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which may tend to disarm the au- to vouch. Being of their body, the thority of these writers, just so far worthy doctor adopted their expeas to replace you in the situation of a dient-which is simply this : Never neutral and unprejudiced student. to deliver any doctrine except in the
The persons who originally intro- master's words; on all occasions to duced the Kantean philosophy to the parrot the ipsissima verba of Kant; notice of the English public, or ra- and not even to venture upon the exther attempted to do so, were two periment of a new illustration drawn Germans-Dr. Willich and (not long from their own funds. Pretty nearly after) Dr. Nitsch.—Dr. Willich, I upon this principle it was that the think, has been gone to Hades for wretched Brucker and others have these last dozen years; certainly his constructed large histories of philoworks have: and Dr. Nitsch, though sophy: having no comprehension of not gone to Hades, is gone (I un- the inner meaning and relations of derstand) to Germany; which an- any philosophic opinion, nor susswers my purpose as well; for it is pecting to what it tended, or in what not likely that a few words uttered necessities of the intellect it had in London will contrive to find out arisen-how could the man do more a man buried in the throng of thirty than superstitiously adhere to that million Germans. Quoad hoc, therefore, formula of words in which it had Dr. Nitsch may be considered no less pleased the philosopher to clothe it? defunct than Dr. Willich; and I It was unreasonable to expect he can run no risk of wounding any should: to require of him that he body's feelings, if I should pronounce should present it in any new aspect both doctors very eminent block- of his own devising-would have heads. It is difficult to say, which been tempting him into dangerous wrote the more absurd book. Wil- and perplexing situations: it would lich's is a mere piece of book-mak- have been, in fact, a downright aging, and deserves no sort of atten- gression upon his personal safety, tion. But Nitsch, who seems to have and calling upon him to become felo been a pains-taking man, has pro- de se; every turn of a sentence duced a work which is thus far wor- might risk his breaking down: and thy of mention, that it reflects as in no man is bound to risk his necka mirror one feature common to most credit or understanding, for the beof the German commentaries upon nefit of another man's neck-credit Kant's works, and which it is right or understanding. “It's all very to expose. With very few excep- well,” Dr. Nitsch and his brethren tions, these works are constructed will say ; “ It's all very well for you, upon one simple principle: finding Gentlemen, that have no commenting it impossible to obtain any glimpse to do--to understand your author: of Kant's meaning or drift, the wri- but to expect us to understand him ters naturally asked themselves what also that have to write commentaries was to be done?
Because a man on him, for two-four-and all the does not understand one iota of his way up to twelve volumes, 8v0.author, is he therefore not to com- just serves to show how far the imment upon him? That were hard reasonableness of human nature can indeed; and a sort of abstinence, go.” The doctor was determined on which it is more easy to recommend moral principles to make no comthan to practise. Commentaries promise with such unreasonablemust be written; and, if not by ness; and, in common with all his those who understand the system brethren, set his face against under(which would be the best plan), standing each and every chapter then (which is clearly the second paragraph—or sentence of Kant, so best plan) by those who do not under- long as they were expected to do stand it. ' Dr. Nitsch belonged to this duty as commentators. I treat the latter very respectable body, for matter ludicrously; but in substance whose great numerical superiority to I assure you that I do no wrong to their rivals I can take upon myself the learned * commentators: and un
Under this denomination I comprehend all the rabble of abbreviators, abstractors, dictionary-makers, &c. &c. attached to the establishment of the Kantean philosophy, One of the last, by the way, Schmidt, the author of a Kantcan dictionary, may be cited
der such auspices, you will not sup- quaintance with the original works pose that Kant came before the of Kant, but drawing their informaEnglish public with any advantages tion from imbecile French books, of patronage. Between two such &c.—it would not be treating the supporters as a Nitsch on the right other three with any injustice to hand, and a Willich on the left, I dismiss their opinions without noknow not that philosopher that would tice : for even upon any one philoescape foundering. But, fortunately sophical question, much more upon for Kant, the supporters themselves the fate of a great philosophical sysfoundered : and no man, that ever I tem gupposed to be sub judice, it is as met with, had seen or heard of their unworthy of a grave and thoughtful books-or seen any man that had critic to rely upon the second-hand seen them. It did not appear that report of a flashy rhetorician—as it they were, or logically speaking would be unbecoming and extracould be, forgotten: for no man had judicial in a solemn trial to occupy ever remembered them.
