previous next

[97] activity and acuteness, and that spirit of philosophical vehemence, which now distinguish Germany from all other nations. I mean that vehement exertion which is now making to have all sciences and knowledge reduced to philosophical systems, which is certainly doing wonders in some respects. And, secondly, you may observe an extreme unwillingness to receive any new system. The whole generation, in this respect, seem like men who have just come out from a long campaign, and are pleased with nothing less than the thought of beginning a new one.

To these two consequences of the success and failure of Kant, Fichte, and Schelling, is, I think, in a great measure to be traced the present condition of metaphysics in Germany. Within the lives of the present generation of instructors, these three systems have had their respective triumphs, and of course every one who wishes to be thought a metaphysician must lay the very foundation of his pretensions in a thorough knowledge of them all. But within the same period, too, they have all been exploded, and of course every one who recollects the mortification of that fall will be careful how he exposes himself to a similar fate. The first makes them thorough, deep, and acute; the last makes them cautious. The consequence of both is that the number of powerful metaphysicians in Germany is at this moment very great, and that they are almost all eclectic.

I do not mean, when I talk of the overthrow of these three systems, that no adherents to them are now to be found. Far from it. In Leipsic, where revolutions in modes of thinking are effected with difficulty, perhaps the majority of those who examine such subjects are still followers of Kant. In Berlin, where Fichte still lives and has lately much distinguished himself by some very powerful pieces to arouse and sustain the Prussian spirit against the French usurpation, his philosophy has still some active friends. And, in Jena, the feelings awakened by Schelling's eloquence and enthusiasm have not yet grown cold.

But, after all, the number is comparatively small, and the spirit feeble; and if you go through Germany and take the whole mass of metaphysicians together, you will rarely, very rarely, find one who professes himself of either of the schools. Particularly at the universities, you will find that each one has a system of his own, collected from the disjecta membra of the systems of Kant, Fichte, and Schelling. These fragments he has commonly formed, with his own additions, into a more or less harmonious whole, to which his hearers

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Leipzig (Saxony, Germany) (1)
Jena (Thuringia, Germany) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Schelling (3)
Kant (3)
Fichte (3)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: