Mo.) Congress of Arts and Science (1904 : Saint Louis.

Congress of Arts and Science : universal exposition, St. Louis, 1904 online

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melancholy disposition; hence there arise constantly, even within
the same religion, essentially different types of religiousness. Limit-


ing himself, then, to the most intense experiences, he decides that
the characteristic of religious states is the sense of presence of the*
divine, which one might perhaps describe in other terms, but which]
still continues the specifically divine, with the opposed emotional
effects of a solemn sense of contrast and of enthusiastic exaltation.
He pictures these senses of presence, and illustrates them by vision-/
ary and hallucinatory representations of the abstract. With this are
connected impulsive and inhibitive conditions for the appearance of
these senses of presence and of reality, descriptions of the effects |
upon the emotional life and action, and, above all, the analysis of ■
the event usually called conversion, in which the religious experi-
ence out of subconscious antecedents becomes, in various ways, the >^
centre of the soul's life. All this is description, but it is based upon
a mass of examples and explained by general psychological cate-
gories which, by the occurrence of the religious event only, receive
a thoroughly specific coloring. It is a description after the manner
of Kirchhoff's mechanics; permanent and similar types, and, like-
wise, similar conditions for their relations to the rest of the soul's
life are sought out everywhere, without maintaining to have proven
at the same time, in this way, an intellectual necessity for the con-
nection. But the characteristic peculiarity of religious phenomena
is thus^ conceived as in no other previous analysis.

All this is still, however, nothing more than psychologic. For the r
science of religion it accomplishes nothing more than the psycho-
logical determination of the peculiarity of the phenomenon, of its !
environment, its relations and consequences. It is evident that the ;
phenomenon occurs in an indefinite number of varieties; and the
chosen point of departure, in unusual and excessive cases, frequently
diffuses over religion itself the character of the bizarre and abnor-
mal. Consequently nothing whatever is said about the amount of
truth or of reality in these cases. This, by the very principles of
such a psychology, is impossible. It analyzes, produces types and
categories, points out comparatively constant connections and inter-
actions. But this cannot be the last word for the science of religion.
It demands, above all, empirical knowledge of the phenomenon; but 1
it demands this only in order, on the basis of this knowledge, to be
able to answer the question of the amount of truth. But this leads
to an entirely different problem, that of the theory of knowledge,
which has its own conditions of solution. It is impossible to stop
at a merely empirical psychology. The question is not merely of
given facts, but of the amount of knowledge in these facts. But pure
empiricism will not succeed in answering this question. The question
with regard to the amount of truth is always a question of validity.
The question with regard to validity can, however, be decided only |
by logical and by general, conceptual investigations. Thus we passj


over from the ground of empiricism to that of rationalism, and the
question is, what the theory of knowledge or rationalism signifies
for the science of religion.

Such a synthesis of the rational and irrational, of the psychological
and the theory of knowledge, is the main problem raised by the
teaching of Kant, and the significance of Kant is that he clearly and
once for all raised the problem in this way. He had the same strong
mind for the empirical and actual as for the rational and conceptual
elements of human knowledge, and constructed science as a balance
between the two. (He destroyed forever the a priori speculative
rationalism of the necessary ideas of thought, and the analytical
deductions from them, which undertakes to call reality out of the
necessity of thought as such. He restricted regressive rationalism
to metaphysical hypotheses and probabilities, the evidence for which
rests upon the inevitability of the logical operations which leads to
them, which, however, apply general concepts without reference to
experience, and therefore become empty, and thus afford no real
knowledge.) On the other hand, he proclaimed the formal, imman-
ent rationalism of experience, in attempting to unite Hume's
truth with the truth of Leibnitz and of Plato. In this way he suc-
ceeded in grasping the great problem of thought by the root, and
in putting attempts at solutions on the right basis. So it is not a
mere national custom of German philosophizing, if we take our
bearings, for the most part, from this greatest of German thinkers,
but it is, absolutely, the most fruitful and keenest way of putting the
problem. It is true, the solutions which Kant made, and which are
closely connected with the classical mechanics of that time, with
the undeveloped condition of the psychology of that time, and with
the incompleteness of historical thinking then just beginning, have
been, meantime, more than once given up again. A simple return to
him is therefore impossible. But the problem was put by him in
a fundamental way, and his solutions need nothing more than modi-
fication and complstion.

