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FROM THE PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION
WHY TRANSLATE HEGEL?
'But,' it is urged, 'though it be well to let the stream of foreign thought irrigate some of our philosophical pastures, though we should not for ever entrench ourselves in our insularity—why try to introduce Hegel, of all philosophers confessedly the most obscure? Why not be content with the study and the "exploitation" of Kant, whom Germans themselves still think so important as to expound him with endless comment and criticism, and who has at length found, after some skirmishes, a recognised place in the English philosophical curriculum? Why seek for more Teutonic thinking that can be found in Schopenhauer, and found there in a clear and noble style, luminous in the highest degree, and touching with no merely academic abstruseness the problems of life and death? Or—as that song is sweetest to men which is the newest to ring in their ears—why not render accessible to English readers the numerous and suggestive works of Eduard von Hartmann, and of Friedrich Nietzsche—not to mention Robert Hamerling? Or, finally, why not give us more and ever more translations of the works in logic, ethics, psychology, or metaphysics, of those many admirable teachers in the German universities, whom it would be invidious to try to single out by name? As for Hegel, his system, in the native land of the philosopher, is utterly discredited; its influence is extinct; it is dead as a door-nail. It is a pity to waste labour and distract attention, and that in English lands, where there are plenty of problems of our own to solve, by an attempt, which must perforce be futile, to resuscitate these defunctitudes?'
That Hegelianism has been utterly discredited, in certain quarters, is no discovery reserved for these later days. But on this matter perhaps we may borrow an analogy. If the reader will be at the trouble to take up two English newspapers of opposite partisanship and compare the reports from their foreign correspondents on some question of home politics, he may, if a novice, be surprised to learn that according to one, the opinion e. g. of Vienna is wholly adverse to the measure, while, according to the other, that opinion entirely approves.
It is no new thing to find Hegelianism in general obloquy. Even in 1830 the Catholic philosopher and theologian Günther—an admirer, but by no means a follower of Hegel—wrote that, 'for some years it had been the fashion in learned Germany to look upon philosophy, and above all Hegelian philosophy, as a door-mat on which everybody cleaned his muddy boots before entering the sanctuary of politics and religion.' What is true as regards the alleged surcease of Hegelianism is that in the reaction which from various causes turned itself against philosophy in the two decennia after 1848, that system, as the most deeply committed part of the 'metaphysical' host, suffered most severely. History and science seemed to triumph along the whole line. But it may be perhaps permissible to remark that Hegelianism had predicted for itself the fate that it proved had fallen on all other philosophies. After the age of Idealism comes the turn of Realism. The Idea had to die—had to sink as a germ in the fields of nature and history before it could bear its fruit. Above all it is not to be expected that such a system, so ambitious in aim and concentrated in expression, could find immediate response and at once disclose all its meaning. His first disciples are not the—truest interpreters of any great teacher. What he saw in the one comprehensive glance of genius, his successors must often be content to gather by the slow accumulation of years, and perhaps centuries, of experience. It is not to Theophrastus that we go for the truest and fullest conception of Aristotelianism; nor is Plato to be measured by what his immediate successors in the Academy managed to make out of him. It is now more than a century since Kant gave his lesson to the public, and we are still trying to get him focussed in a single view: it may be even longer till Hegel comes fully within the range of our historians of thought. Aristotelianism too had to wait centuries till it fully entered the consciousness even of the thinking world.
