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Re: [steiner] The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity Ch. 4

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  • elf
    Hey Jeff Please tell You have your own list, after all I am interested in delving into anthroposophy but in a more tolerant loving and open minded
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 28, 2001

      Hey Jeff


      Please tell

      "You have your own list, after all"

      I am interested in delving into anthroposophy but in a more tolerant loving and open minded  environment.  Where else are you



        DRStarman2001@... wrote:

      The World as Perception

      Concepts and ideas arise through thinking. What a concept is cannot be stated
      in words. Words can do no more than draw attention to our concepts. When
      someone sees a tree, his thinking reacts to his observation, an ideal
      counterpart is added to the object, and he considers the object and the ideal
      counterpart as belonging together. When the object disappears from his field
      of observation, only the ideal counterpart of it remains. This latter is the
      concept of the object. The further our range of experience is widened, the
      greater becomes the sum of our concepts. But a concept is never found
      isolated. Concepts combine to form a totality built up according to inherent
      laws. The concept "organism" combines, for example, with those of "gradual
      development, growth." Other concepts formed of single objects merge
      completely. All concepts that I form of lions, merge into the general concept
      "lion." In this way the single concepts unite in an enclosed conceptual
      system, in which each concept has its special place. Ideas are not
      qualitatively different from concepts. They are but concepts that are richer
      in content, more saturated and comprehensive At this particular point I must
      draw special attention to the fact that thinking is my point of departure,
      and not concepts and ideas which must first be gained by means of thinking.
      Concepts and ideas already presuppose thinking. Therefore, what I have said
      about the nature of thinking, that it exists through itself, that it is
      determined by nothing but itself, cannot simply be carried over and applied
      to concepts. (I mention this at this point explicitly because it is here that
      my difference with Hegel lies. For Hegel, the concept is the primary and
      The concept cannot be gained from observation. This can already be seen from
      the fact that the growing human being slowly and gradually forms concepts
      corresponding to the objects surrounding him. The concepts are added to
      A much-read contemporary philosopher, Herbert Spencer, describes the mental
      process which we carry out in response to observation, in the following way:
      "If, when walking through the fields one day in September, we hear a sound a
      few yards in advance, and, on observing the ditch-side where it occurs, see
      the grass move, we shall probably turn toward the spot to learn by what this
      sound and motion are produced. As we approach, a partridge flutters in the
      ditch; on seeing this our curiosity is satisfied; we have what we call an
      explanation of the phenomena. This explanation, please notice, amounts to
      this: Because we have experienced countless times in life that a disturbance
      of the stationary position of small bodies is accompanied by the movement of
      other bodies existing among them, and because we have therefore generalized
      the relation between such disturbances and such movements, we consider this
      particular disturbance explained as soon as we find it to be an example of
      just this relationship."
      A closer examination gives a very different result from what is described
      above. When I hear a sound, the first thing I do is to find the concept that
      corresponds to this observation. It is this concept that takes me beyond the
      sound. Someone who did not reflect further would simply hear the sound and be
      content with that. But, because I reflect, it becomes clear to me that I have
      to understand the sound as an effect. It is therefore only when I connect the
      concept of effect with the perception of the sound that I am induced to go
      beyond the single observation and look for the cause. The concept of effect
      calls up that of cause; I then look for the object which is the cause, and in
      this case I find it to be the partridge. But these concepts, cause and
      effect, I can never gain by mere observation, however many instances I may
      have observed. Observation calls up thinking, and it is thinking that then
      shows me how to fit one individual occurrence to another.
      If one demands of a "strictly objective science" that it must take its
      content from observation alone, then one must at the same time require that
      it is to desist from all thinking. For by its very nature, thinking goes
      beyond the observed object.
