The world as will and idea
v.1. Containing four books.--v.2. Containing the criticism of the Kantian philosophy, and the supplements to the first and part of the second book of vol. 1.--v.3. Containing supplements to part of the second book and to the third and fourth books
From theTranslator preface:
It is self-evident that under these circumstances no other advice can be given as to how one may enter into the thought explained in this work than to read the I took twice, and the first time with great patience, a patience which is only to be derived from the belief, voluntarily accorded, that the beginning presupposes the end almost as much as the end presupposes the beginning and that all the earlier parts presuppose the later almost as much as the latter presuppose the earlier.
I say "almost;" for this is by no means absolutely the case, and I have honestly and conscientiously done all that was possible to give priority to that which stands least in need of explanation from what follows, as indeed generally to everything that can help to make the thought as easy to comprehend and as distinct as possible.
This might indeed to a certain extent be achieved if it were not that the reader, as is very natural, thinks, as he reads, not merely of what is actually said, but also of its possible consequences, and thus besides the many contradictions actually given of the opinions of the time, and presumably of the reader, there may be added as many more which are anticipated and imaginary.
That, then, which is really an only misunderstanding, must take the form of active disapproval, and it is all the more difficult to recognise that it is a misunderstanding, because although the laboriously-attained clearness of the explanation and distinctness of the expression never leaves the immediate sense of what is said doubtful, it cannot at the same time express its relations to all that remains to be said. Therefore, as we have said, the first perusal demands patience, founded on confidence that on a second perusal much, or all, will appear in an entirely different light.
Further, the earnest endeavour to be more complete and even more easily comprehended in the case of a very difficult subject must justify occasional repetition. Indeed the structure of the whole, which is organic, not a mere chain, makes it necessary sometimes to touch on the same point twice. Moreover, this construction, and the very close connection of all the parts, has not left open to me the division into chapters and paragraphs which I should otherwise have regarded as very im- portant but has obliged me to rest satisfied with four principal divisions, as it were four aspects of one thought.
In each of these four books, it is especially important to guard against losing sight, in the details which must necessarily be discussed, of the principal thought to which they belong, and the progress of the whole exposition. I have thus expressed the first, and like those which follow, unavoidable demand upon the reader, who holds the philosopher in small favour just because he himself is a philosopher.
However, my disinclination was so great either to quote myself or laboriously to state again in other words what I had already said once in an adequate manner, that I preferred this course, notwithstanding the fact that I might now be able to give the content of that essay a somewhat better expression, chiefly by freeing it from several conceptions which resulted from the excessive influence which the Kantian philosophy had over me at the time, such as — categories, outer and inner sense, and the like. But even there these conceptions only occur because as yet I had never really entered deeply into them, therefore only by the way and quite out of connection with the principal matter.
The correction of such passages in that essay will consequently take place of its own accord in the mind of the reader through his acquaintance with the present work. But only if we have fully recognised by means of that essay what the principle of sufficient reason is and signifies, what its validity extends to, and what it does not extend to, and that that principle is not before all things, and the whole world merely in consequence of it, and in conformity to it, a corollary, as it were, of it; but rather that it is merely the form in which the object, of whatever kind it may be, which is always conditioned by the subject, is invariably known so far as the subject is a knowing individual: only then will it be possible to enter into the method of philosophy which is here attempted for the first time, and which is completely different from all previous methods.
But the same disinclination to repeat me word for word, or to say the same thing a second time in other and worse words, after I have deprived myself of the better, has occasioned another defect in the first book of this work. For I have omitted all that is said in the first chapter of my essay "
On Sight and Colour," which would otherwise have found its place here, word for word. Therefore the knowledge of this short, earlier work is also presupposed. Finally, the third demand I have to make on the reader might indeed be tacitly assumed, for it is nothing but an acquaintance with the most important phenomenon that has appeared in philosophy for two thousand years, and that lies so near us: I mean the principal writings of Kant.
It seems to me, in fact, as indeed has already been said by others, that the effect these writings produce in the mind to which they truly speak is very like that of the operation for cataract on a blind man: and if we wish to pursue the simile further, the aim of my own work may be described by saying that I have sought to put into the hands of those upon whom that operation. has been successfully performed a pair of spectacles suitable to eyes that have recovered their sight — spectacles of whose use that operation is the absolutely necessary condition. Starting then, as I do to a large extent, from what has been accomplished by the great Kant, I have yet been enabled, just on account of my earnest study of his writings, to discover important errors in them. These I have been obliged to separate from the rest and prove to be false, in order that I might be able to presuppose and apply what is true and excellent in his doctrine, pure and freed from error. But not to interrupt and complicate my own exposition by a constant polemic against Kant,
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Download Volume 1 - 19.2 MB - Containing four books.
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