It is to be said too that without Hegel it would be difficult to imagine what even teachers, like Lotze, who were very unlike him, would have had to say. It does not need a very wide soul, nor need one be a mere dilettantist eclectic, to find much of Schopenhauer's work far from incompatible with his great, and as some have said, complementary opposite. It is not indeed prudent as yet for a writer in Germany who wishes to catch the general ear to affix too openly a profession of Hegelian principles, and he will do well to ward off suspicion by some disparaging remarks on the fantastic methods, the overfondness for system, the contempt for common sense and scientific results which, as he declares, vitiate all the speculations of the period from 1794 to 1830. But under the names of Spinoza and of Leibniz the leaven of Hegelian principles has been at work: and if the Philistines solve the riddle of the intellectual Samson, it is because they have ploughed with his heifer,—because his ideas are part of the modern stock of thought,—not from what they literally read in the great thinkers at the close of the seventeenth century. Last year saw appear in Germany two excellent treatises describable as popular introductions to philosophy, one by a thinker who has never disguised his obligations to Hegel, the other by a teacher in the University of Berlin who may in many ways be considered as essentially kindred with our general English style of thought. But both treatises are more allied in character to the spirit of the Hegelian attempts to comprehend man and God than to the formalistic and philological disquisitions which have for some years formed the staple of German professorial activity. And, lastly, the vigorous thinker, who a quarter of a century ago startled the reading public by the portent of a new metaphysic which should be the synthesis of Schelling and Schopenhauer, has lately informed us that his affinity to Hegel is, taken all in all, greater than his affinity to any other philosopher'; and that that affinity extends to all that in Hegel has essential and permanent value.
But it is not on Eduard von Hartmann's commendation that we need rest our estimate of Hegelianism. We shall rather say that, till more of Hegel has been assimilated, he must still block the way. Things have altered greatly in the last twenty years, it is true; and ideas of more or less Hegelian origin have taken their place in the common stock of philosophic commodities. But it will probably be admitted by those best qualified to speak on the subject, that the shower has not as yet penetrated very deeply into the case-hardened soil, still less saturated it in the measure most likely to cause fruitful shoots to grow forth. We have to go back to Hegel in the same spirit as we go to Kant, and, for that matter, to Plato or Descartes: or, as the moderns may go back—to borrow from another sphere—to Dante or Shakespeare. We do not want the modern poet to resuscitate the style and matter of King Lear or of the Inferno. Yet as the Greek tragedian steeped his soul in the language and the legend of Homeric epic, as Dante nurtured his spirit on the noble melodies of Mantua's poet; so philosophy, if it is to go forth strong and effective, must mould into its own substance the living thought of former times. It would be as absurd, and as impossible to be literally and simply a Hegelian,—if that means one for whom Hegel sums up all philosophy and all truth—as it is to be at the present day in the literal sense a Platonist or an Aristotelian. The world may be slow, the world of opinion and thought may linger: e pur si muove. We too have our own problems—the same, no doubt, in a sense, from age to age, and yet infinitely varying and never in two ages alike. New stars have appeared on the spiritual sky; and whether they have in them the eternal light or only the flash and glare of a passing meteor, they alter the aspects of the night in which we are still waiting for the dawn.
A new language, born of new relations of ideas, or of new ideas, is perforce for our generation the vehicle of all utterances, and we cannot again speak the dialect, however imposing or however quaint, of a vanished day.
And for that reason there must always be a new philosophy, couched in the language of the age, sympathetic with its hopes and fears, conscious of its beliefs, more or less sensible of its problems—as indeed we may be confident there always will be. But, perhaps, the warrior in that battle against illusion and prejudice, against the sloth which takes things as they are and the poorness of spirit which is satisfied with first appearances, will not do wisely to disdain the past. He will not indeed equip himself with rusty swords and clumsy artillery from the old arsenals. But he will not disdain the lessons of the past,—its methods and principles of tactics and strategy. Recognising perhaps some defects and inequalities in the methods and aims of thought most familiar to him and current in his vicinity, he may go abroad for other samples, even though they be not in all respects worth his adoption. And so without taking Hegel as omniscient, or pledging himself to every word of the master, he may think from his own experience that there is much in the system that will be helpful, when duly estimated and assimilated, to others. There is—and few can be so bigoted or so positive-minded as to regret it—there is unquestionably a growing interest in English-speaking countries in what may be roughly called philosophy—the attempt, unprejudiced by political, scientific, or ecclesiastical dogma, to solve the questions as to what the world really is, and what man's place and function is. 'The burthen of the mystery, the heavy and the weary weight of all this unintelligible world' is felt—felt widely and sometimes felt deeply. To the direct lightening of that burthen and that mystery it is the privilege of our profoundest thinkers and our far-seeing poets and artists to contribute. To the translator of Hegel there falls the humbler task of making accessible, if it may be, something of one of the later attempts at a solution of the enigma of life and existence,—an attempt which for a time dazzled some of the keenest intellects of its age, and which has at least impressed many others with the conviction, born of momentary flashes from it of vast illuminant power, that—si sic omnia—there was here concealed a key to many puzzles, and a guard against many illusions likely to beset the inquirer after truth.
