but that which mani


under all these conditions remains always

itself

the same.

So far as the content


which is to be thought

problem is concerned, that


be the ground of an absolute

of the
is to

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

33

What, then, is it?


(All willing is absolute.)
Each one must have truly thought, together with us, that
which we required him to think must have undertaken,
together with us, the prescribed abstractions and must
now observe himself internally, and see what it is that
remains, what it is that he still thinks, after having
removed all those foreign elements. Only thus can the

jwilling.

name cannot
required knowledge be infused into him.
make it clear, for the whole conception has never been
thought before, much less named. But to give it a name,
we

will call

it,

absolute tendency to the absolute

absolute

undeterininability through anything not itself; tendency


absolutely to determine itself without any external per
]

At

is not
only a mere ~power, or facvUy~ ^or a
faculty is not actual, but is merely that which we think
in advance of our actuality, in order to be able to receive

suasion.

it

in a series of our thinking; and that which we have


to be something actual, is to be that

to think here is

And yet this


of the Ego.
conception of a faculty is also involved in it. When
related to the actual manifestation, which is only possible
which constitutes the essence

on condition of a given object, it is in this relation the


Neither is it
faculty or power of such manifestation.
an impulse, as one might call the ground of the elasticity
in the steel spring

when

an impulse operates necessarily

for

its operating are given, and


But con
operates in a materially determined manner.
cerning the Ego, we know as yet nothing in relation

the

conditions

of

and are not allowed to make hasty judg


ments in advance of the investigation.
to this point,

RESULT.

The

essential character of the Ego, through which it


distinguishes itself from all that is outside of it, consists
in its
tendency to self-activity for the sake of self-

activity;

and

it is

this

tendency

"which

is

thought,

when

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

34

the

Ego

is

thought in and for

itself

without relation to

anything external.

BEMARK.

must be remembered that the Ego is here considered


In the latter
only as object, but not as Ego in general.
case, our above result would be utterly false.
It

CHAPTEK

WE

II.

have just shown what the Ego

is,

in

and

for itself;

express it more carefully, how the Ego must


necessarily be thought, if it is thought solely as object.
But the Ego is something only in so far as it posits
to

or,

itself

the

This

and thinks itself) as such, and


nothing so far as it does not posit itself.
a proposition taken from and proved in the

(contemplates

Ego
is

is

science of knowledge, and which


explain here in a few words.

we need

thing, and the utter opposite of


or a rational being, are distinguished

therefore only

a thing, the Ego,

by

this,

that the

without knowing of its being in the


in
whereas
the Ego, being and consciousness join
least/
the
together
being of the Ego not being without
thing merely

is,

self

the Ego, and vice versa, no selfEgo without a being of that whereof

consciousness of

consciousness of the

becomes conscious. All being relates to a conscious


ness, and even the existence of a thing cannot be thought
without adding in thinking an intelligence which knows
it

But in the case of the thing this


not
knowing
posited in the thing, which is, but in
an external intelligence
whereas the knowing of the
of this

existence.
is

being of the Ego

is

posited in the same substance, which

is; and only in so far as this immediate connection of


consciousness and being is posited can it be said the

Ego is this or that.


Applying this to the present case, it follows that the
Ego must know of that which we have established as
the essence of the Ego, as sure as that
35

is

its

essence.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

36

Here there is necessarily a consciousness of the described


absolute tendency.
It may be of advantage, not merely
to state this result generally, but to enter upon a par

We

ticular description of this consciousness.


to undertake this task.

PROBLEM.

To become

now proceed

definitely conscious of the con

sciousness of our original being.

EXPLANATORY.
self-evident that we are conscious whereof we
whether
we speak philosophically or otherwise.
speak,
Thus in the preceding chapter we became conscious of
something. The object of our consciousness was pro
duced through free self-determination of our thinking
faculty by means of an arbitrary abstraction.
It

is

But

at present

we

assert that the

for us

originally,

i.e.,

of

independent

same object
all

exists

philosophising,

and necessarily forces itself upon us as sure as we have


any consciousness at all. If this is true, then an original
consciousness thereof exists, though perhaps not precisely
as of a single object, in the same abstraction in which we
have just established it. Perhaps it may always occur in
this original consciousness, in and together with another
thought, as a determination of that thought.
Now let us ask Is, then, this original consciousness
differently constituted from that which
produced in us through philosophizing

we have

just

now

How

were

this

same is to be its object, and since the


has
philosopher
surely no other subjective form of think
the
than
common
and original form of thinking of
ing
possible, since the

universal reason

Why,

then, do

we

seek what

we already

possess

We

without knowing it; and at present we only


want to produce this knowing of it within us. The
rational being is constituted in such a manner as rarely
to observe its own thinking when thinking, but only the

have

it

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

37

object of its thinking; or as usually to lose itself, the


Nevertheless, philosophy is, above
subject, in the object.
know
the
anxious
to
all,
subject as such in order to

a judgment concerning its influence upon the


determination of the object. This can only be done if
the mere reflection is made the object of a new reflection.

obtain

To the non-philosopher

it

may seem

curious and, per

haps, ridiculous to require anyone to become conscious of


a consciousness but this would only prove his ignorance
of philosophy and his inability to philosophize.
;

GENETICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF

OUR ORIGINAL

BEING.

The Ego has the absolute power of contemplation, for


This power can be no further
only through it is it Ego.
With the
deduced, and needs no further deduction.
positing of an

Ego

this

power

is

posited.

Again, the Ego can and must contemplate what it is.


The peculiar determination of contemplation, here postu
lated, requires likewise no deduction or mediation through

The Ego contemplates


mere fact.

external grounds.

does, so far as regards the


let us proceed to

Now

which we

itself

because

it

determine this fact; in doing

and must calculate in each reader upon


his own self-active generation of that whereof we speak,
and upon his close observation of that which will arise
within him when he thus generates.
A. The contemplating intelligence posits the above
shall

described tendency to absolute activity as itself, or as


identical with itself, the intelligence that absoluteness
of real activity thus becomes the true essence of the

and

brought under the authority of the


conception, whereby alone it first becomes true freedom:

intelligence,

is

absoluteness of the absoluteness, absolute power to make


itself absolute.
Through the consciousness of its abso
luteness the
itself as

Ego

tears itself loose

independent.

from

itself,

and posits

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

38

EXPLANATORY.
Let

from

me

itself.

explain this expression it tears itself loose


All contemplation, as such, is to be directed
:

upon something existing independently of it, and exist


It is the same with
ing precisely as it is contemplated.
the contemplation whereof we speak here.
The Ego as
absolute is to have had existence before it was seized in
contemplation, and this absoluteness

independent being, apart from

Now, where the contemplated

is

all

is

to constitute its

contemplation of

something outside

it.

of the

contemplating, the intelligence is altogether passive in


observation.
Such is not to be the case in our
instance.
Here the contemplated is itself the contem
its

plating

not immediately as such, it is true, but it is the


essence, power, and substance as the contem
Hence the intelligence is in this instance not

same one
plating.

merely a passive observer, but rather becomes for


absolute

itself

the conception.
The Ego, as
absolute power with consciousness, tears itself loose from
the Ego, as the given absolute without
power and con
real

power

of

sciousness.

somewhat longer upon this chief


thought, which may seem difficult to many, but upon
the direct comprehension whereof the
possibility of
It is

well to dwell

understanding our whole system depends.


Let the reader once more think of an elastic steel
It is true that the
spring.
spring contains within itself
the principle of a peculiar movement, which is not
given to
the spring externally, but which rather resists the direc
tion given it from without.
Nevertheless you will doubt
less hesitate to ascribe that

which you have hitherto very


Whence this
properly called freedom to the spring.
hesitation?
If you should say, "Because the resistance
follows from the nature of the
spring, and from the
circumstance of an external pressure upon
evitable

necessity,"

am

willing to

remove

it

with in

this inevit-

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

39

I will permit you to assume that the


some time, resists the pressure from an
unknown reason, and at another time from an unknown
reason cedes to the pressure. Are you now going to call
such a steel spring free ? I do not believe it. The con

able necessity.
steel spring, at

the connection
ception of freedom, instead of facilitating
of freedom with the spring, rather asks you to think

something absolutely unthinkable, namely, blind chance


and you will persist in saying that although you do not
know through what the spring is determined to resist,
;

you are sure that the spring


not determine

itself to

is

resist,

thus determined, and does


and that the spring can,

therefore, not be called free.

Now,

let

me

ask you, what do you think

when you

think "to be determined" in opposition to "self-deter


for the possibility
mined," and what is it you require

We

and
try to make this clear;
the
with
do
to
since you found it impossible
anything
blind
a
thing dependent upon
thought of a free thing as

of

the latter?

will

chance, nor found that thought to facilitate the con


nection of freedom with a thing, we shall commence with
You said, then, the steel spring is determined by its
it.

nature to resist external pressure.


In thus asking, What does it mean

you

shall acquire

an

What

does this mean?

I do not propose that


external knowledge, or discover new
?

by progressive conclusions from an acquired


at this
knowledge. That which I ask for, you think
even
have
and
it,
always thought
you
very moment,
before you resolved to philosophize; and I merely ask
that you shall make clear to yourself what you really
think, or that you shall but understand what you say.
results

The nature

of

the

thing

is

its

fixed

being, without

and such a fixed


movement, quiet and dead
when
you posit a thing
being you posit necessarily
and a nature thereof, for such a positing is precisely
the thinking of a thing.
Now, together with this un
of
the
thing, you posit that under
changeable permanency

internal

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS,

40

a certain condition a change will result in the thing.


For that which you have posited as fixed and unchangeable
is

the nature of the thing, which does not depend upon


is itself its own nature, and its
When you think the one, you

the thing, since the thing


nature is the thing itself.

necessarily think the other also, and you will surely not
say that the thing exists in advance of its own nature,

and determines

its

own

But having once posited


you proceed in your thinking

nature.

this nature of the thing,

from a being

(of the nature of the thing) to another


being (of the manifestation of this nature under certain
conditions), and this progression of your thinking describes
a steady series of being. Expressing the same subjectively,

your contemplation

is

always tied down, is always merely


is not a moment in the

passively observing, and there

series when it might become self-productive; and this


condition of your thinking is precisely that which you
call the thinking of necessity, and
through which you

We
find

freedom

such thinking.
have, therefore, discovered the ground

all

deny

to the object of

why you

absolutely impossible to think freedom in our


present case, and in all similar cases.
Expressing it
objectively, all being which flows itself from a being is a
it

necessary being, and not a product of freedom.


Express
ing it subjectively, the conception of a necessary being
arises in us through the
connecting of one being with

another being.

From

you will now be able to conclude, through


what
it is you require in order to think free
opposition,
which
dom,
you surely can think, and always have thought.
You require a being which shall have, not no ground
this

such you cannot think


but a ground in
which
is not
something
Now, besides
again a being.
being, we only have thinking.
Hence, a being which
at all

for

you may be able to think as product of freedom must


proceed from a thinking. Let us see whether this pre
supposition makes freedom comprehensible.

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


Something which
itself,

not determined, but determines

is

to be called _force._.

is

41

Is this active determining


as occurring through

comprehensible when presupposed

Undoubtedly, provided we are but able to


think thinking itself, and do not again make a thing out
not derive
The reason why we
of our conception.
a thinking?

<could

freedom from a being was because the conception of a


being involved that of a fixed permanency. /But such
permanent being does not hinder us when we derive
freedom from thinking, since thinking

permanent,

something

= producing
[Agilitat

remaining,

activity],

etc

not posited as

is

but

and only as

as

agility

agility, of the

intelligence.
/

something must be posited as


was your assertion. (It must
Such
determining itself.
not only be not determined through an external other,

To be posited

as free,

but also not through


Itself mean
The
twofold.

to

own

its

It doubtless

free

is

What

nature.")

involves the

Tloes that

have an existence independent of

its

of

thought

to be before it is determined

it is

determinedness.

thing cannot be thought as determining itself precisely


because it has not being in advance of its nature, or of
But the intelligence,
the system of its determinedness.

with

conception of real being, is in advance of that


and the former contains the ground of the

its

real being,

The conception

latter.

being,

and the

Our

latter is

assertion

is,

of a certain being precedes that

dependent upon the former.

therefore, that only the intelligence

*/can be thought as free, and that the intelligence becomes


free only through thus seizing itself as intelligence, for

only thus does


\yhich

is

/Somebody might
(in the

it

subsume

higher than

its

being

under something

being, namely, the conception.


object that in our own argumentation
all

preceding chapter) the absoluteness is presupposed


and that the reflection which is now to

as a being;

achieve such great wonders is evidently itself conditioned


through that absoluteness, having it for its object, and

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

42
is

neither reflection in general nor this particular reflec

an object in general and this particular object


are presupposed. /To this objection we reply that it will
appear hereafter how this absoluteness itself is required
tion, unless

and

an intelligence in
and that hence the above proposition may also
be reversed as follows
only that which is free can be
thought as an intelligence an intelligence is necessarily
for,

results from, the possibility of

general,

free.

The Ego,

in contemplating that tendency to absolute


activity as itself, posits itself as free, i.e., as a power to
B.

have causality through the mere conception.

EXPLANATORY.

Freedom

is,

according to Kant, the power to absolutely


This is an excellent nominal

begin a condition or being.

explanation

and yet

it

seems to have been

of little value

in effecting a better insight into freedom.

/For that ex
not
answer
the
how a
planation
higher question
condition or being could have an absolute beginning, or
how such an absolute beginning could be thought; by
did

which answer a genetical conception of freedom would


have been generated before our very eyes. Now this we
have just done. The absolutely beginning condition is
not connected with nothingness for the finite rational
being necessarily thinks through mediation and connec
tion.
But it begins with thinking itself not with a
but
with thinking.
being
is

In order to establish the conception in this manner, it


certainly necessary to walk, and to be able to walk,

the

path of the science of knowledge, to be able to

abstract from all being, as such (or from the fact), and
to start from that which is
higher than all being, from
and
contemplating
thinking, or from the acting of the

The same path, which alone


intelligence in general.
.leads to the right end in the theoretical philosophy in

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

43

path which also alone makes


This likewise makes more
possible.
philosophy
practical
clear our previous expression: "The Ego posits itself as
The first view of this proposition, namely,
independent."
explaining being,

"

is

the

The Ego gathers up

originally

it is

all

that

nothing unless free

it

and
originally is
in the contemplation

and conception of itself" we have already explained


But that proposition involves something
completely.
more, For all that the Ego can be in actuality, when
the conception becomes cognition, and when the intelli
gence is the mere passive observer of the external world,

What
originally depends, after all, upon the conception.
make
first
must
soever the Ego is to become, the Ego
be through the conception, and whatsoever the
Ego will be in the future it most surely will have made
Hence the Ego is its
itself through the conception.

itself to

own ground

and absolutely

in every respect,

posits itself

even in a practical significance.

But the Ego only


This must, and

posits itself as a faculty or power.

For the
the
under
comes
activity
tendency to have
But
seen.
have
as
we
of
the
intelligence,
authority
as each one must discover
the intelligence, as such, is
in contemplating himself as intelligence, and as cannot
can,

be

strictly

proven.

absolute

be

demonstrated to anybody

absolutely determining
a mere pure activity, in opposition to all permanent
and posited being, however finely conceived hence it is

itself

capable of no determination through its nature or essence,


or through a tendency, impulse, or inclination in it.

Hence

also

such an inclination, however finely conceived,

not possible in that power of activity which


the control of the intelligence, in so far as it

is

such control;

which active power

is

is

is

therefore

under
under
to

be

thought as a mere pure faculty, i.e., as merely a concep


tion, to which an actuality can, in thinking, be connected
as to its ground, although there is not in it the least
datum to show what sort of an actuality it will be.

**|

CHAPTEE

III.

IT must have appeared strange to the reader that, in the


preceding chapter, we deduced from a reflection of a
tendency a consciousness, which has no similarity to a

tendency at
sight

all,

of

utterly

and that
the

real

we thus appeared
character

of

this

to

lose

tendency.

According to the principle upon which our argument, in


the preceding chapter, was based, the Ego is only that
as which it posits itself.
Now the Ego is to be originally
a tendency.
The Ego must, therefore, have this character

must become conscious of this, its character.


itself
The question is, therefore, not at all whether such a
consciousness does occur in the Ego, but simply how
We
this consciousness may be constituted in its form ?

for

shall obtain the required insight best by causing this


consciousness to form itself under our Very eyes.
Hence
it is our

PEOBLEM.
conscious

of

what manner the Ego becomes

To

see in

its

tendency to absolute

self -activity,

as

such tendency.

EXPLANATORY.

we proceeded by absolutely
postulating a reflection upon the objective Ego under
consideration
undoubtedly justified in so doing, since
the Ego is necessarily intelligence, and an intelligence un
In our previous chapter

We, the philosophers,


conditionally contemplating itself.
were mere spectators of a self-contemplation on the part
of the original Ego, and that which we established was

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


not our

own thought but

object of

our reflection was

a thought of

the

45

Ego

the

itself a reflection.

In the present chapter we likewise calculate provided


solve our problem at all
upon arriving at such
an original reflection of the Ego but we cannot well

we can

take our starting-point from it. For the mere postulate


of a reflection results in nothing further than what we

have already discovered, and found to be insufficient,


namely, the consciousness of a mere faculty, or power,
but on no account of a tendency, or impulse. To state
distinction briefly, the reflection of our previous
chapter was absolutely possible, but the one of the present
chapter must first be grounded in its possibility, which
grounding we now undertake through our philosophizing.

the

SOLUTION.
A. The posited tendency necessarily manifests
as impulse in the whole Ego.

itself

EEMAEKS.

particular proof of this assertion is not needed,


resulting, as it does, from a mere analysis of what has
been established in our first chapter. The tendency is

posited as the essence of the Ego, and hence belongs, as


such, to the Ego, and cannot be abstracted from, without

But as mere tendency it is impulse,


cancelling the Ego.
real
internal
i.e.,
explanatory ground of an actual self-

Now

activity.

an impulse which

permanent, and
manifestation

ineradicable,

both

is

posited as essential,

impels,

expressions

and

express

this

its

is

precisely

the

same,

Now,

if

we think

merely objectively,

the Ego, in which the impulse


the impulse

then the working of

is,

is

will effect a self-activity


comprehensible easily enough
as soon as the external conditions are given
precisely as
;

it

was the case with the

steel spring.

The

act will follow

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

46

from the impulse, like the effect from its cause. Nay, we
may even add, in thought, the intelligence, but in such a
manner as to have it dependent upon the objective qualitativeness; and the impulse will be accompanied by a
yearning, or the deed by a resolve, with the same
if the conditions are but given
with which
necessity
the deed resulted from the impulse.

We

may think the Ego thus merely objectively in


relation to the impulse, and will be forced to think it
thus hereafter; but at present this repeated separation
in a conception which we have composed already would
serve us nothing, and only tend to distract our attention.
systematical progression requires that we should

further determine our last result as we found it, and


hence we must not think the Ego here objectively, but,
as we have established it in the preceding chapter,
This is the
objectively and subjectively together.
significance of the term, the whole Ego,

which we made

use of above.

Perhaps

it

may

be well to state this

The

still clearer.

Egoness, then, consists in the absolute identity of the


subjective and objective, in the absolute union of being

with consciousness, and of consciousness with being.


Neither the subjective nor the objective, but an identity,
is the essence of the
Ego and we mention the former
twofold only to designate the empty spot of this identity.
;

Now, can anyone think


course not
that

this

identity as himself

for in order to think himself he

very distinction between the subjective and


is not to be made in that
conception

which

Without

Of

must make
objective,

of

the

no thinking
whatsoever is possible.
Hence we never think both
(the subjective and the objective) together, but always
one after the other, and through this very thinking of
the one after the other, we always think the one as
identity.

this distinction, indeed,

dependent upon the other. Hence it is very natural, to


be sure, that one should ask, am I because / think myself,

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

47

But such a because


or do I think myself because I am ?
and such a therefore does not occur here at all. You
are neither of the two because you are the other; you
are not twofold in any manner, but absolutely one and
you are this unthinkable one absolutely because you
;

are

it.

This conception, which is only to be described as the


problem of a thinking, but which can never be thought
itself,

points out an

which we
stated,

shall call

comprehend

empty place in our investigation,


The Ego cannot, for the reason

X.

itself

it is

absolutely

= X.

Now this whole Ego, in so far as it is neither subject


nor object, but subject-object, has, in itself, a tendency
to absolute self-activity, which, if separated from the
substance itself, and thought as ground of its activity,
Should anyone still
an impulse which impels it.
doubt our authority to relate this impulse to the whole
Ego, we can easily remove that doubt now, by a separa
For the Ego,
tion of the Ego, which is permissible here.
is

in

reflecting

upon

itself,

chapter, posits that which


as itself, even in so far as

according to the preceding


involved in its objectivity,

is

it

is

reflecting or subjective.

Now

the objective doubtless contains an impulse, and


this impulse is changed through the reflection into an

impulse upon the subjective; and since the Ego consists,


becomes an impulse directed upon

in the main, of both, it

the whole Ego.

But Jww this impulse can manifest itself in the whole


Ego cannot be determined here, particularly as even that
upon which it is directed is absolutely incomprehensible.

We

can only say negatively that it cannot manifest itself


with necessity and mechanical action, since the Ego, in its
subjectivity, has placed its power of activity under the
authority of its thinking, and since its thinking is not
determinable through anything external, but only through
itself.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

48

B.

From

this manifestation of the

impulse there does

not result a feeling.

KEMAEKS.
Kei iiiig

in

]i(>rnl

is

the

i;<

mere

iinnmdi?it.(>

relation of

theT^Bjective, in the Ego, to the subjective in the same,


of its being to its consciousness and the power of feeling
is the true point of union of both, though only in so far
;

from our above description as the sub


considered
as dependent upon the objective.
jective
(For in so far as the objective is considered as dependent
upon the subjective, the point of union of both is the
as appears
is

will.)

This can be
in the

made

clearer as follows:

The

objective

determined, moved, or changed without


any action of its own, and precisely like the mere thing.
But since the Ego is never merely objective, the subjective

Ego

is

always being united with

it

the same one and

in

un

divided essence, there necessarily arises with the change


of the objective a change of the subjective, and hence
a consciousness of that change in the objective but this
consciousness appears as if it were produced in the same
;

mechanical manner as that in which the change is pro


This is the peculiar characteristic of feelin".
duced.
In
O
JL

representation, the representing subject is also, it is true,


merely passive, i.e., when the representation is directed

upon any actual external being


no consciousness on the part

but in feeling there


of

is

the

subject of any
internal agility, whereas in representation this conscious
ness certainly arises in regard to the form of the

In representation, I certainly do
representation.
produce the represented, but I certainly produce

not
the

whereas in feeling I produce


representing it
neither the felt nor the act of feeling.
It is impossible
to determine these distinctions more closely
through

act

of

conception, and even the distinctions specified here have


no meaning, unless made clear by each one to himself

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

49

through contemplation of himself in these various con


Such descriptions as we have attempted here
are not to replace but merely to guide
self-contemplation.
ditions.

It is true that

we

meet a determinateness

shall soon

of

the merely objective Ego through the impulse of absolute


self -activity, and that we shall moreover deduce also

But at present we
feeling from this determinateness.
are not speaking of any determinateness of the
merely
= X. Can a
objective, but of the ivhole Ego
feeling result
from this determinateness ?

feeling presupposes, according to our description,


partly the dependence of the merely objective upon an
impulse, and partly the dependence of the subjective

In the present case, the latter


upon the objective.
dependence has not been posited at all as possible, for
both the subjective and objective are not to be con
,

sidered as distinct, but rather as absolutely one, and


have been determined as thus absolutely one. What
this one may be, and what may be its determinateness,
is

incomprehensible to us, as

we have

seen.

But

in order

comprehend at least something, we can only begin


with one of the two parts into which we necessarily
separate, or into which this one necessarily separates.
to

Now

since

it

the

is

Ego whereof we speak,

as its objective is to stand


subjective, it will be most

in

so far

under the authority of the


proper to begin with the

subjective.

The Ego

as

intelligence,

therefore,

determined through the impulse.


the intelligence
C.

From

is

a thought.

is
immediately
determination of

Hence:

the manifestation of the impulse there results

necessarily a thought.
(It has

absolute

whatever

been previously stated that the intelligence, as


agility, is not capable of any determination
;

that

it

brings forth

its

thoughts, but that no

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

50

thoughts can be brought forth in it. The present state


ment might seem to be a contradiction of that previous
result, but it will be apparent hereafter that both state

ments may well go


i.

and

together.)
therefore proceed to determine this thought,
in doing so first investigate it in regard to its form.

We

determined thinking, such as

we

reflect

upon at

a being
present, appears either as determined through
namely, when the thought is to be an actual object,
in which case the thought results in our consciousness as
it

does simply because the thing

is

we say

it

results

from this

as it is

or as deter

which latter case


other thinking, and we then

mined through another thinking;

in

attain an insight into a series of rational grounds.


Neither case occurs in our present instance.

Our

thought is not determined through a being, because we


do not think an objective determinateness, not even that
of the objective Ego, but of the whole Ego; and it is not
in this thought
determined through a
thinkingyfoecause
the Ego thinks itself, and thinks itself in its fundamental
essence, but not with derived predicates and because this
thinking of the Ego, particularly in this respect, is not
;

conditioned by any other thinking, but rather conditions


itself all other thinking.
Hence this thought is not conditioned and determined

through anything outside of it, neither through a being


nor through a thinking, but absolutely through itself
alone.
It is a first immediate thinking.
Strange as such

an assertion may appear at the first glance, it follows


correctly from the established premises, and is most
important as well for the particular philosophical science
which we establish here, as for the whole transcendental

must be

carefully noted therefore.


Through it, thinking is rendered absolute in regard to
its form
we obtain a series, which absolutely commences

philosophy.

It

with a thought, which itself is grounded in nothing


For the fact
besides, and connected with nothing else.

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY,

51

we have

just now in our philosophizing grounded


moreover, in an impulse, has no influence
upon common consciousness, which begins with it, and
is not a consciousness of the established
grounds; as,

that

this thought,

we have proven.

indeed,
It

is

remarked that

to be

also

relation of

this

the

subjective to the objective is truly the original relation


in the Ego and that the opposite relation, wherein the
thought is posited as dependent upon the being, is
grounded in this first relation, and must be derived from
;

(To establish this deduction

it.

branch of philosophy

is

the business of another

though we shall also have

to recur

to it hereafter.)

But the described thought


to its

because

it is

also absolute in regard

is

thought as
thus thought.
This

content,

it

is

it

is

is of

thought simply
particular impor

tance for our present science, lest some should be induced,


as has occurred
frequently, to attempt a further explana
tion and deduction of the consciousness of our duties

(for

as such the described


be),

which attempt

and

is

thought will soon show itself to


futile, involving an impossibility,

is

also derogatory to the


dignity
of the moral law.
In short, this

and absoluteness

thinking

is

the absolute

principle of our being


through it we absolutely consti
For the essence of
tute, and in it consists, our being.
;

our

being

is

lifeless things,

not a material permanent, as that of


but rather a consciousness, and moreover

a determined consciousness.

That we think this thinking we know


immediately, for
thinking is precisely this immediate consciousness of the
determinateness of ourself as intelligence
and in the
present case of an intelligence, purely as such.
An
immediate consciousness is called contemplation; and
since the
an
contemplation here is not directed
;

upon

external being by

means

intelligence immediately
intellectual

of feeling, but rather


upon the
as such, it is called very

contemplation.

It

is,

indeed,

the

properly
only one

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

52

which

and

originally

every

man

philosophical abstraction.

The

actually

without the freedom of

occurs

in

transcendental

contemplation, which
of all students, is the mere form of
requires
philosopher
this actual intellectual contemplation, is the mere con
of the inner absolute spontaneity of the same,
the

intellectual

templation
with utter abstraction from its determinateness. Without
this actual contemplation, the philosophical contemplation
our thinking is originally determined
were not
possible

originally
2.

We

and not

abstract.

now proceed

to describe that

thought in regard

to its content.

determined through the impulse to


have absolute self-activity, and it is this determinateness
But the
which is thought in our present thinking.
and
hence, likewise,
whole Ego cannot be comprehended,
whole Ego.
of
the
determinateness
a
not immediately
of
the sub
determination
It is only through reciprocal
can
we
that
approximate the
jective and the objective
we shall now
and
whole
the
of
determinateness
Ego,
do
so.
attempt to
Let us first think the subjective determined through
The essence of objectivity is an absolute
the

The whole Ego

is

objective.

Applying this to the subjec


tive, we
permanent unchangeable, or, in other
words, at a necessary thinking, a law of thinking. Now,
the determining impulse is an impulse to absolute selfHence, there results as content of the deduced
activity.
that the intelligence must give to itself an

unchangeable permanency.
arrive at a

thought:

irrevocable law to realize absolute self-activity.

Let us

the objective determined through the


is the positing of an absolute
undetermined power of freedom, as

now think

subjective.

but

The subjective

completely
This is to deter
our previous chapter.
described
the
condition
and
to
objective.
mine,
produce,
In other words, the thought just now established (that
the intelligence must propound to itself a law to realize
described in

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


y absolute self-activity), is possible

53

only on condition that

Ego thinks itself as free.


But each is reciprocally to determine the

the

That

other.

is to say, the described self -legislation of /the


only when the Ego thinks itself as free, but

Ego
if

occurs

the

Ego

thinks itself as free it occurs necessarily. Thus, then,


the admitted difficulty of conceiving a determinateness
of the thinking is likewise removed; for the described

thought does not occur necessarily, since in that case


thinking would cease to be thinking (there being no
freedom), and the subjective would change into an objec
it occurs necessarily only as thinking thinks
freedom that very freedom. Strictly speak
absolute
with
is not a particular thought,
ing, therefore, this thought
the necessary manner of thinking our freedom.
but

tive; but

merely
is very important.)

(This

necessity

of

thinking.

It is the same with all other


Such necessity is not absolute

all thinking
necessity, which, indeed, is not possible, since
our self; but it is merely
"starts from a free thinking of

conditioned by our thinking anything at all. If we think


or that
anything, then we must necessarily think in this

manner; such

is

altogether the character of necessity in

thinking.
to be observed that this thought grounds
an
impulse, and hence musb retain the
upon
character of an impulse, which character is that of a
The content of the deduced thought may,
postulate.
It is

still

itself

therefore,

be described, in

we

short,

as

follows:

We

are

determine ourselves
and to determine
with
consciousness,
through conceptions
ourselves thus according to the conception of absolute
self-activity, and this thinking is the very consciousness
of our original tendency to absolute self-activity which
forced

to

think,

we were looking

that

for.

are

to

CHAPTEE

IV.

STRICTLY speaking, our deduction is now ended. Its real


object was, as our readers know, to deduce the thought
that we are to act in a certain manner from the system
of reason in general, or to show that the supposition of
a rational being involves necessarily also the supposition
Such a deduction
that such a being thinks this thought.
is

absolutely required
reason, which science

for
is

the

science

itself its

own

of

a system of

end.

But such a deduction involves many other advantages


Apart from the fact that we comprehend
nothing truly and well which we do not see arise
from its grounds, and that hence we can attain com
besides.

plete insight into the morality of our being only through


such a deduction, it is likewise to be considered that the

comprehensibility which this deduction throws upon the


categorical imperative of Kant will remove from it the

appearance of an occult quality which it has hitherto


borne (though without the positive fault of Kant), and
will thus be the surest means to annihilate the dark
region which that part of Kant s system left open
hitherto for various visionary theories to take refuge
in.
Hence, also, it is all the more important to dissi

pate completely, by manifold and freer views, the dark


ness which may still rest upon our own deduction, but
which we could not thus dissipate well so long as we

were confined by the chains


as

of systematic development.

The

chief point of our deduction may be also stated


follows: The rational being, considered as such, is

i.

absolutely

and

independently
54

its

own

ground.

It

is

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


originally

(i.e.,

lutely nothing,

make

itself

without any activity on its part) abso


and whatsoever it is to be it must first

by

own

its

activity.

not proven, nor can it be proven.


absolutely demanded that each rational being should

This proposition
It is

55

is

thus find and accept itself.


In this manner, therefore, does

each reader think


me, what is it really that you do
think when you think what I have required of you ?
For I do not ask you to go beyond that conception, but

himself.

!STow

merely to make

The

tell

clear to yourself by pure analysis.


is itself to bring forth whatsoever

it

rational being

is actually to be.
Hence you must ascribe to the
rational being, in advance of all actual (objective) being
thereof, some sort of an existence, as, indeed, we have
it

shown already

in the previous chapter.


This sort of
existing can be none other than an existence as intelli
gence in and with conceptions. In your present con

a rational being

ception of

thought

it

as

an

you must,

intelligence.

You

therefore,

have

must, moreover, have

ascribed to this intelligence the power of producing a


being through its mere conception, since you presuppose
for the very sake of discovering a
In
one word in your conception of a
ground
rational being you have thought precisely what we have
deduced in our second chapter under the name of freedom.

it

as

intelligence
of being.

But now

tell

thing depends

me

for

upon

this consideration every


in making

how much have you gained

your conception of a rational being conceivable to you

When

you thought the described characteristics, did you


think self-determination as essence of the Ego ?
By no

means

you merely thought an empty undetermined


self -determining.
This thought merely makes
power
the
of
an
possible
independent self-determined
thought
but
does
not
make
it
actual, as which you certainly
being,
it
first.
For
a
thought
power, or faculty, is something
to which you
can
connect an actual being as to
merely
;

of

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

56

such actual being were, for instance,


but you are not compelled to
externally given to you
derive such actual being from it as its ground.
The con

its

if

ground

ception of a power, or faculty, involves not the least


indication that an actuality, and what sort of an actuality,
will result

from

it.

Perhaps that power of

self- deter min

ing might never be used, or might be used only at times,


in which case you would receive either no self-determina
tion, or an interrupted self-determination, i.e., which
would not be permanent, would not constitute the essence.
It was not in this manner that you
thought the self-

determination of the rational being in the conception I

have asked you to analyse. You did not posit that


independence of the rational being as problematical, but
as categorical, or as the essence of reason.
What it sig
nifies to posit something as essential has been
sufficiently

explained, namely, to posit something as necessarily


and inseparably involved in the conception
as posited
But if
together with the positing of the conception.
;

you thought self-determination as the necessary essence


of reason, then you posited self-determination and
freedom
as necessity, which is a contradiction, and which
you
In nevertheless
cannot, therefore, have possibly thought.
thinking this permanent character of reason, you must,
therefore,

have thought it in such a manner as to make


same time the thinking of freedom. Your

possible at the

determinateness was a determinateriess of the free intelli


gence but such a determinateness is a necessary thinking
;

(on the part of the intelligence) of self-determination, as


the rule by which the intelligence must
resolve
necessarily
freely to determine itself.
Your conception of self-determination, therefore, in
volves both the power and the law to
uninterruptedly
exercise this power;

and you cannot think your concep

tion without thinking these both united.


Thus it has
appeared to you who freely resolved to philosophize, and

thus

it

will

appear

since

you philosophize according

to

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

57

being, and
which
we have
especially
here posited as representative of reason in general, under
the name of the original Ego, and the system of thinking

universal laws of

more

reason

to that

to every rational

rational being

whereof we are about to establish.

and

self-determined

If

the

Ego thinks

from

this presupposition
that we start
then it necessarily thinks itself as free,
and which is of chief importance to us here it thinks

itself

this

it is

freedom under the law

its

self-determination.

of

the significance of our deduction.


But there are other ways of showing the necessity of
our deduced thought. Let the rational being think itself

This

is

free in the

But

is

it

above merely formal significance of the word.


its reflection is
finite, and each object of

it through the mere reflection.


freedom becomes limited or determined
for it.
But what is a determinateness of freedom as
such ? We have just seen it.
Or, let me express it from the profoundest depth of
the system of transcendental philosophy, and in the
most decided and comprehensive manner. I am identity
of subject and object = X.
Now, since I can only think
objects, and then separate a subject from them, I
cannot think such an X. Hence, I think myself as
I unite both by reciprocally deter
subject and object.
mining each through the other according to the law of
causality. / My objective, determined through my sub

limited or determined for


also, its

Hence,

results

jective,

power

in

the conception of

of self-determination.

my

through

objective,

/ My
in

results

freedom as

of

subjective, determined

the

thought of

the

necessity to determine myself through my freedom only


in accordance with the conception of self-determination,

which thought, since


determinateness,
thought.
objective
jective

is

it

an

is

immediate

Now, neither is
dependent upon

dependent upon

the thought of
first

to be

my
and

thought alone
subjective, nor

my
my objective,

original

absolute
;

not

my

my
sub

but both are to

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

58

be thought as absolutely one. I think it as one


by
reciprocally determining the one through the other in
their stated determinateness, i.e., by
thinking freedom
as determining the law, and the law as
determining the
\

freedom..

when

One

is

one

is

the

not thought without the other, and


thought the other is also thought.

When

you think yourself as free, you are forced to think


freedom
as acting under a law and when you think
your
this law you are forced to think
yourself as free, since it
;

presupposes your freedom, and announces


law for your freedom.

itself

to

be a

Freedom does not follow from the law, nor does the
law follow from freedom. Both are not two
thoughts,
each of which were thought apart from the other, but
both are one and the same thought. It is a
complete
synthesis (according to the law of reciprocal determination), as, indeed, was stated above.
Kant, in various
places, derives the conviction of our freedom from the

consciousness of the moral law.

This

is

to be understood

The appearance of freedom is an immediate


fact of consciousness, and is on no account derived from
another thought. Nevertheless, someone might want to
explain this appearance again, and thus to turn it into
a mere seeming.
Now, there is no theoretical, but only a
as follows:

practical, reason

why we

should not attempt any further

explanation, which practical reason is the firm resolve to


recognise practical reason as the superior, and the moral
law as the true and final destination of our
being; and
not to turn this moral law
into
a
mere
show, as is
again
certainly possible to a free imagination.

going beyond

this

of

Now, by not
freedom in us, that
For the proposition,

appearance
appearance becomes reality for us.
I am free
freedom is the only true being, and the ground
of all other
being is a very different proposition from
the one, I appear to
myself as being free. It is, there
fore,

the faith in the objective


validity of this appearance
is to be deduced from the consciousness of the

which

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

59

moral law. 1 am truly free is the first article of faith


which opens us a path and transition into the world of

and prepares a firm basis for it. This faith is, at


the same time, the point of union of both worlds, and

reason,

from

it our system, which is to embrace both


worlds,
takes its starting-point.
Doing cannot be deduced from
being, since the former would thereby be changed into a

seeming, and I must not hold it for a seeming. /Hence, on


the contrary, all being is to be derived fro
a/doing. The

which being gains thereby does not detract from


our true destination, but is rather a
The
gain for it.
Ego is not to be deduced from the Non Ego, and Life not
from death but the Non Ego on the contrary, is to be

reality

deduced from the Ego, and, hence,

it is from the
Ego that
must
philosophy
proceed.
2. The deduced
thought has been called a law. It has
also been called by Kant a categorical
imperative; and
the mariner in which we think in this
thought has been
called a shall-ing, in opposition to
and common
being

all

has

sense

found

itself

surprisingly

We

these designations.
shall
from
our
deduction.
proceed

well

expressed

in

show how these same views

been shown that we can think freedom as


under
no law, but containing in itself alone the
standing
of
its
ground
determinedness; and we must think freedom
has

It

thus

if

we want

to think it
correctly, since its essence

and since thinking is absolutely un


determinable through anything other than itself. Hence,
we can think freedom it being determinate in all

consists in thinking,

possible manners
which rule only

under a fixed
the

free

rule, the

conception of
can
intelligence
produce in

and determine itself according to that rule. Thus


the free intelligence
might, for instance, propose to itself
very different rules or maxims
as, for instance, of
itself,

and might
and
without
uninterruptedly
excep

egotism, laziness, oppression of


follow these maxims
tion,

although with

full

freedom.

others, etc.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

60

In this manner the intelligence would think a certain


as
acting as agreeing with its rule, and another acting
True, the real acting always remains
conflicting with it.

dependent upon absolute freedom, since the acting of the


is not actually determined, is not mechanic

intelligence

ally necessary, but


conception thereof.

merely determined in the necessary

this necessity in the


mere conception to be designated, since it is no actual
It seems to me that it cannot be better
necessity ?

How,

is

then,

designated than thus a certain acting is proper ; is as


ought to be, or should be whereas the opposite acting
improper, and should not be.
:

it

is

Now, the conception of such a rule is, as we have


shown above, an absolutely first unconditioned conception,
having no external ground whatever; but having its
ground in itself. Hence, such an acting is not to occur
from this or that reason, not because something else is
willed or ought to be, but it is simply to occur because

ought to occur.
because it shall be.

"

[or ought to] be absolutely


this shalling, this
ought or

It shall

it

Hence

"

"

and
an absolute and categorical shalling
a rule valid without exception, since its
subjected to no possible condition.

should,"

is

that rule

is

validity is
So far as this absolute shalling

is, moreover, thought as


an
imperative command, suppressing all other
involving
inclination adverse to it, we cannot yet explain it, since
we relate it altogether to absolute freedom at present,
which freedom does not involve the thought of any

inclination.
3.

The deduced thought has

also

called autonomy, or self-legislation.


in a threefold significance.

been very properly


may be called so

It

of
Firstly, because, when we presuppose the thought
the law in general, and consider the Ego merely as free
for the
intelligence, the law becomes a law in general

Ego

only,

submitting

by the Ego
itself

to

reflecting upon and arbitrarily


or by actively making

that law,

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

61

that law the irrevocable principle of all its actions; and


becomes a law in a particular case only by the Ego

through

discovering,

may

judgment, what the law


Thus the whole moral exist
being is nothing but an uninter

its

free

require in that case.

ence of the intelligent

of the same,
rupted self-legislating or self-determining
there
ceases
and when this self-legislation
immorality

begins.
is
Secondly, because, so far as the content of the law
absolute
but
demanded
is
indepen
concerned, nothing

Hence the material


dence, absolute self-determination.
the
law is taken from
will
of
the
determination
through
out of ourselves; and all heteronomysll borrowing of
is
grounds of determination from something external
absolutely in violation of the law.
our necessary
Thirdly, because the whole conception of
an
arises
a
law
to
absolutely free
solely through
subjection
in
true
its
itself
the
of
essence, i.e.,
reflection
Ego upon
as self-determining.

The deduced thought does not

force

upon us immediately, which would be absolutely


of an
incomprehensible, and would cancel the conception
but
it is rather the condition, the necessary
intelligence
itself

of thinking freely. Hence the Ego places itself in


this whole relation of a lawfulness, and reason remains in

manner

every respect its own law.


At the present place,

it

seems

to

me

that

it

also

reason can be practical, and


appears very clearly
is by no means the curious and
reason
how" this
practical
incomprehensible thing as which it has sometimes been

how

vViewed, and is, indeed, not at all a second reason, but


rather the very same reason which we all recognize as
theoretical reason.
v For reason is not a thing which is and exists, but rather
Eeason contemplates itself
a doing pure, simple doing.
this reason can and does do simply because it is reason,

Jbut reason cannot contemplate

what

it is;

hence, as a doing.

itself

Now

otherwise than as
reason

is finite,

and

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

62

whatsoever reason represents becomes for reason, in so


representing it, determined and finite; hence also its
doing becomes a determined doing through this very
self

contemplation

which

it

involves.

and the law of determinedness


But the determinedness of a pure

doing does not result in a being, but in an ought, in


Thus reason determines itself its activity;
shalling.

and

to

determine an activity

is

an equivalent term with

to be practical.

In a certain sense of the word,


conceded that reason
reason

is

means

for

is

practical,

realizing

it has
always been
namely, in so far as

some external purpose,

proposed by our free arbitrariness, or by some


requirement of our nature. But in this .sense of the
word, reason is merely technical practical/But, we assert
here, that reason absolutely out of itself and through
itself proposes a
purpose to itself; and in so far, reason
either

is

absolutely practical.

its

own

absoluteness,

The

practical dignity of reason

is

its

determinability solely through


itself and through
nothing outside of itself. Whosoever
does not recognize this absoluteness
and each one can

only find

it

in

himself

through

contemplation

will

always regard reason as merely a faculty of argumen


tation,

which cannot put itself in motion until objects


to it from without; and will
always find it

are given

incomprehensible how reason can be absolutely practical,


since he cannot cease to believe that the conditions of
the executability of a law
the law can be accepted.

must be recognized before

EEMARKS.
A.

The views which present themselves from

this

standpoint in regard to a whole system of philosophy


are of a manifold character, and I cannot refrain from

mentioning at least one.


Reason determines through

itself

its

own

acting,

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


because

self-contemplating or

it is

63

This proposi-

finite.

tion has a double significance, since the


acting of reason
may be regarded in a twofold manner. In a science of
it

morality

is

chiefly

related

to

the

so-called

acting

which is accompanied by the consciousness of freedom,


and which is, therefore, recognized as
acting even on the
standpoint of
willing

common

consciousness; in other words, to

and working.

But this proposition holds, likewise, good in regard to


that acting which is discovered to be an
acting only from
the transcendental point of view,
namely, the acting in
thinking.
Now, reason does not necessarily observe the law
which

it

proposes

to

itself

that law addresses itself

as a

to its

moral being, because


but it does

freedom;

necessarily observe that which it proposes to itself as


a thinking being, because the
intelligence, in contem
active.
plating that law, is active but not

Hence the whole system

freely
of reason
as well in regard

which shall be, and that which is postulated as


in
being
consequence of this shall, as also in regard to
that which is found as
is
to that

immediately being
predeter
through Eeason itself.
Now, Eeason ought certainly to be able to dissolve
that which it has composed
according to its own laws

mined

as necessary

by those same laws; and hence reason necessarily can


In other words: an analysis of
completely know itself.
the whole procedure of reason, or a
complete system of
reason,

Thus

is

possible.
in our theory all parts
join together,
is

and the
on
condition
of
possible only

necessary presupposition
the results arrived at.
Either

all philosophy must be


abandoned, or the absolute autonomy of reason must be

admitted.

Only on

this presupposition is the


conception

of a

philosophy rational. All doubts, or all denials of


the possibility of a system of reason, are
grounded on the
of
an
or
on
the
presupposition
heteronomy,

presupposition

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

64

that reason can be determined by something outside of


But such a presupposition is absolutely irrational,

itself.
is

a contradiction of reason.

B.

The principle

of morality is the necessary


it ought to determine its

of the intelligence that

thought
freedom

without exception in accordance with the conception of


self-determination.
It is a thought,

and not a feeling or a contemplation,


itself upon the intellectual

although this thought grounds

contemplation of the absolute activity of the intelligence.


/ It is a pure thought, with which not the least particle of
feeling or sensuous contemplation can be mixed up, since
it is the immediate conception which the pure intelligence
itself as such. / It is a necessary thought, since
the form in which the freedom of the intelligence

has of
it

is

is

thought, /it is the first and absolute thought, for since


the thought of the thinking itself, it does not ground

it is

itself

upon any other thought as

its

sequence or as con

ditioned by that other thought.

The content

of

this

thought

is,

that

the

free

being

mariner, for the shalling is the


The content
expression of a determinedness of freedom.
of this thought is, moreover, that the free being shall

shall

in a certain

act

freedom by a law, arid that this law shall


be none other than the conception of absolute self-deter
mination (absolute undeterminability through anything
and, finally, that this law shall be valid
external)
determine

its

without any exception, because it involves


determinedness of the free being.

C.

the

original

In our argument we proceeded from the presupposi

tion that the essence of the

E";o

consists in its self-deter-

or, rather, since this self-determination can be


as
actual only under certain conditions riot yet
thought
established, in its tendency to self-determination.

mrnation

We

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

65

have investigated how, under this presupposition, the


Hence, we started from an
Ego must think itself.

But

being of the Ego.

objective

the

is

in itself

Ego

Was
objective, or without relation to a consciousness?
not the Ego whereof we commenced
in our

speaking
chapter related to a consciousness ? We doubtless
related it to our own philosophizing consciousness.
But
first

now

let

us relate

it

to the consciousness of the


original

do we get
transcendental standpoint of
deduction is not dogmatic, but
We do not claim to evolve a

Ego, for only thus

a correct view from the

our

for

deduction;

our

idealistic.

transcendentally
thinking from a being in
itself, for the Ego is only for and in the knowledge of
the Ego.
Our claim, on the contrary, is to establish an
original system of thinking itself, an original connecting
of the assertions of reason with each other.

The

rational

being
because

determining

posits
it

self-determining because

is

itself

as

absolutely

self-determining, and

selfit

is

posits itself as such; it is in


this relation subject- object = X.
Now, in so positing
itself, it posits itself partly as free, in the above signifi
it

cance of

this word, whilst partly it subordinates its


freedom to the law of self-determination.
These two
conceptions are involved in the conception of the selfdetermination of the Ego, or the conception of self-deter
mination involves these conceptions both are one and
:

the same.

D. Certain objections and misunderstandings may


render necessary, moreover, the
following:
We do not assert that on the standpoint of common
consciousness we become conscious of the connection of
the deduced thought with its
For it is well
grounds.
that the insight into the grounds of facts of

known

consciousness

only from

we

the

assert that

belongs to philosophy, and is


transcendental point of view.
this

possible

Nor do
thought occurs amongst the facts

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

66
of

common

straction

other

consciousness

wherein

words,

that

in

the

generality

and

ab

we have represented it; or, in


we can become immediately con

It is
scious of such a law for our freedom in general.
at
that
we
arrive
abstraction
only through philosophical
is undertaken in
generality, and this abstraction
the
to
establish
able
be
order to
problem definitely. In

this

common

consciousness

there occurs only a determined


as fact, for all abstraction

and never an abstract thinking

We

only
presupposes a free acting of the intelligence.
When we think determined actual
assert, therefore, this
:

we feel constrained to think, at the same


that
time,
they ought to be done in a certain manner.
Some men may never be in a position to experience the
acts as free,

truth of this our assertion in the thinking of their own


acts, because they are actuated, perhaps, by passions and
desires, and never become clearly conscious of their own

freedom

but everyone will certainly discover the truth

of this assertion in

judging those acts of other persons


free acts.
Hence, if anyone

which he considers to be

denies the principle of morality, so far as his own person


concerned, as a fact of his consciousness, he can do so,
and it cannot be proven to him, since a universal morality

is

cannot exist as immediate fact of consciousness by its


very conception. But if he denies the application of this

moral law to separate free

show him,

at least in his

acts, it will

judgment

be easy enough to

of the acts of others,

No
use of that application.
for
at
flame
which
the
consumes
one,
instance, gets angry
his house, but he does at the man who set the house on
that he always does

make

Were he not a fool to get angry at the man, unless


fire.
he presupposes that the man could have acted and ought
to have acted otherwise ?

BOOK SECOND.
DEDUCTION OF THE REALITY AND
APPLICABILITY OF THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.
PRELIMINARY.

WHAT does the reality or applicability of a principle,


i
or of a conception, signify ? And what reality does attach
in particular to our present conception of morality ?
.

A conception has reality and applicability signifies


our world i.e., the world of our consciousness is deter
mined by

it

in a certain respect.

It belongs

conceptions through which we think


are certain characteristics in

them through

this conception.

it

objects,

to

those

and there

for us, because

we think

To hunt up the

reality of

to investigate how and


a conception, signifies, therefore
I will
in what manner objects are determined by it.
:

make

this clearer

by some examples.

The conception

of causality has reality, for through it


there arises in the manifold objects of my world a certain
connection, by virtue of which I must proceed from the

one to the other, and can conclude from the effect as to


the cause, and from a known cause as to the effect the
:

the one always^ as it were, accompanying


thinking
of Law has
the thinking of the
other.yThe conception
For in the infinite sphere of freedom""^., of
reality.
of

free as objective, for only on this condition do I


occupy the standpoint of law) I necessarily think iny
sphere as limited, and hence think freedom, or free beings,
outside of me, with whom I come in contact through

"being

THE SCIENCE OF

68

ETHICS.

the mutual limitation of our freedom.


that

conception I

arrive

first

community of free beings.


But in the determination

at

Hence, through

the conception of a

world through these


and
legality there is a
causality
remarkable distinction, to which I desire to call atten

two conceptions

of our

of

prepares the solution of the question


From these two concep
here chiefly at
heart./
flows
the
there
tions, mainly,
absolutely valid theoretical
has its effect and that all
that
cause
every
propositions
tion, since it aptly

we have

as such, have legal rights.


Nevertheless, in practice,
one
is absolutely valid.
the
For, whereas I cannot
only
have even the desire to deprive, in practice, an effect of

men,

its cause, I

can not only have the desire, but likewise the


men as if they had no rights. In other

power, to treat

words

whereas the theoretical conviction that

men have

the
rights does not compel physical acknowledgment
theoretical conviction that every effect has its cause
;

does

so.

At present we speak

of the principle, or conception, of

This conception has been deduced as a deter


morality.
mined form of thinking, or as the only possible manner

freedom hence the consciousness of our


freedom has certainly been already determined through
But this determination was only im
this conception.
mediate, and it is very possible that the conception of
of thinking our

our freedom determines something else mediately.


The conception of morality, as its deduction has shown,
does not relate to anything that is, but to something that
to be.
It proceeds purely from the essence of reason,
without any foreign mixture, and requires nothing but
self-determination
it pays no attention to experience,

is

but rather contradicts


of experience.

cannot

mean

all determination
through objects
Hence, when we speak of its reality, we

that the

mere thinking

of it realises results

in the world of appearances.


The object of this concep
tion, i.e., that which arises in us when we think it, can

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

69

only be an idea; a mere thought in us, of which we do


not at all pretend that something in the external world

corresponds to it. The first question would, therefore,


seem to be
what, then, is this idea ? or, since ideas
cannot be taken hold of, what is the manner in which
:

them

to describe

that

we

2.

In popular language "You tell us


?
do something what is it that we shall do ?
:

"

shall

That which we think in virtue

of the conception of

morality, or the object determined by that conception, is


But we can do nothing
the idea of what we shall do.

unless

world.

we have an object of our activity in the sensuous


Whence this object, and through what is it

determined

I shall [ought to]


it

or,

externally,

as

it

my

never

is,

do something

since

it

signifies: I shall

proposes to

me an

but always merely shall

external actions

work

be,

produce

infinite end,

I shall in all

so as constantly to

draw nearer

to that end.

But
I

am

must always have an object of my activity, since


and hence I cannot produce what I am to

finite,

produce out of nothing.


The sensuous world must, therefore, contain something
which is to be the object of my activity in my endeavour
to approach the realization of that infinite and unattain
What, then, is this sphere of the sensuous

able idea.

world, to which the requirements of the moral law in me


themselves ? How am I to arrive at a know

relate

ledge, and particularly at a systematic knowledge, of


this sphere ?
Moreover, how am I to know how this

law requires

me

to act in regard to each special object

in this sphere ?
It is immediately clear that that

upon which I am to
must be of such a nature that I can act upon it, or
Let
that I must have the physical
J^ower to mould it.
act

us explain this.

70

THE SCIENCE OF

The

ETHICS.

rational being acts as an intelligence, i.e.,


according to a conception of the effect to be produced,
which conception exists in advance of the production of
the effect.
Hence the object of its activity must at least
free

be of such a nature that

it can be
thought by the intelli
and
can
be
so
gence,
thought as either being or not being

as accidental in regard to its


being), the intelligence
then choosing between the being or not being thereof,
by
producing its conception of the end to be achieved.
Here we have immediately a limited sphere of the
(i.e.,

general sphere of sensuousness, wherein to look for that

which is physically possible to our power of causality.


For there is a large sphere in our world which
appears
to us as necessary, and which we can never
think, and
hence also not will since our willing is conditioned
by
our laws of thinking, and is always preceded
by a con
Another sphere of our
ception
except as necessary.
world, however, appears to us as accidental.
For instance: I cannot will to posit any
thing out of
space, since I cannot think it out of space on the other
;

hand, I can very well think a thing in another place in


space than that which it occupies; hence I also can will
to

change

its

place.

A thorough and complete

philosophy has to show up the


some
thus
ground why
things
appear to us as accidental
and by doing this, at the same time to fix the sphere and

At present we have not


even proposed these questions to ourselves, much less
answered them.
In making this investigation we
may, perhaps, be
the
remark
that
the
characteristic
of acciguided by
dentalness is usually a proof that we think
something
as product of our freedom; or, at least, that we think
the limits of this accidental.

all

the products of our freedom as accidental


(a propo
and proved in the general science of

sition established

knowledge).
related

Thus, for

to the

being

of

representation, when
the represented object, is held

instance,

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


to

The being

be accidental.

of

the

object,

71

we

judge,

of
might well be, although there were no representation
the
find
we
it; and this judgment we make because

of the
representation to be, in its form, a product
a pro
content
in
its
absolute freedom of thinking, but

duct of the necessity of thinking.

from an analogy, that all that


is accidental in the world of appearances is to be in a
certain sense deduced from the conception of freedom,
Perhaps

it

may

result,

and to be regarded as the product of freedom. Let us


what can it
assume this proposition to be confirmed
;

signify?

through

Certainly not that these objects are posited


the ideal activity of the intelligence in its

for this,
function as productive power of imagination
known
well
as
is
of
in a science
presupposed
morality,
not
does
and
of
science
fundamental
from the
knowledge,
;

are
apply merely to the objects of our world which
are
which
those
to
also
but
as
accidental,
thought

Nor can it signify that they are


our actual practical causality in
of
as
products
posited
the sensuous world, for this contradicts the presuppo

thought as necessary.

they are regarded as things actually existing


Hence the assumed proposition
independently of us.
our
would have to
perhaps, about this, that
sition that

signify,

freedom

itself is

a theoretical determining principle of our

world.

Let us explain
but the

Non

this.
is

Our world

is

absolutely nothing

limitedposited solely to explain the

Ego,
ness of the Ego, and hence receives alj its determinations
is to
only through opposition to the Ego. / Now the Ego

have the exclusive predicate of freedom. If the assumed


this same
proposition should be confirmed, therefore,
a
be
would
of
the
determining
freedom,
Ego,
predicate
world
principle of the opposite to the Ego, the external

and thus the conception of leing free would furnish a


theoretical law of thinking which rules with necessity
over the ideal activity of the intelligence.

r#

72

SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

of this sort of a

Examples

we have already met in our


we are free, we then posited

determination of an object
science of rights.
Because
the objects of our world as

assumed other rational beings like ourselves,


and ascribed to ourselves bodies moveable
through our
mere will, etc., etc. But in the present instance our
investigation will have to go still further back, and
modifiable,

establish

the proofs

these assertions

of

we have now

since

more ex

still

arrived

the very
ultimate and primary of all reason.
If the assumption that a
part of our external world
haustively,

at

determined through freedom as theoretical


principle
should be confirmed, and if it should
appear that this
part constitutes the sphere of the objects of our duties,
then the law of freedom will but have
continued, as a
practical law addressed to consciousness, what it has itself
is

commenced
ness
itself,

as

theoretical

the intelligence.

of

and through

itself,

principle without conscious


It will

have determined for

the sphere wherein

it

rules;

it

cannot utter anything now in its present


quality which
it has not
already uttered in its previous quality. This
law of freedom has first determined somewhat in
general,
and has posited this somewhat as constituted in this or
that manner; and now it also
preserves this somewhat
that same qualitativeness thereof
by means of our
Hence the
practical freedom which that law controls.
content of this law in its practical function
might also
be thus expressed act in
conformity with thy cognition
in

of the original determinations


(of the final ends) of the

external
are

free.

my

is

The same conception, regarded

results in the
free being.

body

For instance, theoretically the con


freedom involves the proposition All men

things.

ception of

command

You

practically,
shall treat every man as a

Again, the theoretical proposition says


instrument of my activity in the sensuous world.

The same

My

proposition, regarded as practical command,


Treat
says:
your body only as a means of realizing your

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

73

freedom and self-determination, but never treat


end in itself, or as object of an enjoyment.

