First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature

Postby admin » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:51 am

Part 1 of 2

II. Deduction of Organic Functions from the Concept of Excitability

All organic activity already presupposes duplicity (since it is the effect of a cause that is active only under the condition of duplicity). Thus the question still remains: how does this duplicity inherently belong to the organism?

In order that one does not believe oneself able to get away with a mere appeal to the existence of opposed systems in the phenomenon of the organism it must be noted that this itself is already a product of duplicity (which is a condition of excitability) rather than a cause of it; thus, these systems are a product of excitability. In animal nature all formation proceeds from an excitable point. Sensibility is present before its organ has formed itself; brain and nerves, instead of being causes of sensibility, are themselves rather already its product.— The opposed systems (the irritable and the sensible) into which the organism is divided are only the theater of that organic force, not the force itself.—Not to speak of the fact that one cannot even demonstrate those opposed systems in one-half of organic nature unless one is able to ascribe to it the universal property of everything organic, excitability.

Therefore, excitability cannot be completely explained before the first origin of organic duplicity is explained.

1) We have ascertained that all organic activity exhibits itself in the organism as object. That which is the source of all organic activity cannot again appear in the organism as object. [i] Now, the original duplicity is condition of all organic activity and the source of all activity is therefore the cause of duplicity itself.

2) A cause that is acknowledged to be the direct source of another activity must be thought to be acting in the organism, and which is knowable only through activity, not knowable through and in objects like every other activity.

[181] A cause that does not again present itself directly objectively, but is recognized only as cause of another activity, can obviously only be a negative cause returning into its subject. But a negative cause [ii] is only thinkable as a cause of receptivity.

The cause of all organic duplicity is thus the cause through which an original receptivity belongs to the organism. [iii]

A cause by which the receptivity of the organism is antecedently determined must surely be accepted as cause of every organism. For, in terms of receptivity to external influences, it cannot be distinguished from the inorganic. In contrast, the living distinguishes itself from the dead only in that the latter is receptive to every impression, but the former is antecedently determined by its own nature to be a special sphere of receptivity. For the organism the sphere of its activity is also determined through the sphere of its receptivity. The sphere of its receptivity must be determined through the same cause by which its nature is determined in general.—

The cause of sensibility is thus the cause of every organism and sensibility itself is the source and origin of life. The spark of sensibility must have descended into everything organic, even if its existence cannot be demonstrated everywhere in Nature, [iv] for only the inception of sensibility is the inception of life.—Although without it no organism is possible, it will become clear in the following how it could be present in organic nature and yet be indemonstrable.

But how is sensibility demonstrable in Nature at all? The cause of sensibility is a cause reverting into its subject, thus it cannot be known directly in the object. As source of all other organic activity it can only be known through activity.—

(Most readers probably do not need to be reminded that sensibility is for me a completely physical phenomenon and that it is considered here only as such.—But even viewed physically sensibility is not something exterior that one could recognize in the organism [182] as object, but something reverting into the subject of the organism, indeed, even first constituting the latter—in a word, constituting the absolutely innermost reaches of the organism itself (and, therefore, one must conclude that its cause is something that can never become objective in Nature AT ALL. But then must there be something like that in Nature if Nature is a product of itself?). [v]

One can only reason to the existence of sensibility because it is clearly nothing outside the subject of the organism. Then on what basis does one know it?— Perhaps from the sense organs? [vi]—But how do you know that such organs are conditions of sensibility?—Only from inner experience. But here the organism is given merely as object. How do you recognize sensibility in the organism as object? This is the question. You know it only from the external effect which you see in the organism as object, you do not know it itself, but only its external appearance. [vii]

We can most likely state what this cause is in relation to its subject. It is a cause by means of which duplicity comes into an originally identical thing; but duplicity is not possible in an originally identical subject (A = A) except insofar as the identity itself again becomes product of duplicity [viii] (for where A = A, this means that A is the product of itself ).Duplicity or sensibility (for both are synonymous) only exists in the organism to the extent that it becomes its own object; therefore, the cause of sensibility is the cause by which the organism becomes its own object.

With this answer we know nothing more than we knew before. For to say “there is duplicity in the organism” and to say “the organism is its own object” is to say the same thing.

The question [ix] must have another sense, i.e., what is the cause of sensibility abstracted from its subject, what is it objectively or in itself?

If the question is posed in this way it is obvious that this cause, as cause of all organization, must fall outside the sphere of the organism itself. It can just as little fall within the sphere of mechanism, for the organism cannot be subordinated to the anorganic. Therefore, it must fall within a sphere that once more comprehends organism and mechanism [183] (both opposed principles) under itself and that is higher than both. That higher sphere is none other than Nature itself insofar as it is thought as absolutely unconditioned (as absolutely organic). [x] In other words, the cause of sensibility (or, what is the same, of organic duplicity in general) must be found in the ultimate conditions of Nature itself.—Sensibility as phenomenon stands on the boundary of all empirical appearances, and everything is connected to its cause as to the highest in Nature.—(One can also achieve this insight along another course.—That is, just as the organism is duplicity in identity, so too is Nature; one, equal to itself, and yet also opposed to itself. Therefore, the origin of organic duplicity must be one with the origin of duplicity in Nature generally, i.e., with the origin of Nature itself.—

Should that duplicity in identity really be recognizable only in organic nature?— If the origin of the organism is one with the origin of Nature itself, then it is evident a priori that in the anorganic, or rather in universal Nature, something analogous must become evident. But in universal Nature nothing of the kind shows itself except in the phenomena of magnetism—.) [xi]

3) Sensibility is known only in another activity. Activity is its product (not an object in which it is extinguished). It should be explained once more how sensibility could pass directly into activity.

An original opposition enters into the organism through original duplicity. The organism is opposed to itself, but it has to stand in equilibrium with itself so that it is able to produce a product. [xii] What we have previously called the “organism as object,” in a word, the product, [xiii] will fall in the point of equilibrium (or point of indifference). In this way rest belongs to the organism, its condition is a condition of homogeneity, it is a world to itself, resting in itself, complete in itself.

In this equilibrium all organic activity would dissolve, the organism would cease to be its own object, [xiv] would lose itself in itself.

That equilibrium (the state of indifference) must therefore be continually disturbed, but also continually reproduced. The question arises, how. [184] No cause lies in the organism for its becoming disturbed. The reason has to lie outside of the organism.—(Everything unorganized must be seen as lying outside the organism, thus also the fluids, e.g., that circulate in it [xv] — which accordingly do not belong to the subject of the organism, and thus also cannot be subject of disease, for example—whose existence can only be completely deduced in the following.)—

However, disturbed equilibrium is only recognizable in Nature through the tendency toward its restoration. [xvi] As certainly as it [xvii] is disturbed, a tendency to restoration must also exist in the organism. But this tendency can only proceed (like all activity) from the higher organism, thus the higher organism must be able to be determined to activity by the passivity of the lower. This is not possible unless a plus of activity (i.e., action) in the higher is conditioned by a minus of activity in the lower. The question arises how this activity is possible.

4) It is clear for the moment that it must be an activity that passes into the organism as object—(which does not revert into it again).—It is, in a word, an activity directed outward. Something outer for the organism (i.e., something different from it) is at all possible only through a higher influence [xviii] for which the external world of the organism is itself a different one, i.e., an outer world. Such an influence is actually acting (above p. 108) upon and through the organism. This influence is shown in experience such that it is active only under the condition of duplicity (above p. 109). It will thus be active in the organism only under the condition of duplicity. Duplicity will be the organic source of activity. But in the organism [xix] the duplicity is canceled. It remains in equilibrium with itself, there is rest in it, but there should be activity in it, and this can only be reproduced through continual restoration of the duplicity. This continual restoration can itself happen only by means of a third, and therefore that cause will appear active in the organism only under the condition of triplicity. [xx]

[185] (The necessary triplicity in galvanism is deduced in this way. The third body in the galvanic chain is only necessary so that the opposition between the two others may be sustained. Two bodies of opposite composition brought into contact establish an equilibrium between themselves entirely necessarily, and show no electricity except with the first contact and the separation following upon it. (This proceeds from Volta’s recent experiments from which it becomes clear that in order to produce electricity at all the mere contact and separation of two heterogeneous conductors is necessary; but the electrophore is already sufficient to prove this.) But the problem is: a connection of bodies [xxi] should be found through which an enduring action is conditioned without repeated touching and separation, thus one IN COMPLETE REST (for the organism is just rest in activity)—and this problem can only be solved through the galvanic chain, for in this chain an enduring action is conditioned through its being closed upon ITSELF and its remaining closed. Because, of the three bodies A B C, no two of them can establish an equilibrium among themselves without being disturbed by the third, since between three heterogeneous bodies no equilibrium is at all possible.)

Now, since the organism is not absolute rest but only rest in activity, that triplicity must be assumed to be constantly present in the organism. [xxii] But if it is constantly present, then activity indeed exists in the organism; a homogeneous, uniform activity. Homogeneous, uniform activity appears in the object (from the outside) generally as rest. [xxiii]

Now an activity is postulated that passes into the organism as object (see 3. and 4.), i.e., which presents itself in the organism through an external alteration. That triplicity must be assumed not to be constantly present in the organism.

This contradiction can only be resolved this way: the triplicity must constantly become (arise and disappear, disappear and arise again), never be. How this continual becoming and disappearing is possible does not need to be investigated here (undoubtedly [186] because the one factor in it is an alterable and constantly altered one [xxiv).—The condition of that activity is a constantly evolving triplicity whose possibility it was our task to demonstrate.

5) But there is yet another problem: through which effect (which alteration) will that activity be presented in the organism as object?

It is an activity whose original condition is duplicity. But an activity whose condition is duplicity can only be such as proceeds toward intussuception (because the condition of intussusception is duality). That activity will appear externally as a tendency toward intussusception. But no intussusception is possible without a transition toward a common occupation of space, and this transition does not happen without density or shrinking of volume. That activity will appear externally as an activity of shrinking in volume, and the effect itself as contraction. [xxv]

(Much has been devised to explain the mechanism of contraction but which upon closer inspection dissolves into nothing. The opinion that with each contraction a transition from a vaporous into a liquid or from a fluid into a solid state (and therefore a solidification) is exhibited has a few things going for it, namely, that Nature even in such transitions is bound to show great force [xxvi]—that the animal and the plant, seen objectively, are really nothing other than a continual leap from the fluid into the solid form (just as all organisms are like amphibians, placed between the solid and the fluid)—that with age the fixity of the organs of movement increases, and so forth. [xxvii]—But all of these mechanical modes of representation remain far from reality; in particular, a plethora of phenomena which galvanism approaches cannot even be conceived by means of them.—Undoubtedly, the ingenious mode of representation of Erasmus Darwin (in his Zoonomia [xxviii]) is closer to the truth—at least to the extent that an alternation of attraction and repulsion is observed in electrical phenomena just as an alternation of contraction and expansion takes place in the phenomena of irritability, and here too the restoration [187] of a homogeneous state is the condition of reexpansion. [xxix]—Although it is certain that both can only be analogically compared with one another (like the phenomena of electricity and of irritability in general) in the way the higher can be compared with the lower.) [xxx]

6) But the tendency of that activity is intussusception, and precisely because every activity is extinguished in its product it would be extinguished in intussusception. Thus intussusception cannot be reached.—The question arises how this is possible.

Only in the following way. The condition of intussusception must again be negated by the tendency to intussusception itself. (In what way this happens is, again, not to be investigated here. [xxxi] It could happen, e.g., that the third body in that conflict is always and necessarily a fluid one through which the contraction itself would be propagated. For then its condition would be recanceled by every contraction—mere duplicity would exist once more, and no longer triplicity.)

However, if the condition is canceled, then the conditioned (activity) also ceases. This mere cessation of activity cannot be the cause of the restoration of the former state of the organ. Rather, an opposite action has to step in with the cessation of the action that is the cause of contraction, which becomes the cause of the opposite state of the organ.—This action is not admissible so long as an action opposed to it maintains the equilibrium, but it must come forth just as its opposite disappears, i.e., it must be an always present action and must be grounded in the subject of the organism itself.

Its effect is the opposite of contraction, i.e., restoration of the volume or expansion.

That activity [xxxii] would be exhibited in the organism as object by an alternation of contraction and expansion.


Irritability (in the narrow sense of the word) has not only been deduced in general by the preceding, its conditions of possibility have also been provided.

a) Its ultimate condition is organic duplicity. It is thereby explained why irritability appears connected to the existence of opposed systems (the nerve and muscle systems) in the phenomenon of the organism. I say appears, for no experience reaches to the first origin of duplicity itself.—Just as everything visible is only the manifestation of an invisible, that higher system only represents that which will never itself become an object in the organism. In that system (the nervous system) the organic force can only present itself to its object externally because it is itself simply the bridge over which that force reaches into the world of sense. (The organism is the mediator of two worlds.) Just as the Sun, through rays thrown out in all directions (the image of itself ), only indicates the direction of its higher influence, so the nerves are only the rays of that organic force, as it were, through which it indicates its transition into the external world. Since the nerves are also its first product, that force is as if chained to the nerves and not to be separated from them. Because the cause of life has also identified itself with them, it is impossible that they present themselves externally to themselves—(as if this is what happens in contraction, a shallow representation that now is beginning to become universal).

Now, according to the preceding, what is sensibility as such? All connotations that are attached to this word must now be excluded, and nothing is to be thought under it except the dynamic source of activity which we must posit in the organism as necessarily as in universal Nature generally. But it also results from our deduction of irritability that sensibility actually disappears in irritability as its object, and that it is therefore impossible to say what it is in itself, since it is itself nothing in appearance. Only the positive is known, the [189] negative is reached by reasoning. Sensibility is not itself activity but is source of activity, i.e., sensibility is only condition of all irritability. Sensibility is not in itself knowable, it is knowable only in its object (of irritability), and therefore surely where the latter exists so must the former, although where it immediately passes into irritability only it is knowable.—Incidentally, how sensibility passes into irritability is explained precisely by the fact that it is nothing other than organic duplicity itself. The external stimulus has no other function than to restore this duplicity. But as soon as duplicity is restored, so too all conditions of motion are restored.

Just as sensibility is the condition of irritability, conversely, irritability is the condition of sensibility, for without activity directed outward there is also no activity reverting into the subject. It was ascertained above that the organism as object would fall into the point of indifference without excitation from outside. Thus all excitation from the outside occurs only by the disturbance of that state of indifference. But this state of indifference is itself only a product of irritability. The activity whose tendency is homogeneity is just that which manifests itself in irritability as an activity of intussusception. Thus irritability, or rather the activity which is active in it, is conversely not at all the positive, but the negative condition of sensibility. Every sensation is only thinkable as the disturbance of a homogeneous state.

(Therefore, because a homogeneous activity is disturbed by every excitation from outside and, as it were, dissociated into opposites, in every SENSE there is a necessary duality, for to me sensation means precisely nothing other than the disturbance of a homogeneous state of the organism. Therefore, for the sense of sight the polarity of colors (the opposition between warm and cold colors) is the duality that becomes objective in the prismatic spectrum [xxxiii]—(just as it is quite certain that in Hunter’s experiment the negative lightning is not a mere privation but a real opposition to the other; although in every duality aside from the actual opposition [190] there is still a more and less, as, e.g., the prismatic colors of one pole are also the darker colors, one pole of the magnet is also the weaker). For the sense of hearing the major and minor tones are the duality, for the sense of taste the acidic and alkaline tastes (for all other kinds of taste are only mixtures of both of these in various proportions). For the sense of smell there undoubtedly exists a similar opposition which is not clearer only because this sense is generally the darkest (thus most fitted for associations of ideas) and (on account of its thanklessness) the least cultivated.—One can employ this necessary duality in every sense as a principle of distinction for the senses generally. Therefore, the feeling of heat, e.g., does not serve as the name of a sense, because there is no opposition possible in it, but only a mere more or less.—(Opposition only exists where factors in the connection neutralize themselves, like the opposed colors of the prism, the acidic and alkaline taste, and so forth.)—For the sexual sense, its opposition does not fall within it but outside of it.) [xxxiv]

If irritability (or rather its product) is a homogeneous state (a negative condition of sensibility) and the former is proper only to the lower organism, then we have explained how the organism itself becomes the medium of external influences (above p. 107). Galvanism finally makes it obvious, for in it the irritable system appears only as the armor of the sensible, solely as the middle term by means of which the latter is in connection with its outer world.