      We must now pass from thinking itself to the being who thinks, for it is
      through the thinker that thinking is combined with observation. Human
      consciousness is the stage upon which concept and observation meet one
      another and become united. In saying this, we have at the same time
      characterized human consciousness. It is the mediator between thinking and
      observation. Insofar as the human being observes an object, it appears to him
      as given; insofar as he thinks, he appears to himself as active. He regards
      what comes to meet him as object, and himself as thinking subject. While he
      directs his thinking to the observation, he is conscious of the object; while
      he directs his thinking to himself he is conscious of himself, or is
      self-conscious. Human consciousness of necessity, must be self-conscious at
      the same time, because it is a thinking consciousness. For when thinking
      turns its attention to its own activity, then its own essential being, that
      is, its subject, is its object as well.
      It must, however, not be overlooked that it is only with the help of thinking
      that we can define ourselves as subject and contrast ourselves with objects.
      For this reason, thinking must never be understood as a merely subjective
      activity. Thinking is beyond subject and object. It forms these two concepts,
      just as it forms all others. When therefore as thinking subject, we refer a
      concept to an object, we must not understand this reference as something
      merely subjective. It is not the subject that makes the reference, but
      thinking. The subject does not think because it is subject; rather it appears
      to itself as a subject because it is able to think. The activity carried out
      by man as a thinking being is, therefore, not a merely subjective activity.
      Rather it is neither subjective nor objective; it is an activity that goes
      beyond both these concepts. I ought never to say that my individual subject
      thinks; in fact, my subject exists by the very grace of thinking. Thinking,
      therefore, is an element that takes me beyond myself and unites me with the
      objects. Yet at the same time it separates me from them, inasmuch as it sets
      me, as subject, over against them.
      Man's twofold nature is due to this: he thinks, and in so doing encompasses
      himself and the rest of the world; but at the same time, it is also by means
      of thinking that he defines himself as an individual who confronts the
      The next step is to ask ourselves: How does the other element, -that in
      consciousness meets with thinking- which we have so far simply called the
      object of observation, enter our consciousness?
      In order to answer this question, we must separate from our field of
      observation all that has been brought into it by thinking. For the content of
      our consciousness at any moment is already permeated with concepts in the
      most varied ways.
      We must imagine a being with fully developed human intelligence suddenly
      waking into existence out of nothing, and confronting the world. Everything
      of which it was aware before its thinking activity began, would be the pure
      content of observation. The world would then reveal to this being nothing but
      the mere disconnected aggregate of objects of sensation: colors, sounds,
      sensations of pressure, warmth, taste and smell, then feelings of pleasure
      and displeasure. This aggregate is the content of pure, unthinking
      observation. Over against it stands thinking, ready to unfold its activity if
      a point of attack can be found. Experience soon shows that it is found.
      Thinking is able to draw threads from one element of observation to another.
      It connects definite concepts with these elements and thereby brings about a
      relationship between them. We have already seen above how a sound that comes
      to meet us is connected with another observation by our identifying the
      former as the effect of the latter.
      If we now remind ourselves that the activity of thinking is never to be
      understood as a subjective activity, then we shall not be tempted to believe
      that such relationships, established by thinking, have merely a subjective
      Our next task is to discover by means of thinking reflection what relation
      the above-mentioned directly given content of observation has to our
      conscious subject.
      The varied ways of using words make it necessary for me to come to an
      agreement with my readers concerning the use of a word which I shall have to
      employ in what follows. I shall use the word perceptions for the immediate
      objects of sensation enumerated above, insofar as the conscious subject
      becomes aware of them through observation. It is therefore not the process of
      observation, but the object of observation which I call perception.
      I do not choose the word sensation because in physiology this has a definite
      meaning which is narrower than that of my concept of perception. I can call a
      feeling in myself a perception, but not a sensation in the physiological
      sense. But I also become aware of my feelings by their becoming perceptions
      for me. And the way we become aware of our thinking through observation is
      such that we can also call thinking, as it first comes to the notice of our
      consciousness, a perception.
