Friday, August 29, 2014

Full and Most Undivided Entirety

The sphere, therefore, and field in which philosophy has to move, or to which it has to apply itself, is no narrow one, hemmed in and confined by any unwarrantable exclusiveness. On the contrary, it must, so far is possible for aught that is human, be complete and perfect. And for this reason also, she must not, as indeed she can not, take her rise in a consciousness artificially parceled out and divided, and, in short, but one half of its true self, and which, being biassed and visionary in its views, is divorced from real life. It can originate only in the mind's greatest perfection and in its full and most undivided entirety, inasmuch as to make this consciousness clear to itself and to others constitutes even its proper function and entire aim.

Friedrich von Schlegel, Philosophy of Language, Morrison, tr., p. 353. The problem he has particularly in mind is the tendency of German philosophers to treat philosophy as if it focused wholly on abstract thought, as if abstract thought and ideas were not only one aspect of the whole of living reason and rational life.

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