7) Irritability (by which the organic appears to be moved inwardly) is still something inner, but the activity must totally become an external one, must present itself completely in the external product, and, when it is presented in it, dissolve in it. But this activity (in which it passes over completely into the product as an external one) is nothing other than the productive activity itself (the activity of the formative drive). Irritability must pass directly into formative drive or force of production.

With what, then, does all formation in organic nature begin other than irritability, i.e., with an alternation of expansion [191] and contraction? By what means does the metamorphosis of plants occur if not by such an alternation of expansion and contraction (Goethe on the metamorphosis of plants4)? And is not this alternation of expansion and contraction almost more evident in the metamorphosis of insects than in plants?

If irritability appears only at its extreme in the force of production—in direct transition into its object—then irritability must totally dissolve as soon as the production is completed. But the production must be completed because it is a finite production. If it is to endure after the completion of the product, then it must be finite in one respect, in another infinite. It must have an infinite production at least within its determinate sphere—the existence of organization has to be a constant being-reproduced, in a word, the force of production must be force of reproduction.

8) The question arises, how does the force of production pass into the reproductive force?

For the moment it is not thinkable otherwise than as a constant rekindling of irritability and (through irritability) force of production. [xxxv] This rekindling (because the condition of all irritability is heterogeneity [xxxvi]) is not possible otherwise than through an ever-renewed heterogeneity sustained in the organism, and the means to always renew and to sustain this heterogeneity—is nutrition.

Thus, the aim of nutrition can be neither the universally accepted one, replacement of the parts abraded and used-up through friction, nor even the maintenance of the chemical life-processes (like the flame) by an ever-renewed influx of material.

Others have already shown how highly inconceivable the loss of solid parts through friction is. [xxxvii] Then where is the friction in, e.g., plants, who need nutrition too? And what an unfitting means to this end! If one further ventures that with stimulation the requirement for nourishment is actually increased in every living being, that in the same [192] proportion in which nutrition is increased the respiration becomes faster and heavier, and that every animal most corrupts pure air in its state of digestion, and so forth—if one ventures this, then one is led far sooner to the thought that the aim of nutrition is the constant rekindling of the process of life.

It is by no means proven [xxxviii] that the process of life is actually chemical (for that it is chemical in tendency we ourselves assert, and thereby we explain the superficial appearance of truth which the arguments of the chemical physiologists have); it could perhaps be said that that process which appears in irritability as a process of a yet higher kind finally becomes chemical in the processes of nutrition and assimilation (according to their tendency). At most apparent grounds for this assertion can be adduced, but then they are refuted upon first inspection. It is not as if the products of nutrition and assimilation were not chemical products (for what natural product is not chemical? only that which is not even a PRODUCT of Nature any longer is nonchemical, that which is first cause), but that the emergence of these products in the organism is not explicable through a chemical process.—That chemical products are produced, i.e., products susceptible of chemical analysis, surely every physiologist has recognized; but they have not known the cause by which they are produced.

If life is not a chemical process, then no function (including nutrition) can have the chemical process as its aim.

The aim of nutrition must be something totally different, namely, the following. What comes into the organism by its means acts as a stimulating potency, thus acts only indirectly in a chemical manner. [xxxix] Its stimulating force is at any rate determined by its chemical quality, but for this reason this force is not itself of a chemical kind, just as little as the electrical force of a body (because it is determined through its chemical constitution) would for that reason itself be of a chemical kind.—And even the mode in which it acts as stimulating force is physically explicable since the discovery that the activity of the members in the galvanic chain is determined by their chemical quality. [xl]

[193] The aim of nutrition is the ever-renewed stimulation of the organism, i.e., determination of the organism to constant self-reproduction (above p. 106); but the organism is itself again a whole of systems, every system in this whole has its own, proper function, so each must also be stimulated in its own way. [xli] As many different products (causes of excitation) as there are different systems in the organism (secretion) would have to emerge from the homogeneous material, [xlii] but also conversely, the emergence of these different products is conditioned by the existence of the different systems and their special activity. This process thus flows back into itself. One need not ask any further about its aim. It is itself the end, and sustains and reproduces itself. [xliii] There are really two propositions contained in this assertion which require special consideration.

a) There are individual systems of specialized excitability in the system of the organism. We thus deny the absolute identity of excitability throughout the whole organism; but not because we deny that that which acts as stimulant on the organ would also act as stimulant on the whole organism. [xliv] It does not happen that every excitation of the part propagates itself to the whole organism [xlv] on account of the absolute intensity of excitability, [xlvi] but is due to the synthetic relation of individual systems of the organism to one another, in which they must all be thought in reciprocal relations of causality. We do not think any occult quality by the concept “specialized excitability.” The excitability of any organic system is determined through the (chemical, better dynamical ) quality of its factors, which provides that it can only be excited through such and no other cause [xlvii] (just as the power of excitation of a metal in a determinate galvanic chain is determined through the chemical quality of the remaining factors of the chain); [xlviii] e.g., the power of excitation of bile for the system of the liver is also determined in this way through the quality of the remaining factors of this system. There is thus nothing inexplicable or physically indeterminable here.

[194] b) Now, however, the assertion that this specialized excitability is again cause of a specialized power of secretion particularly requires to be proven. [xlix]— The proof lies in the preceding.What is the power of secretion other than a specific power of reproduction? But the power of reproduction is originally not at all different from irritability, thus specific irritability specific power of reproduction.— And is this transition without example in organic nature? All infectious diseases act [l] only on irritability; [li] moreover, beyond their general agitating force, they act specifically, irritability is specifically affected by it—and the product of this specifically affected irritability is homogeneous with the affecting cause—is again the same poison.—Thus for the liver, e.g., the bile is a kind of contagion, [lii] it is a stimulating potency for the organ, and through this is the cause of its reproduction.

Thus, here there is a galvanism that reproduces itself. How that transition of specific excitation into specific force of reproduction occurs (for that it happens is understood) has been unexplained until now, merely because there is still no concept [liii] of that higher chemical process (for the product, but not the production). This process is an effect of galvanism, and for the time being can only be argued analogically from the action of galvanism on dead chemical substances (about which, moreover, still little is known) to the higher action. [liv]

Since the excitation in the object presents itself as a constant self-reproduction the excitation through the stimulating potencies of nutrition surely passes unavoidably into an annexation of mass through assimilation. Since the excitation becomes self-reproduction, the annexation of mass can only happen through assimilation, and the original form is not altered, but only the volume.—(Necessity of growth, the second stage of the organic power of reproduction.)



The following elucidations are necessary.

a) I say that the annexation of mass is an unavoidable consequence of excitation. Thus neither assimilation nor growth are Nature’s aim in nutrition. The aim is just the excitation itself, the constantly renewed kindling of the higher process of life, and this process of life is not a means to something else, it is life itself. Annexation of mass and growth is simply an unavoidable result of that process, and to that extent is something contingent with respect to the process itself; so although the result itself is not to be denied, it is still not to be seen as the aim of nutrition.

b) It should be noted that it is only denied that assimilation occurs in a chemical fashion, not that its product is chemical and is open to chemical analysis. Thus all the discoveries of chemistry retain their value, e.g., that the mechanism of “animalization” consists in the separation of nitrogen from the remaining substances, and so on.5

c) Finally, a new view is established regarding the function of all fluids in the organism, namely, that they are stimulating causes both of the organism and of matter, through which it produces and reproduces itself.—The fluid oozing around the embryonic heart in the chicken egg is at once matter and (as stimulating potency) cause of formation; therefore, with the stasis of formation the matter is also exhausted at once.—Thus in blood (this powerful cause of excitation) the triplicity of all organs of life is simultaneously recognizable; for if the threadlike part contains the substance of the muscle, then to argue analogically, the serous part contains the substance of the nerve fibers, and finally the globulus part contains the substance of the brain (by which the contingency of these organs becomes perfectly clear, and that they are a product of force, not the force itself).

9) The force which appears as active in reproduction is a force infinite in its nature, for it is joined to the eternal order of the universe itself, and is active anywhere its [196] conditions are given. But its conditions are always given in the organism. It always has to produce more. This progressive production would

either be limited to the product, would not endeavor beyond it, i.e., an unlimited growth would have to take place since the organic form cannot be overstepped.

And such an unlimited growth is also actual in Nature, in animals and plants, to the extent that they are merely bud-bearing (gemmiferous); for all polyps in the world are only buds of an original stem (and under this category are arrayed a great many of the examples set out above (p. 36) concerning sexlessness in organic nature).—

Or, the production would endeavor beyond its product. But the condition of that force is duplicity. If it does go further, then there must be a duplicity in the product whose one factor would fall outside of the product. [lv]

If there were no such duplicity in the product (one of whose factors lies outside of it), then the productive force could indeed go further, but it could present itself only in products that (because the condition of everything organic is duplicity) by all accounts would be inorganic products—and these would be the products of the so-called technical drive.
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Re: First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature

Postby admin » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:51 am

Part 2 of 2


Since we find ourselves led to this issue by our investigation it is doubly necessary to linger with it, because this phenomenon of organic nature seems the least directly explicable from our point of view.

This whole theory everywhere presupposes the principle that we observe in organic nature nothing other than the play of a higher mechanism, but indeed a mechanism still always explicable [197] from natural causes and natural forces, as wonderful (i.e., unexplained up to now) as its phenomena may be.—How would it look for this whole theory if we could not make comprehensible these particular productions of organic nature from our principles, which so many philosophers have assumed to be a degree of, or at least to be analogous to, reason?

Probably everyone will concede that the phenomena of irritability or force of reproduction, and even of sensibility, are still grounded on natural causes; for even those who attribute ideas to animals (and for that purpose a soul after whose locus they inquire) still believe that certain organic movements correspond to these ideas and even undertake to determine these motions. But the technical drive of animals seems to them to be something extending beyond all those merely organic forces. Now, how could I assert that sensibility too has its cause merely and solely in Nature if I cannot trace back to natural causes that which seems to be its most immediate product (the technical drive)?

The path to it is laid out by what has already been said. I have shown how, from sensibility on, one and the same force fades first into irritability, from there into power of reproduction, and from this (under a certain condition) into technical drive. The technical drive ceases to be a special drive and different in kind from the others; it is merely a modification of the universal formative drive, and finally, like the latter, is itself a modification of the universal cause of all organization, of sensibility.

It is not enough that the products of this drive themselves confirm this view far more evidently than that analogy with reason. All products of the technical drive have the peculiarity that they are perfect in their kind and are genuine masterpieces. Every animal that has such a drive steps onto the stage with its art and is born cultivated. Nothing is halfway here, incomplete, or demands improvement. Just as the incomplete is also the perfectible, the complete is necessarily the flawless.—Flawlessness is the principal characteristic of all the technical products of animals.

[198] This single characteristic is also clearly sufficient to reject all share of analogy, of degree, or of a kind of reason as belonging to these products.

a) That something is analogous to rationality in these products is not at all denied, for every eye perceives that. But to reason from this to an analogue of reason in the animal itself is to reason too hastily.We see the same analogy in the regular motions of the planets and in all organic production, and would have to ascribe to the planets a reasonable soul on the same grounds, which leads them around the sun, or believe that every animal and plant soul also builds its own organs itself.

b) To accept a degree of reason as basis of explanation would itself be unreasonable. It is not as if we do not see the animal accomplish by instinct in its narrower sphere even more than that which we accomplish through reason in our broader sphere—but this is because reason is absolutely one, because it does not admit of degrees, and because it is the absolute itself.

c) “But if there are no degrees—then it is still a kind of reason!—That is, just as the human reason represents the world only according to a certain form, whose visible expression is the human organization, so every organism is the expression of a certain schematism of the intuition of the world. Just as we surely see that our intuition of the world is determined through our original limitation, without our being able to explain why we are precisely limited in this way, and why our intuition of the world is precisely this and no other, so too the life and the intelligence of animals can be just a peculiar (although inconceivable) kind of original limitation, and only their mode of limitation would distinguish them from us.”

It was certainly a powerful dream that dead matter is a sleep of the intelligent forces, that animal life is a dream of the monads, that the life of reason is finally a state of general wakefulness. And what is matter other than extinguished [199] spirit? All duplicity is canceled in it, its state is a state of absolute identity and of rest. In the transition from homogeneity to duplicity a world already dawns, and with the restoration of duplicity the world itself opens up. And if Nature is only visible spirit, then the spirit must become visible in it generally (as the beauty in it comes forth as soon as it admits the mechanism of natural laws), as soon as the identity of matter, by which it is suppressed in itself, is canceled.

But what good is this dream of physics?—For it the animals remain, now as before, selfless objects, whether their life is now a dream-state of the monads or a mere play of natural mechanism, for only what intuits itself steps out of the sphere of the merely intuited. That which does not set itself outside this sphere remains the captive of an alien intuition, something to be dealt with and explained according to laws of matter.

Therefore, all ways of thinking a rationality in animal activities fail us, and with them all those explanations of the technical drive which presuppose a deliberation, a possibility of experience, of a tradition, and so forth, among animals.

We must assert that they are driven to all of their acts, as to their productions, by a blind exigency; all that is left is to determine the mode of this constraint.

a) Philosophers who deny all rationality to animals have allowed them to be driven not only to their actions, but also to their productions, by the feeling of pleasure. They did not know that instinct and impulse do not exist together in the feeling of pleasure, and at bottom they cancel all instinct, while they carry human baseness into Nature.—It is no better to say that the bees, for example, are driven by pain to build their cells.What occurs through impulsion from pain or from need also only occurs carefully and slowly, but conversely “the swiftness of a force comes from self-impulse.”6 Is there anything laborious or clumsy and born of compulsion recognizable in those [200] productions?

b) Therefore, we will assume that the technical drive of animals results from the determination of their physical forces with respect to the mode of their actuality—(with the exclusion of the soul-forces which Reimarus has mixed in here and whose existence is refuted by the preceding); or more clearly, we will assert: it is physically impossible, by the very nature of the animal, that it produce anything other than the regular.We appeal to the fact that even in those animal taxa which possess technical drive above all others, all instruments of motion are so limited as to their use that the instrument and its use are one and the same; that, therefore, in organic nature generally, because everything in it is infinitely interconnected and everything else is altered with the alteration of one thing, nothing disharmonious or contradictory in itself can arise in it and through it. Further, we appeal to the fact that the animals which possess the technical drive are determined through the sphere of their irritability, as of their sensibility, which means that such an animal cannot be stimulated to movement through a sensation that is irregular or not completely measured to its inner nature—(which is already possible with animals of a higher kind (where the technical drive also disappears) on account of the disproportion of sensibility over the other organic forces)—. Finally, we appeal to the fact that the sensibility of these animals has an infinitely narrower circle, that the various rays into which that force splays itself out in the higher organisms only run together into one point in them, and so one sense seems to replace the other, the one seems to govern the other, through which an error of sense (if it be permitted so to express it), or rather a blunder in animal actions generally is impossible, and so forth.