 A book by V. Knauer published last year (Hauptprobleme der Philosophie), a series of popular lectures, gives one-sixth of its space to the 'Atomistic of Will' by the Austrian poet Hamerling.
 Hegel's Briefe, ii. 349.
 J. Volkelt, Vorträge zur Einführung in die Philosophie der Gegenwart (München 1892): F. Paulsen, Einleitung in die Philosophie (Berlin 1892).
 E. v. Hartmann, Kritische Wanderungen, p. 74.
ENGLISH PHILOSOPHY AND HEGEL.
Although we need not take too seriously Hegel's remark (vol. ii. p. 13) on the English conception of philosophy, it may be admitted that, by the dominant school of English thought, philosophy, taken in the wide sense it has predominantly born abroad, was, not so very long ago, all but entirely ignored. Causes of various kinds had turned the energy of the English mind into other directions, not less essential to the common welfare. Practical needs and an established social system helped—to bind down studies to definite and particular objects, and to exclude what seemed vague and general investigations with no immediate bearing on the business of life. Hence philosophy in England could hardly exist except when it was reduced to the level of a special branch of science, or when it could be used as a receptacle for the principles and methods common to all the sciences. The general term was often used to denote the wisdom of this world, or the practical exhibition of self-control in life and action. For those researches, which are directed to the objects once considered proper to philosophy, the more definite and characteristic term came to be Mental and Moral Science.
The old name was in certain circles restricted to denote the vague and irregular speculations of those thinkers, who either lived before the rise of exact science, or who acted in defiance of its precepts and its example. One large and influential class of English thinkers inclined to sweep philosophy altogether away, as equivalent to metaphysics and obsolete forms of error; and upon the empty site thus obtained they sought to construct a psychological theory of mind, or they tried to arrange and codify those general remarks upon the general procedure of the sciences which are known under the name of Inductive Logic. A smaller, but not less vigorous, school of philosophy looked upon their business as an extension and rounding off of science into a complete unification of knowledge. The first is illustrated by the names of J. S. Mill and Mr. Bain: the second is the doctrine of Mr. Herbert Spencer.
The encyclopaedic aggregate of biological, psychological, ethical and social investigation which Mr. Spencer pursues, under the general guidance of the formula of evolution by differentiation and integration, still proceeds on its course: but though its popularity—as such popularity goes—is vast and more than national, it does not and probably cannot find many imitators. Very differently stand matters with the movement in psychology and logic. Here the initiative has led to divergent and unexpected developments. Psychology, which at first was partly an ampler and a more progressive logic, a theory of the origin and nature of knowledge, partly a propaedeutic to the more technical logic and ethics, and pursued in a loosely introspective way, has gravitated more and more towards its experimental and physiological side, with occasional velleities to assume the abstractly-mathematical character of a psycho-physical science. Logic, on the other hand, has also changed its scope. Not content to be a mere tool of the sciences or a mere criterion for the estimation of evidence, it has in one direction grown into a systematic effort to become an epistemology—a system of the first principles of knowledge and reality—a metaphysic of science; and in another it has sought to realise the meaning of those old forms of inference which the logicians of half a century ago were inclined to pooh-pooh as obsolete. Most remarkable—and most novel of all—is the vast increase of interest and research in the problems of ethics and v of what is called the philosophy of religion—subjects which at that date were literally burning questions, apt to scorch the fingers of those who touched them. In all of this, but especially marked in some leading thinkers, the ruling feature is the critical—the sceptical, i. e. the eager, watchful, but self-restrained—attitude towards its themes. Ever driving on to find a deeper unity than shows on the surface, and to get at principles, the modern thinker—and in this we see the permanent and almost overwhelming influence of Kant upon him—recoils from the dogmatism of system, at the very moment it seems to be within his grasp.