Now all this is especially true in the case of the science of religion.
Here also Kant took the same course, which seemed to me right for
the theoretical knowledge of the natural sciences and for anthro-
pology. In practical philosophy also, to which he rightly counts
philosophy of religion, he seeks laws of the practical reason analogous
to the laws of theoretical reason, axioms of the ethical, sesthetic,
and religious consciousness which are already contained a priori
in the elementary appearances in these fields, and, in application
to concrete reality, produce just these activities of the reason. Here
also one should grasp reason only as contained in life itself, the
a priori law itself already effective in the diversity of the appearances
should make one's self clear-sighted and so competent for a criticism


of the stream of the soul's appearances. Seizing upon itself in the
practical reality, the practical reason criticises the psychological
complex, rejects as illusion and error that which cannot be com-
prehended in an a priori law, selects that part of the same which
needs basis and centre and requires only clearness with regard to
itself, clears the way for revelations of a life consciousness of its own
legality and becomes capable of the development of critically purified

If this is, in principle, valid, the Kantian thought, in the further
detail^ is maintained in principle only and as a whole. The elabora-
■ tion itself will have to be quite different from that of his own. Even
by Kant himself, on this very point, the synthesis of empiricism and
rationalism is far from being elaborated with the necessary rigor and
consistency. And to-day we have a quite differently developed
psychology of religion, in contrast with which that presupposed by
Kant is bare and thin. Finally, there remain in the whole method of
the critical system unsolved problems; by failure to solve these, or
by too hasty solution, science of religion, especially, is affected.

To make clear the present condition of the problem, one ought,
above all, to indicate the modifications to which the Kantian theory
of religion must submit, — must submit, especially, by reason of a
more delicate psychology, such as we have, with remarkable rich-
ness, in James and the American psychologists connected with him.
There are four points with regard to this question.

The first is the question of the relation of psychology and theory
of knowledge in the very establishment of the laws of the theory of
knowledge. Are not the search for and discovery of the laws of the
theory of knowledge themselves possible only by way of psychological
ascertainment of facts, itself then a psychological undertaking and
conseqiiently dependent upon all its conditions? It is the much dis-
cussed question of the circle which itself lies at the outset of the
critical system. The answer to this is that this circle lies in the very
being of all knowledge, and must therefore be resolutely committed.
It signifies nothing more than the presupposition of all thought, the
trust in a reason which establishes itself only by making use of
itself. The unmistakable elements of the logical assert themselves
as logical in distinction from the psychological, and from this point
on reason must be trusted in all its confusions and entanglements to
recognize itself within the psychological. It is the courage of thought,
as Hegel says, which may presuppose that the self-knowledge of rea-
son may trust itself, presuppose that reason is contained within the
psychological; or it is the ethical and teleological presupposition of
all thought, as Lotze saj^s, which believes in knowledge and the
validity of its laws for the sake of a connected meaning for reality,
and which, therefore, trusts to recognize itself out of the psycholog-


ical mass. The establishment, therefore, of the laws of the theory
of knowledge is not itself a psychological analysis, but a knowledge
of self by the logical by virtue of which it extricates itself out of the
psychological mass. Theory of knowledge, like every rationalism,
includes, it is true, very real presuppositions with regard to the sig-
nificant, rational, and teleologically connective character of reality,
and without this presupposition it is untenable; in it lies its root.
It is insight of former days, the importance of which, however, must
constantly be emphasized anew, that discusses the validity of the
rational as opposed to the merely empirical. But still more im-
portant than this thesis are several inferences which are given
with it.

The establishment of the laws of consciousness, in which we
produce experience, is a selection of the laws out of experience itself,
a knowledge of itself by the reason contained in the very experience
by way of the analysis which extracts it. It is then an endless task,
completed by constantly renewed attacks, and always only approxi-
mately solvable. The complete separation of the merely psychological
and actual and of the logical and necessary will never be completely
accomplished, but will always be open to doubt; one can only
attempt always to limit more vigorously the field of what is doubtful.
And with this something further is connected.

The inexhaustible production of life becomes constantly, in the
latent amount of reason, richer than the analysis discerns, or, in
other words, the laws which are brought into the light of logic will
always be less the amount of reason not brought into consciousness,
and conscious logic will always be obliged to correct itself and enrich
itself out of the unartificial logical operations arising in contact with
the object. So a finished system of a priori principles, but this sys-
tem will always be in growth, will be obliged unceasingly to correct
itself, and to contain open spaces.

Finally, and above all, in case of this separation, there remains
within the psychologically conditioned appearance, a residuum,
which is either not conceived, but is later reduced to law and thereby
a conceived phenomenon, or which never can be so, and is therefore
illusion and error. If the psychological and the theoretical for know-
ledge are to be separated, then that can occur, not merely to show
that both must always be together, and form real experience only
when together, but there must also be a rejection of that which is
merely psychological and not rational since it is illusion and error.
The distinction between the apparent and the real was the point
of departure which made the whole theory necessary, and, accord-
ingly, the merely psychological must remain appearance and error
side by side with that which is psychological and, at the same time,
theoretical for knowledge. There always remains in consciousness



a residuum of the inconceivable, that is, inconceivable since it is
illusion and error. This amounts to saying that reality is never
fully rational, but is engaged in a struggle between the rational
and anti-rational. The anti-rational or irrational, in the sense of
psychological illusion and error, belongs also to the real, and strives
against the rational. The true and rational reality to be attained
by thought is always in conjunction with the untrue reality, the
psychological, that containing illusion and error.