the ear of the court with the gossip The two doctors having thus of a country-town. However, to broken down and set off severally to omit no point of courtesy to any of Hades and to Germany, I recollect these writers, I shall say a word or no authors of respectability who two upon each of them separately. have since endeavoured to attract The first and the third wrote in a the attention of the English public spirit of hostility to Kant, the seto the Kantean philosophy, except cond and fourth as friends. In 1. An anonymous writer in an early that order I shall take them. The number of the Edinburgh Review; writer of the article in the Edinburgh 2. Mr. Coleridge ; 3. Mr. Dugald Review, I suppose upon the interStewart; 4. Madame de Staël, in a nal evidence to have been the late work published, I believe, originally Dr. Thomas Brown, a pupil of Mr. in this country, and during her resi. Dugald Stewart's, and his successor dence amongst us. I do not add Sir in the Moral Philosophy chair at William Drummond to this list, be- Edinburgh. This is a matter of no cause my recollection of any thing importance in itself; nor am I in the he has written on the subject of habit of troubling myself or others Kant (in his Academical Questions) with literary gossip of that sort: but is very imperfect ; nor Mr. W I mention it as a conjecture of my the reputed author of an article on own—because, if I happen to be right, Kant (the most elaborate, I am told, it would certainly be a very singular which at present exists in the Eng- fact, that the only two writers withlish language) in the Encyclopædia in my knowledge who have so far Londinensis; for this essay, together forgot the philosophic character as to with a few other notices of Kant in attempt an examination of a vast other Encyelopædias, or elsewhere, and elaborate system of philosophy have not happened to fall in my way, not in the original--not in any auThe four writers above-mentioned thorised or accredited Latin version were certainly the only ones on this (of which there were two even at subject who commanded sufficient that time)-not in any version at all, influence, either directly in their own but in the tawdry rhetoric of a Paripersons--or (as in the first case) vi- an philosophie à la mode, a sort of cariously in the channel through philosophie pour les dames,--that these which the author communicated with two writers, thus remarkably agreethe public, considerably to affect the ing in their readiness to forget the phi. reputation of Kant in this country losophic character, should also happen for better or worse. None of the to have stood nearly connected in litfour, except Mr. Coleridge, having— erary life. In such coincidences we or professing to have—any direct ac- suspect something more than a blind
as the beau idéal of Kantean commentators. He was altogether agreed with Dr. Nitsch upon the duty of not understanding one's author; and acted up to his principles through life-being, in fact, what the Cambridge men call a Bergen-op-zoom, i. e. one that stur, dily defies his author-stands a siege of twelve or twenty years upon his understandingand holds out to the last impregnable to all assaults of reason or argument, and the heaviest batteries of common sense.
accident: we suspect the natural Tieftrunk, Beck, Fichte, and Schel tendency of their philosophy, and be- ling), then he has been misinformed. lieve ourselves furnished with a mea- The mere existence of such works as sure of its power to liberate the mind the Histoire Comparée of M. Dégéfrom rashness, from caprice, and rando, which cannot be regarded in injustice, in such deliberate acts a higher light than that of verbal which it either suggests or tolerates. indices to the corpus philosophie, is If their own philosophic curiosity probably unknown to them; certainwas satisfied with information so ly, no books of that popular class are slender,-mere justice required that ever noticed by any of them, nor they should not, on so slight and could rank higher in their eyes than suspicious a warrant, have grounded an elementary school algebra in the any thing in disparagement of the phi- 'eyes of a mathematician. losophy or its founder. The book re- man acknowledges Dégérando's atviewed by the Edinburgh reviewer, tempt at a popular abstract of Kant and relied on for his account of the as a sound one, ipso facto he deKantean philosophy, is the essay of grades himself from the right to any Villars-a book so entirely childish opinion upon the matter. The elethat perhaps no mortification more mentary notions of Kant, even the profound could have fallen upon the main problem of his great work, are reviewer than the discovery of the not once so much as alluded to by extent to which he had been duped Dégérando. And by the way, if any by his author. Of this book no more man ever talks in your presence about needs to be said, than that the very Kant-and you suspect that he is terms do not occur in it which ex- talking without knowledge, and wish press the hinges of the system. Mr. to put a stop to him,- I will tell you Stewart has confided chiefly in Dégé- how you shall effect that end. Say rando-a much more sober-minded to him as follows:-Sir, I am instructauthor, of more good sense, and a ed by my counsel, learned in this greater zeal for truth, but, unfortu- matter, that the main problem of the nately, with no more ability to pene- philosophy you are talking of-lies trate below the surface of the Kan- involved in the term transcendental, tean system. M. Dégérando is re- and that it may be thus expressedpresented as an unexceptionable evi- “ An detur aliquid transcendentale dence by Mr. Stewart, on the ground in mente humana : “ Is there in the that he is admitted to be so by human mind any thing which realKant's "countrymen.” The “coun- izes the notion of transcendental (as trymen ” of Kant, merely as that notion is regulated and used by trymen, can have no more title to an Kant?)”