      The naive man considers his perceptions, in the sense in which they directly
      seem to appear to him, as things having an existence completely independent
      of himself. When he sees a tree he believes, to begin with, that it stands in
      the form which he sees, with the colors of its various parts, etc., there on
      the spot toward which his gaze is directed. When in the morning he sees the
      sun appear as a disk on the horizon and follows the course of this disk, his
      opinion is that all this actually exists (by itself) and occurs just as he
      observes it. He clings to this belief until he meets with further perceptions
      which contradict those he first had. The child who has as yet no experience
      of distance grasps at the moon, and does not correct his first impression as
      to the real distance until a second perception contradicts the first. Every
      extension of the circle of my perceptions compels me to correct my picture of
      the world. We see this in everyday life, as well as in the intellectual
      development of mankind. That picture which the ancients made for themselves
      of the relation of the earth to the sun and to the other heavenly bodies had
      to be replaced through Copernicus by a different one, because theirs did not
      accord with perceptions which were unknown in those early times. A man who
      had been born blind said, when operated on by Dr. Franz, that the idea of the
      size of objects which he had formed by his sense of touch before his
      operation, was a very different one. He had to correct his tactual
      perceptions by his visual perceptions.
      Why are we compelled to make these constant corrections of our observations?
      A simple reflection will answer this question. When I stand at one end of an
      avenue, the trees at the far end seem smaller and nearer together than those
      where I stand. The picture of my perception changes when I change the place
      from which I am looking. The form in which it appears to me, therefore, is
      dependent on a condition which belongs not to the object, but to me, the
      perceiver. It is all the same to the avenue where I stand. But the picture of
      it which I receive depends essentially on the place where I stand.' In the
      same way, it is all the same to the sun and the planetary system that human
      beings happen to consider them from the earth; but the perception-picture of
      the heavens which human beings have is determined by the fact that they
      inhabit the earth. This dependence of our perception-picture upon our place
      of observation is the easiest one to grasp. Matters already become more
      difficult when we learn how our perceptions are dependent on our bodily and
      spiritual organization. The physicist shows us that within the space in which
      we hear a sound, vibrations of the air occur, and also that in the body in
      which we seek the origin of the sound, vibrating movements of its parts will
      be found. We perceive this movement as sound, but only if we have a normally
      constructed ear. Without this, the whole world would be forever silent for
      us. From physiology we know that there are people who perceive nothing of the
      splendor of color surrounding us. Their perception-picture shows only degrees
      of light and dark. Others are blind to one color, e.g., red. Their picture of
      the world lacks this shade of color, and therefore is actually a different
      one from that of the average person. I would call the dependence of my
      perception-picture on my place of observation, a mathematical one, and its
      dependence on my organization a qualitative one. The first determines the
      proportions of size and mutual distances of my perceptions, the second their
      quality. The fact that I see a red surface as red, this qualitative
      determination, depends on the organization of my eye.
      My perception-pictures, then, are subjective to begin with. Knowledge of the
      subjective character of our perceptions may easily lead to doubt that there
      is any objective basis for them at all. If we know that a perception, for
      example, that of the color red or of a certain tone, is not possible without
      a specific structure of our organism, it is easy to believe that it has no
      existence at all apart from our subjective organization, that without the act
      of perceiving-the objective of which it is-it would have no kind of
      existence. This view found a classical exponent in George Berkeley. His
      opinion was that man, from the moment he realizes the significance the
      subject has for perception, is no longer able to believe in the presence of a
      world without the conscious spirit. He said:
      "Some truths there are so near and obvious to the mind that a man need only
      open his eyes to see them. Such I take this important one to be, viz., that
      all the choir of heaven and furniture of the earth, in a word, all those
      bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world, have not any subsistence
      without a mind; that their being is to be perceived or known; that,
      consequently, so long as they are not actually perceived by me, or do not
      exist in my mind or that of any other created spirit, they must either have
      no existence at all or else subsist in the mind of some Eternal Spirit."
      According to this view, nothing remains of the perception, if one disregards
      the fact of its being perceived. There is no color when none is seen, no
      sound when none is heard. Apart from the act of perception, extension, form
      and motion exist as little as do color and sound. Nowhere do we see bare
      extension or form; these are always connected with color or some other
      quality unquestionably dependent on our subjectivity. If these latter
      disappear when our perception of them disappears, then the former, being
      bound up with them, must likewise disappear.