Now

if

all

it

as

an

these assumptions should be confirmed, the


would receive quite another signifi

principle of morality

cance yet than the one previously established and the


whence do we get
question which we proposed above
the objects for the proposed activity, and how are we to
;

knowledge of them ? would be completely


The principle of morality would show itself
be both a theoretical principle, which as such furnishes

arrive at a

answered.
to

own content (the determined content of the law),


and a practical principle, which as such furnishes itself its
own form, that of a command. The moral principle would
thus return into itself, and stand in reciprocal relation
with itself, and we should thus receive a complete and
satisfactory system from one point.
Something outside
itself its

of us has this or that final end,


it

thus; and

final end.

we

We

idea of that

are to treat

because \ve are to treat


thus because

it has this
should thus have arrived at the desired

which we ought

at the substrate, in which

we

it

to do,

and at the same time

are to approach the realiza

tion of this idea.

What does the conception of

a physical power to mould


and
how
does
this
objects signify,
conception arise in us ?
Let us first ask
Of what are we really conscious
3.

when we

believe to be conscious of our causality in the


sensuous world ? What can this immediate conscious

ness involve, and what can it not involve ?


are immediately conscious of our conception of an

We

end, or of our real willing

of an absolute self-determin
which
our
soul is gathered together, as
whole
ing, through
it were, into one
We, moreover, become immedi
point.
of
conscious
the
ately
reality and of an actual sensation of
;

the object (which


previously we only thought in the con
ception of the end) as a given object in the sensuous world.
(Somebody might interrupt us here and say, we are
also conscious of

our labours in the production which

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

74

occurs between the resolve of the will and

But

in the sensuous world.

I reply,

its realization

that

it

is

not a

particular consciousness, but simply the already pointed


out and gradually realized consciousness of our satisfac

This consciousness begins with the forming of the


resolve, and successively continues as the willing is suc
tion.

cessively continued, until the whole conception of the end


completely realized. Hence this consciousness is only the
synthetic uniting of the two established kinds of con

is

and the willed, as an activity.)


But we are on no account conscious of the connection
between our willing and the sensation of the reality of
what we willed. According to our assertion, our will is

sciousness, the willing

How may this be ? Or,


how may we come to assume

to be the cause of this reality.

transcendentally spoken
this conscious harmony between a conception of an end
and an actual object outside of us, the ground of which
:

is

harmony
Let

me

to lie in the

clear

former and not in the latter

up this question through opposition. The


cognition is to be a reconstruction of an

conception of
external somewhat/ but the

conception of an end, or

to be a prcconstruction for an external some


purpose,
what. And as in the case of the former conception of
is

cognition there arises very properly a question con


cerning the ground (not of the harmony in itself, for this

would be nonsense, since unity and harmony between


opposites exists only in so far as an intelligence thinks
it, but) of the assuming of such a harmony between the
so
conception (as secondary) and the thing (as primary)
;

in the case of the latter conception of a purpose


for the

ground

assuming a harmony between

of

we ask

the thing,

as secondary, and the conception, as primary.


In the case of the conception of cognition that question
was answered in this manner: BOTH THE THING AND THE

CONCEPTION ARE ONE AND THE SAME, ONLY VIEWED IN


THE CONCEPTION, PROVIDED IT IS A
DIFFERENT WAYS
NECESSARY CONCEPTION OF REASON, IS ITSELF THE THING;
;

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


AND THE THING

IS

75

NOTHING BUT THE NECESSARY CON

CEPTION OF ITSELF.

How,

we were

if

to

same answer in the

receive the

case of the conception of a purpose, namely, THAT THAT


WHICH WE BELIEVE TO HAVE PRODUCED IN THE EXTERNAL
IS NOTHING BUT OUR CONCEPTION OF A PURPOSE
REGARDED IN A CERTAIN MANNER? with this dis
tinction, that the harmony in this case occurs only under
a certain condition, characterized in this manner
Of

WORLD,
ITSELF,

whatsoever stands under this condition we say,


This
we can do
but of whatsoever does not stand under it
we say, "This we can not
"

"

do."

That which I willed

when

is,

it

becomes

Hence a determined

of a sensation.

real,

an object

must

occur,
in virtue whereof it is posited, since all reality occurs for
me only on this condition.
willing, therefore, must,
in the present case, be accompanied by a feeling
relating
itself to that which I willed
and by this result we gain
feeling

My

much

at least so

that the sphere of our investigation is


solely in the Ego, and that we have to speak only of
what occurs in ourselves, but not of what occurs outside
of us.

Feeling is always the expression of our limitedness.


in our special case there is a transition from a

But

feeling related to

the object as it is independently of


us/to another feeling related to the same object as it is
to be modified
through our activity. Hence, since the
latter is to be a product of our freedom, there occurs a
transition from a limited to a less limited condition.

We
thus

are

now

How

is

more definitely
extension of our limits connected

able to express our problem

an actual

with self-determination through freedom (or willing]


or
How
we
do
come,
to
assume
transcendentally expressed:
such an extension ?
;

Every assumption

of a

further determination of
in

my

consciousness.

new

my

reality outside of
world, a change of

Now,

me

my

my

world

is

is

world

determined

THE SCIENCE OF

76

ETHICS.

through opposition to myself, and

my

original world,
as I find it independently existing; through oppo
sition to myself, as I find myself necessarily existing.
Hence a change in (a changed manner of viewing)
i.e.,

my

world must have a change in (a changed manner


viewing) myself as its basis.
I

If

were,

through

myself

able

therefore,

my

will,

and

to

this

of

change something in

would necessarily

also

the possibility of the former were


change
demonstrated, the possibility of the latter were explained
at the same time.
My world is changed, signifies / am
iny will

if

world

changed my
am determined
;

determined differently,

signifies

differently.

The problem,

What

is

at present, is to be put into this shape

does this signify

/ change my self ?

If

we only

this question, then the other question, How I can


the
world, is answered at the same time.
change
Whenever I but will, I determine myself, concentrate

answer

whole essence away from everything indefinite and


merely determinable into one solitary determined point,
as we have just stated.
At present / change myself;
but not all willing results in the occurrence of the willed.
Hence the Ego which is to be changed by every act of
the will, and that Ego through the change whereof our
view of the world changes likewise, must be different,
and from a determination of the former a determination
of the latter must not result necessarily.
Now, which
our second
is
the
former
?
This
we
know
from
Ego
Ego
which
that
chapter, namely,
Ego
through absolutely
reflecting itself has torn itself loose from itself, and

my

posited itself as independent

which

is

solely

dependent upon

or in other words, the


its

Ego

conception.

Now, is there still another Ego ? According to what


we have said undoubtedly, namely, the Ego from which
the former

has torn
or, in

intelligence has precedence)


order to posit itself as independent;

Ego (wherein the

itself loose in

other words, the objective tending and impelling Ego.

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

77

Let us assume this impelling to be directed upon a


certain determined determination of the will, as it doubt
less is, since it can only be thought as a determined

Now

impelling,

let

us posit a free determination of the

which does not harmonize, or is not required by this


impulsion or tendency; and to posit this is certainly
allowable, since the freedom of the will stands absolutely
under no condition except that of thinkability, and has
expressly torn itself loose from the influence of the
In this case the Ego would remain, so to
impulse.
speak, divided; the impulse or tendency would not
harmonize with the will, and I would be conscious
merely of my willing, of my mere empty willing. A part
of the Ego would be changed, namely, the condition of
its will; but not the whole
Ego, since the tendency
would remain in the same condition, i.e., unsatisfied, not
having acquired the will which did occur, but rather an
If we posit, on the contrary, the
utterly different one.
will

will determination to be in

harmony with the impulse,


then that separation no longer occurs the whole united
Ego is changed, and our world also is now to be deter
;

mined by

this change.

In order to unite all the views thus obtained, let us


It is very
glance back at what we have said above.

we have assumed, that our world itself be


determined in a certain respect, in accordance with the
just mentioned original tendency of the Ego, or with
freedom itself as a theoretical principle.
But that in
possible, as

accordance with which another (the world) is to be


determined must be itself determined.
Hence in this
connection we have freedom as objective, and therefore
the original and essential tendency of all reason.

Through

freedom as theoretical principle our world would,


therefore, be determined, and through this principle more
specially our world would receive the character of accidentalness, and hence of the possibility to change it

this

through free resolves.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

78

The result of all we have problematically established


would, therefore, be this the ground of the connection
of the appearances with our willing is the connection of
our willing with nature.
can do that to which our
:

We

nature impels us, and we can not do that to which our


nature does not impel us, but which we resolve to do by
unrestrained freedom of imagination.
It is to be remarked that the possibility of fulfilling
the moral law is here determined through the moral law
itself (automatically),

and not through an external prin

ciple (not heteronomically).

To remove
impelling

all

of our

misapprehension, we add that this


nature which determines our physical

faculties need not be the moral law itself.


For we also
have the physical power to execute immoral acts. Here,
therefore, it will probably be necessary to draw a new
line of distinction.
We may say, however, so much, that
the commands of the moral law must fall within the lines
of our physical power
and by saying this we have at
;

once removed the objection that it is impossible to satisfy


the requirements of the moral law.

The object of these preliminary remarks was


what our present deduction has to accomplish.

to

see

This

It is clear that our deduction


object we have attained.
establish the proof of the following:
A. The rational being which, according to the previous

must

book, is to posit itself as absolutely free and independent,


cannot do this without at the same time determining its
world theoretically in a certain manner. That thinking
of its self, and this thinking of its world, occur
through
the same act, and are absolutely one and the same think
both are integral parts of one and the same synthesis.

ing

Freedom

is

a theoretical principle.

B. Freedom,

which our

first

book also showed

to be

a practical law, relates itself to those world-determina


tions, and requires their maintenance and completion.

CHAPTEE

I.

DEDUCTION OF AN OBJECT OF OUR ACTIVITY IN GENERAL.


The rational being cannot ascribe a
FIRST PROPOSITION.
power of activity to itself without at the same time thinking
an external somewhat upon which that activity is directed.

PRELIMINARY EEMARK.
the propositions advanced in our first book are
merely formal, and have no material significance.
All

We

shall, but do neither comprehend what we


nor icherein to represent what we shall.
This

see that
shall,

we

arises, indeed,

from the same circumstance which gives


we have established
we have described a

formal philosophizing;
abstract but not concrete thought;
rise

to

all

such, in general, without, however, deter


or establishing the conditions of its possibility.
not a fault, since systematic progression com

reflection, as

mining
This was
pelled such a procedure, and since we were well aware
it,

all

mere establishing of these formal


would not finish our labours, but rather

the time that the

propositions

compel us to proceed further.


This remark points out definitely our present task.
We have now to establish the condition of the possibility
of the reflection, undertaken in our first book.
It will
first condition we shall need is again
dependent upon another condition, and that again upon

appear that the


another,

etc.,

and that we

shall thus arrive at a series of

conditions, which we propose to gather


a series of propositions.
79

under the form

of

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

8o
It

likewise

appears

from

this

consideration

although we enter in the present book upon


sphere, we do not do so by a leap, but in

that,

a different
a gradual

argument, and that our present


book takes up the thread precisely where the first book
left it.. In that book the assertion was, that, as sure as
we become conscious of ourselves, we ascribe to ourselves
an absolute power of freedom. At present we ask How
is this possible ? and thus connect the conditions about to
be ascertained with the consciousness of freedom, and by
its means with immediate self-consciousness, which latter
progression of systematic

connecting does in reality constitute the essence of a


philosophical deduction.
It is true, as will soon appear, that the proofs about to
be established in this book require the same inner con

templation

of

the

activity

whereby we originate the

conceptions here investigated, which was required in the


first book.
Hence we might certainly have shaped the
propositions of this book just as well into the form of
problems and our present first proposition, for instance,
into the problem: To definitely think our power of
;

But apart from the intention to show


freedom, etc.
the freedom of our method, and to protect our system
against too monotonous an arrangement, we likewise had
in view to state with precision the point upon which
attention is to be directed in determining that thought,
since
of

there

are

various

conditions

and determinations

it.

EXPLANATORY.
Doubtless everyone
first

who

hears the words of the above

proposition will understand

them

to signify

It is

simply impossible that anyone can think his power of


freedom without at the same time imagining an objective

somewhat upon which

he acts with this freedom;


be
no
determined
object, but merely the
although
form of objectivity in general. Thus, indeed, the words
it

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

Si

are to be understood,

and in this respect they need no


But in another respect some
explanation.
explanations
are certainly
necessary as well in regard to the form of
our assertion, or the condition under which it is to be
valid, as also in

regard to the content of the same.


So far as the former is concerned, someone
might say
You have just now in the first book
required us to think
the mere power of freedom without
any object, and if we
were not able to do so all your
teachings have been lost
on us. I reply The abstract
thinking in philosophy, the
possibility whereof is itself conditioned through a pre
vious experience (for our life
begins with life and not
with philosophy), is quite a different
thing from the
original and determined thinking on the standpoint of

The conception

of freedom, as entertained
arose
for us through abstraction
book,
or through
but
we
should
not have been at all
analysis
able thus to originate it, unless we had
previously had
possession of it as given or found.
Now at present we
are speaking of this
condition of the

experience.
by us in the

first

very
primary and
not of the philosophizing
Ego; and our meaning is, you
cannot find yourself as free without
finding at the same
time in the same consciousness an
object upon which

your freedom is to be directed.


So far as the latter is concerned,
that

we

it is to

be observed

an absolute synthesis of
thinking, of a
an object, hence a reciprocal conditioned-

assert

power and

of

ness of one
thinking through another. Not, as if the one
were in time prior to the other, for both are the
thought
of the same
moment; nay, there is, even if we look
merely to the fact that both are thought, no

dependence
one upon the other to be
assumed, consciousness
being rather irresistibly impelled from the one to the
of the

/But if we look
we meet this distinction,
other.

to

how

both are thought, then


that the thinking of freedom is
an immediate
thinking, in virtue of an intellectual con
templation,/ whereas the thinking of the
object is a

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

82

We do not see the former through


mediated thinking.
the latter, but we do see the latter through the formerFreedom is our vehicle for the cognition of objects, but
the cognition of objects
tion of our freedom.
Finally,

an

object,

thought

is

not the vehicle for the cogni

two things have been asserted. Firstly, that


which is to be external to the intelligence, is

and, secondly, that free activity

is

related to

it,

and related in such a manner that the object is deter


mined through the activity and not, vice versa, the
Our proof will, therefore,
activity through the object.
have to establish two things 1st, the necessity of oppo
sition
and, 2nd, the necessity of relation and of this
:

determined relation.

PROOF.

of

A. The rational being cannot ascribe to itself a power


freedom without thinking at the same time many

actual

and determined

acts

as

possible

through

its

freedom.

The latter part of the proposition advances nothing


I ascribe
further than the first part both are identical.
freedom to myself, signifies I think a number of different
;

An insight
acts as equally possible through
activity.
into the truth of this proposition requires nothing further
than to analyze our conception of a power of freedom.

my

A power, or
of

but a product
faculty, is absolutely nothing
since
to connect with it

mere thinking, made in order

reason can only think discursively and mediately


an actuality, not posited originally, but originating in
To think anything else under that conception is
time.
In our present case we are,
not to understand one s self.
however, not to draw a conclusion from the actuality as
to the power of activity, as may be well done in other
cases; but thinking is rather to begin with the power
Yet even under this con
as the first and immediate.
dition the power cannot be thought without at the same
finite

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

83

time thinking the actuality, since both


conceptions are
synthetically united, and since without the thinking of
the latter we can neither think a
faculty nor anything
else.
I say
expressly
actuality must be thought (not
immediately perceived) must be thought, not (if I may
so express myself) as real, but
simply as possible, through
a mere ideal function of the
imagination.
Actuality is
This perceptibility is posited
perceptibility, sensibility.
as necessary, not in its essence, but
in its form.
:

We

merely

ascribe to the

Ego the power to produce sensibility,


but only the power and not the actual deed.
The
question, how reason may originally come to this mere
form, will be explained hereafter.
At present it suffices
to know that we can think this
its means a
form, and

by

mere faculty or power.

Now

we are to think a free power


and not a determined power, the manner of
manifestation whereof would be involved in its own
in the present case

of activity,

nature, as is the case in objects.


How does a rational
being proceed in order to think such a free power ?
can only describe this procedure,
leaving it to each reader
to convince himself of the correctness of this our
descrip
tion by his own inner
contemplation.

We

The Ego

posits itself (but only idealiUr, i.e., it only


represents itself as such, without actually being such or
finding itself as such in point of fact), as choosing
voluntarily amongst opposite determinations of actuality.

For instance, this object = A, which we find


already
determined independently of us,
might also be deter
mined otherwise, for instance = X; or also still

otherwise,
otherwise ad infinitum. Now,
whether the Ego chooses either of these
determinations, or
none of them, leaving
as it is, depends
solely upon the
for instance

= -X;

freedom of

its

or

still

But whichever I choose will


perception in the sensuous world,
provided I determine myself through the will to
pro
duce it.
Only in so far as I thus posit myself, do
surely arise

thinking.

for

my

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

84

as free, i.e., do I think actuality as


actual
power, which is controlled by my
dependent upon
mere thinking; as each one must acknowledge, who but
I

posit

myself

clearly thinks this thought.


Let it be observed that in this thinking

we do not

think a determined somewhat = X, which is to be pro


duced, but merely the general form of determinedness,
the mere power of the Ego, to select this or that
i.e.,
from the range of the accidental, and make it its end.
B. The rational being cannot think an act as actual
without assuming an external somewhat, upon which the

act

is

directed.

Let us once more attentively observe the just described


manner of thinking freedom. We said I think myself
Let us now direct our
in this conception as choosing.
:

attention altogether to this Ego represented as choosing.


It doubtless thinks, and only thinks; hence in choosing
we only ascribe ideal activity to it. But it also surely

thinks something, floats over something, which holds it


enchained or, as we usually say to express this relation
There is an objective, for only by means of such a relation
:

is

the

Ego

subjective and ideal.

This objective is not the Ego itself, and cannot be held


neither to the Ego as intelligence,
as belonging to the Ego
as such, since to this Ego it is expressly opposited, nor to
;

as the willing and realiter active Ego, since this


Ego is not yet in action, the Ego at present merely deter
mining its choice and not its actual will. This objection

the

Ego

not the Ego, and yet it also is not nothing, but is some
what. It is an object of representation in general, leaving

is

In other words,
its reality or perceivability.
a ISTon Ego, a somewhat which exists outside of me
independently of
activity.
undecided

it is

my

This objective somewhat


cations,

is

necessarily posited as con

and as unchangeable in all these modifi


which are ascribed to the Ego through the

tinuing to exist,

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

85

For the conception of freedom


conception of freedom.
I
that
ascribe to myself the power to
is based upon this,
I unite these opposite deter
hence
that
or
realize

minations,

as

opposites,

one

in

and

the

same thinking.

But

this is not possible, unless in this thinking of the


opposites we also think the same as that which is per
manent in the opposed thinking, and to which the

identity of consciousness may connect.


Now this identical somewhat is nothing

through which
possible,

i.e.,

the

itself

thinking
relation

hence precisely the

ISTon

to

Ego

in

its

form

but that

becomes

objectivity in general, and


shown up. This Non Ego

all possible determinations


on this condition can freedom
Hence there exists outside of us an
itself be thought.
originally given (i.e., through thinking itself in its form
is

thought as

unchanged in

through freedom, for only

posited) infinitely modifiable substance, which substance


is that upon which activity is directed.

Finally: This substance is related to actual activity,


and this substance
is related to it

and actual activity

in truth nothing but the means to think that activity.


It, in fact, limits actual causality to mere forming, or

is

modifying, and excludes it from creating or annihilating


matter.
Hence we ascribe reality also to this substance,
just as

we

ascribe it to everything which limits actual


Here, then, exists a real object of our activity

causality.
outside of us,

and we have proven what we had

to prove.

CHAPTER

II.

DEDUCTION OF AN OBJECT OF OUR ACTIVITY IN GENERAL


(Continued}.

Neither can the rational being


a power of freedom without finding in itself

SECOND PROPOSITION.
ascribe to itself

an actual

exercise of this

power, or an actual free willing.

PRELIMINARY.

Our deduction still stands at the same point where it


commenced. It has been proven that we ascribe to our
The question at present is
selves a power of freedom.
:

How

to ourselves possible ?
namely, that an object of

Its

does

not

this ascribing of it

is

free
one external condition,
shown
now
been
has
be
must
up
just
posited,
activity
We have now to establish an internal condition of it,
namely, that of our own state, wherein alone it is
possible.

An

explanation
Its

this

second

proposition

words are clear; and should they never

require.
theless involve

any ambiguity, that will doubtless be


That the con
in the proof itself.
removed
sufficiently
nection asserted in this and in all future propositions
in one and the same
signifies a synthetical connection
for
thinking (the above proposition signifying, therefore,
instance, that the power of freedom cannot be thought
and is never thought unless there arises in one and the

same

state

exercise

of

of

mind

of

that power)

him who thinks


this

is

it

an actual

presupposed

as

well

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


known from

we have

all

said before,

and

87

will hereafter

always be presupposed by us as well known.

PROOF.

The conception

of a

of

power

freedom

is,

as

we know,

the conception or the purely ideal representation of a


At present we assert that this purely ideal
free willing.

representation

is

not possible without the reality and

Hence we assert the necessary


perception of a willing.
connection of a, mere representation and a willing! Now,
since

we cannot

clearly

well understand their connection without

knowing

their

distinction,

we must above

all

explain the characteristic distinction between represen


tation and willing and next proceed, since actual willing
is also to appear in consciousness, to state the distinction
;

between the mere ideal representation from the percep


tion of a willing.
Only when we shall have done this
will it be possible for us to prove that the former is not
possible without the latter.
As subjectivity in general

mere representation as such


ally I find myself as subject

is

is

related to objectivity, so

related to willing.

Origin

and object at the same time,


can only be comprehended

and what the one signifies


through opposing and relating it to the other. Neither
is determined through itself, but that which is common
to both and absolutely determined in itself is self-activity,
and in so far as both are distinct, they are determinable
only mediately, the subjective being that which relates
itself

to the objective,

and the objective being that to

which the subjective

is

etc.,

etc.

absolutely self-active,

and therein does

my

attached,

Now

am

essence con

my free activity, immediately as such, if objective,


my willing; and the same free activity of mine, if
subjective, is my thinldng (taking the latter word in its

sist:
is

widest significance as embracing all the manifestations


of the
Hence willing can only be
intelligence as such).

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

B8

described through opposition to


thinking, and thinking
only through opposition to willing.
genetic descrip

tion of willing, therefore, as


arising from thinking, can

be thus given
think willing as preceded by free, active
compre
hension of its end, or as preceded
by an absolute creation
:

We

of this

end through thinking.

In this production of the


conception of the end, the state of the Ego is purely
ideal

and

subjective.

The Ego represents: represents

with absolute self-activity, for the


conception of the end
is
purely product of the representation, and represents in
relation to a future
willing, for otherwise the conception
would not be the conception of an end, but does
only
represent, and does not will.

Meanwhile the Ego


which each one

state,

actually wills
easily

wills that

distinguishes

end; a

in

ordinary
consciousness from the mere representation of what he
might will. Now what is there contained in this willing ?

Absolute self-activity as in
thinking, but with another
character attached to

it.
Which, then, is this character?
the
relation
to
a
Evidently
knowing.
willing is not
itself to be a
knowing, but / am to know my willing.
Hence the distinctive character is the character of mere

My

That, which was previously subjective, now


objectivity.
becomes objective, and becomes objective because a new
subjective is added to it, or leaps, as it were, out of the
absolute fulness of
self-activity.
It is well to observe the
change in the sequence of
the links.
the
Originally
Ego is neither subjective nor
This identity of both we cannot
objective, but both.
think, however hence we only think both in succession,
and through this thinking make the one
dependent upon
the other.
Thus in cognition, an objective (the thing) is
;

changed into a subjective, a representation, for the con


ception of cognition is regarded as the reconstruction of
an existence. On the other hand, the
conception of an
end is to be the prototype of an existence. The
subjec-

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

89

must, therefore, change into an objective, and this


change must commence in the Ego, the only immediate

So much in regard to the


object of our consciousness.
distinction between representation and willing.

The mere representation of a willing is the same repre


sentation that we have just now produced in ourselves,
i.e., the representation of an absolute (through absolute
self-activity effected) transition of the subjective into the
objective, for this is the general form of all free willing.
How, now, is this merely ideal representation of a

willing to be distinguished from the perception of an


actual willing ? /In the former the ideal activity itself

produces that form of willing through freedom and I am


conscious of the act of this producing. /But in the latter
;

the ideal activity does not posit itself as producing this


form, finding, on the contrary, the willing as given in
actuality and itself in its representation thereof tied to
this its given form.

One more remark.

The perception

of the actual,

i.e.,

of the actually existing object, usually proceeds from a


feeling, and it is only in virtue of this feeling that pro
ductive imagination posits something. -But it is different
I
the perception of an actual willing.
cannot say that I feel my willing, although there are
philosophers who, in a careless use of language, do say

in the case of

so

for I only feel the limitation of

my

activity,

but

my

What sort of con


willing is that very activity itself.
sciousness is, then, this consciousness of a willing ?
Evidently an immediate contemplation of my own
activity, but as an object of the subjective, and not
subjective itself, which latter is, therefore, not
contemplated as self-active. In short, this consciousness
as the

is

intellectual contemplation.

And now we

can easily furnish the proof of our second

proposition.

The subjective
for

only

thus

is

is

originally not without

the

subjective

an objective,

subjective,

as

the

THE SCIENCE OF

90

ETHICS.

Consciousness necessarily
conception of the Ego shows.
of
But in the mere
the
both.
with
connection
begins
representation of a willing

whereas
of

objective, or

its

the objective,

subjective

is

first

This

itself.

is

gence reproduces one of


if

the

actual

state

we only have

a subjective,

more

definitely, the mere form


produced through that very

certainly possible,
its

determined
of

the intelli

and hence

the intelligence

(existence)
in philosophical

already presupposed
originally it is not possible.

if

states,

is

but

abstraction;

The production must have

already been accomplished, if a reproduction is to be


Hence the original representation of our power
possible.
of

freedom

is

necessarily

accompanied

by an actual

willing.

Strictly speaking, our proof is now finished


to remember, lest we should lose what

well

but

it

is

we have

gained in our previous investigations, that, vice versa, the


perception of a willing is not possible without the ideal
representation of a power of freedom, or, which signifies
the same, of the form of willing and that, therefore, we
assert most decidedly the synthetical union of both the
;

thoughts just

now

shown thus

am

to

distinguished.

This can easily be


of a willing but

become conscious

this is a willing solely in so far as it is posited as free ;


and it is posited as free solely in so far as its determined-

ness
end.

is

derived from a freely-produced conception of an


of all willing must be ascribed to this

The form

particular willing for only thus am I the willing, and is


the subject of willing identical with the subject of the
;

perception of this willing.


Let no one be confused by this, that the production of
the conception of an end must then be posited in a
moment previous to the moment of willing, which, as
we have shown, is not possible, since I have neither being

nor comprehension in advance of the perception of a


This production of the conception is not prior
willing.
in regard to time, but rather it and the willing occur in

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

91

same moment. We only think the determinedness of the willing dependent upon the conception.
There is no priority of time here, but merely a logical
absolutely the

a priority of thinking.
priority
To state tersely all we have now explained. Originally
I contemplate
activity as object, and in so far neces

my

all the activity I know


sarily as determined, i.e., as not
full well I might ascribe to myself, but as merely a

limited

quantum
is

of

that

activity.

that which in all

activity
called willing,

This contemplated

human languages is tersely


well known to all men, and

and which is
from which, as the philosopher has to show, all conscious
ness starts, being made possible solely through it. But it
is a willing, and my willing, and an immediately perceiv
able willing solely in so far as the contemplated deter-

minedness of the activity is to have no external ground,


but is to be solely grounded in my self. But if it is thus

grounded, then

shown

in

my

it

is

necessarily grounded as
since besides willing

thinking;

we have
we have

nothing but thinking, and since all objective can well be


deduced from a thinking; and it is in this manner that

my

the determinedness of
willing is necessarily thought,
as soon as a willing, as such, is persevered in.

CHAPTER

III.

DEDUCTION OF THE ACTUAL CAUSALITY OF THE RATIONAL


BEING.

THIRD PROPOSITION. The rational being cannot find in


itself an application of its freedom, or a willing, without at
the same time
ascribing to itself an actual external causality.
PRELIMINARY.

Our deduction advances a

I cannot ascribe to
step.
myself a power of freedom without finding myself as
Such was our first assertion. But now we add
willing.
moreover I cannot do this, cannot find myself as actually
Or to
willing without finding also something else in me.

state

it

in other

the course

of

perience and

words

Whatsoever may be possible in

consciousness by means of previous ex


free abstraction, consciousness originally

clearly commences no more with the representation of


a mere impotent
willing than with the representation of
our power to will. So far as we see as
yet, consciousness
begins with a perception of our actual causality in the
sensuous world.
This causality we deduce from our
and
the
determinedness of this our willing from
willing,

a freely created
conception of an end.
Thus it appears that the conception of freedom is
mediately conditioned by the now to be deduced per
ception of an actual causality, and since that conception
conditions self-consciousness, self-consciousness must also
92

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

93

be conditioned by the latter. Hence all we have hitherto


may yet deduce, is one and the same syn
thetical consciousness, the separate parts whereof can

deduced, and

certainly be separated in philosophical abstraction, but


It
are on no account separated in original consciousness.
is

enough

to

have stated this once for

all.

PROOF.

my

I find myself willing only in so far as


activity is to
a
determined
in
motion
be put
conception.
through

My

activity in willing is necessarily a determined activity,


as has been sufficiently established. /But in the mere
is distinguish
activity, as such, as pure activity, nothing
is the simplest contem
and
nothing else.
agility,
be determined through itself, and yet

able or determinable.

mere inner

plation

Activity

not to

is

must be determined
signifies

means

Activity

of its

liniitedness,

fold

of

is

Activity

if

is to be possible,
determined through and by
hence through the mode of its

consciousness

to be

opposite;

and only under

activity,

or

are

this

many

condition

and

is

particular

mani
acts

possible.

But the manner of my limitedness I cannot absolutely


and intellectually contemplate through myself, but only
But if an activity is to be
feel in sensuous experiences.
and if its limitedness
must have existence (of

limited,

ness

itself).

Now

everything that

is

to be felt, this limitedand not in

course, for me,


is

sensuously to be con

necessarily a quantum, at present only a


templated
quantum filling up a time moment. But that which fills
is

up a time moment is itself an infinitely divisible mani


fold, and hence the perceivable limitedness must be itself
a manifold. At present the Ego is to be posited as active.
It must, therefore, be posited as removing and breaking
through a manifold of limitation and resistance in a suc
cession (for even in the single

moment

there

is

succession,

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

94

would arise from the


mere joining together of single moments). In other
words The Ego must be posited as having causality in an
since otherwise no duration of time

external sensuous world.

EEMARKS.
1.

also

As part of the result of our investigation, we must


remember that the intellectual contemplation, from

which we

started, is not possible


templation, and the latter not

would

be,

therefore,

an

utter

without a senuous con


without a

feeling.

It

and

misapprehension

reversion of our system to charge us with the opposite


But neither is the latter possible without the
assertion.
former.

I cannot be, for myself, without being a some


but
this I am only in the sensuous world

what, and

neither can I be for myself without being an Ego, and this


I am only in the world of intelligence, which opens to my
eyes by
of

means

of intellectual contemplation.
lies in this
that I

union of both worlds

through absolute
for myself, what I

The point
am, only

by a conception,

self-activity, regulated

am already in the sensuous world. Our


existence in the world of intelligence is the moral law
:

our existence in the sensuous world

is

the actual deed

./and the point of union of both is the freedom, as an


absolute power, to determine the latter world through

the former.
2.

The Ego

is

to be posited as actual only in opposition

But a non-Ego exists for the Ego only on


condition that the Ego acts, and in this its acting feels
a resistance which must be surmounted, however, since
otherwise the Ego would not act. It is only through the
means of a resistance that the activity of the Ego becomes
perceptible and of a duration in time, since, otherwise,
it would be beyond all time, which we cannot even
to a non-Ego.

think.
3.

Hence, no causality directed upon

non-Ego, no

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

95

This causality is not accidental, but necessarily


in the Ego.
belonging to the Ego, like everything else
cease
Would that people were to
combining to reason
Ego.

out of a

number

and were

of accidentally joined forces,

themselves to look

to

as a completed whole,

accustom
upon
Either the Ego is
as an organised reason, so to speak.
it is, and as it appears on the standpoint
that
everything
it

independently of all philosophi


nothing, and is indeed not at all.

of ordinary consciousness

cal abstraction, or

it is

begins with sensuous perception, which


is throughout determined, but on no account does it begin
with abstract thinking. By trying to begin consciousness

Consciousness

with abstraction (as philosophy, indeed, does begin), and by


mistaking that which was to be explained, viz., actual
consciousness, for the explanation itself, viz philosophy,
the latter science has been turned into a tissue of
,

absurdities.

a statement of the matter as we


4. Only through such
have just given, is the absoluteness of the Ego, as its
essential

character, retained.

Our consciousness

starts

from the immediate consciousness of our activity and


The nononly by means of it do we find ourseff passive.
has
as
been
the
not
affect
does
generally supposed,
Ego
Ego
but vice versa. It is not the non-Ego which penetrates
;

into the Ego, but the Ego which proceeds out of itself
Thus we have to express this relation
Info the non-Ego.
sensuous
through
contemplation/whereas, transcendentally,
find ourselves originally
it
should be expressed:

We

limited not through our limitations drawing in upon us


for in that case the cancelling of our reality would also

cancel our consciousness of

and in extending our

it

but through our extending

limits.

Again, in order to go out of

itself,

the

Ego must be

Here, again, the


posited as overcoming the resistance.
primacy of reason, in so far as reason is practical, is
asserted.

Everything starts from activity and from the

activity of the Ego.

The Ego

is

the

first

principle of all

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

96

movement,
non-Ego

of all

us,

sphere, but within its


resisting

us,

and

of all deeds

life,

influences

it

directed our activity


but we attack it.

does

it

own

upon

it.

do

so

resist

It

If

within

It affects us

sphere.

would not

and events.

not

unless

the

our

through

we

first

does not attack us,

CHAPTEK

IV.

DETERMINATION OF THE CAUSALITY OF THE KATIONAL


BEING THROUGH ITS INTERNAL CHARACTER.

FOURTH PROPOSITION.
causality to itself

manner through

The rational being cannot ascribe

without determining the same in a certain

its

own

conception.

PRELIMINARY.

Our

proposition is unclear
causality of the rational being

and

ambiguous.

The

in the sensuous world

may well be supposed, and will shortly show itself, to


stand under various restrictions and conditions; and on
the first glance it is hard to say which of these is meant
by the certain manner of determinedness mentioned in
our proposition. But we have in our method itself the
surest means against all confusion.
It must be the
determinedness which conditions immediately the per
ception of our causality, which is meant, and what sort
of a determinedness this is will
appear from a deduction.
The conditions which again determine this determinedness we shall show afterwards.
But in order to know from the beginning, whereof we
really speak, and to give a thread for the direction of
our attention, let us first try to guess from common
consciousness what this determinedness may be.
(It is
is
not
to
scarcely necessary to mention that this guess

prove anything, but merely to prepare the proof.)


It has
already been stated that we cannot will or effect

97

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

98

laws of thinking,
something in violation of the necessary
we cannot like
that
since we cannot even think it, and
but
wise create or annihilate matter,
merely separate and
connect
place.

it,

the ground whereof

But even in

this

is

also stated in its proper


and connecting of

separating

matter or substance we are bound to obey a certain


In most cases we cannot immediately realize our
order.
end through our will, but must make use of various
as

means^. existing previously and independently of us,


the only proper means to effect our purpose. Let our
Instead of directly realizing X, we are,
end be = X.
first as the only means
realize
perhaps, compelled to
to get to C, etc.,
means
as
the
to get to B, and B
only
of
a
series
mediating ends,
until we arrive, through

our final end X.


mutually conditioning each other, at
to do, and the
will
we
can
all
that
In fact, we can do
cannot
we
is
that
always do it imme
only difference
diately
(It

is

and at once, but in a certain order


said,

for- instance,

that

man

of proceeding.

cannot

fly.

Why

Of course, man
walk
can
as
he
immediately;
cannot fly immediately
but through the means of a balloon he can certainly rise
into the air, and move about with a certain degree of
freedom and purpose. Moreover, shall we, because our
discovered the means
age cannot do what it has not yet
I will not suppose
?
do
it
cannot
inan
that
assert
to do,
should

man

not be able

to

do it?

that an age like ours considers itself mankind !)


The assertion of common consciousness is, therefore,
.that in the execution of our ends we are tied to a certain

What does this assertion signify, when


order of means.
looked upon from a transcendental point of view, merely
in the
looking to the imminent changes and appearances
?
external
from
and
things
utterly abstracting
Ego,
According to previous explanations, a feeling always
accompanies perception, and to say: I perceive changes
outside of me, signifies the same as the condition of my
I will to have external causality,
feelings changes.
:

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

99

I will that a determined


signifies
feeling within me
should be replaced by a determined other
feeling, which
I require in my conception of the end to be attained.
I
have become cause, signifies: this required
has
:

feeling
Hence to say: I attain my end
actually entered me.
through a series of means, signifies between the feeling
from which I proceeded to willing, and the
feeling
required by that willing, a series of other
enters.
:

feelings
to say that this relation is a
necessary one, signifies
a determined required feeling follows a determined other

And

feeling, only on the condition that a determined series of


other feelings (determined in their kind,
number, and
sequence) enters between them.

But each
say, I

feeling

is

have causality,

Hence the

assertion

expressive of

my

and

limitation,

my

signifies always
expand
of common consciousness,
:

to

limits.

trans-

cendentally expressed, signifies: that this expanding of


our limits can only proceed in a certain manner of
pro
gression, our causality being limited, in the attainment
of its end, to the use of certain means.
It is this deter

mination and limitation of our


causality, whereof we have
to treat at present, as our deduction will
clearly show.
This part of the deduction is a
progress in our series
of conditions.
I cannot posit
myself as free without
ascribing to myself an .actual causality.
last

Such was our


proven proposition/ But under what conditions can

we again

ascribe

causality to

ourselves?

This

is

the

of our present
investigation.

problem

PROOF.
A.

My

causality

is

perceived as a manifold in a con

tinuous series.

The perception of my causality, as has


already been
remarked, necessarily, as perception, occupies a time
moment. But through the union of
many moments, there
arises a duration or
filling up of time, and hence, each
separate

moment must

also

fill

up a time,

since,

by the

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

ioo

union

of

many

is not in the

of the

many

same kind, nothing can arise, which


What, then, does this

as separates.

moment fills up a time ? Simply, that in


signify each
manifold might be distinguished, and that
a
this moment
011 no
this distinction might be continued infinitely but,
;

on
account, that this distinction is actually made, since,
not
moment
a
becomes
it
through
only
the contrary,
not separating it any further. To say that
distinguishing,
is
moment
the
posited as filling up time, signifies, therefore,
in general of making the
the same as: the

possibility
distinction just described is posited.
That which occurs in the perception of our causality

But
the synthesis of our activity with a resistance.
our activity, as we have seen, is not a manifold, but rather
absolute pure identity and is itself to be characterized
to the resistance.
Hence, the
only through relation
manifold which is to be distinguished, must be a manifold

is

of the resistance.
is necessarily a manifold separated ex
discrete
a
or
manifold, for only on this condition
ternally,
does it fill up a time; it is thought as a series. How,

This manifold

of this manifold
then, is it in regard to the sequence
in a series; does this sequence depend upon the free
dom of the intelligence as such, or is it regarded as

For

independently of the intelligence.


to be a b c, would it
instance, assuming this manifold
be a proper matter, for the freedom of thinking, to
for cab, etc., or was it necessary to
change it for I c a or

determined

following a, and c fol


put in that particular sequence,
on the condition of a having
lowing b and b only possible
been preposited, etc. ? It is clear that the latter is the
of the Ego is something
case, for the perceived causality
1)

actual;

but,

in

the representation of

the actual,

the

and never free so


intelligence is altogether necessitated,
concerned.
far as the context of the representation is
in
general, my causality
Indeed, looking at the matter
in time, since it cannot be my
necessarily

happens

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


causality unless

it is

thought, and since all my thinking


a deter mined" series of
time

Bill

oocurs in time.

101

"is

successive moments, wherein each

moment

is

conditioned

by another one which it does not condition, and conditions


another one, by which it again is not conditioned. The
is the perception of an
and in perception nothing depends upon the

thinking of our causality, however,


actual

Hence
causality is represented as
thinking as such.
a series, the manifold whereof is the manifold of a resis
tance, the sequence of which is not determined through

my

thinking, but independently of it.


B. The sequence of this manifold is determined inde

my

pendently of

me

and hence,

is itself

a limitation of

my

causality.

We

have just seen that the sequence of the manifold


my causality is not determined through my thinking
but neither is it determined or produced through my

in

activity, as

The

is,

indeed, immediately clear.


is not my acting, but the opposite of

resistance

my

I do not produce it, and, hence, I do not


acting.
the least of what belongs to it.
That which I

produce
produce
neither manifold nor

activity, and in it there is


sequence of time, but pure unity. I desire the end,
is

my

and

nothing but the end and the means I only desire because
the end cannot be attained except through them.
This
whole relation itself is, therefore, a limitation of my
;

activity.

EEMARKS.
Let us explain more clearly the result of our present
investigation.
i
The idea of the
.

must

deduced

series is as follows

There

be a point of beginning, wherein the Ego pro


ceeds out from its original limitedness, and has for the
first

and immediately,

causality, which point of


should
be
beginning,
impossible, from some reason or
another, to trace our analysis back so far, might also
first

time,

if it

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

102

appear as a plurality of points of beginning.* In so far


as these points are to be points of beginning, the Ego is in

them cause immediately through

its will

and there are

attain this
order
no mediating links
must
Such first points there
be, if the Ego
causality.
These points, thought together,
is ever to become cause.
we call, as will appear soon, our articulated body; and
this body is nothing but these points represented and

necessary in

to

Let us call this system


our
of the
causality the system A.
of
these
With each
points many other points connect,
wherein the Ego can become cause in a manifold manner
through means of the first series. I say With each one

realised through contemplation.

moments

first

of

from each one only one manner


many
of acting were possible, that acting would not be free,
and it would indeed be not a second act, but merely a
Let us call this system the
construction of the first.
connect

for

if

system B.

With

each

moment

of this

system

are again connected

many points of a third system C, and thus to put it in


the shape of an illustration, an infinite circular space is
described around a fixed central point, in which space
each point can be thought as connecting with an infinite

number

of others.

this necessary view of our causality the world


the world as a manifold, arises for us.
and
generally,

Through

All the qualities of matter excepting those, of course,


which originate from the forms of contemplation are

nothing but their relation to us, and more especially their


relation to our causality, since no other relation exists for
or to express this thought transcendentally they are
the relations of our determined finity to our desired

us

infinity.

The

object

is

in space thus far removed from me,


proceeding from myself to the object
first seize and posit these and these

signifies idealiter: in

in space, I
*

must

Translator

Note.

Or

as a plurality of first

men.

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

103

and viewed realiter, it signifies


I must first penetrate this and that amount of opposing
the space X, as
space in order to be able to consider
I
am myself.
identical with the space wherein
The object Y is hard, signifies In a certain series of
my activity Lfeel between two determined links of it a
objects in order to posit

it

determined resistance. The object is sof tening,- signifies:


I feel the resistance diminished in the same place of the

same

It is thus in regard to all the predicates of

series.

things in the sensuous world.

Ego describes in acting


no disruption or any
is
there
a continuous line, wherein
wherein
a
line,
you proceed imper
thing of the kind;
2.

The

real active

and

feeling

a change appearing to
ceptibly to the opposite, without
but
occur in the next adjoining point,
only at some points
distance.

/ The

reflecting

Ego

any number of facts


moments. Thus there

seizes

of this continuous line as separate

Ego a series, consisting of points,


connected.
not immediately
(Keflection proceeds by leaps,
It
as it were, whereas sensation is steady or continuous.)
successive
the
of
the
extreme
both
is true,
end-points

arises for the reflecting

moments
ible

such things could be in an infinitely divis


although we may well think them) imper

(if

line,

and in so far that which is


ceptibly join each other,
contained in both the separated moments is the same.
But the reflection only seizes that wherein they are
and give
opposed, and thus they are distinct moments,
to a changing consciousness; the identity of con

rise

their
being again made possible through
likewise remaining always the same.
This restriction of our causality to the use of certain

sciousness

3.

determined means, in order to attain a determined object,


must be explained from the point of view of common
of
consciousness, through a determined qualitativeness
the things, or through determined laws of nature. This
of
explanation, however, cannot suffice on the standpoint
transcendental philosophy, or on that standpoint which

THE SCIENCE OF

to4

ETHICS.

separates all the non-Ego from the Ego, and thinks the
in its
From this standpoint it appears
purity.
utterly absurd to assume a non-Ego as a thing in itself
with abstraction from all reason.

Ego

How, then, is that limitation to be explained in this


connection, not in regard to its form, (i.e. not why such
a limitation in general is to be
posited, for this is pre
cisely the question we have answered in our deduction)
but in regard to its content, i.e.,
why this limitation
should be thought precisely in the
particular manner in
;

which

it

is

thought.

In other words,

cisely these and no other


of this or that determined

means lead

why

should pre

to the attainment

end ? Now, since we are here


not to assume things in themselves, nor natural laws as
the laws of an external nature, this limitation can
only
be conceived as of this character The
Ego limits itself,
not arbitrarily, however, and with
freedom, since in that
case we could not
but in virtue
say, the Ego is limited
:

an immanent law of its own


being, though a natural
law of its own (finite) nature. This determined rational
of

arranged in a manner that it must limit itself


thus; and this arrangement cannot be ex
plained any further precisely because it is to constitute
being

is

precisely

the original limitation

which

of

that

rational

beyond
and hence
To demand such an
contradict one s self.
There

cannot proceed with


likewise not with its cognition.
it

its

being,

activity,

explanation would be to
however, other limitations of the rational being,
whereof the grounds can be shown
up.
Now, if these separate limitations, which as such occur
only in time, are gathered together and thought as an
are,

original arrangement, prior to all time and beyond all time,


we think absolute limits to the

then

primary impulse
an impulse which can
only be directed upon
this, only upon a causality determined in such or such
a series, and
upon no other causality whatever and it is
such an impulse
Our whole
as well
absolutely.
itself.

It is

internal,

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

105

as external, world, in so far as the former is actual world,


I
thus pre-established for us throughout all eternity.
world
in
so
far
as
the
internal
is
an
actual, i.e.,
say,
For the merely subjective,
objective something in
is

us./

the self-determination,
we act with freedom.

is

not pre-established, and hence

CHAPTER

V.

DEDUCTION OF A DETERMINEDNESS OF OBJECTS

INDEPENDENTLY OF

US.

FIFTH PROPOSITION. The rational being cannot ascribe


a causality to itself without presupposing a certain causality
of the

object.

PRELIMINARY.
It

been

has

shown already

(Chapter

I.)

that

the

thinking of our freedom is conditioned by the thinking


of an object.
But this objectivity was in that chapter

deduced only as mere raw


Common experience,
matter./
however, teaches that we never find an object which is
only matter, and which is not already formed in a certain
It appears, therefore, that the consciousness of our

respect.

is conditioned not merely by the general posit


of
an
object, but also by the positing of a determined
ing
form of the objects. But is this common experience, to

causality

which we have
so,

according to

referred, necessary and universal, and, if


what laws of reason is it thus necessary

and universal ? The solution of


some influence upon the system.
The general proposition, that

this question

might have

all matter is necessarily


in
a
determined
form,
perceived
might be proven easily
But
do
we
not
care
for
this alone, but more
enough.

for an insight into the determined form,


which we must assign to the objects of our causality in
advance of our causality
and to show up this may

particularly

require

much profounder
106

investigation.

Even the

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

107

words of the proposition established cannot yet be ex


plained by us, therefore, and we must wait for a complete
unravelling of their meaning until we have finished our
investigation.

PROOF.

The rational being has no cognition except as


Thesis.
a consequence of a limitation of its activity.
This proposition has been abundantly proven by all we
said, and it is simply the result of our

have previously

previous investigations.

I find myself only as free,

and

I find myself as free only in the actual perception of a


determined self -activity. I find the object only as limiting,
Without con
and yet as overcome by
self-activity.

my

sciousness of a self-activity there is indeed no conscious


ness at all, but this self-activity can itself not be the
object of a consciousness unless
But the rational
Antithesis.

it

limited.

is

being as

such has no

except as a consequence of a cognition, at


least a cognition of something in that being itself.

self-activity,

That something is product of my self-activity, I do not


and cannot perceive, but absolutely posit and I do posit
it thus absolutely in positing the form of freedom in
But this foim of freedom consists in this, that
general.
;

the material determinedness of the will

is

grounded upon

a conception of an end, which conception is freely pro


duced by the intelligence. Now, apart from the fact that

the possibility of such a conception of an end seems


itself to be conditioned by the cognition of an external
object, and of a form thereof existing independently of

from this fact of mere common consciousness,


which we do not know yet whether it will be con

us, apart

of

firmed,

it

is

at

least

certain

that

we presuppose

cognition of such a conception of an


bility of a perception of
willing.

my

end

But

as I perceive myself as free, willing is a causality,


causality.

the

for the possi


only in so far

my

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

to8

The condition, as we see, is not possible without the


conditioned, and the conditioned not possible without the
condition,

which doubtless

is

a defective circle of

ex

planation and a proof that we have not yet explained


the consciousness of our freedom, which we were to
explain.
(It were perhaps an easy matter to solve this difficulty
by the presumption that the first moment of all con

sciousness

for only the first

moment

presents the

diffi

culty, since in the progress of consciousness the choice


through freedom and a cognition of the end-conception

advance of the will-resolve, by means of previous


consists in an abso
experience, can easily be conceived
lute synthesis of the production of the end-conception
in

and of the perception of a willing of this end. That


conception would thus be, not produced, but merely
thought, as produced immediately together in and with
the willing, for the sake of finding the willing itself to

be

free.

The only question would be

then, since no choice

this

Whence,

to precede the willing, does the


determinedness of the end or of the willing (which is
is

all
the same) come from, and how can it be
explained by the philosopher? (For we have seen that
the Ego itself explains it through the thought of a pre

here

viously produced end-conception.) And this is, indeed,


the true solution of the difficulty, which, once obtained,
will also solve the last-mentioned question.
But rules of
a systematic procedure, as well as other discoveries, which
we apprehend, force us to seek a more thorough basis, and

the present remarks are only intended to point out the


direction of our investigation.
Synthesis.

According to the well-known rules

of our

synthetical method, the above antithesis is to be solved


through a synthesis of the conditioned and the condition,
both being posited as one and the same. The activity is,
therefore,

to

be

itself

the

desired

cognition,

cognition itself the desired activity; and

all

and the
conscious-

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


ness

must

start

109

from something, which absolutely unites


Let this union be thought, and

in itself both predicates.

the contradiction

But

is

actually solved.

very difficulty. It is so hard to under


stand this thought, to think anything clearly when thinking
it.
According to the rules of synthetical elaboration, our
this is the

task would, therefore, now be to immediately analyse the


established synthetical conception until we should have
the most difficult way
succeeded in understanding it
:

particularly as our established synthesis is one of the


most abstract occurring in the whole science of philosophy.

of

it,

There is an easier method and, since we are at present


concerned more about the results themselves than about
;

getting a knowledge of the original synthetical procedure


of reason (which, moreover, has been amply exemplified
in other instances, more specially in
we shall pursue this easier method.

my

Science of Bights),

For we know already,


from previous investigations in regard to that primary
point, from which all consciousness proceeds, so much
that we can very properly proceed in our investigations
from these known characteristics, and ascertain whether
they will also solve our present difficulty, and whether

they also involve the synthesis just now established.


This method is the same as the other reversed.

THE PROOF BY ANOTHER METHOD.


I.

If we think the
Ego originally objective as it is found
in advance of all other consciousness
its determinedness

cannot be otherwise described than by means of a tendency


or impulse, as we have sufficiently established at the very

The objective state of an Ego is by no means


beginning.
a being or permanency (for in that case it would be its
but is, on the contrary, absolute
opposite, a thing)
;

activity,

and nothing but

objectively, is Impulse.

activity.

Now,

activity,

taken

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

io
I

have said

if

we think

the

Ego

originally objective,

the subjective in the Ego has been separated and


thought (according to our previous description in Chapter
II., Book 1) as absolute power of freedom, the objective

for, after

in the Ego, in this relation to the subjective or to freedom,


is a moral law for freedom.

it

But the Ego is not merely objective, for in that case


would be a thing and not an Ego. Hence, its original

is not only the determinedness of a being,


but also of a thinking
taking the latter word in its
widest significance as embracing all utterances of the

determinedness

intelligence.

But such a mere determinedness

of the in

telligence, without any self -activity or freedom on the part


of the intelligence, is called a feeling (as we have shown in

Chapter

Book

III. of

1).

thing merely is something or another, and that


finishes the determinedness of the thing./ But the Ego

merely something or another it must also know


which it is. The being of the Ego necessarily and
This mere
immediately relates to its consciousness.
determination of the being and the Egoness is called
never

is

of that

and, hence, if the Ego is originally posited as


being an impulse, i.e., if the original objective determinedness of the Ego is characterised as impulse, then it is
feeling

also necessarily posited as knowing of this its being, or


of this impulse
and since this immediate knowing in the
;

Ego, as
it is

subjective determinedness, is called feeling,


necessarily posited as having a feeling of this impulse.

And

in

its

this

manner we

immediate consciousness,

at a necessary and
which we can attach the

arrive

other consciousness.

series

of

other

consciousness

all

to

reflection,

In other words,

etc., presupposes an
application
which again presupposes many other things.

hension,

all

contemplation, compre
of

freedom,

But

feeling

does not presuppose anything. I feel only so far as I am.


This feeling of the impulse is called yearning: an un

determined sensation of a need.

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


this original feeling of the

Now,

we

synthetical link, which

impulse

is

described above.

in
v

precisely the

The impulse

activity, which in the Ego necessarily becomes


is not (like other
cognition (feeling), and this cognition
of
the impulse, but,
of
the
an
activity
image
cognition)
rather, is that very activity itself in its immediate repre
is

an

sentation.
is

If the activity is posited, the cognition thereof

immediately posited, and if this cognition is posited


form as feeling, the activity itself is also posited.

also

in its

In other cognitions the objective is always still held to


independent of its cognition or
representation, whether it be so held a thing in itself,
exist, in a certain respect,

or as law of reason
it

/In

become an
feeling,

for only by holding it thus does


and distinct from the subjective.

objective,

both are absolutely united

clearly nothing without

a feeling (noun) is
and is that

feeling (inf. verb),

merely a subjective.
solves
the above difficulty
We could not assume an activity without
thoroughly.
cognition, since all activity was found to presuppose
a freely-produced conception of an end.
Again, we could
not assume any cognition without presupposing an activity,
since all cognition was deduced from the perception of our
feeling itself, is always

This

original

feeling

But

limitedness in acting.

which

is

impulse.

at present

we have something,

immediately knowable, namely, our

The

and in relation

first

to

it,

original

a satisfaction of that impulse,


that impulse appears as a freely-

act

is

produced conception of an end and this is very correct,


since the Ego is to be regarded as the absolute ground
;

of its impulse.
II.

In feeling I am utterly, and in every respect, en


I have not even that freedom which occurs in
every representation, namely, that I can abstract from

chained.

the object of

it.

I, who posit myself when I feel,


as
as impelled; and subjectively

It is not

but both objectively


feeling this impulsion

am

I posited.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

H2

Now,

if

only the consciously free and active is posited


done on the standpoint of common

as Ego, as is always

consciousness, then the object and subject of the impulse


does not belong, in so far, to the
Ego, but is rather opposed
to

and

it;

constitutes

it

my

The ground

is

only

my

thinking and acting which

Ego.
of distinction of these

described relation

is

as follows

I,

my

predicates in the
in so far as I am free,

am

not the ground of my impulse and of the


feeling
exerted by the impulse. It is not a matter of
my freedom
how I feel or do not feel, whereas it is utterly a matter
of my freedom how I think or act.
The former is not

product of freedom, and freedom has not the least control


over it the latter, however, is merely and
purely product
of freedom, and is not at all without freedom.
The im
;

pulse and feeling, moreover, are to have no causality upon


freedom.
In spite of the impulse, I can determine

myself contrary to it;


accordance with it, it is

mines me, but

or,
still

myself who

I do determine
myself in
not the impulse which deter
determine myself.

if

The ground of relation of these predicates is as follows


Although a part of that which pertains to my Ego is to be
possible only through freedom, and another part of the
same Ego is to be independent of freedom and freedom
:

it,
yet the Ego, to which both parts
one
and the same, and is posited as one
pertain,
only
and the same. I, who feel, and I who think I, who am

independent of
is

freely resolve, am the same I.


first act, as has just been shown,
Now, although
can be none other than a satisfying of the impulse, and

impelled, and

I,

who

my

although the end-conception for that act is given through


the impulse, that act is nevertheless as having such an
end -conception determined otherwise than as mere im

For as mere impulse the act would be viewed as


necessarily constituted in this or that manner, whereas
with the characteristic of being directed upon an end it
is viewed as an act, which might have been otherwise than
pulse.

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


it

is.

113

To be

sure, I follow the impulse; but


that I also might not have followed

with the
thought
it.
It is
only thus that the manifestation of my power becomes an
acting; it is only on this condition that self -consciousness,

and consciousness in general, is possible.


We have already distinguished this objective view of
the Ego, in so far as a determined
impulse is originally
posited, and a feeling deduced from it, from another
objective view of the same Ego, which appears as moral
This distinction can be made clearer at
present.
Materialiter.Roth are distinct in this, that whereas
the moral law cannot be derived at all from an
objective
law.

determinedness of the impulse, but


simply from the form
of the impulse in general, as the
impulse of an Ego,
or from the fprm of absolute
independence and self(Ddetermination/the feeling of the impulse presupposes, on
the contrary, a determined material ni
<M.l.

Formaliter.

Both are

distinct in this, that whereas the

moral law does not absolutely force itself


upon us,
felt and does not at all exist
independently of free

is

not

reflec

tion, arising rather from a reflection of freedom, and from


the relation of the above-described form of all
impulse to

freedom/the feeling of the material impulse, on the con


trary, forces itself

upon

us.

Finally, so far as the relation

is

concerned, the just-

described

impulse does not at all relate to freedom,


^/whereas the moral law does relate itself to
freedom,
since it is a law for freedom.
In what we have said above, we have established the
conception of an original, determined system of our
limitedness in general; the utterance or manifestation
of this limitedness, and of the limited in
us, being pre

and impulse; and hence there exists an


determined
originally
system of impulses and feelings.
And since whatsoever is fixed and determined
independently of freedom is called n a ture, according to the above,

cisely feeling

that system of
impulses and feelings

is

to be thought as

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

ii 4

nature.
itself

this

Moreover, since the consciousness thereof forces


or substance, wherein
us, and since the Ego

upon

system

rests, is to

be the same, which thinks or wills

with freedom, and which we posit as ourselves it follows


that we must think that system of impulses and feelings
as our nature.
In other words I myself am to a certain extent, and
;

without an infringement upon the absoluteness of my


reason and of my freedom nature ; and this my nature
is

an impulse.
III.

But not only do I posit myself as nature, I also assume


other nature outside of my own, partly in so far as I am
external
to relate
causality in general to an

my
compelled
and independently existing matter, and partly in so far
as this matter must have, also independently of my
that form which forces me to pass
activity, at least
in order to attain my object.
through determined links
to be nature, they are neces
are
both
as
far
so
in
Now,
in so far as the one is to be
but
as
;
equal
sarily thought
are
nature) and the other an external nature, they

my

thought as
the thinking
mediated, i.e., the one is thought through
all
of the other, which is indeed the general relation of
In
other
which are equal in one characteristic.
necessarily

opposited.