. Now as this makes it neopinion upon this point, than a Grant- cessary above all things to master ham man could have a right to dog- that notion in the fullest sense, I will matise on Sir Isaac Newton's philo- thank you to explain it to me. And sophy, on the ground that he was a as I am further instructed that the fellow-townsman of Sir Isaac's. The answer to this question is affirmaair of Konigsberg makes no man a tive, and is involved in the term philosopher. Butif Mr. Stewart means synthetic unity—I will trouble you that the competency of M. Dégéran- to make it clear to me wherein the do has been admitted by those coun- difference lies between this and what trymen of Kant's whose educations is termed analytic unity. Thus speakhave fitted them to understand him, ing, you will in all probability gag and whose writings make it evident him; which is, at any rate, one desithat they have understood him (such rable thing gained when a man infor instance, as Reinhold, Schulze, sists on disturbing a company by dis
* The reader may suppose that this could not possibly have been the meaning of Mr. Stewart. But a very general mistake exists as to the terminology of Kant as though a foreigner must find some difficulties in it which are removed to a native.
6 His own countrymen,” says a respectable literary journal, when speaking of Kant (Edinburgh Monthly Review for August, 1820, p. 168.)" His own countrymen find it difficult to comprehend his meaning ; and they dispute about it to this day.” Why not? The ter. minology of Kant is partly Grecian-partly scholastic; and how should either become in. telligible to a German, qua German, merely because they are fitted with German termi. nations and inflexions ?
puting and talking philosophy: But, was possible, he recalled obsolete: to return,-as there must always and forgotten 'terms from the Plaexist a strong presumption against tonic philosophy, and from the school philosophy of Parisian manufacture men; or restored words abused by
which is in that department the popular use to their original philosoBirmingham ware of Europe); se- phic meaning. In other cases, when condly, as M. Dégérando had ex- there happen to exist double exprespressly admitted in fact boasted) sions for the same notion, he called in that he had a little trimmed and em- and reminted them, as it were. In bellished the Kantean system, in or- doing this, he was sometimes foreder to fit it for the society of “ les stalled in part, and guided by the gens comme il faut ; ” and finally, as tendency of language itself. AU there were Latin versions, &c. of languages, as it has been remarked, Kant, it must reasonably occar to tend to clear themselves of synoany reader to ask why Mr. Stewart nyms - as intellectual culture adshould not have consulted these? vances, the superfluous words being To this question Mr. Stewart an- taken up and appropriated by new swers—that he could not tolerate shades and combinations of thought, their “ barbarous" style and nomen- evolved in the progress of society. clature. I must confess that in such And long before this appropriation is an answer I see nothing worthy of a fixed and, petrified, as it were, into philosopher; and should rather have the acknowledged vocabulary of the looked for it from a literary petit- language, an insensible clinamen (to maitre, than from an emeritus Pro- borrow a Lucretian word) prepares fessor of Moral Philosophy. Will a the way for it. Thus, for instance, philosopher decline a useful experi- long before Mr. Wordsworth had unment in physics, because it will soil veiled the great philosophic distinchis kid gloves? Who thinks or cares tion between the powers of fancy about style in such studies, that is and imagination—the two words had sincerely and anxiously in quest of begun to diverge from each other; truth? * In fact, style, in any proper the first being used to express a fasense, is no more a possible thing in culty somewhat capricious + and exsuch investigations as the under- empted from law, the latter to exstanding is summoned to by Kant- press a faculty more self-determined. than it is in Euclid's Elements. As When, therefore, it was at length to the nomenclature again, supposing perceived, that under an apparent that it had been barbarous, who ob- unity of meaning there lurked a real jects to the nomenclature of modern dualism, and for philosophic purposes chemistry, which is, quoad materiam, it was necessary that this distinction not only a barbarous, but a hybrid should have its appropriate expression, nomenclature ? Wherever law and --this necessity was met half way by intellectual order prevail, they debar- the clinumen which had already afburise (if I may be allowed such a fected the popular usage of the coinage) what in its elements might words. So again, in the words Deist be barbarous: the form ennobles the and Theist; naturally they should matter. But how is the Kantean express the same notion—the one to terminology barbarous, which is a Latin, the other to a Grecian, ear. chiefly composed of Grecian or Latin But of what use are such duplicates ? terms? In constructing it, Kant It is well that the necessities of the proceeded in this way :-where it understanding gradually reach all
* The diction of the particular book which had been recommended to Mr. Stewart's attention-viz. the Expositio Systematica of Phiseldek, a Danish professor, has all the merits which a philosophic diction can have, being remarkably perspicuous, precise, simple, and unaffected. It is too much of a mere metaphrase of Kant, and has too little variety of illustration : otherwise I do not know a better digest of the philosophy.
