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better than any other, what no term can express
perfectly, both the nature and mode of existence of
the universe. It is better than the term life, not
because the concept of mind is more than the concept
of life, but because it not only implies but wholly
includes the concept of life. This activity, mind,
manifests itself continuously under two aspects, one
static, the other dynamic, the two aspects being in
necessary and indissoluble union. We are for ever
being determined and determining. These two aspects
present themselves to our human outlook in the
familiar, homely guise of two concepts, art and history.
These two concepts, art and history, apprehended in
their rich, concrete, eternally present activity, exhaust
reality. What is man ^ He is, Croce replies, artist
and philosopher.

Yet there seems to cling even to such a reply,
understood in its full significance, a theoretical defect.
An artist-philosopher is a duality, and no power of
thought seems able to arrest the descent of duality into
dualism. If there be one main and guiding purpose
manifest in Croce's philosophy, it is the persistent
effort to find an effective and final escape from the
dualism which, first in one form, then in another,
confronts the philosopher. May we not say, indeed,
that dissatisfaction with final dualism is the intellectual
driving force in philosophy from Descartes onward
to our own day ? Is, then, dualism really overcome
by Croce's method ^ With a word on this, which is
the alpha and omega of his doctrine, I will conclude
this account of the philosophy.



XI THE CONCEPT OF HISTORY 207

The final and most persistent form in which
dualism asserts itself is in the opposition between
existence and value, between what is and what ought
to be. It appears to stamp as absolute the distinction
between mind and nature, for value seems to have
a purely spiritual meaning and to be something which
mind brings or adds to what it finds already there.
Moreover, a certain sense of religious importance
attaches to the word " value," and in speaking of it
we seem to reach the highest sphere of mind. We
saw in the case of art that its lowliness is really its
strength, and here also we need to be reminded that
the lowliness of value does not detract from its dignity.
Value is the essential sign of mind in its lowest
manifestation, not something which only comes into
view in its highest flights. Yet even in the doctrine
that reality is mind, that mind is activity {dynamicita)^
and activity a continual creation of value, it is
impossible to escape the opposition between value
and a something which is not value but may possess
it. Hamlet says, " There is nothing either good or
bad, but thinking makes it so." We seem unable
to accept this literally. A natural bent of the intellect
leads us invariably to interpret it as meaning that there
is something indifferent, something neither good nor
bad, and that the making it good or bad is a value
which thinking has the power to add. Value, then,
becomes a judgment opposed to the existential judgment
which it presupposes. At once we are brought up on
the horns of a logical dilemma. The usual formula of
the judgment of value leaves the choice between an
absurdity and a tautology. The negative form, " A is
as it ought not to be," is an absurdity, for if A exist it
is as it ought to be. On the other hand, the positive



]



2o8 PHILOSOPHY OF CROCK ch.

form, "y^ is as it ought to be," is a pure tautology, it
can only mean that y^ is. And we cannot escape from
the dilemma by presupposing a previous judgment on
which the judgment *' ought " shall depend, as " There
exists an ^ so and so determined." To make the
judgment of value depend on this previous judgment
is to dissipate the very element in the judgment of value
which constitutes its special character. This has been
illustrated continually throughout our whole exposition.
The value of the work of art is not something added
to a presupposed existence without aesthetic value.
Take away the value and there is no work of art.
Again, in history, abstract from the value and it is
impossible to find in supposed matter of fact any basis
of historical event. There is no unhistorical event
which by clothing with historical value the historian
can convert into history.

Many philosophers confronted with this dilemma
have taken refuge in the view that value is wholly
subjective. It must consist, they say, only in feeling,
in the individual pleasure or displeasure which accom-
panies the judgment of existence. But so far from
saving the situation this is to make shipwreck of it
altogether. This is not Croce's method. Value is
not judgment but expression ; instead of value being
dependent on existence it is existence which depends
on value. The first expression of the intuition is
aesthetical and independent of the logical expression.
In the simple form of intuition-expression we as yet
know no distinction of real and unreal. Yet it is
already value. Expression of value Croce describes
as the cell of the aesthetic world.

The judgment of reality marks the moment of
history. But without the category of value, or rather.



XI THE CONCEPT OF HISTORY 209

without value as a category or form of mind, judgment
and history are alike impossible. Without knowing
the beautiful, the true, the useful, and the good, there
can be no history, for history is of these values, and
there are no other things.