Both,

therefore,

are

opposites,

or derived
words, my nature must be originally explained,
have its
to
from the whole system of nature and shown

ground therein.
Concerning this

assertion,

well

known

from

and

explained in my other philosophical works,


speak of an explanation
say a few words.
and deduction, which the Ego itself produces on the
but not of the
standpoint of common consciousness,
The latter
explanation of the transcendental philosopher.
of consciousness from the
explains all the occurrences
ideal acting of reason as such, while the posit objects
outside of what is to be explained, in order to explain it.
sufficiently

let

me

We

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

115

Again: The Ego never becomes conscious of its explain


as such, but only of the products thereof; or, in
other words, it is clear that perception starts from the
nature in me, and not from the nature outside of me,
which latter external nature is the mediated (my own
ing,

being the mediating), or that which is mediately cognized


of the cognition of my own nature.
Whereas

by means

the standpoint of reality proceeds reversely from external


nature, which is held to determine our nature and to

contain the ground,

and not otherwise.


Or, what
plained ?
in us involve

why our nature is


How, then, is our
else does the

Or, under

ascribe a nature to us

constituted thus

nature to be ex

assumption

what condition

is it

This investigation

of a

nature

possible to

we have now

to undertake.

My nature is an impulse. How can an impulse as


such be comprehended, i.e., how is the
thinking of the
impulse mediated, in beings thinking altogether discur
sively and through mediation?
We can make very clear what we speak of here, by the
Whatsoever lies within a
opposite mode of thinking.
series of causes and effects is
easily comprehended by the
laws of natural mechanism. Each link in the series has

communicated through it by another link


and directs this its activity to a third
external link.
In such a series, a quantum of power is
only passed over from link to link, and passes, as it were,
through the whole series. Whence this power may come
its

activity

external to

it,

we never learn, being forced, at each link in the


series, to
proceed further upwards, and never arriving at an original
source.
This power,
penetrating the series, is the power
by means whereof we think the activity and passivity of
each separate link in the series.
But in such a manner we cannot
comprehend the
impulse as working, and hence, we cannot think it all as
a link in such a series.
Let us assume an external cause
directed

upon the substrate

of the impulse, then

there

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

ii6

also results
if

an external causality upon a third link but


no influence over the substrate
;

this external cause has

all.
Hence, the
nor goes
comes
neither
which
from,
something,
impulse
it is an internal activity of the
into, the external world
substrate directed upon itself.
Self-determination is the

of the impulse, there results nothing at


is

only conception by means of which

we can think an

impulse.

impulse,

nature, in so far as it is to consist in an


thought as determining itself through itself

my

Hence,

is

then can an impulse be conceived. But that an


impulse exists at all, is simply fact of consciousness on
the standpoint of ordinary consciousness, beyond which
It is only the
fact that standpoint does not transcend.
for only

transcendental philosopher who goes beyond


to look up the ground of this fact.

it

in order

COROLLARIUM.
our judgment is what
in
latter mode, what he
and
the
Kant calls subsuming,
is this: The law of natural
distinction
The
~cs^reflectmg.
mechanism is nothing but the law of the successions of
reflections, and of their reciprocal determination (through
which alone time, and identity of consciousness in the

In the

first

mode

of proceeding,

progress of time, arises for us), transferred to external


The understanding, in this sort of thinking,
objects.

and our free


ordinary way mechanically
to
reflect
has
upon what it
only
judgment
power
mechanical
as
does
understanding, in order to
actually
become conscious of it. The matter is comprehended
without any activity of freedom or consideration it is
proceeds

its

of

comprehended through the mere

of the

power

and

this procedure is justly called subsuming.


in the second mode of proceeding the comprehend

of cognition

But

mechanism

ing cannot at all occur in this mechanical manner and


hence, there arises a check and doubt in our minds,
;

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

117

accompanied by the reflection, that the comprehension


cannot succeed thus. Now, the comprehension cannot be
must be
thus achieved, and yet must be achieved
embodied in the unity of self -consciousness, signifies
:

the

mode

of thinking

must be reversed

(precisely as the
not to be found

proposition the ground of something is


in the Ego, and yet there must be a ground
that ground is in the non-Ego).
:

signifies

This function of the reflective power of judgment arises


and
only, however, where subsumption is not possible
;

reflective

judgment

own

prescribes itself its

law, namely,

the law to reverse the law of subsumption.

IV.

Nature

at present as yet only

such,

is

nature, but which,

my

But nature, as
itself.
characterised through opposition to freedom or

in its essence, is nature

determines

through this that, whereas all being of freedom is to


proceed from a thinking, all being of nature is, on the
Hence,
contrary, to proceed itself from an absolute being.
:

nature, as such, cannot determine itself like a free-being,

through a conception. Nature determines itself signifies


therefore nature is determined to determine itself through
:

determined formaliier to determine itself


nature can never be undetermined, as
a free being may well be. Again, nature is determined to
determine itself mater ialiter, or precisely in such and such
a manner, having no choice between a determination and

its

essence

in

general; or

its

is

opposite, as a free being well has.


nature is not all nature. There is nature outside

My

me, and this external nature is posited for the very


sake of explaining the determination of my nature. Now,
my nature is described as an impulse and this impulse
of

must, therefore, be explained, and


explained from that other nature.

determinedness of

my

the determinedness of

is

originally, in fact,

In other words, the

nature as an impulse,
all

nature.

is

result of

The impulse belongs

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

ii8

to

me

am

in so far as I

intelligence

nature, not in so far as T

for the intelligence, as such, has, as

am

we have

upon the impulse. Hence,


the conception of the impulse is synthetically united with
the conception of nature, and to be explained from it
and hence, everything which is thought in the conception
seen, not the remotest influence

of

is

nature,

thought as impulse, and hence, as

self-

determining.

As

must separate

my

nature from

all

other nature,

so can I also, since nature is a general manifold, separate


(We
parts of that external nature from other parts.
assert here only an ideal separation, leaving it undecided
whether there may be still another ground of this
separating than the freedom of arbitrary thinking; i.e.,
undecided whether there are actually, and independently
of

our thinking, separate parts of nature.)

The part thus separated must be through itself what it


is, but the whole must contain the ground of its thus
determining itself. The whole, however, is nothing but
the reciprocal action of the

sum

of all the parts

upon

each other.

Or

more

still

clear: Abstract

from your own nature

because your nature involves a characteristic distinction


from all other nature, namely, the necessity to limit it
and reflect merely upon
precisely so far and no further
external nature

you may
this

chose.

separate from that nature whatever part


That you happen to consider precisely

of nature as a separate part, of this the


Call this
exclusively in your free reflection.

quantum

ground

lies

separate part X.

In

there

is

impulse, and a deter


is precisely a thus

mined impulse; but that impulse


determined impulse,
outside of

there

is

which nature, through

determined through this, that


precisely so much nature existing,

is

its

existence, limits the impulse of

that separate part to be the totality, and leaves to it only


such a limited quantum of reality, and giving to it for the
rest only

an impulse.

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

119

we had not been forced to characterize nature


as an impulse, we could have posited all that X is not
But at present, having posited
in X only as negation.
as impulse
we
as
nature
posit all that X is not
impulse,

Now,

if

For the general tendency to have reality pene


But
the
trates
whole, and is in each part of the whole.
since each is only a part, each lacks all the reality of the

in X.

That
other parts, and has only an impulse left for them.
this remainder is only impulse, and is precisely a thusdetermined impulse, has its ground therein, because
outside of the part there is still something else, and a
precisely thus-determined something
is a separate part for me, solely
Now at present
else.

because I have

made

it

such through freedom of think

again separating from it,


Nothing prevents
also there
In
another
same
the
freedom,
part Y.
by
of
is impulse, determined through all that exists outside
X.
called
I
which
that
Again,
previously
it, including

me from

ing.

from Y another
nothing prevents me from separating
to Y as Y was related
related
be
Z
will
This
Z.
part
In short, in this mode of procedure there is
I can make
ultimate.
absolutely no primary and no
each part again a totality, and each totality a part.
to

X.

That which

is

constituted in such a

us to say of each part, that it


itself, and yet likewise that this

is

its

manner

as forces

determined through
self-determinedness

the result of the determinedness of all other parts

is

again
Each part
through themselves, we call an organic whole.
an
of the whole can again be considered as
organic
whole or as a part, and only the highest cannot be
such
regarded as a part. Nature in general is, therefore,

an organic

We

whole,

and

is

posited as such.

conception in another way.


each
According to the conception of natural mechanism,
its
manifests
and
thing is, through another, what it is,

can illustrate

this

According to the conception of an


and
impulse, each thing is, through itself, what it is,

existence in a third.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

120

manifests

existence in

its

itself.
Now, if a free being
then this conception is valid in all its
strictness, without the least modification
not as con
ception of an impulse, bat as conception of absolute
freedom. Freedom is directly opposited to natural mechan

to be thought,

is

ism, and

is

we speak

manner determined thereby. But when


an impulse of nature, then the
general

in no
of

character of nature,
namely, as a mechanism, must be
retained, together with the character of an impulse, and

both characters, therefore,


synthetically joined together
by which means we shall receive a mediating link between
nature as mere mechanism
(or the

causality-relation)

and freedom

as the opposite of

stantiality-relation), which
to explain the

mechanism

(or the

sub

third

link we, indeed, very


causality of freedom in nature.
conception of this synthesis is clearly the conception

much need
The

just developed by us.

Something = A,

is, indeed, through


precisely this through
itself has its
ground in the other (i.e., in all possible - A).
that
the other is precisely this, and that
Again,
is

what

itself

it

is,

but that

it

is

precisely thus determined, has its ground in

-A

A
A itself, since

part becomes through A what it is.


Thus,
and
necessity
independence are united, and we have no

on

its

the simple thread of


causality, but the closed
sphere of reciprocal activity.
longer

V.
I

must

posit my nature as a closed whole, to which


there appertains
precisely so much and no more: such
is the result of our
The conception of this totality
proof.
cannot be explained upon the
standpoint of common

upon which we have placed the Ego in our


whole latter investigation, from
any reflection of that

consciousness,

consciousness, as the transcendental philosopher, indeed,


does explain it but the
conception is simply given. My
nature is determined and fixed in this
and this
;

manner,

totality itself is nature.

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


Let us ask

first:

How

do

comprehend

at

121

all,

and

according to what law do I think something in nature as


a* real organic whole, since this something is itself only
This question is asked very
a part of nature in general ?
properly, for, as yet, we have only deduced the totality

but not any part thereof and


think at least our own nature,

of nature as a real whole,

a fact that

it is

yet

which, after

is

all,

we

only a part of the whole of nature,

as a complete whole.
I have said
real whole,
:

the chief point.

Let

me

and

first

this determination is

explain this conception

In the manner in which we regarded


by
opposite.
nature just now, it was completely a matter of the free
its

dom

of

reflection, to

grasp each part as a whole, and

again to separate this part into ever so many parts, etc.,


I had a totality, but simply because I had made it a

and there was no other ground of determination


than the freedom of my thinking. I had an
ideal totality, a collective unity, but by no means a real
I had an aggregate, and not a
If
totality.
composituny
must
whole
is
a
then
its
to
be
real
my
parts
totality,
unite in a whole of themselves and independently of my
totality,

for its limits

thinking.
is determined through a compulsion of reflec
whereas reflection is free in the representation of

Reality
tion,

the ideal.

This freedom, to limit the totality arbitrarily,


cancelled, and the intelligence be com

must therefore be

pelled to gather precisely so much


it is to become a real
totality.

if

and no more within it,


Such is the case, as

we have

seen, with reference to the representation of


nature as a fixed whole.

Now, through what law

of thinking

may

my

this necessity

Wherever
?
mere
subsumplonger comprehend through
tion, there the law of reflective judgment enters, and the
latter is a mere reversion of the former.
Now, it might
well happen that our
of
judgment, once safely
power
of a determination of the limits arise for us

we can no

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

122

of reflection, can no longer


of the law which arose from
means
even
hy
comprehend
and hence it
a reversion of the law of subsumption
would have again to reverse that law. Thus there would
arise a composite law of reflection, a reciprocality of

arrived within the sphere

reflection with itself.

(We are to comprehend something.


cannot comprehend it by the law of subsumption,
and hence we reverse that law, and obtain the law of

We

now we are again to comprehend something


we cannot even comprehend by this new law
else,
Each
of reflection, hence we have to reverse it again.)

reflection

and

if

it is.
part of nature is through itself, and in itself, what
So says the simple conception of reflection. But accord

ing to the conception, which arose by reversing the simple

through and
through and
Hence each part of the totality is determined
.for itself.
all
other parts of the same totality, and each
through
conception of reflection, no part of nature
for itself what it is, but only the totality

is

is

complete totality is itself to be regarded as we regarded


the whole universe, which latter, therefore, changes from
a totality of parts, into a totality of totalities,* a system
of real totalities.

Let us now analyze these conceptions still further, and


thus connect our present argument with what we have
According to our previous result, each
previously said.

and for all other reality an


and
were in reciprocal causality,
reality
impulse. Impulse
and mutually exhausted each other. In none was there
an impulse to have a reality, which it possessed, nor a
This mode
lack, which it had not an impulse to replace.
of consideration we were able to continue or stop at
and
pleasure; it fitted whatsoever came to our notice,

had

its

measure

of reality,

everything was perfectly uniform.


But at present a determined =

X is

asserted to be given,

which cannot be comprehended by this sort of conception.


How, then, must it be constituted ? Let us consider any
*

Leibnitz

Monads.

TR.

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

123

and call it A. If in
impulse and
from the
each
could
not
be
explained
reciprocally
reality
other, if the impulse did not impel to have a reality
which
lacked, and which belonged to A, or if the

particular part of X,

lacked not,
impulse did impel to have reality which
and which did not belong to A; then A could not
be explained and comprehended through itself.
My
comprehending would be shut off; I should not have

comprehended anything, and it would be evident that


I ought not to have arbitrarily separated the part A
from X.
Now let us consider the remainder of X = B. If B,
considered in and for itself, were to result just as A did,
so far as the relation of impulse and reality are concerned
but if it were likewise to appear that the impulse in B
impels to have the reality which A lacks, whereas, on the
other hand, the impulse in A impels to have the reality
lacking in B then my consideration of B would lead me
back to A, in order to ascertain whether A really lacks
that reality for which I discovered impulse in B, and
whether there is really in A an impulse for the reality
I discovered lacking in B.
Thus should I be compelled
to consider the matter once more, or to reflect upon, and
thus limit my reflection. A composite reflection would
;

thus

arise,

and,

since

it

is

governed by necessity, a

composite law of reflection.


Moreover, since I could, in like manner, not comprehend
A except through B, and vice versa; and since I should
thus be forced to synthetically unite both:
become a real and not merely an ideal totality.

would

generally is also organic nature, and hence, the


In so far, it
law
of that nature must apply to it.
general
is infinitely divisible.
A in c d,
divide
I
can
Hence,
and again e f g, etc., ad infinitum. Each part, as nature
in general, has reality and impulse, and is, in so far,

But

~b

independent;

but each part has this peculiarity, that


its impulse and reality cannot be

the relation between

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

124

explained out of itself for, otherwise, it would not be a


part of the acttfal totality X.
are
No part can be explained before all parts of
gathered together. Each part tends to satisfy the need
;

of all,

and

on the other hand, tend

all,

to satisfy the

need

That which can only be compre


of each single part.
hended in this manner, we shall call for the present, until,
perhaps, we can
organic whole.

find

better

name

for it

an actual

am at least such an organic whole. Whether


more such outside of me, we cannot at present
decide.
The decision will depend upon this whether
I can comprehend myself as such an organic whole
without assuming others outside of me or not ? But at
I

myself

there are

how such an actual whole


is
may be explained out of nature, and what new predicates
may be ascribed to nature by means of this explanation.
By requiring that something shall be explained out
present, the only question

of nature,

we

shall be explained to us from


not of moral, necessity. Hence,

require that

it

a law of physical, and


by merely asserting the possibility of such an explanation,
we assert that it is necessary for nature, and one of the
qualities absolutely appertaining to nature, to organize
itself into actual totalities, and that the rational being can

think nature only in this manner, and not otherwise.


(Let no one, therefore, take refuge, from pure laziness of
reason, in the assumption of an intelligence as the creator

amongst other things, it is


/-Firstly, perfectly unthinkable that an intelligence should
o^

architect of the world

for,

create matter /and, secondly, it is as yet incomprehensible


reason can have any influence upon nature, which,
;

how

we are at present endeavouring to explain. For,


an intelligence be ever so able to compose and connect,
the result of this will merely be aggregation and alliga
tion, but never a melting together, which latter process
presupposes an internal power in nature herself. Neither
let anyone attempt to explain organization from mechanical
indeed,
let

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

125

Those laws involve an everlasting repelling and


but
moving away of matter, involve attraction and repulsion,
of organism is an immanent law of
law
The
more.
nothing
the
nature, which rational beings must think when thinking
laws.

in order to be able to explain itself


conception of nature,
but which law can itself be no further explained. To
;

to deduce it from mechanism.


explain it would signify
Of course it is only from the standpoint of common con
a
sciousness, and of common science, that this law remains
final absolute,

/But from

and

unexplainable. /
transcendental
of
philosophy,
point
it

knowledge,
explains

all

is

since

explained,

easily

the stand

and in the science


that

of

science

from the Ego.)


what sort of a law this may

nature and deduces

it

be,
The only question is,
and what determined process of nature must necessarily
be assumed in assuming it ? According to our previously
established law, each thing which is a thing of nature is,
no thing is
is
through itself, and for itself, that which it
;

anything to another,

and no other thing

anything to
whereas that

is

it.

of
the principle of substantiality
of
natural mechanism is the principle
causality.
Now, according to our present principle, there is no
that principle of substantiality
possible element, to which

This

is

may

apply;

no element

is

self-sufficient,

and

for

and

and this
through itself independent each needs another,
another.
for
an
in
each
There is
other needs it.
impulse
If there is such a new principle, then the impulse thus
;

determined rules throughout nature. Hence this law of


nature may also be then expressed each part of nature
is impelled to unite its being and its working with the
other part of nature,
being and working of a determined
in
it
with
and to dissolve together
space if we think
:

This impulse we call the organizing


these parts in space.
and passive significance of the
active
in
the
principle

impulse to organize and to be organized,


necessary in nature; e.g., it is not a foreign
as
ingredient without which nature might get along just

word.

It is the

and

is

it

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

126

well.

Only

let care

be taken not to think the seat of

impulse as either here or there; or, still worse, to


think this impulse as itself a separate part. It is no
substance at all, but an accidence, and an accidence
this

pertaining to all parts.


By thus positing the organization of the Ego as the
result of a law of nature, we have at least
gained so

much

that

we

find the organizing principle


throughout

nature; for whether this impulse has causality also


outside of our bodies, we are not as yet to decide.
all

me this is our second point gained this


has
Certain parts of nature,
impulse
certainly causality.
and of the being and working of nature, have united
But

in

themselves to produce one being and one causality.


this respect, that

nature

which we called an actual whole

may more

In
of

properly be called organized product

of nature.

There are such products, for I myself am such. We


do not speak, as yet, of materiality in space, which would
result in an actual manifold, although it
might be easy to
deduce
within
is

it

but

it is

at least sure that the ideal manifold

me

unites to form organization.


Now this uniting
of
the
of
nature.
product
organizing power
Hence the result of our present investigation is this
:

As

sure as I am, I

must

ascribe causality to nature, since


I can posit myself
as
the product of nature.
only
have therefore proven, though by no means yet

We

completely analyzed, that which was to be proven.

CHAPTER

VI.

RESULTS FROM THE FOREGOING.

I.

But
I FIND myself as an organized product of nature.
in such a product the essence of the part consists in
to maintain certain other parts in unity with
an
impulse

itself,

which impulse, when attributed

to the whole, is

For since the

called the impulse of self-preservation.

essence of the whole

is

nothing but a uniting of certain

is simply the preserva


parts into itself, self-preservation
To see this clearly, let the reader
tion of this uniting.
Each possible part strives to unite
consider the

following
But this tendency
other determined parts with itself.
can have no causality unless parts that mutually support
each other are united for only on this condition does an
:

Now, the whole is nothing but


organized whole exist.
the parts taken together.
Hence, nothing can be in the
whole but that which is in the parts, namely, a desire to
in so far as a complete
gather certain parts into itself; and,
whole is to exist, this desire must have causality. Its
essence consists in a reciprocal causality between this
con
tendency and this causality, which are mutually
and
the
a
is
it
for
ditioned through another,
whole,
in so far,
comprehending of the same is completed and,
the above established conception applies again to it in
;

relation to all other nature.

It preserves

itself,

signifies

it preserves that reciprocal causality between its tendency


and its causality. If either is cancelled, everthing is
127

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

128

product of nature, which no longer organizes


ceases to be an organized product, for the character
of organization consists in the
continuing of the process

cancelled.
itself,

of organization.

The tendency

to

is
not, as seems
which desires existence

self-preservation

generally to be assumed, a tendency


in general, but which desires a

particular determined exis


an impulse of the thing to be and to remain
that which it is.
For mere general existence is simply an
abstract conception, and not
anything concrete. An

tence

it is

impulse having it for its object does not exist at all.


rational being never desires to be in order to
be, but in
order to be this or that.
Neither does an irrational

product of nature ever strive and work to be, but always


to be precisely that which it is
an apple tree strives
to be and remain an
and
a pear tree a pear
apple tree,
tree.
In irrational products of nature, moreover, the
;

impulse is, at the same time, effect and hence, the apple
tree can never bear pears, nor the
pear tree apples.
To change kind in this manner is a check of the whole
;

organization, and sooner or later results in its destruction.


It is in like manner with me.
There is in me an

through nature, and relating itself


to objects of nature, in order to unite them with
being
not exactly to gather them into myself, as I do meat and

impulse, originated

my

drink through digestion, but rather to relate them in


my natural necessities, or to put them into
a certain relation with myself.
Now, this impulse is the

general to

impulse of self-preservation in the above specified signifi


cance of the word, of the preservation of myself as this
particular product of nature.
to

my

lutely

The

relating of those

means

impulse and object is done immediately and abso


without all mediating cognition, calculation, or

consideration.

belongs to

my

That upon which

this

impulse

is

directed,

preservation, because the impulse craves it


and whatsoever belongs to my preservation the impulse
craves, because it belongs to my preservation.
The con-

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


beet/ion is

nature

made through freedom, but

not

law

129

involved in

is

of organization.

Here already we meet an important fact, the results


whereof extend very far, and the neglect whereof has
been of great disadvantage as well to philosophy in
the science of morality in particular.
craves
the object X.
Does perhaps the
My impulse
attraction proceed from X, and taking hold of my nature,
as

general

to

impulse? By no means. The impulse


out
from my nature. This nature has
solely proceeds
in
advance, what is to exist for me,
already determined,
and my impulses and tendencies are directed upon all
thus determine

which

that

before

crave

is

my

thus determined

to

for me,

exist

it

even

actually does exist and affect me nay, would


even though it could not exist for me, and would

it

never be satisfied without

it.

But

it

does exist

and must

by virtue of the completedness of nature as an


I do not hunger because food
organized totality in itself.
exists for me, but certain objects of nature become food
exist,

for

me

because I

am

hungry.

It is the

organized products of nature.


by the existence of substances

plant

same with

is

all

not impelled

which belong to its


composition to gather them up into itself, but rather
the internal construction of the plant demands the
existence

of

precisely these substances independent of

their actual existence, and if these substances did not


exist in nature at all, that plant could also not exist
in nature.

In short, everywhere is harmony and reciprocality, not


mere mechanism, for mechanism produces no impulse
As sure as I am I, my desires and tendencies never
from the
even in my most animal needs
proceed
If this remark
external object, but always from myself.
i

is

overlooked here,

it

will not

be understood

occurs again in a more important part,


come to develop the law of morality.

viz.,

when it
when we

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

130

II.

This

my

impulse

is,

me an

moreover, for

my

object of

As
this necessarily as described above.
certain as I reflect at all, am I necessitated to perceive
and

reflection,

I say, as certain as
this impulse, and to posit it as mine.
/ reflect, for reflection itself is no product of nature, and

cannot be such.

Itself in its

form occurs with absolute

spontaneity, and only the object of the reflection, and the


necessity to attend to this object, is an effect of nature.
this reflection directed

Through

upon the impulse there

need not known to


we do not know what. Even through

arises firstly a yearning, a feeling of a

one

s self.

this,

We

lack

the very

as

first

distinguished from

all

result of

reflection,

other products

is

the

of nature.

Ego

Im

pulses in the latter either result in being satisfied,


result in nothing at all.

or

No

one will seriously assert that in dry weather plants


experience a yearning, caused by the absence of water.

They

either drink or wither,

and there

is

no third result

as the effect of their natural impulse.

III.

As
I

am

intelligence, and hence as subject of consciousness,


selfabsolutely free and dependent only upon

This

determination.

also, in so far as it is

immediate object

is

my

Hence

character.

assigned to

me

of consciousness,

i.e.,

must

my
my nature

in so far as it is

also be

dependent

only upon self-determination.

But

in

how

consciousness?
of

my

itself is

is

it

Now this reciprocal


impulse.
causality as intelligence; I do not
immediately conscious of it at all. The impulse
likewise not my product, it is given and does not

nature

causality

become

assigned to me, as subject of


The product of the reciprocal causality
far

is

not

is

the

my

depend upon my freedom. /But the impulse enters con


sciousness, and all it effects in this region depends upon

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

131

me, or rather, the impulse has no effect in this region at


all, it being I who do or do not effect something in it by
virtue of that impulse.
Here, then, lies the~transition to
self-determination on the part of the rational being here
;

determined

the

lies

and

sharpdrawn

limit

between

and freedom.)
^ necessity

The satisfaction of the impulse in plant or animal


occurs necessarily wherever its conditions arise.
But
man is not at all impelled by his natural impulse. Our
digestion, the change of our food into nourishment, or the
circulation of our blood, &c., are not matters under our
control, they are the processes of nature in us, above

alluded

to.

They are not under our control, as intelli


we do not immediately become conscious of
that which physiologists or doctors know of

gence, because

them for
them they know
;

the satisfying of our


mediately.
or
thirst
is
under
our
hunger
control, since we have
immediate consciousness of our desire for food and drink.
Or,

is

/But

there anyone willing to assert that he eats and


the same mechanical necessity wherewith

drinks with

he

digests.

In short,

it is

not within

my

an impulse within me, but


satisfy

it

it

control to feel or not feel


is

within

my

control to

or not.

IV.
I reflect on

sciousness

cannot

my

what

reflect

on

yearning, and thus raise to clear con


was only a dark feeling. But I

at first
it

without determining it as a yearning,


law of reflection

in consequence of the
universally valid
or, in other words, without

distinguishing

it

from another

possible yearning. But one yearning can be distinguished


from another only through its object. Hence
through
this second reflection I also become conscious of the

my yearning; concerning the reality or nonwhereof we do not as yet trouble ourselves. We

object of
reality

merely posit it here as an object yearned for.


But a
yearning determined through its object is called desire.

\,

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

32

one conception, and


in
the Ego, is called
considered as a faculty grounded
in
the course of our
should
If
we
faculty of desire.
of desire united into

The manifold

meet with another

investigation

the manifold

desire

whereof we could also unite into a faculty it would be


to call the present faculty, as Kant has indeed

proper
called

it,

^h&Jower^desi^.

The form

this

of

desire as such,

i.e.,

that

it

is

an

has its ground in


impulse accompanied by consciousness,
an
But
that
reflection.
the free act of
impulse exists at

impulse or this desire is directed


an object, has its ground in nature
such
precisely upon
in
external
not however
nature, in the nature of objects,

all,

and that

this

my own

but in

ground.
manifest

Thus
itself,

nature, and hence it is an immanent


desire does freedom already

even in
a

since

free

enters

reflection

between

yearning and desiring.

Hence

it is

well possible to suppress inordinate desires,

by ignoring them, or by busying


mental labour in short, by not
with
oneself, particularly
the theological moralists very
as
to
them,"
"giving way

by not

reflecting upon,

properly express themselves.

Y.
desire has for its object things of nature, either

My

with a view to immediately unite them with


food and drink)
to

me

or, to

place

them

me

(like

into a certain relation

fine prospect, clear weather), etc.


(like free air,
in space for
things of nature exist firstly

Now

me,

which we presuppose as well known from the science of


are to be
knowledge; and hence that wherewith they
in
a certain
be
to
placed
united, or to which they are
no
is
there
since
in
uniting
space
relation, must also exist
of that which has space, and no relating of it except to
that which also is in space for otherwise it would either
not remain in space, which is absurd, or it would not be
;

a relation, which

is

against the

presupposition.

Now

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


that which

is

in space

and

fills

space

we

133

call matter.

am, therefore, as product of nature, matter, and, according


to the above, organized matter, forming a fixed totality.

We

call this

But

it is,

our body.

secon3ly7to be within the control of

my

will,

whether I will unite things with me, or, place them into
a relation to me, or not.
Now this uniting and relation
body)

parts of my organized body, and this (my


the immediate instrument of my will.
Hence

to

relates

is

these parts must stand under the control of my will.


Again, since here we speak of relations in space, these
parts as parts, i.e. in their relation to the totality of my

body, must be movable;

and

my

body

must be

itself

More
relation to the totality of nature.
over, since this movement is to depend upon a free pro
movable in

its

duced conception, indefinitely modifiable, it must be a


Such an arrangement of the body
is called articulation.
If I am to be free, my body must
be articulated. (Compare the first part of my science of
manifold movement.

rights.)

EEMARK.

We have arrived at one of those standpoints from


which we can comfortably look around us, and observe
whether our investigation has been somewhat cleared up.
There exists in us an impulse for things of nature, in
order to bring

nature

which craves
satisfied.

called

them

into a certain relation to our

an impulse which has no object except


to

satisfy itself
Satisfaction for the

merely that
sake of

own

itself,

it

and

may

satisfaction

be
is

mQTQ enjoyment^

It is of

importance to us that the conviction of the


this natural impulse should force itself

absoluteness of

upon everyone. Each organised product of nature is its


own object, i.e. it organizes simply for the sake of organizing,
and organizes thus, simply in order to organize thus. Not
as

if

we wanted

to say that the irrational product of

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

134

nature never thinks another object than itself for this is


self -understood, since it does not think at all; but we
;

wish to say, that even an intelligence outside of such


product cannot without being illogical, and explaining
ascribe

utterly wrongly

any other or external object

to

There is only an internal and absolute,


such products.
but by no means a relative, teleological arrangement in
nature since the latter only arises through the manifold
;

purposes which a free being may propose to


perhaps in part, execute in nature.

itself,

and,

It is the same with the rational being in so far as it is


mere nature. It satisfies itself simply in order to satisfy
itself, and every determined object which satisfies it,
exists simply because precisely such object was required

by the nature

of

the rational being.

Again, since the

becomes conscious of its yearning, it


necessarily also becomes conscious of the satisfaction of
this yearning; this satisfaction produces enjoyment, and
The natural
this enjoyment is its last end and object.
man does not eat with a view to preserve and strengthen
his body, but because hunger is painful, and food pleasant
rational

being

to him.

Several analysers of our feelings, particularly Mendels


sohn, have explained the feeling of enjoyment as arising
from the feeling of an improvement of our bodily con

This is quite correct if mere sensual enjoyment


meant, and if the bodily condition is accepted merely
as a state of organization. Jersusalem, in his Philosophical
Essays, objects to this theory, that enjoyment is felt even
dition.

is

when our bodily condition is growing worse, nay, in the


immediate feeling of this growing worse, as, for instance,
in the case of drunkards when they are becoming in
But in all examples of this kind it will be
toxicated.
remarked that the growing worse has only reference to
the state of articulation, whereas the state of the organi
is constantly growing better at the time, the play
and the reciprocal action of the several parts more perfect,

zation

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

135

and their communication with surrounding nature more


f But all sensuous enjoyment, as we have

unchecked,

shown, has reference to the organization of the body,


/^vhereas the articulation, as such, as tool of our freedom,
not truly product of nature, but rather of practice
through freedom and the bad results, which the organi
zation may be threatened with, we do not take into

is

account, since the future


herein a mere plant.

is

feel well,

could

Now,

never immediately felt. Man


the plant grows it would
But the plant might also over

When

it reflect.

grow, and thus hasten on


disturbed in

is

its

destruction,

and yet not be

feeling of satisfaction.
it is within our power of freedom to either follow
its

impulse of mere enjoyment or not. Each satisfying


an impulse, if consciously undertaken, is necessarily
done through freedom, and our body is so arranged that we
can work through it with freedom.
In so far as man has mere enjoyment for his object, he
this

of

is

dependent upon something given, namely, upon the

existence of the object of his impulse


hence, he is not
self-sufficient, and the attainment of his purpose depends
;

also in part upon nature.


But, in so far as
reflects and thus becomes subject of consciousness

man

but

we have

shown above, that he necessarily reflects on the impulse,


he becomes Ego, and hence, the tendency of reason
absolutely determine itself through itself, as subject of
sciousness, will manifest itself in him.

to

con

One important

question.
My impulse as a being of
tendency as pure spirit are they two
different impulses ?
By no means. From the transcen
dental point of view, both are one and the same original
impulse, which constitutes my being, only regarded from
two different sides. For I am subject-object, and in the

nature,

identity

/M

and

my

and inseparability

regard^ my self as

object,

of

both consists

my true

being.

completely determined through

the laws of sensuous perception and discursive thinking,


then that, which is in part my only impulse, becomes my

THE SCIENCE OF

136

ETHICS.

natural impulse, because I myself am nature from this


But if I regard myself as subject, then that
point of view.

impulse becomes for me a purely spiritual impulse, or


a law of my self-determination./ All the phenomena of the

Ego are based simply upon the reciprocity of these two


impulses, which two impulses are, in fact, only the reci
procal relation of one and the same impulse to itself : its
self-relation.

This explains, at the same time, how two such utter


opposites as the two impulses can occur in a being, which
is to be
Both are, indeed,
absolutely one and the same.
also one
but the whole Egoness is based upon their
appearing as two opposites. The limit between both is
;

reflection.

The

which contemplates in the re


higher than the reflected, rises above and
embraces it; hence, the impulse of the reflecting, of the
subject of consciousness, is properly called the
reflecting, as that

flection,

is

impulse, and a faculty of desire, determined by

_^^
called

it, is

IbrieTiigrier faculty of desire.

Only the reflected is nature. The reflecting is opposed


it, and hence, is no nature, but raised above all nature.
The higher impulse, as the impulse of the purely
to

spiritual, is directed

upon absolute self-determination

an activity for the mere sake of the


is opposed to all
enjoyment which

activity.
is

Hence,

to
it

mere passive

surrendering to nature.
But both constitute only one and the same Ego hence,
both impulses must be united within the sphere of con
;

union the higher


non-determinedthe lower impulse must

It will appear that in this

sciousness.

impulse must abandon

its

purity,

i.e.,

its

ness through an
objects/whilst
abandon its enjoyment, for the mere sake of enjoyment.
Hence, as result, there will appear an objective activity,

the final end whereof


j

pendence

of

attainable end

nature.
;

is

absolute freedom, absolute inde-

But

and hence,

an infinite, never
is
can only be our problem

this
it

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


to

state

Jww

must

act

in

137

order to approach that

final end.

To take cognizance merely of the higher impulse would


mere m etaphysic ofrnqrcjfe^which is formal and

result in a

empty./ Only through synthetically uniting it with the


lower impulse do we attain a science of morals which
is real.

CHAPTER

VII.

CONCERNING FREEDOM AND THE HIGHER IMPULSE.


I.

THE

final

my

production of

/reflect on myself,

i.e.,

is an impulse,
which, as
nature,
my -given

nature, as such,

on this

nothing but an im
Now, everything depends upon our completely
pulse.
must
determining this reflection. In order to do so, we

immediate object

examine

1st, its

of

my

reflection, is

its

form; 2nd,

content;

and

3rd, the

connection of both.

That the reflection occurs, or its form, is an absolute


it occurs because it does, or because I am I. / So far
as its content or object is concerned, we have already
shown that this is our natural impulse, and the only ques
tion is, how far our nature may be the immediate object
of that reflection.
This, also, we have already answered

fact

as follows
to

me

in so far as I

as the

am necessitated

reflecting./

to assign somewhat
of both is, that

The connection

both are to be one and the same.


another I does not exist for me),

T,

the natural being (for


at the same time for

am

myself the reflecting. That natural being is the substance,


and the reflection is an accidence of that substance; is an

Thus
expression of the freedom of the natural being.
described.
to
be
about
reflection
the
Concerning
posits
of this connection, common consciousness does
the
ground

not even ask.

From

the standpoint of

common

conscious

happen to be such a
the consciousness
and
a
such
with
nature,
given
being,

ness

it

would merely be

said

138

"

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

139

and that suffices


leaving altogether uncomprehended, which indeed that standpoint also does not
propose to comprehend, how snch a harmony between
complete and mutually independent opposites is at all
That nature, on its part, determines and limits
possible.
something in the manner in which my nature is deter
mined and limited, can be comprehended and likewise,
that the intelligence, on its part, forms a certain repre
But
sentation and determines it in a certain manner.
how both, in their independent actions, should harmonize
and arrive at the same result, is utterly incomprehensible,
"

thereof

since neither the intelligence gives laws to nature, nor


nature to the intelligence. The former assertion would,

indeed, be Idealism, and the latter Materialism whereas


the system of fore-established harmony, as usually taken,
;

takes cognizance of neither side, and leaves the question

unanswered.

From the standpoint of transcendental philosophy we


have already solved this problem. There is no such thing
as nature by itself
my nature and all other nature,
;

posited to explain mine, is merely a peculiar manner of


I am limited only in the world of
regarding myself.
intelligence,

impulse
and,

my

vice

and through this limitation of my original


most certainly limited to myself,

reflection is

versd,

original impulse
cannot speak of

through
is

my

any

reflection

of

myself

my

course, for me, since we


other limitation of myself than for

limited

of

On

the standpoint of transcendentalism we have


no independent twofold at all, but an absolute simple
and where there is no difference it were absurd to speak
myself.

of a

harmony, or ask for its ground.


But at present we occupy the standpoint of common
consciousness, and follow its path. Through the described
reflection the Ego tears itself loose from all, that is, to be
outside of it, gets itself under its own control, and places
itself before itself as
For the
absolutely self-sufficient.
reflecting is self-sufficient, and only dependent upon itself;

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

140

but the reflected is the same as the reflecting. Not, as


might seem at the first glance, as if we merely meant to
say that the Ego, from this point inwards, simply observes
itself; nay, we distinctly assert that from this point
nothing can occur in the Ego without the active deter

mining of the intelligence. Eeflecting and reflected are


The
united, and represent one single undivided person.
reflected brings the actual power, and the reflecting brings
The person hereafter can
consciousness, into the person.
do nothing except with consciousness and according to
free conceptions.

An actuality, which has its ground in a conception, is


called a product of freedom.
No actuality can, from the
stated point, be ascribed to the Ego, except as a con
sequence of the Ego
the

is

free

own

conception thereof.

from that point onwards, and

Ego
Ego henceforth does

all

Hence
that the

is product of this freedom.


indeed the important point, and it is our
present intention to clear up at once the theory of
Each link in a series of nature is a pre
freedom.

This

is

determiner, be
of organization.

it

according to the law of mechanism or


if we know the nature of a thing,

Hence

and the law which governs it, we can tell for all time to
come how the thing will manifest itself. / But that which
occurs in the Ego, commencing at the point where it
became an Ego, and providing the Ego truly remains Ego,
is not predetermined, and is absolutely undeterminable.
There is no law according to which free self-determinations
be calculated in advance, since they are
dependent upon the self-determination of the Intelligence,
which, as such, is absolutely free and altogether pare
occur or

may

activity.
series of

nature is steady. Each link in it effects


But a series of freedomit can effect.
whatsoever
wholly
determination consists of leaps and progresses utterly
irregularly. Think one link of such a series as determined,

and

call it

A.

From

many

other links are possible,

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

141

=
only one of them X results.
connect
all
links
Hence whilst in a series of natnre
closely,
in such a series of freedom the connection breaks off at
but not

all possible links,

no link
every link. In a series of freedom-determinations
and
absolute.
a
is
can be explained, for each
primary
but
In series of nature the law of causality is valid
;

in
i.e.

the freedom

series

each free resolve

the

is

law

of

substantiality rules,
is

itself substantial,

what

it

is

itself.

absolutely through
Beyond the stated reflection, natural necessity can no
am no longer a link
longer control me, for beyond it I
is an impulse,
of
nature
link
last
The
chain.
s
of nature
no
an
but only
causality in a
impulse, having, therefore,

and thus we can make freedom com


from the standpoint of a philosophy of
even
prehensible
The causality of nature has its limit; now if
nature.

spiritual

being

is to be any causality beyond the limit, it must


That which results from an
be that of another power.
of
a
result
not
is
nature, since nature exhausted
impulse

there

herself in the production of the impulse.


produce this result, true by means of a

get from nature, but which


but under my control, since it

a principle utterly
nature, namely,
dom in this

is
is

It is

/ who

power which

no longer under her


under the control of

removed beyond the authority

of the Conception.

respect^j^iaM^eedom.

We

of

shall call free-

Whatsoever

I do,

formal
simply being conscious in so doing, I do with
freedom.
Hence a man might always follow merely
his natural impulse, and yet, if he only acted with
consciousness, and not mechanically, we should have to
ascribe freedom to him in the above significance of the
word, for the last ground of his act would be his con
sciousness of the impulse, and not the natural impulse
writer has as yet
itself.
(I am not aware that any
in

conception of freedom in this respect,


which it is nevertheless the root of all freedom, with
care and attention.
Perhaps most of the errors and

treated

the

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

42

respecting the incomprehensibility


doctrine have their origin in this.)

complaints

of

our

COR LLARIUM.

No
he

is

freedom can deny that


opponent of the assertion of
conscious of states, for which he can assign no other
than themselves. But the sharpwitted of these

ground
It does not follow from that fact that
opponents say
those states have no external ground at all, but merely
"

that
"It

we

are not conscious of

them."

does not follow that because

we

And

they proceed:
are not conscious

Now
those states have no causes."
are abso
here they become at once transcendent.
for us, I trust:
lutely unable to posit causes, signifies
Such causes are not. They continue: "For everything
of those grounds,

has

its

We

and hence those resolves, which we believe


own, have also their causes, although we are

cause,

to be our

not conscious of these

causes."

Here they

clearly pre

suppose what was

to be proven, namely, that the Ego


of nature and is subject to the laws
series
to
the
belongs
their proof is, therefore, an evident circle.
of nature
;

of freedom can on his part also


only presuppose that Egoness, the conception whereof
But he has
involves that it does not belong to nature.

Of course, the defender

the decided advantage over his opponents that he is able


to actually build up a system of philosophy, which they

cannot do

and moreover, he has on

his side a

plation whereof they know nothing.


discursive thinkers, and utterly lack

must not enter

contem

They are only


One
intuition.

into dispute with them, but one ought

to cultivate them,

if

possible.
II.

According

to

the

foregoing I

am

free,

but do not

posit myself as free; I am free, perhaps, for an intelligence


outside of me, not for myself.
But I am something only
in so far as I posit myself as such.

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

143

What

appertains, let us ask firstly, to this positing


I posit myself as free when I become
free ?
as
myself
transition from undeterminedness to
conscious of

my

determmedness. I, in so far as I have a power of action,


In the reflection on this con
find myself undetermined.
dition it is expressed by my power of imagination floating
between opposite determinations. With this commences

But now I determine


the perception of my freedom.
same time
is also at the
the
reflection
and
myself,
determined.
I

/ determine myself; which is this deter


Doubtless the one Ego, which resulted from

mining
the union of the reflecting and the reflected; and this
same determining Ego is in the same undivided act, and
In the con
in the same view, likewise the determined.
sciousness of freedom object and subject are completely
one.
The conception (of my purpose) grows immediately
and the deed immediately into the con
into the deed
;

ception (cognition of

my

freedom).

Those were quite in the right who denied that freedom


could be object of consciousness; freedom is not object
It is true that

but subject-object of consciousness.

we

become immediately conscious of our freedom through


the deed, by self-actively tearing ourselves loose from
a state of indecision, and choosing a definite purpose,
because

we choose

contrary to

all

particularly

if

our inclinations, and

is

it,

purpose runs
nevertheless chosen
this

duty s sake. But this consciousness requires energy


There are in
of will and intensity of contemplation.
dividuals, who, in point of fact, never will, but always
leave themselves to be driven and impelled by a blind
impulse, and who, for that reason, have also never clear
for

consciousness,

since

they

never

self-actively

produce,

determine, and direct their representations, but merely


dream a long dream, determined by the dark association
of ideas.
To these, of course, we do not speak, when we

speak of consciousness of freedom.


Consciousness of my undeterminedness

is,

therefore,

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

144

the condition of the consciousness of

my

free-active self-

But undeterminedness is not merely notdetermining.


determinedness = 0, but is an undecided floating between

many
wise

possible determinations

=a

negative), since other

could not be posited, and would

be nothing.
are as yet unable to tell how
freedom can be directed, and posited as thus directed

At

it

present, however,

we

upon many possible determinations. There is no other


the application of freedom than the natural
Whenever this impulse occurs, there is no
impulse.
reason why freedom should not follow it.
And there
object of

is

reason

why freedom

be

said,

that there are

should follow

it.

True,

it

might

many

impulses working at the


same time though we have no reason to assume this
on our present standpoint; but if there
are, then the

impulse will decide, and we have again no


possibility of an undeterminedness.
In so far as the free
being occupies this state, which is
not an original state, but
an
may unhappily be too
strongest

acquired state,

we

truly
say that the free being follows an

; and since this inclination is


preceded by no
and no undeterminedness, we
justly call it a
llind inclination
an inclination whereof the free
being
as such does not, and
cannot, become conscious.
But I am I only, in so far as I am conscious of this

inclination
reflection

my

that is to say, as I am free and


self-determined.
This consciousness of freedom is the condition of
Egoness.
(It is thus that that which we are about to deduce
obtains universal
validity, namely, by our showing, that
a rational
being is not at all possible without conscious
ness of this
freedom, and hence without the conditions of
this freedom; and since the
consciousness of morality
belongs to these conditions, that a rational
being is not at
all possible without
this moral consciousness.
is,

therefore, not

gredient, but it

Morality
something accidental, nor a foreign in
is an essential condition of
rationality.
may at

That this consciousness of freedom


and morality

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

145

times, and, perhaps, to a great extent, be clouded, and


thus sink down to be a mere machine, is certainly

man

possible,

and we

we mean

All

shall hereafter

show the reason

to assert, at present, is that

no

man

for

it.

can be

absolutely without all moral feeling.)


Since all that occurs in the Ego is explained out of an
impulse, there must be an impulse to become conscious of
this freedom,

consciousness.
is

and hence also of the conditions of that


But the condition of such a consciousness

undeterminedness.

Urideterminedness

is

not possible

Ego solely follows the natural impulse. I Hence


there must be an impulse in the Ego to determine itself,

if

the

without regard, nay, in very opposition to the natural


But such an impulse, since we are here speak
impulse.
ing of the consciousness of freedom, would be craving for

mere sake of freedom.


freedom, to distinguish it from the
previously described formal freedom, material freedom.
Formal freedom arises when a new formal "principle,

freedom for
I

"

will

the

call

this

"a

new power,

enters, although the material in the series of


effects does not experience the least change.
It is not

nature any longer that acts, but the free being. The free
being, however, effects precisely the same as nature would

have

effected.

Whereas material freedom is distinguished by this,


that not only
new power, but also a wholly new series
of material acts, enters. The intelligence does not merely
a,

work, but works out likewise something utterly different


from what nature would have worked out.
It is our next
it,

and

to

duty to deduce

show how

it

may

this impulse, to describe

manifest

itself.

Agf%t e-~k}

III

We

have to deduce the impulse. In our forgoing we


have proven that unless such an impulse exists selfconsciousness

is

not possible, since the consciousness of

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

H6

an undetermiuedness, which

is

the condition of

self-

not possible. This was an indirect proof


consciousness,
But for the sake not of the certainty
of that impulse.
of the matter, hut of the results which will show them
is

selves,

we must

furnish this proof directly,

i.e.,

genetically,

or from the conception of the Ego itself.


I have said that the Ego gets itself altogether under its

control through the absolute free reflection of the


All I need now is to
itself, as a natural being.

own

Ego on

make

this

clearer,

proposition

and

the

direct

proof

required will be furnished.


This self-reflection of the Ego, as a primary reflection,
An act, I
is an act absolutely grounded in the Ego.
say,

/whereas

natural

the

impulse

upon

which

the

certainly held to
that act
belong to the Ego, is a passivity in relation to
is a something given, and existing independent of that
reflection

is

and which

directed,

is

free activity.

Now

let it

be

firstly observed,

the consciousness of

must

posit a

reflecting

of

new
the

second reflection.

that

first

that in order to explain


reflection as

an

act,

we

having for its object the


Let us consider this
reflection.

reflection,

first

Since the object of the first reflection


is abstracted from, this second
its object only the pure absolute

the natural impulse


reflection clearly has for

activity of the first reflection, and this activity alone is


the real and true Ego, to which the impulse is opposited
as

something foreign, which, although

it is

in the Ego,

is

not the Ego.

Now

these two reflections are not in any

way

to be

thought as separate and distinct reflections, although we


had thus to describe them, merely to make their descrip
tion possible.
They are, on the contrary, one and the

same
its

act.

The Ego becomes immediately conscious

of

absolute activity through inner self -contemplation;

without which, indeed, an Ego were completely incompre


hensible.

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.


For

let

147

be well observed,

it

it is
only through the
seems I must continue thus to
describe them as
separates) that the activity, which other
wise would have remained
simply the determined activity

second reflection

of

reflecting,

(it

changes into activity in general, the object


been abstracted from.
distinction

thereof having

/The

between mere ideal activity, the reflection of a


given
somewhat, and the real absolute determining of a given
somewhat, occurs later.
To state it more concisely, and thus
perhaps clearer,
with the reflection enters a new
which transmits

power,
through itself the tendency of nature. This is what we
have shown above.
At present this new power is to
enter for me, I am to become conscious thereof as of a
This is only possible, if I
particular and new power.
think that power as torn loose from the hold of the
impulse,

i.e., if

assume that

resist the impulse.

Now

it

may

not follow but can

this resisting

is,

as yet, posited

mere power to resist; and if it is, as it must be,


considered as immanent and essential in the
Ego, it is
Indeed which throws a flood of
posited as an impulse.
it is
light on this proof from another side
through this
as a

very impulse of resistance that the influence of nature


upon us remains merely an impulse, since without it, it
would be actual causality.

Now

this

impulse of the Ego, which merely occurs in


as pure activity, we shall call, therefore, the
pure
impulse and leave to the other impulse the name already
the

Ego

given

We

natural impulse.

only need now to consider the relation of these two


impulses to each other, in order to see how both manifest
themselves, but particularly how the pure impulse, the

most important

to our present
investigation,

may manifest

itself.

The natural impulse, as impulse determined in precisely


such or suck a manner, is accidental to the
Ego. Eegarded
from the transcendental point of view, this
impulse is the

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

148

True, it is necessary that we are


since otherwise consciousness would be

result of our limitation.

limited

at

all,

impossible; but it is accidental, that


precisely such or such a manner.

The pure impulse, on the contrary,

we
is

are limited in

essential to the

grounded in the Egoness as such. Hence


the impulse exists in all rational beings, and hence its
results are valid for all rational beings.
Ego, since

it is

Again, the pure impulse is a higher, superior impulse


an impulse which elevates me in my pure essence above
nature, and requires of me, as an empirical being in time,
to elevate myself

above nature.

Eor nature has

causality,

a power in relation to me nature produces an


impulse within me, which, when directed upon my purely
formal freedom, utters itself as an inclination.
But

and

is

according to the higher impulse, this power of nature has


and shall not, have control over me: I am to deter

not,

mine myself

utterly

independent of

the

impulses of

nature.

Through this higher impulse, I am thus not only


separated from, but likewise elevated above nature I am
not only a link in the series of natural, but I can, more
;

over, self-actively interfere in this series.

In perceiving the power of nature to lie below me, that


power becomes something which I no longer esteem. For
I only esteem that which arouses me to exert all
my
energy in order merely to counterbalance it; and I do not
esteem that which does not demand such
energy of me.
This is the case with
nature; one resolve, and I stand
above nature.
If, on the other hand, I should surrender
myself, and
become a part of that which I cannot esteem, I also can
no longer esteem
of view.
myself from the

higher point

Hence, in

relation to the inclination which would


drag
me down into the series of natural
causality, the higher
impulse manifests itself as an impulse which claims
its

esteem, arouses

me

my

to

esteem myself, and invests

me

with

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

149

a dignity .superior to

all nature.
It never lias
enjoyment
on the contrary, despises enjoyment.
The higher impulse makes, enjoyment, for mere enjoy-

for its object, and,

inent

sake, contemptible.

maintenance

of

my

It has for its object solely the

dignity,

which consists in absolute

self-deterniinedness and self-sufficiency.

CHAPTER

VIII.

CONCERNING CONSCIENCE.
IN opposition to our

usual

habit,

it

becomes almost

necessary for us to step out of the systematic connection,


in order to furnish a preliminary description of a concep

through which we hope to spread a clearer light over


the important but difficult investigation to which we now
tion,

have to pass over.


It is a fact that

some events are utterly

indifferent to

us, while others arouse our interest; and it is to be


supposed that these expressions are understood by all.

That which is indifferent to me has apparently no relation


but since this is impossible, it has only a remote rela
tion
to my impulse.
That which interests me, on the
must
an
have
immediate
relation to my impulse,
contrary,
and cannot be produced by any arguments. No one can
cause you to rejoice or sorrow by the power of his demon
strations.
All mediated interest (interest is something as
a means to attain a certain object) is grounded in an
immediate interest.
What does this signify: something has immediate
relation to an impulse ?
The impulse itself is only object
of feeling
an
immediate
relation to it could also
hence,
be
felt.
in
only
something is of an immediate
Anjnterest
;

character, signifies therefore its harmony or disharmony


with the impulse is felt in advance of all reasoning, and
:

independent of

But

I feel

all reasoning.

only myself; and, hence, this harmony or

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

151

disharmony must be in myself, or must be simply a


harmony or disharmony of myself with myself.
All
Let us look at the matter from another side.
interest is mediated through the interest I have in
myself, and it is only a modification of this self-interest.
Whatsoever interests me relates itself to me I enjoy in
;

all

enjoyment,

I suffer in all

Whence

suffering.

arises

Simply from an impulse, since


myself
all interest arises from an impulse, and it arises in this
manner: my fundamental impulse, as a pure and em
pirical being who have become one, out of these two very
this interest in

components of myself,"oHy~tFrou^Trineans of
is an impulse craving harmony between my
original Ego, as determined in the mere idea~~and
actual empirical Ego.
Now this original impulse namely
the pure and the natural impulse in their union is a
determined impulse, that is to say, is directed upon some
Now, whenever iny
thing in an immediate manner.

different

that impulse,

"my

actual condition agrees with this direction or requirement


and whenever
of the original impulse, enjoyment arises
;

actual condition contradicts that requirement, dis


and both enjoyment or satisfaction,
satisfaction ensues

my

and suffering or dissatisfaction, are nothing but the


immediate sensation of harmony or disharmony of my
actual condition, with the condition required by the
original impulse.

from an impulse,
which, in truth, is nothing but the organizing impulse of
This impulse directs itself to the selfour nature.
determined being, which is necessitated to unite that
itself as
impulse with itself synthetically, or to posit

The lower faculty

of

desire arises

a
being impelled/The impulse manifests itself through
in
Not
?
nature,
lies
this
Where
yearning
yearning.
but in the subject of consciousness, for it has been
has for its object nothing that is not
reflected.

Yearning

involved in the natural impulse; namely, a material


Now, posit
relation of the external world to my body.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

52

that this yearning is satisfied, we will leave undecided


whether by accident or through free activity. Doubtless,

Now, why do we not con

this satisfaction is perceived.

judgment of cognition, which


a plant, and say, "Our body grows

tent ourself with the cold

we should apply
and

prospers";

to

why

do we, moreover, say,

"We

experience

enjoyment"?

For this reason, my fundamental impulse has such a


judgment for its immediate object, and hence its results.
That which satisfies this impulse, and causes the enjoy
ment, is the harmony of the actuality with
ments.

But

it is

concerned.

its

require

quite different so far as the pure impulse is


This is an impulse to be active for the sake

and which

of being active,

arises

through the Ego con

Here, there
templating internally its absolute power.
fore, there does not occur a mere feeling of the impulse,
but a contemplation. The pure impulse does not occur
as

an

itself,

affection

the

is

Ego

and contemplates

not being impelled, but it impels


in thus impelling itself.

itself

The pure impulse craves to find the acting Ego selfsufficient and determined
through itself. It is not proper
to say that this
impulse is a yearning
one for it is not directed

expected as

like the lower

upon anything which is


a favour from nature, or which does not

depend upon ourselves. This pure impulse is rather an


absolute demanding.
It manifests itself in consciousness
with all the more vigour so to use this
expression as
it is
not
a
mere
but
grounded
upon
upon a con
feeling,
templation.
Cause the

through
of

Ego

to act.

It

determines

itself, of

course,

of the natural impulse, or

itself,

independently
the requirement of the
higher impulse, since

formaliter

free.

Now

it

is

there will either result a deter

mination such as the


higher impulse required, in which
case both the
subject of the impulse and the actually
active are in
harmony, and a feeling of approval results ;

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

153

and a feeling of disapproval will


combined with contempt.
But feeling arises only as the result of a determinedBut in the present case there is
ness or limitation.
or the reverse results,

arise,

nothing but activity, in the requirement as well as in the


How then, may a feeling result ?
fulfilling of the same.
Through the harmony of both, which is not an act, but a
determined condition, resulting, as it does, without our

Thus
active co-operation, and which, therefore, is felt.
as
be
understood
must
not
that
we
is, moreover, clear

it
if

we

asserted the feeling of a contemplation, which would


It is the harmony of the contempla
be contradictory.
tion with the requirement of the impulse,
(This is an important remark since
;

which
it

is felt.

explains the

possibility of sesthetical feeling, which is also the feeling


of a contemplation, and lies between the two feelings

here described.)

Now

can this approval, or disapproval, be cold

mere

judgment of cognition or must it necessarily be con


nected with a feeling of interest ? Evidently the latter

requirement of absolute self-activity, and of the


harmony of the empirical Ego with this requirement, is
Now if the latter harmonizes
itself the original impulse.
for that

with the former, an impulse is being satisfied; and if it


does not harmonize with it, an impulse remains un
satisfied
hence that approval is necessarily associated
with satisfaction, and that disapproval with dissatisfac
;

tion.
i

It

cannot be indifferent to

despise ourselves or not. /There

us,

whether we must

however, in this kind


has the character of

is,

which
For
the harmony of actuality with
ordinary enjoyment.
the natural impulse does not depend upon myself, in so
far as I am self, i.e., free.
Hence the enjoyment which
arises from it is of a kind which tears me away from
myself, estranges me from myself, and wherein I forget
It is an involuntary enjoyment
(which is,
myself.
of

satisfaction

nothing

perhaps, the best characteristic for all sensuous enjoy-

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

54

In the same manner

meiit).

is

it

with the opposite-

sensuous pain.

In relation to the pure impulse, however, this satisfac


this satisfaction, is not something
tion, and the ground of
which depends upon my freedom,
foreign, but something
cause to expect in accordance
had
something which I
does not conduct me out of
it
Hence
with a rule.
It is not so much
into
back
but rather
myself.

myself,

enjoyment as
of

satisfaction,

also

is

the characteristic

but more
and infuses new courage and new strength. Hence

sensuous enjoyment.

intense,

which never

It is not so turbulent,

the opposite of this satisfaction

precisely because

it was dependent upon our freedom


produces dj^ust,,
which latter never accompanies sensuous
self-reproach
and self-contempt.
pain, as such
This feeling of self-contempt would be absolutely un
of the
bearable, if it were not that the requirement
moral law, continuing to be addressed to us, again would

own esteem;

were not that this


which arises out of
unceasing requirement
our own self, infuses again courage and esteem in us, and
if it were not that this self-contempt were lessened by

raise

us in our

if

it

of conscience,

the

feeling

that

self-contempt.
This described

we

are

feeling,

still

capable of

entertaining

which might well be called

There is rest
higher feeling, is usually named conscience.
or unrest of conscience, reproaches 6Y*"conscience, and
peace of conscience; but there is no such thing as enjoy\

mcnt

conscience.

of

The term

conscience is

admirably

were, the immediate consciousness


of that, without which no consciousness whatever were
the immediate consciousness of our higher
possible
chosen.