It is presupposed by this explanation that in the animal a productive force acts overall; the problem is only to explain why this force acts necessarily in a determinate form, and [201] reveals itself only through regular actions. It is now quite evident, for the reasons just stated, that regularity overall has to exist in the organic motions of such an animal, but not why these movements also produce externally regular products, analogous to artworks; and the objection which Mendelssohn brought against Reimarus comes to mind, namely: even if one presupposes a certain determination and direction in the organic forces of an animal, still one can construct no concept of the direction to design a hexagon (like the ones bees design in their wax cells) or any other regular figure.

I respond: granted that there is a force in the animal which endeavors to go beyond its product, this force must be consumed, like every force in Nature; it must (since it is an original productive force) extend to a product (i.e., to a determinate thing) in which it is extinguished. But with its necessarily determinate MODE of effectiveness its product is also determined; this determinate mode of effectiveness and this determinate product are one and the same thing, are in no way different. The product already lies in that determination of the organic forces, and the product which you see is only the visible expression of the determination of those forces.

“But granted that given the organic forces its product is already determined as well, how does this regular determination precisely belong to that force—this directive toward the production of a hexagon, for example?”—I answer: this hexagon is not a hexagon for Nature. It is a hexagon only for you, which you question, and which you read into Nature. The mistake is that you only pronounce what it is, for only while it runs through your head does it take on the appearance of rationality. For Nature it has nothing at all to do with “producing” a hexagon, just as little as Nature “produces” a snowflake.—

“But granted that this regularity exists only for me, why does Nature produce precisely what is regular for me?”—This question is more penetrating, so the answer must take a [202] higher standpoint as well.— —What you see here in the products of the technical drive is only the final work of the same force that has produced the organism itself, and that still uses it only as an instrument of its formative tendency after this first product is finished. (In the majority of insects the proof is clear; you see that this insect in which that drive is active will soon cease to exist (at least to be what it was), if it endures it must be transformed).

Now, in organic forms we only observe products in which everything is reciprocally means and end. We have no other name than the organic for this kind of inner perfection, because organic nature is a unity with respect to it.— Where the organic form stands at its limit and the organic force extends out beyond this limit [lvi] it no longer produces that inner perfection, but only an outer perfection.— This external perfection is the geometrical type, and you observe this everywhere in Nature either where the organism stands at its limit (as, e.g., in the casing of shelled animals), or where mechanism begins, e.g., in the motions of the planets, generally in the laws of all motions, with respect to which Nature is the most perfect geometer.

The question really extends to the whole of Nature, for Nature produces this external, geometrical perfection for no other reason than that for which it produces inner, organic perfection. But this reason is none other than blind necessity, with which Nature acts generally. If there were chance in Nature—just one accident—then you would catch sight of Nature in universal lawlessness. Because everything that happens in Nature happens with blind necessity, everything that happens or that arises is an expression of an eternal law and of an unimpugnable form.—Therefore, you see your own understanding in Nature, so it seems to you to produce for you. And so you are only right to see in its lawful productions an analogue of freedom, because even unconditioned necessity becomes freedom once more.

[203] This explanation still remains too much in the universal, and even if everything were demonstrated by the fact that the technical drive of the animal (and with it all behaviors) is effected through merely natural forces, then the question still arises how they are effected and through which natural forces.

However, we also do not need to remain at the level of this universal explanation. Since the technical drive (to limit ourselves to this) comes forth from the continuity of all other natural forces, since only the universal force of production dissipates in it—(it is clear from this that it first appears in the series of organisms where this [lvii] force begins to achieve a preponderance over the higher; for why are the most sensible animals robbed of the technical drive, and conversely the most richly artistic animal outside the sphere of this drive the most restricted with respect to its sensibility?)—since further, this drive, just where it expresses itself most conspicuously, only constitutes the transition to metamorphosis, then its cause will be no more enigmatic to us in the future than is the cause of the higher organic functions and of the force of reproduction and all of its quite manifold appearances. [lviii] Are not buds and blossoms, [lix] is not the shell of the mollusk a more perfect artwork than even the cells of the bees, [lx] and don’t all of these appearances have their common cause in Nature?

If it is now demonstrated by the foregoing that the technical drive of the animal (and to reason analogically, all of its instincts) are blind effects of Nature, do we need to worry about any more objections, be they taken from experience or from the prejudices of the common standpoint? Only a few of them will be answered briefly, because they provide the opportunity for further elucidations.

The principal objection that we must expect, and to which all others are reduced, is that we degrade the animals to mere Cartesian machines, that we run into all of the triumphant arguments which one has brought before these philosophers in ancient and modern times. Whether the animals really become machines in our theory will become clear through the analysis of this objection. For the moment, the theory of the existence of ideas in animals (and all that goes with it) at any rate collapses on our theory. Then also

[204] a) the view of the so-called sense organs as such, through which ideas are awakened, simultaneously collapses.—From this we have nothing to fear, at least until someone has made at all comprehensible the origin of ideas by an external stimulus of these organs, since we deny, even where the existence of ideas is certain, that these ideas arise from external impressions. We assert rather that an activity of the organ excited by an external stimulus is only the necessary correlate of the idea, because this coexistence is the sole means by which our original idealism is transformed into realism, for without it we would believe that we intuited everything only in ourselves. Therefore, the self must already become material for us in our originary productive intuition, i.e., must become an object for us that is affected by external nature. Now it is certain that what corresponds to a representation in its organ is an altered receptivity of this organ. Why is light only light for the eye, and not also, e.g., for the dead body, and why does the eye itself produce (in the galvanic chain, e.g., where one does not have to think about a material development of light) an illuminated state when the normally present external condition of this state is lacking?

The alteration that is produced in the organ through external stimulus (which for brevity’s sake I call sensation, with exclusion of all the connotations that may otherwise be attached to this word) is an inner one, an absolutely unrecognizable alteration seen from the outside, or as we have expressed it above: sensibility is an activity reverting into its subject. It is cognizable in the object only indirectly in the expressions of irritability whose source it is, and in many animals, indeed even in individual organs of an animal (the so-called involuntary organs) it disappears so directly into external movements that it can hardly be distinguished from the latter, and so is also no longer recognizable.

Now, we would admittedly degrade animals to the status of machines if we asserted that they were set in motion directly by an external impulse (under which one can conceive everything that acts in a straight line, including attraction), for every merely [205] mechanical impulse passes directly into motion. However, I assume that even where sensibility disappears directly into external movements (i.e., where the movements appear as completely involuntary) they are still not directly produced through the external impulse, but are mediated by sensibility (as the universal, dynamic source of motion). Every external force first passes by way of sensibility before it acts upon irritability, and sensibility is the source of life itself, precisely because through it alone the organism is torn away from universal mechanism (where one wave pushes the other forward and in which there is no standstill of force) and by this means becomes its own source of motion.

The animals would become machines if we concurred with the absurd opinion of the Cartesians that allows all external causes of excitation to act by impulse or attraction upon animals (in mass), for then these causes act only mechanically, i.e., in straight lines.—Now, for us sensibility is still something no less grounded in natural causes (though we allow all external causes to reach the organism only through it), although we confess that because we know sensibility only as SOURCE of all organic activity, and because all forces act through it as their common medium, it disappears for us into the ultimate conditions of Nature; from this it is understood that sensibility is probably the UNIVERSAL source of activity in Nature, and therefore is not a property of the individual organism but of the whole of Nature.

b) What the so-called “voluntary” movements of the animals are according to this view (with respect to which a second objection will be made against us) is clear from the preceding, and will become still clearer from the following.

c) “But this opinion robs the greater part of Nature of life and deposits it into the realm of the dead.”— [206] Supposing it were so, then this consequence could prove nothing against the principles demonstrated.—But is it so?—In order to present the matter from one side we have placed the technical drive in continuity with the universal force of production. But this force is, above all other organic forces, submitted to the universal organism. (How is it otherwise explicable that, although in the animal kingdom—one can say universally— separate sexes are produced, nevertheless a proportion of both sexes of each species is maintained—that generally, with a view to the reproduction of the species—(this is certain at least in the human species)—such a conspicuous lawfulness is noted that reproduction in the organic realm of nature is solidly connected to certain seasons accompanied by universal alterations in Nature?) If it is certain that the force of production is intertwined in the most intimate way with the universal organism, then this will hold as well for all drives of the animal—(should we believe that a universal alteration of Nature, e.g., correlates with the drive of the migratory bird, which, in the very season when the magnetic needle reverses in order to point in the opposite direction, initiates the flight to another climate?)—It has to hold for all drives, for they are all only modifications of the universal formative drive, because the latter alone has a direction toward an external object. But this is even more the case for the technical drive, and—we will see the products of this drive as products of that UNIVERSAL formative cause that acts on Nature through the organism as through a middleterm, and joins the whole of Nature in a universal organism—in short, we will be able to see them as products of that cause which is the universal soul of Nature, as it were, whence everything is set into motion. [lxi] Our opinion, then, is just [207] that no individual, unique and disconnected life belongs to the animal, and we simply sacrifice its individual life to the universal life of Nature.

10) It is presupposed that the technical drive extends out beyond the product, without the existence of a duplicity where one factor falls outside the product. But if there were a duplicity in the product whose one factor actually falls outside of the product, then it could only lie again in an organic product, for the duplicity must be of an organic kind. This product must be opposed to the first with respect to this factor, but just for that reason has to be equal to it generally [lxii] with respect to the higher factors of the organism. With a view to this duplicity, of which in each product there is only one factor, both individually must express the universal character of their stage of development incompletely, but both together completely express it.

Individuals that are related to one another this way are individuals of opposite sexes of one and the same species (above p. 42f.).

(What could only be postulated above (p. 42) has now been deduced; namely, the universal sexuality in organic nature, which is, as it were, the extreme boundary of universal organic opposition.)—That force, whose sole condition is duplicity, is effective only where its conditions are given. But its conditions are given. It will then proceed to act. What was its object becomes condition of its possibility, or its instrument; these are the opposite sexes. The question arises as to what their product will be.

Their product is a new duplicity, i.e., it reproduces its condition to infinity. How sensibility belongs to the individual organism is certainly conceivable. The individual serves only as conduit in which that one incendiary spark of sensibility propagates itself to infinity. But what is the ultimate source of that force?— Through the act of fertilization the force of production is in no way awakened. [lxiii] It is sensibility that is first awakened, and that next passes into [208] irritability, and finally into formative drive. The fluid [lxiv] matter is only the stimulating cause; [lxv] it seems that the merest contact acts as a kind of contagion [lxvi] in fertilization, through which sensibility is awakened, [lxvii] just as polarity can be produced by the mere contact with the magnet.

In this way the circle of organic nature closes. The force of production is the furthest force of the organic forces. Sensibility can be lost in irritability, irritability in force of production, but in what can the latter be dissipated? It must be absolutely extinguished if it cannot revert back into its origin (sensibility).[lxviii] It is only possible that it revert to its origin if one factor falls outside of its product. But it only happens that its one factor again falls outside its product if it does not lose itself in another force but directly in the product itself.

Now the product itself must separate into opposites. [lxix] If it is only one product that separates itself into the opposite sexes, then the production is only one as well. The production is distributed in distinct individuals. These individuals must themselves be submitted to a higher order, by virtue of which it is impossible that one sex is born without the other being born simultaneously (or more generally expressed: by virtue of which a proportion of opposite sexes is maintained). [lxx] The cause of this order cannot again fall within organic nature itself, it must fall outside its sphere, but can just as little fall within anorganic nature, so it must fall within the higher order which unifies both, or in a universal organism. Thus organic nature is intertwined in a universal Nature with both of its extreme ends (sensibility and force of production), a universal which we at the moment can only postulate.

[209] 11) For the organic activity now deduced, one factor certainly lies outside the [lxxi] product, and this one factor is transferred into a new product. The activity thus endures (for it reproduces its condition to infinity), but not the product. The latter as individual is only a means, the species end.

The remaining organic activity of the individual perishes in the reproduction of the species, for all higher forces are dissipated in the latter as the most extreme point.—But the tendency toward this extreme already manifests itself in the earlier modifications of the force of production; for, throughout the whole of Nature, is not the technical drive (which in a few species is the equivalent of the formative drive; above p. 36) only harbinger of the awakening formative drive, from insect up to human being? The insects possess technical drive only before their sexuality is developed, just as the worker bee always possesses this drive because it will never arrive at sexual development. As soon as the insects have passed through their metamorphoses—and these are only phenomena of sexual development—all technical drive is extinguished in them.—But the bird too builds its nest, the beaver its den before the mating season—could it be the result of a special foresight? Not hardly. One and the same blind drive guides all actions of the animal. The technical drive is a modification of the productive drive generally, and that which passes directly into the mating drive. [lxxii]

With mating completed the final heterogeneity [lxxiii] has passed into activity, and the cause whose tendency is cancellation of all duality (and which appears for this reason as active only under this condition) is no longer inhibited by anything— disappearance of all duality is therefore necessary.—But a disappearance of all duality exists only in the chemical process, i.e., in that which, in the anorganic world, corresponds to the organic formative drive. [lxxiv]



