Philosophy Of The Unconscious V1

By Karl Robert Eduard von Hartmann

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This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature in affordable, high quality, modern This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections

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Book details

Paperback, 404 pages
January 17th 2007 by Kessinger Publishing

(first published 2002)

Original Title
Philosophy Of The Unconscious V1
1430446412 (ISBN13: 9781430446415)
Edition Language

Community Reviews



The title of this review is one of the two epithets that Nietzsche used, in his own fantastic 'Beyond Good and Evil', to describe Eduard Von Hartmann, the second one being "the amalgamist". Nietzsche himself did not consider Hartmann to be a true philosopher, but merely a scholar of philosophy, and the term 'lion' was probably used strictly in a second-hand sort of way, in that contemporaries of Nietzsche described von Hartmann in that fashion. He was an amalgamist, because his principle work, Philosophy of the Unconscious, of which we have here the first of three volumes, is a good survey of German Idealist Philosophy as well as an exposition of Von Hartmann's own particular vision of the mythical Unconscious, or Absolute. If you want to get a better feel of the milieu in which Kant, Hegel, Fichte, Schopenhauer, and others were received, this work is a good place to start, but the real reason to get into this book is because it is perhaps the best bridge between late 18th to early 19th century German Idealism and the Unconscious as it was understood and propounded by the Vienna School of Psychiatry stewarded by Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

Von Hartmann intended to be a military man, but he was waylaid by a knee injury, which at that time was career-ending for an officer. He looked for other avenues to devote his efforts, and decided on philosophy. He was a practical sort of man, who only by accident directed his life towards understanding philosophy, and that is perhaps why he was ultimately considered by German intelligentsia to be particularly suited for the threshing out of the tangled woods of German philosophy, for his works appear to have been well received by leading authorities, and the fact that his work entered a 10th edition was no small feat.

Here is a quote from the preface to the seventh edition which I believe correctly summarizes von Hartmann's goal with this work:
"It is my firm conviction that the exclusively mechanical Cosmism of Darwinism is only an historical transition from the prior shallow Materialism to a complete and whole Ideal-realism, and will only serve to effect and facilitate the passing of the living and rising generation of physical inquirers from one pole to the other."

Additional quotations from the book follow.

On Christianity: "...even Theology has begun to prize in me a valuable ally, although hardly any one has more plainly declared than I, that Christianity is no longer a vital factor of our developing civilization, and has already traversed all its phases."

On the dialectic and other paths of reasoning:
"Three leading methods of research are to be distinguished - the dialectic (Hegelian), the deductive (from above downwards), and the inductive(from below upwards). The dialectic method I must, without now entering upon reasons pro or con, entirely exclude, for the reason that, at least in the accepted form of it, it is ill-adapted for common comprehension, a feature which cannot here be overlooked."

On his dismissal of deduction from a priori principles as an ineffective method, in favor of inductive reasoning as the true path:
"Even if the results thus deductively obtained in any way satisfied the demands of Science, still such an arbitrary separation of inner and outer experience could not be scientifically justified... the decision must undoubtedly be given in favor of the ascending or inductive method... As the person to be guided dwells in the lower region of fact, his proper starting-point is there, and his upward course is always from the known to the unknown... Every one is persuaded that his own opinion is the correct one, and consequently distrusts any novel doctrine. He must, therefore, know how another has arrived at his sublime results, if his own distrust is to be removed, and this requires the employment of the ascending method... The truth is, that philosophers who deduce their systems (whether the method by revealed or concealed), have arrived at their principles by the only way save induction which is open to them, viz., by a sort of mystical light.)... the worst feature of the case is that deduction cannot prove its own principles , as Aristotle long ago showed, in the most favorable case obtaining for them only a bare possibility, but not a definite probability..."

Von Hartmann anchors his theory of the Unconscious in the work of Leibniz:
"Leibniz was led to his discovery through the endeavor to save innate ideas and the ceaseless activity of the perceptive faculty. For when Locke had proved that the soul cannot consciously think if the man is not conscious thereof, and yet should be always thinking, there remained nothing for it but to assume an unconscious thinking... What Leibniz contributes to the positive establishment of his new conception is certainly very scanty, but he deserves immense credit for instantly perceiving with the eye of genius the range of his discovery... He declares unconscious ideas to be the bond 'which, unites every being with all the rest of the universe,' and explains by their means the pre-established harmony of the monads, in that every monad as microcosm unconsciously represents the macrocosm and its position therein... Leibniz retains the glory of having been the first to affirm the existence of ideas of which we are not conscious, and to recognize their vast importance."

On Kant's connection to Leibniz's idea of the Unconscious:
"Kant borrowed the notion of unconscious ideation from Leibniz"

Von Hartmann's explicit conception of his own work:
"...the aim of the present book is mainly the elevation of Hegel's unconscious philosophy of the unconscious into a conscious one..."