All this signifies that the rationalism of the theory of knowledge
must be conditional, partly owing to the corrective and enriching
fecundation by primitive and naive thought, partly owing to never
quite separable admixture of illusion and error. So, long ago, the
system of categorical forms, as Kant constructed it for theoretical
and practical reason, began to change, and can never again acquire
the rigidity which Kant's rationalism intended to give it forever-
more. And thus the critical system's rational reality of law produced
by reason always contains below itself and beside itself the merely
psychological reality of the factual, to which also illusion and error
belong, — a reality which can never be rationalized, but only set
aside. This, too, is also true for the philosophy of religion : the rational
reduction of the psychological facts of religion to the general laws of
consciousness which prevail among them is a task constantly to be
resumed anew by the study of reality, and follows the movements
of primitive religion in order to find there first the rational basis;
the reduction is, however, always approximate, can comprehend
the main points only, and must leave much open, the rational ground
for which is not or not yet evident; finally it has unceasingly to
reckon with the irrational as illusion and error, -which attaches to the
rational, and yet is not explainable by it. The two realities, which
the critical system must recognize at its very foundation, continue
in strife with each other, and this strife as the strife of divine truth
with human illusion is for the science of religion of still more im-

The second correction of the Kantian teaching is only a further
consequence from this state of things. If the attitude of psychology
and theory of knowledge requires a strict separation, it requires it
only for the purpose of more correct relation. The laws of the theory
of knowledge are separated from the merely psychological actuality,
but still can be produced only out of it. Thus, as a matter of fact,
psychological analysis is always the presupposition for the correct
conception of all these laws. Psychology is the entrance gate to
theory of knowledge. This is true for theoretical logic as well as for
the practical logic of the moral, the sesthetical, and the religious.
But just at this point the present, on the basis of its psychological
investigation, presses far beyond the original form of the Kantian


teaching. This is not the place to describe this, more closely, with
reference to the first of the subjects just mentioned. But it is im-
portant to insist that this is especially true with respect to the
Kantian doctrine of religion. The Kantian doctrine of religion is
founded on the moral and religious psychology of Deism, which had
made the connection, frequent in experience, of moral feelings with
religious emotion the sole basis of the philosophy of religion, and
had, in the manner of the psychology of the eighteenth century,
immediately changed this connection into intellectual reflections,
in accord with which the moral law demands its originator and
guarantee. Kant accepted this psychology of religion without proof
and built upon it his main" law of the religious consciousness, in
accordance with which a synthetic judgment a priori is operative
in religion (arising in the moral experience of freedom), which
requires that the world be regarded as subject to the purposes of
freedom. It is, however, extremely one-sided, to give religion its
place just between the elements, and a rather violent translation of
the religious constitution into reflection. The error of this psycho-
logy of religion had been discovered and corrected already by Schleier-
macher. But Schleiermacher, for his part too, also failed to deny
himself an altogether too sudden metaphysical interpretation of the
religious a priori which he had demonstrated, since he not only
described the a priori judgment of things, from the point of view of
absolute dependence upon God, as a vague feeling, but raised this
feeling, by reason of the supposed lack of difference, in it, between
thought and will, reason and being, to a world-principle, and inter-
preted the idea of God contained in this feeling in the terms of his
Spinozism, the lack of difference between God and Nature within
the Absolute. A real theory of knowledge of religion must keep
itself much more independent of all metaphysical presuppositions
and inferences, and must admit that the essence of the religious
a priori is extorted from a thoroughly impartial psychological
analysis. And this is always the place where works, such as those
of James, come into play. Religion as a special category or form of
psychical constitution, the result of a more or less vague presence
of the divine in the soul, the feeling of presence and reality with
reference to the superhuman or infinite, that is without any doubt
a much more correct point of departure for the analysis of the rational
a priori of religion, and it remains to make this new psychology
fruitful for the theory of knowledge of religion. That will be one of
the chief tasks of the future.