i. For only activity is known in the object.
ii. a cause determining its subject.
iii. Our thesis, that all organic activity is mediated through receptivity, is now determined ever more  closely. It has been shown that organic receptivity and organic duplicity are one and the same—it  has been explained in a new respect why all organic activity is conditioned through receptivity.
iv. as, e.g., in the greater part of the plant world, where it becomes indemonstrable.
v. Sensibility is for us, in accordance with the foregoing, nothing other than organic receptivity, insofar  as it is the mediator of organic activity—in a word, the source of organic activity. It clearly follows  from this that sensibility is at all knowable in organic nature not directly in the object of the  organism, but only in the organic activity whose source it is.
If we also distance everything hyperphysical from the concept of sensibility (which is necessary)  and think under this concept nothing other than the dynamic source of motion (which we are compelled  to posit in everything organic), then it already follows from this concept that sensibility is something  absolutely interior—reverting into the organism. (Sensibility for organic nature is just that which  duality of factors is for inorganic nature, e.g., the two basic forces—the condition of all construction.)
vi. as with polyps
vii. You know it only from the organic movements whose source it is.—Thus sensibility is absolutely  nothing other than the inner condition of organic movement. Through this circumscription of the  concept we already exclude in advance many useless investigations.
It is well-known how many hypotheses about the manner of action of sensibility have been ventured  throughout history. Yet not one of these hypotheses have made remotely conceivable how a sensation  produces a movement. At least this becomes conceivable from our assumption. The external  stimulus has no other function than to produce organic duplicity; but as soon as this duplicity is produced,  all conditions for movement are also provided (for the cause of excitability is active where there is  duplicity); therefore, every sensation, every stimulation passes directly or indirectly into motion.
For precisely this reason sensibility is also only recognizable in motion. I wish to elucidate this  through a few examples.—The state of sleep is observed to be a state of dissolute sensibility where  the organism ceases to be its own object, and where it sinks back into universal Nature as mere object.  But sensibility is only canceled here in appearance, and because it is known only in its appearances,  it seems canceled altogether. But it is still not totally canceled in its appearances. The  continuation of the so-called involuntary movements proves the continuance of sensibility (for  these are also mediated by sensibility).
It is the same way with dreaming, and many other experiences, e.g., the resolution to awaken.  Kant: dreaming is an expedient of Nature, because without it sleep would pass into a complete dissolution  of life. This is true to the extent that sensibilty cannot be dissolved in any other way than  by the dissolution of life itself. But sensibility can probably be minimized with respect to the degree  that it, e.g., extends to the production of natural motions.
The same happens in artificial sleep, so-called magnetic sleep, as in natural sleep. The phenomena  of animal magnetism relate nothing more wonderful and inconceivable than organic phenomena  in general. The most conspicuous feature in magnetic sleep is the cessation of all voluntary  movement while sensibility still endures. For even here it seems to happen that—as we see happen  very often in organic nature—where one sense is extinguished or becomes dim—the other comes  forth the more sharply and brightly (if what happens in organic nature is not without example here  according to a few traces, and which often happens even in natural sleep)—that all senses condense  into one homogeneous sense, or that in the place of the remaining senses another, foreign to our customary  condition, comes forth. Be that as it may, this much is clear: that sensibility is nothing other  than the mediator of all organic movement.—Only by virtue of the fact that all organic movement  is mediated by sensibility is the animal taken out of the domain of mechanics, where every force produces  movement directly, and seems to become master of its movements.—Sensibility is thus to  source of activity—but all organic activity has one condition, duplicity.
viii.  proceeds from the duplicity
ix. (what is cause of sensibility)
x. We have explained sensibility through duplicity, which is condition of all organic activity. But now  duplicity is indeed condition of all activity in Nature. Thus we see organic nature connected to this  highest condition to which Nature in general is connected.
xi. Nature is originally identity—duplicity is only a condition of activity because Nature constantly  strives to revert into its identity. Organic duplicity is thus without a doubt identical with Nature in  its origin—and this seems to be the common point to which we will be able to anchor the construction  of organic and anorganic nature. We can say—at least in a certain sense—that if the universal  activity of Nature has the same conditions as the organic, sensibility does not belong  exclusively to organic nature, but is a property of the whole of Nature, and that the sensibility of  plants and animals is only a modification of the universal sensibility of Nature.
The cause of sensibility is something absolutely nonobjective—but that which is absolutely  nonobjective is just that which is the first condition of the construction of everything objective, that  which recedes into the innermost part of Nature.
If Nature is originally identity—and its striving to become identical again proves it, then it is  without doubt the highest problem of natural science to explain the cause that brought infinite  opposition into the universal identity of Nature, and with it the condition of universal motion.
What cause this is, is at the time being not yet known, but it is likely that without this cause  which perpetually sustains the original opposition in the universe Nature would sink into universal  rest and inactivity.
Therefore, we can only say in advance that it is a cause which brings forth duplicity in identity.  But we know of no other duplicity in identity than the duplicity in magnetic phenomena. Since,  however, these phenomena are not yet deduced, it can only be noted in anticipation that magnetism  most likely stands on the boundary of all phenomena of Nature—as condition of all the rest.
The organism is ultimately nothing other than a contraction of universal Nature—of the universal  organism: thus, we will also probably have to accept that the sensibility of plants and animals  is only a modification of universal sensibility.
And to that extent, the philosophy of nature is seen to be the Spinozism of physics.
xii. An organic product would never arise by virtue of duplicity alone; the organism would only appear  at rest if a striving toward identity were not conditioned precisely through this duplicity, and then  the unity of the organism would again proceed from the diremption.—Life for the organism is an  enduring struggle for its identity.
xiii. the organism as subjective is duplicity itself, which cancels itself in the product
xiv. productivity would pass into product, the organism
xv. —it will be shown in the following that an immanent, fitful cause of stimulation must be provided  for the organism since the stimulus is not permitted to rest, such that the organism is not dependent  upon the contingent influx of external stimulation; this happens through the fluids circulating  in it—.
xvi. The function of the stimulus is none other than restoration of the difference. This restoration I call  sensation.To be sure, we only know through our own experience that every sensation disturbs and  destroys (as it were) a homogeneous condition in us, but we know it more certainly for that reason.  In the cases where the sensation passes directly into motion we do not notice this at all, because  precisely here the sensation is not distinguished as sensation, and in the same moment that the duplicity  arises it is canceled again. However, where sensation does not directly perish in motion—as  with the affections of the sense organs (which only are sense organs because their affections do not  pass directly into motion), that duplicity is more conspicuous.
xvii. the equilibrium
xviii. effect
xix. as object
xx. A few remarks should be made at once.—It is a basic law of galvanism that all galvanic activity occurs  only in a chain of three different bodies. This Voltaic law has indeed been brought into doubt  by Humboldt through a few experiments where only two bodies seem to be in the galvanic chain.  This is the case, e.g., where only homogeneous metals close the chain. Humboldt did not consider  that the final ground of galvanic phenomena lies in the heterogeneity of the organism itself, by no  means to be left out of consideration. Between nerve and muscle there is an opposition. Thus, if  only one homogeneous body closes the chain between both, then the effect is still to be located in  three bodies. More significant proofs against the necessary triplicity in the galvanic chain were the  so-called experiments without a chain, where the muscle began to twitch when the nerve charged  with only one metal, and this is touched through a second (homogeneous or heterogeneous). Here  too lurks something misleading. For it cannot be prevented that the nerve is not charged at once by  two pieces—thus a chain still exists.—Now, if the homogeneous metal is touched by a heterogeneous  one, then by the mere touching at least a partial dynamic alteration is brought into the  chain—which can be proven through the so-called galvanization of metals discovered by Wells,  since two homogeneous metals produce twitches as soon as one is rubbed with a heterogeneous  metal or is only placed in contact with it.—If the metal is touched with a homogeneous metal, then  two homogeneous metals are to be seen as two heterogeneous ones, if the one charges the nerves—  (the animal organ even serves to discover heterogeneities that otherwise are presented to no  sense)—and finally these attempts are all reduced to a far simpler one where, through mere contact  of the nerves in one point, contractions are produced through a metal; for here too the chain is, as  already said, unavoidable, because it is unavoidable to touch the nerves at two different pieces. Not  only nerves and muscles, but even two different points of the nerves are already heterogeneous  among themselves. Thus there is duplicity here too. Aside from this, all these attempts succeed only  with a very high degree of stimulability. It remains the case here that a dynamic triplicity is a necessary  condition of all galvanic appearances. The question is why it is necessary—and this question  is answered by our deduction.
xxi. i.e., a construction
xxii. (According to SW, in place of the last sentence the following is substituted.—Trans.) However, if  triplicity is the condition of all organic activity (if the dynamic activity in the organism is raised up  to a higher potency, perhaps through this condition and only through it—for we can already ascertain  here that the organic forces are throughout probably just the higher potency of common natural  forces)—thus if triplicity is condition of all organic activity, then it must be assumed to be  constantly present in the organism.
xxiii. Therefore, the organ in the galvanic chain, e.g., appears to be resting as soon as the chain is closed,  and is moved only with the opening and closing of the chain, although the activity in the chain is  undoubtedly enduring.
xxiv. For example, I have already proven elsewhere that the blood is deoxidized through the expressions  of irritability, and returns oftener and more quickly into the organs of respiration the more organic  movement there is in an animal. Now, the blood in the lungs is permeated by oxygen and this oxygen  determines the electrical constitution of the body, since an oxygenated fluid is negatively, and  a deoxidized one positively electrified. But the blood now appears to be a constant factor of the  process of irritability, e.g., in the heart at rest, before the third body streams into the blood. So if a  deoxidation of the blood coexists with every contraction, then the blood is surely constantly  altered—the triplicity is again constantly canceled.
xxv. Here I come upon the most enigmatic phenomenon of organic nature—the organic power of contraction—  which seems to be totally and exclusively proper to organic nature, and to which nothing  similar in the rest of nature can be compared.
xxvi. that it makes conceivable to some degree the intensity of muscular force.
xxvii. Nothing at all exists similar to this phenomenon, as was said—except maybe the chemical appearances,  e.g., as an oxidized metal loses volume through deoxidation. I have ventured the supposition  in the text on the World-Soul (see AA I,6 553.—Trans.) that for every contraction a deoxidation  of the organism exists, the “agent electricity” (which now I also still have reason to accept), but I  doubt that the contraction is itself explicable by the deoxidation.
xxviii. He explains contraction by analogy with electrical phenomena, and in fact these appearances are  the only ones with which, as will be shown shortly, matter seems to stand at the same level on  which it undoubtedly stands in the expressions of irritability.
xxix. It undoubtedly comes to pass that the organism first contracts and then again expands through the  same mechanism according to which two electricities attract and again repel one another.
xxx. The second stage of the transition of productivity into product is exhibited for us by the phenomenon  of irritability. It is to be expected that there is still a deeper, third level. Irritability is still something  inner, is an activity that is not yet completely transferred into the product. If we suppose that  an activity that expresses itself in that alternation is fixed, and completely passes into the product  (how this transition happens is not yet explained), then it will immediately appear as productive  activity or as process of formation.
xxxi. and will be investigated in what follows
xxxii. mediated through sensibility
xxxiii. On other occasions I have asserted that electricity, or that which corresponds to electricity in organic  nature, is doubtless the single immediate sensation—for which the galvanic phenomena are  proof, if their basis is identical with that of electricity.
xxxiv. A genuine sexual sense must at any rate be assumed in those animals which unify both sexes in  themselves.
xxxv. It should also be noted that formative drive is only formative drive because it emanates from irritability,  or expressed otherwise, because it occurs through the mediation of excitability. In the dead  realm of Nature formation happens through blind formative force—unmediated through the  higher, which appears as excitability in the organic realm of Nature.
xxxvi. a never canceled difference
xxxvii. I refer particularly to the text of Brandis on vital force.
xxxviii. The preceding is proof that causes far higher than chemical ones act in sensibility and irritability.
xxxix. I deny just as little that that which comes into the organism through nutrition acts chemically—it  is not as if I assert that its chemical nature and force is canceled (which is nonsense), rather: it  comes not directly, but indirectly in a chemical way—as a stimulating potency.
xl. Moreover, one hardly needs to remain with the mere assertion that the nutriments act as stimulating  potencies. This is physically explicable too, since we see that even the function of a body in  the galvanic process is determined through its chemical quality, i.e., even in the process of irritability.  The galvanic process is just for that reason the connecting link that lets chemistry and physics  communicate with the principles of physiology. It is a very natural illusion that deceives the chemical  physiologists when they are able to explain the effects of so many materials on the organism by  their chemical effect, and now believe themselves permitted to conclude that organic life is itself a  chemical process.
xli. We can see all the individual organs of an animal, e.g., as individual animals that all mutually  nourish one another parasitically, as it were. This is not merely a figurative expression. Other very  notable phenomena of organic nature too—not only the phenomena of secretion—point to the  fact that every such organ has its proper force of reproduction, indeed even its own productive  force. The origin of various animal species, e.g., which are found in various organs—in the digestive  tract, in the heart, in the brain—found in many, perhaps all animals, cannot be explained by  previous hypotheses. One should probably not venture to assume an actual power of production  of these organs that would belong to them independently of the whole of the organism as the reason  for this.
xlii. of nutrition  

xliii. In short, the phenomena of secretion can be explained only from a specific power of reproduction  of diverse organs in which the power of reproduction is determined generally through excitability—  finally, only as effects of a specific irritability.
xliv. or, that the degree of excitation which is produced by any stimulus whatever in individual organs is  proportional to the excitability of the whole organism.
xlv. and that the intensity of the effect of a stimulus on an individual organ is determined through the  temperature of excitability in the whole body
xlvi. through the whole organism—and Brown did not even think about such a thing
xlvii. Under the specificity of the excitability of an organ I think nothing more than that the receptivity  of this organ for a stimulus is determined by the dynamical quality of factors out of which the organ  is constructed.
xlviii. Where the mode of action of the exciting body is thus never an absolute, but is always merely relative—  or just as, e.g., the right ventricle of the heart calls for deoxidized, the left for oxidized blood  as third member in the chain, in order to be determined to contraction. In this sense specialized excitability  must be proposed—and is also proposed by Brownians in that they admit that an organ  will be affected at any rate more easily by one stimulus than by another.
xlix. which is harder to make conceivable, although it is a necessary result of the assertion that irritability  passes directly into power of production.
l. firstly
li. no alteration enters into the fluids, but with smallpox, e.g., probably an alteration of irritability.
lii. infectious disease
liii. Since it is still undeniable that there is chemical production in the animal body—how does this  arise, if nothing of a chemical sort happens in the organism?—. I assert that this production too  comes to pass through a process higher than the chemical one—through the process of the formative  drive: so I assert that just as irritability is perhaps a higher potency of the inorganic, formative  drive is a higher potency of the chemical process—that there is in the organism a higher chemical  process (for the product, but not in mode of production), but concede that we cannot characterize  this process more precisely, which is undoubtedly an effect of galvanism determined by irritability,  because we have learned to affect the two higher organic functions (sensibility and irritability)  through galvanism, but not yet the power of reproduction, since admittedly the process of the  formative drive is just as much a galvanic process as, for example, the process of irritability.
liv. However, altered secretions are known which would be submitted to galvanism, e.g., the lymphatic  serous moisture in wounds. (To this point original note.—Trans.)—But as long as more deeply  penetrating experiments do not exist concerning this point, one can at any rate indeed deduce that  the process of secretion (e.g.,) ultimately comes back to the process of excitation, but how it  emerges from the latter cannot be observed. One could for the time being perhaps invoke the  chemical action of galvanism on dead substances, but hitherto little is known about this either, as  stated above. This is related to the experiment performed by Humboldt, since, e.g., the water between  two homogeneous silver plates remains undecomposed, but, e.g., while enclosed between silver  and zinc—just like the animal organ—is decomposed, which decomposition happens  undoubtedly through galvansim, as I already supposed in my text on the World-Soul (AA I,6  244f.), where the process is chemical for the product but not the production.
One must assume a priori that galvanism also affects the power of reproduction just as it affects  sensibility and irritability; that all secretions, the process of assimilation—even the formation  of the embryo—happen through a law of galvanism.
lv. Or rather, as will be shown shortly, the product itself must be the factor of an opposition whose  other factor lies outside the product.
lvi. but this is just the case with the technical drive, which extends out beyond the organic product  (which is also the case with the reproductive drive, but which finds the factor of duplicity that is  its condition outside itself).
lvii. blind productive
lviii. It seems rather that precisely through this drive the organic technical drive reverts into a mere  drive of crystallization: and thus one chain stretches from the perfect organic crystallization over to  dead corporeality. The lesser the sensibility, the more the technical drive—is a universal law. Therefore,  one could say that the crystal, which crystallizes far more completely and quickly than the  hexagon of the bee, has far more technical drive than the insect.
lix. (According to SW, in place of the last words it reads the following.—Trans.) are not many crystallizations.
lx. where it becomes manifest that precisely in those products where sensibility no longer has a share,  the products become more perfect.
lxi. Esse apibus partem divinae mentis haustus/Aetherios dixere. Virg.7 (Original note.—Trans.)
lxii. in relation to a higher concept in the stage of development.
lxiii. for it is a subordinate force
lxiv. reproductive
lxv. the process of fertilization is not a chemical but a dynamical process
lxvi. Grounds for this assumption are already found in Harvey’s famous work. (Original note.—Trans.)
lxvii. through which a duplicity is first rekindled and through this a new process of excitation.
lxvii. through which the eternal circulation is conditioned
lxix. And since we had a simple duplicity before, we now have a duplicity of products, a duplicity of the  second power. The extinction of the force of production is inhibited by it alone. For through it, it  becomes possible that it return into its origin (sensibility).
lxx. Since universally almost always four individuals (at least where there are separate sexes) are required  in order to reproduce the species, then perhaps it would not be mere caprice to point out how  the original duplicity progresses first to triplicity (in irritability) and finally to quadruplicity (in  force of reproduction). (Original note.—Trans.)
lxxi. individual
lxxii. The technical drive is a drive just as blind as the mating drive. Therefore, all products of the technical  drive are invariable and cannot be improved upon.
lxxiii. duplicity
lxxiv. The product reverts into universal indifference. But indifference is only produced in the chemical  process through that which corresponds to the organic formative drive in the anorganic world.—  The product does not perish as organic, i.e., as product of the first potency, it must first decline into  a product of a lower potency if it is to pass into indifference. And with that the stages through  which the productivity in the organic kingdom of Nature gradually transits into the product have  been deduced.—With every organic product Nature passes through all of those stages. This does  not exclude the fact that those various stages can be distinguished in any one product more, and less  in another. This would provide not merely a graduated series of production but of products as well.
The three stages of organic production deduced by us: sensibility, irritability, and formative  drive, are conditions of the construction of an organic product generally and to that extent functions  of the organism itself.
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Re: First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature

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III. The Graduated Series of Stages in Nature

And so at least a part of the general problem set forth above (p. 53), TO DEDUCE A DYNAMICALLY GRADED SERIES OF STAGES IN NATURE, is solved. At least the first stages through which Nature gradually descends from the organic to the inorganic are known to us, and presently we have no other business than to demonstrate that graduated series in Nature itself. [i]

The functions of the organism must be opposed; therefore, they exclude one other reciprocally in one and the same individual, for they are either distributed into different organs, or are totally supplanted by one another. This was proven right at the start (p. 51f.).