It

is,

as

it

nature and absolute freedom.

CHAPTEK

IX.

FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF AN APPLICABLE SCIENCE OF


MORALS.

A.

THE

natural impulse is directed upon a material


somewhat, simply for the sake of that material, upon

enjoyment simply for the sake of enjoyment /whereas, the


pure impulse craves absolute independence of the active,
as such, from that natural impulse, or craves freedom
simply for the sake of freedom. If the pure impulse has,
nevertheless, causality, it cannot as yet be conceived
otherwise than a mere negative causality, preventing the

accomplishment

of

what the natural impulse craves

and

hence, as resulting merely in a leaving undone, but not


in any positive doing, except the internal act of self-

determining.
All writers,

who have

treated the science of morality


to have arrived at

in simply a formaliter
way, ought

nothing but a continual self-denial


vanishing
that

of

self,

we ought

as

those

utter abnegation and

mystics
our self

hold, who
into God,

teach

which
proposition has, indeed, for its basis something true and
But if we look closer
sublime, as will appear hereafter.
at the requirement just now established, with a view
to determine it, we shall find that it will vanish under our
very hands into a nothing.
The higher impulse, which addresses itself to the
subject of

to

dissolve

consciousness, requires that I shall

to posit myself as free, in a reflection.


155

Hence

be able

am, indeed,

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

156

to posit

my freedom, as a positive somewhat, as the ground


an actual doing, and not of a mere leaving undone.
I, the reflecting, am, therefore, to relate a certain deter
mination of the will to myself as the determining, and to
of

be forced to attribute this will solely to my self-deter


Hence, the willing, which is to be related, is to
be something objective, perceptible, in us. But
everything
objective belongs to us solely as sensuous and natural
beings; in fact, through this mere objectivating, we are
ourselves posited for ourselves in this objective
sphere.
mination.

me

Let

state

this

proposition,

well

known

generality, and elsewhere abundantly proven, in


relation

its

in

its

special

the

to

present case: All actual willing is


directed
necessarily
upon an acting, but all my acting
is an
directed
acting
upon objects. Now, in the world
of objects, I
act
always
by means of natural force, and
this

force

given to

me

solely through the natural


but
this impulse as it exists
nothing
in me or, in other words, is
simply nature s own causality
directed upon nature itself, but which is no
longer within
nature s own control, as a dead and unconscious nature,
is

impulse, nay,

is

having passed under

means

of

my

my control,

free

immediate object of
something empirical,

reflection.
all
is

as an intelligence, through

Hence, even the most

possible willing is necessarily


a certain determination of
my

power, given to me through my natural impulse,


and thus something required
by that natural impulse,
since this impulse
only gives by requiring. Each possible
conception of an end tends, therefore, to satisfy a natural
In short, all actual
impulse.
A
willing is empirical.
pure will is no actual will, but a mere idea, a some
thing absolute from out of the intelligible world,
which we think of as the
explanatory ground of some

sensuous

thing empirical.
It is scarcely to be
apprehended, after all

we have said
previously, that anyone should understand us as asserting
that the natural
impulse, as such, produces the willing.

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

157

It is I who will, and not nature that wills within me


nevertheless, so far as the substance of my will is con
cerned, I can only will that which nature would also will,
;

had she the power

to will.

Thus, not the impulse, to have absolute material freedom,


but, at least, the causality of that impulse seems utterly
In truth, only formal freedom remains to me.
cancelled.

Although I am impelled to do something, which might


have its material ground solely in myself, I, nevertheless,
do never and can never do anything, which the natural
impulse does not require, since all
is exhausted through that impulse.

my

possible acting

pure impulse must never be


cancelled, since I posit myself as Ego only in so far
as I posit such causality.
We are involved in a contradiction which is all the
more remarkable since what both of the propositions, just

But the causality

now mentioned,

of

my

establish

as this contradiction, is also

established as a condition of self-consciousness.


How is this contradiction to be solved ?

According

to the laws of synthesis, only in the following manner


the material of the act must be at the same time, and
:

and the same acting, conformable to the pure


As both are united
impulse, and to the natural impulse.
so
must
in the original impulse,
they be united in the

in one

actuality of acting.

This can only be comprehended as follows. The pur


has for its
pose, the conception which directs the act,
the act
that
but
nature
from
liberation
object complete
;

is,

and remains nevertheless conformable

to the natural

the result, not of our freely produced con


impulse,
The only determining
of our limitedness.
but
ception,
is

ground

of the

matter of our acts

is

to relieve ourselves

our dependence from nature, although the required


The pure impulse craves
independence never results.

of

for absolute independence, and the act is in conformity


with that impulse if it also is directed upon such inde-

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

I5 8

is to say, if it lies in a series, the completion


pendence, that
absolute independence of the Ego.
whereof would result in the
the Ego can
Now, according to the proof just established,
be
to
is
it
as
so
Ego and
long
never become independent,
lies
necessarily in
hence the final end of rational beings
be realized
never
can
which
and is an end
;

infinitude,

which the Ego can incessantly draw


completely, but to
nearer by virtue of its spiritual nature.

must here take cognizance of an objection which I


would not have considered possible had it not been raised
who are even well initiated
by men of good minds, and
I

How

is it possible, say
in transcendental philosophy.
does not all
end?
infinite
an
to
nearer
they, to draw
related to
when
into
vanish
finite size
nothingness
.

sounds as
infinity ? /This question
a
as
of infinitude
thing in itself.

if

were speaking

/ draw

nearer, for
can
never
grasp infinitude, and hence
myself.
before my eyes, to which
end
determined
a
have always
I doubtless can draw nearer, although, after having

But

attained

may have removed my

it,

true end just as

whole being
far, partly through the greater perfection my
has acquired, and partly through the greater perfection

my insight and although I may thus be as much


removed as ever, in this general sense, from the infinite,
and may never get nearer to it, my end lies in infinitude
because my dependence is an infinite dependence. This

of

dependence
but only in
sphere

never

its

seize, however, in its infinite character,


determined sphere, and in this determined

doubtless

can

make myself more and more

independent.

There must be such a series, in the continuating


whereof the Ego can think itself as drawing nearer to
absolute independence, for only on this condition is a
This series is
causality of the pure impulse possible.
necessarily determined from the first point, upon which
nature has placed a person, into infinity (of course only
ideally),

and hence in each possible case

it is

determined

13*

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

159

what the pure impulse may require under such conditions.


Hence we can call this series the moral determinedness
of the finite rational being.
as yet unknown to us, we

is

must necessarily
on

this

result,

We

occur.

and may

Now, although this series


have clearly shown that it
are, therefore, safe in

establish,

as the

basing

fundamental

of the science of morality, the following


Do at each time what thou art determined
proposition
to do, or fulfil always thy destination, although the
question, What am I determined to do, or what is my

principle

destination

not answered.

If

this proposition is
expressed
thy destination is general, it involves
at once the infinity of the end established for us, since
that end can be fulfilled in no time. / (The error of the
:

is

mystics

is

Fulfil

based on their representing this

infinite,

and

in no time completely attainable end, as an end attain


able in time.
The utter annihilation of the individual,

and submersion of the same in the absolute and pure


form of reason, or in God, is most certainly the final end
of finite reason,

The

but

possibility

it is

to

also not possible in any time.)


at each time, singly, one s

fulfil

destination, is certainly grounded through nature herself,


and given in nature. The relation of the natural impulse
to the principle here established is as follows
at each
to
our
moral
is
conformable
destination,
something
:

moment

this same something is also required at the same


time by the natural impulse (provided nature is left to
herself, and has not. been made artificial through a

and

corrupt imagination). / But it by no means follows that


all that which the natural impulse requires should also
be conformable to our moral determinedness.
For
the natural impulse, con
be
Now the moral
A,
B,
C, etc.
by
determinedness of the individual may, perhaps, take and
realize only a part of B, whereby the natural impulse
resulting from B will certainly be altered but even in
instance,

sidered

let

the series of

itself,

this, its altered

form, the moral determinedness of the

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

160

individual

may

take and realize only a part of it; and


But in each possible determinedness

ad infinitum.

so on

both impulses partly


is

join.

It is only thus that morality

possible in actual acting.

It is possible to explain still more clearly the mutual


The higher impulse manifests
relation of both impulses.
itself as the just now described moral, and on no account

as a pure impulse; it does not manifest itself as an


impulse which craves absolute independence, but as an
impulse craving determined acts, which acts, however

the impulse craving them


and they are examined closer

is

if

brought to consciousness
show themselves to lie

will

in that series of absolute independence of the

Ego/ For

has already been shown, that the impulse, as a pure


impulse, as one directed merely upon a negation, can
it

never enter consciousness.


of a negation,

moreover, proves this;


that,

we

and reproach ourselves


All this

or that.

We

simply because

we

never become conscious

it is

feel

for

Experience,
nothing.
impelled to do this or

undone

this

correct those

who

having

state here to

left

deny consciousness of the categorical imperative (of the


moral impulse), and do not admit a pure impulse. We

show here that a thorough transcendental philosophy


also does not assert such a consciousness.
The pure
is
all
and
is
impulse
consciousness,
beyond
merely the
transcendental explanatory ground of something in con
sciousness.

The moral impulse

is a mixed
impulse, as we have
the natural impulse it receives the material,
or its object; in other words, the natural
impulse is
diivrt d upon the same act, which it craves, at least in

shown.

From

But

form

has solely from the pure impulse.


pure impulse, and demands, with
out any external end,
It has
simply because it does.

part./

its

it

It is absolute, like the

In
absolutely no enjoyment of any kind for its object.
short, what it craves is absolute independence.
But has
this

independence then no end again, no enjoyment, or

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

161

No ab
something of the kind, for its final object ?
no
such
end.
That
absolute
solutely
independence is
;

simply

am

its

own

end.

to crave it;

am

to crave it

simply because I

am

I.
The internal
which accompanies its attainment, is some
The impulse does not arise from it, but
thing accidental.
it arises from the
impulse.
The moral impulse appeals to esteem; and obedience, or

simply because I

satisfaction,

disobedience to

it,

excites approval or disapproval, self-

satisfaction, or

most painful self-contempt.

is

impels to a determined activity.

it

positive;

The impulse
It is

general; and relates itself to all possible free acts, to


each manifestation of the natural impulse, which is

brought to consciousness. It is self-sufficient, always pro


posing to itself its own aim it craves absolute causality,
and stands in reciprocity with the natural impulse, borrow
;

ing from

it its

commands

matter, and giving

categorically.

What

it its

this

form.

Finally,

impulse requires

it
is

imperatively required, and as a necessity.


B.

The moral impulse demands freedom

of freedom.

freedom

Who

does

not

perceive

for the sake

that

the

word

used here in two different meanings ?/ In


the latter instance it is used to designate an objective
is

condition

to be produced, or the final absolute end,


namely, complete independence from all externality
/whereas, in the first instance, it signifies an acting as
such, and not any real being, signifies, in short, some
;

thing purely subjective.


become free.

But even

am

to act free in

in the conception of freedom as

it

order to
occurs in

When
instance, a distinction is to be observed.
a free act occurs, we
may ask (i) How it must be done
in order to be a free act, and
(2) what must be done to
the

first

it a free act.
In short, we may inquire after
both the form and the content of freedom.

constitute

Now

the content

we have already

investigated,

and

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

,6 2

one of a series, through


have found that the act must be
the Ego will become
whereof
the infinite continuation
We have now, therefore, to look
absolutely independent.
finally at the form.
I am to act free, that
intelligence,

am

is

to say, I as posited Ego, as


to act with
^

to determine myself, or

am

with considerateness

absolute self-determining character


and reflection. Only thus do I act

free as intelligence

and otherwise I act

consciousness of

my
;

blindly, as

chance

impels me.

manner
as intelligence, am to act in a determined
the
of
conscious
become
to
ground,
am
I
that is to say,
this ground
in this manner.
act
I
precisely
why
be another ground, because
cannot, because it must not,
or
the described series
within
lies
act
this precise
the view of
since this is a philosophical view and not
common consciousness because this act i&^duty. I am
to act solely conformably to the conceptioiroTmy duty,
;

I,

Now

am

through the thought that __


no other thought or
and
through
duty,

to determine myself solely

this act is

my

motive
A few words concerning the last remark. Even the moral
me as mere blind impulse";"
impulse is not to determine
is contradictory, and morality can
the
thing
Indeed,
very
never merely impel. We touch here again what we have
that the impulse, to be
already said when it appeared
self -active, addresses itself to the intelligence as such;
the intelligence is to be self-determined as intelligence;
:

but an intelligence, as such, is only self-determined when


it determines itself through conception, and absolutely
not through mere impulse. The impulse, therefore, both
craves and does not crave causality, and has causality
of the
simply through not haying it, since it demands
is
mere
impulse
intelligence: be free! /It the impulse
it is not moral, but altogether natural impulse, for it
immoral to be blindly impelled. This is,
is
altogether

for instance,

the case with the impulses of sympathy,

THE PRINCIPLE OF MORALITY.

163

humanity, &c.

It will appear, in the proper


place, that
these impulses are manifestations of the moral
impulse,
but mixed with the natural impulse, as indeed the moral
impulse is always mixed. Now, the man who follows

these impulses may act very charitably, humanely, &c., but


he does not act morally, on the contrary, in so far as he
blindly follows these impulses, he acts immorally.
for the first time the
Here, therefore,
categorical
It
imperative, as being a conception and not an impulse.
is not the impulse which is itself the
categorical
arises

impera

but the impulse drives us to form such an imperative


It is our
impels us to say that something shall be done.
own product; our product in so far as we are intelligences,
tive,

or beings capable of producing conceptions.


Thus then, the rational being, in determining its will,
Matter
is, in form, torn loose from all which is not itself.

does not determine the rational being, nor does the rational
being determine itself through the mediation of anything
material, but solely through the formal, and, in itself,

generated conception of an absolute imperative. And, in


this manner, we indeed receive back
again the rational
being in

its actuality,

precisely as

we

originally posited

it:

namely, as the absolutely self-determined; as, indeed,


everything that is original must represent itself in
actuality, only with further additions and determinations.
It is only in the act impelled by
representative of the rational

duty that we find such a

being, for all other acts


which is foreign to the

have a determining ground


Hence, jant_ also says that it is
intelligence as such.
the
only through
power of morality that the rational
being manifests

itself as

something in

itself, namely, as
something independent,
existing through no
reciprocity with anything external, but simply existing
for itself. Hence also, the
inexpressibly sublime character
of duty, since all that is external sinks down so low under
us, and vanishes into nothingness, when
compared with

self -sufficient,

our destination.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

64

two results
the form of morality follow these
and
considerateness
I am to act, in general, with
1.
im
mere
to
obedience
in
consciousness, not blindly and
of
consciousness
duty
in particular, with the
pulses, and,
act to
never to act without first having related my
:

From

am

Hence, there are no indifferent acts at


The moral law relates to all acts if not materialiter

this conception.
all.

at least surely formaliter


intelligent

being.

which are truly acts

of the

we

inquire

/ Formaliter

whether the moral law

for

relates to

them

are

to

or not,

and this
But even

a relation.
/
very inquiry establishes already
be
can
materialiter the relation
proven: for I am never to
as such, but all my acts are
obey the sensuous impulse
I must relate each act to
hence
result of that impulse
all.
at
act
I
cannot
the moral law, or
To do so is
act
to
2. I am never
against my conviction.
;

How it happens
wickedness.
completes t perversity and
seems
in
itself
which
impossible,
that such a perversity,
that
is nevertheless possible, and that it loses, at least,
marl
for
has
it
which
horrible character
every uncorrupted
in its true appearance, we shall show hereafter.
Both these results gathered into one might be expressed:

Act always in accordance with your lest conviction of your


This is the
duty ; or, act according to your conscience.
formal condition of the morality of our acts, which, for
that reason, has been pre-eminently called :^the morality
shall discuss these formal condiGons
of those acts.

We

chapter of our Applied Science of


in
and
the
second the material conditions
establish
Morals,

of morality in the first

of the

morality of our acts.

PART

II.

SYSTEMATIC APPLICATION OF THE


PRINCIPLES OF MORALITY

BOOK THIRD.
CONCERNING THE FORMAL CONDITIONS OF THE
MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.
PRELIMINARY.

CONCERNING THE WILL IN PARTICULAR.


I MIGHT begin immediately with a synthetic, systematic
deduction of the formal conditions of the morality of our
But since this formal morality, indeed, what is
acts.

pre-eminently termed morality, is also called good will,


and as I myself intend thus to characterize it, it behoves
me to first give an account of my conception of the will.
True, all that which belongs to this investigation has
been already said under other names, and yet, for that

very reason, it is necessary to say it also under the present


name, in order to connect what will follow with what has

been previously established.


A willing is an absolutely free transition from undeterminedness to determinedness, with consciousness of this
This act has been abundantly described before.
In the examination of this willing we may draw a
distinction between the Ego which proceeds from un-

transition.

determinedness to determinedness, and which

is

called

the objective Ego, and the Ego which contemplates itself


in this transition, and which is called the subjective Ego.
But, in willing itself, both are united, The impulse, the
yearning, the

desire, is

not the

will.

The impulse,

to

accompanied by an inclination, and the desire,


moreover, by consciousness of the object of this inclination;

be sure,

is

167

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

68

but neither is accompanied by a determinedness of the


Desire would well like its object to come to it, but
Ego.
cannot itself move hand or foot to reach it/ It is only
results.
through willing that determinedness
If we look at the general power of making that transition
of theoretical reason force us
consciously, and the laws

to

add such a power in thinking

we

to the

a power

to will.

This

an abstract conception, nothing

is

An

actually perceptible, not a

fact.

transition gives a willing.

But a willing

and

act of transition,

shall arrive at the conception of willing in general, as

indeed, no willing, unless

is

it

actually perceptible
is

is not completed,
But
determined.

no longer called willing, but


will, your will, this will, etc.
In common life, this distinction between this general con
and a will, as a
ception of willing, as a power to will,

when

a will

it is
;

determined

as, for

it is

instance,

my

determined expression of this general power, is never


made, because it is not necessary to make it in ordinary
life; but in philosophy, where it is very necessary to
make this distinction, it has also never been made.

The will is free in the material significance of the word.


The Ego, in so far as it wills, proposes to itself as intelli
gence the object of its willing, by choosing from many
possible objects one particular object, and by changing the
undeterminedness, which the intelligence contemplates
and comprehends, into a likewise contemplated and com
prehended determinedness.

The fact that the object may be given through the


For
natural impulse does not contradict this result.
natural
of
the
impulse only gives it as an object
yearn
ing or desire, but not as an object of the will or of the
determined resolve to realize

In this respect the will


In short, the will
absolutely
object.
is absolutely free, and an urifree will is an
If
absurdity.
man wills, he is free, and if he is not free, he does not
Nature produces no will, nay,
will, but is impelled.
nature
cannot
even produce a yearning,
strictly speaking,
gives itself its

it.

own

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


as

we nave

reflection.

seen

beiore,

since

169

yearning presupposes a

It is true that in this reflection the

Ego does

not yet become conscious of itself as of a reflecting, and


hence assumes that the yearning within it is a product
of nature, although external observers,
of view,

from the transcendental point


to

and we ourselves,
know the opposite

be the case.

Now

the will proceeds from undeterminedness to


and it has been strictly proven that
a condition of the consciousness of freedom, and
if

determinedness
this is

hence of the Ego itself, as such, whereby it has at the


same time been proven that there is a will, and that the
will is determined as above described
then the will
In other words, no will
must be a power to choose.

For the will

without arbitrariness.

when the

characteristic of the will

is

is

called arbitrary

insisted on, that

must choose from several equally possible

it

acts.

KEMARK.

Some philosophers have discovered a contradiction in


the assertion that it is equally possible for freedom to
or
and other philo
seize opposite resolves, either

sophers have been puzzled to refute this assertion of a


contradiction.
Let us see at once what the former pre
supposed, without the latter perceiving it.

Let us posit a natural force = X.

Since

it is

a natural

works mechanically, i.e., produces at


all times only that which it can produce conformably to
its nature under such condition.
If the production of
such a force is = A, then it is necessarily = A, and it were
contradictory to assume it to be some A.
Now is this law applicable to the will ? Let me first
state again what I have already insisted on, and which
is the most
important as soon as the will, or the Ego
on the stage, natural force is utterly at
enters
generally,
an end. What force can these produce? neither A nor -A;
and can produce, in fact, nothing at all ; for the final
force, it necessarily

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

i?o

product of that force


no causality. Hence

is

it

an impulse, and an impulse has


is not for nature, but for the

absolute opposite to nature, namely, for the will, that


and is asserted to be
equally possible. For if
it is asserted that the will is free, then the will is
thereby

both

asserted to be the primary or the

and hence

series,

to be not

commencing

or other link, but simply through

asserted that the will does not

manner,

i.e.,

link of a

determined by any previous


itself.

work

does not effect all that

it

But

it is

also

in a mechanical

can

effect,

but does

rather consist in a power to work or not to work, and


hence is able to limit itself through itself to any particular

work, in such a manner that if its total sphere embraces


both A and -A, it may determine to effect either the

former or the latter without any external grounds.


Now those who hold that it is a contradiction to assert
the will to be able to work out either A or - A, ought to
this

But, instead of doing so,


presupposition.
that
which
we
they presuppose
deny to them, namely,
that the will is a link of the chain of natural forces.

accept

They
this

assert the will to be itself a natural force, and with


presupposition, of course, their results are correct

enough.

They prove,

therefore, that the will is not free

from the presupposition that the will is not free; and


the
hence, to speak properly, they ought not to say
"

proposition that the will is free contradicts itself," but


rather
contradicts our assertion that the will is not
"it

free,"

in

which form their statement may well be allowed

to pass.

But the true contradiction

much

higher than they


whole individual
power of thinking, to conceive another series than the
series of natural mechanism.
They have never elevated
themselves to the higher manifestations of thinking, and
hence their absolute presupposition which they, indi
Their absolute principle is
vidually, cannot surmount.
believe.

lies

It is a contradiction to their

"

everything happens

mechanically,"

for in

their

clear

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


consciousness
occurs./ It

is

171

nothing but what is merely mechanical


thus with all fatalism; nor is the matter

changed by placing the ground of our moral resolves in


In the latter case, the ground of
the spiritual world.
our will determinations is asserted to be in something
spiritual, but which determines us precisely in the same
manner as a physical power, and the effect whereof are
But how can a ground of
our will determinations.
distinction be applied between such effects and physical
effects,

when the category

of causality is applied also to

all to which that category


(By the
according to Kant sensuous world ?
statement that our will determinations are the effect of

the spiritual
applies

world,

since

is,

an influence from the spiritual world (or God), we only


drag down that world to the level of the sensuous world.)
This necessary choice of the will is, moreover, deter
mined as being a choice between the satisfaction of the
Egotistic (natural) impulse, and of the unselfish (moral)
Let us now examine this further determination.
impulse.

Freedom

not merely material, but likewise formal,


a
distinction deduced above and I may well
according to
become conscious not originally, but after self-conscious
is

ness has been developed, and experience been gathered


If I
not only of the former but also of the latter.

become conscious merely

of

formal freedom, I thereby,

as intelligence, attain first and foremost the power to


and
postpone the satisfaction of the natural impulse
;

since the natural impulse will, during this postponement,


continue to manifest itself in a manifold manner, the

power

I attain is one to reflect

upon the natural impulse

in the manifold bearings of its manifestations, and to


I
choose among the many possible ways of satisfying it.

choose one of

them;

and in doing

so

act

with

full

freedom, since I choose with the consciousness of selfdetermination


but I do not sacrifice, in such case,
;

enjoyment to morality;
to another enjoyment.

only sacrifice one enjoyment

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

i?2
"

might be objected, in so doing you


cede
to
the
only
strongest impulse, and foolishly imagine
free
when
yourself
you only follow one impulse amongst
Now
if this
even
many."
objection were true in general,
E should
This
reply
stronger impulse would not be,
would not have entered iny consciousness, had I not
checked myself, postponed my resolve, and reflected with
freedom on the totality of my impulse. Hence even if
the objection were true, I would still have determined my
will through self-determination, and thus
my will would
remain materialiter free. /But that objection is not true
"

Nevertheless," it

"

in general.
When a certain amount of experience had
already been acquired by me, I can, through imagination,
represent an enjoyment which my nature does not crave
at present, and
cravings of

can

my

now

choose to sacrifice

nature to this

artificial

all

the present

one.

Formerly

that craving did certainly exist in my nature, and resulted


in an actual enjoyment. This
enjoyment I now endeavour
to reproduce through imagination.
tion impels me to choose, and the

Hence mere imagina


products of imagination

are surely products of freedom.


I must certainly, there
fore, give to myself in these cases the objects of my will.

Of course

do not sacrifice

my

present impulses

virtue, I only sacrifice the real enjoyment,


result from satisfying
actual impulses, to

my

enjoyment.

(This

to

which would
an imaginary

the usual procedure of merely refined


are on the way to culture.
Thus the

is

men, of men who


worn-out voluptuary, the miser, the coxcomb, &c., sacrifice
their true physical enjoyments to
merely imaginary ones.)
Indeed, only in this manner is prudence possible, which
is
nothing more than a discreet choice from amongst
various means of satisfying the natural impulse. Accord
ing to the above conception of will, rigorously applied,
prudence were not at all possible, but the opposition
would only be between morality and immorality.

CHAPTER

I.

CONCERNING THE FORMAL CONDITIONS OF THE MORALITY


OF OUR ACTIONS.

As we have

A.

seen, the

follows: Act absolutely


viction of your duty.
or the content of this

formal law of morals

in conformity with your


the
may look either

We

at"

is

as

con

form

law, or, which may here be a


at
the
condition and the conditioned.
clearer expression,

So far as the former is concerned, it involves, as we


have seen:/At all times try to convince yourself as

what your duty is/ in regard to the latter, it in


volves Whatsoever you are convinced is your duty, do,
and do it solely because you are convinced it is your

to

duty.

somebody might object. How if my convic


wrong one ? In that case I have not done my
but
have acted in violation of it. How can I be
duty,
calm in this ? /Evidently only in so far as I consider it
impossible that my conviction might be a wrong one, nay,
impossible that I shall ever, in an infinite existence, hold
Hence I do not apply
it to have been a wrong one.

But how

tion

my

is

act merely to the conception of my present convic


but I again apply this conviction to the conception

tion,

to the whole system of my


possible conviction
conviction, in so far as I can represent it to myself in the
Such a comparison and examination is
present moment.
a duty, since I am to convince myself.
If it is not a
matter of indifference to me, but rather the highest
of all

my

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

174

subject of my life, whether I act in conformity to duty


or not, then it can also not be a matter of indifference to

me, whether

my

conviction

the correctness of
its

guaranteed by

is

true or erroneous.

Hence,

my conviction in any particular case is


agreeing with all thinkable conviction,

and the investigation, whether

this

harmony

exists or not,

a duty.
But the whole system of my conviction cannot be
given to me in any other manner than through my
present conviction of it. f As I may err in judging any
is itself

particular case, so may I also err in judging my judg


ment in general, or in my conviction of the totality of
my conviction.

Hence

my

morality,

my

absolute self-sufficiency and

repose of conscience, always remain


I consider all this
accident.

When

to

consider

which
pass

is

my

dependent upon an
and it is my duty

must

either act trusting to chance,


against conscience, or I must not act at all, but
whole life in a state of undecidedness, always
it

wavering between doing and not doing. This is the only


alternative, unless there is an absolute criterion of the

my conviction of duty.
a
very important remark, never yet sufficiently
(This
it
considered,
appears to me, the development whereof
correctness of
is

will bring a firm connection into our whole theory, and


gain for us an easier transition from the formal to the

material conditions of morality.)


B.

there

If dutiful

conduct in

must be an absolute

life is to be at all possible,


criterion of the correctness of

our convictions respecting duty.


Hence a certain con
must be absolutely correct, and which we must

viction

accept for the sake of duty.


Let the manner of our drawing this conclusion be
observed.
say, if dutiful behaviour is to be possible,

We

then such a criterion must exist now the moral law says
such behaviour is possible hence such a criterion does
;

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

We

exist.

175

therefore conclude from the existence and the

necessary causality of a moral law as to the existence of


thus
something else in our power of cognition.
assert a relation of the moral law to theoretical reason,

We

or the

primacy

of the former, as

Kant

expresses

lutely true,

and

it is

duty to consider

it

That

it.

without which duty in general were impossible,

is

abso

as true.

Lest this proposition should be altogether misappre


the moral law
hended, let the following be observed
:

=
assuredly requires a f certain determined conviction A,
and authorizes it. /But since the moral law is not a
of

power

cognition,

it

cannot

viction, but expects the

itself

establish this con

of cognition to establish
its reflecting power of judg

power

and determine it through


and only after it has been thus established through
cognition does the moral law authorize it, and make it
our duty to hold to it. The opposite would indeed lead
to a material belief-morality; i.e., to a theory which
holds that the moral law contains certain theoretical
dogmas which must be accepted as true without any
further examination as to whether we can or not convince
ourselves of their truth.
But such an assertion is partly

ment

in itself contradictory, since the


practical activity of the
is
not
the
theoretical
Ego
activity; would, moreover,
open the door to all manner of deceptions and to the

suppression

The

conscience.

of

theoretical

faculties

pursue their even tenor until they arrive at what meets


our approval but those faculties do not contain in them
;

selves the criterion of

This criterion

is

to

the correctness of

their result.

be found in the practical faculty,

which is the first and highest faculty in man, constituting


indeed his true essence.
Our present assertion is the

same

as

further

already established
determination added

previously,
viz.

purely formal, and must receive

But that something is


ground in the moral law itself.
source.

its

its

with

the moral

only a

law

is

content from another

content,

must have

its

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

176

The much more

how

does

the

is it

however, arises now


moral law, of a
:

the

by
judgment respecting duty, manifest

theoretical

how

difficult question,

confirmation

recognised

itself,

and

The moral

law, in its relation to empirical man, has a


determined beginning point of its sphere
namely, the
determined limitation wherein the individual finds him
self by first finding himself/it has moreover a determined
;

although never to be attained

end; namely, absolute


from all limitation /and it has finally a com
pletely determined way to reach this end; namely, the
order of nature. / Hence for each determined man there
is in each point of his life a determined duty; to do
something or leave something undone and it may be
said that the moral law, in its application to empirical
liberation

Let us designate this deter


beings, postulates this duty.
mined doing or leaving undone = X.

Now

the practical

theoretical.

Hence

it

power, as has been


cannot give this X to

said,

is

itself.

not

This

must therefore be discovered by the free reflecting


power of judgment. Since, however, there is an impulse
to act generally, and moreover to realize the determined

through this action, this impulse determines the power


judgment, if not materialiter to give this X, which the

of

judgment cannot do, at least formaliter to


Hence the moral impulse here manifests
itself as an impulse to realize a determined cognition.
Let us assume that the power of judgment finds X,
which seems to depend upon chances, and the impulse to

power

of

discover

realize

it.

the cognition will agree with the fact that the


has been found
the original Ego and the

cognition

empirical

harmony and there results a


always the case according to what we have

Ego

feeling, as is

will be in

said above in this circumstance.

The only question is: what sort of a feeling may this


and how is it to be distinguished from other feelings?

be,

All resthetical feelings are like the present one in

this,

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

177

that they arise from the satisfaction of an


impulse to
determined representation/but they are distinct
from the present one in this, that the
which lies
realize a

impulse

at their basis does not


absolutely demand its satisfaction,
but merely expects it as a favour of nature.
/But the

impulse to realize a cognition, whereof we speak here, is


the absolutely
commanding moral impulse. Hence, there
cannot arise here as in the case of those other eesthetical
an enjoyment which
feelings
unexpectedly surprises us,
but merely a cold approval of that which was to be ex
pected, nay, which could not fail to manifest itself, as sure
as reason is reason.
That which excites this
is

approval

called in actions just, in


cognitions true.
It appears, therefore, that there is &
feeling of truth and
certainty, and that this feeling is the
absolute

sought-for
the correctness of our conviction of
duty.
shall describe this important
feeling somewhat more

criterion of

We

at length.

So long as the power of judgment is still


searching for
the cognition, the free power of
imagination floats between
from the fact that the search
opposites, and there arises

undertaken at the instigation of an impulse, which


has,
a feeling of doubt,
therefore, not yet been satisfied
is

accompanied by anxiety, because the matter is, above all


other things, important.
(I know, for instance, that I
douU. How do I know it ?
Surely not from the objective
quality of

my judgment. Doubt is something subjective,


and can only be felt, like its
As
opposite, certainty.)
soon as the power of
judgment discovers the required
cognition, the fact that it is the cognition which was
required appears from a feeling of agreement which
manifests itself.
The power of imagination is now
necessitated as through all
reality; I cannot view the
matter in any other way;
compulsion, necessity, binds me,
as is the case in
every feeling. Thus, there results in the
cognition immediate certainty, accompanied
peace and

by

satisfaction.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

78

KEMARK.
Limits of Pure Reason,
The consciousness that an act which

Kkot_says (Religion Within


"

4) excellently
I undertake

the

unconditioned

is just, is

But

duty."

and how do

is

there

I recognize

it ?
such a consciousness possible ?
each
Kant seems to leave this to the feeling of
individual,
as is, indeed, proper ^Dut transcendental philosophy is
of such
obliged to show up the ground of the possibility

a feeling of certainty, and this is what we have just now


done.
Kant, however, illustrates by an instance which is

admirably fitted to illustrate what we have said.


The judge of an inquisition, says Kant, who con
demns a heretic, can never be sure that he does not,
Should he ask
perhaps, do wrong in condemning him.
also

himself

"Art

thou confident that, in the presence

of

Him

who seeth into all hearts, and staking all that is dear and
of
holy to thee, thou wouldst insist on these propositions
to
condemn
about
art
which
thou
from
faith, for dissenting
he would most surely hesitate and
to death this heretic
In like
so zealous a dogmatist.
he
ever
were
tremble,
Whoso
and
who
those
say
manner, says Kant,
get up
?"

"

ever does not believe

all

we tell you will be eternally


but
have faith enough to add

that

"

ought

damned,"

if

it is

surely to

not true,

damned";

we

ourselves will agree to be eternally

and yet how few would be willing

to

do

it.

This might convince them, indeed, that they are, after all,
not so very firmly convinced of dogmas which they want
to force

upon

others.

we might say he who is quite sure


Using
matter must be willing to risk eternal damnation
for it, and if he is not willing to do so he betrays his
Now, should anyone ask what this might
uncertainty.
this analogy,

of his

signify: to be eternally

damned? one could

no other ratiomiranswer*^liaS7

to give

all eternity.

improvement throughout
evil, and an evil which no

man

up

This

certainly give
all

is

ones moral

the greatest

can seriously entertain,

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

179

nay, the serious thought whereof would annihilate every


one.
/ Those who most wilfully sin against their own
conscience comfort themselves secretly with the assurance
that they intend to do it only this time, or only for so and
so long a time, and that they will amend in the course of
time.
It is, therefore, a sure sign that one s conscience is

not

long as he either fixedly determines, or, at


considers it possible to change his mode of
action at some future
Whosoever is sure of himself,
clear, so
still

least,

time./

so at the risk that he never can change the


principles
which govern his actions, that all his freedom on that

is

point

is lost,

that he will be evermore confirmed in those

Only

principles.
viction.

this is the safe criterion of

true con

The proof is as follows Such a conviction places us in


harmony with the original Ego. This Ego is elevated
:

above

all

time and changes in time, and hence, in that


it, the empirical Ego also rises above all

harmony with

changes in time, and posits itself as absolutely unchange


able.
Hence, the unshakeableness of fixed conviction.

The

result of the foregoing

am

certain, is a

was this whether I doubt,


matter which I become anxious of, not
through argumentation since that would need again a
new proof of its correctness, and so on, ad infinitum but
through immediate feeling. It is only in this manner
or

that subjective certainty, as a state of the mind,


may be
But the feeling of certainty is always an
explained.

immediate

our consciousness with our


could
not be otherwise in a
original^ Ego, as, indeed,
which
starts
from
the
This feeling never
philosophy
Ego.
of

agreement

deceives, for, as

we have

seen,

it

only exists where there

complete agreement of our empirical with the pure


Ego, and only the latter is our sole true being, and, indeed,
is

all possible

Only

being and

all

in so far as I

possible truth.
a moral being

am

is certitude
possible for me, since the criterion of all theoretical truth

cannot be again theoretical.

The

theoretical

power

of

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

i8o

cognition cannot again criticize and confirm itself


criterion

must be

practical,

and

it

must be duty

the

to accept

This criterion, moreover, is universal, since it does not


only apply to the immediate cognition of our duty, but to

it.

all possible

cognition in general,

cognition which

is

as, indeed, there is 110


at
not,
least, mediately related to our

duties.

We

have seen that the criterion of the correctness


is an internal one.
There is no external
objective criterion, nor can there be such, since the Ego
here, where we consider it as moral Ego, must be utterly
lf-sufficient and independent of everything external.
t this does not prevent us from
stating what kind
of convictions these will be, which this criterion will
approve and to state this is, at present, our final task.
C.

of
i

our conviction

It is only through the practical impulse that objects


exist for us at all this is a proposition which has already
:

At present, we observe
limited, and, in consequence

been abundantly demonstrated.


the following

My impulse

is

of this limitation, do I posit

an

object.

Now,

it is

clear

that I cannot posit and characterize the object, without


definitely characterizing the impulse, which limits it for
;

a determined object is nothing, and cannot be described


otherwise than as somewhat limiting a determined impulse.

Thus, I receive the given qualities of the thing, because


I place myself and the thing into a state of mutual quiet.

But

may

also reflect

upon

my

freedom therein.

If I

do

so, then the limitation through the object changes into


something which may be expanded regularly and in

a certain order
also

and such an expansion

object, I

determine

of

my

limits will

If I posit this modificability of the

change the object.


its

usefulness

its

utility

for various

purposes.

Let

it

be well observed that this determination of the

usefulness of a thing

unchanging

is

none other than of the internal


and can be none other

qualities of a thing,

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

181

the only difference is that it is regarded from a different


In either case the object is determined through the

view.

impulse which

it

is

to

limit,

but,

the possible liberation from


considered, in the second case
case

the

former case

the

whereas in the
limitation

its
it

is

first

is

not

considered.

In

in the second
reposes
it is placed in motion.
For, let it be well remembered,
that I have deduced the conception of usefulness from the

impulse

an object to freedom in general, but not exactly


freedom. Something may be thought as useful,
without the clear conscious additional thought that I, or
some other free being, can apply this usefulness. In an
relation of
to

my own

unconscious way, the latter thought, of course,

is

at the

basis of all conception of utility.


But, perhaps, I only become partly conscious of

impulse.

In that case

my

have grasped only partly the

have not recognized its true purpose,


but only some arbitrary purpose for which it may also be
used.
My whole impulse craves absolute independence
utility of a thing

and, until I have apprehended it as


determined myself completely, nor
through opposition to myself the thing, both so far as its
arid self-sufficiency

such, I have not

qualities

and

its

uses are concerned.

If

the latter

is

completely determined in the described manner, I have


grasped the sphere of all its uses, or its final end-purpose.
Hence, all complete cognitions, which satisfy, are necessarily
cognitions of the end-purpose of objects; and conscience
does not approve a conviction until this insight into the

end-purpose of the thing has been obtained, and these


cognitions are, at the same time, those which govern
moral behaviour. The moral law, therefore, requires that
each thing should be treated according to its
end-purpose.
This result has opened to us the easiest transition to the
scientific establishment of the material of the moral law.

What

I must, moreover, call attention to is this:

we

have just now established a complete finished


system
of cognition, a
For moral impulse and
perfect synthesis.

THE SCIENCE OF

182

ZTH1CS.

knowledge stand in reciprocal relation to each


all morality is conditioned through this reci
The moral impulse, in so far as it occurs
of
both.
procity
in consciousness, demands a determined conception = X
and through this demand deter
inaccessible to itself
theoretical

other; and

mines, in so
to

is

to

say,

it

the power of cognition for ma liter : that


impels the reflecting power of judgment

far,

hunt up that conception. /But the moral impulse, when

regarded as

primary, also

determines materialiter the

regard to the conception X; for


the
completed determination of the
through
whole
of
the
means
primary impulse, as we have
object, by
all
seen.
Hence,
regarded objectively as a

power

of cognition in

arises

cognition,

throughout, predetermined through the moral


the rational being even in respect to
Hence,
impulse./
system,

is,

both matter and form of all its possible knowledge is


absolutely determined through itself, and through nothing
That which we have
external in any manner whatever.
otherwise asserted as simply the result of the conception
of Egoness, we here meet again, in a more determined
manner, through a genetic deduction. For that in the
its practical
Ego, which determines all its cognition, is
The only firm and final
essence, since that is its highest.
This duty is the
basis of all my knowledge is my duty.
"In
itself"
(thing in itself, substance, etc.),
which, through the laws of sensuous representation, changes
itself into a sensuous world.
On the other hand, cognition determines the moral

intelligible

impulse in consciousness, by giving to it its object. Thus,


the moral impulse, through the mediation of cognition,
returns into herself, and the reciprocity just established
within the moral impulse itself,
is, in truth, a reciprocity
its

of

which manifests itself in the feeling


certainty, as we have shown.
To state it all as concisely as possible. The formal

own

self -relation,

the morality of our acts, or their pre


eminently so-called morality, consists in this, that we

condition

of

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


resolve to do that

which conscience

requires, solely for

But conscience

the sake of conscience.

183

is the

immediate

consciousness of our determined duty.


This is only to be
understood as has been explained, to wit the conscious
:

ness of a determined

somewhat

is

never immediate, but

can only be found through an act of

thinking ;/and

hence, so far as its material is concerned, our conscious


ness of duty is never immediate; but the consciousness
that this determined somewhat is duty, is an immediate
consciousness as soon as the determined is given. /The

consciousness of duty is formaliter immediate; and this


formal part of consciousness is a mere feeling.

Kant

says

Conscience

A^correct

is

a consciousness which

and sublime statement

dutyT
twofold /first, that

it

is

is itself

It involves a

absolute duty to acquire this

consciousness, or, as we have stated it, that each one is


bound to convince himself as to what his duty may be,

and each one can


This

is,

convince himself in every case.


the constitutional law of morality,
which prescribes that law shall be
so

as it were,

namely, that law


established.

It involves secondly, that consciousness in


is
nothing but a consciousness of duty ;

that condition

is to
say, conscience does not furnish the material
of our duty, which it is the business of the power of
judgment to furnish, and conscience is no power of judg

that

ment; but conscience furnishes the evidence, and

this

sort of evidence occurs


only in the consciousness of duty.

COROLLARIA.
I.

The above deduction has

for

ever cancelled

and

destroyed the subterfuge of an erring conscience, which


most of the present systems of morality still retain.
Conscience never errs, and cannot err, for it is the

immediate consciousness of our pure original Ego, beyond


which no other consciousness penetrates, which no other
consciousness can test or correct, which

is

itself

judge

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

84

of all conviction,

than

Its

itself.

but does not recognize any higher judge


decisions are final, and admit of no

To try

appeal.

to

reach

beyond

it

is

to

try

to

go

All
from oneself.
material systems of morality which seek some other end
for duty than duty itself, thus try to reach beyond it;
and are therefore enveloped in the fundamental error
of
all dogmatism, which always looks for the final
ground of whatsoever is in and for the Ego, outside of
the Ego.
Such moral systems are possible only through
inconsequence, for logical dogmatism admits no morality,
out of

oneself,

separate oneself

to

but acknowledges simply a system of natural laws.


Moreover, the power of judgment cannot err as to

whether conscience has spoken or not. Before men are


No
sure on this point, what obliges them to act at all ?
act results through man unless he has determined
If he acts without being
himself to achieve this act.
his
sure of his conscience, he acts unconscientiously
guilt is clear, and he cannot escape the responsibility.
There is no excuse for sin. Sin is, and remains sin.
I hold it important to insist on this point as well,
;

for the sake of its

importance for morality

itself,

as for

the science of morality. Whosoever says the opposite


find a reason for it in his own heart (the fault
cannot be in his understanding), but it is surprising

may

that he should be bold enough to confess

and

it

to himself

to others.

Lest the word feeling should lead to misapprehen


theoretical proposition is
sion, I add the following:
not and cannot be felt, but the certainty and sure
2.

conviction
proposition

which
is

accompanies

felt.

anxious to think in

the

thinking

of

such

We

must not, when thinking, be


such a manner as to make it con

formable to conscience, for this is an illogical thinking,


Let
its end marked out for it in advance.
inde
in
own
its
manner,
thinking strictly proceed

which has

pendently of conscience.

The opposite were

coivardice,

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

185

and could augur little confidence in one s conscience.


The pretended objective teachings of feeling are products
of disorderly imagination, which cannot withstand the
tests of theoretical reason; and the feeling which unites
with them

power

is

the feeling of the free self-activity of our


It is the feeling of our self, not

of imagination.

however, but only of part of


thus
produced through feeling
proposition
is to be recognized by this, that it is in opposition to
the laws of thinking, which can not be the case with
any conviction confirmed by conscience and the feeling
our original

in

our

totality,

self.

which accompanies it, may be recognised by this, that


though it may not lack depth, intensity, and sublimity, it
No fanatic would act on the
certainly lacks sureness.
prompting

of his feelings at the risk of having a


made impossible for all eternity.

change

in his convictions
3.

of

The

an act

impulse

feeling of certainty arises from the harmony


of the power of judgment with the moral

hence the exclusive condition of the possi

itself makes
bility of such a feeling is, that the subject
Hence certainty and conviction can
this judgment.

never relate to the judgment of others, and conscience


cannot allow itself to be absolutely governed through
To do so were an evident, flagrant contra
authority.
diction.

Hence,

the

person who ads on the strength of authority

A
; for he is uncertain.
is great need
which
there
very important proposition,

acts necessarily unconscientiously

to establish in all its strictness.

we may guide the investigations of men, and


them with the premises wherefrom to form their
judgment, which premises they may preliminarily accept
upon mere authority. This is more or less the history
of all men.
Through education they receive that which
all previous mankind has established up to their time,
and which has now become the common faith of man
It is true,

furnish

kind,

as

premises

from

which

to

frame

their

own

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

86

judgments. It is only the true philosopher who accepts


nothing without examination, and whose thinking starts

from the most absolute doubt

of everything.

But before the act takes place, each man is in con


science bound to form his own judgment from those
premises accepted upon faith in other words, to draw
himself the final conclusions which determine his acting.
;

If his conscience confirms the result of those


premises,
it

thereby mediately also establishes the practical validity


though, perhaps, not their theoretical

of those premises
validity; for the
itself in

may

moral element in them, which shows

the result and

is

be correct, although

approved through conscience,


the theoretical element be

If his conscience disapproves those


altogether wrong.
are
annihilated, and it is absolute duty
premises, they

to give them up.


That from which no practical results
follow is an adiaphoron, which may be safely left to
itself.

True, no knowledge whatsoever

mankind

in general,

practical

results.

is

indifferent to

and whatsoever is true must have


But for some men, in their limited

condition in

life, a great part of the theory may remain


a matter of utter indifference all their lifetime.

For the sake of his conscience, man must form his own
judgment, and compare this judgment with his feeling;
for otherwise he acts immorally and
unconscientiously.

Hence there

is

absolutely no external ground and cri

terion of the obligatoriness of a moral commandment. No


moral command and if it were asserted to be of divine
;

origin, is unconditionally obligatory, because this or that

person utters

or because

it,

it is

written here or there;

obligatory only on condition that our own conscience


will confirm it, and only because our conscience confirms
it.
Nay, it is absolute duty not to obey it without full
it is

self -investigation.

and

We

must

first

test it

by our own

absolutely unconscientious to pass


over this examination. Nothing can be urged against

conscience,

this categorial

it

is

and unexceptionally valid result

of reason

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


and

all

187

thereof
subterfuges, exceptions, or modifications

It is not allowable to
are to be invariably repudiated.
this or that to be true, and hence
found
have
say,
at the same
something else" (which occurs, perhaps,
"I

place)

"must

not because

showed

also be

true."

For

this or that

was

true,

occurred in such a place, but because it


to be true, and it were unconscientious to

it

itself

it may
something else on the mere chance that
That which does not proceed from faith, or
from the confirmation of our own conscience, is absolute

risk

also be true.

sin.

CHAPTER

II.

THE CAUSE OF EVIL IN MAX.


i.

WHATSOEVER

appertains in general to a rational

being,
necessarily in its wholeness and without lack in
since otherwise such individual would
individual,
every
is

not

be

rational.

cannot

It

that a rational being

is

be

too

often

reiterated

not composed arbitrarily out of

foreign fragments, but is a totality; and if you cancel


a necessary component thereof,
you cancel it altogether.
At present we speak of the rational being as originally
conceived.
The moral law demands that empirical timecreatures become an exact copy of the
original Ego. This
is
the
of
time-being
subject
consciousness, and

something

occurs in
it

it

only in so far as

through a free act of

its

it is

own

consciously posited in

self-activity.

But

it is

clear that this positing, this


reflecting upon that which
constitutes the original Ego, must form a successive
series

of

must,

therefore,

reflections,

each

and that it
being limited
duration of time to raise
;

require
everything which constitutes an original Ego to clear
consciousness.
To describe this process of the reflections
of the Ego in time is to furnish the
history of the em

The one thing to be observed,


being.
that this will always appears as accidentally
successive reflections or
positings, precisely because these
pirical rational

however,

all

law

is

depend upon freedom, and not upon any mechanical


of nature. *

Hence the folly of the attempt to trace a necessary succession of


Translator s Remarks.
development in human history.
iBB

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS,

189

Of something man must become clearly conscious,


is to have consciousness at all and to be a rational
being. First, in time he becomes conscious of the natural
impulse the ground whereof has already been indicated
and he acts in conformity with this impulse with
2.

if

he

freedom, it is true, in the formal significance of the word,


but without consciousness of this freedom. He is free

an intelligence which is outside of him and observes


in his acts, but he is not free for himself for himself
he is only if he can be said at all to be anything for
himself on this standpoint a mere animal.
It is to be expected that he will reflect upon himself
in this condition.
He then elevates himself above him
and
This reflection
enters
self,
upon a higher grade.
does not occur necessarily according to a law, and hence
for

him

we

said only that

absolute freedom

It occurs through
to be expected.
occurs because it occurs.
It ought to

it is
;

it

occur, because the empirical

Ego ought

to correspond to

the pure Ego, but it need not occur necessarily.


(The
society wherein a man moves may occasion, but cannot
produce, this reflection.)

Now

through this reflection the individual tears him


away from his natural impulse, and places himself
independently before himself as a free intelligence
self

the individual obtains for himself the power


to defer self-determination, and hence also the power to

through

it

choose between various ways of gratifying his natural


impulse, which manifold arises, indeed, through this very
reflection

and the postponement

of a resolution.

Let us consider this possibility of choosing a little.


The free being determines himself solely in accordance
with and by means of conceptions. Hence his choice

must be based upon a conception


what is to be chosen. A, B, or C,
chosen.

of

this choice, or of

for instance, is to be

Supposing that the free being chooses C, can


do so without any intelligible ground ? Clearly not,
for then the choice would be undertaken not with

it

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

190

freedom,

but

according

to

chance.
Freedom acts
Hence there must be abso

blind

through

conceptions.
lutely something in C, which causes
will call this something X.

it

to be preferred.

We

how happens it that it is


But another question
and not some possible - X, which determines
The ground of this can be sought for only
in a general rule, of which the rational being is already
There must be a major of a syllogism in
possessed.
:

precisely X,
the choice ?

reason, of the following nature


this nature

now C

is

= X), must

of this nature

whatsoever

is

of this or

be preferred to everything else


The major contains
hence, etc.

Such a rule is it which Kant has very happily


designated as a maxim.
(In a theoretical syllogism it
would be the major, but the theoretical is not the highest

the rule.

for

man, and every possible major has

proposition as

maximum,

its

ground.

still

But the highest

for

a higher

man, his

his rule of action.)


Let us dwell a little on this conception of a
Firstly, so far as its form is concerned, it is a
is

through an act

of

my own

freedom.

If it did

maxim.

maxim

not exist

through freedom, all other freedom would be cancelled;


since all other freedom necessarily and in a fixed order
results from it.
This is Kant s argument.
But, more

and what

I should chiefly urge, it is absolutely


contradictory to hold that anything is externally given
to the Ego.
Whatsoever was given externally to the
Ego, thereof the Ego could never have become im

over,

But the maxim is certainly the


most immediate consciousness.
Hence if an evil maxim should be discovered, it is to
be explained solely from the freedom of man, and man
can never remove the responsibility from himself. More
since there
over, a mere principle is not a maxim, and
is no true principle of action
law the
moral
the
except
moral law is not a maxim, since it does not depend upon
the freedom of the empirical subject.
Something becomes
mediately conscious.
object of the

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

191

a maxim for me only when I, as an empirical subject,


make it through freedom the rule of my acting.
Now, what could possibly be the maxim of man on the
Since no
standpoint of reflection, where we left him ?

other impulse occurs in consciousness, as yet, than the


natural impulse which only craves enjoyment, and has
lust for its motive power, this maxim can only be as
follows

"

must choose that which intensively and

extensively promises the greatest enjoyment"; or in


other words, the maxim of one s own happiness.
Some
times indeed it may happen, that through means of our

sympathetic impulses we seek our own happiness in the


happiness of others, but since in such cases it is after
all

only the satisfaction of those sympathetic impulses,


seek, our motive power is always after all our

which we

On

own happiness.
animal.

this standpoint

man

is

a calculating

I have proved, that this must be the maxim on the


present standpoint; hence I assume, that this maxim is
determined by a theoretical law, and may be deduced by
its

But

means.

just

now

stated that the

maxim

is

determined solely through the absolute spontaneity of


the empirical subject.
How can these two assertions be
reconciled
of

propound

this question at this early stage

our investigation, although

it

covers the whole ground

thereof.

man remains on this standpoint of reflection,


cannot be otherwise than that he should be ruled by

I said, if
it

this maxim.
Hence the maxim was theoretically deduced
from the presupposed standpoint.
But it is not at all
necessary, that he should remain on that standpoint nay,
he ought to raise himself to a higher one, and can so
raise himself.
That he does not do it, is his own fault,
and hence the improper maxim, which results from it, is
;

also his

own

fault.

It

is,

therefore, not to be foretold

what standpoint the individual will occupy since that


does not follow from any theoretical law.
Hence it is

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

192

Under such
a
and
with
such
character
mode of
circumstances, i.e.,
he
not
act
otherwise
than
he
But
could
thinking,
it would be wrong to confine the conclusion to this
assertion, and to deny that he could have another
character than he has.
He absolutely ought to form
another one, if his present character is of no account;
and he can do it, since it depends altogether upon his
freedom to do so.
quite right,

the conclusion runs thus

if

"

did."

There is something incomprehensible here, as it could


not well be otherwise, since we have arrived at the limit
of all comprehensibility, at the doctrine of freedom in its

For this reason so


application to the empirical subject.
I
as
do
not
the
long
yet occupy
higher standpoint of
:

that standpoint does not exist for me; and


hence I cannot have a conception of that which I ought
Nevertheless it remains
to do, until I actually do it.
I
to
do it
that
true,
absolutely ought
namely with

reflection,

reference to another observer, who knows this point, and


in reference to myself, whenever I shall come to know it.

whenever I come to know it, I cannot excuse myself


with having been powerless to do it before, but shall, on
the contrary, accuse myself for not having done it always.

For,

In other words

ought to do

character, which, to be sure,

is

it

in respect to

my original

only an idea.

Nor could it, indeed, be otherwise, since an act of


freedom is absolutely because it is, and is an absolute first,
which cannot be connected with, nor explained from, any
It is solely from not considering this point,
thing else.
that all the difficulties arise, which strike so many, when
To comprehend
they arrive at this point.
connect one thinking with another, or, to
former through the mediation of the latter.
a mediation

possible, then there

to

the

is

therefore absolutely contradictory.

prehended,

think

When such
no freedom, but only
To desire to comprehend an act of freedom

is

mechanism.
is

signifies

it

If it

could be

com

would not be freedom, on that very account.

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

193

In like manner all the particular reflections, which are


here required, are absolute starting-points of an
utterly

new

series,

regarding which one cannot say whence they


in fact they come no whither.
This of

come

since

itself

throws

much

the radical evil

upon what Kant says

clearness

that

inborn in man, and that nevertheless


it has its
For it may well be foreseen
origin in freedom.
and comprehended, that man should remain awhile, or

perhaps

all

is

his

lifetime

on the lower standpoints of

reflection, since there is absolutely


him to a higher
and

nothing which drives


standpoint;
experience certainly
In so far, therefore, evil is
proves such to be the case.
inborn in man. But at the same time it is
certainly not
necessary, that man should remain upon this standpoint
;

since there

also absolutely nothing, which


keeps him
lack on that standpoint.
It is quite as possible for him
to raise himself at once to the
highest point, and if he
is

does not do so the fault


does not make use of,

with his freedom, which he


although he may not become
conscious on this standpoint of this his fault.
And in so
far the evil has its
ground in freedom.
The deduced maxim is certainly lawlessness, but is not
lies

It is
yet positive hostility to, or corruption of, morality.
to be hoped and
expected that the man will, sooner or
later,

raise

point,

if

he

much more

himself, of his
is

only

left

own

accord, to that higher


This is rendered a

to himself.

matter if that improper maxim is


raised through
sophistry into a principle, as has been done
by so many so-called philosophers. I do not allude to the
difficult

defenders of the principle of


earthly happiness and per
fection amongst us Germans for with them it is more a
;

defect of expression

and misapprehension, their meaning


But
being usually much more innocent than their words.
I allude to the
and
materialistic
atheistic
moralists,
foreign
like Helvetius, who
say: "Man acts only from selfish
motives, and there is no other motive power in his cha
racter.
This is his destination.
He cannot, and ought
o

THE SCIENCE OF

194

ETHICS.

whoever pretends to be better is


who misapprehends the limits of
Such an argument is, of course, calcu
his own nature."
lated to suppress and make impossible all desire for the
to, be otherwise, and
either a fool or a fanatic,

not

higher standpoint.
But, even without such a false philosophy, this mode of
thinking may be confirmed, either through general habit
and through the experience, which is probably the same
in all ages, that

most men do not

rise

beyond

it

which,

indeed, gives rise also to the prejudice that those who,


in their external acts, which alone can be observed, appear
better, may, nevertheless, have in their inmost hearts the

same low mode

of

portant observation

thinking.
it

is

Moreover

a not

man

natural for

unim

to exist_

on

low standpoint. That is to say, without an act of


spontaneity man remains upon that standpoint, borrows
or which to him
his maxims solely from that common
of what ought
and
most
common
custom,
judges
appears
this

be done from what

to

is

The ground

actually done.

is

only through education in the widest sense of


the word, i.e., through the general influence of society upon
us, that we are first cultured for the use of our freedom;
this

it is

and we always remain on the standpoint of the culture


we have thus received, unless, through a free act, we rise
above
If

it.

were

Society

better

we,

also,

though without merit of our own.


however, to have merit of our own
thereby, but
3.

But

if

is

should be better,

The
is

possibility,

not cancelled

only raised to a higher point.


is left to himself, and not enchained

man

through the example of his age or a corrupt philosophy,


is to be expected that he will always become more
and more conscious of the impulse to be absolutely selfsufficient, which continues to manifest itself within him.
it

He

will

thus elevate himself to quite another sort of


under the previously-described maxim he is

freedom, for

only formaliter

free,

and materialiter altogether dependent

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS,

195

upon natural objects. He has no other object than the


enjoyment which these objects furnish.
I have said:
man is but left to himself he will,
rise
Each one sees that, from the
perhaps,
higher."
and
inattentiveness
wherein that impulse
thoughtlessness
does
not
exist
for
there
is no steady transi
us,
absolutely
"If

tion to the consciousness of that impulse.