We are then left with a duality — fact and value,
theoretical and practical reason, thought and action,
mind and nature, — must it give place to dualism ^
" Are knowledge and will, thought and action, two
mental forms parallel and independent one of another
(for this is what dualism means) ^ Is not the truth,
on the contrary, that thought is thought of action, and
action is action of thought ? Can we conceive pure
intelligence void of will and action ? What would
it think ^ Can we conceive blind will and action
void of thought .'' What would it do .'' There seems
no other way of understanding the two terms except
as distinct and united at the same time and therefore
as opposites, reciprocally positive and negative by turns.
Action is the negation of thought and thought is the
negation of action ; hence the one is not without the
other ; and their duality is not dualism, but dial^gtifij
the true unity is not immobility but activity, not pure
being but becoming."

Croce's claim is not to have presented a final system
of philosophy but to have presented a view of philosophy
which finally delivers it from the reproach of a dualistic
hypothesis.



BIBLIOGRAPHY

Benedetto Croce's Italian works arc very numerous, and besides
philosophy cover a wide range of subjects literary, historical, and
political.

The philosophy is contained in a series of four volumes, each
complete in itself, but all systematically related. Their general
title is "Filosofia dello Spirito." The four volumes are: I.
" Estetica come scienza dell' espressione e linguistica generale."
II. " Logica come scienza del concetto puro." III. "Filosofia
della pratica. Economica ed etica." IV. " Teoria e storia della
storiografia."

The philosophical essays form a special series of three volumes
entitled " Saggi filosofici." I. " Problemi di estetica e contributi
alia storia dell' estetica italiana." II. " La filosofia di Giambattista
Vico." III. " Saggio sullo Hegel, seguito da altri scritti di storia
della filosofia."

A small work not included in the above series is " Breviario di
estetica." It consists of four lectures on Aesthetic.

"La Critica," a review of literature, history, and philo-
sophy, edited by Benedetto Croce, was started in 1903 and has
since been regularly published, appearing bi-monthly. It has con-
tained many of the essays now collected in the above series. In
this work Croce is assisted by an able colleague and philosopher of
great distinction, Professor Giovanni Gentile of the University of
Palermo.

The historical, literary, and political essays have been pub-
lished in a series entitled " Scritti di storia, letteraria e politica,"
and of this series there are at present eight volumes. All the above
are published by Laterza e Figli of Bari.

The English translations of the philosophical works consist of
the following by Mr. Douglas Ainslie : (i) "Aesthetic as Science
of Expression and General Linguistic." This is a translation of the

211



212 PHILOSOPHY OF CROCK

first part of " Estetica," which contains the theory of Aesthetic,
and there is added a summary of the second or historical part.
The volume also contains a translation of the lecture delivered at
the General Session of the Third International Congress of Philo-
sophy at Heidelberg in September 1908. It is entitled "Pure
Intuition and the Lyrical Character of Art." The original forms part
of Volume I. of " Saggi filosolici." (2) " Philosophy of the Practical.
Economic and Ethic." This is a translation of the third volume of
the " Filosofia dello Spirito." (3) " What is Living and What is Dead
of the Philosophy of Hegel." This is a translation of the first and
most important of the essays in the third volume of " Saggi filo-
sofici." (4) "Logic as the Science of the Pure Concept." This is
announced but has not appeared at the time of writing. All the
above are published by Macmillan & Co.

Mr. Ainslie's translations of the philosophy, particularly the
"Aesthetic" and the "Philosophy of the Practical," have met
with rather severe criticism on the ground that they leave the
philosophy somewhat obscure. I do not think, however, that this is
due to any want of accuracy in the rendering, it is rather due to an
over-conscientiousness in the translator, which leads him to preserve
the ipsissima verba of the author, and to introduce neologisms of
doubtful value. Mr. Ainslie has offered a spirited defence of his
method in his prefaces, and it is certainly due to him to acknowledge
that ^e was the first to recognise the originality of the new philo-
sophy and to introduce the author to English readers. The general
recognition may lead Mr. Ainslie to give us a complete revision of
his first two translations in a new edition.