It is only now explicable how those functions are opposed. Since, according to our preceding investigations, sensibility, irritability, and force of production are, with all of their modifications, really just one force (at the least because every lower force has one factor in common with the higher), it follows that they can be opposed only with respect to their emanation, or their appearing in the individual or in the whole of organic nature. [ii] Force of reproduction is also irritability and sensibility and supplants both of them only in appearance, for the final term in which these two are lost is just the force of reproduction. [iii]

[211] However, since those functions of the organism exclude one another at least in appearance, the proof of the actuality of such a dynamically graduated series can be executed only

a) in part through an examination of the various organs,

b) in part through the various states of the same individual (i.e., to the extent that in both the organs and the states the dominance of one function excludes the others),

c) in part, finally, from the diversity of organisms themselves and the corresponding diversity in the proportion of organic functions; and we will also actually employ this threefold mode of proof.

The functions of the organism appear to be exclusive of one another and opposed to one another. Therefore, all possible relations will be exhausted by means of a reciprocal determination of these functions by one another.

A. Reciprocal determination of sensibility and irritability. [iv] Sensibility and irritability determine each other reciprocally to the extent that sensibility is expressed in irritability as its most direct phenomenon. However,

1) both sensibility and irritability must have at least one factor in common precisely because the one passes into the other and is presented in it only as its object.

2) If irritability is = to the product in which sensibility presents itself most directly, [v] and if every activity is immediately extinguished in its product, then as irritability increases in the phenomenon, sensibility must decrease, and inversely in the proportion that sensibility increases, irritability must decrease in the phenomenon. [vi] (The latter qualification must always be added, because originally irritability is possible without sensibility just as little as sensibility is possible without irritability.) [vii]



This can be carried out

a) from the various organs of the same individual.

aa) Since sensibility is an activity that recoils back into its subject it can only be distinguished in opposition to an activity directed outward (irritability). So where sensibility achieves a preponderance in organic nature an organism must originate that is only sensibility, i.e., whose function is not exhibited as irritability (by activity directed outwardly). [viii] This explains why sensibility is only conceivable as the negative of irritability, as has been said elsewhere. Sensibility as such becomes unrecognizable through the fact that it is lost directly in irritability, so it is recognizable only when it does not pass directly into outer movements (or when by means of it the excitation from outside does not pass directly into outer movements). Now, if sensibility is thinkable only as the negative of irritability, then where there is a preponderance of sensibility there must be an organization which is an absolute negation of irritability (which is not at all subjected to irritability)—such an organization is the brain and nervous system. [ix] (If there is a gradation of organic forces, as we have proven in the preceding, then there must also be a gradation of organs. And if the organism is only the contracted, miniaturized image of the universal organism, then such a gradation of forces must also be found in the world-organism, as we will see later.)

The brain and its extension, the nerves, have devoted themselves entirely to sensibility alone, irritability is totally squeezed from them by the preponderance of sensibility, for not a single man has yet proven the opinion [x] that all functions of the nerves [xi] are contractions.

bb) Conversely, since sensibility is thinkable only as the negative of irritability, then it must absolutely disappear where it passes directly into [213] irritability. [xii] With the organization (organ) that is exclusively sensibility another organization (organ) must coexist that is only irritability in order to maintain equilibrium with it; this organization (organ) is that of the heart and its extensions, the arteries. [xiii] Since this organization has dedicated itself wholly to irritability, all sensibility must be squeezed from it by the preponderance of the latter. [xiv] That is, here all sensibility immediately dies away in movement. No reflex whatsoever occurs any more and all organic activity is only an activity directed outward. But this activity directed outward is itself possible only under the condition of sensibility; thus, sensibility exists only in that it is extinguished in irritability, and only to that extent can the heart, e.g., be called an “involuntary” organ with any meaning. [xv]

b) The proof can be carried out by consideration of the various states of the same individual, e.g., in disease, where all power of movement perishes in increased sensibility, or conversely, where sensibility sinks with increasing irritability. Even the state of sleep belongs here, where with the sinking of sensibility the irritability of the heart and the arteries is increased. [xvi]

c) The proof can be carried out by consideration of different organisms. If it is certain from the preceding that sensibility (as the negative of irritability) is bound to the existence of an organism which is not at all subject to irritability, then we see the brain, as the seed, so to speak, from which that organism evolves, at its greatest and most perfect form in man, and dissipating backward from him in an increasingly smaller volume and more imperfect organization. In the whales it is almost = 0 in comparison with their remaining mass, surrounded by a fatty, oily fluid, so the dullness of their expressions of sensibility follows. In the race of birds one observes little manifoldness of structure anymore, few protuberances, concavities, and sinuosities.—In the reptiles (where the nerves first cease showing nodes (secondary brains)), it becomes very small, and likewise in the fishes, which with respect to [214] sensibility stand still below the former, because their brain too becomes more inaccessible through their environment. In the insects it begins to be quite problematic; with certainty one knows only the extended medullary substance furnished with many nodes. In the greater part of the worms it becomes completely indemonstrable, and in the zoophytes all external signs of sensibility disappear simultaneously with it.

Now, just as the brain gradually dwindles away throughout the whole organic world and finally disappears, it is the same with the external organs of sensibility. The eye, e.g., is preserved down to the insects, and comes forth in a few races, e.g., in the birds, more perfectly. In the insects the structure of the eye begins to abandon its regularity, for here it appears sometimes very large and sometimes very small, sometimes it is only an eyelike organ, sometimes hundreds of them at once, in which that sense spreads itself out. In most of the worms, if they have eyes, they are at least covered. In the polyps no such organ is demonstrable, although they appear to seek the light.

It is uncertain through what medium that one force which is the cause of sensibility refracts itself into various rays; nevertheless, the diminishing manifoldness in the structure of the brain teaches us the mounting preponderance of one sense above all others, and the final contraction of all senses into one homogeneous sense (as in the polyps) shows that that force begins to become always more uniform backward in the series from man, and finally disappears in completely involuntary movements.

If, in this way, sensibility gradually fades throughout the whole of organic nature, then according to the law proposed, irritability must rise in the same proportion. But where sensibility absolutely disappears, it is only because it loses itself immediately in movements, in which case the movements can be called involuntary, although for the genuine physiologist the concept of a voluntary movement is a meaningless concept. [xvii] The movement of the heart indeed appears as involuntary, not as if this movement were not mediated through sensibility just as are all organic movements, but [215] because here sensibility loses itself directly in its effect, and instead of the cause we see only the effect. Conversely, other movements appear as voluntary because they are not produced by any determinate stimulus (e.g., that of the blood, through which the heart is moved), but only by the sum total of incessantly acting stimuli (of light and other universal causes). Since these stimuli continually propagate effects without every single one passing into movements—(in which alone one recognizes sensibility, for sensibility is nothing other than the negative of irritability), then by this means a sum total of force of motion must arise which the organism seems to be able to dispose of, since for it its utilization is just as necessary as in the so-called involuntary movements. Therefore, simultaneously with the exhaustion of that sum of stimulation which follows upon strenuous efforts (and which is called fatigue)— likewise, fully in accordance with the proposed law, in the mounting irritability of the involuntary organs (which is produced through intoxication)—sensibility seems to be extinguished too (in sleep), although it is certain that sensibility is not extinguished, judging by the (uninterrupted) dreams during sleep (which one must conclude exist also in animals from the many movements they make while in this state), and that sensibility (as source of life) cannot be extinguished otherwise than with the extinction of life itself. [xviii]

Assuming this correction of the concepts of voluntary and involuntary movement, then instead of sensibility, irritability must alone come forth where sensibility fades in organic nature; i.e., sensibility must be completely lost in irritability. According to the conventional terminology, the movements must become increasingly more involuntary.

And so it is. In the plants, their saps are indeed circulated by stimulation of their vessels, but only in a few vessels, and only in a few plants (e.g., in the hedysarum gyrans); in others, there are traces of something similar to voluntary movements only in certain conditions (e.g., at the moment of complete sexual development). The movements of the mimosa pudica and of dionaea muscipula, among others, because they follow upon a determinate external stimulus (usually contact), are only to be seen as involuntary movements (and therefore the debate over the sensibility of plants is settled. Sensibility (as universal cause of life) must also belong to plants. But it must be indemonstrable in organic nature [216] to the degree that the preponderance of the subordinate forces increases, because it is only assumed to be there when it does not perish immediately in movements).

It is precisely the same in the lowest classes of the animal kingdom, for here too all movements contract themselves into such a narrow sphere and in such regularity that the last trace of choice disappears too.—Where sensibility gradually comes forth more visibly, for example, in the class of insects and the amphibians, the movements become less uniformly regular [xix] and more manifold (one should remember that many insects unify in themselves every sort of movement), but irritability still asserts its independence from sensibility, since even after the disturbance of the whole organism its effects endure in individual organs and the lesser vulnerability of these animals proves the restricted reign of sensibility. [xx] Finally, with mounting vulnerability the sub-=ordination of irritability under sensibility also increases, but such that at the same time the velocity, manifoldness, and force of the movement increases (as in the most agile animals, the birds and most of the warm-blooded animals, whose irritability declines at the same time as sensibility). Only gradually does the mobility decline, but sensibility only comes forth at the apex of all organization as master of the whole organism in absolute independence from the subordinate forces.

It is thus proven through general induction that throughout the whole of organic nature, as IRRITABILITY increases SENSIBILITY decreases, and as SENSIBILITY increases IRRITABILITY sinks.

Sensibility is lost indirectly through irritability, but irritability is lost immediately at the most extreme boundary of organic force, where the organic and the anorganic world are divided—the force of reproduction.

B. Reciprocal determination of sensibility and force of reproduction. If sensibility loses itself in the force of reproduction only through irritability, then the force of production must increase in the same proportion in which irritability achieves preponderance over sensibility; and so it happens, for from man backward we see the force of production on the increase throughout the [217] race of four-footed animals, the birds, and so forth, down to amphibians and fishes; for slowing nutrition, the decline in irritability, the manifoldness of peculiar secretions (the animal venoms, e.g., among others), an altered power of assimilation, finally sometimes the size of the produced individuals, sometimes their more complete formation, sometimes their ever-increasing numbers (becoming incalculable at the lower levels), already announce the preponderance of the force of production in this part of Nature. Where the force of reproduction again decreases with respect to its intensity (in the insects) the drama of metamorphosis steps in, and with it the technical drive; and where the latter is extinguished, an unlimited regenerative drive steps into its place. [xxi] —But in the same proportion sensibility sinks.

C. Reciprocal determination of irritability and force of production. Even where irritability scarcely remains (in completely involuntary movements), the force of reproduction, the furthest of all organic forces, must be present in the phenomenon. There must be a third system in every organism, therefore, which one can call the reproductive system, and to which belong all organs of nutrition, secretion, and assimilation.—Why is the excitable heart not an organ of secretion, but instead the sluggish liver? Further, Blumenbach and Sömmering have proven that only those parts that are independent of the brain, and all parts only of such animals as do not even have a brain at all, or a very imperfect one, regenerate themselves. This means, expressed more generally: the force of reproduction in all of its perfection first comes forth where irritability and sensibility are either already extinct or are at least close to extinction. [xxii] This level of organic nature is indicated by the race of the zoophytes and the plants (of which each individual part is identical with all others, and almost all heterogeneity has disappeared). [xxiii]



In sum, all of the foregoing furnishes the following result: “The organism, in order to be stimulable, has to be in equilibrium with itself, and the organism as object falls in this point of equilibrium. If the organism was not in equilibrium with itself, then this equilibrium could not be disturbed, and there would be no dynamical source of activity in the organism, there would be no sensibility. But precisely because sensibility is only the perturbation of the organic equilibrium, it is only recognizable in the continual restoration of the equilibrium. This restoration is displayed in the phenomena of irritability; thus, the most original factors of excitability are sensibility and irritability, which necessarily coexist. But because the product of every restoration is always again the organism itself, it appears at the lowest level as the constant self-production of the organism, and its cause appears as force of reproduction; but that it appears as such is, finally, only conceivable through the influence of a higher order, by which the organism protects itself against the influences of its immediate external world, and is, so to speak, armed against it (i.e., by excitability).”

The following principles flow directly from this:

If there is a gradation of forces in the organism, if sensibility presents itself in irritability, if irritability presents itself in force of reproduction, and if the lower force is only the phenomenon of the higher, then there will be as many stages of organization in Nature overall as there are various stages of the appearance of that single force.—The plant is what the animal is, and the lower animal is what the higher is. In the plant the same force acts that acts in the animal, only the stage of its appearance lies lower. In the plant it has already wholly dispersed into force of reproduction, which is still distinguishable as irritability in the amphibians, and in the higher animals as sensibility, and conversely.— —


If every point in this evolution were not a point where the force becomes productive force and necessarily the point where the force refracts itself (above p. 139), then there would be nothing but plants and reproductive force; for only in that that force, as productive force, has to divide itself into opposed individuals does it become possible that it reproduce its condition to infinity, and thereby reproduces its product.

Instead of the unity of the PRODUCT which we above sought in Nature and which we could not assume precisely because of the separation into opposite sexes (above p. 46f.), now we have a unity of FORCE of production throughout the whole of organic nature. It is indeed not one product, but still ONE force, that we observe to be inhibited at various stages of appearance. This force originally tends toward only ONE product; that the force is inhibited at various levels means just that that one product is inhibited at various stages—and it follows necessarily that all of these products inhibited at various stages amount to only one product.

Thus it is high time that we demonstrated and justified the thought that the graduated sequence of stages in organic nature, the organic forces of sensibility, irritability and formative force, are all only branches of ONE force, just as, without doubt, only one force is expressed in light, in electricity, and so on, as in its various appearances. [xxiv]

If the universal organism contracts itself into organic nature, so to speak, then at least the analogues of all of those organic forces must be manifest in universal Nature. And thus [220] 1) LIGHT is that which corresponds in universal Nature to the cause of the FORMATIVE DRIVE in organic nature. If light is the final cause of all chemical process (above p. 96), then the formative drive (like the organic for the anorganic generally) is itself only the higher potency of the chemical process, and so, since all inorganic formation only occurs chemically, one action gives all natural formations their lawfulness. [xxv]

Now, under no circumstance is anything at all material to be thought by this action, as little as by light itself. It is simply not itself material, only its immediate products are. If light were its product, then it would be matter, in the general sense that something is matter. Since all matter is occupation of space, i.e., is action of a determinate degree, then to that extent all matter is immaterial. Light is not its product, but only its phenomenon. Light, i.e., that which we call LIGHT, is not matter at all, not even a “materialization” (matter conceived in becoming), it is rather becoming itself ; illumination is the most immediate symbol of the never-ceasing creation.—Since light requires no higher light, and since it is really that which signifies the extreme boundary of our sensibility, it can no longer itself be an object, i.e., matter. However, it is self-evident that some sort of substrate, some substance must lie beneath that becoming which we call light. What we call light is not that substrate, but the becoming itself.