      To the objection that even if figure, color, sound, etc., have no other
      existence than the one within the act of perception, yet there must be things
      that exist apart from consciousness and to which the conscious perception
      pictures are similar, the above view would answer that a color can be similar
      only to a color, a figure only to a figure. Our perceptions can be similar
      only to our perceptions, and to nothing else. What we call an object is also
      nothing but a collection of perceptions which are connected in a particular
      way. If I strip a table of its form, extension, color, etc.,-in short, of all
      that is only my perception-then nothing else remains. If this view is
      followed to its logical conclusion, it leads to the assertion that the
      objects of my perceptions are present only through me and, indeed, only in as
      far as, and as long as I perceive them. They disappear with the act of
      perceiving them, and have no meaning apart from it. But apart from my
      perceptions I know of no objects and cannot know of any.
      No objection can be made to this assertion as long as in general I merely
      take into account the fact that the perception is partially determined by the
      organization of my subject. It would be very different if we were able to
      estimate what function our perceiving has in bringing about a perception. We
      should then know what happens to the perception during the act of perceiving,
      and could also determine how much of it must already have existed before it
      was perceived.
      This leads us to turn our consideration from the object of perception to its
      subject. I perceive not only other things; I also perceive myself. The
      immediate content of the perception of myself is the fact that I am the
      stable element in contrast to the continually coming and going
      perception-pictures. The perception of the I can always come up in my
      consciousness while I am having other perceptions. When I am absorbed in the
      perception of an object that is given, then, for the time being, I am
      conscious only of this object. To this, the perception of my self can come. I
      am then conscious, not only of the object, but also of my own personality,
      which confronts the object and observes it. I do not merely see a tree, but I
      also know that it is I who see it. I also realize that something takes place
      in me while I observe the tree. When the tree disappears from my field of
      vision, an after-effect of this process remains in my consciousness: an image
      of the tree. This image became united with my self during my observation. My
      self has become enriched; its content has taken a new element into itself.
      This element I call my representation of the tree. I should never be in a
      position to speak of representations if I did not experience them in the
      perception of my own self. Perceptions would come and go; I should let them
      slip by. Only because I perceive my self, and am aware that with each
      perception the content of my self also changes, do I find myself compelled to
      bring the observation of the object into connection with the changes in my
      own condition, and to speak of my representation.
      I perceive the representation in my self in the same sense as I perceive
      color, sound, etc., in other objects. Now I am also able to make the
      distinction that I call those other objects that confront me, outer world,
      whereas the content of my self-perception I call inner world. Misunder
      standing of the relationship between representation and object has led to the
      greatest mistakes in modern philosophy. The perception of a change in us, the
      modification experienced in the self, has been thrust into the foreground and
      the object which causes this modification is lost sight of altogether. It is
      said: We do not perceive the objects, but only our representations. I am
      supposed to know nothing of the table in itself, which is the object of my
      observation, but only of the changes which occur in my self while I perceive
      the table. This view should not be confused with that of Berkeley, mentioned
      above. Berkeley maintains the subjective nature of the content of
      perceptions, but he does not say that I can know only of my own
      representations. He limits man's knowledge to his representations because, in
      his opinion, there are no objects outside the act of representing. What I
      regard as a table is no longer present, according to Berkeley, when I cease
      to turn my gaze toward it. This is why Berkeley lets our perceptions arise
      directly out of the omnipotence of God. I see a table because God calls up
      this perception in me. For Berkeley, therefore, there are no real beings
      other than God and human spirits. What we call "world" is present only within
      spirits. For Berkeley, what the naive man calls outer world, or physical
      nature, is not there. This view is contrasted by the now predominant Kantian
      view which limits our knowledge to our representation not because it is
      convinced that there cannot be things in existence besides these
      representations, but because it believes us to be so organized that we can
      experience only the modification in our own self, not the thing-in-itself
      that causes this modification. This conclusion arises from the view that I
      know only my representations, not that there is no existence apart from them,
      but only that the subject cannot take such an existence directly into itself;
      all it can do is merely through
      "the medium of its subjective thoughts to imagine it, invent it, think it, c
      ognize it, or perhaps also fail to cognize it."
      This view believes it expresses something absolutely certain, something that
      is immediately obvious, in need of no proof.