Thus the recent products of English thought have been, as Mr. Spencer has taught us to say, partly in the line of differentiation, partly of integration. At one moment it seems as if the ancient queen of the sciences sat like Hecuba, exul, inops, while her younger daughters enjoyed the freedom and progress of specialisation. The wood seems lost behind the trees. And at another, again, the centripetal force seems to preponderate: every department, logic, ethics, psychology, sociology, rapidly carries its students on and up to fundamental questions, if not to fundamental principles. Philosophy—the one and undivided truth and quest of truths—emerges fresh, vigorous, and as yet rather indeterminate, from the mass of detailed investigations. That the position is now altered from what it was in times when knowledge had fewer departments, is obvious. The task of the 'synoptic' mind—which Plato claims for the philosopher—grows increasingly difficult: but that is hardly a reason for performing it in a more perfunctory way. It seems rather as if in such a crisis one of the great reconstructive systems of a preceding age might be in some measure helpful.
If we consult history, it is at once clear that philosophy, or the pursuit of ultimate reality and permanent truth, went hand in hand with scientific researches into facts and their particular explanations.
In their earlier stages the two tendencies of thought were scarcely distinguishable. The philosophers of Ionia and Magna Graecia were also the scientific pioneers of their time. Their fragmentary remains remind us at times of the modern theories of geology and biology,—at other times of the teachings of idealism. The same thing is comparatively true of the earlier philosophers of Modern Europe. The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in spite of Bacon and Newton, endeavoured to study the mental and moral life by a method which was a strange mixture of empiricism and metaphysics. In words, indeed, the thinkers from Descartes to Wolff duly emphasise, perhaps over-emphasise, the antithesis between the extended and the intellectual. But in practice their course is not so clear. Their mental philosophy is often only a preliminary medicina mentis to set the individual mind in good order for undertaking the various tasks awaiting a special research. They are really eager to get on to business, and only, as it were, with regret spend time in this clearance of mental faculty. And when they do deal with objects, the material and extended tends to become the dominant conception, the basis of reality. The human mind, that nobilissima substantia, is treated only as an aggregate, or a receptacle, of ideas, and the mens,—with them all nearly as with Spinoza,—is only an idea corporis, and that phrase not taken so highly as Spinoza's perhaps should be taken. In the works of these thinkers, as of the pre-Socratics, there is one element which may be styled philosophical, and another element which maybe styled scientific,—if we use both words vaguely. But with Socrates in the ancient, and with Kant in the modern epoch of philosophy, an attempt was made to get the boundary between the two regions definitively drawn. The distinction was in the first place accompanied by something like turning the back upon science and popular conceptions. Socrates withdrew thought from disquisitions concerning the nature of all things, and fixed it upon man and the state of man. Kant left the broad fields of actually-attained knowledge, and inquired into the central principle on which the acquisition of science, the laws of human life, and the ideals of art and religion, were founded.
The change thus begun was not unlike that which Copernicus effected in the theory of Astronomy. Human personality, either in the actualised forms of the State, or in the abstract shape of the Reason,—that intellectual liberty, which is a man's true world,—was, at least by implication, made the pivot around which the system of the sciences might turn. In the contest, which according to Reid prevails between Common Sense and Philosophy, the presumptions of the former have been distinctly reversed, and Kant, like Socrates, has shown that it is not the several items of fact, but the humanity, the moral law, the thought, which underlies these doctrines, which give the real resting-point and true centre of movement. But this negative attitude of philosophy to the sciences is only the beginning, needed to secure a standing-ground. In the ancient world Aristotle, and in the modern Hegel (as the inheritor of the labours of Fichte and Schelling), exhibit the movement outwards to reconquer the universe, proceeding from that principle which Socrates and Kant had emphasised in its fundamental worth.