The third change relates to the distinction of the empirical and
intelligible Ego, which Kant connected closely, almost indissolubly
with his main epistemological thought of the formal rationalisms
immanent in experience. Kant rationalized the whole outer and


inner experience, by means of a priori laws, into a totality, conform-
ing to law, appearing in intuitive forms of space and time, causally
and necessarily rigidly connected. The freedom autonomously
determining itself out of the logical idea, and contrasting itself with
the psychological stream, produces out of the confused psycholican
reality this scientific formation of the true reality. The product of
thought, however, swallows its own maker. For the same acts of
freedom, which autonomously produced the formation of the reality
of law, remain themselves in the temporal sequence of psychical
events, and, therefore, themselves, with that formation, lapse into
the sequence which is under mechanical law. The intelligible Ego
creates the world of law, and finds itself therein, with its activity, as
empirical Ego, that is, as product of the great world-mechanism and
of its causal sequence. It is an intolerable, violent contradiction,
and it is no solution of this contradiction to refer the empirical Ego
to appearance, and the intelligible Ego to actuality existing in itself,
if the operations of the intelligible Ego, also a constituent part of
what takes place in the soul, occur in time and so relapse irrecover-
abl}^ into phenomenality and its mechanism. All the ingenuity
of modern interpretation of Kant has not succeeded in making this
circle more tolerable, all shifting of one and the same thing to differ-
ent points of view has only enriched scientific terminology with
masterpieces of parenthetical caution, but not removed the objection
that two different points of view do not, as a matter of fact, exist
side by side, but conflict within the same object.

This circle is especially intolerable for the psychology of religion
and its application to the theory of knowledge. The psychology of
religion certainly shows us that the deeper feeling of all religion is
not a product of the mechanical sequence, but an effect of the super-
sensuous itself as it is felt there; it believes that it arises in the
intelligible Ego by way of some kind of connection with the super-
sensuous world. This, however, becomes completely impossible for
the Kantian theory of the empirical Ego, and all distinctions of a
double point of view in no wise change the fact that these points of
view are mutually absolutely exclusive. Here we have the results
of psychology which the expression of religious emotion confirms, in
that religion can be causally reduced to nothing else, totally opposed
to the consequences of ^uch a theory of knowledge. Kant had him-
self often enough practicallj^ felt this, and spoke then of freedom as
an experience of communion with the supersensuous as a possible
but unprovable affair, while all that, in case of a strict adherence
to the phenomenality of time and of the theory of the empirical
Ego, which is a consequence of it, is completely impossible. No-
thing can be of any assistance here except a decisive renunciation
of those epistemological positions which contradict the results of


psychology, and which are themselves only doctrinaire consequences
from other positions. Nothing else is possible but the modification
of the phenomenality of time, in such a way that by no means
everything which belongs to time belongs also as a matter of
course to phenomenality, but that the autonomous rational acts
which occur in the time series of consciousness possess their own
intelligible time-form. At the same time the concept of causality
closely connected with the concept of time is to be modified so
that there should be not only an immanent and phenomenal causal
connection, but also a regular interaction between phenomenal and
intelligible, psychological and rational, conscious reality. At the
same time the conclusion is also given up, that the Ego submits
unconditionally and directly to phenomenality and to causal neces-
sity, while the same Ego, once more, in the same way, as a whole,
from another point of view, is subordinate to freedom and auto-
nomy, that is, self-constitutive through ideas. The two Egos must
lie not side by side, but in and over one another. It must be
possible that, within the phenomenal Ego by a creative act of
the intelligible Ego in it, the personality should be formed and
developed as a realization of the autonomous reason, so that the
intelligible issues from the phenomenal, the rational from the psy-
chological, the former elaborates and shapes the latter, and between
both a relation of regular interaction, but not of causal constraint,
takes place. This rather deep, incisive modification is, in its turn, an
approach of the Kantian teaching to empiricism, but still at the
same time, in the destruction and subordination of the phenomenal
and intelligible world, in the emphasis upon the single personality
issuing from the act of reason, an adherence to rationalism. But
since the distinction and the interrelation between the rational and
the empirical forms the point of departure for the critical system,
and this point of departure requires -at the same time the moulding
and shaping of the empirical by the rational and the rejection of the
psychological appearance; a mere parallelism is altogether impossi-
ble, but an interrelation is included, and a task set for the effort and
labor which constantly makes the rational penetrate the empirical.
At the very outset we have the exclusion of the parallelism and the
assertion of the interrelation. The interrelation, by its very nature,
asserts the interruption of the causal necessity and the penetration
of autonomous reason in this sequence, without being itself produced
by this sequence, although it can be stimulated and helped or inhib-
ited and weakened by it. Thus, in such a case as this, the irrational
is recognized by the side of and in the rational. In this case the irra-
tional of the event without causal compulsion by some antecedent,
or of the self-determination by the autonomous idea alone, is the irra-
tional of freedom. It is the irrational of the creative procedure


which constitutes the idea out of itself and produces the consequences
of the reason out of the constituted idea. But this irrational plays
everywhere in the whole life of the soul an essential part, and is not

Online LibraryMo.) Congress of Arts and Science (1904 : Saint LouisCongress of Arts and Science : universal exposition, St. Louis, 1904 → online text (page 31 of 68)