(Naturally, the question arises, how does this perspective on light harmonize with its chemical effects, and even with the optical phenomena which are supposed to prove the materiality of light?)

[221] What count as the a) chemical effects of light are all reducible to the deoxidizing property of light. The reason for this property must be sought in the relation of light to oxygen. Now what is this relation?

Since light comes to the fore in the chemical process, just as oxygen, the middle-term of this process, disappears, then oxygen must be the mediator of the opposed spheres of affinity (of the Earth and of the Sun).—As long as both are separated and only indirectly come into contact, i.e., as long as that mediator (which separates the two) is still present, there is duality too, and with it electricity. As soon as the mediator is canceled and the opposed spheres of affinity pass over into one another—the phenomenon of that transition is the Sun exposing itself, so to speak, in light—all duality is canceled and the chemical process begins.

Now, since light is only the phenomenon of oxygen’s disappearance (which steps into its place, as it were), conversely, oxygen must also be a phenomenon of light’s disappearance, or that which steps into the place of light. Oxygen is mutually opposed in both spheres of affinity, precisely because it separates both and mediates both. Light must thus disappear where its antithesis emerges, and so appears to act as a means to deoxidation (as a combustible body, so to speak). But light, i.e., that which we call light, does not deoxidize, its disappearance only corresponds to the deoxidation.

Light does not deoxidize, but the active principle whose phenomenon it is. It is a universal law of this action that it acts on the negative positively, and on the positive negatively (e.g., the oxidized body is negatively electrified, the positive is nonoxidized). So it does not deoxidize, but it makes something positively charged. Whether this deoxidation corresponds to a combustion of the light-substrate is another question.—With the assumption of such a [222] deoxidizing cause, much that was previously enigmatic becomes clear; e.g., the quantity of oxygen in the atmosphere always remaining the same taken as a whole, which is only explicable by the fact that a universal, uniformly acting cause maintains an equilibrium of negative and positive states, and so inhibits the matter from being lost either in one or the other extreme. The universal action acts on the positive in an oxidizing fashion, as on the negative in a deoxidizing fashion, and both effects coexist in Nature just as constantly as positive and negative electricity.


b) concerning the optical phenomena that are supposed to prove the materiality of light, we find ourselves the less necessitated to admit this materiality the less those phenomena (e.g., refraction, among others) are of a self-evident nature, and the more certain it is that almost no principle of our optics has an indubitable existence.— —

The same activity that appears on a lower level as formative drive appears on a higher as irritability, for the fact that both are identical in principle is already certain since the condition of both is heterogeneity; and so now, in order to extend the argument,

2) ELECTRICITY would be that which corresponds to IRRITABILITY in the external world. Of course we will be permitted to supply, in place of all other proofs, the galvanic phenomena. [xxvi]

a) It is certain that the galvanic phenomena are identical with the electrical in their ultimate principle, although galvanism and electricity are themselves diverse phenomena; for through galvanism electricity is raised, as it were, to a higher function. [xxvii] Electricity only requires duplicity, and only appears in the contact and separation of heterogeneous bodies. But galvanism requires triplicity as its condition, and is active in closed chains and in rest itself. [xxviii] It is the same way with that active principle to the extent that it is cause of irritability, for that action, because its conditions [223] (triplicity) are always present in the organic body, [xxix] can never rest, but its activity is a uniform one; it achieves expression by contraction just as it achieves expression through electricity: only by means of a new closure or separation of the chain. Thus, the activity in the galvanic chain is not itself electricity (at least not what one has previously understood by electricity), but is probably conditioned by electricity. It is electricity raised, as it were, into uniform activity, an activity, so to speak, enclosed within a system of bodies, and an effective action only in this circle and affecting nothing outside of it. [xxx] However,

b) it does not follow, therefore, that the agent in the expressions of irritability is itself electricity (as little as it follows from the preceding that light is itself agent of the formative drive). Electricity is only that which corresponds to that higher (organic) action in universal Nature. [xxxi] Organic action is itself, moreover, a higher power of the galvanic action. Even the contractions of the organ connected in the galvanic chain do not appear to be immediate effects of the alteration operative in this chain.—Electricity is a wholly external appearance in relation to irritability (which becomes a seemingly inner activity only under the form of galvanism, because it is effective here only within the chain in which it is enclosed).—Conversely, the cause of the manifestations of irritability is an absolutely inner one, an action absolutely shackled to the organic. [xxxii] Electricity is thus only to be seen as a later descendant of that organic force that is only indirectly recognizable as cause of formative drive and [224] of irritability in its products, and presents itself directly only where everything organic stops.

Nevertheless, the action that is cause of irritability is joined to the same conditions as electricity, and quite a few unsolved riddles are solved as a result. For the time being it is certain that oxygen (as mediator of opposed spheres of affinity) must be the indirectly determinant factor in this higher process too (as in the electrical process) and that it cannot immediately engage in this process (because otherwise the chemical process would be unavoidable), but only acts upon it through a third body, which is, so to speak, its representative. [xxxiii] The third body in the animal life process is the blood, which alone contacts oxygen directly, and steps forward in the life process as its representative. [xxxiv] Because the blood is propelled as a fluid body, and as a substance of variable quality, generally altered (deoxidized) by every contraction, it alone fulfills the condition of the third factor in the galvanic life process set out above (p. 119f.); that is, it makes possible a constant becoming and cessation of triplicity by its alterability. Without that contact the life process would soon stand still, because its condition (always renewed heterogeneity) is lacking without it. Conversely, while nutrition on the one hand (which occurs in animals [xxxv] by means of combustible materials) and respiration on the other (which [225] changes the blood into an oxidized fluid [xxxvi]) constantly reproduce the condition of all electrical process (namely, an opposite relation of its factors to oxygen), the life process too (as a higher kind of electrical process) must always be rekindled anew.

Just as irritability declines throughout organic nature, and with it the electrical process, so too the conditions of that process will gradually disappear. The plant predominantly has force of reproduction only insofar as the irritability in it is already completely reduced, and since the plant only exists as force of reproduction, its life (and also the degree of irritability that exists with its life, i.e., with this determinate proportion of organic forces) will be promoted through everything that retards irritability. Therefore, the conditions of its life process will already appear as the opposite of those of the animal. The plant will be only negatively galvanizable. [xxxvii]

(Galvanism, it is said, does not extend into the plant kingdom. Why not? In plants, it only becomes the negative of animal galvanism. It is obvious that stimulability, as far as it is attributed to plants, is promoted by substances which are all negative in the electrical conflict, like calciferous metals, water, saltpeter, nitric acid, sulfuric acid, salts of all types, and so on. It becomes clear that here it is not only the oxygen of these substances that is operative, as is usually believed, but also their negatively electrical constitution that acts (that sulfur, for example, manifests the same effect as the acids).—Now, all of these bodies are ineffective in animal galvanism as soon as they cease being liquid (this contributes to the proof that it is not their chemical quality that makes them active).—On the contrary, it is exceedingly clear that just such bodies as are the most effective in animal galvanism (opium, e.g., carbon (according to Ingenhousz), and certainly also metals) depress the stimulability of plants.)

[226] As irritability sinks throughout organic nature, respiration declines along with it (i.e., the influence of oxygen on the organism), and with respiration, circulation. Respiration is the most extensive in the animals where the manifestations of irritability follow upon one another with great rapidity and in close succession (the birds, e.g., in whom the air, through pipelike organs associated with the lungs, penetrates into the hollow and marrowless bones of the bird). And, although more dully and more slowly, it occurs regularly in the same way down to the fishes (now water in the gills may serve them instead of air, according to Vicq’ d’Azyr, or they might breathe the air found in the water itself, according to others). But precisely here the whole system of irritability transforms itself at once, one ventricle of the heart disappears and the blood does not return to the heart any longer through a particular channel to the lungs. In the insects the lungs disappear, and in their place air-channels appear. In them, as in the species of worms, the heart is also only a series of nodes which slowly contract one after the other, and that which is called their blood is cold and colorless. Finally, in the polyps there is no more trace of respiration (although it must be presupposed), and every trace of heart or vessels disappears in them too.—Finally, with the plants (i.e., where irritability sinks the lowest) respiration becomes an expiration of pure air, and oxygen, which has the opposite function of nutrition in the animals, becomes to them nutrient itself (directly or indirectly) as Ingenhousz has shown.

Taking all of this together, it becomes clear how oxygen extends its reign throughout the whole of Nature as ground of determination in the dynamical process, and how one can say with Girtanner, in a certain sense, that it is the principle of irritability. It is so in the same way that it is principle of electricity. But the deceptive element in many arguments for and against this opinion is explained.— It can be said in general [227] that the animal, in opposition to the plant, is in a positive state of life (the proof is the constant decomposition of oxygen in the former, and the state of reduction in the latter). Now, since oxidation everywhere induces the negative state, since it depresses the phlogistic excitability (increases the heat-capacity) like the electrical, and the negatively electrified is also a negative stimulus for the organism, then it is conceivable how oxygen increases the organic receptivity, i.e., the excitability of the animal, and by just this means becomes (indirect) cause of increased activity, [xxxviii] and how, conversely, the substances opposed (positively electrified) to oxygen raise the positive state or depress it indirectly (through exhaustion of excitability). It is conceivable how, conversely, the negative stimulus must act incessantly in the plant (must become habitual), how the plant must be chained to the earth (as combusted substance), how everything deoxidizing (light, combustible substances, and so forth) exhausts its excitability in a moment, and how in contrast negatively electrical bodies alone, while they preserve the plant’s weak excitability, indirectly increase their excitability. [xxxix]

Irritability is only one factor of excitability. The external cause of excitability (which we have derived above) indeed produces the appearances of excitability (i.e., the manifestations of irritability), but only under the condition of an original duplicity, or, what is the same, the sensibility in the organism (see above, p. 112).

[228] So we are driven to a still higher cause in the external world which must be related to electricity in just the same way that sensibility is related to irritability. The highest effective cause in Nature that we know until now, precisely that universal dynamic action, already presupposes as the condition of its activity a dynamical juxtaposition, i.e., an original duplicity. Thus a higher cause beyond this cause must be presupposed (as universal dynamic source of activity).

And so [xl]

3) universal MAGNETISM will be that which corresponds to SENSIBILITY in the external world, or, the same final cause which in universal Nature is cause of universal magnetism will be cause of sensibility in organic nature.

a) Just as sensibility stands on the boundary of all phenomena in the organic world, so does that which corresponds to sensibility in universal Nature. It must be for universal Nature precisely what sensibility is for organic nature, i.e., universal, dynamic source of activity, and just as all organic forces are subordinated to sensibility, all dynamic forces of the universe are subordinated to its correlate.

b) In that which corresponds to sensibility in the whole of nonorganic nature there must truly be only identity in duplicity and duplicity in identity (what else is meant by the expression polarity?). Precisely this is the decisive feature of all organization. But is not just this identity in duplicity and duplicity in identity the character of the whole universe? If the universe is the absolute totality which comprehends everything within itself, then it is object for itself, since it has no object outside of itself, and turns toward itself. The opposites fall in the interior of the universe, but all of these opposites are still only various forms into which the one primal opposition, extending itself in infinite branches [229] through the whole of nature, transforms itself—and so the universe is, in its absolute identity, only the product of one absolute duplicity.

We have to think the most original state of Nature as a state of universal identity and homogeneity (as a universal sleep of Nature, so to speak).—For the first and highest causes that we know are active only under the condition of duplicity and already presuppose it. The action of gravity presupposes at least a mechanical juxtaposition, the universal dynamical action presupposes a higher dynamical juxtaposition. What will be the cause that has been the genuine source of their activity, higher than all those subordinate causes?

We can ascertain the following about what kind of cause this is:

—That which is source of all activity is (because activity alone is knowable) itself no longer objectively knowable (as the sensibility in the organism is not). It is something absolutely nonobjective. But only that which is itself cause of everything objective, i.e., cause of Nature itself, can be absolutely nonobjective.

What then is the organism other than Nature condensed, or the UNIVERSAL organism in the state of its greatest contraction? Thus, an identity of the final cause must be accepted, by means of which (as through a shared soul of Nature) organic and anorganic, i.e., universal Nature, is ensouled. The same cause which threw the first spark of heterogeneity into Nature has also thrown into it the first germ of life, and that which is the source of activity in Nature overall is also the source of life in Nature.

The same cause that inhibits the extremes of Nature from passing into each other and inhibits the universe from disintegrating into one homogeneity, this very cause also inhibits the dissolution of the organism and its transition into a state of identity. Just as all activity is conditioned by absolute duplicity, so organic activity is conditioned by organic duplicity (a simple modification of the former).

[230] THUS, A COMMON CAUSE OF UNIVERSAL AND OF ORGANIC DUPLICITY IS POSTULATED. The most universal problem, encompassing the whole of Nature, and for this reason the highest problem without whose solution nothing is explained by all of the foregoing, is this:

What is the universal source of activity in Nature? What cause brought forth the first dynamic juxtaposition in Nature (of which the mechanical is a mere consequence)? Or what cause first cast the seed of motion into the universal rest of Nature, duplicity into universal identity, the first spark of heterogeneity into the universal homogeneity of Nature?