      "The first fundamental principle which the philosopher has to bring to clear
      consciousness consists in the recognition that our knowledge, to begin with,
      does not reach beyond our representations. Our representation is the only
      thing we experience and learn to know directly and, just because we have
      direct experience of it, even the most radical doubt cannot rob us of our
      knowledge. By contrast, the knowledge that goes beyond our
      representations-taking this expression here in the widest possible sense, so
      that all physical happenings are included in it-is open to doubt. Hence, at
      the very beginning of all philosophizing, all knowledge which goes beyond
      representations must explicitly be set down as being open to doubt." These
      are the opening sentences of Volkelt's book on Kant's Theory of Knowledge.
      What is put forward here as an immediate and self-evident truth is in reality
      the result of a line of thought which runs as follows: The naive man believes
      that the objects, just as he perceives them, are also present outside his
      consciousness. Physics, physiology and psychology, however, seem to show that
      for our perceptions our organization is necessary and that, therefore, we
      cannot know about anything except what our organization transmits to us from
      the objects. Our perceptions therefore are modifications of our organization,
      not things-in-themselves. The train of thought here indicated has, in fact,
      been characterized by Eduard von Hartmann as the one which must lead to the
      conviction that we can have a direct knowledge only of our own
      representations. Outside our organisms we find vibrations of physical bodies
      and of air; these are sensed by us as sounds, and therefore it is concluded
      that what we call sound is nothing but a subjective reaction of our organisms
      to these movements in the external world. In the same way, color and warmth
      are found to be merely modifications of our organisms. And, indeed, the view
      is held that these two kinds of perceptions are called forth in us through
      effects or processes in the external world which are utterly different from
      the experiences we have of warmth or of color. If these processes stimulate
      the nerves in my skin, I have the subjective perception of warmth; if they
      happen to encounter the optic nerve, I perceive light and color. Light, color
      and warmth, then, are the responses of my sensory nerves to external stimuli.
      Even the sense of touch does not reveal to me the objects of the outer world,
      but only conditions in myself. In the sense of modern physics, one must
      imagine that bodies consist of infinitely small particles, molecules, and
      that these molecules are not in direct contact, but are at certain distances
      from one another. Between them, therefore, is empty space. Across this space
      they act on one another by attraction and repulsion. If I put my hand on a
      body, the molecules of my hand by no means touch those of the body directly,
      but there remains a certain distance between body and hand, and what I sense
      as the body's resistance is nothing other than the effect of the force of
      repulsion which its molecules exert on my hand. I am completely external to
      the body and perceive only its effects upon my organism.
      These considerations have been supplemented by the theory of the so-called
      specific nervous energy, which has been advanced by J. Muller (l80l-l958).
      According to this theory, each sense has the peculiarity that it responds to
      all external stimuli in one definite way only. If the optic nerve is
      stimulated, perception of light results, irrespective of whether the nerve is
      stimulated by what we call light, or by a mechanical pressure, or an electric
      current. On the other hand, the same external stimulus applied to different
      senses gives rise to different perceptions. This appears to show that our
      sense-organs can transmit only what occurs in themselves, but nothing from
      the external world. They determine our perceptions, each according to its own
      Physiology also shows that there is no question of a direct knowledge of what
      the objects cause to take place in our sense-organs. When the physiologist
      traces the processes in our bodies, he discovers that already in the sense
      organs, the effects of the external vibrations are modified in the most
      manifold ways. This can be seen most clearly in the case of the eye and ear.
      Both are very complicated organs which modify the external stimulus
      considerably before they conduct it to the corresponding nerve. From the
      peripheral end of the nerve the already modified stimulus is then led further
      to the brain. Here at last the central organs are stimulated in their turn.