This transition
occurs through a particular act of
But, in
spontaneity.
of
all
evil
and
of
all
erroneous
spite
examples
philoso-

man is still capable of this act; he shall and can


above his standpoint, and it is always his own fault if
he does not do so. For all those external circumstances
have no causality upon him they do not work in and
phizings,
rise

through him, but it is he himself who determines himself


by means of their influence. Moreover, it is a fact that,
6F aH~EEbse obstacles, many men do so elevate
spite"

themselves.

The how remains

i.e., can only


In analogy with a pre

inexplicable,

be explained through freedom.

eminent intellectual ability it might be called a genius


It is not sentimentality, as some writer
for virtue.
says,
but self-determination, and he who would
develop virtue
must develop self-determination.
:

Now,

if,

in

some incomprehensible manner,

to be self-determined arises in consciousness

this

impulse
but as mere

blind impulse, because the reflection of

it does not occur


not undertaken intentionally then
this impulse naturally
appears as something accidental
as something which happens to exist in us, and without
any higher reason. It is to be foreseen that this mani
festation will further and otherwise determine the charac

consciously,

and

is

ter

of the individual,

character which

and

it

is

this

determinedness of

we have now

to investigate.
The distinguishing characteristics to be noticed in this
investigation are as follows The impulse appears only as
:

a blind impulse, and not as a law, nor as


obeying a law.
Moreover, it appears as accidental, and non-essential to

man s

nature, our nature having already been determined

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

196

by the above maxim


racteristics

of

From

selfishness.

we must draw our

conclusions.

these cha
It

is

not

necessary that anyone should arrive at this point at all,


and it is equally not necessary that he should remain on

but if anyone occupies this standpoint it is necessary


that his character should become determined in a certain

it

manner.

on this standpoint, in so far as our acts must be


explained from it, we do not act according to a maxim,
but according to an impulse. Hence, there arises a mode
of acting which the acting individual does not and cannot
explain to himself, and which appears to be contradictory,
as, indeed, the defenders of the former utterly sensuous
Firstly,

mode of acting appeal to the contradictory character of


this mode of acting, which they mistake for pure morality,
and thus accuse, likewise, the
This characteristic

is,

latter of

being absurd.

indeed, of itself sufficient to con

The previous maxim


the second mode of acting.
of selfishness remains, also, the ruling maxim in this con
dition, and all conscious acts on this standpoint are done

demn

conformably to this maxim.


at the instigation of a
to the rule, and hence,

An

act

which

done merely
an exception
seek, on this stand

blind impulse

when men

is

is

point, to account for the motives of these acts, we usually


seek to derive them from that maxim of selfishness, and
to

establish an

artificial

connection with that maxim,

thereby, as it were, wronging ourselves.


So far as the material of the desire to will is concerned,

not consciously thought, but, to an


observer from the higher standpoint, noticeable maxim
of the unlimited and lawless supreme rule over all that is
there thus arises the

external to us.
will at

all,

but

Man
is

has not the will

blindly impelled

indeed, he has no
bat he acts as if he

had the

will to subjugate everything external to the


authority of his will, and this he does from absolutely
no other possible ground than because he so wills. It is

immediately clear that such a mode

of acting

must

result

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


from the blind and lawless impulse

197

to be absolutely self-

determined.

To properly appreciate

maxim we must compare

this

with morality.
Morality also demands freedom and
independence, but desires to attain it only gradually, and
conformably to certain laws. Hence, it desires no un
it

conditioned and lawless, but a causality which remains


under certain restrictions whereas, the maxim whereof
we speak now, demands unconditioned and unrestricted
;

causality.

The easily recognizable and very common manifesta


The men
tions of this mode of thinking are as follows
:

who hold

desire certainly to

it,

that all other

men

should

have a good

will,

and wish

let

everything depend upon


good will; but they do not want to hear anything
said of their duty or of law.
They like to be generous
and forbearing everything but just. They are benevo
lently disposed towards others, but have no respect or
esteem for their rights. In short, their empirical will,
which again depends only upon their will, and is there
fore an absolute empirical will, is to be law for all the
their

rest of the world, both irrational

and

free.

Every one must see that these characteristics cannot be


explained from the mere craving after enjoyment. Each
such attempted explanation is forced, and does not
accomplish what

it

purposes to accomplish, provided only,

that the happiness of others

is

really desired,

and that

improper end is not merely made a pretence to cover


The
the still more improper end of mere enjoyment.
object of our will is not at all determined through a
possible enjoyment, but is absolutely determined through
the will; in form precisely like the genuinely moral mode
this

of thinking.

mode of thinking necessarily retains the


To carry it out may
impelling esteem.
require no sacri6ce of enjoyment, for instance, if one has
no passions, or if circumstances require no sacrifices;
However,

character

this

of

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

98

which case we approve coldly. For then we believe


we had a right to demand that everything should
submit to and obey our will and hence nothing occurs
but what was to be expected. There is no true joy
and gladness connected with this mode of thinking, when
it is successful, precisely because it expects no favour
from nature, but merely demands that nature should

in

that

do

its

Whereas,

duty.

if

it is

not successful, there arises

not pain and woe, as a sorrowful depressing sen


timent, at least disgust, as an active passion, for the very
reason that we were impelled by the craving to be
if

We

rave against God and nature, hold


forth about violation of justice, and accuse particularly
self-sufficient.

men

of ingratitude and want of recognition.


to carry out this mode of thinking

But

It is

sacrifices.

may

also

possible to carry it out

with

require
very
the greatest self-denial, precisely because it is higher than
the impulse to attain mere enjoyment. In this case there
results

c
-

selj

valuation.

This

is

not so

much an

esteeming

of our free acting

through absolute self-determination, as


rather an esteeming of our character, as a permanent,

We

reposeful being.
enjoy to find ourselves better and
nobler than we should almost have credited. That it must

be thus, appears from the following we act in accordance


with a blind impulse, and hence not properly with freedom
and matureness we did not weigh our action in advance
:

of the
its

but

acting,

occurrence

now

find it as a given act only by


to which it might

and the rule according

have occurred, we likewise do not discover until after


ward.- Thus the act is and remains a given and not
a self-made act, and since it is a good act the doing
This characteristic
it
remains an inborn goodness.
appears often, in ordinary
argument. For instance

life as
:

of

human

goodness
the above kind of
is

utterly

false.

nature

is

of

an original

based on experience, and on

experience.

Human

well as in philosophical

the assertion

And

nature

is

yet the assertion


originally neither

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


good nor bad.

It

199

becomes good or bad only through

freedom.

Moreover, this self-valuation is not a cold and quiet


approval like moral self-esteem, but is connected with

which always proceeds from the unexpected joy


That it must
over ourselves because we are so good.
have acted
be so, appears clearly from the following

joy,

in

We

accordance with a blind impulse, and have not re

The common line


quired any sacrifice from ourselves.
on which we place ourselves with the rest of mankind

We have made up our mind that all men


and that nothing else is to be expected of

is selfishness.

are selfish,

But now we suddenly find ourselves raised above


common standard of humanity we have clear merits.

them.
this

We

do not find ourselves as the moral law wants us


as we ought to be, but we find ourselves
to find ourselves
incomparably better than we have any need to be. For
us there exist none but great, noble and meritorious acts,
none but opera super ogativa. To characterize this mode

everything which God, men,


thinking in one word
and nature do for us is nothing but their absolute duty
they never can do anything more than what they are
of

do for us, and are always good-for-nothing


but
whatsoever we do for them is graciousness
servants
However we may act we can never
and kindness.

bound

to
;

act wrongly.
it is all right,

founded

right.

If we sacrifice everything to enjoyment


and nothing but the exercise of our wellIf we deny ourselves enjoyment but in

the slightest degree,

That

this

principle,

is

mode

it

of

is

already a superfluous merit.

thinking,

when reduced

to

its

not be denied by
occurs frequently
though without

irrational, will probably

anyone; and that

it

its character
and, moreover, in
those persons who pass for very honest and virtuous men,
will also be denied by no one who knows mankind and
will not
is able to penetrate into their inmost heart.

clear consciousness of

We

refer

to

particular

individuals,

but

to

all

mankind.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

200

Almost the whole history of mankind is simply a proof


of our assertion, and history becomes comprehensible only
through the present position

of such a

mode

of thinking.
nations, wars
of conquest arid of religion, all the misdeeds, in short,
which have ever dishonoured mankind how are they

the bodies and souls of

Subjugation of

be

to

explained

What

induced

the

subjugator

to

pursue his object against danger and labour ? Did he


hope thereby to enlarge the sources of his sensuous
That which I will, shall
enjoyment ? By no means.
"

what I say, shall be law


principle which moved him.
done

l)e

"

This was the only

It has already been acknowledged that this kind of


character has not enjoyment for its object.
The egotistic
self-merit which accompanies it is based on the con

sciousness of

which we need not have made

sacrifices,

in our opinion.
True, the satisfaction of these sacrifices
affords an enjoyment afterwards, which enjoyment is not

sensual, namely, the enjoyment of these caresses which


we lavish upon ourselves but this enjoyment was not
;

the end

we had

view not the motive power of our


acts.
The real object which governs our acts, although
it is never clearly
thought and raised to consciousness,
is this, that our lawless arbitrariness
may govern every
We sacrifice our enjoyment to this purpose, and
thing.
then natter ourselves at our unselfishness.

man

If

thinking

in

is regarded as a natural being, this mode of


has one advantage over the one previously

described, which estimates everything according to the


sensual enjoyment which it furnishes.
Viewed from this
a
such
admiration
character
whereas
standpoint,
inspires
;

man who

the

first

calculates

how much enjoyment he

For this
inspires contempt.
and
remains, independence from
all, is,
the external world is a self-sufficiency.
It might

may

get

out of

an

act,

character, after
all

be called the heroic character.

mode

of

thinking

In

fact, it is

of the heroes of history.

the usual

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


But when we regard

character from the moral

this

has no value at

it

standpoint,

20!

proceed from morality. Nay,


the former sensuous character.

all,

since

it

does not

more dangerous than


For it falsifies and soils

it is

not the principle of morality, since that does not


at least, the judgment
exist for this mode of thinking
if

of
it

since
material acts emanating from that principle
is
which
that
to
consider
men
accustoms
merely duty
;

and meritorious. True, the publican


and sinner has no more value than the self-conceited
Pharisee, for both have no value at all but it is easier
to convert the former than the latter.

as something noble

Man

4.

has nothing further to do than to raise that

craving for absolute self-sufficiency, which, when working


as a blind impulse, produces a very immoral character

and the impulse will, through


change in consciousness into an

into clear consciousness,

mere

this

reflection,

shown.
absolutely imperative law, as has already been
As every reflection limits the reflected, thus the reflected

through this reflection, and in


it changes from a blind craving
for absolute causality into a law of conditioned causality.
Man now knows that he shall (ought to) do something

impulse

is

also limited

virtue of this limitedness

absolutely.

Now

if

change into acting, man


do always, and
that which duty demands, precisely became

this

must make

it

in every case,

knowing

maxim

is

to

for himself, to

duty demands it. The latter condition, indeed, is already


involved in the conception of a maxim, as being the
and absolute rule, which recognizes no higher
highest
o
one.
It is absolutely impossible

and contradictory that any


of his duty should, in

one with a clear consciousness


the

moment

of

action, consciously resolve not

to

do his

That he should revolt and refuse obedience to


duty.
the law, and make it his maxim not to do what his
duty

is

precisely because

it is

his duty.

Such a maxim

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

202

were devilish; but the conception of a devil contradicts,


and thus cancels itself. This we prove as follows
:

Man
as

clearly conscious of his duty, signifies

is

an intelligence, absolutely requires


to

Now,

something.

say

man

act against his duty, signifies

Man,

of himself to

do

resolves

to

consciously

he requires of himself in
the same undivided moment, not to do that very thing.
Hence, in the same undivided moment, the same intelli
gence in him must require contradictory acts, which is
certainly a self -annihilating proposition, and the most
:

flagrant contradiction.

But
clear

it

is

very possible to darken in one

self

the

For
duty.
this consciousness arises only through an act of absolute
spontaneity, and remains only through the continuation
of

consciousness

that

(It

the requirement of

freedom

act of

vanishes.

of

is

when we

cease

to reflect

it

the same with this consciousness as

with many conceptions of transcendental philosophy.


As soon as we descend from the higher standpoint,

upon which alone they are possible, they vanish into


nothingness.) / The matter therefore stands in this
shape

if

we continue

to reflect in accordance

with the

the law, and keep it in view, it is


requirement
for
us
not to ^ act in conformity with it
impossible
to
resist
it.
If, on the contrary, we lose
impossible
of

sight of it, it is equally impossible to act conformably


to it.
In either case there is necessity, and we thus

seem

to fall into

kind

than

an intellectual fatalism, but of a lower


For according to the
ordinary one.
intellectual
the
moral law which
fatalism,
ordinary
exists in man, without any co-operation of his own,
causes, in one case, consciousness of itself, as well as
acts in conformity with it; and, in another case, it
does not produce such consciousness or such acts, and
hence leaves open room for lower impulses.
We have
done
with
this
sort
of
fatalism
already
away
by showing
that the moral law is not something which exists within
the

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


independently of

us,

our

co-operation,

being,

203

on

the

ourselves.

contrary, first created by


But the present kind of fatalism holds that either the
moral law continues in our consciousness, in which case
in
necessarily produces moral acts, or it vanishes,
the
Hence
are
acts
moral
which case
impossible.
soon as
appearance of fatalism vanishes altogether as

it

that it depends upon our freedom whether


shall continue in us, or shall darken
consciousness
that
with this consciousness as with
same
the
It
is
itself.

we observe

the above-mentioned standpoint of reflection.


of freedom,
Again, let it be well noted that this act
which either retains that consciousness clear, or allows
it

to

be darkened,
act.

is

also

an absolute

first,

and hence

It occurs, not according to a maxim


consciousness of what

unexplainable
hence not with accompanying
I do, and not with a consciousness of the freedom where
with I do it. If it did, the allowing that consciousness

"and

darkened would be precisely that conscious revolt


have shown to be a
against the moral law, which we

to be

contradiction.

It occurs,

when

it

occurs, simply because


Or, to represent

occurs without any higher ground.


the matter from still another side:

it

the vanishing of
the consciousness of duty is an abstraction.
Now, there
Either I
are two very different kinds of abstraction.

make

the

abstraction

with

clear

consciousness,

and

in me of
according to a rule; or the abstraction arises
its own account, even where I did not intend to abstract,

through an undetermined thinking, such as, for instance,


Now the vanishing
produces all formular philosophy.
whereof we speak here, is of the latter kind; it is an

undetermined thinking, and a violation of duty because


the determined consciousness of

duty is itself duty.


and that inattentiveness
thoughtlessness
through
to our higher nature, wherewith our life necessarily
begins, that we grow accustomed to this thoughtlessness,
It is

and thus

drift

along in our usual current.

But

this

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

204

does not imply, by any means, that we cannot, through


In the same manner
freedom, get out of this current.
we may, on the other hand, habilitate ourself to mature
consideration and attentiveness to the law, without this
habit becoming a necessity for us. Practice and attentiveness, nay, careful watching of one s self, must be in

No one is sure for one moment


without
continued exertion.
No man,
morality
so
far
as
can
we
no
finite
is
see,
nay,
confirmed
being
cessantly continued.

of his

in goodness.

The determined
vanishes.

Two

clear consciousness of the moral law

cases are supposable.

Either this con

sciousness vanishes altogether and no thought of duty


remains until after the act; in which case we act either

according to the maxim of selfishness, or in obedience


to the blind impulse to have our lawless will rule

everywhere.

We

have already described both

of

these

conditions.

Or there remains a consciousness of duty, but only an


Here it is important, first of all,

indistinct consciousness.
to note

how

a determined consciousness

into an undetermined

may change

and wavering consciousness.

itself

All our

consciousness begins with undeterminedness, for it begins


with the power of imagination, which is a power of floating

undecidedly over two opposites.

It is only

through the

understanding that the product of this floating, which, as


yet, has no outlines, becomes fixed and determined.
But,

even after

it has been determined, it


may easily happen
that the sharp outline is lost sight of, and that the object
is again held
merely by the power of imagination. This

we do

for instance, consciously whenever we form a general


conception in arbitrary abstraction we drop the particular
determinations, and thus raise the conception to a general
;

one.
True, the conception remains determined in this
instance; the very fact that it is, in a certain degree,
undetermined, constituting its determinedness. Uncon
sciously,

we do

it

when we

are thoughtless or distrait.

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


JBy far

the fewest

men

seize

205

things determinedly and

Objects only float vaguely before their


closely defined.
minds as in a dream or as covered by a fog. Now, was their

understanding then altogether inactive ? Certainly not,


But
or no consciousness at all would have been possible.
the determinedness immediately escapes them again, and
passage through the region of the understanding js

its

Even in regard to its undeterminedness,


It
a conception held in this manner is undetermined.
wavers between more or less undeterminedness without

very quick.

Now, this is the


co-operation of the power of judgment.
presupposed case with the conception of duty it darkens
of itself simply because I do not hold it fixedly.
;

The conception of duty, as thought in a given case,


involves a threefold determinedness which may lose its
determined character. Firstly, in each special case some
all others
particular act of all possible acts is duty and
It is only the conception of this
are absolutely not duty.
;

accompanied by the above described


This determinedness
feeling of certainty and conviction.
of the conception
form
of the act escapes us, although the
one

act,

which

is

duty remains. We take hold


duty, nay, perhaps even suppose

something else as our


something else to be
went
we
our duty, although, if
honestly to work, we
determined through
and
should be sure to find it impelled
have
we
since
some inclination or another,
already lost the
of

of

true thread of

conscience.

concerning that which

is

this

We

then deceive ourselves

our duty, and

act, as is

But this error


said, from an erring conscience.
held firm
but
had
we
If
our
remains,
guilt.

usually
is,

and

to

our

which we thus possessed before, we


should not have erred; and thus to hold it firm was a matter
There is a self-deception here, against
of our freedom.
which we cannot be too much on our guard. (I said above,

insight into our duty,

"if

we go honestly

to

work";

for it is very well possible

some one should only try to make others believe that


he does from motives of duty, what he knows well
that

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

20 6

For
does only from motives of selfishness.
to
as
indifferent
duty, being
instance, he may be utterly
Such a character would be that
unbeliever.
a
lie

enough,

dogmatic

of a miserable hypocrite,

and

is

not included in the above

class.)

Secondly, there is
determinedness, that

involved
it

is

in

the

precisely

in

conception this
the present

case,

determined manner. This deter


minedness of the present time may escape us, in which
as one which is not determined
case the command
that

we have

to act in a

appears

by time

that

is

as one which,

it

certainly requires

demand
precisely at the present
be in a hurry to obey.
not
and which we need

obedience, does not


time,

though
it

the thought,
Hence, comes the postponement of reform
or
that
this
delight, or carry
that we will enjoy only yet
then seriously
and
out this or that reprehensible plan,
;

This mode of thinking is


about reforming.
the moral law allows no
because
partly utterly wicked,
but
demands, whenever it speaks,
time for consideration,
and partly very dan
obedience
immediate
implicit and
consider

postponing, we are
we shall have
when
The
time
it.
continue
very likely to
for man has
come
never
will
cherished
no more
plans,
is lazy, and requires to
character
a
Such
wishes.
always

gerous, for

if

we have once learned

be removed by some outside power from the standpoint


which he occupies; but such a power does not exist.
Even the Almighty cannot do what the cure of this
laziness requires.
is
Thirdly and finally, the requirement of duty
determined in its form, as duty ; it demands absolutely
If we allow
of all other impulses.
obedience,

regardless

determinedness to darken within us, the commands


of duty will no longer appear as commands, but only,

this

if we so
perhaps, as good advice which we may follow
list and if it does not cost too much self-denial, but

which we may also, if necessary, trim a little. In this


we frame for ourselves a mixed maxim. We do

condition

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

207

not always hunt after the greatest enjoyment and care


only for it, but often content ourselves with having to

do our duty

nay, perhaps

we even

sacrifice to

enjoyments which are naturally not enticing

duty those

for us

the

spendthrift sacrificing avarice, the ambitious man lusts


which might interfere with his ambition, etc., but we
retain those enjoyments which are dearest to us.
Thus,

we make

a compromise between conscience and lust

nay,

same time.
It is this mode of thinking which impudently asserts
that we cannot live as the moral law requires, that the
punctual practice of that law is an impossibility an
assertion which is very frequently heard in ordinary life,
but which has also sneaked into philosophical and
But, of what impossibility, I ask,
theological systems.
does this assertion speak ? That we often cannot realize our
firmest will in the external world on account of external
but neither does the moral law
obstacles, is true enough
The moral law
realization.
demand
this
unconditionally
believe to have satisfied both at the

we should exert all our powers, should


we can do and why should we not be able to
do what we can do ? The moral law requires only that
we should not do the opposite of our duty. And why
should we not be able to leave that undone ? What power
requires only that

do

all

can force us free beings to act

What

that assertion really means to say is we cannot


do our duty, if we want to retain this or that enjoyment,
this or that possession, &c.
Duty demands that we
:

should sacrifice them.

But we cannot both

sacrifice

and

retain them.

True enough

who has

but

said that

we ought

to retain

these enjoyments or those possessions ?


Everything, life,
honour, and all that is dear to man, is to be sacrificed to

We

have never asserted that


duty. Such is our opinion.
in every case duty and the satisfaction of selfish impulses
could co-exist.

The

the truth

we

is

not,

latter are to

be sacrificed.

cannot do our duty, but

we

Hence

will not

do

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

2 o8

our duty.

We

sacrifices.

It is

cannot make up our will to make those


our will, not our power to do, which is at

fault.

of human
proves the wide extent
shamelessness, it is this contradictory

If anything, indeed,

corruption and

its

and utterly irrational subterfuge, which is put forth


forth and defended even by the
again and again, and put
most sensible men, nay, which even teachers of morality
have accepted and seriously discussed, as if there really
were a grain

of rationality in

it.

when men speak of impossi


precisely the same,
what pure reason requires to be
bility in relation to
The "we
realized in a technical -practical respect.
for
instance, a
the same.
If,
cannot"
(It is

always signifies
is demanded, men
thorough reform of State organization
those propositions cannot be realized, they are im
cry
"

practicable."

Of course they are impracticable, if

old abuses are to remain.

But who

the,

says that they are

to remain?)

These three different modes of evading the severity


of the moral law may be united, but the latter con
dition is undoubtedly of greatest danger to mankind.
If we have once persuaded ourselves that we can
make a compromise with the strictness of morality, we
shall likely remain all our lifetime making such com
concussion
promises, unless indeed some severe external
is much
it
indeed
far
stirs us up to repent; and in so
conceited
a
easier to reform a sinner, than
just man
of the latter sort.

CONCLUDING REMARKS.
In order to place the doctrine of freedom in the clearest
light, and to prosecute fatalism into its extremest hiding-

we append some remarks more specially referring


Kant s assertion of a radical evil in man.
The existence of evil in man we have explained as
follows each one to be called a man, must arrive at

corners,
to

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

209

self -consciousness.
Now this involves simply that he
should become conscious of his freedom in the choice

This consciousness arises already, when


a choice between the manifold which
the mere natural impulse demands of him.
In this case
he will act unconsciously and darkly or, if his under
of

his actions.

man

learns to

make

standing is somewhat developed consciously and clearly


according to the maxim of selfishness and in so far we
may certainly, as Eeinhold does, ascribe to man a selfish
;

impulse, although it is to be remembered, that he has


made himself selfish only through a voluntarily chosen
maxim for the mere natural impulse is by no means
;

selfish or

as

we

blameworthy it being rather duty to satisfy it,


show in time. Upon this standpoint man
;

jshall

remains very readily, since nothing impels him onward,


and since no necessity whatever compels him to reflect

upon

his higher nature.

Now

if

we had merely

said,

man

can remain on this

standpoint, there would be no difficulty about the asser


tion.
It would be an altogether problematical statement.

But how do we come to make the statement categorical


and positive how do we come to say it is certainly not
necessary, but it is to be expected that man will remain
on that standpoint ? What is it which we really do assert
in this statement, and what is the
positiveness which
;

we presuppose unwittingly
It is this

man

will not

do anything, which is not


is not compelled
by

absolutely necessary, and which he


his nature as

man

to do.

We

therefore presuppose an

original laziness to reflect, and what is simply the result


of it, to act in accordance with such reflection.
This

would, therefore, be a true positive radical evil, and


not merely a negative evil, as it has hitherto seemed
to appear.
thus.

We

It was indeed necessary that it should be


had need of a positive, were it but to explain

the negative.

Now, what
P

justifies

such a presupposition

Is

it

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

2io

merely experience? Kant seems to assume this, although


he arrives at the same conclusion, which we shall
immediately arrive at. But mere experience would never
such a universal presupposition.

justify

Hence there

not one which


ground for it
generates necessity, for then freedom would be cancelled,
but one which renders explicable that universality of
We ascribe to nature as such a power of
experience.
This results, indeed, from the
inertia (vis inertice).
of
the
causality of a free being, which must
conception

must

be

rational

necessarily

occur in

and which could not


resisted

power
it is

time

if

so occur,

it

is

were

to
it

be perceptible,

not posited as

True, the conception of a


objects.
seems contradictory, but nevertheless
and it is only requisite that we should

by external

of

inertia

a real one

understand

it

properly.
Nature, as such, as mere

Ego and Object in general,


has only repose, only being; it is what it is, and in so
far no active power whatsoever is to be ascribed to
But

nature.

for the very purpose of thus remaining, or


nature
must have a quantum of tendency or
reposing,
to
remain
what it is. If it has not this power,
power
nature would not retain its form for a moment, would

change incessantly and thus have no form at all. In


would not be nature. Now, if an opposite
power influences nature, nature necessarily resists
with all its power, in order to remain as it is; and
short, nature

it is

only now, through relation to an opposite power, that


inertia becomes activity.
It is thus that

what was before

both conceptions are

united, and it is
a
signified by
power of inertia.
on the indicated standpoint we ourselves are

this synthesis

Now,

which

nothing but nature.

and although
since the

it

is

synthetically

is

Our powers are powers of nature,


freedom which gives them vitality,

causality of nature came to an end in the


impulse, yet the direction is absolutely no other than the
direction which nature itself would have
taken, if left

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

211

undisturbed.
Moreover, the fact that we do occupy the
described standpoint, is also to be taken into considera
tion, since it is a necessary fact, as a result of natural
mechanism. Thus we are nature in every respect. But
that which appertains to all nature must also appertain
man in so far as he is nature a reluctance to emerge

to

from his present condition


old accustomed pathway.
It is

a tendency to remain in the

only thus alone that we explained a universal

phenomenon amongst men, which

human

is

illustrated

in

all

and the tenpossibility


dency to remain in the old beaten track. Each man,
even the most powerful and active, has his Schlendrian,"
to use a low but very characteristic
expression, and
will have to fight against it all his lifetime.
This is the
actions

the

of habit,

"

power

of inertia in

order of most

and

habit.

men

our nature.

Even

the regularity and

nothing but this tendency to repose


It always costs labour to tear loose from
is

Even

if we are successful for


once, and if the stirring
up holds on awhile, we nevertheless fall back into our old
laziness as soon as we cease to watch ourselves.

it

Let us consider

he

man

in the described condition.

Since

in general, in his original essence,


although not in
actuality, free and independent of nature, he is certain
to tear himself loose from this condition, and can do
so,
is,

we regard him as absolutely free but he must be free


before he can tear himself thus loose
through freedom.
if

It is precisely his
which is to help
is

freedom which

him

no equilibrium, no
it.

enchained

the power

him down, and there


counterbalance

is

in league against him.


There
balance the weight of nature drags
is

no weight

moral law to
enough that man
place himself in the other scale, and
is

Now

it

absolutely ought to
ought to decide that step;
has the actual power within

it

is

is

of the

true

likewise true that

man

him

to give himself sufficient


his inertia or laziness, and that

weight to overbalance
he can at each moment, through a pressure
upon himself

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

212

by means
is

of

the mere will, raise this power

he to get this

It is

by no means

but

how

will, this first pressure upon himself ?


a result of his condition, which, on the

contrary, rather retards

Moreover, this first pressure


natural state, but absolutely
from his self-activity. But where, then, in his natural
condition, is the point from which he might raise that
power ? Absolutely nowhere. If we view the matter
is

not to arise from

it.

his

from a natural point

of view, it is absolutely impossible


should help himself, or should grow better.
Only a miracle, to be achieved by himself, can help
him.
(Hence those who assert a servum arliirium, and

that

man

through
pelled

his

by

logical, if

man

who cannot,
himself, but must be im
a higher power, are altogether in the right, and

characterize

as a piece of log or a stick,

own power, move

they speak of the natural man.}

Laziness, therefore, reproducing itself infinitely through


long habit, and soon changing into utter impotency to

be good,
in

the true, inborn evil which has its ground


itself, and can be easily enough ex

is

human

nature

plained from

it.

Man

is

by nature

lazy, says

Kant very

correctly.
From this

laziness next arises cowardice, the second


fundamental vice of man. Cowardice is laziness to main
tain our freedom and independence in our contact ivith

others.

to a

but

Each one has courage enough when opposed


of whose weakness he is already convinced;

man,

he has not this conviction, if he comes in contact


man in whom he presumes more strength no
matter of what kind than he himself possesses, he gets
if

with a

power which he will need to


maintain his independence, and hence gives way. Only
thus is slavery, physical as well as moral slavery, amongst
afraid at the exertion of

men to be explained: subjection and


I am terror-stricken in view of the
resistance,

at

the

and subject

trouble

of

my

body

self-thinking,

authority worship.

bodily exertion of
I am terror-stricken

which somebody

else

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


me by making

requires of

and asking me

to see into

213

bold or intricate statements,


them and I rather submit
;

soon rid of his demands


upon me. (There are always men who wish to rule;
we have stated the reason above. But these are the
to his authority, so as to get

more energetic men.

fewer and

How,

strong character.

then, does

They have a bold,


it happen that the

would be much stronger, submit to


Thus the trouble which it would require of
them to resist, is more painful to them than the slavery
to which they submit, and which they hope they shall
be able to bear. The least exertion of power is far more
others, who, united,

these few

painful

to

ordinary

man

than thousandfold

suffering,

and he would rather bear everything than act once. In


suffering he at least remains passive and quiet, and gets
accustomed to it. Thus the sailor of the anecdote was
willing rather to comfort himself with the hope that
he should be able to stand

it

in hell, than exert himself

sufficiently to better himself in this

only

suffer,

The coward comforts himself


after

all

deception

is
;

life.

but here he should have to


not

act.)

in this subjection, which


means of falseness and

by
fundamental vice

heartfelt,

for the third

There he would

of

man, which

Man

cannot
naturally arises from cowardice, is falseness.
so utterly deny his selfhood and sacrifice it to another,
as

he

may

pretend to do, in order to be relieved of the

Hence he only shams


trouble to defend himself openly.
it in order to espy a better opportunity, and that he may

when

the same shall no longer have


upon him. All falseness, all lying,
all cunning and treachery, arise from the fact that there
are oppressors, and everyone who oppresses must expect
such results. Only the coward is false. The courageous
man lies not, nor is he false if not from virtue, at least
from pride and strength of character.

oppose his oppressor

his attention directed

the position of the ordinary natural man.


Ordinary, I say for the extraordinary man, whom nature

This

is

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

214

has specially favoured, has a powerful character, although


of view he is no better. He is neither

from a moral point

but he tramples overbear


lazy, nor cowardly, nor false
ingly upon everything around him, and becomes master
and subjugator of those who choose to be slaves.
;

This description may appear ugly and disgusting.


But
no one set up the customary groaning and ranting
about the imperfection of human nature. Precisely the
let

fact

you,

these

that

characteristics

the

proves

nobility

and

appear so disgusting to
sublime character of

Do you find it disgusting if tKe stronger


humanity.
animal devours the weaker, or if the weaker animal
Doubtless
overpowers the stronger through cunning ?
But
not; you find this to be all in order and proper.
not so in the case of man, and precisely because it is
impossible for you to consider man as a mere product

You

are forced to regard man as a


being
nature, as a free and supersensual being.
The
very fact that man is capable of vice shows that he is
destined for virtue.
Moreover, what were virtue unless
of nature.

above

all

it were the
actively acquired product of our own freedom,
the elevating of oneself into an
altogether different order
of thing
Os ?

Finally,

who

shown up for

that has remarked the grounds we have


can hold them valid

these characteristics,

human race, as if only to the


race they were
foreign, having been engrafted
only for the

human

upon it
through some hostile demon, and as if they were not
rather valid for all finite, rational
For these
beings.
characteristics are not grounded, as we have
seen, in a
peculiarity of our nature, but rather in the conception
of

much try to
we
seraphim;
may certainly
differing from man in their more

general finity itself.


conceive cherubim and

conceive

them

as

Let us ever so

particular determinations, but not as so


differing in their
general characteristics.
There is but One who is holy,
and all created being is
by nature necessarily unholy

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


and impure, and can elevate
through

its

own

itself

to

215

morality only

freedom.

But how is help to come to man, considering that this


involved laziness cripples the only power through which

man can help himself ? What does he really lack ? Not


the power, for this he has but the consciousness thereof
and the impulse to make use of it. This impulse cannot
;

to him internally, from the reasons stated above.


If it is not to arise through a miracle, but naturally, it

come

must come

externally.

it can come to him only through the


and
through the whole theoretical faculty,
understanding,
The individual
which certainly is capable of culture.
must learn to see himself in his contemptible nature,
and to experience disgust with himself he must likewise
be brought in contact with exemplary men, who would
elevate him and teach him how he ought to be, and thus
inspire him at the same time with a desire to become
There is no other way
himself worthy of such esteem.
of culturev But this only furnishes what is lacking
consciousness and impulse.
Improvement and elevation,
own freedom, and for the
our
however, depend upon
man who makes no use of this freedom there is no help.

In this way

But whence are these external impulses


Since it remains a
amongst mankind ?

to be

brought

possibility for

each individual, in spite of his laziness, to elevate himself


above it, we must assume, and very properly may assume,
that amongst
the whole mass of men some individuals
o
have actually thus elevated themselves to morality. It
will necessarily be the aim of such men to influence their
fellow-men, and to influence them in the described manner.

Now, something

like this is positive religion; institu

tions arranged by pre-eminently good men, with a view


Their age
to cultivate the moral sensibility of others.

and general usefulness may, moreover, have invested


these institutions with a peculiar authority, which may
be very useful to those who need them, particularly in

THE SCIENCE OF

216

exciting

their

attention,

but

ETtilCS.

anything

else,

such

as,

for instance, faith in authority, or blind obedience, those


institutions cannot have in view without making man

kind utterly immoral, as has been shown above.


very natural that those men from whose inner
consciousness this moral sensibility developed itself as
Tt

is

by a real miracle and without any external cause not


meeting with this same sensibility in their fellow-men,
should have interpreted it as having been effected in
them through an external spiritual being and if they
meant their empirical Ego as signifying themselves, they
doubtless were right.
It is possible that this interpreta
tion has descended down unto our times.
It is a
;

theoretically

true

interpretation,

what we have

if

meant

and even,

if

to

indicate

not exactly so

just stated,
explained, is utterly without danger, provided it is not
made use of to enforce blind obedience ; and each one may

hold

whatsoever

practically

it

is

of

he

chooses

regarding

this

no significance to most men.

matter

BOOK FOURTH.
CONCERNING THE MATERIAL CONDITIONS OF
THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.
PKELIMINARY.
A. I HAVE causality,

signifies, as

we know

That which

proposed to myself, as end, actually occurs. We have


seen, from the transcendental standpoint, that this agree
ment of perception with the will is, in its highest ground,
nothing but an agreement of our empirical being, as

determined through absolute spontaneity, with an original


If I determine myself to do
something which

impulse.

impulse actually demands, I, as the em


time -being, am being placed in
harmony with my original self, as it exists without any
consciousness of mine.
Thus there arises in me a feeling,

my

original

pirically-determined

myself whole; and this feeling is a perception,


shown more at length above.
Now the original impulse is directed upon manifold
matters, for it has been given me for all eternity, and
for I feel

as has been

my whole existence and ex


an
but
nothing
analysis of this, my original
it
can
True,
only be satisfied gradually, and

throughout
perience
impulse.

all

eternity

is

by means of passing through various middle stages


and even in those cases when it is satisfied, we can

again, through free reflection, separate the object of the


impulse into an infinite manifold. In other words the
:

217

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

2i 8

determined end = X,
an X determined through all that has passed before it,
and through its own nature but nevertheless also an X,
original impulse craves at all times a

which, since it is a quantum, can again, through free


reflection, be infinitely divided into a, I, c, and again
into d, e, / &c., &c.
It is only thus that a manifold

But since the whole X


possible.
demanded
being
by the original impulse
is

acting
it

is possible

all parts of
are likewise possible.
In each case infinitely many
actions are possible.
But in order that something should
it

occur,

it

is

necessary not only that

it

likewise, that I determine myself to do


I do not will does not occur

only that amongst

all

be possible, but
it.

through my
which

possible acts,

That which
impulse, and
I will, does

occur.

Let us linger over the conception of the manifold,


is possible as
such; ie., let us not look at the
relation of these acts to each other, whether
they exclude
or include each other, &c., for this does not concern us as
B.

which

Amongst this possible manifold, absolutely only


one (a determined part of the
manifold) is conformable
to duty, and all others are
opposed to duty.
(Let me
yet.

observe

here, moreover, that the command of duty


always lies within the sphere of the possible, for it lies
within the sphere of what the
original impulse, upon
which the moral law is based, demands. The
impossible
is never
duty and duty is never

impossible.)

Now

which then

is

this One,

demanded through duty

In the previous chapter we were referred for this one


to an internal
Whatsoever
feeling, called conscience.
conscience will confirm is
and
conscience
always duty,
can never err if we
only attend to its voices.
This, then,
would be sufficient for our actual
and we need
acting,

nothing more to make it possible. The popular teacher,


for instance, need not
go any further, and can close his
moral teachings at this
point.

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


But

it

not sufficient for science.

is

219

we must

Either

be able a priori to determine what conscience will confirm,


or we must confess that a science of morality, as an
applicable science, is impossible.
Let us look at the matter from another side.

This

decides.

decision,

law, grounded in reason

bases

doubtless,

itself

Feeling
on a

which certainly cannot be an

standpoint of common
understanding, since in consciousness it is only manifested
as a feeling but which may, perhaps, be disseverable from
Mere popular teaching
the transcendental point of view.
consciousness on the

object of

remains in the standpoint of common consciousness, and


hence everything which takes place on the transcendental
standpoint does not occur for it, but philosophical teaching
philosophical or scientific only in so far as
beyond the former.

is

Eeason

is

it

rises

throughout determined. Hence whatsoever


and as a consequence the whole system of

lives in reason,

conscience,

which manifests

be determined.

itself in feelings,

In the course

shall find still other external

such

of

law, reason,
If
conscience are based.
law,
of

we

shall have, at the

of

grounds

upon which

we succeed
same

must

our investigation

also

we

for the necessity


the feelings of

in discovering this

time, answered in advance

the immediate decision of conscience, the question


is our duty ?

What
C.

We

might give a preliminary answer which, although


and hence not decisive, may, nevertheless,

it is identical,

be a guide to us in our investigation.


Namely: the final end of the Moral

Law

is

absolute^

so far as

independence and self-sufficiency, not merely


our will is concerned, for the will is always independent,
but so far as our whole being is concerned., Now this
end is unattainable true enough, but, at the same time,
it
can be steadily and uninterruptedly approached.
;

Hence there must be

possible from the first standpoint

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

220

series
every individual a steady and uninterrupted
end.
that
can
he
which
of acts, through
approach
which
acts
those
Conscience can always approve only
Let us figure this in the shape of
occur in this series.
line.
a
Only that which occurs as point in
of

straight

can be approved by conscience, and nothing


Hence our question may also be framed thus:

this line
else.

What

are the acts which occur in the described series ?


To promote insight into the general connection of our

method.

Our

investigation connects here precisely with


the Second Book,
it, at the end of

where we dropped

concerning the applicability of the moral principle.

We

were unable to see, then, how it were possible a priori


to determine our duty, and had no other criterion than
the approval or disapproval of our conscience after the
deed.
We should always have been forced to run the
risk, and could only have collected a few moral principles
through long experience and after many mis-steps. The
moral law, as a law determining the acts, as an essentially
practical law, would have been almost utterly done away
with, and would have been changed into a mere regulative
We, then, in the first chapter
principle of judgment.
of the Third Book found such a criterion, it is true,

namely, the feeling of conscience, and thus we secured


the practical applicability of the moral law. But although
sufficient for acting in life, this was not sufficient for

At present the question is, whether there is


a higher principle, if not in consciousness, at least
in philosophy a highest uniting ground of these feelings
science.

still

of

conscience.

pursued

its

Our
course,

investigation has, therefore, evenly


and we may hope that it will

succeed in penetrating where hitherto


unable to pass.

D.
lie

What

we have been

then are in their substance these acts which

in the series of approach to absolute self-determination ?

This

is

our present problem.

We

have already shown

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


above, that these acts are such, through which
objects conformably to their purpose or end.

221

we

treat

We

re

It is only in consequence
capitulate in a few words.
of a determined limitation of the impulse, and in order
to explain this limitedness, that a determined object
If this impulse itself is posited as
at all posited.
impulse (as a yearning or desiring) and related to the
object, then we have that which the Ego would like to
produce in the object, or what it would like to use it
is

in short, we have the originally determined, and by


no means arbitrarily to be posited, final end and aim
of such object.
But, according to our above remark,
every arbitrary purpose is also an original end and aim
or clearer, I can, at least, execute no purpose which is
for

not demanded by an original impulse. It is, however,


quite well possible that I am conscious only of a part
of

in

original impulse as directed upon an


which case I also comprehend only part

my

object
of the

purpose of the object; but if I comprehend my whole


impulse in its relation to an object, then I also com
prehend the whole purpose or the final end of such
object.

E.

Let

am

to

it

be well considered what this

comprehend the

totality of

my

totality is completed, hence limited.


limitedness of the impulse is asserted.

may mean

impulse.

Thus an

Every
original

be noted, however, that it is a limitedness of an


to
impulse, and not of an actual causality (a power
Thus
the
assertion
signifies,
realize) that we speak here.

Let

it

that the impulse, as original impulse, cannot crave certain

things at

What

all.

sort of

means one
craves, as

of

we

a limitedness might this be?

By no

the impulse in its form, for as such it


But this
know, absolute self-sufficiency.

absolute self-sufficiency is an end which lies in an infinity


and can never be attained, hence the impulse in itself

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

222

cannot cease throughout all infinity. Where then can the


limitedness be ? It must evidently be a material limitedness the impulse must not be able to crave certain things
;

at

all.

Now
one

this limitedness is to be

hence grounded in reason

an original and necessary


itself, and by no means

and empirical.
But there is no other limitedness of reason through
itself than the one which results from the identical
accidental

proposition, that reason

is

to be reason, that the

Ego

is

to

Thus it would seem that the original limitedbe Ego.


ness of the impulse which is grounded in the Ego, is the
limitedness which results from the Egohood itself; and
is comprehended in its totality, wherever
no
limitedness thereof occurs beyond that
positively
which results from the Egohood itself.
There can be no impulse in the Ego to cease to be Ego,
or to become non-Ego
for if there were, the impulse of
the Ego would be to annihilate itself, which is con

the impulse

tradictory.

But

again, every limitedness of the impulse,

which does not result immediately from the Ego, is no


original limitedness, but simply a limitedness which we
have appended to ourselves through our imperfect re
flection.
We have contented ourselves with so much less
than we can demand.
In short, the impulse, viewed in its totality, craves the
absolute self-determination of an Ego as such.
The con
ceptions of Egohood and of absolute self-determination
are to be synthetically united, and
through this synthesis
we shall receive the material content of the moral law.
I

shall

be a

self-determined

Ego

this

is

my

final

end and aim/ and whatsoever external things promote


this my
self-sufficiency, to that use I am to put them
such is their final end and aim. We have thus opened
to us an even way into our
We have only
investigation.
:

to establish all the conditions of the

relate

them

to the

Egohood

as such, to

impulse of self-determination, and to

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

223

determine this impulse thereby. When we have achieved


this, we shall have exhausted the content of the moral
law.

We

now proceed

to

do

so.

L
THE BODY AS CONDITION OF THE MORAL CAUSALITY
OF THE EGO.

The

reflecting

Ego must

find itself as

Ego

must, as

it

In this respect we have


were, be itself given to itself.
shown above, that it finds itself with an impulse, which
impulse, precisely because it is only found as given, and
evinces no self-activity in this finding, is posited as
natural impulse.

That which has been thus found, being the object of a


quantum.

reflection, is necessarily a private and limited


If the natural impulse, which in itself is one, is

separated

through free reflection in the before-described manner,


there arises a manifold of impulses, which, however,
being finite, must necessarily be a closed system of
manifold impulses.
I cannot look upon these impulses
or this impulse as something foreign, but must relate it to
myself and place it as an accidence in the same substance,

which freely thinks and wills.


For although I must relate that impulse
posit

it

as

objective

to myself,

and

my impulse, it yet, in a certain respect, remains


to me, to me as the truly free and
self-sufficient

There results from the impulse a mere yearning,


I can or can not satisfy, as I choose, which, there
in
so far as I am free, remains always outside of
fore,
and under me in short, there results from it for me as
Ego.

which

only the knowledge that this determined


in
is
me. As power, as motive, etc., it remains
yearning
to
me.
Now if I determine myself through
foreign
freedom to satisfy this yearning, it becomes mine in quite
intelligence,

another significance.

It is

now mine

in so far as I

am

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

224
free,

and have appropriated

assigned

to

me

not only

it

through freedom

idealiter,

it

is

through theoretical

cognition but realiter, through self-determination. Even


on the standpoint of common consciousness I regard
myself as double, get into dispute with myself, enter into
;

judgment with myself,

etc.

In the latter case I posit myself, and am solely that


as which I posit myself.
This holds good to such an
extent, that I do not truly appropriate as mine that
which I find in me in the first-mentioned respect, but
only that which I posit in me through self-determination.
in common life we distinguish very clearly between
that which belongs to our personality, and is not ours

Even

through our own freedom, as, for instance, birth, health,


genius, etc., and that which we are through freedom for
;

when

the poet says genus, et proavi, et quae


non fecimus ipsi, vix ea NOSTRA puto.
Now that, which the original impulse demands, is
instance,

when I determine myself to do it through free


dom, to occur in experience. At present this case occurs.
The natural impulse belongs to the original impulse.
What will be the result, if I determine myself selfalways,

actively to satisfy it?


By answering this question
shall make clearer the distinction
just drawn.

The

result of the natural impulse

is

mere working

we
of

nature, the causality of which nature is precisely at an


end in that impulse, which I posit as mine; but the
result of iny self-determination is in truth
my working,
It will occur in
grounded in me as a free being.
experience, signifies I feel it as a tendency in nature to
exercise causality upon herself.
is

All my power and


causality in nature is nothing but
the causality of nature (in
me) upon herself (outside of
me).

Now my nature stands under the control of freedom,


and nothing can result
through it without the direction
of

the latter.

In the plant, the nature of the


plant

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

225

works immediately upon itself /but in me, nature can


only affect herself by passing through the mediation of a
Previous to the selfvoluntarily- produced conception.
all
that
on
the
which,
determining,
part of nature, is
necessary to success has been given, it is true; but nature
in

is not in itself
sufficient to produce a
That which, on the part of the subject, is
necessary to success has not been given previous to the

this

region

causality.

The

self-determining.

act of

self-determining supplies
necessary for a causality is
Self-determination furnishes to the power of
complete.
my nature the requisite principle, namely, the first motive
this,

and now

all

that which

is

power, which nature lacks, and thus it is that the doing


of nature now becomes my doiny, as actual
Ego, which
has

made

This

is

be that which

itself to

the

first

it

is.

and primary matter on which our

It will be necessary, however,


something else, which is already
known and proven. In consequence of the reflection, all
nature is posited necessarily as contained in and filling
up space, hence, as matter. ISTow, since we have posited
the system of our natural impulses as product and part

argumentation
to

call

is

based.

attention

of nature,

we must

to

necessarily posit

it,

likewise, as matter.

It is thus that the

system of our natural impulse becomes


a material body.
In this our body is contained, and con
centrates itself, that working of nature, which, however,
has no causality in itself. But it has causality immedi
ately, in consequence of our will, and thus our will
becomes immediate cause in our body. We only need to
The
will, and that which we will results in the body.
in
our
and
is
need
power,
body
immediately completely
not first be subjected to our will like all other external
nature.
Nature has placed the body alone in our power,
without any free co-operation of our own.
Our body has ^sensation, i.e., the natural impulse con
centrated in it is necessarily posited as ours and appro
priated by us, and

we may

satisfy, or

not satisfy

it,

as

we

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

226

From this alone arises, as we have shown, the


whole system of our sensuous cognition.
Again the
motion
is
in
body
placed
immediately through the will,
and has causality upon nature. Such a body, precisely
such a one, is condition of Egohood, since it results simply
from self -reflection, which alone makes the Ego to be an
choose.

Ego.

We develop the further results.


its

substance, an acting

All possible acting

is,

in

demanded through the natural im

For all our acting occurs in nature, and is possible


and becomes actual for us in nature, but all external nature

pulse.

exists for us only in

consequence of the natural impulse.

The natural impulse appeals to me only through my


body, and is realized in the world outside of me only
through the causality of my body. The body is instru
ment of all our perceptions, and hence, since all
cognition
is

based on perception, of

ment, likewise, of

all

condition of Egohood.

upon conservation,

our cognition it is instru


This relation is a
The natural impulse is directed
all

in causality.

culture,

and the general well-being or


it is an
impulse and is

perfection of our body, as sure as


directed upon itself, for this

impulse

is itself

our body in

But the natural impulse goes no


further, for nature cannot rise above itself.
Nature s end
is itself.
Our nature has our nature for its final end and
aim, but our nature is encircled in our body, and hence,
its

materialization.

our, as well as

all,

nature has only the body for

its final

end and aim.

My highest impulse is to have absolute self-dependence.


This I can approach
only through acting, but I can act
only through rny body. Hence, the satisfying of that
impulse, or all morality, is conditioned through the pre
servation and highest
On the
perfection of the body.
other hand,
self-sufficiency, or morality, is to be the only
consciously posited object of my acting.
Hence, I must
subordinate the former end to the
latter, must preserve

and cultivate

my

body

solely as tool for

moral acting and

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


not as end in

itself.

All care for

my

induced solely by the purpose to make

it

body must be

a proper tool for

morality, and to preserve it as such.


thus receive here three material moral

We

The

one

227

commands.

negative in its character our body


must never be located as end in itself, or must never
1

first

become object

of

is

an enjoyment for the mere enjoyment s

sake.
2.

The second

be cultivated as
of freedom.

is

a positive

command:

the body

is

to

much

as possible for all possible


purposes
(To kill off sentiments and desires, or to dull

our general powers,

The third a

is

absolutely against duty.)


limitative command: all

enjoyment
which may not, with clearest conviction, be related to the
development of our body for moral aims, is not permitted,
and in violation of the moral law. It is absolutely im
moral to take care of our body without the conviction
that it is thus cultured and preserved for moral
activity,
Eat and drink for the
or, in short, for conscience sake.
3.

If anyone thinks this


glory of God.
morality to be
austere and painful, we cannot help him, for there is no

other.

By

this

established condition of

Egohood the caus

ality of the Ego, which the moral law requires, is


ditioned.
make this remark to show the

We

of

the method.

It

will appear that

there

is

con

progress
a second

condition of Egohood, namely, a condition of the sub


and that there is a
stantiality of the subject of morality
third condition, which requires a certain
necessary reci
procity in this subject; and thus we shall complete the
;

external proof that all the conditions of


Egohood have
been exhausted.
The internal proof appears from the

systematic connection of what

is

to be established.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

228

II.

THE INTELLIGENCE AS CONDITION OF THE MORAL


SUBSTANTIALITY OF THE EGO.

The Ego must find itself as Ego such was the assertion,
from which our last investigation took its starting-point.
The present one starts from the same statement, but with
:

this

distinction,

former we con

the

that, whereas, in

sidered the passivity of the Ego in that reflection of itself,


or the object of the reflection, we now view the activity
An
of the Ego in it, or the subject of the reflection.

must

Ego

have
the

reproduce
conception.
is

power

of

in

reflection,

order

to

given internally through freedom in a

The

have called ideal


activity

activity of the Ego, in this respect, we


It is at once clear that this
activity.

a condition of Egohood.

The Ego

is

necessarily

intelligence.

How is the impulse to be self-determined, or the moral


law related, to this condition of Egohood ?
The moral law appeals to the intelligence as such.
Consciously, and with mature reflection, am I to approach

self-determination.

am

as I

make

it

moral law exists only in so far

intelligence, in so far as I adopt it as


law, and
the rule of
action. The intelligence, therefore,

my

my

conditions the whole being, the substantiality, of the moral


law and not merely, like the body, the causality thereof.
Only when, and in so far as I am intelligence, is there
a moral law: the latter extends no further than the former,
;

and the former

is

the vehicle

the

of

latter.

Hence,

a material subordination of the


intelligence to the moral
law (such as of the natural impulse to the moral
law),

not possible.
I must not
for fear it might be against

is

wish not to know something,

my duty

as

I,

certainly,

must

not give way to many inclinations or lusts of the


body,
from the same fear.
Self-determinedness (morality)

is

our highest purpose.

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


Theoretical

cognition

and aim

of

my

all

therefore,

is,

subordinated to duty.

That

is

to

cognition, of all

to
say,

my

he

229

formaliter

the

final

end

thinking jind

investigating, must he cognition of


duty.
From this result the following three moral laws

my

The

Never subordinate your


one, negative
theoretical reason as such, but
investigate with absolute
freedom, and without regard to anything outside of
1

first

your
(Do not, in advance, resolve upon an end
which you would like to arrive at in
theory for where
could you get this end ?)
2. The second,
positive Cultivate your power of
cognition.

tion as

much

much

as

you can

cogni

learn, think,

and investigate

as

as

you possibly can.


The third, limitation

Eelate all your thinking


3.
In all your thinking be clearly
formaliter to your duty.
conscious of this purpose.
Investigate from duty, and not
from mere curiosity or in order to employ
your mind.
Do not regulate your thoughts so as to find this or that to
:

for how could you


recognize your duty
advance of your cognition ? but always
merely with
the view of recognizing what your
is.
duty

be your duty

in

in.
INDIVIDUALITY AS CONDITION OF THE EGOHOOD.

In our Science of Rights the proof has


already been
established that the Ego can only posit itself as individual.
Hence, the consciousness of individuality is a condition

Egohood. But, inasmuch as the science of morality


higher than any other particular philosophical science,
we must here establish that proof from a higher
of

is

principle.

A. Whatsoever

is

object of a reflection

is

necessarily

and becomes limited by merely being such object.


The Ego is to become object of a reflection. Hence, it is
limited,

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

230

necessarily limited. Now, the Ego is characterized through


a free activity as such, and hence, the free activity must
also l)e limited.
Free activity is limited signifies a
:

quantum, thereof,
opposited to free activity in general,
In short, the Ego
and, in so far, to other free activity.
is

cannot, hy any

manner

of

means, ascribe free activity

to itself without this free activity


being a quantum,
hence, without, at the same time and immediately

and

together

with that thinking, positing another free activity which,


in so far, does not
belong to it.
B.

This would of

itself

lead to no result respecting

individuality, since it is very possible that the


posit that free activity outside of its own,

Ego may

through mere
as, indeed, very

ideal activity, as a
purely possible activity
often happens in actual consciousness. Whenever I ascribe
;

an act to myself I thereby


deny that act to all other free
beings, which are, however, not determined, but merely
possible free beings.
C. But the
following is decisive
Originally, I cannot
determine myself through free ideal
activity, but must
find myself as determined object and, since I am Ego
:

only in so far as I am free, I must find myself free, must


be given to myself as free: curious as this
may appear
at first.
For I can posit something as possible
only in
opposition to something already known to me as actual.
All mere
is
based
abstraction from
possibility
All
actuality.
this is an
actuality

known

philosophy
freedom.

We

upon

consciousness proceeds from an


important proposition of a real

and hence, likewise, the consciousness

add the following

method and conviction

to

I find

of

promote insight into our

myself as object, signified


I find myself as natural
impulse, as product and
That I must reflect, or must be intelli
part of nature.
gence in order to find this, is understood; but this

above

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


when

reflection,

occurs, does not enter consciousness

it

new

enter consciousness at all without

in fact, it does not

231

reflection directed

upon

Now

it.

am

to ascribe

that natural impulse to myself, nay, as we have seen in


I., I am to posit it, as something which, although it

appertains

to

Which, then,

myself.

not

does

me, yet

this

is

to

constitute

whom

am

essentially
to ascribe

Not
the natural impulse ? The substantial, true Ego.
the intelligence as such, as we have just shown, but
rather the free, active Ego.
As sure, therefore, as I am
find

to

myself
as

free

myself
not possible.

natural product, I must also find


active, for otherwise the first finding
as

The former

is

latter.

must

am

determined through the


myself generally, and hence I

find

to

also find myself as

signify,

and how

Firstly,

the

spontaneity I
it
to myself.

is

it

real,

is

What may

free active.

possible
true self

determination

me

cannot find as given to


I

therefore, find

can,

determination

this

through

must give

certain

ideal

self-

through
activity
only through
reproducing one which exists already independently of
me.
But my self-determination exists without my
co-operation signifies
an appeal is
short

it

exists

addressed

as

a conception

to

me

or,

in

determine

to

As

sure as I understand this appeal, I also


as something given in that
self-determination
my
appeal, and thus am given to myself as free in the

myself.
"thmk

conception of that appeal.


As sure as I comprehend this appeal, I ascribe to
myself a determined sphere for my freedom no matter
;

do not com
prehend it, then there arises no consciousness I do not
find myself as yet, but will find myself at another
time perhaps, although all the conditions of my finding
For since I am free, even the
myself exist already.

whether

I use

and

fill

it

up or

If I

not.

existence of
as

free,

all

cannot

the conditions

compel

me

of

thus

my
to

finding
find

myself

myself

in

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

232

reflection

on
all

make

to

reflection absolute spontaneity

this

On
part is requisite.
were
these conditions
given,

my

hand, unless
could not make the

the other
it

reflection in spite of all spontaneity.

D. This requirement, or appeal, addressed to me to be


self -active, I cannot comprehend without ascribing it
to an actual being outside of me, which intended to

communicate
therefore

me

to

such a conception;

of

of

and which

is

the

conception.
conception
a rational being, a being positing
itself as Ego, hence an Ego.
(This furnishes the only
sufficient ground for concluding the existence of a

capable

But such a being

is

rational cause outside of us

and such ground

is

not

furnished merely by the comprehension of the influence


exerted upon us, for that comprehension is always
self

It

[See Science of Rights.]

possible.
-

to

of

consciousness,
Egohood,
rational being outside of myself.)
This rational being I opposit to
to

it

relation

Hence

that
to
it

is
it,

is

is

a condition of

assume

an

actual

TKj^

myself, and myself


to say, I posit myself as individual in
and it an individual in relation to me.

condition

of

Egohood

to

posit

itself

as

individual.

E. Hence it may be strictly a priori proven that a


rational being does not become rational in an isolated
condition, but that at least one other individual outside
of it
itself

must be assumed, through which it might elevate


to freedom.
But further influences, and more

than one other individual, cannot be thus proven, as we


shall soon see

more

closely.

From what we have

here

deduced, however,

there

follows already a limitation of the impulse to be selfdetermined, and hence a further determination of
morality, which

Egohood and

we

self

shall

state at once.

sufficiency

generally

Namely,
is

my

conditioned

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


through the freedom

of the other individual;

233

hence

my

craving after self-determination cannot possibly have for


its object to annihilate the condition
of its own possi
Now I am
bility ; namely, the freedom of the other.
absolutely only to act in obedience to this impulse of
self-determination, and in obedience to no other impulse.