On his dismissal of what is called in present times an 'Intelligent Design' argument as deductive and therefore wanting:
"In our modern physical science the notion of Design, chiefly through the influence of Bacon, has rightly fallen into discredit, because it had so often served as the convenient resource of indolent reasoners to avoid the arduous search after efficient causes, and because in the part of natural science concerned with matter alone, Design as a spiritual cause must necessarily be excluded."

On Spinoza:
"Spinoza was completely blinded to the fact of Purpose in Nature, because he believed final causality to be in contradiction with logical necessity, whereas it is in truth identical with it."

Against Darwinism:
"Darwinism denies adaptation in Nature, not as fact, it is true, but as principle, and thinks itself able to comprehend the fact as result of mindless causality; as if Causality itself were anything more than a logical necessity, discernible by us only as fact (not on the side of the internal principle), and as if the adaptation, actually manifested as result at the end of a series of events, must not have been from the very first the prius of these adjustments as plan or principle!"

On the incompatibility of Voltaire's atheism with complete nihilism:
"even the freethinking Voltaire does not venture to explain away the evidence of an Aim in Nature, however inconvenient and incompatible with the rest of his opinions its admission might be, there must indeed be something very peculiar about the idea."

"...the Unconscious constantly shows itself at the same time as the superior and the master of Consciousness, and accordingly the satisfaction of the conscious at the expense of the non-satisfaction of the unconscious Will causes more pain than the reverse."

On the place of fantasy alongside science:
"Philosophic speculation does no more than unveil the illusion in which the natural man is entangled, the illusion that those mystical feelings in themselves possess a rational foundation or warrant. At the same time, however, it replaces this illusion by the scientific insight that these feelings have the greatest possible authorization, and rest on the deepest and noblest ground of all, and that they are, in fact, infinitely more important for the development of the human race than fancy permits itself to dream."

"The categories of substance and accident are derived in the same way from subject and predicate; the discovery of a Corresponding natural antithesis of substantive and verb is still an unsolved, perhaps very fruitless philosophical problem; here conscious speculation is still far behind the unconscious creation of the genius of humanity."

A Pre-Saging of Einstein's Theory of Relativity in Kant's philosophy:
"Kant put Time, of which this proposal does not hold good, on a level with Space."

On Solipsism:
"We have first to give a clear statement of the reasons for believing in the real existence of a Non-Ego, or an external world lying beyond the Ego. Only two hypotheses are logically possible. Either the Ego unconsciously fashions the world of appearance from its own essence, in which case the Ego alone really exists, and per consequence every reader must deny the existence not only of external things but of all other men; or there exists a Non-Ego independent of the Ego, and the representation of the external world in the Ego is a product of these two factors."

On the notion of Deity outside of any Dogma:
"If it is now established that even the most consistent Idealists have not had the courage to be consistent to the extent of denying an independent Non-Ego, if the feeling is not to be got rid of that perception, on the whole, is something thrust upon one from without in opposition to one's own will, it results with the same certainty, from what has been stated, that the distinctions also in sensuous perceptions are not produced by the Ego, but are thrust upon it by the Non-Ego."

On Mysticism:
"...and this is the usual way in which mysticism is formed, by clearer heads finding the historically given religion unsatisfactory, and desiring to grasp the profound ideas which lurk behind its symbols."

On Systems:
"...thus it comes to pass that the different philosophical systems, however imposing they are to many, yet have only full probative force for the author and for some few who are able to reproduce mystically in themselves the underlying suppositions (e.g., Spinoza's Substance, Fichte's Ego, Schelling's Subject-Object, Schopenhauer's Will), and that those philosophical systems, which rejoice in most adherents, are just the poorest of all and most unphilosophical."

On Spinoza again:
"Were I now to name the man whom I regard as the flower of philosophical mysticism, I should pronounce the name of Spinoza."

On Spinoza:
"Certainly Spinoza did not think himself a mystic, but rather supposed he had proved everything so surely that all must see it; and yet his system, imposing as it is, has nothing convincing about it, and convinces so few, because one must first be convinced of Substance in Spinoza's sense, which only a mystic can, or a philosopher who at the close of his system has reached the same by another path, and then no longer needs Spinozism."

"...we must not omit to call attention to the risk of error which lies in mysticism.. it is therefore not astonishing how much nonsense mysticism has brought to light, and that it must in consequence be extremely repugnant to every rational mind."


MY TAKE: Von Hartmann has, with this work, tried to hem up, constrain, and ground the strain of mysticism that originated with Spinoza and found its height in Hegel. To the extent that we can trust his implicit assertion that the more dangerous strains of radicalism housed under the rubric of the so-called "Hegelian Dialectic" originate in the work of Spinoza, I think it can safely be argued that the Marxism which set the world aflame in the 20th century has a purely Jewish lineage.