      From this the conclusion is drawn that the external process must have
      undergone a series of transformations before it reaches consciousness. What
      goes on in the brain is connected by so many intermediate processes with the
      external process, that any similarity to the latter is unthinkable. What the
      brain ultimately transmits to the soul is neither external processes nor
      processes in the sense-organs, but only such as occur in the brain. But even
      these are not directly perceived by the soul; what we finally have in
      consciousness are not brain processes at all, but sensations. My sensation of
      red has absolutely no similarity to the process which occurs in the brain
      when I sense the red. The red is caused by the processes in the brain and
      appears again only as an effect of this in the soul. This is why Hartmann
      says: "What the subject perceives therefore is always only modifications of
      his own psychic states and nothing else." When I have sensations, these are
      as yet far from being grouped into what I perceive as objects. For only
      single sensations can be transmitted to me by the brain. The sensations of
      hardness and softness are transmitted to me by the sense of touch, those of
      color and light by the sense of sight. Yet all these can be found united in
      one and the same object. The unification must, therefore, be caused by the
      soul itself; this means that the soul combines into bodies the separate
      sensations transmitted through the brain. My brain gives me separately and
      indeed along very different paths, the sensations of sight, touch and
      hearing, which the soul then combines into the representation "trumpet." This
      last link (the representation of trumpet) is the very first process to enter
      my consciousness. In it can no longer be found anything of what is outside of
      me and originally made an impression on my senses. The external object has
      been entirely lost on the way to the brain and through the brain to the soul.
      In the history of man's intellectual endeavor it would be hard to find
      another edifice of thought which has been put together with greater ingenuity
      and yet which, on closer analysis, collapses into nothing. Let us look a
      little closer at the way it has been built up. The starting point is taken
      from what is given in naive consciousness, that is, from things as perceived.
      Then it is shown that nothing of what belongs to these things would be
      present for us had we no senses. No eye: no color. Therefore, the color is
      not yet present in what affects the eye. It arises first through the
      interaction of the eye and the object. The latter must, therefore, be
      colorless. But neither is the color present in the eye, for what is present
      there is a chemical or physical process which first has to be led by the
      optic nerve to the brain, and there releases another process. This is not yet
      the color. The latter is only called up in the soul through the process in
      the brain. As yet it does not enter my consciousness, but is first placed by
      the soul on a body outside. Here, finally, I believe that I perceive it. We
      have completed a circle. We are conscious of a colored object. This is the
      starting point; here the building up of thoughts begins. If I had no eye, for
      me the object would be colorless. I cannot, therefore, place the color on the
      body. I start on a search for it. I look for it in the eye: in vain; in the
      nerve: in vain; in the brain: in vain once more; in the soul: here I find it
      indeed, but not attached to the body. I recover the colored body only there
      at the point from which I started. The circle is closed. I am confident that
      I recognize as a product of my soul what the naive man imagines to be present
      out there in space.
      As long as one remains here, everything seems to fit beautifully. But we must
      start again from the beginning. Until now I have been dealing with the outer
      perception, of which earlier, as naive man, I had a completely wrong opinion.
      I believed that just as I perceive it, it had an objective existence. But now
      I have noticed that in the act of representing it, it disappears; that it is
      only a modification of my soul condition. Is there any justification for
      using it as a starting point in my consideration? Can I say of it that it
      affects my soul? From now on I have to treat the table, of which earlier I
      believed that it acted on me and brought about in me a representation of itse
      lf, as being itself a representation. From this it follows logically that my
      sense-organs and the processes in them are also mere subjective
      manifestations. I have no right to speak of a real eye, but only of my
      representation of eye. And the same holds good in regard to the nerves and
      the brain process, and no less in regard to what takes place in the soul
      itself, through which, out of the chaos of manifold sensations, objects are
      supposed to be built up. If I run through the steps of my act of cognition
      once more, presupposing the first line of thought to be correct, then the
      latter shows itself to be a web of representations which, as such, could not
      act upon one another. I cannot say: My representation of the object affects
      my representation of the eye, and from this interaction the representation of
      color comes about. Nor is there any need for saying this, for as soon as it
      is clear to me that my sense-organs and their activity, and my nerve and soul
      processes as well, can also be given only through perception, then the
      described line of thought shows itself in its full impossibility. It is true
      that I can have no perception without the corresponding sense organ, but
      neither can I have the sense-organ without perception. From my perception of
      the table I can go over to the eye which sees it, and to the nerves in the
      skin which touch it, but what takes place in these I can, again, leam only
      from perception. And there I soon notice that in the process which takes
      place in the eye there is no trace of similarity to what I perceive as color.