Hence the present


the

absolute"

limitation of

"pfolutiiiion

this

impulse involves

to disturb the freedom

"as

the

of

other; and UK. Mhsolulc- cniiniiimd lu consider the


self-sufficient, and never to use him as means.

<>lh<T

(The

natural impulse was subordinated to the self-determining


The theoretical power is not subordinated to
impulse.
it

materialiter

but neither

to the theoretical power.

is it

But it is subordinate to the freedom of the other. I


must not be self - determined at the expense of the
freedom

of others.)

F. Through my positing even but this one other indi


vidual outside of me, some of all my possible free acts
have become impossible for me namely, all those which
;

by me to the other.
But even in the progress of acting I must always
choose some from all that which is possible to me
condition

freedom

the

ascribed

in

consequence

our

my

of

freedom.

that
which
freedom excludes from

presupposition,

which

my

Now, according
I

my

do

not

actions, is

to

choose,

taken

possession of not through actual, but at least through


and under this presupposition I
possible, individuals
determine my individuality still further through each
;

act.

conception, concerning which I explain


removes a very great diffi
culty in the doctrine of freedom.)
Who am I, in truth ? That is to say, what individual

(An important

myself

am

still

clearer, since it

And

what"

why I am this indi


From the moment that
/ am that individual

the ground,

is

vidual and none other

I reply

have arrived at consciousness

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

234

I make

ivhich

myself

because 1 make myself

At each moment

of

to

I am

with freedom, and

be

it

it.

existence

my

my

being

is

if

not

a
in its conditions, at least in its final determination
"IT
this
freedom.
being again
Through

being through

limited the possibility of


is

(that

cannot

my

being in the future

which amongst
choose to be, depends again upon

my

determines

this

there

But all
makes me

freedom.

all

this

is

is

condition,
viduality,

through
whereas

is

directed

upon me, that the

my

connection with

another

rational

first

being

following conditions depend absolutely upon


In each future moment I must select
freedom.
all

acts,

but

there

is

I should not select every other

no external ground

amongst

all possible

acts.

But there may be many individuals outside of me


A priori, as we have seen, we cannot
that
this
must
be so but we, at least, owe the proof
prove
G.

that influence me.

that

it

can be

so.

The essence

of

freedom

itself

compels me, as we have

seen, to limit myself in each free act, and hence to leave


to other possible free beings the possibility also to act
free.

Nothing prevents these free beings from actually

They can exist, so it appears at least at present,


without detriment to my freedom, which must, as we
have seen, be anyhow limited.

existing.

r-

only^^j

which might be called the root of my indi


is not determined through my freedom, but

amongst many

why

individuality

I am.
the
under
present presupposition that
only
of me, and that
outside
individual
one
only

it

one free influence

my

my

who

materialiter the one

But

moment

in the present moment, I


say, being such
but
be certain things in the future moment)
all still possible things in the future I
to

But can they have actual existence for me, i.e., can
This
perceive them as actually existing, and how ?

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

235

question might be easily answered, according to the


above principles, as follows they can influence me as
free beings influence free beings, by requiring me to be
:

freely active.

But

it

mediately

is

not at

nature, and yet

necessary that they should im

all

me.

influence

will

manner of the influence


being, now that I have
beings outside of me.

influence

They may merely

be able to conclude from the


as to the existence of a rational
the conception

Originally

this

of actual rational
conclusion would

have been impossible for me. The mode of influencing


nature here mentioned, is that mode through which a
work of art is produced. Such a work evinces a con
ception of a conception, which we have shown to be
the criterion of reason.
For the end and aim of the
product of art lies not, as in the product of nature, in
It is always tool, or means
itself, but outside of itself.
for an end.
Its conception is something which is not
involved in the mere contemplation, but can only be

But whosoever
hence a mere conception.
thought
of
the
work
art,
produced
necessarily thought the con
he
intended
to
ception
represent; hence he had necessarily
:

a conception of a conception. As sure as I recognize


something to be a product of art, I necessarily posit an
It is
actually existing rational being as its originator.
not thus with a product of nature.
True, there is a
conception; but you cannot show up a conception of a

conception, unless, perhaps, you presuppose

it

in a world

creator.

have said

it as a product
only possible on condition
and this
that I think already a reason outside of me
latter assumption does not proceed from the perception

of

art."

But

"as

this

sure as I recognize
itself

is

of

product of art which would be a circle of explanation


but from the above described requirement or appeal

to free activity.
It is thus on the standpoint of

common

consciousness,

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

236

upon which perception

in us

is

explained through the

But that which is


existence of things outside of us.
assumed on the standpoint of common consciousness
must

itself

view

of

be explained from the


transce^entalpoint^
it is not permitted to proceecTfronT

on which

the assumption
anything external, but. on wliidi tli.it.
which is said to be external to us must first, be explained
<>!

from something in ourselves. Hence the higher question


to be answered
how do we come to assume products

is

of art outside of us

Whatsoever

held to be outside of us, is posited


of the impulse.
It is the same with
a
limitation
through
But whence
the art-product, in so far as it is object.
is

comes the particular determination

of

it,

that

it is

posited

as art -product ? This leads us to infer a special, peculiar


Let me say it concisely
limitation of the impulse.
or
in
the
object
general our being is limited
through
:

from the limitation of our being we assume an


in
object
general but the impulse may desire a modi
In the present instance, however,
fication of the object.
better

is not merely a limitation of our being, but also


our becoming ; we feel our acting repelled internally
there is even a limitation of our desire to act, and hence

there
of

we assume freedom
presses

this

outside of

excellently

in

(Mr. Schelliiig ex
Philosophical Journal,

us.

the

Wherever my moral power finds


page 281
there
cannot
be mere nature.
resistance,
Shudderingly
I stop.
Here is man ! speaks a voice to me. I must
vol.

"

iv.

not go further.")
If it does happen,
This can happen, as we have seen.
I am still further limited than through mere Egohood;
for it was not involved in the conception of Egohood,

we have seen. If it does happen, I am no longer a


mere rational being in general, which I could be if there
existed only one other individual outside of me, and if he
had only uttered himself once in relation to me but I am
as

a particular rational being.

It is this particular limited-

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

237

ness which cannot be

a priori deduced from the general


limitedness, since in that case it were not a particular
is based the
purely empirical, which in
however, must also be grounded a priori.
Nevertheless this limitedness is an original one. Let it
not be supposed, therefore, that it originates in time.

one.

Upon

it

its possibility,

HOW

nevertheless, in a certain respect,

we

may also

does arise in

it

shall

immediately see.
The result of the above proposition

time,

is

this

Individuality

in its progress be determined


through something

than freedom, namely, through original limitedness,


which, however, cannot be deduced, but being a particular
limitedness is in this respect accidental for us on the
else

standpoint of experience.
It may be thus
With

this, philosophy must content


and in treating a science which is influenced by
this presupposition, philosophy must
always establish
the results derived from it as conditioned propositions.
Such a science is the science of morality, and hence the
:

itself;

material part of

this

science

contains

something con

we

give up our claim to pure philosophy,


and place ourselves on the standpoint of facts, we can,
ditioned.

If

of course, say

it

is

so.

For instance,

can and must

not be and become everything, since there are others who


are also free.
But on the standpoint of pure philosophy,
this and others always remain conditioned propositions.
Originally I am limited not merely formaliter through
the Egohoodj but likewise materialiter through something

which does not necessarily belong to Egohood. There


are certain points beyond which I am not to go even
with my freedom, and this non- shall ing evinces itself in

me

I explain these points to me through


immediately.
the existence of other free beings and their free effects

in

my

sensuous world.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

238

H. But this theory seems to have enveloped us in a


I
contradiction, and led us to very dangerous results.
enter

upon their discussion, partly to promote


and
clearness,
partly because it decides a difficult philo
sophical dispute, and places the doctrine of freedom,
which is all-important in a science of morality, in the
will

complete

light.

free acts of others are originally to lie within me


as the limitative points of
individuality.
They are,
therefore, to make use of this popular expression, pre

The

my

destined from all eternity, and are not determined in time.


this cancel my freedom ?
By no means, if

But does not

not at the same time predestined how I shall react


upon those free acts and the freedom of choice amongst

it is

remains always mine, as we have fully


But let us rise to a higher point. The other
established.
beings in the sensuous world, upon whom / act, are also
all possible acts

and the perception of my influence upon


predestined for them, as for me the perception of

rational beings,

them

is

upon me is predestined. For me, my acts


are not predetermined, I perceiving them as the result
of my absolute self-determination, but for all others, who
their influence

together with me, they are predetermined, and, in


manner, do their acts appear to them self-determined,
and to me predetermined.
Hence, my free actions are
But how can freedom co- exist
certainly predestined.
with this ?
The matter stands thus: predetermination cannot be
live

like

dropped,

for

selves,

we drop

if

it,

and hence,

rational beings,

remain inexplicable

freedom, for

if

the reciprocal relation of

.those rational beings

but neither can

we

do,

not

difficult.

free

or

rational

them

we abandon
beings

cease

to be.

The solution

is

For me

(I shall

say so at

present, in order to be but able to express myself, although


an important remark will have to be made
respecting it),

for me,

all

the influences of free


beings are

priori deter-

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


mined.

But

A priori

is

let

us recollect

what a

priori

239
signifies.

no time and no succession, no one after another,


but everything simultaneously (an improper but necessary
Hence, it is not at all determined how I
expression).
cause the events to follow each other in time, how I
connect this series with that other determined individual

What I am to experience in my life is


&c.
The others outside of
determined, but not from whom.

series,

me remain

free.

In the same manner,

it

is

certainly determined

for

what influences of other free beings are to be


directed upon them, and hence, likewise, those influences
which / have exerted upon them were predetermined;
but it was not predestined, by any means, that /, the
individual which had these and those original determina
others

If another one
tions, should exercise these influences.
exerted them before I did, I did not exert them, and if
I did not exert them, perhaps another one exerted them
if they exerted it in their own freedom,
be that which I am, no one exerted such influence
Who am I then, after all? We repeat
upon them.

after me, or
to

again

have now

am

I
only that which I make myself to be.
in
the
acted so or so far, and hence, I am

dividual to
c,

whom

appertain the acts

a,

b,

c,

&c.

From

acts stretch out before


again, an infinity of predestined

and reality
no
means, that
of all these acts is predestined, but, by
follow the
should
precisely the one which I now choose
series a, b, c, which constitutes now my individuality,
There are first determined
and so on ad infinitum.
from each of these there
and
points of individuality,
and
it
stretch out an infinity,
depends altogether upon its
still possible individuals it
of
all
the
which
own freedom

me, from which

can choose.

The

possibility

becomes.

My

assertion, therefore, is this

all free acts

are pre

destined from all eternity, i.e., outside of all time, through


with
reason, and each free individual is placed in harmony

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

240

For the totality of


these acts in respect to perception.
reason there extends an infinite manifold of freedom and
perception, and all individuals share in it, as it were.
But the succession and content of time is not predestined,
from the sufficient reason that time is not something
o
eternal and pure, but merely a form of the contemplation
of finite beings, namely, the time in which
something is
to occur; neither are the actors predestined.

by a

And

thus,

the apparently unanswerable question


has dissolved of its own accord predetermination and
little attention,

freedom are completely united.


The difficulties which might still seem to linger here
are based on the fundamental defect of
dogmatism, which
makes all being primary and original, and hence, sepa
rates being and acting
if it does
recognize acting at all
altogether from each other, giving to an individual his
whole being independently of his acting. By this pro
cedure, if one thinks determinedly enough, all freedom
and all real acting are certainly cancelled. No man in

the world can act otherwise than he does act,


although,
There is
perhaps, he acts badly, being the man he is.

nothing truer than this proposition, which is, in fact,


merely an identical proposition. But he ought not to be
this man, and could be
quite another man; nay, there
ought not to be such a man in the world at all.
Nevertheless,

person as it is

it

is

said

even before

that

person

is

such a

born, that its relations


and fate, from the day of its birth to its death, are
pre
But what is our fate, and
destined, only not its actions.
what are our relations in life, otherwise than the objective
view of our acting? If our actions
depend upon our
it

is

freedom, surely so does our fate.


I am only what I act.
Now, if I think myself in time, I am, in a certain
respect, not determined until I have acted in this respect.
True, he who cannot cure himself of the fundamental
evil of

dogmatism cannot see into the theory

of freedom,

CHAPTER

III.

ABSOLUTE HARMONY OF ALL RATIONAL BRINGS AS


CONDITION OF MORALITY.

SELF-SUFFICIENCY, our final


have often said, in this, that
me, and I not dependent
whole sensuous world that

end and aim,


everything

consists, as

we

is

dependent upon
upon anything; that in my
which I will happens simply

because I will

it, precisely as is the case in my body,


the beginning point of my absolute causality.
The world
must become for me, what my body is. True, this object
is unattainable, but I shall
always endeavour to approach

and hence shall always treat everything in the


sensuous world, so as to make it a means for this final end
and aim. This approaching is my real end.
It is no hindrance to my freedom, that I was set down
upon a certain point by nature, and that nature thus, as it
were, took the first step for me on this my way into

it,

infinity.

Nor does it interfere with my freedom, that


commencement there was given to me a

at the very
sphere for

possible path of freedom through another


rational being outside of me
for only thus do I attain
freedom, and before I have freedom my freedom cannot

my

be interfered with.
I

am

/Nor

forced to assume

still

does

it hinder my freedom, if
other free and rational beings
o

outside of me, for their freedom and rationality, as such,


is not an object of
perception, which might limit me, but
is

altogether

spiritual

conception.

Finally

it

is

no

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

242

my

curtailing of

many

possible acts

freedom, if I must choose amongst


for such a choice is the condition of
;

the consciousness of
that freedom

itself.

freedom, and hence conditions


Moreover, the matter of the choice

my

always under niy control, because all possible free


and even if other
of acting are under my control
free beings should then choose amongst those possible
is

modes

acts

which

sufficiency.

not choose, this would not limit my selfThey would not limit me, thereby, but 7

I did

them.

however, in accordance with our last presupposition,

If,

and with general experience, that which falls within


my path and into the world of my experience should
already be modified through free beings outside of me in
that case my freedom is certainly checked, if I may
;

no longer modify this object myself according to my pur


pose and we have seen that the moral law absolutely
forbids my doing so.
I am not to disturb the freedom of
;

rational beings.

But

I change the products of their


freedom itself for those products
are to them means for other purposes, and if I take away
from them these means they cannot continue their
causality in accordance with their first purpose.
Here we therefore seem to have hit upon a contradiction
of the impulse of self-determination, and hence of Uie
moral law with itself. The moral law requires (i) that I
should subject whatsoever limits or, which is the same,
whatsoever lies in my sensual world, to my absolute
end and aim that I should make it a means to draw

freedom

if

I disturb their

nearer to absolute self-sufficiency.


(2) That I should not subject certain things, which
limit me, or which are in
my sensuous world, to my
absolute end-purpose, but should leave them as I find
them.

Both are immediate commands of the moral law;


first, when we consider this law
generally and the

the

second,

when we consider

it

in a
particular manifestation,

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

243

II.

The contradiction can be


of

solved,

the moral law with itself

we presuppose

and the harmony

can be restored only,

if

beings have necessarily the


If this is so, then the end of the

that

all free

same final end and aim.


one individual is at the same time the end of the other
and the liberation of one from dependence the liberation

of

others.

all

Is

this

so

Since everything

us, namely, the


everything
acteristic of our science of morality

to

cularly

the answering of this question,

we

peculiar

parti

char

depends upon

shall discuss it

more

thoroughly.

The impulse to be self-sufficient is an impulse of


Egohood, and has only Egohood for its end; the Ego alone
is

to be the subject of self-sufficiency.

Now

it is

certainly,

we have

seen, involved in Egohood, that each Ego


should be an individual, but only an individual in general,

as

and not

this particular individual A, B, C, &c.


Since all
the determinations, except the original and first one of

our individuality, depend upon our freedom, as we have


seen that A, B, &c., can only signify to me the original
limitation of freedom or, what we have called above, the
;

root of all individuality.


Hence since it is accidental
to the Egohood in general, that /, the individual A, am
precisely this A, and since the impulse of self-sufficiency
is to be an
impulse of the Egohood in general, as such,
this impulse certainly does not crave the self-sufficiency
of the particular individual A, but of reason in general.
The self-sufficiency of reason as such, is our ultimate

purpose

and hence not the

in so far as it is

But

I,

this

it

am
A.

so far as I

Hence

is

am

concerned, only in

my

Only through A can I work in obedience


moral law, since I can only work through A at all.

consciousness.
to the

our reason,

empirical self; and


becomes conscious of that impulse and that law of

so far as I

only

A,

am

self -sufficiency of

an individual reason.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

2 44

me, the exclusive condition


In one word, A
of this moral impulse.
is

for

of the
is

not

causality
object,

but

and vehicle of the moral law.


A is for me the only
such tool, but now it is
was
At first only the body
man ; and thus
determined
the whole sensuous empirically
the
once
for
empirical and the
we have here
separated
tool

which
pure Ego in the strictest manner,
for

philosophy, and particularly

all

is

for

very important
the science

of

morals.

craves

the

self-

impulse of self-sufficiency
reason in general, and if this selfsufficiency of
individuals
can
only be represented in the
sufficiency
it is necessarily
then
and
them;
through
A, B, C, &c.,
If the

altogether

indifferent

represents

for,

it;

undivided empire

which

is

satisfied.

to

me, whether A, or B, or C

since all belong equally to the one


of reason, it is always reason in general

is always
represented, and hence my impulse
I desire morality in general within or outside

me this is all the same. I desire it of myself only,


in so far as it appertains to me and of others in so far
end is attained equally in the
as it belongs to them
of

my

one or the other manner.

end is attained, if the other acts morally. But he


In
is free, and through freedom may also act immorally.
I
not
then
Have
the latter case my end is not attained.
the right and the obligation to destroy the effect of his
I do not appeal to the above negative pro
freedom ?
since
position, but deduce it here anew and thoroughly,
be
is
to
Keason
this is the proper place for doing so.
to
demand
self-sufficient, but reason appeals with this
no
such
is
the determined individual B, C, &c., and there
demand at all, nor any (material) self-sufficiency in fact,
except by means of the formal freedom of all individuals.

My

Hence the

latter is exclusive condition of all causality of

If it is cancelled, all causality, and


reason in general.
hence also the causality to be self-sufficient, is cancelled.

Hence everyone who

wills the latter

must

also will the

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


Freedom

former.

and without

is

245

absolute condition of all


morality,

no morality is at all possible. Thus the


absolute prohibition of the moral law becomes confirmed,
that the freedom of the free being must under no con
dition, and under no pretext, be disturbed or cancelled.
it

But this leaves the contradiction unsolved, and we can


say also: I desire, and can only desire, that the other
should be free, on condition that he uses his freedom to
promote the end of reason, and otherwise I cannot desire

him

free at

the

other must

In other words, while the freedom of


on no account be disturbed, I must

all.

to cancel any use made of freedom


moral law, and unless I do so desire, the
wish that the moral law should reign supreme, is not

absolutely desire

to cancel the

controlling me.
Here likewise there arises the further question What
exercise of freedom is in violation of the moral law, and
:

who can be

the universally valid judge thereof ?


If the
he has acted in accordance with his

other asserts that

best conviction, whilst /act under the


differently, he is as

convinced that

same circumstances

act immorally, as I
am convinced that he acts immorally. Whose conviction
is now to be the rule ?
Neither, so long as both are in
dispute, for each

is

to act solely according to his con

and therein consists the formal condition of all


Can we then separate, and allow each the
morality.
viction,

other to pursue his

own

course

Absolutely not, unless

we

criminally renounce all our interest for universal


morality and the supreme rule of reason. Hence we must

endeavour to make our judgment agree. Of course, so


long as each one acts at all conscientiously, each one will
presuppose that his own opinion is the correct one, for
otherwise he must have acted immorally in following it,
and hence each one will endeavour to convince the other,

and not

by the other. But in doing this,


the same, they must finally after all
same result
and until then it is the

to be convinced

since all reason

arrive

at

the

is

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

246

absolute duty of each to respect the eternal freedom of


the other. Each can and must only desire to deter

mine the conviction of the other, but not to physically


The first mode is the only permitted way
free
which
beings may exercise compulsion upon free
by

influence him.

beings.

We

shall

examine

this

matter more carefully.

III.

A. The final moral end of each rational being

is,

as

we

have seen, the self-sufficiency of reason in general, and


hence the morality of all rational beings. We must all
Hence Kant s proposition
act in the same manner.
Act in such a manner, that the maxim of your will can
:

"

be thought by you as the principle of a universal legis


Still the following is to be observed in regard

lation."

to

Kant s standpoint

Kant speaks only

of

the idea of

We

a harmony, but not of a real, actual harmony.


shall
show, on our part, that this idea has real use, that we
it, and must in part act as if it were
Moreover, in Kant s shape, the proposition is
merely heuristic, i.e., I can use it very well for the
purpose of examining whether I have erred in judging
my duty but on no account is it constitutive. It is, in

must try

to realize

realized.

not a principle which Kant enunciates, but merely


the result of a true principle, namely, of the absolute

fact,

The inference does not stand


self-sufficiency of reason.
in Kant: because something can be principle of a universal
ought to be maxim of my will
but the very contrary, namely, because something is to
be a maxim of my will, therefore it can also be the
legislation, therefore it

principle of a universal legislation. The judgment proceeds


from me, as is indeed clear in Kant s proposition for who
;

judges whether something can be principle of a universal


Doubtless I myself. But according to what
legislation?
do
I
form this judgment ? Undoubtedly accordprinciples

_J

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


ing to those which my
however,
has,

position

own
a

Kant s pro

reason holds.
heuristic

247

use,

namely,

which results in an absurdity, is false. Now


it is absurd that I, X,
ought to do that, which I cannot
think that all others ought likewise to do under the
same circumstances and hence, if I cannot think this, I,
X, ought certainly not to do it either, and have most
proposition,

certainly

do

made

a mistake in concluding that I ought to

it.

produce absolute harmony with him


him, for only on condition
of this harmony is he himself free and independent.
First of all, therefore, each one shall live in a community,
for otherwise he cannot produce harmony with himself,
B.

Each one

is

to

self in all others outside of

Whosoever separates him


from mankind, renounces his final end and aim, and

as is absolutely
self

commanded.

holds the extension of morality to be utterly indifferent.


Whosoever wants to take care only of himself, even in a

moral respect, does not even take care of himself, for his
end ought to be to take care of all mankind. His virtue
is no virtue, but only perhaps a slavish merit -seeking
It is not made our duty to seek or create our
egotism.
selves society; he, who was born in a desert, might
but everyone who becomes ac
perhaps remain there
;

quainted with others is, through that very acquaintance,


He becomes
morally obliged to take care of them also.
our neighbour, and belongs to our world of reason, as the
world of sense.
objects of our experience belong to our
unconscieiitious we cannot abandon
Without
.

becoming

This does away at once with the opinion, which


manifests itself amongst us yet in various ways, that the
life of a recluse, a living apart from men, and indulgence
him.

mere sublime thoughts and speculation, is enough for


of duty, nay, is a more meritorious
Such conduct by no means
of
s
one
duty.
fulfilling
satisfies duty.
It is only through acting, and not through

in

the requirement

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

248

speculating, only through acting in

we

and

for society, that

fulfil

duty.
It likewise follows, that each one will
only aim to
convince the other, and not to allow himself to be
convinced.
This is in the nature of the case.
He

must be certain in himself, or he would be unconscientious in not only acting himself


according to his
uncertain principles, but also trying to persuade others
to do so.

end and aim is not the exclusive charac


an individual, but is common to all. Each
one shall have this same end, and it is the
duty of each,
as sure as lie desires to
promote universal moral culture,
to induce each other one to make this his end.
This
C. This final

teristic of

unites

men

each only tries to convince the other of his

opinion, and yet becomes himself, perhaps, convinced


in this dispute.
Each one must be ready to open himself
to

this

perhaps
a

reciprocal
lest lie

want

of

more

Whosoever

flies

belief,

his

from

it,

betrays

which ought absolutely


and which makes it, therefore,

self-conviction,

have no existence;
the

influence.

should be disturbed in his

to
all

duty to enter into such discussion in order

to attain this conviction.

This reciprocity
amongst all rational beings for the
purpose of producing common practical convictions, is
only possible in so far as all start from common principles,
such as necessarily exist in order to connect their further
convictions to these
principles.

Such a reciprocity, which


bound to enter, is called a Church, an ethical
^commonwealth; and that about which they all agree,
is called their
Each one ought to be member
symbol.
of the Church.
But the symbol must, unless the Church
each one

is

community
changed;

is

for

to

be

utterly

fruitless,

be

constantly

concerning which all agree, will


necessarily increase as the minds continue to influence
each other more and more.
(The symbols of some
that,

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

249

Churches seem rather to contain that, concerning


which all are at variance, and what not a single one
believes in his heart, because not a single one can even
think

it.)

D. The agreeing of

in the

all

same practical convic

and the uniformity

of action resulting therefrom,


is therefore the necessary end of all virtuous men.
shall closely examine this important point, which
tions,

We

our science, and which

characteristic of

is

exposed to

many

doubtless

is

doubts.

The Moral Law

in me, as individual, has not me alone,


but universal reason for its object. It has me for its

object solely in so far as I am one of the tools of its


realization in the sensuous world.
Hence all that it

requires of

me, as individual, and for which

me

holds

it

Con
responsible,
I
this
referred
culture
of
am, therefore,
cerning
myself
own private convictions, and not to the
solely to
is

that I shall become a

tit

tool.

my

common

relation to the

and

As

conviction.

individual,

Moral Law,

understanding, I alone

of

/The development
altogether upon my own
culture.

freedom

of thinking.

my

and

as

tool

of

in

a body

possessed
responsible for their

understanding depends
I have absolute

conviction.

must not deem

it

unconscientious,

me it is unconscientious, to doubt
however holy it may appear, and to investi

nor must the Church


everything,

of

am
am

tell

further.
This investigation is absolute duty and
a violation of duty to leave matters of this kind
undecided.
In regard to my body, I have absolute

gate

it

is

it

freedom to nourish, cultivate, and take care


I

may

of

it,

as

conviction, best to preserve


make it a useful and good tool.

hope, according to

my

healthy, and
duty to act in this matter as others do nay,
it is immoral to let the
preservation of my body depend
upon the opinions of others without conviction of my
own.

it,

keep

it

It is not

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

250

That which is outside of my body, and hence the


whole sensuous world, is common to all rational
beings,
and the cultivation thereof according to the dictates
of reason,

not only assigned to me, but to all rational


not alone responsible for it, and in
beings.
taking
part in this cultivation must not proceed according
to my private conviction, for I cannot influence this
sensuous world without influencing other rational
I

is

am

beings,

and hence without infringing

my

upon

influence does not suit their

own

their

freedom,

if

That, which

will.

must not do without the consent


and hence in accordance with
principles which
all have
approved, and which are conformable to their
common conviction. But from this it would seem to
affects all, I positively

of

all,

follow, that

if

such a

common

conviction and

concerning the manner in which each


the sensuous world, is impossible, all
of all,

harmony

may influence

acting is impossible,
Still it is
contradictory to the Moral Law.
also against that Law to act otherwise than
according
to such universal
Hence it must be an
harmony.

which

is

absolute command of the Moral Law to


produce such
a harmony.
This agreement of all men, as to how each
one may influence the other, that is to
say, the agreement
of

concerning their common rights in the sensuous


called the State Constitution, and the
community
of men which have established such an
agreement, is
all

world,

is

called the State.

It is absolute moral
duty to unite
with others into a State. Whosoever refuses to do
so,
is not to be tolerated at all in
society, because no one
can conscientiously enter into relation with
him; he

having refused to declare his will and his rights, is


thus always
exposing others to the risk of treating him
against his will and his rights.
Since men, therefore, cannot
erected,

and

act

before

State

is

being difficult to obtain


the express agreement of
all, or of only a considerable
portion, to a constitution
the more cultured man is
it,

nevertheless,

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


forced to take the

silence, of

251

others to certain measures,

and their submission

to the same, for acquiescence.


Nay,
there will probably be at first many imperfections in the
distribution of rights, since some will not give their

consent to a system of order unless they obtain great


In this
advantages, while others will submit to all.

manner

arises,

the

and has

state

as

legal

and rational

first

the

arisen,

condition
It

state.

conditionally to the laws of

duty to submit

is

one

compulsory need-

gradual progress to a

of

un

State, for these laws

the presumptive common will, in violation of


which no one has a right to influence the other. Each
one attains moral permission to influence others only

contain

through their consent as expressed in the laws of a State.


It is immoral to overthrow the State unless I am firmly
convinced that the whole people desires such an over
throw, which can only be the case under circumstances
we shall hereafter develop immoral to do so, even if I am
convinced of the illegality and irrationality of the greatest
;

number
influence

of its institutions, for in

this

matter

do not

myself alone, but the whole commonwealth.

My

conviction, concerning the illegality of the constitu


is, perhaps, very correct in itself, i.e., for pure reason,
we could obtain her in visible shape. Nevertheless,

tion,
if

only my private conviction, but I must not act in


matters relating to the whole commonwealth, according

it

is

private conviction, as has been shown above.


is a contradiction here.
I am inwardly convinced
that the constitution is a violation of right and justice,
to

my

There

and yet I help to maintain it, if only by iny acquiescence.


Nay, perhaps I even hold an office under this unrighteous
constitution.
Ought I not, at least, to resign the latter ?
On the contrary, I ought to hold it and must not with
draw from the State, for it is better that the wise and
What
just should govern than the unwise and unjust.
Plato says about it is not correct
I am not allowed to withdraw from

nay, contradictory.

my

country.

Some

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

252

one says

But I, at
But this is a selfish
commit it ? If you
"

commit no injustice
Will you then let others

least, will
spirit.

see that

"

wrong-doings occur, you

ought to prevent them.


11

But in

But

that case

act against

my

better

conviction."

not likewise your correct and moral conviction


that in matters of common concern
you should act only in
is

it

common will ? Hence, it is no injustice


another as he has expressed his will
to be treated in the
law; and you only act according
to your conviction, if
you so treat him. You ask how
may this contradiction be reconciled ? Easily enough, if we
conformity to the

at

to

all

treat

will only look at the different kinds of conviction


shall

You speak

both cases.

of in

be,

of a condition to be

spoken

of the conviction of ivhat

produced whereas I speak


an actuality to which I belong myself
the State.
Both must be united, and can
;

of the conviction of

as

member

of

I
easily be united.
of our need-state as a

must regard the present condition


means to produce the rational state,
and must always act only with this view. I must not
take

my measures so as to let things remain as they


but rather so as to let them
An acting in
get better.
the State, which has not this
in
view, may be
object

are,

materialiter legal
enough, namely, in so far as

it

less

is

promotes that object but formaliter


But an acting, which has the
;

it

neverthe

immoral

opposite object in view,


certainly both materialiter and formaliter, evil and
unconscientious.
If some men have, for a certain
length
of time, acted in accordance with these
principles, it
may well happen that the common will becomes utterly
is

opposed to the government of the State, and whenever


this takes place, the
longer continuation of that govern

ment becomes

tyranny and oppression. The needand a rational form of govern


ment takes its place. Each honest man, who has but
convinced himself of the common
will, may then quietly
state tumbles

take

it

upon

illegal

down

of itself,

his conscience to
completely

overthrow

it.

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

253

Some men 1 will not call


(I append here a remark
them unconscientious, for this they must determine in
:

their
of

own

conscience, but, at least, very stupid men


raised a terrible cry, as if the belief

late,

unmeasured

have,

an
were something very dangerous,

perfectibility

in

very irrational, and the source of God only knows what


wickedness.
Let us set our investigation in the
proper
point of view, so as to put for ever a stop to this idle
talk.
Let us observe firstly, that it is not at all the

next question, whether, from merely theoretical reasons,

we must

decide for or against this


perfectibility.

We may

put this question altogether aside. The infinitely ex


tending moral law commands absolutely to treat men
as if they were, and always remained,
capable of perfection,
and positively prohibits treating them in a different
manner.

We cannot

command

unless we believe in per


one of the first articles of faith,
which we cannot doubt even without
renouncing our whole
moral nature. Hence, if it could be proven that the
fectibility.

obey this

Hence

it is

human

race, from the beginning of the world to the present


has
never progressed, but always retrogressed
day,
nay,
even if, from the natural disposition of men, the mechanical
;

law could be shown that they must necessarily


retrograde
(which is certainly far more than ever can be shown), we
still
ought not and could not give up that faith implanted
ineradicably within us.
in this, for this faith

but upon freedom.


therefore,

is

JST or

is

there any contradiction

based not upon natural disposition,

What

who would make

sort of people
us believe that

must there

be,

foolishness

it is

which the moral law absolutely commands ?


certainly true, that nothing is more dangerous to
the tyranny of despots and priests, and more calculated to
shake their empire to its very foundations, than this faith.
to hold a faith

But

this

is

The only plausible reason which


and which it does not tire to

this tyranny can assign,


plead, is that men can
not be treated otherwise than it treats them that men
;

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

254

are

they are and must ever so remain, and that


whole position, therefore, must always remain as

as

their
it

is.

We

repeat: all, necessarily, as sure as their


dear to them, are desirous to infuse their
convictions into all others, and the union of all for this
E.

destination

is

Mutual conviction, however,


the
possible only
disagreeing parties proceed from
wherein
they agree for, otherwise, both neither
something
understand nor influence each other.
Both remain
purpose

is

called the Church.


if

is

each one speaking his part to himself without the


other hearing him.
Now, where there are only two
or three who are to explain mutually to each other their
isolated,

opinions, it must be easy enough to unite on one common


point, since they all occupy the same standpoint of common
sense.
(In the science of philosophy, which is to rise

the standpoint of transcendental consciousness, this


not always possible and in it it is quite possible that
philosophizing individuals do not agree on a single point.)
to

is

But, according to our demand, each one

who probably

How

opinions.

is

to influence all

diverge considerably in their individual


is he to discover what
they all agree

Certainly not by going around and asking them.


Hence, there must be something which can be pre
supposed and which may be regarded as the confession

upon

of faith of

all,

or as their symbol.

It is involved in the conception of

such a symbol, that


should be not particularly determined, but very general
in its statement, for it is
precisely concerning the further
determination of it that individuals disagree. But the
it

conception likewise involves that this symbol should be


proper for all, even the least cultured, and hence that
it should not consist of abstract
propositions, but of
sensuous representations thereof.
The sensuous repre
sentation

symbol.

is
merely the hull; the conception is the real
That precisely this representation was a matter

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

255

of necessity, since no common discussion was


possible
without an agreement about
something, and since it was
not possible to make men agree about
anything higher,
they not yet being able to distinguish the hull, which
the conception had
accidentally revived amongst them,

from the essence


every symbol

is

of the conception.
symbol of

In so

necessity

far,

indeed

(Noth- Symbol),

and

will always remain so.


I shall make this clearer

through an example. The


every possible symbol is the proposition:
there is something supersensual and elevated above all
nature.
Whosoever does not believe this in all serious
ness cannot be member of a Church, and is
in
essential of

totally

But what this


morality and moral culture.
supersensual, the true holy and sanctifying spirit, or
the true moral way of thinking
be this is
capable of

all

may

precisely

what the Church seeks to determine, and to


agree more
and more upon, through reciprocal communication. This
for instance, likewise the
purpose and content of
our Christian Church symbol.
But the same purpose
had previously shaped itself already, as realized
symbol
in the sensuous world, and as confession of faith of an
is,

actual visible
nation,

community amongst members of the Jewish


who had their own usages, modes of thinking,

and images.

was very natural that they should shape


It was
proposition according to these images.
natural that they should have been able to communi
It

that

cate the supersensual to other nations, who, as nations


for we do not speak of their
were first elevated
sages
to a clear consciousness of the
supersensual through the
Jews, only in the same images in which they thought
it themselves.
Another author of a religion, Mohamed,

gave to the same supersensual another form, more con


formable to his nation, and he did well to do so.

Unhappily the nation of his faith met the misfortune


coming to a standstill from want of a learned public,
Now what do these images say? Do they determine

of

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

256

the

By
supersensual in a universally valid manner ?
for what need were there otherwise of a

no means

Church community, which has no other object than


As sure as this Church
further to determine the same ?
as
sure as man is finite
exists, and this Church exists
but perfectible, so sure this supersensual is not deter
mined, but is to be determined, and throughout all
These enwrapping
eternity to be further determined.
the manner in which the
under
our
Church community,
presumption, gives ex
But
is a supersensual.
there
to
the
proposition
pression

symbols

are, therefore, solely

since without agreement concerning something, there is


not possible any reciprocal action for the production of

common

convictions,

and since the

latter as

so also

the condi

the condition.

absolutely commanded,
absolute duty to fix at least something upon
which at least the most agree, as symbol; or, in other

tioned,

is

Hence

it is

is

words, to build up a visible Church community, as well


as

may

be.

Moreover,

cannot influence

all

without

But I shall
starting from what they all agree upon.
influence them and hence I shall start from what they
are all agreed upon, and not from what they are in
;

dispute

This

about.

is

not merely a requirement of

As sure as I
conscientious duty.
will the end, I also will the only means.
He who acts
otherwise does not teacli for the sake of moral culture,
but perhaps in order to show off his learning, and makes
prudence, but

it

is

himself a theoretical teacher, which

is

quite a different

business.
it be observed that I say
I shall start from it,
from something presupposed but on no account I
shall try to arrive at it, as at something to be proven.
And here, indeed, appears the objection which may be
raised against this doctrine.
Now
For it might be said
if I am not convinced of the truth of those
symbols from
which I am to start, do I not then speak against my

Let

as

"

better conviction

and how can

be allowed to do so

"

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


But what
conviction

which

lies

is

it

really

257

which runs against your better

hope not the conception of a supersensual,


Hence it can only be this manner
at its basis.
I

of characterizing it

But who

as a fixed determination.

an actual determination

You, for your


but you
otherwise
the
determine
supersensual
person,
determina
from
this
start
not.
to
and
your
cannot,
ought
You are to start from
tion, since it is held in dispute.
says that

it

is

all agree upon with you; and this is,


the
Church symbol. To raise them to
presumptively,
is
conviction
your end and aim but it can be done
your

what they can

only gradually, and by always remaining in accord with


them from the first starting-point. You will always be
as you
teaching conformably to your conviction so long
raise
to
a
means
as
the
in
heart
symbol
your
regard
them to your conviction, precisely as our actions in the
to conduce
necessity -state must be regarded as means
It is ignorance to insist that this
to the rational state.

hull shall be a determinedness.


viction to

it,

But against one

an object to keep others in

con

this belief is

immoral, and the true priestcraft, precisely as the en


deavour to retain man in the need-state, is the true
and real despotism. The symbol is the point of connec
It

tion.

we

start

is

not taught

from

it

to

teach

in teaching:

it

it

is

is

our

priestcraft

common

for

pre

If it were not necessary to presuppose


supposition.
or if there were a higher point, nearer to my convic

it,

tion,

from which

but since there

is

to

start,

none other

should be more satisfied


I can only make use of
;

this.

Hence it is the conscientious duty of everyone who


has to work for the spreading of a common conviction
of
amongst a Church, to treat the symbol as the basis
his teachings not inwardly to have faith in them.

We

have already shown the very contrary. The symbol is


changeable, and is constantly to be changed through good
and proper teachings.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

258

this further progression and this


the symbol is precisely the spirit of Pro
this word has indeed any significance at all

Let us remark here


elevating of
testantism,

The

if

upon the

insisting

old,

and the tending

to bring

universal reason to a standstill, is the spirit of Popery.


The Protestant proceeds from the symbol into the infinite,
Popery proceeds to the symbol as its ultimate. Who

a Papist in form and spirit, even


he proclaims as ultimates
which
symbols

soever does the latter

though

the

is

be genuinely Lutheran, Calvinistic, &c.

am

only allowed to have my private convictions


State
respecting
government and Church system, but I
am even in conscience bound to cultivate this my con
F. I

viction as

riot

much

But such a

as I

am

cultivation

able to do.
is

possible

at

least

in

the

progress
only through intercommunication
with others. The ground is the following: There is
absolutely no other criterion for the objective truth

course of

its

sensuous perceptions than the agreement of my


It is different
experience with the experience of others.

my

of

though not much

with respect to argument.

am

rational being only through being an individual.


True, I
to
but
universal
laws
of
reason,
according
only
argue

through the powers of the individual. Now, how can


I be sure that the result has not been falsified through my
individuality ? True, I assert and stand up for
is not so, likewise from a
ground involved in

it

that this

my

nature,

But, nevertheless, the fact that I am, in the inmost depth


of my soul, not quite sure of
my matter, betrays itself in
this

my

if one
person after another, to whom I communicate
convictions, should reject it, I would not on that

account immediately abandon my conviction, it is true,


but I would at least become staggered and would
investigate the subject again and
I come to do so, if I had been
of the

matter

How

again.

How

should

before quite certain


could the other through his doubt,

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


and conduct, if I were quite
hand I am confirmed in

influence,

On

the other

by the honest agreement

when

ing,

cannot

does not satisfy

of

others with

me;

self-sufficient?

my

conviction

it.

An

internal

presuppose

259

agree

conviction,

proof that

it is not the ex
views about which I care.
On the contrary, it annoys rne, because it makes me
suspect this, the only criterion left to me to confirm

ternal

my

mere agreeing

to

my

conviction.
in

Deep

my

spirit,

clearly conscious of

my

individuality
^

do not become

whether or not
have influenced my con
doubt the agreement of all

may

not

this

this doubt,

lies

To remove

viction.

even though

it,

not necessary.
The sincere agreement of a single
suffice
person may
me, and actually suffices me,
for this reason:
my fear was, that my individuality
have
been
the ground of my conviction.
might
This
is

removed

fear is

agrees with

me

as

soon as

but a single other person

would be very curious, if such an


between
two
individuals should happen by
agreement
chance.
Nor is agreement concerning everything neces
:

for it

we are only agreed concerning the first


or
principles,
respecting a certain view of matters, I
well
bear
it if the other cannot follow me in all the
may
conclusions which I draw.
For these are
sary.

If

guaranteed by

general logic, which no rational man will doubt being


Let us take, for instance,
universally valid.
philosophy.
It is a state of mind, so
utterly contrary to nature, that
the first man who rose to it
surely did not trust himself,
until he observed the same elevation in others.

Thus
I

attain

victions.

rational,

it

is

only through

certainty

intercommunication

But if my
and hence universally

valid,

representation thereof remains, after


vidual.
The dress in which I clothe

only for

me

that

and security respecting my con


convictions were really
universally

but even in

me

it

the

all,

particular

always indi

them

is

the best

would better

fit

the

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

260

and common conviction, as modified by all,


This it will obtain,
less of an individual form.
had
if it
enter upon the
who
to
it
others,
I
communicate
if
reasons against it, and who,
own
their
and
oppose
subject
individual mode
if the view is correct, throw off their
I correct my conviction, and thereby make
of thinking.
my own representation even more universally comprehen
The more extended this intercommu
sible for myself.

general

nication
gain,
It

is,

and
is,

vation

the more does truth (objectively considered)

I likewise.

therefore, exclusive condition of the further culti


convictions, that I shall be

my

of

particular

enabled to communicate them, and hence shall be allowed


to start from them.
according to what we have said first, I am
in the Church community from my
positively not to start
but
conviction,
only from the common symbol,
private
and so far as the State government is concerned, I ani
not only to obey its laws, but even, if it is the duty of

But

Hence, I am also not


office, help to execute them.
allowed to communicate my private convictions if they
are opposed to the presupposed conviction of the people

my

at large, because in doing so I would conspire to over


throw the State. But how am I then able to cultivate

my convictions through communication, since


allowed to communicate them ?

and correct
I

am not
When

the conditioned is commanded, the condition


commanded. The former cultivation of my con
viction is demanded of me/ hence also its condition,
The communication of my private
communication.
also is

conviction

is

absolute duty.
just now seen that

But we have

How

it is

can this contradiction be solved?

contrary to duty.
It is solved as

soon as we observe, from what we have deduced the duty,

from communicating private convictions re


We
Church
affairs and State government.
specting
deduce it from the presupposition that all had to be

to refrain

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

261

and from the impossibility to obtain knowledge


by asking everyone.
Hence if we had not to influence all, but a determined,
limited number, the convictions whereof it were quite
influenced,

of their convictions

become acquainted with, because they also


could communicate their views, it would no longer be
to start from them.
prohibited to make them known, and
The synthetic link of union of the contradiction would
possible to

The conception of such a society


be such a society.
involves the following: It is to be partly limited and
determined, and hence not to embrace all, but a certain

number chosen from amongst all, and in so far separated


from them and partly it is to represent and externally to
;

freedom which each one has for himself and


and to
for Ms own consciousness, to doubt everything,
a
forum
is
a
Such
society
investigate everything freely.
which
of a common consciousness, before
everything
with absolutely
possible can be thought and investigated
realize the

unlimited freedom.

As each one

is

free for himself, so

which indeed follows

he free on this sphere. Finally


from what we have said heretofore each member of this
fetters of the Church
society must have thrown off the
sanctioned by the
symbols, and of the legal conceptions
he may consider
for
State; not precisely matcrialiter,
final and highest
as
holds
or
State
much of what Church

is

determination of truth

but, at least, formahter,

e.g.,

he

these symbols or conceptions any


must
them as true and correct because
hold
authority, must not
the Church teaches them, or the State exercises them.

not ascribe to

the very purpose and spirit of this society to


but whosoever holds them
investigate beyond these limits,

For

it

is

to be limits

therefore, not

does not investigate beyond them, and is,


called such
member of such a society.

We

a society thg. learned public, or scholars.


It is the duty of each one, who raises

himself

to

absolute unbelief in the authority of the common con


viction of his age, to establish such a public of scholars,

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

262

For having repudiated that authority, such a man is


As sure as he thinks morally, it
without guidance.
cannot be indifferent to him whether he errs or not;
but in respect to theoretical propositions, which always
influence morality more or less, he can never attain

shown above. Add to this,


perfect certainty, as we have
that it is his duty to communicate his convictions, and
thus to make them of common use, but, at the same time,
must not immediately communicate them to all. Hence
he must hunt up one of similar views, who like him has
thrown off the belief in authority, and he cannot be
and
quiet in his conscience until he has found this man,
has found in him a confirmation, and at the same time
a means to deposit his convictions until he shall be
enabled to make them useful to all.
Others, who get
into the same position, will find it their duty to join
these two.
They will soon find each other, and through
It is moral
their union establish a public of scholars.
duty, as appears from the above, to communicate to these

scholars all

new

discoveries, all particular

which
consciousness, and

convictions

and dissenting

beyond the sphere


which each one may

lie

of

common

believe

to

entertain.

The distinguishing characteristic of such a body is


absolute freedom and independence in thinking, and the
principle of its constitution is the rule to submit to
positively no authority whatsoever, to base one

self in

purely upon one s own thinking, and to


absolutely repudiate whatsoever is not confirmed by one s
own thinking. The scholar distinguishes himself from

all

matters

the not-scholar in this

the latter certainly believes also

have convinced himself through his own reflections,


and he has, indeed, done so but anyone who can look
to

immediately, that his system concerning


State and Church is the result of the current opinion
of his age.
All that he has himself convinced himself

further,

of

is,

sees

that such are the opinions of his age

his premises

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.

263

are formed by his age, without his


knowing it and without
his co-operation ; the results he
may, perhaps, have drawn
himself.
The scholar, on the other hand, is well aware
this.
Hence he looks for the premises in himself,
establishes consciously, and from free resolves, his reason
for himself as the representative of reason in
general.

of

For the republic of scholars there exist no possible


The
symbols, no prescribed direction, no withholding.

members

this republic must be allowed to discuss


everything, whereof they believe they have convinced
themselves, precisely as they dare to think it for
of

themselves.
for the learned.
Hence in
must be permitted to discuss every
thing whereof one is convinced and there is no symbol
for a university.
Those err greatly who recommend
and
hold
that one ought not to say everything
precaution,
in the university rooms
but first consider well, whether

Universities are schools

universities also

it

be useful, or hurtful, or liable to misrepresentation.


Whosoever is unable to investigate for himself, and
it

may

of learning to do so, should bear the guilt


on his own shoulders, for having obtruded into uni
versities.
It is not the business of the others, for they
act according to their perfect right and duty.
The
discussion in universities is distinguished from the
discussion in learned books in nothing but in the form

incapable

of the

As

method.
the

must

so

scholarly

investigations

are

absolutely

free,

also the attendance at those discussions be free

to everyone.

Whoever can no

longer in his heart believe

in authority, acts criminally in further believing in it,


and it is his moral duty to join the scholars. No earthlypower has a right to command in matters of conscience,

and
for

immoral to deny to anyone, whose mind


admittance to investigation.

it is
it,

The State and Church must

fits

tolerate the scholars

him
for,

otherwise, they would try to compel conscience, and no

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

264

one could any longer conscientiously live in such a Church


or such a State for there would be no remedy for him
if he should begin to doubt.
Moreover, progress towards
;

perfection would be impossible in such a State and yet


Hence Church and State must tolerate
is possible.
;

it

scholars,

e.g.,

must

which constitutes their


and unlimited communication

tolerate that

distinctive essence; absolute

Everything, whereof each one believes to


have convinced himself, must be an allowed subject of
of

thought.

however dangerous and outrageous it may


For if anyone has entered upon errors, how
appear.
are others to be prevented from straying into the same
errors, if he is not permitted to communicate his errors ?
I say
State and Church must tolerate scholarly culture
discussion,

More indeed they cannot do for it, since both


The State as such
occupy utterly different spheres.
as such.

cannot support or further scholarship as such this


only done through free investigation, and the State
not to investigate.
Statesmen or State officials may,
;

is

true, support
the State.

scholarship

as

individuals;

but

is
is
it

not

The republic of scholars is an absolute democracy, or


more definitely expressed, only the right of spiritual
Each one does what he can
strength is valid in it.
and
in
is
if
the
he
has the might to maintain
do,
right
this right.
There is no other judge in it than time and
the progress of culture.

Teachers of religion and State officials are to work


in the cause of the perfectibility of men, and hence
they
must be more advanced than the public at large, e.g., they

must be scholars, and must have received a scholarly


education./ In so far the professional scholar is himself
indirectly a State official, for he is the educator of the
State

popular teachers and immediate

officials.

In so

far alone can the scholar also receive a


salary from and
be under the supervision of the State.
Of course the

State cannot prescribe what he

is

to teach, for that

were

THE MORALITY OF OUR ACTIONS.


contradictory;

but the State can see to

it,

265

that he do

really communicate in the best manner what he believes


to know.
Scholarly schools are not such wherein the

future profession of the common school-teacher, or of


the State official, is taught.
True, these professions must
also be taught, but to teach it constitutes quite another

order of teaching.
The State official and public school
is to be not
only a professional man, but also

teacher

Hence he is both, but it is his duty, according


to the above principles, to separate both in his conduct.
When he is public teacher or official he is not scholar,
a scholar.

and when he

scholar he

is

is

not the former.

It is

an

conscience to prohibit the greater from


communicating his dissenting convictions in scholarly
writings but it is quite in order to prohibit him from

oppression of

preaching them in the pulpit; nay, if he is only well


aware of what he does, he will himself know that it

immoral to do so.
The State and the Church have the right to prohibit
this to the scholar, and to prevent him from realizing his
is

convictions
he,

in

the

sensuous world.

If

violates the laws of

for instance,

he does

his

so,

if

State, he

is

punished, whatever he may think in himself


about these laws nay, he will necessarily reprove himself,
for he has done an immoral action.

justly

Thus the idea of a public of scholars alone solves


the contradiction which occurs between an established
Church and
science
this

of

State,

and the absolute freedom of con


Hence the realization of

each individual.

Idea in the sensuous world

is

commanded by

the

Moral Law.
G. In conclusion, we state, in as few words as possible,
the total end of man in so far as he is considered as
individual.

The

final

end of
but

shall all agree

all
all

his

men

working in society is men


agree only about the purely
:

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

266

rational, for it

is

that which

is

common

to

them

all.

such an agreement the


distinction between a learned and unlearned public falls
away, Church and State fall away. All have the same

Under the presupposition

of

and the conviction of each is the conviction


The State falls away as a legislating and compulsory
The will of each is universal law in truth,
power.
because all others will the same, and no compulsion is
needed, because each one wills of himself that which
he ought to do. To this end, therefore, all our thinking
and doing, and even our individual culture, ought to tend.
Not we ourselves are the final end, but all are this end.
convictions,
of

all.

Now

if

this

end, although unattainable, were thought

what would happen ? Each one would with


individual power, and as well as he were able,

as attained,
all

his

modify nature for the use of reason, according to that


common will. What each one did would thus be of
equal advantage to all, and what all did would in reality
turn to the advantage of each
since their end is the
;

same

in reality.
It is so even

but only in Idea. Each


one is to think in everything he does that it is for all
and this is the very reason why he is not allowed to do

now

already

many

things, since he does not know whether they will


But if this Idea were real, each one would be

it also.

allowed to do everything he might


will the same.

will, since all

would

PAET

II.

THE SCIENCE OF MORALS

BOOK

FIFTH.

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

CHAPTEE

I.

DECISION OF THE DOCTRINE OF DUTIES.


A. WE have already indicated the definite separation
between the purely rational of the rational being and its
The manifestation and representation of
individuality.
that pure reason in that being is the Moral Law, whereas
the individuality is that through which each individual
The uniting link
distinguishes himself from the others.

both is this, that a rational being absolutely must


be an individual, but not necessarily this or that indi
vidual which latter fact is purely accidental, and hence
of

of

empirical

origin.

understanding (in

the

The empirical
widest

sense

is

of

the

will,

the

the word, as

power of repre
Moral Law,
sentation),
or that wherein it desires to have its end and aim
represented, is absolutely nothing individual, but Eeason
in general; in a certain sense the Moral Law is its
equivalent

to

intelligence

and the

own

end.

or

general

body. /The

object of the

This universal reason has been posited by


me and the whole totality

me, as intelligence outside of

me

of rational beings outside of


is their representation.
Hence I have posited universal reason outside of me,

in virtue

Now

after

of

the

Moral Law,

as

this externalizing of
269

theoretical

principle.

pure reason has been

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

27o

achieved in me, only the empirical or individual Ego


to be called Ego, or I, in the Science of Morals.
Hence, whenever I hereafter use the word Ego, it always

is

signifies person.

(Our Science of Morals is therefore very important


whole system, since in it is shown up how the
empirical Ego arises out of the purely genetical Ego, and
how the pure Ego is finally altogether externalized from
the individual person.
From the present point of view
for our

the

representation

of the

pure Ego

is

the totality of

rational beings, or the communion of saints.)


How do I, as person, relate myself to the
It is to

me

that this law addresses

itself,

Moral Law ?
and to whom

assigns its execution; but its end lies outside of me.


I am, therefore, for myself, or for
my own consciousness,

it

only the instrument, the tool of the Moral Law, and not
its end.
Impelled by the Moral Law I forget myself
in acting, I am only a tool in its hand.
Whosoever looks
to an end sees not himself; but the end lies outside of
me.
As in every contemplation, so the subject loses
here, vanishing in the
contemplated end. For me,

itself

contemplated, and in
i.e.,

for

my

its

consciousness,

Moral Law addresses itself not to other beings,


but lias them for its end. All others are, and only I
alone am not, embraced in its end.
For my conscious
ness all others are not means, not tools, but final end
and aim.
Let us remove some difficulties which might be opposed
the

to this proposition.

JEach

man

is

himself end, says

Kant with

universal

approval.

This proposition of Kant agrees well enough with


For all the
mine, if mine is only carried out further.
other rational beings, to whom the Moral Law addresses
itself equally as to
me, using them as tools, hold me
as a member of the communion of rational
beings, and

hence

am

to

them

end, as they are end to me.

To

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

271

each rational being, all others outside of him are end


but no one is his own end. The point of view from
which all individuals, without exception, are final end,

lies

of

beyond all individual consciousness, and


view from which the consciousness of

is

the point
rational

all

hence the point


united, as object, into One
of view of God.
For God, each rational being is absolute
is

beings

and final end.


But no, it is said, each one is to be end expressly for
He is end as
himself; and this also may be admitted.
a means to realize reason.
This is the final aim of its
existence, since for this alone he exists; and if it were
not for this he need not to exist at all. This does not
To each
lower, but rather elevates the dignity of man.
one

is

for

assigned,

attaining

the

his

consciousness,
of reason.

end

universal

the

task

The

of

whole

community of rational beings becomes dependent upon


his care and his labour
and he alone is independent
of everything.
Each one becomes like God, so far as
he can become so i.e., in respecting the freedom of all
individuals.
Each one, precisely because his whole in
;

is annihilated and
destroyed, becomes a pure
representative of the Moral Law in the sensuous world
becomes true pure Ego through free will and self-deter

dividuality

mination.
It has already been sufficiently observed above, that
this forgetting of self occurs only in actual acting in the

sensuous world.
Those who place perfection in pious
meditations, and in devout brooding over their self, and
who expect from such practices the annihilation of their
individuality, and a flowing together with God, are
in error.
Their virtue is and remains egotism

want

much
they

make

True virtue
perfect only themselves.
consists in acting, in acting for the totality, in which
to

I shall be compelled
acting each forgets himself utterly.
to recur frequently to this important point.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

272

B.
can forget myself in my labour only in so far as
stands unhindered, and as I am, therefore,
truly means
to accomplish the desired purpose.
If it is checked,
I am thereby driven back into
myself and forced to
I

it

upon myself and I am in this manner made my


object by means of the resistance.
The Moral Law addresses itself immediately to me,
and makes me its object. I am to be means; but I
reflect

own

am

not means, because the check occurs; hence I

am

make myself means.

to

Let the condition here established be well remarked.


In the moral state of mind, wherein I am to be
always

and uninterruptedly,

commanded

the

of

not

be

means.

by

this,

that

outside of

become object

acting,

The care
cannot

me.

in

and
can

solely
for myself

carry

But when

of reflection

so

this

out

far
is

conditioned

end

my

as

and aim

condition occurs, then

this care is
duty.
Thus there arises the conception of a

duty not exactly


which I owe to myself, as is
said
for I always
usually
remain mere means for the end outside of
me; but
of a duty, which I must observe in
to
regard
myself,
of a moral
acting, whereof I myself am the immediate
;

I shall call these duties, therefore: not duties


object.
to ourselves, as is the usual
but mediated and

phrase,

conditioned duties

mediated because they have forTheir


object the means of all our acting; conditioned because
they can only be deduced from the following proposition
/If the Moral Law desires the conditioned, the realization
;

of the

supreme rule

of reason outside of

me

through me,

also desires the condition,


namely, that I shall be
and proper means for that
purpose.

it

fit

me there is no other means to realize the


absolutely to be realized law of reason, than myself, there
can be, strictly
speaking, no other mediated duties than
those towards
myself./ In opposition to them, the duties
towards the Whole, as the
highest and absolutely comSince for

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.


manded duties, are to be

called immediate

273

and unconditioned

duties.

There

0.

is

another division of the duties from

still

the following reason.

The command to promote the inde


pendence of reason, so far as possible, is addressed to
each individual. Now if each one does in this
respect
that which first occurs to him, or which
appears to him
pre-eminently necessary,
a manifold manner, and

many
many

things will be done in


things will not be done

all.
The effects of the acts of many will check and
cancel each other, and the
steady promotion of the final
end of reason will not be achieved. But the Moral Law
Hence it is the
requires that it shall be achieved.

at

duty
each one, who perceives this hindrance
(and each one,
who will but look close, must perceive it), to
remedy it.
This remedy, however, can
only be effected, if many
individuals divide amongst themselves the various
things
that must be done to
promote the final aim of reason,
each one accepting a certain
part for all others, and in
of

his turn

surrendering to all others his part. This can


be
only
accomplished by an agreement, through the
of
uniting
many for the purpose of such a division.
It is the duty of each one, who
perceives this, to establish
such an agreement.