i. If the higher function is gradually displaced by the lower in the appearance, then indeed there is  only one organic product, but there are as many stages of the appearance of that product as there are  stages in the transition of productivity into product. This leads to the idea of a comparative physiology,  which seeks the continuity of organic nature not in the transitions of shape and of organic  structure, but in the transitions of the functions into one another. (The previous remark was added  to the original note, which follows, until the next parenthesis.—Trans.) The idea of a comparative  physiology is already found in Blumenbach’s Specimen physiologiae comparatae inter animalia calidi et  frigidi sanguinis, and further explicated in the discourse on the relations of the organic forces by Mr.  Kielmeyer, whose major idea is taken from Herder’s Ideas for the Philosophy of the History of Humanity,  first part, pp. 117–126; namely, that in the series of organisms, sensibility is displaced by irritability,  and as Blumenbach and Sömmering have proven, by the force of reproduction. But HOW  sensibility is supplanted by irritability, and both finally by the preponderance of reproductive force,  has not been explained at all by any of these investigations. (Note appended to the original note  now continues.—Trans.) Neither the mechanism nor the ground of this graduated series has been  discovered up to now. This has in part already come to pass in our deduction and will proceed from  this point.
ii. Since, that is, sensibility, irritability and formative drive are only various stages of a limited productivity—  or productivity passed into the product—then it follows that they can be opposed only  in appearance, that the higher stage can only be suppressed in appearance by the lower, only because  it is conditioned by the latter.8
iii. The graduated series of functions has been deduced a priori from the bare concept of productive,  organic productivity. Thus nothing remains but to confirm the series in experience.
iv. Until now “irritability” has been used for the appearance of contraction and expansion. According  to the original use of the word, irritability is the mere capacity to be stimulated. But since the conventional  usage of the word has already for a long time denoted this phenomenon of stimulability  with it, and all the terms used in place of it until now—like, e.g., “capacity to be affected,” among  others—just as little signify the matter at hand, I will nevertheless still retain this expression, perhaps  until a more correct and more fitting one is found.
v. If irritability is to that activity into which sensibility immediately passes.
vi. (for it)
vii. (According to SW, the last sentence is replaced in the manuscript by the following.—Trans.) This  is a universal law which can be derived a priori from the relation of the two functions that we have  deduced.
viii. Here too the qualification must be added that through the preponderance of sensibility irritability  is canceled only in appearance. Those three functions belong to the construction of all organisms,  and so does irritability.—Where sensibility has a preponderance, irritability is naturally  canceled for the appearance. In the appearance the higher function is always suppressed by the subordinate  one.
ix. (According to SW, the last sentence in the manuscript is corrected.—Trans.) So where there is a  preponderance of sensibility there must be an organization in which irritability is totally canceled  for the appearance, i.e., an organism whose excitation does not pass directly into movement. The  brain and nervous system is such an organization. In the latter, productivity still seems to stand on  the first stage of that transition.
x. and it is nonsense
xi. (in the narrower sense of the word) i.e., the genuine function of sensibility
xii. (SW notes a correction in the manuscript.—Trans.) According to the same law, conversely, sensibility  will absolutely disappear for appearance where it immediately passes into movement.
xiii.  The so-called sensible and the irritable systems thus exhibit writ large the opposition that takes place in every single organ on a small scale, e.g., in every nerve.—Insofar as every nerve is an organization, there will be those three stages in it, and to that extent there will again be a triplicity in every organ; but for the organism as total product the nervous system is merely reproduction of sensibility, just as the muscular system is merely reproduction of irritability—although every individual organ, e.g., every nerve, again has, if I may say, its nerves, and that threefold graduated series must be thought as present in every organ generally, e.g., there is a sensible and irritable system in every nerve.
xiv. for the appearance.
xv. The movement of the heart is mediated just as much by sensibility as are the voluntary organs, only here a direct transition takes place.
xvi. This second proof is especially to be carried out through the theory of disease.
xvii. Since there are, in the strict sense, as little voluntary as involuntary movements.
xviii. Cf. pp. 115–116, note ‡.
xix. seemingly freer
xx. It is generally well-known how far this vibration of individual parts goes after the disturbance of  the organic constitution, particularly in the classes of amphibians and insects. This independence  of the subordinate organic functions from the higher here goes so far that insects, even after the  major organs (head and heart) are taken from them, still exercise technical drive and reproduce. It  is generally well-known that worms, maggots, butterflies, and snakes, even after the separation of  the hind-part from the head, still undertake all sorts of motions.—Ridley tells of a turtle which  after having its head cut off lived for six months and ran around as if a burdensome ballast was  taken from it. Afterward, its heart and guts (excluding the lungs) were torn from its body and it still  lived for another six hours, and still displayed many of the motions which it undertook in natural  conditions.—Here, then, the whole organism is almost nothing but irritability.
xxi. Polyps cut up, quartered, turned inside-out like gloves.
xxii. Surely the force of reproduction is not conditioned by the absence of nerves (for otherwise the naiades,  e.g., could not exhibit regeneration), but by the sinking of sensibility down to a determinate  degree which one must investigate in experience, and which itself exists with the existence of the  nerves. (Original note.—Trans.)
xxiii. There still remains the proof touched upon under b), p. 144, which can be carried out with reference  to the various states of one and the same individual. As Nature, along with the whole organic  world, runs through those three stages admitted by us (Nature repeats itself constantly—only it begins  in the one where it leaves off in the other)—so also with every individual. The same graduated  series in the whole is again in the individual. The individual is only a visible expression of a determinate  proportion between sensibility, irritability, and force of production.—Shape is only the expression  of a dynamic relation—e.g., with sinking irritability the whole system of respiration is  limited, with sinking sensibility the organ of the brain is limited.—Now, if every organization is  only an expression of this proportion, then it too exists only within these limits—neither short of  them, nor beyond. If the proportion were not determinate then no deviation from it would be possible  either. If the existence of the individual were not restricted to this determinate proportion, then  a deviation from it could exist with the existence of the product. Conversely, to the extent that the  proportion is a determinate one, from which no deviation is permitted to occur, the product is capable  of disease. Those states are thus the opposed states of health and sickness, and so we clearly  find ourselves here—led to the concept of disease by our theory of the dynamic graduated series in  organic nature. (The SW editor notes: “The derivation of this concept from the graduated series is  presented later in the Outline. In the lectures, however, Schelling inserted the chapter on disease  here, after the remark in the manuscript.”—Trans.)
xxiv. On the World-Soul, p. 252f. (Original note.—Trans.)
xxv. Influence of light upon crystal formation. Prévost’s new light experiments?—Universally, with a  more robust in-pouring of light, movement increases in organic nature, and so on. (Original  note.—Trans.)
xxvi. This has already been demonstrated in the preceding on the basis of the identity of their  conditions.
xxvii. potency
xxviii. So it is not absolute identity, but only identity in ultimate principle. The activity that acts in the  galvanic chain is already no longer simple electricity, but electricity raised to a higher power. What  is at least certain about the galvanic phenomenon is that what corresponds to the phenomena of irritability  is electricity. This correspondence of organic and universal phenomena of Nature might  even come back in the end to the fact that the organic phenomena generally are simply the higher  power of the universal phenomena of Nature.
xxix. one ought to read Fontana’s fitting microscopic observations on the structure of the muscle in his  Investigations on the Nature of Animal Bodies. (Original note.—Trans.)
xxx. Therefore it is conceivable that no electrometer measures it, nor can measure it. (Original note.—  Trans.)
xxxi. And that which is operative in the galvanic chain only appears to effect the transition from electrical  action to the action of irritability. Even the action which is operative in the galvanic chain is  not identical with that which is active in the organ itself when it is contracted. And so galvanism in  general seems to be the middle-term which connects the universal phenomena of Nature with the  organic, or the bridge over which the universal appearances of Nature cross over into organic, e.g.,  the action in the galvanic chain is obviously the middle-term between electricity and irritability.
xxxii.  That electricity itself (whose first conduit would have been the nerves) could not be the cause of irritability is already refuted by Haller’s single suggestion that electricity is not a force in and for itself that can be thought to be contained within the nerves (surrounded by conducting substances of all kinds). (Original note to this point, but it continues in the manuscript.—Trans.) That electricity itself is the cause of irritability, whose first conductors would be the nerves (as is usually imagined), is already impossible due to the fact that one cannot conceive how electricity, surrounded by so many conducting substances, could be shackled to the nerves. The cause of irritability is a wholly inner action, chained to the organ, and electricity is that cause intuited only at the lowest layer of appearance—in the first power. Moreover, it is precisely explained here why the process of irritability is so definitely connected to the same conditions to which the chemical and electrical are— without being either one of them: connected to the condition of the chemical process, because it has the electrical in common with it—connected to that of the electrical, because it has the higher power of the electrical in common with it. Virtually all discoveries of animal chemistry can be explained by this observation.
xxxiii. If the process of irritability is only the higher power of the electrical process, then it can be ascertained from this why both processes are joined to the same conditions, as already noted. In order to juxtapose them here still more closely the principle derived from the theory of chemical and electrical processes will be presupposed: oxygen is the one invariable factor of every chemical process— it is indirectly the constant factor of the electrical process.What connection will oxygen have with the process of irritability?
It is well-known that many physicists in recent times have flatly proposed oxygen as principle of stimulability. Quite a few experiments seem to confirm this assumption, many more than are usually supplied, but it is impossible to accept for other reasons that oxygen is actually the direct principle of stimulability. All of those experiments indeed prove that oxygen plays a great role in the phenomena of irritability, but not that it is principle of the manifestations of irritability.—I should, before I investigate the matter more closely, eliminate a few misunderstandings. Very many objections to this, specifically those from Röschlaub, rest on a misunderstanding. He says that oxidized bodies stimulate very little, e.g., plant nutrients—all kinds of vegetables—all vegetable acids—oils, which are employed principally in sthenic diseases with great advantage. Conversely, oxidizable substances stimulate most powerfully, like opium, alcohol, ammonia, and so on.—But these objections rest on the misconception that we suggest that oxygen is the principle of excitation. It is asserted, rather, that it is the principle of excitability, principle of stimulability.
It is false and a complete confusion of concepts when one presents oxygen as a powerful or strong stimulant. It is not, it is precisely the opposite. Oxygen can at most apparently stimulate, because it raises the excitability, if it is assumed that the sum total of stimulus is not decreased through it—for then the same sum of stimulus will act more strongly on the excitability increased  through it, than previously on the lower. All intensity of stimulus is a relative one. Oxygen can  thus seem to act as stimulant—but only then indirectly. As a rule it acts weakeningly; it raises the  factor of aesthenia or of receptivity, and is thus in the most genuine sense principle of stimulability.
The solution to the contradiction is thus in short this: Combustible bodies directly stimulate.  Oxygen, on the contrary, must directly suppress the excitation as the opposite factor—and only  raise it indirectly, through the raising of stimulability. But if the stimulability is raised beyond a certain  boundary, then aesthenia follows.Oxygen thus always acts immediately aesthenically, and all of  this follows directly from the assertion that it is principle of stimulability. A by far more important  question arises: how then oxygen does raise stimulability, and the answer to this question is one of  the most important for all of physiology.
Oxygen cannot engage directly in the life process, just as little as in the electrical, but it plays  a role only through a body that is its representative.
xxxiv.  Oxygen thus provides the negative term in the electrical processes of life by means of the blood.  The oxidized blood does not act insofar as it is oxidized, but insofar as it is negatively electrically  charged.
xxxv. for the most part
xxxvi. Incidentally, the blood acts in the animal body as a substance of generally variable quality, since it  is again deoxidized through the manifestations of irritability themselves (undoubtedly because nutrition  is correlated with them). From this perspective, the opposition is particularly remarkable  that exists most conspicuously in the contractions of the heart. If the right part of the heart is determined  to contraction by the blood returning from the whole body, i.e., for the most part deoxidized  blood, then it is inversely the blood coming directly from the lungs, i.e., blood richly endowed  with oxygen which stimulates the left part of the heart to contraction, and so the blood (according  to its quality, this lar familiaris in the galvanism of the life process) seems to have to transform the  quality of the remaining factors in the current chain. (Original note.—Trans.)
xxxvii. i.e., almost purely negative stimuli must act on it, otherwise it is not a plant
xxxviii. Since life is momentarily extinguished with the lack of respiration, that [negative stimulus, that]  influence of the air contrary to life, is actually the force constantly retarding the activity of life,  which hinders—through the increase of excitability [better: stimulability]—the excitation from  reaching its minimum in a single moment (because every stimulus lowers excitability) [since the effect  of the stimulus is inexorably propagated, then the stimulability conceived as constantly sinking  would sink with accelerated velocity toward the zero-point, unless a never-failing, never-absent  stimulus inhibited the consumption of stimulability]. The oxygen, or its representative, the arterial  blood, is thus constantly the negative term in the galvanic chain of life (that which, in the chain of  mounting stimulability of the individual organ, is the negatively electrical body). (In addition to the  bracketed comments above, the original note continues in the manuscript.—Trans.) Pfaff has already  proven that when, e.g., zinc, i.e., the positively electrical body, lies constantly in the nerves  that are opposite the muscle, the stimulability of the organ is negated more quickly than in the inverse  order. Mr. Röschlaub afterward discovered that the organ’s stimulability is lost when it is connected-  up in a positive chain (I express myself so for the sake of brevity); that conversely the organ,  already to a high degree nonstimulable, becomes stimulable again to a high degree when it is  brought into the opposite chain. I conclude from this that the negatively electrical body in this  chain only augments the stimulability because it acts as a negative stimulus. Now the oxidized  blood in the living body constantly has the same function that the negatively electrical body has in  such a chain, namely, it functions as the retarding factor of the vital processes, to inhibit the  exhaustion of stimulability.
xxxix. The thoroughgoing correspondence between the conditions of the process of irritability and the  electrical process leaves not a bit of doubt that electricity is the corresponding term to irritability—  and this is the proposition that was to be proven.
xl. Since until now the necessary existence of magnetism in Nature has not been derived like that of  light and of electricity, the following for the moment makes claim to a merely hypothetical truth.  (Original note.—Trans.)
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Re: First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature

Postby admin » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:18 am

Appendix to Chapter III.

The problem set out above (p. 53) in which we predicted that all problems of the philosophy of nature may readily be unified is resolved in its complete generality by the preceding section.

Nevertheless, in addition to the perspective that is provided for the whole of organic nature by the presentation of that graduated series of organic forces, another is furnished for the organic individual which must be recovered in the form of an appendix. In this respect, all of the individual features of the preceding theory are gathered together in order to indicate, at the same time, the point by means of which another extremely important part of natural history is connected with the universal principles of the philosophy of nature.

Just as a graduated series of functions is established in the whole of organic nature, so too it is established in the individual, and the individual itself is [231] nothing other than the visible expression of a determinate proportion of organic forces. Shape, and everything else by means of which the individual is known, is itself only an expression of that higher dynamic proportion; for how the structure conforms itself to that higher proportion, and how an alteration in the latter draws an alteration in the former behind it, has even been shown through a number of examples.

Every organism is constituted by this determinate proportion, and exists neither just short of it nor beyond it. A deviation from the proportion is at all possible because it is a determinate one, and that the whole existence of the organism is limited by this proportion means that a deviation from it is intolerable for the existence of the whole product—in a word, both together make the organism capable of DISEASE.

The concept of disease is a completely relative concept, for first of all it has meaning only for the organic product of Nature; that is, in the concept of disease one thinks not only the concept of a deviation from some rule, order or proportion, but also that the deviation does not exist with the existence of the product as such; the latter determination really completes the concept of disease.— However, the concept of disease is relative within this sphere [i] as well. With the degree of irritability, e.g., by which the plant is sickened, the polyp would perhaps be quite healthy.With the degree of irritability at which you yourself feel ill, an organism lower on the scale would feel quite fit. [ii]—A determinate degree of excitability is also part of the constant reproduction of a determinate organism. If the degree of excitability were not relative to every individual, then one could think of it (as intensive magnitude) as decreasing to infinity, through infinitely many intermediate degrees approaching to zero. But a determinate degree of excitability belongs to every individual in order to preserve this determinate organism against the encroachments of external nature, and to reproduce it in face of its impinging influences.

So much for the concept of disease. [iii]—The following principles must be presupposed in the original construction of the concept itself.

1) Disease is produced by the same causes through which the phenomenon of life is produced. [iv]

2) Disease must have the same factors as life. [v]

The essence of every organism consists in the fact that it is not absolute activity (the likes of which is thought in the concept of vital force, for example), but an activity mediated by receptivity; [vi] for the existence of the organism is not a being, but a perpetual being-reproduced. If the organic activity exhausted itself in its product just as activity is exhausted in its product in the dead object, and unless external, contrary influences inhibited the exhaustion of organic activity in its product and determined the organic to perpetual self-reproduction, organic existence would be a being.

The organism as such can exist only under the constant influence of external forces, and the essence of the organic consists in a receptivity by virtue of which activity exists—and in an activity which is conditioned through receptivity— both of which must be summarized in the synthetic concept of excitability. [vii] This cannot be thought without positing an original duplicity in the organism. That the organism is excitable (or reproduces itself ) in conflict with external pressure means that the organism is its own object. It is possible that it never ceases to be its own object by constant restoration of the original duplicity in it (by which its sinking back into absolute homogeneity, death, is inhibited). The function of the external causes, i.e., of the stimuli, is the constant restoration that inhibits the organic activity from being lost in its product.

The factors (inner conditions) of life are thus contained in the concept of excitability, but its causes are found in the uninterrupted influence of external forces.

It cannot be thought how the organism is not ruined [viii] by external stimuli (but is instead determined to self-reproduction) unless it occurs through the influence of a higher external cause, a cause which [233] cannot proceed from its immediate external world, but proceeds from a higher dynamical order to which the former is itself submitted. In the construction of the phenomenon of life we distinguish the first cause of excitability from the causes of excitation. For the latter (Brown’s “stimulating potencies”) produce the appearance of excitation only under the condition of excitability. [ix]—

Thus, a cause of excitability, independent of the stimulating potencies, must be accepted (which is also indirectly cause of excitation [x]); to this extent the original independence of excitability must be presupposed.

