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Campaigner

was precisely his years in the Karlsschule, during presented to the senses. Such a theory does away with

which he waged a life-and-death battle for the integ- the mind's self-determination, and hence with human

rity of his soul, which allowed him later to write in freedom. Human morality would thus become conthe

"World History" that the philosophical mind tingent, unfree, relegated to accidental circumstance.

"has always loved truth more than its constructs,and will Man's entire intellectual and spiritual being would be

gladly'replace the old inadequate form with a newer transformed accordingly, with the mental images of

and more beautiful one. Even if his edifice of ideas is external stimuli controlling the mind within; and thus

not shattered by a blow from without, he himself is morality would become subject to the content of its

nevertheless driven to revise and improve it; he thoughts. For human beings, however, the decisive

himself is the first to be dissatisfied and take it to question is not what we think, but how we think.

pieces, in order to recast it more perfectly. Through The most useful result Schiller derived from this

ever newer and ever more beautiful forms of thought, confrontation was an ever-burning hatred for Jesuit

the philosophical mind leaps forward to a higher training and for French materialism--a subject to

excellence, while the Brotgelehrte, his soul at a perpet- which he devoted a good number of his writings,

ual standstill, protects the sterile sameness of his identifying it as the major source of the dangers and

classroom notions•" destruction facing the men of his age. And when such

Schiller's self-consciousness of the necessity of his inane and bovine notions threatened to even permaown

self-development is absolutely consistent with nently disfigure poetry, his pen became sharp enough

his grasp of the self-development of the universe, to pierce deep into the heart of anyone it struck, as we

Now, what were the theories against which shall see.

Schiller wielded his world outlook? First of all there But if the views of the empiricists and materialists

was Hobbes, who promulgated the view that all are so insulting to man's sense of freedom, how,

systems of abstract ideas arise as recollections of indeed, did _progresscome into the world?

external stimuli. Then there was Locke, who simply In his "World History," Schiller calls "the creaamplified

this claim by denying altogether the exist- tions of reason" all the forms for expressing humanence

of universal ideas and postulating the soul as a ity's millennia-long documented history of progress.

tabula rasa. And finally there was Hume, who voiced It is therefore not the materialists' little empirical

the opinion that if Locke was right, then the contents maneuvers that create progress; rather, it is human

of the mind are merely accidental, contingent pat- reason. And, as we know, it is only the Platonists and

terns, and consequently all ideas and ideals are illu- Neoplatonists who take the existence of reason as

sions. Hence the soul cannot be immortal, and what their starting-point.

is described as the "soul" is nothing more than a In a letter to Gottfried K_3rner which appears in

complex array of sense perceptions• SchiUer's collected works under the title Kalllas, Or,

Schiller's teacher Abel presented a pseudocritique On Beauty", ("Kallias, oder lJber die Sch_3nheit"),

of Hume by the Scotsman Thomas Reid, a critique Schiller rigorously demonstrates that reason's forma-

Abel basically adopted as his own. Reid took the tion of concepts alone can lead to new, binding,

position that there is reality to what Hume dismissed fruitful knowledge--which the empiricists' deductive

as illusion; that indeed there exists something which method never can.

can be called experience in the way Locke ascribes Schiller then describes the human mind's ideas as

reality to sense impressions; and that is "common manifolds mediated through the senses. These manisense•"

Common sense is a gift of nature, transmitted folds are engaged and linked by reason alone, accordto

humanity in axiomatic form as the "principles of ing to its laws, "for reason is the ability to create

common sense"; it is therefore a set of self-evident relatedness. Whereas it is purely accidental that the

truths, simpl_ observation of a manifold accord with reason,

For Schiller all these theories were monstrosities the formation of a concept requires that it correspond

insulting to the conception he had developed, from to reason's laws, if it is not itself to deny reason."

childhood on, of human greatness. Having raised To form concepts through reason is thus to

objection early to Reid's thesis, he recapitulated his advance an adequate hypothesis through creative

ideas in his 1779 dissertation. If all human mental synthesis--to form the manifold according to the laws

activity were brought about solely through external of reason. Schiller had himself previously debated

impressions, then everything we think would be whether such a concept could be established for

dependent upon material preconditions, on the acci- beauty--a possibility categorically dismissed by Kant

dent that these precise impressions and no others were in his Critique of Judgment. So Schiller searched for a

26 June 1980 / CAMPAIGNER

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