An

kind

an agreement concerning
There must be
various vocations; and it is the
of
each
individual
duty
to labour for their establishment, and to choose a fixed

agreement

of this

the various vocations of

vocation for himself


one,

who chooses

promoting the

is

all individuals.

when they

final

end

Each
manner of

are established.

a vocation, chooses a peculiar


of reason.

Some

labours of this kind can be transferred to others,


but some can not that which cannot be transferred, is
;

general duty.

That, which can be transferred,

duty of him to

whom

it is

transferred.

is

particular
there is,

Hence

moreover, a distinction between general and particular


T

SCIENCE OF ETHICS.
and combining this division with the previous one
we shall have to speak
Of the general conditioned duties.
Of the particular conditioned duties.
Of the general unconditioned or absolute duties.
Of the particular unconditioned or absolute duties.

duties,

2>*

CHAPTER

II.

*:^*f

AJ-U^M

CONCERNING THE GENERAL CONDITIONED DUTIES.


I

AM

am

Moral Law in the sensuous world. But


world solely on condition of
a continuous reciprocal
causality between me and the
world, the way and manner of which is to be deter
mined through my will and since we
speak here
tool of the

tool in the sensuous

chiefly

a causality upon the world of rational


beings, on
condition of a continuous
reciprocal causality between
me and them. (This proposition has been
proven in my
of

Science of Rights, and as I would have


merely to repeat
that proof here, I refer to it as the
proof of what is

averred here. NOT will this mere reference


infringe upon
the clearness and
completeness of our present science,

what this postulated reciprocal


causality may signify,
will appear
If I am to be this tool of
clearly enough.)
for

the Moral Law, then the condition under which alone


and if I think
it, must take place
as

I can be

under the rule

manded

to

of

realize

myself

the Moral Law, I find


myself
this

com

its

condition; namely, the


continued reciprocal causality between
myself and the
world of both rational and sensuous
beings, so far as
it is in
my power to do so for the Moral Law can never
;

require the impossible.

Hence

all we have to do is to
analyse this conception, and to relate the Moral Law
to its several
parts, in order to arrive at the general duty,
whereof we ourselves are the immediate
object, or at the

general conditioned duties.


This reciprocal relation is to be continuous; the Moral
Law commands our preservation as members of a sensuous
275

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

27 6

In the Science of Eights, which knows nothing


of a Moral Law and its commands, but establishes only
the will of a free being as determined through natural
world.

necessity,

we furnished

the proof of the necessity to will

our continuance in the following manner I will some


the existence of this object shall
thing (X) signifies:
be given to me in experience. But as sure as I will it,
it is not so given in present experience, and is possible
:

Hence, as sure as

only in future.

I will this experience,

the experiencing I, shall exist as the


same identical I in a future moment. From this point

I also will, that

of

I,

view respecting

for

the sake of

my

will, I will

a satisfaction,

continuance only

my

which

expect in the

future.

The will of a free being, as determined through the


Moral Law, has not this ground to will the continuance
Under the direction of this law, I
of the individual.
do not care at

all

that something

in a future experience.

Under

it,

be given to

may

me

to be absolutely

is

without any reference to myself; it is to be utterly


indifferent to me, whether / experience something or not,
and provided
provided it only becomes actual in general,
actual.
become
sometime
will
thus
it
that
I may presuppose

The above demand

of

the natural man, that the object

always the demand of an enjoyment.


from the standpoint of morality, enjoyment, as such,
is never end. If I were told with more absolute certainty,
that which you intend is certainly going to be realized,
annihilation is
but you will never participate in it
I would, never
it will be realized
before
awaiting you
for its
theless, be forced to work with the same exertion
The attainment of my true end would be
realization.
and the enjoyment thereof ought never
assured to me
Hence the continuance of my life, and
to be
end.

be given to him, is
<But

my

the
consequent preservation, is not a duty to me for
sake of experiencing the realization of my end and aim.
How then may it become my duty ?

its

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.


Whatsoever
never the

may
end

final

realize

in

277

the sensuous world

is

of

morality, for that lies in the


Infinitude, but only a means to draw nearer to this end.
Hence the first end of all my actions is a new
acting
in the future
live in it

now

if

he

is

to

is

to act in the future

is

must

act in pursuance of a
plan

now

traced out
as he

but whoever

and

already, he must be and


his future existence must

remain the same


regularly develop

from the present. Inspired by moral sentiment,


I consider myself solely as a tool of the Moral Law.
Hence I have the will to continue, and to continue to
itself

exist solely for the sake of acting.

that

self-preservation

preservation

is

we now have

It is for this reason

This duty of selfdetermine more closely.

duty.
to

The preservation and regularly progressive development


of the empirical self, which is regarded
gence, or soul, and as body, is required.

both as

intelli

Hence both the

health and regularly progressive development of soul and


body considered in themselves, and the continuation of

unchecked mutual influence upon each other,


Moral Law.
The requirement of the Moral Law in this respect is

their

is

object of the

to

be regarded, firstly, negatively, as a prohibition Undertake


nothing which, in your own consciousness, might endanger
:

the preservation of yourself in the stated

meaning of

the

positively, as a command Do what


ever according to your lest conviction promotes this preser

word ; and secondly,

vation of yourself.

The preservation and the well-being

of our empirical
be endangered, both internally, by checking
the progress of natural development, and externally,
So far as the former is con
through external force.
i.

self

may

an organized product of nature, and


preservation
endangered, if checks are opposed to
the regular progress of the organization.
This would
occur if the body were denied proper food through
fasting, or, if the body were overfed through intempercerned, our body

its

is

is

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

278
ance, or

if

tendency

an opposite direction were given to the whole


nature to preserve the machine, through

of

All these dissipations are in violation of the

uncliastity.

more specially in regard to the


the
disturb
development of the mind, the
body. / They
welfare whereof depends upon the well-being of the body.

duty o

self-preservation,

Fasting weakens and makes drowsy the body, intemper


ance, gluttony, and, above all, unchastity, sinks the body

deep into matter, and takes away from


elevate

it

the ability to

itself.

The development of the mind is directly disturbed


through its inactivity ; for the mind is a power, which
It is likewise
can be developed only through practice.
disturbed through too much exertion, with neglect of the
it is the body which must support the mind.
Likewise through an irregular occupation of the mind as

body, since

a blind indulging in irregular fancies, a mere memorizing


or
of the thoughts of others without my own judgment
;

a dry puzzling of the brain without living contemplation.


The whole mind must be cultured in all directions, but on

no account one-sidedly. One-sided culture is no culture,


but rather suppression of the mind. All that we have
here mentioned is not merely imprudent and unwise (i.e.,
opposed to some arbitrary end), but is opposed to the
It is absolutely
absolute final end and aim of reason.
immoral, for all who attain an insight into the end of
their empirical existence, and this insight all ought to
acquire. So far as the latter is concerned, namely, danger
from external causes, the prohibition of the moral law is
do not unnecessarily endanger your health,
as follows
and
life.
Exposition to such danger is unnecessary
body,
whenever the moral law does not require it. When that
law does require it, I am absolutely obliged to do so, no
matter how great the danger and risk may be for it is
my absolute end to do what duty requires, and my selfHow such a
preservation is only a means for this end.
command of duty to risk one s self-preservation may
:

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

279

We shall
arise, this is not the proper place to explain.
take up the subject on this point in the doctrine con
The investigation concerning
cerning absolute duties.
the morality of suicide, belongs, however, to the subject
in the present place
and we shall settle it now.
I am not unnecessarily, i.e., not without the command
;

of duty, to

my

endanger

life

must, therefore, be

it

my own

more prohibited to destroy my life with


and intentionally.
Somebody might

still

power,

add, however:
Unless, indeed, duty requires such self-destruction of
one s own life as it certainly does require, according to
your own presupposition, the exposure of one s life to
"

Hence the thorough solution of our problem


Is it
on
rests
the answering of the following question
kill
me
to
can
ever
that
myself ?
possible
require
duty
Let us first observe the great difference between a
requirement of duty to endanger one s life, and one to
danger!"

take

me
as

away

that

The

life.

first

command

to forget myself, not to esteem


anything to counterbalance duty.

my

commanded

absolutely

am

to forget

something outside of me.

directed

is

Moreover, the

which

action, in

only requires

self-preservation

myself,
upon
there is no immediate command

Hence

endanger thyself but


command: do that
and
conditioned
mediated
only
But an act of suicide
which might endanger thyself
would immediately touch myself, and hence must be
!

based upon an immediate and unconditioned command.


shall see at once whether such is possible.

We

My

life is the
The decision rests upon the following
exclusive condition of the realization of the law through
:

me.

Now

the

command

to realize the law.

to live, so far as this


life

by my own hands

and hence

is

Hence

me

absolutely:

absolutely

commanded

addressed to
I

am

depends upon me.

To destroy

my

of this;
directly contradictory
I cannot destroy my owii life at

is

is immoral.
without withdrawing myself, so far as I am concerned,
from the rule of the moral law but this that law can

all

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

28o

never command, because

would in doing

it

so contradict

am

influenced by the moral law


and this I
ought to be and must be considered as being, when my
actions are judged of
then I will to live solely to do my
itself.

duty.

If I

I will not live

I will no longer do

An
of

any longer, would, therefore signify

my

duty.

objection could only be raised against the major


might be said But this present

this syllogism.
It
life
of
ours, of
earthly

which alone we are speaking,

is

me

not the only exclusive condition of my duty.


I
believe in a life after death, and hence, by
killing myself,
do not end my life in general, and thus do not withdraw
for

myself from the rule of the moral law


the

manner

my

I only

change

proceed only from one place to


another, as I often do, and am allowed to do, in this
In replying to this objection, I shall adopt
earthly life.
of

the simile, and ask

life

Does then the moral law permit you


change your position or place on earth, as
were the same whether you did or did not do so
:

arbitrarily to
if

it

such a step not rather always either your duty or


against your duty ?
Clearly the latter, for according to
all our previous
proofs the moral law leaves no play
or

is

ground

Under

for arbitrariness.

indifferent actions at all

each act

its

either moral or immoral.

is

rule there are no

in each position of

your

Hence you

life

will

have to show up not merely a permission of that law to


life and pass into another
one, but an explicit
command.
That this is impossible can, however, be
For the moral law does never im
strictly proven.
leave this

mediately

command me

neither in this

to

live

for

the

sake of

life,

which alone I know, nor in any other


possible life but the immediate object of its command is
always a determined action and since I cannot act with
life,

out living, it always commands me to live.


(Considered
as a natural agent I will to live not for the sake of life
but for the sake of some determination of life considered
;

as moral agent,

shall will to live not for the sake of life,

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.


but of

an action for which

281

need

transition to another life could not be

Hence the
life.)
commanded of me in

an immediate, but only in a mediate manner,


through the
command of a determined act, which would transpire in
another life. In other words I could
only be permitted
to leave this life
and since there are no actions merely
permitted, it can never be my duty to leave this life
unless I had a determined action to undertake in the
life hereafter.
This, however, no rational being will be
For we are forced by the laws of
willing to assert.
thinking to determine our duties through what is already
known to us and the state of life beyond the present is
:

utterly

unknown

to

and

us,

transpire in the present


far

and

from referring
in every hour

me
of

all

our cognisable duties

The moral law, therefore,


another life, demands always,

life.

to

my

present life, that I continue it,


every such hour there is something for me to do,
and the sphere, wherein I am to do it, is the present
world.
Hence it is not only actual suicide, but even the
for in

desire to live
desire

is

no longer, which is immoral, for such a


work no longer in the manner in which

a wish to

we can think our work


opposed to a moral mode of
alone

it is an inclination utterly
thinking, it is a tiredness
and a weary disgustedness, which a moral man should
never allow to move him.

If the

wish to leave this world

readiness to leave

whom we
is

life

believe on

altogether

character,
character.

for

just
life

signifies

the

mere

as soon as the ruler of the world, in


this standpoint, shall so order, it

wish,

has

no

inseparable from a moral


value in itself to such a

But if it signifies an inclination to die,


come into connection with beings of another
world, then such a desire becomes an unwholesome indul
and

to

gence, which
in advance.

paints and determines the future world


But such a determining has no basis, and

the data for

it

immoral, for

how can

can only be imaginary. Moreover, it is


a truly moral character have time

THE SCIENCE OF

282

ETHICS.

?
True virtue does every
has to do in that hour, and leaves all
the rest to the care of him, whose care it is.
To convince himself of the correctness of these views,

left

for visionary meditations

hour wholly what

let

it

the reader examine

of suicide.

The

first

all

possible grounds of

an act

motive, of which instances are said


a despair to get rid of and

to have occurred, is
certain vices, which have

conquer

become a habit, and almost


our own second nature. But this
very despair is an
immoral feeling. If you only have the true will, there is
no difficulty about the canning. What, indeed, could have
compulsory power over our will ? Or what could put the
power wherewith we sin, in motion, except our will ?
Hence in this case the confession is clear that the suicide
does not will his duty.
He cannot tolerate life without
vice, and rather would compromise with virtue by the
easier means of death, than conform to its
requirement of
a guiltless life.

Another possible motive

is that a
person should kill
escape suffering something infamous and
vicious, becoming thus the object of another s vices, but

himself

to

in this case he does not kill himself to


escape vice, for
he only suffers in the matter, i.e., if he cannot resist

if

with the exertion of


is

made

to undergo,

physical forces, that which he


not any crime of his. He

all his

then

it is

through death the injustice, violence, or


upon him, but not sin, since he does
not commit any sin himself. He kills
himself, because
an enjoyment is taken
away from him, without which
he cannot tolerate life. But in that case he has not
denied himself, and has not, as he
ought to have done,
only escapes

disgrace, inflicted

sacrificed all other considerations to virtue.

Some men have accused suicides of cowardice, others


have celebrated their
Both parties are in the
courage.
right, as is usually the case in disputes of rational

The matter has two


looked each at one.

men.
and both parties have only
necessary to consider it from

sides,

It is

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

283

both sides, for injustice must not be done even to what is


most horrible, since thereby only contradiction is excited.
The resolve to die is the purest representation of the
In nature lies the
superiority of thought over nature.
impulse to preserve itself, and the resolve to die is the

Each suicide, committed


exact opposite of this impulse.
with cool considerateness the most of suicides are com
mitted in a fit of senselessness, and concerning such
a condition nothing can rationally be said is an illustra
tion of this superiority, a proof of great strength of soul,
and necessarily excites esteem, when reviewed from this

from the above-described blind impulse


to be absolutely self-determined, and is only met with in
an energetic character. Courage is resoluteness to meet
an unknown future. Now, since the suicide annihilates
all future for himself, we cannot ascribe true courage
to him, unless indeed he assumes a life after death, and
side.

It proceeds

goes to meet this life with the firm resolve to fight or


bear whatsoever that life shall have in store for him.

But whatever strength of soul it may require to resolve


it requires far more courage to bear a life which
can only have sorrow in store for us hereafter, which we
to die,

esteem as worth nothing in

even though it could be


bear it nevertheless
and

itself,

made the most joyous life,


merely so as not to do anything unworthy of ourself. If
in the first instance we have superiority of the conception
over nature, we have here superiority of the conception
itself
over the conception: autonomy and absolute
to

independence of thought. Whatsoever lies outside of


the thought lies outside of myself, and is indifferent
to me.
If the former is the triumph of thought, this
the purest representation
nothing higher can be asked of man than
that he should continue to bear a life which has grown to
be insupportable to him. This courage the suicide lacks,

is

the

triumph

of morality

of

its

law,

for

In comparison
in so far he can be called cowardly.
with the virtuous man he is a coward but in comparison

and

>

/
l

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

284

with the wicked,


so

as

to

who submits

to

disgrace and

continue for a few

slavery

more years the

merely
wretched feeling of his existence, he is a hero.
the moral law, which relates
2. The requirement of
to our self, has also, as we have seen, a positive character.
In so far it requires of us that we should nourish our
body,

and promote

its

health and well-being in

all possible

manner of course for no other purpose than to live and


make it an able tool for the promotion of the great final
end of reason. Moreover, if I am to nourish my body
and promote its welfare, I must be in possession of the
means to do so. Hence I must take care of my posses
sions, be economical, and regulate my monetary affairs
with prudence and order. It is not merely advisable and
prudent to do so, but duty. He who, from a fault of his
own, cannot provide his own means of living, is guilty. But
requirement is also addressed to the well-being of
our mind, and in so far it is positive duty to occupy
the mind continually but regularly, of course so far as the
To this
particular duties of each permit him to do so.
the

belong a3sthetical enjoyments and the fine arts, the


moderate and proper use whereof cheers body and soul,
and strengthens them for new exertions. In regard to
the uninterrupted mutual influence of body and soul

upon

each other, we can do nothing directly. If each is only


properly taken care of by itself, this mutual influence
will result of itself.

EEMARK.
All the above duties are only, as

we have

said,

con

My empirical self is only a means for


the attainment of the end and aim of reason, and is to
be preserved and cultivated only as such means, and in
ditioned duties.

so far as
conflicts

it can be such means.


Hence, if its preservation
with this end, it must be abandoned.

For me, for the forum of my conscience, nothing


opposed to the end of reason except my acting adverse

is

to

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

285

an unconditioned duty. Hence, the only case wherein I


can give up self-preservation, is when I can retain life
I must not
only through the violation of such a duty.
do anything immoral for the sake of life, since life is an

end only

for the sake of duty, and since the accomplish


duty is the final end of reason. It might be,
and sometimes is, objected
But how if, by making just
this once an exception from the severity of the law, I can
save my life, and thus preserve myself for the future
achievement of much good which otherwise would be left
undone
This is the same pretext which is made use
of to defend the evil, for the good which is to result from

ment

of

"

?"

But those who urge this objection forget that the


choice of the good works which we would like to do, and
of others which we. would like to leave undone, is not left
it/

Each person is absolutely bound to do


else, which his position, heart, and
command
him
to do; and must leave undone what
insight
forbid
him
do.
to
Now, if the moral law takes away
they
to our discretion. /

and nothing

that,

me

from

certain

its permission for me to live before I can achieve


future good actions, then those actions are

me

assuredly not for


exist,

at

least

world.

to

achieve, for I shall no longer

under the conditions

it is

Nay,
commits immoral

of

this

sensuous

in itself clear enough, that to him


acts for the sake of preserving his

who
life,

does not hold duty in general, nor the particular duties


which he desires to do hereafter, to be the absolute final

end

of reason

for,

if

duty alone were his end,


it would be impossible

the moral law ruled him,

if

only

for

him

it, just as it is impossible for the


It was life which was his
to contradict itself.

to act in violation of

moral law
final end and aim, and the pretext that he desired yet to
accomplish good works hereafter, he has only invented
But on the other hand, I
afterwards, to excuse himself.
must also not consider and permit my death as a means
for a good end.
It is my life, and not my death, which is
means.

am

tool of

the law as

active, principle,

not

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

286

We

means thereof

as a thing.
have already shown, in
this respect, that I must not kill myself
as, for instance,
the suicide of Lucre tia might be considered as a means to
liberate

death

if

Eome
I

but neither must I voluntarily permit my


it.
Still less must I seek the

can prevent

opportunity to die, or excite others to kill me, as is told of


Codrus, though I might believe that the salvation of the
world would result therefrom. Such conduct is always a
kind of suicide. Let the distinction be well observed.

am

not only permitted, but commanded, to


expose my
danger whenever duty requires it that is to say, I
must forget the care for my self-preservation.
But I
I

life to

must absolutely never think

my

death as an end and aim.

CHAPTEE

III.

CONCERNING THE PARTICULAR CONDITIONED DUTIES.

THE

particular duties are the duties of the vocation, as


when we deduced the necessity of
vocations.
The particular conditioned duties are those

has been stated above,

duties which have our empirical self for


object, in so far
we belong to this or that particular vocation.
In

as

regard to these duties,


i.

it

is

to be observed:

Wherever particular vocations have been

established,

absolute duty of every individual to have a


vocation,
to
i.e.,
promote, in a particular manner, the final end of
reason.
This we prove as follows
it is

no vocations were established,


of each who
comprehended the
If

them

it

would be the duty

necessity of establishing
as the exclusive condition of a
complete and regu

lar

promotion of the end of reason, to establish them.


Hence, it is still more duty to choose a particular
vocation where they have
already been established, since,
where this has been done, no one can do
any
general

work without doing what others have already undertaken


to do, and thus, without either
hindering them and
opposing the promotion of the

final

end

of reason, or, at

doing something superfluous and idle, which is


equally immoral.
Hence, he must select a particular
least,

vocation, and make this choice


in a universally valid manner.
It

known

to his

fellow-men

duty to select a vocation, not according to


inclination, but according to the best conviction that it is
fittest for one s powers, culture, and other external con
ditions.
For the end of our life is not to satisfy our
2.

is

287

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

288

Each
but to promote the end of reason.
is to .be used for this end in

inclination,

force in the sensuous world

the most advantageous manner/ It might be objected:


But the fewest men choose their own vocation, but have

"

it

selected for

them by

their parents, circumstances, &c.,

or,
they do select them themselves, they do so in
advance of the proper maturity of reason, and before
if

they are disposed to serious meditation and susceptible


to the moral law." /I reply, that this should not be so,
and that each one who sees that it should not be so

ought to work to make it otherwise. All men ought to


be educated, and to educate themselves in the same

manner, until humanity in general has become developed


and ripe in them, and not till then ought they to choose a
vocation.

We

other things in

do not deny that,

human

affairs

if

this is to be so,

must be

different

many

from what

But a science of morals establishes always the


even though the ideal should not be realizable
under all circumstances. This, indeed, it cannot be, for,
they

are.

ideal,

if

it

could,

But neither

On
to

it

would

is it

to

itself

fit

itself

be wavering and indefinite.


according to circumstances.

the contrary, circumstances

must begin

to

conform

it.

Perhaps
and rank
institution,

this is the place to add that the subordination


of vocations, although
a civil
is

also

exclusively
The manifold
necessary one.
are subordinated to each other as
a

occupations of men
conditioned to the conditioning, as means to end; and
in like manner those who
carry them on must be sub

From a moral point of view all occupations


have the same value. In each one the end of reason is
promoted, from the vocation which tills the soil for the
production of those fruits from which the sensuous
preservation of our race depends, to that of the scholar,
ordinated.

who

thinks the future ages and works for them, or of


the legislator and wise
regent, who realizes the thoughts
of the scholar in his institutions for the welfare of the

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

289

remotest generations. If each one does from


duty all
that he can do, they are all of
equal rank in the court
of pure reason.

But

cannot select a vocation without the consent


men. For the end of reason must be followed
completely and in steady progression and all the others
having already divided amongst themselves the various
3.

of all other

labours necessary for


first whether there is

it, it

is

necessary for

room

me

to inquire

me, and whether my


assistance is required where I intend to
apply it. I have
the right to proffer
my services, and society has a right
to reject them.
If, however, no proper institution has
still

for

yet been established for this purpose, I shall have to


judge myself, according to my best conscience, whether

my

assistance

is

required.

Hence the vocation

of each individual is determined


through his reciprocity with society, which reciprocity
emanates, however, from the individual. It is he who
has to proffer himself.
4. It is duty to cultivate mind and body
pre-eminently
with a view to usefulness for the
occupation chosen.
The agriculturist needs, above all,
strength and en
durance of body; the artist
and
of

dexterity
mobility
the same, and theoretical culture of mind is for their
vocation only a means whereas the scholar has universal
culture of the mind for his end, and to him the
;

body

only means to support and maintain the mind in the


sensuous world. In this
respect the scholars seem to

is

have
the

had
people.

pernicious

influence

For them

it

is

on

duty

to

the

opinion

of

study, and

to

systematically cultivate their understanding; for their


vocation requires this.
This, the duty of one vocation,
many desire to make a general duty of mankind, and
the meaning of their doctrines seems to be that all

men

ought to become scholars.

still

the case with the

to

make
u

all

men

Most

visible

who seem

this
to

is

like

theologians,
as good theologians as they are thein-

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

290

and who consider their science as necessary for


Hence it has chanced that far too high value
has been put upon theoretical culture, even when it
lacked other good qualities; and that in extreme cases
and godliness to consist
persons have even asserted virtue
In the scholar
in solitary meditation and speculation.

selves,

salvation.

case only in
certainly is a virtue, but even in his
Other
so far as his end is to communicate his studies.
vocations need of theoretical culture only sufficient to
this

enable them to judge and understand what belongs to


the labours of their vocation, and the perfecting of their
the chief point is, that they elevate themselves
art

/but

to

moral acting;

standing

is

not so

and

much

for

this,

culture

of

the

necessary as culture of the

under
will.

CHAPTER

IV.

CONCERNING THE GENERAL UNCONDITIONED DUTIES.


PRELIMINARY.

THE

end of all actions


and
generally
particularly of

may

final

of
all

the morally good man,


their external results,

be gathered into this formula He desires that reason,


All
reason, should rule in the sensuous world.
:

and only

physical power is to be subordinated to reason.


Now reason can rule solely in and through rational
beings.

Hence moral acting

relates itself always,

even

though immediately it should be directed upon irrational


nature, at least mediately to rational beings, and has only
them in view. As there are no rights in regard to
irrational nature, so are there no duties towards it.
To
act upon nature becomes duty solely for the sake of the
rational beings.

Hence the morally good man desires that reason and


morality should rule in the community of rational
beings.
It is

rational

not merely the desire that the good and the


should occur, but also that it should occur

through freedom, in accordance with the Moral Law,


or that true morality should rule.
This is a chief point
which is not to be overlooked, for the neglect of it
has had a very pernicious and hurtful effect upon the
theory of morals, and thus also upon life, as we shall
instance in the proper place.
But no act is moral which is not the result of freedom.
291

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

292

Hence the formal freedom

of all rational beings is the

every morally good man, and we have, therefore,


of all things to speak
of

end
first

Concerning our duties in relation

A.

it

the

to

formal

others.

freedom of

But
All are to be formaliter free, without exception.
someone
use
his
which
freedom,
may
may happen that

belongs to himself, with the purpose of suppressing the


Hence it will be our next task to
freedom of others.

what duty may require

investigate

we

therefore, have to speak

shall,

Concerning our duties in

B.

in such a case,

and

conflicts

with the formal

others.

freedom of

Finally, it is the will of the morally good man, that


each one should exert his freedom to do his duty and it
:

is

his

end and aim

rational beings.
to speak
C.

promote morality amongst all


have

shall therefore, in conclusion,

Concerning our duties in regard

promotion and
A.

We

to

to

the

immediate

extension of morality.

The formal freedom

of

an individual consists in the

continuous reciprocal relation between his body, as a tool


and a sense, and the sensuous world, determined and

determinable solely through the freely-created conception


of the individual respecting the manner of this reciprocal
relation.

This freedom involves a twofold:

I.

The con

tinuation of the absolute freedom and inviolability of the


body, so that it cannot be at all immediately influenced
2.
The continuation of its free
by physical power.
influence upon the whole sensuous world. (See the Science

of Rights.}
i.

The regulation

of

the moral law respecting

the

bodies of rational beings outside of us may be regarded,


firstly, negatively as a prohibition, and secondly, positively
as a

command.

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

293

The regulative principle of this judgment is as follows


Each human body is for the morally-minded man a tool
to realize the moral law in the sensuous world.
But
:

such a tool

can only be on the condition that it remain


and
utterly free,
dependent only upon the free will of
the person.
Immediately upon perceiving a human body,
the command of the moral law, respecting this deter
mined body, is addressed to him.
I do not add this without good reason, for someone
What matters it whether this or that body
might say
exist, the end and aim of reason will be realized anyhow
I
and one body more or less makes no difference."
reply This does not concern us in the least, and it is not
it

"

It suffices, that this


at all permitted to us to think so.
and when
single body exists also, and is likewise free
;

we perceive him, the moral law commands


him as such a one, who necessarily belongs

us to regard
to the com

munity of rational beings, and to the tools for the realiza


tion of the moral law.
(Thus even here already do we
catch a glimpse of the idea of a ruling of the moral law
in the nature which exists independently of us, and of
an adaptability of nature for the moral law; an idea
which finds its realization in the idea of a Godhead, but

which we have not

to discuss in this place.)

Considered negatively, this regulation is an absolute


of
prohibition, never immediately to influence the body
A human body is to depend
another rational being.
(a)

solely

upon the

no external

will of the person, and absolutely upon


Mediately I am allowed to determine

force.

means of
i.e., I may determine the person, by
rational argument, to cause his will to produce through
his body these or those modifications in the sensuous
the body,

world.

But

my own

must not use his body as a tool, as a means for


I must not seek to influence his will
will.

through physical forces blows, knocks, hunger, imprison


I am permitted to
ment, or deprivation of freedom.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

294

through rational grounds, and abso


means.
lutely through no other
to
Nor am I permitted
oppose in an immediate manner
the
to
resistance
causality of another person

him

influence

solely

physical
upon the sensuous world.
prohibitions cease

am

we

In what cases these general

shall see hereafter.

not allowed even to kill anyone intentionally


human being must never be the object of
:

the death of a

my

The

action.
of

life

each

man

strict proof of this is as follows


is

means

The

for the realization of the

moral law. Now I either hold it possible, in the case of


a certain man, that he still may be or become such a
means, or I do not consider it possible. If I do consider

how can I, without refusing obedience to the


moral law and making myself indifferent to its realiza
tion, annihilate the person who is, in my own conviction,
destined to assist in its realization ?/ If I do not consider

it possible,

it

hold anyone to be an irredeemable villain,


immorality consists precisely in my thus holding

possible,

then

my

if

For the moral law absolutely binds me to infuse


moral culture into him, and to assist in making him
him.

I firmly resolve in my own mind


irreclaimable, I abandon a work assigned to

better.

Hence when

that he

is

But this I must not do, and hence I


that law.
must not thus hold him. The moral law absolutely

me by
also

can be bettered. Now


first part of our argu
mentation again receives validity, and I cannot destroy
a human life without abandoning my end and aim, and
requires the faith that each
if

this faith is necessary,

man

then the

him as much as lies in


become moral must live.
it is absolutely
this manner

destroying the end of reason in

my

power.

We

Whosoever

have argued in

is to

required of me to promote morality in every individual.


But this I cannot, without assuming the possibility of such
morality.

Hence, &c.

The minor
proof,

of this syllogism,

can be thus

proven,

which alone might need a


I make
something my

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

295

end and object (here, for instance, the reform of an


individual) signifies: I postulate the actuality of this
reform in some future moment; but I
postulate it
I

signifies:

absolutely

hence

it

posit

as possible.

it

Now

the moral law

me to have that end and object;


me to think everything involved in

requires
requires

Precisely as we demonstrated above the necessity of


faith in the
perfectibility of the human race, so do we

it.

here prove the necessity of faith in the reform of


every
particular individual.
Hence, as premeditated self-murder can on no con
dition co-exist with true
morality, so can neither the
premeditated murder of another, and for the very same
reason.
In another case a possible tool of the moral law

being annihilated. / But it is very well possible that as


might become allowable to expose one s own life to
clanger, so it may also become a duty to expose the life of
another to danger.
shall see in what cases.

is

it

We

In

my

Science

I have
expressed myself
concerning a pretended right of the State to take away
the life of a criminal as follows that the State, as judge,

of Rights

and

as not a moral but merely a legal


body, can only

cancel the civil agreement between it and the criminal,


thereby making the criminal an outlaw and a mere
thing.
of all

Death may be the


the

rights

the

of

result of

criminal,

this

annihilation

not however as a

punishment, but as a means of security and hence it


is not at all an act of the
judicial, but simply of the
A
individual
can and ought even to
police power.
single
;

expose his own security for the sake of his duty never to
attack a human life
but Government has not the
:

same right in regard to the security of all. / In the same


work I have also expressed myself concerning the killing
of armed enemies in times of war, which may not only be
The object of war is by no
lawful, but even a duty.
means to kill the citizens of the hostile State, but simply
to drive them away or disarm them, thus rendering

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

296

him

to enter

and

this

the hostile State powerless, and compelling


In hand-to-hand
into a legal relation with our State.
combat the single soldiers kill each other, not to kill each

each

other but

own

defend his

to

life;

not

a
by virtue of a right conferred by the State to kill, right
which the State cannot confer, but in virtue of his

own

right and duty to defend himself.

of the moral law in regard to


(b) The disposition
the bodies of rational beings outside of us in its positive
character, and as a command., involves the following
:

health, strength, and preservation of the


of others is to be an end to us.

The
life

We

body and
must not

must
only oppose no obstacle to this preservation, but
of our
welfare
the
as
in
same
it
the
degree
promote

own

The
bodies.
Each human body

strict

of

proof

this

as

is

follows:

promotion of the final


end of reason. Now, if the latter is indeed my highest
iinal end, then the preservation and highest possible
also
adaptability of the body for that end must be
my object; for I cannot desire the conditioned without
tool for the

is

The preservation

desiring the condition.

person must be as dear to me as


why I desire either, is the same

of

each other

the ground
I preserve and take care
But each
of myself solely as a tool of the moral law.
body is also such tool. Hence I must have the same care
for each

body,

if

really

my own, since

am

impelled only by

the

moral law.

Here we meet
take as

much

with the proposition


the welfare of your fellow-men as of

for the first time

care of

your own love thy neighbour as thyself a proposition


which will hereafter be regulative in all positive duties
The ground of it has been stated to wit,
against others.
;

am allowed to
am tool of the

can and

far as I

likewise.

take care of myself solely in so


moral law, but all others are so

In this manner

infallible criterion as to

a moral or merely a

we

receive at the

whether the care

natural impulse.

same time an
for ourself is

If it

is

moral

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

297

we

shall have the same care for others


y{t it is natural, it
exclusive, for the natural impulse refers only to us; and
sympathy, which is also a natural impulse exciting fellowfeeling in the fate of others, is by far weaker in its effects
than the immediate natural
impulse of self-preservation.
In sympathizing, we always first think of
ourselves, and
is

next of our neighbours.


I am to have the same care for the welfare of others as
for my own.
Now according to the above I do not

my own

care for

until

welfare, nor think, indeed, at all of

am reminded

my

of

myself by a feeling of
weakening and losing of strength, or through some danger
It is the same with
threatening my self-preservation.
self,

the care for the preservation of others.

It does not mean


do nothing else than seek opportunities
to save persons health and life
unless, indeed, such is my
But as soon as anyone is in danger
special vocation.

that

am

am

to

absolutely required to assist him, even at the risk of


life, whether the danger comes from irrational

my own

physical power of Nature, or from the attacks of rational


beings.
I say, at the risk of
own
collision of duties, as might be

my

vation

conditioned

is

of the other

equal, of the

life.

There occurs here no

apprehended. My preser
through that of the other, that

Both are indeed altogether


through mine.
same value and from the same reason. It is

not

my intention that either of us should perish in it, but


that both should be preserved.
If nevertheless one of us
I have done my
perishes I am not responsible for it
;

duty.
(It is

an

idle plea to appeal to the duty of self-preser


the other one is in danger self-preservation

when

vation

has ceased to be a duty.


Correctly translated that plea
means we will save the other one if we are safe in doing
it.
This is certainly noble and great
Not to wish
:

to save a

danger to

human

where we could do so without any


Nor
ourselves, would be evident murder.
life,

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS

298

we

some moralists
might be of greatest value, and whose
Before the moral law,
preservation of most importance.
human life in general is of equal value, and when one
human life is endangered all other human beings have no
are

in such cases first to calculate, as

whose

hold,

life

It is
longer a right to be secure until the one is saved.
truly a great and moral word, which the late Duke
Here a human life is at
Leopold spoke, when he said,
"

what am I more here than you ?


2. The formal freedom of
an individual, which the
moral law requires us to respect and promote, involves
stake

")

secondly, the continuation of his free influence upon the


sensuous world. The act of the individual is to result in

that which he had in view

on this condition is he
I. Such a
causality
of

understanding
has for its object.

when he began

to act, for only

free.
is

conditioned firstly by a correct

that which the act of the individual

I cannot work on
anything unless I
have a knowledge of it, and the end I have in view is
determined by this my knowledge of the actual being
arid independent quality of the
The end I have
thing.
in view proceeds from the present
quality of the thing,
and governs itself according to the natural laws of the

If I

have an incorrect conception

of the object
act
will
in
result
a
different end
my
my
quite
than that which I had in view, and hence I am not

thing.
of

act,

free in
I must will the conditioned, the
causality.
free causality of
fellow-men in the sensuous world,
and hence I must also will the condition, that they shall

my

my

have a correct cognition of the same,

sufficient for their

This correctness of their practical cognition


must be an object to me, precisely in the same measure
as the correctness of my own
practical cognition is an
causality.

end

to me.

This disposition of the Moral Law considered


negatively results in the prohibition, absolutely not to
a.

lead the other into error, not to

lie

to him, or deceive

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

299

him, neither directly by categorically asserting what I


myself do not consider true; nor indirectly

by making

ambiguous statements which

The

latter is as

words which

much

intend shall deceive him.


as the former; for not the
I

lie

but the intentions, constitute the lie.


If I intend to deceive I am a liar, whether I tell the lie
straightway, or merely induce the other to infer it.
Of course, whether I actually have or have not the
I use,

intention that he should thus infer

ambiguity of

my

statement

must decide before

my own

may

it,

or whether the

not result accidentally, I

conscience.

In short I positively owe every man absolute frank


ness and truthfulness I must not speak
anything against
the truth.
Whether and in how far I also owe all men
openness, i.e., whether I must also say all the truth
which I know, we shall see hereafter.
:

The

strict proof

of

our proposition

is

as follows:

have moral sentiment, I consider my fellow-man as a


tool of the Moral Law, that is to
say, as one who is
always to choose after his own insight and from his own
good will. Now if I produce in him an incorrect know
ledge, in accordance wherewith he acts, then that which
results has not been selected through himself, but he has
been made a means for my end
and this is immoral.
;

thereby I induce him to commit an illegal act which


may be moral for him because he starts from incorrect
If

supplied by me my guilt is evident.


in view, and have used the other
own mode of thinking as a
to
his
perhaps contrary
tool.
But apart even from this abuse of the other, the

presuppositions
I

had an immoral end

much my own

had committed the act


to commit through
I
am
the
true
But even
misrepresentation.
culprit.
if
I had really calculated upon a legal act, and had
guilt is as
in person,

which

as

if

induced

him

it thus through means of the other, I should


have acted immorally. The other is to do that which
is right, not from error, but from love for the
I
good.

attained

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

300

am

permitted to intend mere legality; my


end should be morality, and I cannot have the former
alone -in view without abandoning the other, and to do
not at

all

this is immoral.

objects a defendant of that immoral doctrine


I knew that the other could only be induced
of morals,
"But,"

"

means

This you
to do the good deed." /I reply
can never know, and should not believe; for such a
distrust of the other s rationality is immoral.
Moreover,
this

by

supposing even it had happened so, and that the other


had not done the good deed which you claim to have had
alone in view, unless you had made the misrepresentation
in question
you would be utterly innocent in the matter.
For it is not at all your moral duty to realize the good

without regard to the means the good is to be realized


through morality, and otherwise it is not good. Precisely
;

by abandoning the form in which alone the essence of


the good consists, and by having only the content in
view, do you clearly show yourself to be actuated in
that good deed, not by interest in the cause of morality,
but by some advantage or another, for only the latter
is satisfied by the content of the deed.
These same arguments are to be applied to him who
perhaps seeks to defend a lie by the plea that he intended
to prevent an evil by it.
He should hate and prevent
a wrong, not for the sake of the act as such, but for
If anyone asks him for
the sake of its immorality.
the truth of a matter with evil intentions, he must not

the truth, and if he does and


of the other, he ought to
convince the other of the wickedness of his intentions.
tell

a lie;

knows the

he

may

evil

tell

intentions

He

has not a right to suppose that these remonstrances


no avail, but even if they really do no benefit,
Thus the
physical resistance still remains open to him.
will be of

pretext that the lie was for a good intention


annulled the results of a lie are never good.

is for

ever

The subject-matter

of

my

statement

may

be either

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

301

nature, to which in this respect the disposition of other


free beings does also belong, or my own disposition.
In

the latter case I

make

a promise

must hold

my promise,

unless indeed I have promised an immoral act.

might be objected, I may change my opinion


and iny measures respecting that which I have promised."
We reply When I have promised and thus induced
"

"

it

But,"

another one to shape his calculations in accordance with


my statement, I am no longer dependent merely upon
In so far I am
myself, but likewise upon the other.

and

in his service,

I cannot

withdraw

my

word without

destroying those actions of his which he has undertaken


in view of my promise, and hence without annihilating
I may remonstrate
his causality in the sensuous world.
with, and thus induce him to relieve me of
promise

my

but only in so far as he thus releases me am I quit of my


He makes me a present of it. A good advice
promise.
concerning the difficulties which arise from promises
respecting matters about which one may apprehend a
change of views, and which depend indeed upon future
events, is this not to make promises too easily.
:

must keep rny word unless I have promised


an immoral action. This needs a more particular specifi
cation.
For everything is immoral for me, which I know
to be not the best, or concerning which I am merely
indifferent
hence it would seem that I must do no
I said

promised action whenever I have changed my views


whether I am
regarding it, or become dubious as to
able to fulfil it.
The reply to this is as follows whatso
contradict morality, and hence
ever does not
:

whatsoever
final

end

absolutely
on the road to the attainment of
of
reason, I must do for the sake

lies

of

the
the

own person.
other, although
might do better for my
must
to
which
is
that
morality
absolutely opposed
Only
I positively not do.
Hence I fulfil the promise for the
other s sake, though I might do better so far as my own
I

person

is

concerned.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

302

At

the same time

which

questions

we

two other
on this

shall here reply to

themselves

force

us

upon

occasion.

Firstly
to

pass

how comes

it

honest and

for

many men, who wish

that so
riot

unreasonable men, defend

and seek up all possible arguments to


It comes from this.
In our age, the
men who form their minds and their natural character
"

necessary

gloss

lies,"

them over

in accordance with that age, are placed

culture

which, however,

is

not

the

by

this sort of

culture

through

upon that standpoint which we have described


more particularly above. Their empirical Ego is to rule
freedom

the world without regard to the freedom of others

want

to

make happy,

protect,

and beatify

this

they
world

according to their individual conceptions of happiness,


This is their chief aim.
But
beatitude, and misery.
with the weakness which our age is not unjustly charged
with, in their character they lack the strength of resolu
tion to realize their arbitrary ends by force, and hence

they conclude to realize them through cunning, which


necessarily leads to the so-called white lies.
This, their

mode of thinking, of course determines also their


theoretical system, unless they are
philosophers capable
of starting from the
absolutely highest principles.
They
start from the facts within them, from their
impulse
internal

to lay down the law, and their lack of


courage to do
so by force, and from the basis of these facts
they

proceed logically enough. /Why, nevertheless, some of


them, when it comes to carrying the theory into action,
depart from

which

it,

is

also as

lies

explained by this: something else


a fact in them, but too deeply to

influence their arguing; namely, their


feeling of honour
prevents them from making use of their theory.

whence comes that internal shame for one s


which manifests itself even
stronger in the case
a lie than in the case of
any other violation of

Secondly

self,

of

conscience

The ground

is

as

follows

The

liar

has

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

303

mode

of thinking above described.


He wants to
the
other to his views and purposes.
He does
subject
this by again deceivingly and for appearance s sake
subjecting himself to the purposes of the other, by

the

seemingly entering into the other

s plans,
approving his
them.
He thus places
promote
himself in contradiction with himself, subjects himself
to the man whom he does not trust himself openly
to resist, and is a coward.
The lie is always and in

views, and pretending

to

every case accompanied by cowardice. But nothing so


much dishonours us before ourselves as want of courage.

As

for the rest, the defence of

white
or, indeed,
no matter for what good purpose, is,
doubtless, the most absurd and, at the same time, the
most wicked arguing ever heard amongst men. It is
You tell me you have convinced
the most absurd.
"

lies,"

of lies in general,

If I am to
yourself that necessary lies are permitted.
believe you, I must at the same time also not believe

you for I cannot know whether in saying so you are


not prompted by some laudable purpose or another for
who can know all your purposes ? and that you do not
make use of your own maxim against me, and whether
;

your assurance, that you consider necessary lies allowable,


is not itself a necessary lie.
A person who really had
such a maxim could neither desire to confess it, nor
to make it the maxim of anyone else
but only to
for
For
this
it
himself.
maxim,
by being
carefully guard
communicated, annihilates itself. Of whomsoever it is
known that he possess it, rationally no trust can be
any more entertained by any man for no one can know
that man s secret purposes, and judge whether he is not
But when no one
at the moment telling a necessary lie.
has any longer confidence in him, he can no longer
;

deceive anyone by
to

demand

cancels

lies.

belief in a

Now
maxim

it

is

doubtless absurdity
when believed in,

which,

itself.

But the defence

of

necessary

lies

is

also

the

most

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

3 o4

wicked argument possible amongst men,


thereby

discovers

his

thoroughly

for the defender

corrupted

mode

of

The true

seat of your wickedness is precisely


thinking.
that you could but think of a lie as a possible means of
escape in certain difficulties, and that you can now

consult whether

it

may

not be allowable so to use

it.

Naturally there is no impulse in man to tell a lie


nature goes straightway towards enjoyment, and a moral
mode of thinking knows not lying; to think a lie it
;

needs a positive evil, an intentional looking-out for some


crooked road, because we do not like to go the straight
one before us. An honest man does not even think

such a means of escape, and if all men were honest,


neither the conception of a lie would have entered into
the system of human conceptions, nor an investigation
concerning the morality of necessary lies in the Science
of

of Morals.

The customary

illustration of the schools can explain

man, pursued by his enemy with


thoughts.
His
drawn sword, conceals himself in your presence.
tell
If
is.
he
where
and
asks
arrives
you
you,
enemy
the truth an innocent person is murdered
hence, con
How do those,
clude some, you must lie about it.
who conclude thus, get over so many possible means
which the straight way before them holds up to them,
our

into the crooked path ? ./Firstly


why are you obliged
to tell the questioner either the truth or the lie ?
:

Why

not the third, which lies between, that you owe him
no answer, that he seems to have an evil intention, that

you advise him

to

he will not do

so,

desist from it kindly, arid that, if


you are resolved to take the part
of the persecuted, and to defend him at the risk of
your own life, which latter is, after all, only your absolute
But,"
you reply, if I do so all his rage
duty ?
I pray you, how does it happen,
turn against me
you only consider this case as possible, whereas
second case, that your opponent, struck by the justice
"

"

"

will

that

the

and

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

305

boldness of your resistance,


may desist from the perse
cution of his enemy, may cool off and become

tractable,

does also belong amongst the


possibilities
assume even that he does attack yourself.
absolutely wish to avoid that ?
to defend the persecuted man
life,

for as soon as

human

life

/ But

let

us

Vhy

do you
It is anyhow
your duty
at the risk of
your own
is in
danger you have no

longer a right to think of the safety of your own life. This


fact alone is enough to show that the first
object of your
lie was not to save the life of
your neighbour, but merely
to escape yourself with a whole skin
and, moreover, in
;

a case where your danger was not even real, but


merely
one of several possibilities.
Hence you resolved to lie
to
merely to escape the remote possibility of

coming

Therefore, let
mere attack of itself
grief!

to

him attack you! Does then this


overwhelm you, as you seem again

assume without regard

who was

first

to all possible other cases ?


He
as
we
have
con
has,
persecuted
assumed,

cealed himself
are

in

danger,

within your proximity.

and

it

is

now

At present you

his

general duty, and,


moreover, his particular duty as a matter of gratitude,
to come to your assistance.
Where do you get the
decided presupposition- that he will not do so ? But

supposing he does not come to your assistance. In that


case you have gained time for assistance, and others
to come to your assistance.
But even
assuming that all this should not occur, how can you
be so very sure that you will be defeated ? Do you then
count as nothing the power which fixed resolve to suffer
no injustice, and the enthusiasm for your good cause,

may happen

must infuse into your body ? nor the weakness wherewith


confusion and consciousness of his injustice must over

whelm your opponent

?
In the worst case you can die
you are dead you are no longer obliged to
protect the life of the attacked; not to mention that
death saves you from the danger of a lie. Hence death
precedes the lie, and a lie is never to be spoken. You

and

after

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

306

because you have an eye only


for the crooked path, and the straight path does not
even exist for you.
of the cog
I. The
proposition, that the correctness

commence with the

nition of others

must be our end and aim, when applied

positively, results
insight of others,

the truth, which

lie

in the

and

command

to

promote the correct


to them
communicate
actually
to

we know.

We

only need to point out the ground of this command


in order to see at once how far it extends, since it may be
I
well foreseen that it can be valid only within limits.
of the Moral
obliged to regard the other as a tool
his
to
result
Law. But a
conception can
corresponding
a
correct
has
far
as
he
in
so
follow only
cognition of the

am

am bound

to promote his causality,


correct knowledge
communicate
and hence
do so is, indeed,
To
his
to him, even without
request.
in
how far? Of
But
in
me
for
myself.
necessary end
influence
immediate
has
as
his
in
so
far
course,
cognition

object of his action.


I

am bound

to

his acting, or in so far as it is immediately practical


Hence a distinction should be made between
to him.

upon

immediate practical cognitions and purely

theoretical

cog

theory relates to practice, as a thorough


transcendental philosophy shows, and a theory is not at
nitions.

But

all possible
first

made

purely

all

without such relations.

Hence the

distinction

Certain things may be


altogether relative.
theoretical for one individual and for one age,
is

tical.

for another individual or for another age is prac


Hence, to know what truth we owe to an indi

vidual,

we must

which

first

be able to determine what truth

is

How

is this possible for us ?


practical for such individual.
It follows immediately from the acting of each indi
vidual.
The knowledge of the object of his acting is

immediately practical to him, and nothing else. Hence,


if I see my fellow-man act, and have reason to assume
that he is not well cognizant of the state of circumstances
respecting such act, or if I know for certain that he has

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

307

an incorrect view of the same, it becomes my duty,


without further ado, or without awaiting his request, to
dispel his error; for he is in a sort of danger to do
something which will not achieve his purpose, and it is
not indifferent to a moral mode of thinking whether this
I cannot morally permit him to remain in
occurs or not.
error.

I have always spoken of immediate practical truth,


and have presupposed that it is precisely because I
happen to be the first and nearest, why it should be
my duty to communicate it. It is, of course, not to be
understood here, as has already been remarked in regard
to another duty, that we should hunt up opportunities to
To do this we have
lead erring men into the right path.
not time, if we always do what first occurs to us and our
should always do
virtue should, moreover, be natural
;

what

it is

requested to do, and not, perhaps, go in search


no truly virtuous sentiment.

of adventures, for this is

To hunt up and make known truth, which is merely


theoretical, either for the age in general or for most of
the individuals of that age, is the duty of a particular
vocation

of the vocation of a scholar.

become
immediately and all
truth

is

to

This theoretical

practical, but cannot


at once, for on the

become

way

to

so

the

race no step can be leaped


perfectibility of the human
This class of scholars works for the future ages,
over.

were, treasures which can only be


Of the duties of these
use of in those future ages.

and stores up, as

made

scholars
3.

we

it

shall speak hereafter.


of an individual involves, as

The formal freedom

the absolute freedom of the body, and


its free influence upon the whole
(2) the continuation of
sensuous world. The latter causality we have just seen

we have

seen

(i),

to be conditioned

by correctness

of cognition,

us the moral duties, negatively, not to


to correct errors of practical cognition.

condition.
causality has yet another

lie;

which gave
positively,
latter

But the

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

3 o8

If the rational

the causality

being

is to

is to

be free in

its causality,

i.e.,

if

which the rational being


of all that, which has

result in that

had intended, then the state


reference to and which influences this causality, must
continue to remain precisely as it was known to be and
calculated upon in the purpose and intention of the
For if it changes during the act of the
rational being.
individual, then the effect of that act also changes, and
the result is not as had been intended.
(For further
proof of
to

this, in itself,

very evident proposition, I refer

my

Science of Eights.)
That, which thus relates to

my

acting,

and which

is,

as

were, the premise of all my acting in the sensuous


world, can only be as part of that sensuous world, if I

it

This determined part of

amongst other

free beings.
the world, thus subjected to

live

my

is called,

this

when

recognition

necessary),

purpose and intentions,

recognized and guaranteed by society (and

my

and guarantee is legally and morally


Without such recognition I
property.

could never be sure that

acting did not limit the

my

and hence I could never act with good


on
conscience.
the condition, that all recognize and
Only
for
me
a
guarantee
sphere for my free acting, and thus
freedom

of others,

me that my acting within such sphere will not


disturb their freedom, can I, with good conscience, act at
all.
This recognition occurs immediately through the

assure

How it occurs mediately from the


has
been
shown in my Science of Rights.
race,
the
therefore, firstly,
duty of everyone, who has

wherein
whole human
state

It

is,

I live.

reached this insight, to introduce right of property, which


indeed does not come of itself, but must be introduced

and according to a fixed conception. It


the
moreover,
duty of each to acquire property, for it

intentionally,

is,

is

with freedom and this he cannot do,


duty
because he is not sure whether he may not disturb the
freedom of others, unless he has property. This we say

his

to act

here preliminarily, as a closer determination of the pro-

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

309

position already established, that a state must be erected,


and that each individual must become a member of it.

The freedom
end,

each individual

of

commanded by

is

it

by

Hence the

is

an absolute

having property and retaining

inviolable.

end,

me

This freedom

conditioned

his

to

is

moral law.

the

latter,

the condition of

as

my

also itself such end.

a. This disposition of the moral law, regarded


negatively,
never to injure or diminish in
results in the prohibition
:

any manner anyone s


its utility to the

his property for my own


robbery, theft, cheating, cunning, or

must not use

Firstly:

property, nor to render more difficult

proprietor.

purposes, through

overreaching all of which acts are, indeed, prohibited


for the very sake of their forms
the former, because
;

they involve an attack upon the body and life of the


other, and the latter because they presuppose falseness
and lying. But at present we look merely to the content
these acts, namely, that they constitute a deprivation
the other s property.
They are prohibited, because
they interfere with the freedom of the person thus
of

of

He has calculated upon its


deprived of his property.
continued possession, and has taken his measures accord
ingly.

he

If

causality

is

deprived of

and the measure

diminished

if

altogether, his sphere of


of his physical power is
it

he has to acquire

it

again, he

retarded in the course of his activity,

and

is

is

at least

forced to do

again what he had done already once before.


That immoral doctrine of morals, which generally
pretends good ends to excuse bad means, and which has

been called Jesuitical morality (although we do not mean


to say that all Jesuits hold to it, and that none but
Jesuits hold to it), might object to the above proposition,
Provided the
and, in fact, does object to the following
"

made
goods thus taken are not destroyed, but merely
of
end
the
of
final
the
use
of,
promotion
temporary
reason is not checked, nay, is perhaps aided; if for

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

316

instance, the party who took the goods employs them


better than the old proprietor would have employed

them.

Supposing the one who takes them knows that

the original proprietor is going to make a bad use of


them, and himself intends a very laudable use to the

God and greater service of his neighbour


would he not act very morally, according to your own

greater glory of

principles
I reply

me

to

?"

To promote the good

is

command

conditionally, namely, in so far as

my sphere

it

addressed

comes within

and stands within the power rightfully belong


freedom of the other

ing to me j but to interfere with the


I am unconditionally prohibited.

The reason why

and the overreaching of the other


pretended good purposes, are not defended
arises from
with the same obstinacy as necessary
the fact that our civil laws, which have the preservation
of property at heart, above all other things, and have
placed severe punishment on its violation, have differently
formed our modes of thinking concerning this matter.
The New Zealander, for whom civil laws have not done
theft

for the sake of

"

lies,"

the same, doubtless steals for good purposes, as


for

we

live

good purposes.

Secondly, I must not damage the property of the other,


neither intentionally, and with evil purpose in view, nor
from carelessness and from the same reason, namely,
;

because the free use of


tional

damage

produced in

is

its

his

property,

and hence his

thereby checked. So far as inten


concerned, not even a sophistry can be

freedom generally,

is

defence

it

is

absolutely immoral.

So

damage through carelessness is concerned, it is my


duty to take the same care to protect the other s property,
which I take to preserve my own; for it is an end to me
from the same reason as my own, namely, as a means to

far as

promote the rule

of reason.

prohibited to render more difficult the


The ground of
utilizing of his property to the owner.
Finally,

it

is

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

311

the prohibition is clear.


The object of the property is,
that the owner should freely use it to promote his ends,
which I must assume as tending to realize the rule of
reason. To check the free use of his
property is therefore

equal to cancelling the end of all property, and is, there


It is no excuse
fore, essentially the same as robbery.
that I intended thereby to prevent an evil and injurious
use of it.

To

restore

what has been taken

or damaged,

is

always

Without restoration there is no forgiveness, i.e., no


duty.
reconciliation with myself.
The strict proof is as
follows
He who thinks morally does not desire to
:

damage the other s property.

But

this

damage continues

in its consequences until the complete restoration has


been accomplished. As sure as I therefore return to a

moral mode

of

thinking, I

desire

to

have the conse

quences cancelled, and thus the act annihilated and in


obedience to this desire I must do all in my power to
;

realize

it.

The

positive application of the requirement of the


moral law, that the property of the others shall be an end
to me, because it is a condition of their formal lawful
b.

freedom, involves the following

commands

Firstly: Each man who attains the use of his reason


must have property.
The proof has been furnished
above.
He must be able to act freely.

Now

the

provide for everyone s property


the State.
all,
Strictly speaking,
belongs,
there is no rightful property at all in a State, where but
a single individual lacks property; i.e., in the truest
care
of

first

to

to

sense of the word, as signifying the exclusive sphere for


free
and hence not merely objects, but likewise
activity,

For each
exclusive rights, to certain arts (professions).
one owns his property only in so far as all others have
but they cannot have thus recognized it
recognized it
unless he in return has recognized their property like
wise.
Hence they must possess property. He who has
;

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

312

none, has not relinquished his claim to that of the others,


and therefore very justly claims it. This is the legal

Hence it is the first duty of anyone


aspect of the case.
who has convinced himself of this truth, to do what is in
his

power

have

to

it

recognized and carried out in his

State.

But

until this

is

and why should

done

it

not be done

the duty of each one to give to him


no property, some property; or, in other words,

once

it is

duty to be

who

has

it is

his

benevolent.

Benevolence, however, as everyone


a conditioned duty it would not need

will perceive, is
to act if the State did

what

ought to do.
Benevolence consists in pro
curing property for those who have none, or in securing to
them a certain and continued livelihood. We should try
Let

it

and help

be well observed

it

one, or

future time

many, if possible, thoroughly,


to obtain situations for those who

and for all


have none,

labour for the labourless give, or loan, to the needy so


that they may again resume their work; educate, or assist
;

in educating, orphans, &c., &c,


in short, we should do
wholly as many works of benevolence as possible, and not
merely put a little patch here or there. Only thus is our
;

benevolence rational and considerate.


the

conception

of

benevolence

property.
The usual giving of alms

He who

is

The proof

each one

is

lies in

to

have

a very doubtful good work.

gives an alms

which does not alleviate altogether,


can rationally only have in mind to
say I cannot help
or will not help
you; hunt up others to do it; and so
:

that you
offer

you

the duty

be able to make your living until then, I


this gift.
The duty of almsgiving results from
to preserve the life of our fellow-men.

may

The imploring

of help from our fellow-men


to find a vocation and

no other object than

individuals, since the State refused

men

can have

property from

it

to us.

Now

that

should have no other end in


begging alms, and should
make begging a vocation, is positively not to be tolerated;

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.


and

if

313

the State tolerates

it, it is the duty of each indi


do as much as possible to defeat this end,
and by no means to promote it
through inconsiderate
weak-heartedness and wrongly understood duty.
It is
understood that each one must be sure in his conscience
that he does not refuse benevolence from avarice and

vidual

to

natural hard-heartedness, merely


pretending that higher
principle and whether this is so or not will easily appear
;

by noticing whether such a person does carry out the


prescribed works of a rational benevolence, whenever an
opportunity offers. How far do those depart from reason
and truth who make the giving of alms a
religious exer
cise, and who tolerate and promote beggary, so that the
faithful ones

may not lack opportunity to do good works


such opportunities could ever lack
How far, then, does the duty of benevolence extend ?