Mr. Mill, in the closing chapter of his Logic, has briefly sketched the ideal of a science to which he gives the name of Teleology, corresponding in the ethical and practical sphere to a Philosophia Prima, or Metaphysics, in the theoretical. This ideal and ultimate court of appeal is to be valid in Morality, and also in Prudence, Policy and Taste. But the conception, although a desirable one, falls short of the work which Hegel assigns to philosophy. What he intended to accomplish with detail and regular evolution was not a system of principles in these departments of action only, but a theory which would give its proper place in our total Idea of reality to Art, Science, and Religion, to all the consciousness of ordinary life, and to the evolution of the physical universe. Philosophy ranges over the—whole field of actuality, or existing fact. Abstract principles are all very well in their way; but they are not philosophy. If the world in its historical and its present life develops into endless detail in regular lines, philosophy must equally develop the narrowness of its first principles into the plenitude of a System,—into what Hegel calls, the Idea. His point of view may be gathered from the following remarks in a review of Hamann, an erratic friend and fellow-citizen of Kant's.
Hamann would not put himself to the trouble, which in an higher sense God undertook. The ancient philosophers have described God under the image of a round ball. But if that be His nature, God has unfolded it; and in the actual world He has opened the closed shell of truth into a system of Nature, into a State-system, a system of Law and Morality, into the system of the world's History. The shut fist has become an open hand, the fingers of which reach out to lay hold of man's mind, and draw it to Himself. Nor is the human mind a self-involved intelligence, blindly moving within its own secret recesses. It is no mere feeling and groping about in a vacuum, but an intelligent system of rational organisation. Of that system Thought is the summit in point of form: and Thought maybe described as the capability of going beyond the mere surface of God's self-expansion,—or rather as the capability, by means of reflection upon it, of entering into it, and then when the entrance has been secured, of retracing in thought God's expansion of Himself. To take this trouble is the express duty and end of ends set before the thinking mind, ever since God laid aside His rolled-up form, and revealed Himself.'
Enthusiastic admirers have often spoken as if the salvation of the time could only come from the Hegelian philosophy. 'Grasp the secret of Hegel,' they say, 'and you will find a cure for the delusions of your own mind, and the remedy which will set right the wrongs of the world.' These high claims to be a panacea were never made by Hegel himself. According to him, as according to Aristotle, philosophy as such can produce nothing new. Practical statesmen, and theoretical reformers, may do their best to correct the inequalities of their time. But the very terms in which Bacon scornfully depreciated one great concept of philosophy are to be accepted in their literal truth. Like a virgin consecrated to God, she bears no fruit. She represents the spirit of the world, resting, as it were, when one step in the progress has been accomplished, and surveying the advance which has been made. Philosophy is not,' says Fichte, 'even a means to shape life: for it lies in a totally different world, and what is to have an influence upon life must itself have sprung from life. Philosophy is only a means to the knowledge of life.' Nor has it the vocation to edify men, and take the place of religion on the higher levels of intellect. 'The philosopher,' Fichte boldly continues, 'has no God at all and can have no God: he has only a concept of the concept or of the Idea of God. It is only in life that there is God and religion: but the philosopher as such is not the whole complete man, and it is impossible for any one to be only a philosopher.' Philosophy does not profess to bring into being what ought to be, but is not yet. It sets up no mere ideals, which must wait for some future day in order to be realised. Enough for it if it show what the world is, if it were what it professes to be, and what in a way it must be, otherwise it could not be even what it is. The subject-matter of philosophy is that which is always realising and always realised—the world in its wholeness as it is and has been. It seeks to put before us, and embody in permanent outlines, the universal law of spiritual life and growth, and not the local, temporary, and individual acts of human will.