There is an English translation of Volume II. of the " Saggi
filosofici " — "The Philosophy of Giambattista Vico." Translated
by R. G. CoUingwood and published by Howard Latimer. This
is a work of great interest for its history as well as for its
philosophy.

There is also an English translation of a book entitled " His-
torical Materialism and the Economics of Karl Marx." The
translation is by C. M. Meredith with an Introduction by A. D.
Lindsay, published by Howard Latimer. This appeared in 1914.
There is no work of Croce in Italian with this title, and the book
appears to consist of a selection of critical notices of various books
contributed to Reviews between 1895 and 1900. They are, therefore,
all earlier than the " Filosofia dello Spirito." The book presents, in
fragmentary and occasional form, some of the doctrines, particularly



BIBLIOGRAPHY 213

the relation of economics to ethics and the theory of history, which
are incorporated in the " Filosofia della pratica."

One of the articles in "Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical
Sciences. Vol. I. Logic " (Macmillan & Co., 191 3) is contributed
by Croce. It is entitled "The Task of Logic."

A short personal account and bibliography of the two Italian
philosophers whom Croce regards as his predecessors — Vico and De
Sanctis — will be useful to the student. They are continually
referred to in Croce's writings.

Giambattista Vico was born at Naples on June 23, 1668, and
died on January 23, 1744. After his university course he
became tutor in a private family, a situation which he occupied for
nine years and which gave him the opportunity of study. In 1697
he obtained the Professorship of Rhetoric at the University of
Naples, a post he held for thirty-six years. The annual stipend
was very small — one hundred ducats (equivalent to about £1"]) —
but he married, and managed by private lessons and literary
work to support his family. His early works are : " De ratione
studiorum " (1708) ; "De antiquissima Italorum sapientia" (17 10) ;
" De universi juris uno principio et fine uno" (1720) ; " De con-
stantia jurisprudentis " (1721). The work on which his fame rests
is " Principii d' una scienza nuova." The first edition was pub-
lished in 1725, the second edition, with so many additions as to
make it practically a new work, in 1730, The " New Science " is
the science of history. One Book of the second edition, entitled
" The Discovery of the True Homer," at once attracted to it the
attention of the contemporary learned world.

Croce's works on Vico, besides the volume of the " Saggi
filosofici " already noticed, are: " Bibliografia Vichiana," " Le
fonti della gnoseologia Vichiana." He has also edited: " G. B.
Vico : L' Autobiografia, il carteggio e le poesie varie."

Francesco de Sanctis was born in 18 17. He was a private
schoolmaster at Naples when, in 1848, he was suddenly arrested
and confined in the prison of the Castel dell' Uovo. He was
afterwards exiled. He lectured first in Turin and then in Ztirich.
After the expulsion of the Bourbons he returned to Naples. He
was appointed Minister of Education in the new United Kingdom
of Italy by Cavour in 1861. In 1866 he dropped out of public
life. He died in 188 1. His chief work is, " Storia della
letteratura italiana," two volumes. The notes of his university
lectures are being published by Croce in "La Critica."



INDEX OF NAMES



Ainslie, Mr. Douglas, 2, 2U, 212
Aliottn, Professor, 73
Aristotle, 29, 92, 94, 117, 160
Augustine, St., 183

Baumgarten, 47
Bergson, Professor, 121
Bosanquet, Professor B., 178

Carlyle, 25
Comte, 27
Condillac, 96

Descartes, 25, 29, 31, 33

Faggi, Professor, 168

Gentile, Professor Giovanni, 211

Hegel, 93, 108, 114, 139, 140, 146, 151,

176, 182
Hume, 96, 200

Kant, 38, 39, 41, 47, 64, 80, 93, 108,
117, 146, 155, 176, 200



Leibniz, 12, 31, 33

Malebranche, 32
Marx, Karl, 184, 212
Moli^re, 61, 71

Plato, 25, 98, 160

Ruskin, 44, 184

Sanctis, Francesco de, 2, 213
Schelling, loS
Schopenhauer, 108
Shakespeare, 72
Smith, Professor J. A., 132
Socrates, 92, 93
Spencer, Herbert, 201
Spinoza, 98, 188

Vico, Giambattista, 2, 93, 160, 213
Voltaire, 150



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Online LibraryHerbert Wildon CarrThe philosophy of Benedetto Croce : the problem of art and history → online text (page 16 of 16)