As

if

Is it sufficient to practise it so far as it does not become


troublesome to us at all, and to give away only that

which we cannot make use of ? By no means we must


take away from ourselves, retrench our own
expenses,
become more economical, and labour more, in order to be
able to do more charity for he who is without
property
;

has a claim upon our property.


Lest this may be turned around, and the conclusion
drawn that the poor have therefore a right to compel

Those who are without


support, I add the following.
property have certainly a right to compel it from the
State, and it is the business of both poor and rich to
labour and bring the State to a recognition and execution
of this, its
duty.

man

But

so far as individuals are concerned,

know whether it is precisely this


duty, or whether that one is in a position to extend
charity to him, or whether higher duties may not restrain
the poor

one

can never

them.
Secondly. Each one must retain what is his, for other
wise his formal freedom is disturbed. Hence it is duty to
protect the property of the other against every attack,

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

and without waiting to be requested and so to defend it


in the same measure as we would defend our own, for the
defence of both is means to promote the rule of reason;
and whether the attack be made by irrational forces of
Nature (fire and water), or by the injustice of rational
beings, and by the latter through violence or cunning.
;

Since the safety of his property is to be as dear to me as


my own, it is immediately evident that I must undertake
the defence of his at the risk of
extends, and

in

risk even of

my

how
life,

we

my

How

own.

far this

am

obliged to defend it at the


in the following.
see
shall

far I

Thirdly Property is an object of duty because it is a


It is the end and aim of
condition and tool of freedom.
:

a morally-minded man, that others shall have as much


freedom i.e., power and causality in the sensuous world
as possible, in order thus to promote the final end of
reason.
Hence it is also a duty to increase the utility

property of others. /To accomplish much, it is not


necessary to possess a large amount of means, as
to have thorough control over those which we possess, so

of the

so

much

that

we may

effect

by them

all

that

we

desire to effect.

not a large, but a well-trained body, completely


under the domination of the will, which makes us free
It

is

and independent; and, in

like manner, it is not a large


but
a
property,
well-arranged property, which is easily
and
handled,
immediately applicable for every purpose,
we
whereby
grow independent and as it is our duty to
;

bring our property into this condition, so it is now our


duty to have the same intention respecting the property
of others.
Thus we should be ready to give advice and
.assistance

to

and

others,

though never forcing them upon


which
would

also to allow to our neighbour that


will do him more good, in his position, than it

others

In short, readiness to oblige is a duty its


motive, however, must never be inconsiderate goodheartedness, but the clearly- thought intention to promote
benefit us.

the causality of reason, as

much

as possible.

It is a

duty

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.


to

refuse

315

the granting of which, according


best insight, would do our neighbour more
but such refusal should be accom
injury than good
rational
panied by
arguments to correct the other s
entreaties,

own

to our

conceptions, and induce

him voluntarily

to

desist

from

his entreaties.

Fourthly: The whole sensuous world is to be brought


under the rule of reason, and to become its tool in the
hands of rational beings. But in the present sensuous
world all things are connected with each other, and
hence no part thereof is wholly and unlimitedly under
the dominion of reason, unless all parts are so. Applying
this here, it results in the command
That everything
useful in the world must be put to use; and since it can
:

be put to proper use only in becoming property, that


It is the end of the
everything must become property.

morally good

man

to bring this about.

As every man

have a property, so shall also each object in


be the property of some one man.
to

this

is

world

Particularly through the practice of these third and


fourth commandments, is the dominion of reason in the

sensuous world put upon the most solid basis. Through


the third, that each one should care, not only for the use
of his own property, and for the attainment of his private
ends, but likewise for the proper utilizing of the property
of

all

should work

for,

and promote

their activity as

should promote his Keason is united into one,


they
and becomes one and the same will in the minds of all,
however empirically different they may be. Through the
fourth and last, all Nature is comprehended by, and
is a unit
gathered together under, this one will. Reason
in itself, and the sensuous world is subordinated to it.
all

This

is

the end proposed to

us.

is no conflict between the freedom of rational


that many
in
beings
general, i.e., it is not a contradiction,
There
beings in the same sensuous world should be free.

B. There

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

316

only one case, where the possibility of freedom for


many, or the possibility of the co-existence of two

is

rational individuals,

is

cancelled by Nature itself

and

of

we

conflict between
shall speak hereafter/
determined free acts of rational beings arises only when
this case

one person uses his freedom illegally or immorally for the


All of which
suppression of the freedom of the other.
will appear hereafter.
All shall be free.

The use of freedom in many in


must not mutually check and contradict itself.

dividuals

is alsolute requirement of the moral law, and hence


the duty of each to promote the co-existence of the
freedom of all.
But this co-existence is only possible

This
it is

through each person limiting with freedom for each is


to be and remain free
the use of his freedom to a
certain sphere, which all others exclusively leave to him
and leaving on his part to the others all the rest for

division amongst themselves.


Thus in the same sensuous
world each one is free in his part without checking the
freedom of anyone else.
This idea is realized in the
State, which, moreover, since the good will of the in
dividual cannot be counted upon, keeps each individual
within his limits.
What each one s duty is in respect to

we have already shown. The State thus keeps


us by compulsion in the order which it has established
Hence if a conflict arises
amongst the individuals.
the State

amongst them respecting the use of their freedom, it


the duty of the State to settle such conflict
and it
the duty of each individual to leave the settlement
;

is

is

of

such conflict to the State.


not at

all to

conflicts of

one had

be seen

how

Hence, for the present, it is


individuals can have duties in

their freedom.

It rather

seems as

if

each

fulfilled this duty, fully in

advance, by assisting
in the establishment of a State, and subjecting himself
to its laws.
But it happens often that the State cannot
settle

that

such conflicts immediately, and


the duties of

the private

it is

in such cases

individual

arise

again.

THE THEORY OF DUTIES,

317

Thus we have gained for the present this proposition all


duties of which we shall speak at
present can only arise
in cases where the State cannot assist, and
only in so far
:

the State cannot

as

What

assist.

this

may mean

will

appear in the separate instances.

But we must preface another remark. It


same whether my own freedom, or the freedom

all

is

of

the

one of

my fellow-men, is endangered through the illegal use of


freedom on the part of another; for, as has often been
stated, the freedom of the other is entrusted to my care
from the same ground as my own, and hence is end for
me

to the

same

There

degree.

is

no distinction between

the duty of self-defence and that of the defence of others;


both are the same duty of the defence of freedom in
general.
(/ Freedom

as

we have

seen, conditioned by life, body,


the
use of freedom also requires
True,
of
truth
but
there
never can arise a conflict
cognition
between the cognition of different persons, since truth is
is,

and property.

not divisible like bodies and goods, but is one and the
same, common equally to all and since there is not for
each individual a separate truth, as there is for each an
;

own body and separate property hence the followingcases of possible conflicts arise
1. The
preservation of the bodies and lives of different
:

persons
2.

may
3.

may

be in

of the property of different persons

be in conflict.

The preservation

tion of property
i.

conflict.

The preservation

Firstly.

may

of

body and

The preservation

preservation of the

life,

and the preserva

be in conflict.

life

of

of another,

my own
it

life

and the

appears, in certain

cases cannot co-exist together and this not through any


my own or of the other, but simply through
;

injustice of
a disposition of

Nature apparently withdraws


Nature.
the possibility of the co-existence of both.
Instances I
In the Science of Rights, the case has been
will not cite.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

3 i8

treated at length, and decided as follows that in such a


case the question of rights does not occur at all, and
since in that science only rights are taken cognizance of,
:

the matter

is left

to the arbitrariness of each.

But the moral law decides quite


preserve

my own

shall likewise

life

differently.
as tool of the moral law

preserve the

life

of

shall

but I

the other from the

The moral law commands both equally

same ground.

We

are both to be regarded as tools


unconditionally.
and
moral
of the
law,
simply, as such, objects of a duty.
of
The natural impulse,
course, leads me to prefer myself

but that impulse

is

not to be counted on at

all,

and,

according to the moral law, neither of us has advantages,


since in the face of this law we are both equally means
I cannot fulfil the command of the
of the same reason.

moral law to preserve myself, except at the expense

of

the other, according to our presupposition


and this the moral law prohibits. I cannot save the life
the

life

of

my own

of the other, except at the expense of


Each
the moral law prohibits likewise.

and

command

this

of the

moral law is in this case opposed by a prohibition hence


both commands annihilate each other the law is utterly
silent, and I, who am impelled only by it, must do
nothing, but must quietly await the issue.
we are both
In our proof this proposition occurs
:

This proposition has


been attacked, and the theory established that it is proper
to consider, who may be the best tool of the moral law,
equally tools

of

the moral law.

that the older one should sacrifice himself for the younger,
the less talented for the more talented, &c. / I reply It
:

judge from whose preservation


the most good would result, for finite understanding has
no possible way of deciding what may be of greatest
Hence
advantage in connection with all other things.
this decision should be left to the world s government of
The
reason, wherein upon this standpoint we have/cw^.
is

absolutely impossible to

finite

understanding knows only that

it

ought to do in

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.


every
caring

from
it

319

moment of life, whereunto duty impels, without


how much, and in what manner, good
may result

Whosoever is preserved, from his preservation


certain that good will result, since the world is

it.

is

governed by the highest wisdom and love. Whosoever


him no blame attaches he has done what he
could do, and for the rest the moral law which rules the
world is responsible, if we can speak of
responsibility in
perishes, to

this connection.
"

But

if

we both

shall perish,

Let

me

Though

tell
yje

wait quietly for the result, we both


of us might be saved."
you firstly, that this neither of us knows.
see no means of
escape, such means may

whereas otherwise one

But secondly, supposing we both


do perish, what then ? Oar preservation is not end and
object at all, but the fulfilment of the moral law is that
object hence, if we perish, such has been the will of the
moral law. It is fulfilled, and our end is attained.
Secondly. Cases may occur wherein many of niy fellownevertheless appear.

men
save

are in danger of
;

life

but I cannot save

How am

I to select

and body.

all, or,

It is

my

duty to

at least, not all at once.

My

object is, and must necessarily be, to save all, for


all are tools of the moral
law, and there is herein no
distinction to be made.

Now

if

I desire to save all, I

will first of all render assistance to those

who

are in the

most immediate danger, since they cannot preserve them


selves any longer without
foreign assistance, whether
their danger be thus most imminent from the state of
matters, or from their own weakness and helplessness as,
for instance, children, sick, and old
persons. /If amongst
them there are such, whose welfare is more specially
entrusted to my individual care who are mine own
then these must have the preference but let it be well
observed, not from any natural pathognomonical affection,
or from care for my own
happiness such motives are to
:

be

condemned-/-but because their preservation

is

my

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

320

and

duty,

particular

because

particular

duty always

precedes general duty.


If no such grounds of preference exist, then I must
save whomsoever I can first save, whomsoever I see first.

To consider the

relative importance of this or that life

in such a case, not allowable, for I cannot

is,

know anything

respecting this point.


Thirdly. Cases may arise of hostile and unjust possible
attacks upon my life and body, or upon the body of some

one else

must be the same to me. Here the


In how far may I endanger the life of

for that

question arises

It is absolute duty
the aggressor in defending my own ?
to defend the life of the attacked party, whether it be I

/but this does not cancel the duty to spare


and preserve the life of the aggressor. Hence my object
can never be to kill the aggressor, but merely to render

or another
;

him

I ought, therefore, to call for the help of


I ought
are
near, and thus of the State.
others,
they
likewise only to repel the attack as well as I am able,

harmless.
if

without endangering the aggressor himself. If I cannot


do this, I should rather maim or wound him anything
If he does get killed,
so that his death be not my object.
;

it

results against

my

intention, though chance

and

I are

not responsible for it.


be objected,
It might

and many moralists have


have
objected
you
exposed the life of the
if
to
the
matter only concerns
Now,
danger.
aggressor
if
and
are
the
attacked, why do you
yourself,
yourself
not rather die than expose the other to danger ? "/In
order to thoroughly and clearly refute this objection, I
shall compare the presupposed case with the one just
In the latter it was my duty to preserve niy
considered.
but I was not to
life, and so it is in the supposed case
"

But

still

Now
preserve it at the expense of the life of the other.
there is firstly this great distinction In that case the
conviction was before me that my self-preservation must
:

entail the death of the other

but in the supposed case

it

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.


not necessary, not proposed to kill him
moreover, the life of the other was in

is

321

In that case,

hands of
in
would
and
my conviction, be taken
Nature,
surely,
from him the moment I preserve my own. But in the
the

supposed case this rests within my own power; a power


which is controlled by my free will; and it is not my will
to kill him, nor do I foresee and presuppose that he will
be killed. ,/But secondly, and which is the decisive point
the duty to act here in self-defence, is based not only
:

upon the duty to preserve my own life, but at the same


time upon the duty to prevent something evidently
murder.
What
prohibited by the moral law, namely,
the moral law absolutely forbids, the moral man cannot
allow to happen at any price for his will is the will of
Now this does not happen in the above
the moral law.
;

case,

where there

is

nothing immoral to be prevented.

defence ceases.
as the aggressor is disarmed,
If
I have nothing else for him but rational arguments.
more to be done in his case, to promote
there is

my

As soon

anything

establish an example for others, or to


general security, to
from
himself
doing similar things, these are
prevent

matters for the State to

now

transferred.

settle, into

The State

is

whose hands he

his judge, not

is

as an

individual.

The preservation of the property of different persons


My
is in conflict, and seems mutually to cancel itself.
of another, is, at the same
the
and
property
property,
In that case the preservation of mine
time, in danger.
comes first, for I naturally first observe its danger, and
2.

thus

first

receive the

command

of the

moral law

to save

and whosoever has already a determined duty to fulfil,


it
must not leave it for another. I also naturally suppose
;

own
that the other will do the same in regard to his
con
own
in
be
must
I
sure,
my
Of course
property.
own from reasons of duty,
science, that I thus prefer my
and not of selfishness. I must save mine not as mine,
but as part of the

common

property of reason.

Whether

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

322

I really do so regard it, will easily appear afterward from


the fact whether I so apply it or not; whether I am

other unfortunate neighbour


am able to do so, with

ready to serve and assist my


with it, and to divide, so far as I
him, that which I have saved.

may get into


to
save that of
the
me from
duty
danger, does not absolve
For
so long as
in
which is actually
danger.
The mere

my

possibility that

property

my neighbour

merely possible, I have nothing to


do; but to do nothing and to rest, except where duty
commands, is immoral.
It is absolutely immoral to protect one s own property
or to parry a danger which
at the expense of the other s
the danger to mine

is

it, in whole or in part,


had happened to him, he
bear it, and we to help him to

threatens our property, by putting

upon our neighbour s.


would have been forced
bear

The

He

it

but now,

it

If

to

it

has happened not to him, but to

us.

moral man sees in this a dispensation of providence.


as he can, but he
grapples with the danger as well

does not try to


sent to him.

make another one

suffer

what providence

worth more than property; for life is the condi


tion of property, and not property the condition of life.
Hence we must save the lives of our fellow-men before
our and
saving their property, must prefer the safety of
whenever
their
of
our
and
to
that
lives
their
property,
the danger to that property comes from irrational forces
Life

of

is

Nature.

danger

How

arises

the relation

may

from the injustice

of

be changed,

if

rational beings,

the

we

shall see directly.


of body and life may conflict with
3. The preservation
the preservation of property.
property, or the property of the other, which ought

My

same to me, may be attacked by rational beings.


For such a case it is not merely the property which is to
be preserved, but an immoral and illegal action which is
to be prevented.
Now, the will of the moral law is the
to be the

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

323

moral man, and hence he cannot


permit what
the moral law does not suffer.
It is, therefore, absolute
will of the

duty to prevent robbery, in as much as


moral law, and as each can

the

to be.

it is

absolutely against

categorically assert it thus


Let not this last clause be overlooked. An attack

upon the property of the other is absolutely against the


moral law, solely in so far as the aggressor has
recognized
it as property.
Hence, in so far as he is a member of the
It

State.

therefore, absolutely illegal and immoral


committed by one citizen of a State upon a
fellow-citizen of the same State, or of a State at
peace

when

it

is,

is

with his State


but it is not absolutely illegal and
immoral when committed by an avowed enemy. For
in the latter case there is a law
dispute between the
States at war with each other, and it is problematical
in law what side may be in the
right hence, no one has
the power to assume the decision of this point, since the
;

other one does not recognize his authority.


I must prevent robbery
this is an absolute command.
But what means may I use for the purpose, in how far
;

in how far may I expose my own


the other, to danger ?
Firstly, the case may be of a nature which permits of
a remedy on the part of the State if not at once, at
least hereafter.
In such a case the State can annihilate
the unjust act and it is, therefore, duty to do nothing im

may

life,

I use force,

and the

and

life of

>

mediately, and to expose neither myself nor the aggressor


to danger, but to notify the State of the matter.
This

when the property taken is of a nature that


can be known, and when the State has guaranteed its

case arises
it

possession, or when the person of the aggressor is known


to us.
In the latter case, however, it is necessary, and

hence duty, to provide proper proofs for the State.


Secondly, the case may be of such a nature that if I
do not resist on the spot, the unjust act becomes success
In such a case it is duty to
ful so far as I can foresee.
resist by force
but with the same precaution enjoined in
;

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

324

If the aggressor resists, it


life and body.
life is attacked,
death.
and
life
for
a
becomes
fight
and the matter conies under the rules established for

the defence of

My

I no longer defend
case.
and at the risk of my life.

such a
life,

my

property, but

my

I have myself brought


might be objected to this that
such a pass by offering resistance, and that I
for mere property into one
myself have changed a fight
I reply: Morally I was bound to
for body and life.
I could not, and was
resist the robbery of my property.
not bound to assume that the aggressor would resist my
assume
attempt to drive him away, for I must always
It
that the moral law will be followed, and not violated.
to dissuade
I
have
that
understood
attempted
moreover,
is,
It

affairs to

It is altogether the fault of


rational arguments.
the aggressor that the affair has become one of life and
death he ought to have been deterred by my resistance.
before the
Thirdly, in cases of complaints preferred
and not merely in the present instance, but
State
the moral law prescribes as follows:
generally
Whenever the State requires notification of such
violence it is my duty to give it, since obedience to the

him by
:

State

is

whether

duty.
I

But when

it

is

left

my

to

free will,

and the State

choose to prefer such or not

limits in this respect: for instance, in private


affairs which happen in one s own house the rule is, where

has

its

there

is

the moral law

plaintiff there is no judge


that I should not prefer it at once.

no

requires
is as follows

The State does not convince.

The ground
Whether we

of its
acknowledge, or do not acknowledge, the justice
out
carried
is
and
it
decision, we still must submit to it,
a
as
not
man
treats
with
force; for the State

physical

rational being, but as a force of Nature which must be


and the State is right in doing
restricted to its limits
for this purpose.
established
Now, in
since it was
;

so,

acts in my name when


private affairs the State
I empower and call
not
act
unless
act, for it does

it

does

upon

it

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

325

do so, and would not act if I did not do so. Hence,


what the State does is to be ascribed to me. /But / am
required to treat my fellow- man not as mere force of
to

Nature, but as a rational being, if I can possibly thus


arrange with him. I am therefore bound, before pre
ferring

against him, to try arguments, and see


cannot bring my opponent, through rational

suit

whether

representations, to confess his injustice, and to resolve

voluntarily to make it good.


If these representations are of no avail, then it becomes
duty to prefer suit for his unjust act must not succeed,
;

But from what


but be defeated. It might be objected
for certain that they will be of
I
know
do
of
time
point
no avail; and how can I ever know that they will be of no
"

not therefore remain my duty always to


I reply
?
presuppose that they might be successful
must be
This
The point here is to make restoration.
a deter
fix
done within a certain time, hence I cannot
avail

Does

it

"

If my suit before
either for myself or him.
make
the courts force him to restore and
good the damage

mined time

be able, and it will still remain my duty,


to convince him, through remonstrances, that he ought to
have done voluntarily what now he is compelled to do,
done, I shall

still

to subject his will to the law, as well as his


external action has been so subjected through compulsion.
and treat, both pending and after
Hence I must

and thus

regard

In
opponent as a rational and moral person.
have
we
as
I
must
already
the same manner
likewise,
the

trial,

my

tool of morality,
seen, seek to preserve him as a possible
in a fight of life
him
with
involved
become
if
I
have
even
to
occasion
us
This
and death.
speak, in the present

gives

place, about

otherwise
all

love

towards our enemies, concerning which

that can be said about

it

is

since

particular to say,
already involved in the

we should have nothing

and it is merely to
previously established principles;
remove some misunderstandings that I touch upon this
point.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

326

towards
but merely natural. It
must never be the motive power of our acts.
It is
such
love
our
that
towards
is
enemies
generally agreed

Pathognomonical

love, or a separate inclination

this or that person, is not moral,

not
is

commanded by the moral law; and


commanded simply because it

not so

some say it
not possible,
Why should it
if

is

only the ground assigned is not correct.


not be possible ? Might we not feel a particular inclina
tion,

arising

that

from some natural ground, towards any


perhaps hates and persecutes us, merely

person
because this inclination
love
love

is not reciprocated ?
No this
not commanded, simply because it is not a moral
is not
something dependent upon our free will, but
;

is
;

dependent upon a natural impulse.


Yet, on the other hand, those are also mistaken who
assert that this command requires not at all any internal
and that it is suffi
affection, but merely an external act
cient to act, as if we did love our enemy, no matter how
;

much we may

hate him in point of

because no act

fact.

This assertion

moral which does not emanate


from an internal disposition; and because such a command
would merely require legality towards our enemy, which
the moral law immediately never commands.

is false,

The

solution

morality there

From the standpoint of


one
view
from
which to look upon
only

is
is

is

as follows

our fellow-men, namely, I must regard them as tools of


But as such I must regard all without exception,

reason.

no matter how much their present actions may lead me to


conclude the contrary.
Even if he is not such now, I
must never abandon the hope that he may become such,
as has been abundantly proved above.
The same holds
of my enemy.
I must love him
that is to say,
must believe him capable of reforming; and this love I
must evince in deed that is to say, I must assist with all

good

my

power in

his reform.

Moreover, which should be well observed, the moral man


has no personal enemy, and recognizes none. Nothing,

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

327

is hateful to him, and he seeks to


overthrow
nothing except the evil, and this simply because it is
evil.
Whether such evil be directed against him or

indeed,

against anyone else, is all the same to him, for he holds


himself as absolutely nothing more than
anyone else,
namely, as a mere tool of the moral law. There is no

reason at

all

why

he should think worse of the

man who

happens to stand in his way, and should sooner despair of


him than of one who stands in the way of some
good
cause

or

another.

because

it

egotist,

and

Whoever

has touched him,


is

feels

may

an

offence

be sure that he

deeper
is

an

very far yet from true morality.

CONCLUDING EEMARK.
Although the duty of truthfulness is not to be discussed
here, since no collision can arise concerning it, something
nevertheless results from it, to which we must refer in
few words Honour and good repute.
Honour and good repute, in a moral sense, consist in
this That others should believe us to be possibly actuated
in our actions generally, and
particularly in our relations
to them, by a regard only for the good and the just.
This
each
we
have
one
should
of
as
have
the
other,
opinion
:

seen, for each one should consider the other as a possible


tool of morality
and should thus entertain it until the
;

contrary is proved for the present, and even then he


This
should not abandon the hope of future reform.
our
in
of
conditions
which
others
entertain
us,
opinion
fluence

upon them, and hence

defend

it.

it is

Decided indifference to

our duty to retain and


all evil

reports which

be scattered against us, is indifference to, and con


tempt of, the men upon whom we are to work, and to our

may

own moral destination; and hence it is a very immoral


mode of thinking. It needs no particular self-control to
become, in a natural way, indifferent to the judgments
of others.
We only need to look a little closer at the

THE SCIENCE OF

328

ETHICS.

men as they generally are, to learn not to place too great


But a moral man should
a value upon their judgments.
not let this indifference grow upon him he should always
;

see in

men

rather that which they shall be, and become

thus that which they actually are.


Now, if anyone has attacked this our honour, and

we

can only defend it by communicating of him what must


It is, for
hurt his character, it is our duty to do so.
has
other
that
the
and
to
our
to
instance,
prove
say
duty
The matter stands here in precisely
told the untruth.
the relation as when we defend our life and property
against an unjust attack.

We

must defend

it

even at the

risk of the aggressor.

we have seen that it is our duty to spare and


formal
the
freedom of our fellow-men, since we
promote
are morally bound to regard each one who bears a human
C.

Hitherto

moral law. All men outside of us


in particular, are objects of
and
their
freedom
generally,
in
far
as
we
to
us
so
presuppose that they are
duty
solely,
such tools for otherwise they would be merely irrational
objects, to be treated according to our own pleasure, and
face, as a tool of the

to be subjected to our arbitrary ends.

We

are, therefore,

bound, as sure as we act upon them, to treat them as


moral beings and only this view of them determines our
;

manner
it is

of acting in relation to

evident that

them.

we should promote

From this, already


the general accepta

tion of this view, and should aid in having their freedom


It is
applied to the promotion of the ends of reason.

indeed easy to prove this, even in an immediate manner.


The will of the moral man is the will of the moral law
itself.

Now

the moral

law wills the morality

of

all

rational beings, and hence the moral man must desire the
same.
But his will cannot be an impotent, powerless
will, since he is a tool of the moral law, as an individual

having power in the sensuous world. He will, therefore,


necessarily seek to realize this, his necessary will, with all

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

329

The proof that it is absolute and general


his power.
offers
duty to promote and extend morality outside of us,
It
therefore no difficulty.
in what manner this

state

is

a little

may

more

be possible.

difficult

to

For that

alone can be called moral which proceeds from our own


free resolve without the least compulsion, and without
the least external motive.

communicate morality,

to

It seems, therefore, impossible


or to furnish the least assist

The command

extend
im
and
morality seems, therefore, completely empty
to us but
remain
to
seems
and
nothing
practicable,
impotent wishes; for how could we promote morality
how can sensuous
except through sensuous causality, and
This is, indeed, un
ever awaken freedom?
ance in this communication.

to

causality

deniably true in

many

respects,

which we

shall proceed

to state.

never think
I. First of all, a morally-minded man can
as threats
of bringing men to virtue by compulsory means
of punishment, or promises of rewards, whether held out
ruler, or in
in the name of the State and some

powerful

All acts, which are


an Almighty Being.
devoid of
impelled by such motives, are absolutely
It being still customary to attempt to weaken
morality.
and limit this proposition, and to hold up the system of
a virtue of punishments and rewards by various pretexts,
the

name

of

I shall prove

my

assertion with greatest strictness.

based upon the natural


I desire this or that object because my nature
impulse.
has an impulse for it, and I do not desire it because there
Now if this
is in my nature an aversion against it.
certain
commit
to
me
impulse is made use of, to induce
the
of
satisfying
these acts thus become conditions
All impulse after hajppiness

is

acts,

such impulse; and in this manner the satisfying of


end of
my natural impulse evidently remains the ultimate
the
means,
are
merely
my acts, and my acts themselves
and are merely considered by me as means for such end.
of

But therein

consists precisely the essence of immorality,

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

330

that the satisfying of our natural impulse is the ultimate


end of my acting, whereas the law requires that I utterly
subordinate this impulse to a higher prompting.
Hence,

these acts, I have not been made


moral; but have, on the contrary, been deplorably con
firmed in my immorality, since this my immorality has

by inducing

me

to

been authorized and cultivated through something which


has been preached to me as a doctrine of morals, and
which has been held up to me as the highest and holiest.
All hope of morality has been thus annihilated, by sub
stituting immorality in its place,

presentiment

To

treat

men

of

and

all

inclination

and

morality has been utterly rooted out.

in this

manner

is

to treat

them

as brutes.

We

make use of the brute s instincts to develop in it the


would
qualities we have in view ; and, in like manner, we
train instead of cultivate man.

Let

us, therefore,

avoid

all

those equally indefinite and

shallow, injurious, and all true morality-eradicating pretexts,


as, "We do not want the rewards to be the only end of the
virtuous, we merely want him to have it also in view
The reward is not to be the chief, but merely one of
or,
the ends."
By no means. Eeward is not to be an end
at all.
Every act done from hope of reward, or fear of
"

"

punishment, is absolutely immoral.


Let it not be said, We only want to use this means in
the beginning, until we have made men more open to pure
By the use of such means you do not at all
morality."
"

begin true moral sentiment, but continue the old immoral


disposition, which you thus, moreover, carefully preserve
and cultivate. In fact, your whole pretext, that men are

not

fit

for

pure morality in certain

states, is a

pure in

vention, and your distinction between a pure and a not


pure morality is downright absurd. There are no two
is simply one morality: and that morality
not pure, which does not proceed altogether from
For here we speak
the idea of duty, is no morality at all.

moralities; there

which

is

altogether of the moral disposition, and not of the com-

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.

331

pleteness or incompleteness of the external realization of


this disposition in actual acting.

Nor can morality be compelled through

2.

conviction.

For,

firstly,

theoretical

selves cannot be compelled

explains

many phenomena

fessional

philosophers

would disturb them

theoretical

convictions

them

true proposition, which


in men, but which the pro
:

rarely take to heart, because it


their phantasm, that they can

in

improve or reform men through syllogisms. No one


becomes convinced unless he penetrates into himself and
internally feels the agreement of his self with the truth
uttered which agreement is an effect of the heart, and
on no account a conclusion drawn by the understanding.
;

This attention to our self depends upon freedom, and


hence conviction is always freely given, never forced. I
do not mean to say that we can freely convince ourselves

anything we choose to, for we can only convince


ourselves, and desire to convince ourselves, of truth but
it is not necessary that we convince ourselves of the
of

truth

viction

this conviction

an

depends upon our free

will.

Con

reason

reason subjecting herself,


an
act
of
and is not
her
self
through
-activity, to truth
a passivity of reason.
To convince ourselves of propo
is

act

of

which check our passions, presupposes a ruling


good will, and hence that will cannot first be produced
by our conviction.
sitions

3. Since, nevertheless, we shall probably be compelled to


exercise moral influence only through reasoning, which

can only be done in the way of theoretical argumentation,

we

have, at least, gained so

much

for the

present that

this influence presupposes already the principle of


and evil in the subject to which it is addressed,
.

good
and

that thus all promotion of morality would be impossible,


could we not everywhere confidently presuppose this
principle.
It can,

indeed, be shown that there is something


ineradicable in human nature, with which moral culture

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

332

can always be connected. This is the sentiment of esteem.


This sentiment may lie undeveloped in the soul; but it
can neither be eradicated, nor directed upon an object
We may love, seek, and desire sensuous
foreign to it.
enjoyment, and may feel delight in experiencing it,
but we can never hold it in esteem; esteem does not

apply to

it

at all

Again, wherever this sentiment finds

whatsoever is
application it results without fail
esteemable is sure to be esteemed. Hence, the first rule
Show to
for the extension of morality will be as follows
its

your fellow-men esteemable things, and in this respect


we can scarcely show them anything more to the pur
pose than our own moral mode of thinking and moral

Thus there results the duty of a good


which we shall return hereafter, at present
The first step in moral
proceeding our logical way.
culture is, therefore, the development of esteem.
4. As soon as man is forced to esteem something outside
of himself, the desire to esteem himself awakens in him.
This impulse of self-esteem, as soon as it has once been
awakened through some external motive, is as ineradicable
from human nature as self-love. No man can bear to
coldly despise himself, and quietly to regard himself as a
wicked and miserable wretch. But it is equally impos
behaviour.

example., to

he should esteem himself, if he is contemptible.


Of course, this does not improve the moral condition

sible that

man

in the slightest degree, but often rather makes it


considerably worse. For in order to escape the insuffer
of

able torture of self-contempt,

and often into both together.


because he fears himself

his inner soul, because this

man falls into two ways,


He seeks to escape himself,

he takes care not to look into


shows him nothing but terrific

In order to get rid of himself, he dissipates all


objects.
the more in the object of the external world.
He stupe
fies his conscience.
But as this means is not a complete
remedy, he seeks to get rid of the forced esteem of some
thing outside of

himself,

and the self-contempt which

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.


results therefrom,

esteem

by trying

humbug and

to

335

persuade himself that that

that there does


not exist anything that is esteemable, noble, and sublime
that it is all only appearance and deception that no man
all

is

foolishness

is

better than himself, and that

human

nature in general

It is idle to try and refute this system by


rational arguments, for its ground lies not in reason, but

is

no

better.

in the heart
this

ground

and

it

would be necessary

first to

in the heart, or to relieve such a

his self-shame

and

self-fear.

He

is

root out

man from

thus at variance with

good, simply because he is in conflict with


himself ./ Let us first try and reconcile him to himself;

all

that

let

us show

is

him

that he himself

is

not so utterly devoid

let us first lead


of all good, as he would himself believe
him back to the good principle in himself.
;

Immorality is, therefore, either complete brutishness,


and this must first be cultured by the above means of

(9

man

esteem something outside of himself


one s self and this is to be cured
despair
that at least others do not despair
such
a
man
by showing
of him, by showing him confidence and making him
acquainted, on particular occasions, with the hidden good
teaching

/ or

it

to

in himself.

of

is

He, in

whom

others evince confidence, will

soon also have some confidence in himself

whom

others despair,
of himself.
all

must

but he, of

certainly begin to despair

Thus, in our theory, everything is connected, and each


attached to the other. We have already shown that

"link

immoral to despair internally of the


That which we there showed to be
an internal duty, and a regulative of our external acts,
now again shows itself to be a means for the promotion
of our ultimate end; and it becomes a duty to manifest

it

is

absolutely

reform of any man.

this

internal

confidence

likewise

very

decisively

in

external actions.

The good principle which exists in all men, and which


can be eradicated in none, is precisely the possibility to

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

334

be able to esteem something unselfishly, and hence with


all regard to advantages
and thus absolutely d priori
and without any ground. It is also the impulse to desire
out

one

and the impossibility to sink down to


being able quietly and coolly to despise
Let men be led back to this principle. Let them

self-esteem,

the infamy of

one

s self.

be shown that

it lies

at the basis of all their behaviour.

who absolutely deny


the possibility of an unselfish impulse in man, to men
like Helvetius, &c.
You say you have discovered that
men are only impelled by selfish motives; that
Let

it

be said, for instance, to those


"

they
they report otherwise. Very well,
a good thing for you make use of this
discovery

deceive themselves
this is

if

much as you are able to do, and go your ways. But


why do you communicate this matter to us? What do
as

gain, since all men, and


act from selfish motives by

you amongst them, can only


communicating it to us; or
what danger do you thereby turn away from your heads ?
you

If the

deception to believe otherwise does produce any


it
certainly causes none to you, since you assure

damage,

us that you do not believe it. But as for our


damage, what
does that matter to you ?
What do you care whether
others suffer injury ?
Rather be glad, and draw as much

gain from it as possible. Nay, it would seem as if it must


be a positive advantage to you, if all remain in this error
;

and

you were logical you would do all in your power to


keep up and extend this error. For it affords you a means
to gain us over to your secret
projects, under the pretext
of virtue and unselfishness
which it will not be so easy
for you to do if you
boldly announce your private advan
if

as

tage
your ultimate end. In short, since you can gain
nothing by communicating your discovery, your assertion
contradicts itself.
Nay, what is more, you not only

communicate

it

to

us,

indifferent

as

to

whether we

accept it or not, but you make it your special business to


convince us of it, and defend your
proposition with all
possible zeal.

Whence may

this interest arise

which you

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.


manifest

If

that belief

is

really so contemptible as
it with so much

you
why do you oppose
warmth and energy ? Why not let it
assert

itself

it

to be,

335

fall

to pieces of

Your conduct

is, therefore, absolutely incompre


you are only actuated by selfish motives.
What, then, may be your motive ? It will not be difficult
to show it to you. You are so very concerned to convince
?

hensible

if

us of your opinion, not that


according to it in our actions

inopportune for you

we may govern
for such

but that our conviction

in supporting your conviction.

You

ourselves

would be very

may

assist

are not yourself very

sure of your assertions, and desire to complete, through


our agreement, the conviction which you lack yourself.
/A.nd now I ask you further Why do you desire to be so
:

very certain of your matter

motive

of

your

acts,

of

what

If

mere

profit

selfishness

is

the

can this complete

You are again illogical. You want


certainty be to you ?
to be certain of it, because otherwise you must despise
yourself; must look upon yourself as worse than other
men, as more wicked and infamous than you are naturally.

Hence you wish to esteem yourself, and have a higher


and
principle upon which to act than mere selfishness;
you are better than you yourself think.
Or you others, who are not in this case, who do not
lock it
openly confess your heart s opinion, but carefully
up in your soul, pleading esteemable intentions, which
you do not possess, for your acts, why do you do this ?
If you merely intend to deceive your fellow-men by it, in
order to be able all the more to use them for the promo
tion of your ends, you certainly recognize, through your
nobler motive than
acting, that there is a higher and
use
of
make
since
it, calculate on it, and
selfishness,
you
Here, again, your
take your measures according to it.
is nothing higher in human nature
there
that
opinion
than selfishness, contradicts your acting, which pre
in such pre
supposes something higher, and fares well
and the
least
at
in
Hence,
your acting
supposition.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.


man

inner heart of

discovers itself most surely in his

a higher
you cannot refrain from recognizing
could
and this you certainly
only have
principle in man,
discovered in yourself, and in your own sentiments, there
actions

from transferring

it

Hence you

to others.

also are not so

of goodness as you have believed.


In one word there is no man of even the least culture
I do not speak here of the original natural man, whom
we have dwelt upon elsewhere already who does not
at times commit actions, which cannot he explained from
of self-love, or, from the presupposition
the mere

empty

principle

of

mere

selfishness in others.

Hence the

necessity to call

attention to such actions, and to the principle which lies


at their basis.

the
proposition may not meet
wit
to
we have ourselves proved above,
objection which
theoretical convictions cannot be compelled; and
"that
that hence it is impossible to convince the other that
left in him"; I add the
there is still some

In

that

order

this

goodness

case we can be sure of it,


following: In the present
to be convinced is inclined
man
because the heart of the
in

us from the very beginning.

favour of

would
this

like

may

to esteem himself,

if

it

Each one

were but possible;

Hence we may be certain


at least his dispositions
that
him
we show

be taken for certain.

of his assent

if

are

of

worthy

esteem.

Upon such

basis

moral

character can be built up gradually.


return to the point which we touched above, when
5.
we said that in order to develop the sentiment of esteem

We

man, we must show him something esteemable and


there being no better occasion for this than our own
a good example.
example, we have the duty of
viewed
been
often
This duty has
very incorrectly, as if
or
do
this
to
that, which otherwise
we could be obliged
for
the mere sake of a
do
to
needed
have
we would not

in

to church, taking
good example (as, for instance, going
been
has
For
it
already shown,
the Lord s Supper, &c.).

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.


that within
different

the

actions

337

sphere of morality there are no in


the moral law embraces and deter

mines absolutely all possible acts of freedom.


That
which I am commanded to do I must do absolutely for
its own sake, without
any regard to the example it may
set
and that which I am prohibited from doing I must
;

absolutely leave undone, likewise, without any regard to


the example.
Something which is not duty necessarily
sets a

bad example no good can ever result from the


But to do more than I am commanded to do
;

immoral.

impossible, since duty disposes of all my strength and


my time. Hence there can be no actions, the ultimate
end whereof might be to establish a good example, and

is

all

which ought to be done merely for such example s sake.


The duty of setting a good example has no reference to
the substance of our acts, but only to the form thereof.
Namely the moral law merely makes it my duty to
:

do what

to be done, regardless whether publicly or


and whether with a statement of the principles
upon which it is done or not. But if we look to the fact
which truly neither can,
that we owe a good example
nor is intended, to do any other good than to spread
esteem for virtue this is no longer a matter of in
is

privately,

difference to us.
of our acts

On

the contrary, the highest publicity

and principles

is

commanded

of us.

character

internal

of
this
regards the
is
for
what
esteem
is
to
excite
Its intention
publicity.
nor
neither
be
can
but
esteem
compelled
esteemable;

Firstly,

as

and
artistically produced, but manifests itself voluntarily
an
such
must
not
suffer
virtuous
the
Hence
unobserved.
intention to be remarked in his acts
give frank expression to whatever

is

and since he
in his heart,

is

to

and

since~othefs are moreover likely to remark such intention


if it exists, he must not cherish this intention at all in

He allows the inmost depth of


reference to particulars.
his heart to reveal itself externally, without doing any
thing else to attract attention to it.
z

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

338

He
the external character of the frank man.
his
as
and
acts
talks
his
straightforward,

Such

is

path
pursues
heart prompts him, and as he considers it to be his duty,
without looking to the right or left to see whether he
observed or not, and without listening and inquiring
what people may say to his actions for he has no time
to do this; his time is fully occupied by fulfilling his
But, for the very same reason, he does not conceal

is

duty.
himself, for

lie

has also no time to ponder over secrecy


So, likewise, if his conduct is sub

and concealment.

does he reply to criticism


jected to criticism,
holds himself wronged.
he
if
himself
defend

not try to

smooth over

victed of

wrong.

trait in

human

his actions,

if

does he

He

does

he has been con

Perhaps there is no more beautiful


character than frankness, and none more

dangerous than secretiveness.


at least lead to uprightness,

if

Frankness and openness


they are it not; but he

some deep
and he
have
discovered,
fault,
off
is not willing to be reformed before he does not cast

who

is

secretive has a secret fear of truth, has

which he would not

like to

that fear of truth.

This
to be observed.
pretentious man intends
character can easily be distinguished in others, or which
in ourselves, from
to be the most important to us

ought

frankness,

by the following marks.

The pretentious

which are not at


usually indulges in preparations,
all necessary for his purpose, and which hence can only
be intended to call attention to his acts; whereas the

man

frank

ment

man

does no more than

is

needed for the attain

of his object.

man

This publicity the frank

maintains both in his

His ruling principle is, to do his


principles.
of
s
for
duty sake and he makes no secret
duty merely
To be ashamed of this subjection to some
this motive.
and to
thing higher and greater, as of a superstition,
make oneself the God of the universe, is very con
acts

and

temptible.

It is just

as contemptible to give

another

THE THEORY OF DUTIES.


name
sake,

that which

to

and thus

we have done merely

to claim for

it,

339
for

duty

for instance, motives of

affection and friendship, of


generosity, &c.
The same publicity the frank man, of course, asserts in

particular
his acts

for principles are nothing unless realized in acts,

and since we can convince no one that such principles


are really ours except by realizing them in actions.
Mere virtuous talking amounts to nothing and furnishes
no good, but rather a bad example, since it confirms
unbelief in virtue.
In this respect the frank man shows
himself particularly logical.
His acts are like his words.
;

CHAPTER

V.

f-rt^yvwA^

CONCERNING THE PARTICULAR DUTIES.

PRELIMINARY.

CONCERNING the

relation of the particular to the general

duties, the following is still to be said.


To promote the end of reason is the only

and

duty embraces

other duties

duty of

all,

particular duties
are duties only in so far as they relate to the attainment
I am commanded to exercise the
of that chief purpose.
this

all

particular duties of my vocation and condition in life,


not absolutely because I ought to do so, but for the reason

that I thus best promote in my place the ultimate end of


I must regard the particular duty as a means to

reason.

carry out the general duty of all men, but absolutely not
as end in itself; and I do my duty in the fulfilment of
particular obligations, only in so far as I fulfil them
The proposition that
for the sake of duty in general.
each one shall fulfil his duty through honestly fulfilling

my

the obligations of his particular condition in life, is there


fore to be understood with this restriction
that he must
:

carry out those obligations solely from duty, and for the
sake of duty/ For there might be other motives inducing

man

diligently to practise these duties, as, for instance, a


blame or

natural predilection for his vocation, fear of

Whosoever is impelled by
punishment, ambition, &c.
such motives, does certainly what he ought to do, but
does it now how he ought to do it
he acts correctly,
but not morally. Hence everyone can only decide before
;

his

own

conscience whether he truly


340

fulfils

his duty in

CONCERNING THE PARTICULAR DUTIES.


his vocation.

341

This remark relates to the necessary form

of the will in the particular duties.


have to add another remark concerning the sub
stance thereof, which will, at the same time, furnish us

We

with a criterion whereby each


fulfils

may

the duties of his condition in

recognize whether he
from love of duty

life

For, if such condition or vocation is not absolutely


end in itself, but merely means for the attainment of an
it being contradictory to place the means
end, then
it is not allowable, but rather
than
the end
higher
virtue to one s condition
to
sacrifice
immoral,
positively
or not.

and vocation.
Namely, the duties prescribed by such
vocation, and the rights which may condition their possi
to the ultimate end
bility, can frequently be in opposition
of reason.

Now

the

man

to

whom

his vocation is

his

ultimate end, and who therefore fulfils its obligations


from another motive than love of duty, will carry out
those obligations, even if they are opposed to the ultimate
of reason, because he knows no higher standpoint
than the obligations of his vocation. But the man who
in such case,
regards his vocation merely as a means, will,
because
most assuredly not carry them out,
they no

end

ultimate end of
longer promote, but rather oppose, the
our
In the course of
reason.
present investigation, I
shall apply this general remark to the duties of the
various particular vocations, thereby placing
same time, in a clearer light.

it,

at the

So far as the division of the particular duties is con


cerned, which must base itself upon a division of the
various human relations, which we have called vocations,
we can divide these relations into natural relations, which

upon our arrangement of Nature, /and artificial


and free
relations, which are based upon an accidental
determination of the will. The former relations we may
rest

subsume under the general name of the natural condi


tion of man; and the second under the name of the
location of man.

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

342

A.

We

shall speak here of the duties of

man

in regard

to his particular natural condition.

There are only two natural conditions amongst those


rational, sensuous beings whom we call men, which are
based upon the arrangement made by Nature for the
propagation of the race

The
The

1st.

2nd.

relation of

husband and wife.


and children.

relation of parents

We

have treated both relations extensively in our


At present we condense what we have
Science of Rights.
there said, and refer the reader to that

work

for further

detail.

I.

The relation of husband and

This relation

ment

based, as

we have

said,

on an arrange

Nature

of

sexes.

is

wife.

The

to propagate the race in two different


means made use of by Nature here, as every

where, to attain its object in free beings, is a natural


impulse and the relation of this impulse to freedom is
;

that of all other natural impulses, sufficiently described


above.
The impulse itself can neither be generated nor

annihilated through freedom; it is given.


Only and
this rule has stricter application to the natural impulse
for the union of the sexes than to any other natural

only in so far as the act of the free being is


immediately produced by the impulse, is the object of

impulse

The conception can only prevent or


permit the impulse to become an act; but to eradicate
or put itself in its place
as if the act were immediately
grounded in the conception of the end, and not simply
Nature attained.

CONCERNING THE PARTICULAR DUTIES.

343

mediation in the impulse this the conception


The human race is not propagated according
to conceptions and free resolves of the will.
Hence it would seem, at the first glance, as if we could

through
can not

its

do.

more than
say of the satisfying of the impulse nothing
we have said concerning the satisfying of natural impulses
The impulse must really exist, and must not
in
general.

We

must
be artificially produced by the imagination.
means for the
permit ourselves its satisfaction solely as a
This
end, which end is here the propagation of our race.
end, again, we should relate to our highest ultimate end,
we shall touch
namely, the supremacy of reason. But
of this
upon quite another much less physical aspect
ourselves
impulse; and hence the command to permit
its satisfaction, solely as means to propagate the race, is

even at this point to be restricted by the consideration


that it must at least not be our fault if that end is not
attained thereby.
at an end, and there would
duties of such relation,
no
and
be no marriage relation
union required merely
sexual
the
if the end of Nature in
well
is
It
known, and has just
activity of two persons.
it is permitted
conditions
what
under
now been restated,
is just as
there
and
Nature
of
to act upon an impulse
of two
action
a
in
little
free, reciprocal

Our investigation would be

difficulty

thinking

both have consented to it.


persons permissible, provided
The peculiar
case here.
the
not
is
This, however,
is this, that in the union of the
Nature
of
arrangement
sexes for the propagation of the race only the one sex
should be active and the other altogether passive. (See
This simple ground gives rise to
Science of Rights.)

my

the most delicate relations amongst men.


should
It is impossible that in a rational being there
be an impulse to keep purely passive, to merely surrender
of its
itself to an external influence as the mere object
Mere passivity utterly contradicts reason, and
use.
annuls it. As sure, therefore, as reason rules in woman,

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

344

and has had influence in the development of her character,


the sexual impulse cannot appear as an
impulse to be
but
must
itself
into
an impulse
purely passive,
change
to be likewise active. If the above
arrangement of Nature
is to co-exist with such an
impulse, the latter can be only
an impulse in woman to satisfy a man, and not herself;
to surrender herself, not for her

own

sake, but for the

sake of the other.


is

Such an impulse is called love.


Nature and Eeason in their most original union.
It is not proper to
say that it is

woman s duty

Love
to love,

mixed with a natural impulse which does


not depend upon freedom but it is
proper to say that,
love

for

is

wherever there

but the least inclination for morality,


the natural impulse can appear
only under the form of
love.
The sexual impulse of woman in its mere brutishness
in

is

is

the most repulsive and


repugnant of everything
arid, at the same time, indicates the absolute

Nature

absence of all morality. The unchastity of the heart in


a woman
which shows itself in this, that the sexual
impulse manifests itself in her in an immediate manner
is the basis of all vices
from other reasons
(even

though
never allow that impulse to break out in
acts)
whereas, on the other hand, womanly purity and chastity
she

may

which consists in

this, that the sexual impulse shows


never as such impulse, but always in the form of
love
is the source of all that is noble and
great in
woman.
For woman, chastity is the
of all
itself

principle

morality.

When a woman surrenders herself to a man from love,


the morally necessary result is a
marriage.
Firstly, on the part of the woman.
By giving herself,
she gives herself wholly, with all that is
with her
hers,

strength, her will, and, in short, with her whole empirical


Ego; moreover, she gives herself for ever.
She gives
herself wholly for she
gives her personality and if she
:

excepted anything from her submission, this excepted


something would seem to have more value in her eyes

CONCERNING THE PARTICULAR DUTIES.

345

than her own person, which certainly would constitute


the utmost derogation and contempt of her person, such
as could not co-exist with a moral mode of thinking.
She gives herself for ever. For only on the presupposition
that she has given herself without any reservation, and
that she has lost her life and her will in the beloved,
and that she can not be otherwise than his, can her sub
mission arise from love, and co-exist with a moral way
But if in the hour of submission she could
of thinking.
think herself at any future time as not his, she would

not feel herself thus impelled to surrender herself, which


contradicts the presupposition and annuls morality.
of love involves that of marriage

The mere conception

in the explained significance of the


that a moral woman can give herself

word; and to say


up only to love is

the same as to say that she can give herself only on the
presupposition of a marriage.
man. The whole moral
Secondly, on the part of the
character of

Now

no

man

woman

rests

upon the above conditions.

has a right to

demand the

sacrifice of a

The man can therefore accept the


human character.
submission of the woman only on these conditions, 011
which alone woman can make the surrender; for other
wise man would treat woman not as a moral being, but
Even if a woman should voluntarily
as a mere thing.
other
conditions, man could not accept
offer herself on
and the rule of law, wlenti
her submission
We
no
here
has
application whatever.
injuria
the
in
and
s
one
of
another
use
make
immorality
without
absolute
be
would
it
case
corruption

non

Jit

ourselves guilty of it.


From these premises

cannot
present

making

appears that the satisfaction


in marriage, in
permitted only
impulse
of
the stated significance of the word and that outside
her
utter disregard of
marriage it involves in woman
in this crime
and in man
of the sexual

it

is

moral character,
and the making use

participation

of

an animal inclination.

Between

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

34 6

is no union for the satis


persons of different sexes there
faction of their impulse possible except the union of a
In marriage, more
perfect and indissoluble marriage.

over, the sexual union,

which in

itself

bears the impress

coarse brutishness, receives quite another character


becomes the utter melting
worthy of a rational being. It
uncon
rational individuals into one
two
of
together
ditioned surrendering on the part of the woman pledges
of intensest tenderness and generosity on the part of the

of

man.
riage,

even in mar
purity remains inviolate
Woman surrenders herself
in marriage.

Womanly
and only

in man the natural impulse


always only to love, and even
which man, however, may well enough confess to
himself receives quite another form, and becomes love
returned.

This relation of husband and wife extends throughout


mutual affairs, and its intensity grows with the

all their

The wife can never cease


continuation of the marriage.
him
to utterly cling to her husband, and to be lost in
have
to
would
without reservation for, if she did, she
;

her dignity, and would be force *


give up, in her own eyes,
to believe that her own sexual impulse, instead of love,

had led her to surrender herself. On the other hand,


the husband cannot cease to return to her everything
and more than she has given to him, and to be esteemable
and noble; for it is not only the temporal fate of the
she has in her own
wife, but the confidence which
s behaviour.
character, which depends upon the husband
specified regarding the
If that relation is as it should be,

Moral commandments cannot be


marriage relation.
it

is

commandment

to itself

if

it is

of

not

so, it is

one

reform

through
connected crime, utterly incapable
There is only one result, which I shall
moral rules.
point out.
It is the absolute

destination of

man

each indiyiduaJ^of
neither man nor

is

both sexes to marry. Physical


woman, but both and it is the same with the moral man.
;

CONCERNIIVG THE PARTICULAR DUTIES.


There are

the

traits of

human

character,

347

and moreover

the very noblest, which can be cultivated only in mar


the allriage, such as the surrendering love of the wife
the
to-his-wife sacrificing generosity of the husband
;

necessity to be venerable, if not for his own, at least


for the wife s sake; the true friendship between both

and there it results


The original
necessarily
is egotistic; in marriage even Nature
mankind
of
tendency
leads man to forget himself in the other; and the marriage
union of both sexes is the only way in which man can
An unmarried person is
be ennobled through Nature.
friendship

is

possible only in marriage,

the parental emotions, &c., &c.

only half a man.


True we cannot say to any woman, You shall love nor
to any man, You shall be loved, and shall love in return
But
for this does not depend altogether upon freedom.
;

command can be established: it must not


knowingly our own fault if we remain unmarried.

this absolute

be

The

clearly-resolved intention never to

marry

is

absolutely

immoral. To remain unmarried without one s own fault


is a great misfortune; but purposely to remain so is a
It is not allowable to sacrifice this end to
great guilt.
instance, to the service of the State
or of the Church, or to family considerations, or to the
to be a complete
quiet of a speculative life for the end,
end.
other
than
and whole man, is
any

other ends

as, for

higher

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

348

B.

THE RELATION OF PARENTS AND CHILDREN TO EACH OTHER,


AND THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN.

We

do not speak here of the mutual duties of parents


in general towards children, as uneducated and inex
Much might, it is true, be
perienced rational beings.
we have to investigate at
what
but
on
this
said
subject
;

and their own


present is the relation between parents
This relation
children in regard to their mutual duties.
between them does not result from any freely - created
based upon an arrangement of Nature,
necessary to show up, in order thereby to
moral relation.
this
develop
Between father and child there is absolutely no con
conception, but

which

it

is

is

and freely-directed natural connection. The act


from which some philosophers attempt to
deduce rights and duties, occurs, as such, without freedom
and consciousness and there does not arise from it any
But there does exist
cognition of the generated child.

scious

of generation,

such a natural connection, accompanied by consciousness,


In her womb the fruit
between mother and child.
is
the
and
preservation of her own life
generates itself,
connected with the preservation and health of the child

and she

conscious of

is

this.

She knows upon what

object she wastes this continuous, ever returning, care,


and thus becomes accustomed to consider its life as part

The child is borne by the mother at the


under great pain. Its birth is, for
and
life,
the mother, at the same time, an end to her pain neces
The animal union of
sarily a sight to gladden her heart.
both continues even for some time after the birth and in
the mother is prepared the food of the child, which the

of her

own

life.

risk of her

former

feels as

much need

The mother preserves her


it is

to give as the latter to receive.


child because she needs it and
;

so even in regard to animals.

Now,

it is

a rational
absolutely against the dignity of

CONCERNING THE PAR7ICULAR DUTIES,

349

being that it should, in any case, be driven by a mere


natural instinct.
True, this instinct neither can, nor
but when united to reason and
should, be eradicated
;

freedom

will appear, as we saw above in the case of


sexual impulse, in another form.
What

it

woman s

may

this

form be

will

change into sentiment and affection

According to the mere arrangement of


the
need
of the child was also a physical need
Nature,
of the mother.
But if we assume it to be a being with
consciousness and freedom, the mere impulse of Nature
?

the physical

now

will be replaced by a need of the heart on the part of the


mother freely to make the preservation of the child her

own.

This

affection

the

is

sentiment

of

pity

and

just as improper to say of a mother s


sympathy.
that
it
is
her
pity,
duty, as it is to say so of a wife s love
it is rather the necessary result of the
original union of
It

is

the natural impulse and reason.


But it is proper to say
of both, that they condition the possibility of morality.

Of a woman who
rise

is not capable of
feeling motherly
doubtless be said that she does not

above brutishness.

manifested

by a

may

it

tenderness,

itself

command

give herself

of duty.

up

It is

only after the affection has

that freedom enters, and


to

The mother

these

is

accompanied

in duty bound to
sentiments, to nourish them
is

within her, and to suppress whatsoever might tend to


deaden them.
of the father for his child, on the other hand
deducting everything which is the result of our civil
is only
legislation, of public opinion, or of imagination
It arises from the father s love of the
a mediated love.

The love

His tenderness towards his wife makes it a


mother.
joy and a duty to him to share her feelings, and thus
there arise within him love for his child and care for its
preservation.

The

both parents towards their child is


In saying this, I speak as to
care for its preservation.
if
we were, and could be, truer to
how matters would be
first

duty

of

THE SCIENCE OF ETHICS.

350

Nature namely, if husband and wife would always live


and work together and if, therefore, the child would
always be under their eyes, and live together with them.
;

In this case the parents

since

man

is

but too

much

inclined to transfer reason and freedom to everything


would transfer their own conceptions
outside of him*
to the child,

could not

it

And hence
it accordingly.
that traces of the reason assumed in the

and would treat


fail

and demanded of it by this reciprocal causality,


between itself and its parents, would soon exhibit them
child,

selves.

According to the necessary conceptions of free beings,


freedom belongs to our welfare in the same way that
reason

is

attached to

and desire

child,

it

altogether of freedom.

it

and since the parents love

their

they cannot wish to deprive


But since, at the same time,

its welfare,

they watch over its preservation, as over an end demanded


both by Nature and duty, they can favour and admit this
far as it is possible to co-exist with
the preservation of the child.
Such is the first conception of education, or, as this
first part of it might be named separately, of the training

freedom only in so

It is the

duty of parents to preserve their


duty to spare and favour its freedom;
in
far
so
as
the
latter might hurt the former, it is
hence,
their duty to subordinate the use of the child s freedom
to their highest end in the child, namely to its preser
In other words, it is a duty to train children.
vation.
But soon the duty of a higher education of an edu
of children.

child

it is

also their

cation for morality

reason

is

manifested.

present only the formal freedom


free being is capable of morality,
*

This for the following


for the

The parents have discovered the freedom


of the child

and ought

but every

to be educated

That is, to consider his own reason, when reflected from some
external thing, to be the property of that externality itself for instance,
to assume reason in plants, brutes
nay, the whole world itself.
Translator.

CONCERNING THE PARTICULAR DUTIES,


to

become

a moral being

hence, also, the child.

351

Now,

for the sake of the physical preservation of the child, it


is necessary that the child should at first live together

with the parents

and hence the parents alone can edu

This duty of a moral


cate the child into a moral being.
education involves the following: Firstly, the duty to
"develop

properly the faculties of the child, with a view


it to become a good tool for the promotion of

to enable

the ultimate end of reason, and hence the duty to produce


This is, indeed we say
ability on the part of the child.
this merely in passing, since it cannot be our purpose
here to exhaust the theory of education the true end of
education, in so far as it depends upon art and rules
namely, to develop and cultivate the free faculties of the

Next comes the duty to give to this thus culti


vated freedom of the child a moral direction, which can
be done only in the general manner previously indicated
child.

namely, by leading
morality outside of
Now let us ask,

it

to

work

is

the relation of parents and

for

the promotion of

itself.

What

children to each other in this education

of parents to restrict the freedom


of their children, partly for t