Those who ask philosophy to construe, or to deduce a priori a single blade of grass, or a single act of a man, must not be grieved if their request sounds absurd and meets with no answer. The sphere of philosophy is the Universal. We may say, if we like, that it is retrospective. It is the spectator of all time and all existence: it is its duty to view things sub specie aeternitatis. To comprehend the universe of thought in all its formations and all its features, to reduce the solid structures, which mind has created, to fluidity and transparency in the pure medium of thought, to set free the fossilised intelligence which the great magician who wields the destinies of the world has hidden under the mask of Nature, of the Mind of man, of the works of Art, of the institutions of the State and the orders of Society, and of religious forms and creeds:—such is the complicated problem of philosophy. Its special work is to comprehend the world, not try to make it better. If it were the purpose of philosophy to reform and improve the existing state of things, it comes a little too late for such a task. 'As the thought of the world,' says Hegel, 'it makes its first appearance at a time, when the actual fact has consummated its process of formation, and is now fully matured. This is the doctrine set forth by the notion of philosophy; but it is also the teaching of history. It is only when the actual world has reached its full fruition that the ideal rises to confront the reality, and builds up, in the shape of an intellectual realm, that same world grasped in its substantial being. When philosophy paints its grey in grey, some one shape of life has meanwhile grown old: and grey in grey, though it brings it into knowledge, cannot make it young again. The owl of Minerva does not start upon its flight, until the evening twilight has begun to fall.'
 Vermischte Schriften, vol. ii. p. 87.
 De Augm. Scient. iii. 5.
 The passages occur in some notes (written down by F. in reference to the charge of Atheism) published in his Werke, v. pp. 342, 348.
 Philosophie des Rechts, p. 20 (Werke, viii).
HEGEL AND THEOLOGY.
Even an incidental glance into Hegel's Logic cannot fail to discover the frequent recurrence of the name of God, and the discussion of matters not generally touched upon, unless in works bearing upon religion. There were two questions which seem to have had a certain fascination for Hegel. One of them, a rather unpromising problem, referred to the distances between the several planets in the solar system, and the law regulating these intervals. The other and more intimate problem turned upon the value of the proofs usually offered in support of the being of God. That God is the supreme certitude of the mind, the basis of all reality and knowledge, is what Hegel no more put in question, than did Descartes, Spinoza, or Locke. What he often repeated was that the matter in these proofs must be distinguished from the imperfect manner in which the arguers presented it. Again and again in his Logic, as well as in other discussions more especially devoted to it, he examines this problem. His persistence in this direction might earn for him that title of 'Knight of the Holy Ghost,' by which Heine, in one of the delightful poems of his 'Reisebilder,' describes himself to the maid of Klausthal in the Harz. The poet of Love and of Freedom had undoubted rights to rank among the sacred band: but so also had the philosopher. Like the Socrates whom Plato describes to us, he seems to feel that he has been commissioned to reveal the truth of God, and quicken men by an insight into the right wisdom. Nowhere in the modern period of philosophy has higher spirit breathed in the utterances of a thinker. The same theme is claimed as the common heritage of philosophy and religion. A letter to Duboc, the father of a modern German novelist, lets us see how important this aspect of his system was to Hegel himself. He had been asked to give a succinct explanation of his standing-ground: and his answer begins by pointing out that philosophy seeks to apprehend in reasoned knowledge the same truth which the religious mind has in its faith.
Words like these may at first sight suggest the bold soaring of ancient speculation in the times of Plato and Aristotle, or even the theories of the medieval Schoolmen. They sound as if he proposed to do for the modern world, and in the full light of modern knowledge, what the Schoolmen tried to accomplish within the somewhat narrow conceptions of medieval Christianity and Greek logic. Still there is a difference between the two cases. While the Doctors of the Church, in appearance at least, derived the form of exposition, and the matter of their systems, from two independent and apparently heterogeneous sources, the modern Scholastic of Hegel claims to be a harmonious unity, body finding soul, and soul giving itself body. And while the Hegelian system has the all-embracing and encyclopaedic character by which Scholastic science threw its arms around heaven and earth, it has also the untrammeled liberty of the Greek thinkers. Hegel, in short, shows the union of these two modes of speculation: free as the ancient, and comprehensive as the modern. His theory is the explication of God; but of God in the actuality and plenitude of the world, and not as a transcendent Being, such as an over-reverent philosophy has sometimes supposed him, in the solitude of a world beyond.