+ Which distinction comes out still more strongly in the secondary derivative fanciful, and the primary derivative fantastic : I say primary derivative-in reference to the history of the word:-1. Partãoia, whence phantasy :--2 for metrical purposes, phant'sy. (as it is usually spelled in Sylvester's Du Bartas, and other scholar Cike poems of that day:)3. by dropping the t in pronunciation, phansy or fancy. Now from No. 1, comos fantastic; from No. 3, comes fanciful.
such cases by that insensible elinamen means to an end (being part of the which fits them for a better purpose, system); 2. As an end in itself. So than that of extending the mere waste much for the uses: as to the power fertility of language, viz. by taking of mind put forth in constructing it them up into the service of thought. (between which and the uses lies the In this instance, Deist was used valuation of Kant's service; for, if pretty generally throughout Europe, no uses, then we do not thank him to express the case of him who ad- for any difficulty he may have overmits a God, but under the fewest pre- come; if no difficulty overcome, then dicates that will satisfy the con we do not ascribe as a merit to him ditions of the understanding. A any uses which may flow from it) Theist, on the other hand, even in pom as to the power of mind put forth in pular use, denoted him who admits constructing it, I do not think it à God with some further (transcen- likely that you will make the same dental) predicatesmas, for example, mistake which I have heard from: under the relation of a moral go- some unreflecting persons, and which vemor to the world. In such cases in fact lurks at the bottom of much as this, therefore, where Kant found that has been written against Kant's himself already anticipated by the obscurity, as though Kant had done progress of language, he did no more no more than impose new names. than regulate and ordinate the evi. Certainly, if that were all, the merit dent nisus and tendency of the po- would not be very conspicuous. It pular usage into a severe definition.. could cost little effort of mind to Where, however, the notions were say-let this be A, and that be D: of too subtle a nature to be laid hold let this notion be called transcendent, of by the popular understanding, and and that be called transcendental. too little within the daily use of life Such a statement, however, supposes to be ever affected by the ordinary the ideas to be already known, and causes which mould the course of a familiar--and simply to want names. language, there he commenced and In this lies the blunder. When Kant finished the process of separation assigned the names, he created the himself. And what were the uses of ideas ; i. e. he drew them within the all this? Why the uses were these : consciousness. In assigning to the first, in relation to the whole system complex notion X the name tranof the transcendental philosophy: scendental, Kant was not simply transthe new notions, which were thus ferring a word which had previously fixed and recorded, were necessary been used by the schoolmen to a to the system: they were useful in more useful office; he was bringing proportion as that was useful—i. e. into the service of the intellect a new in proportion as it was true. Se- birth; that is, drawing into a syncondly, they extended the domain of thesis, which had not existed before human thought, apart from the sys- as a synthesis, parts or elements tem and independently of it. A which exist and come forward hourly perpetual challenge or summons is in every man's mind. I urge this held out to the mind in the Kantean upon your attention, because you terminology to clear up and regulate will often hear such challenges thrown its own conceptions, which, without out as this (or others involving the discipline, are apt from their own same error) - Now, if there be any. subtle affinities to blend and run into sense in this Mr. Kant's writings, let each other. The new distinctions us have it in good old mother Engare so many intellectual problems to lish.” That is, in other words, transbe mastered. And, even without fer into the unscientific language of any view to a formal study of the life, scientific notions and relations transcendental philosophy, great en
which it is not fitted to express. largement would be given to the un- The challenger proceeds upon the derstanding, by going through common error of supposing all ideas Kantean dictionary, well explained, fully developed to exist in esse in all and well illustrated. This termin understandings : ergo, in his own: nology therefore was useful, 1. As a and all that are in his own he thinks
• In some cases, it is true the construction of the ideas is posterior to the system, and pre-supposes a knowledge of it, rather than precedes it: but this is not generally true.