      I cannot deny the existence of my color perception by pointing to the process
      which takes place in the eye during this perception. And just as little can I
      find the color in the nerve and brain processes; all I do is only add new
      perceptions, within the organism, to the first perception, which the naive
      man placed outside his organism. I simply pass from one perception to
      Apart from this there is an error in the whole conclusion of the line of
      thought. I am able to follow what takes place in my organism up to the
      processes in my brain, even though my assumptions become more and more
      hypothetical the nearer I get to the central processes in the brain. But the
      path of observation from outside ceases with what takes place in my brain,
      ceases, in fact, with what I should observe if I could treat the brain with
      the assistance and methods of physics and chemistry. The path of observation
      from within begins with the sensation and continues up to the building up of
      objects out of the material of sensation. In the transition from
      brain-process to sensation, there is a gap in the path of observation.
      This characteristic way of thinking, which describes itself as critical
      idealism, in contrast to the standpoint of naive consciousness which it calls
      naive realism, makes the mistake of characterizing one perception as
      representation while taking another in the very same sense as does the naive
      realism which it apparently refutes. Critical idealism wants to prove that
      perceptions have the character of representations; in this attempt it
      accepts, in naive fashion, the perceptions belonging to the organism as
      objective, valid facts, and, what is more, fails to see that it mixes up two
      spheres of observation, between which it can find no mediation.
      Critical idealism is able to refute naive realism only by itself assuming, in
      naive-realistic fashion, that one's own organism has objective existence. As
      soon as the critical idealist becomes conscious of the complete similarity
      between the perceptions connected with one's own organism and those which
      naive realism assumes to have objective existence, he can no longer rely on
      the perceptions of the organism as being a safe foundation. He would have to
      regard his own subjective organization also as a mere complex of
      representations. But then the possibility ceases of regarding the content of
      the perceived world as a product of man's spiritual organization. One would
      have to assume that the representation "color" was only a modification of the
      representation "eye." So-called critical idealism cannot be proved without
      borrowing something from naive realism. Naive realism can only be refuted by
      accepting its assumptions, without testing them, in another sphere.
      This much, then, is certain: Investigations within the sphere of perceptions
      cannot prove critical idealism, and consequently cannot strip perceptions of
      their objective character.
      Still less can the principle, "The perceived world is my representation," be
      stated as if it were obvious and in need of no proof. Schopenhauer begins his
      principal work, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, The World as Will and
      Representation, with the words:
      "The world is my representation, this is a truth which holds good for every
      being that lives and cognizes, though man alone is able to bring it into
      reflective, abstract consciousness. If he really does this, then he has
      attained to philosophical selfconsciousness. It then becomes clear and
      certain to him that he does not know a sun or an earth, but always only an
      eye that sees a sun, a hand that feels an earth; that the world which
      surrounds him is only there as representation, that means throughout only in
      relation to something else, to the one who represents, that is, to himself.
      If ever a truth can be asserted a priori, this one can, for it expresses the
      form most general of all possible and thinkable experiences, more general
      than time, or space, or causality, for all these presuppose it...."
      The principle above: "The world is my representation," on which this is
      based, is, however, wrecked by the fact, already mentioned, that the eye and
      the hand are perceptions in just the same sense as the sun and the earth. And
      if one used Schopenhauer's expressions in his own sense, one could object to
      his principle: My eye that sees the sun and my hand that feels the earth are
      my representations, just like the sun and the earth themselves. But that,
      with this, the principle is canceled out, is immediately obvious. For only my
      real eye and my real hand could have the representations "sun" and "earth" as
      their modifications; my representations "eye" and "hand" cannot have them.
      But critical idealism can speak of representations only.
      It is impossible by means of critical idealism to gain insight into what
      relation perception has to representation. It is insensible to the
      distinction, mentioned on page 85, of what happens to the perception while
      perceiving takes place and what must be inherent in it before it is
      perceived. We must, therefore, attempt to gain this insight along another

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