Excitability is recognized only in excitation. It is thus known only insofar as it is determined through the stimulating potencies, not in its independence, for in its self-subsistence or in its independence from the exciting potencies it is dead, without expression.—

If excitability is determined only for the APPEARANCE through the stimulating potencies, then it is (although originally independent of them) alterable through nothing other than the stimulating potencies. [xi]—If it is accepted that it relates inversely to the intensity of the stimulus, then it cannot be increased other than by minimization [xii] of stimulus, nor depressed other than by augmentation of the stimulus.

As excitability contains the factors of life, so too of disease. The seat of disease must be excitability, its possibility must be conditioned through the alterability of excitability. But excitability is alterable only through the stimulating potencies. The cause of disease cannot lie in excitability insofar as it is self-subsistent, [xiii] but only in its relation to the stimulating potencies. [xiv]

(It also follows directly from this principle that excitability cannot be acted upon in any other way than through the middle-term of excitation, that the source of excitability cannot be directly affected, but only indirectly affected through the causes of excitation.—The still-dominant theory sees excitability as something self-subsistent in theory, but cancels this self-subsistence in practice, for it [234] believes itself able to act directly upon excitability, which is the true meaning of their “soothing,” “refreshing,” and other specific expedients. [xv] This theory views excitability as something still lying within the sphere of our medical means, as something directly alterable through the influences of this external world of ours. But the cause of excitability lies outside of the dynamical sphere within which the means that lie in our power are contained; it must be thought such that it is subordinated to no affinity of the Earth, and can be directly affected through no potency of the Earth. The proof for that proposition can be deduced from the principles of the higher physics.)

It is assumed that no effect from without reaches into the source of excitability itself. The cause of excitability is itself not alterable, but only the causes of excitation. It is further assumed that through the mere alteration of these causes [xvi] excitability itself will be altered too.

The proof is the following:

The cause of excitability, whatever it may be, must be thought as a self-subsistent cause, as a cause that is independently active anywhere its conditions are given [xvii] (this has been proven above). There actually exist such self-subsistent causes in Nature that are active from themselves anywhere their conditions are given or are instituted whose DEGREE of activity is determined by the degree to which their conditions are given. Such causes are, for example, light, electricity, and so on, whose sources it is indeed not in our power to affect; but it is in our power to institute the conditions for them. [xviii] Therefore, the cause of excitability must be thought to be like the cause of light, as such a cause that is alterable for us only when its conditions exist. For it is, like the latter, a cause whose principle no longer falls within the dynamical sphere of the Earth, but in a higher sphere, as has been proven above, i.e., it is a self-subsistent cause. The difference between the two causes is [235] only that those universal causes cannot be exhausted, at least in this organization of the universe. In contrast, excitability is a determinate cause for every organic individual, and determinate for every moment of its existence. Its source is thus not inexhaustible. To the extent that the conditions under which that cause appears as active, i.e., the stimulating potencies, are increased, excitability is necessarily diminished, and conversely, only to the extent that those conditions, i.e., the stimuli, are diminished can excitability be augmented.

So we have explained how excitability can itself be affected through the middle-term of excitation, without it being necessary to see it as a directly variable magnitude, or to think a hypothetical substrate of excitability that would likely be endowed with chemical affinities which again are not known and upon which chemical means are allowed to act whose mode of action is known once more [xix] only through randomly performed experiments. [xx] If it were even possible, irrespective of the thesis that the cause of excitability would never itself be known, we do know the conditions of its appearance, which allow themselves to be investigated on the path of experience and of experimentation and lie in our power to alter, and through whose alteration excitability itself is altered, and by whose means the final source of life itself can be affected, not blindly and at random, but through familiar and determinate laws.

Until now we have taken excitability as a simple concept. It was accepted that it is alterable through the middle-term of excitation, could be diminished through augmentation of stimuli, and augmented through minimization of stimuli. But it follows from this that excitability always stands in inverse relation to the stimulus; thus the stimulus stands in inverse relation to excitability viewed according to the intensity of its effect. [xxi] For it can only diminish the excitability through the middle-term of excitation, it [xxii] must thus (with identical absolute intensity) excite the more, the higher excitability stands. [xxiii] Since the same stimulus acts far more strongly [236] on a higher excitability than on a lesser, the relative intensity [xxiv] of the stimulus increases in direct relation with excitability, and conversely, they lose relative intensity in the same proportion that excitability sinks. [xxv] But excitability is determined through nothing other than the stimulating potencies; it is only that which the stimuli make out of it. It can therefore only be raised in that its stimulus is withdrawn. In equal proportion as its stimulus is withdrawn, the RELATIVE intensity of the remaining [xxvi] increases, [xxvii] THE PRODUCT IS THUS THE SAME AND UNCHANGED. Just as little can the excitability be diminished in any other way than by augmentation of the stimulus. In the same proportion [xxviii] the RELATIVE intensity of the remaining decreases, [xxix] THE PRODUCT IS NEVERTHELESS UNCHANGED. [xxx]

It is certain that by taking excitability as a simple concept no variability in the product of excitation can be thought, but such a thing must be thought because excitability is itself only variable through the alteration of this middle-term.

Thus excitability can not be a SIMPLE factor.

If it [xxxi] is accepted as simple, then there can be disproportion only between excitability and stimulus, but such a thing is impossible, because one cannot take anything from excitability without giving it to the stimulus, and cannot take from the stimulus without giving it to excitability. Two concealed factors must lie in the concept of excitability itself, and it must be these which make a disproportion in the excitation possible. These factors and their relation must be determined.

a) It has been proven through the whole course of our science that in the synthetic concept of excitability the two factors of sensibility and of irritability are thought together.—It should be noted once again that by sensibility we understand nothing [237] other than organic receptivity, insofar as it is the mediator of organic activity. Here, as in the whole work, we understand by irritability not the mere capacity to be stimulated (which is surely the original meaning of the word), but, as a long-established use of language allows, the organic activity ITSELF, insofar as it is mediated by receptivity (the organic power of reaction).

b) Both of these factors are themselves opposed to one another.—It has been proven through a universal induction from the dynamically graduated series of organic nature that as one of these factors falls, the other rises, and the converse (III.).

What holds for organic nature overall holds equally for the organic individual (above). Therefore, such a reciprocal falling and rising of both of these factors can occur in the individual as well.

c) In the observation of organic nature it is shown that sensibility is not permitted to sink infinitely if any degree of irritability is to remain. We see, e.g., in the plant kingdom, where only a weak trace of sensibility exists in only a few individuals, irritability also fades at the same time as sensibility.

There is thus a certain boundary within which the law holds that irritability rises as sensibility falls. If this boundary is crossed, if SENSIBILITY SINKS BELOW a certain point, then the opposing factor does not rise anymore, but it falls simultaneously with it.

We can explain this law in the following way. All organic activity is mediated by receptivity, according to the first principle of all organic natural history. Receptivity and activity are opposed, one is the negative of the other. The higher the receptivity, the lower the activity, and conversely. Since all organic activity is not absolute, but only conditioned through receptivity, then a CERTAIN degree of RECEPTIVITY must remain so that a degree of ACTIVITY may remain. To be sure, within a certain boundary the rising of activity corresponds to the sinking of receptivity; below this boundary both sink in unison.

[238] (This is the wonderful relation of opposed factors between which organic life balances, as it were, without once being permitted to step out of it, a relation that John Brown first intimated, although never completely developed. It is remarkable to see how the direction peculiar to his whole system of thought is preserved by the observation of this relation in experience. “I saw,” he said, “that the increase of strength and of excitation keep in step up to a certain point, but a moment finally comes when the strength and the excitation no longer keep in step and where the strength passes into indirect weakness.”9 The discovery of this relation is one of the deepest probings into organic nature.Not only the individual, but also the whole of organic nature oscillates between those bounds.—On the highest level, sensibility has the decisive predominance, but the phenomena of irritability also occur here with greater ease, only with lesser energy than on that level where the preponderance of forces directed toward the outside comes to light with gradually sinking sensibility, in the sthenic natures of the lion, for example, and its co-rulers among the animals. Receptivity becomes narrower and narrower backward in the organic world, and the preponderance of irritability is recognized only in the duration of its appearances. Finally, sensibility disappears completely in appearances, receptivity is near the zero-point, but precisely here those aesthenic natures step forth, the plants, where that boundary within which the sinking of receptivity and the rise of activity keep in step is already crossed. The plants are in an indirectly aesthenic state; in an aesthenic state because their existence is tolerated only with the lowest degrees of irritability, in an indirectly aesthenic state because here their receptivity already stands below the boundary above which its sinking runs parallel with the rise of organic activity.)


[239] The conditions of a possible construction of excitability are contained in the three principles just proposed, and through them the construction of excitation as a variable MAGNITUDE. If the whole of excitability is diminished through increase in stimulus (according to Brown), then the product (the excitation) again loses in excitability what it gains in stimuli; it thus remains the same and unchanged. If sensibility (receptivity) is diminished by the increase of stimulus, then irritability (or energy) gains (at least within the bounds set out above), i.e., the genuine factor of sthenia gains what the opposite factor of aesthenia loses.

Conversely, if by minimization of stimulus the whole of excitability is raised, then the product again gains in excitability what it loses in stimuli. If, through suppression of the stimuli, sensibility is raised, then, according to a universal law of organic nature, irritability will sink in the same proportion, i.e., aesthenia will arise.

Universally stated: the law that excitability is inversely related to stimulus does not hold for the whole of excitability, but only for one of its factors, sensibility.

By this separation of excitability variability enters into it, and by means of variability, excitation. The total product of excitation (excitation seen as a whole) is at any rate invariable, and it even must be so in order that its individual opposite factors can be variable. Suppose that the stimulus rises suddenly from 40° to 60°, then the receptivity (= 40°) must sink by 20°. But receptivity is the converse of organic energy, thus the latter will be raised necessarily by just as much through the sinking of receptivity by 20° (and so forth, to that determinate boundary for every individual). Now, if one has the receptivity = 20°, the energy or the activity directed outward = 60 (the whole of excitability = 80); if one calls the effect on receptivity sensation (in the meaning explained above)—the effect on the energy irritation, and both together excitation, then one has sensation = 20, irritation = 60, the whole of excitation = 80. Thus here excitation as total [240] product is invariable, and it even must be in order that the individual factors can rise and fall. So a bipolar positing of excitation is necessary; the more excitation [xxxii] directed inwardly, the less excitation directed outwardly, and inversely. Therefore, the whole is always equal to itself, but within this whole disproportion is possible.


All conditions for the construction of disease as a phenomenon of Nature are provided by this construction of excitability and excitation as variable magnitudes. The following are the principles to which the construction may be reduced.

1) In a state without affection from outside (if such a thing can be thought at all), sensibility and irritability would not be at all distinguishable. In every affection the two are separated. Now, since sickness is provoked (quickly or gradually) only through affection from the outside, like the phenomena of life itself, these two factors are separated in every disease.

2) Through every affection from the outside, i.e., through increase of stimulus, sensibility is diminished, so it is necessary that irritability increases in the same proportion (up to a certain boundary), and indeed that energy increases.

(We are suggesting that the magnitude of irritability (the power of reaction) has to be gauged not according to the readiness of its expressions, but according to their strength. The readiness of movements stands in direct relation with sensibility, as experience also shows by innumerable examples; conversely, the strength (at least within the known bounds) always stands in inverse relation to sensibility. On account of the high degree of sensibility, the child, e.g., is very easily determinable, i.e., by means of slight stimulus, but also only to feeble movements. If the organic power of resistance increases, the movements become more forceful, more energetic too—in equal proportion to the sinking sensibility.—Or, one might observe the difference of the sexes, or the climatic [241] differences of peoples, or finally the increase of the forces directed outwardly in Nature, which also happen in a certain (inverse) relation to sensibility.)

3) This thesis must be proposed as a principle of the construction of all disease: the two factors of excitability are opposed to one another, such that within a certain limit (which is a determinate one for every organic individual, and which one must investigate through experience) the irritability or the energy rises as the sensibility or the receptivity falls, and conversely, and all disease is conditioned by this reciprocal sinking and falling of the two factors of excitability.

According to Brown, disease is conditioned by the disproportion between stimulus and excitability (but it has been shown that such a thing is unthinkable)— according to us, it is conditioned by the disproportion between the factors of excitability itself (produced, of course, by means of the unrelenting or sudden effect of stimuli). According to Brown the stimulus is itself a factor of disease, according to us merely a cause.

4) The possibility of a disproportion is only presented in the organism by the fact that the two factors of excitability are posited as mobile and in an inverse relation—this possibility is exhibited as the energy (or the factor of sthenia) is raised, while the receptivity (or the factor of aesthenia) is diminished, and inversely. It is not yet explained thereby, however, how the rising of the one factor and the sinking of the other produces DISEASE.—Also supposing that Brown had actually constructed sthenia and aesthenia—then are sthenia and aesthenia disease? The question still remains, how do the two of them become disease?

Disease is only present where the organism as object is altered. As long as the organism as object does not appear to be an other it is not ILL. This is the question: How does a disproportion in the factors of excitability produce alterations in the organism as object?—

The organism as object only falls within a determinate proportion of the factors of excitability, for the whole circle of the organism is sealed by receptivity and activity. Since the whole [242] manifoldness of organic nature is itself conditioned with respect to its structure by the sinking and rising of those higher factors of life, it is conceivable how, according to the same mechanism, the whole organization can be altered—and how even the structure of the individual can be altered. Every individual requires for its existence (which is nothing other than a perpetual reproduction) a certain degree of receptivity, and a certain degree of energy standing in inverse relation to it. It is evident that a certain range must be admitted here, within which that reciprocity of the two factors does not produce any alteration in the organism as object. A degree of one or the other surpassing the limit is intolerable for the existence of the whole product, and it is this intolerability for the existence of the whole product that is felt as sickness.

5) The diseases must be divided into diseases of raised sensibility (receptivity) and diminished irritability (power of action) on the one hand, and into diseases of diminished sensibility and raised irritability on the other hand. A third class includes those where the increase of irritability no longer runs parallel with the sinking of sensibility, the diseases of the indirect weakness of the power of reaction. Since all organic functions are subordinated to sensibility and disease is possible only through (indirect) affection of the final source of life itself, to that extent sensibility is the seat of all diseases (in the proper sense of the word, since it signifies nothing other than the mediator of all organic activity).

Since sensibility is not at all directly recognizable, but only indirectly in its object (the expressions of irritability), and a diminishing of the former is recognizable only in a rising of the latter, and conversely, then the diseases are all, on the first level of their appearance, diseases of irritability.

All phenomena of reproduction are also determined by the higher factors of life and of disease. An alteration in their relation must [243] be propagated all the way to the force of reproduction. Only after the disease has propagated itself from its original seat of sensibility through irritability to force of reproduction does it take on a visibly specific character, and thus the whole manifoldness of disease forms emerges from two original basic diseases. Irritability is not the same throughout all systems of the organism (according to degree); its identity only means that it cannot be raised or diminished otherwise than uniformly. Irritability passes into force of reproduction (above p. 149) in the same proportion as the degree to which it is diminished (e.g., in force of secretion), thus it can produce a merely gradual alteration of the same altered phenomena of reproduction, or altered phenomena of secretion, e.g., without any specific affections of irritability (of which the nerve pathologist dreams).

Practical physicians, in their usual stupidity,10 see disease only on this lowest level of its appearance; for example, in the spoiling of the humors (humoral pathology), but this already presupposes disease. [xxxiii]

6) The proposition must be established as the principle of all medicine that the force of reproduction can only be acted upon by means of the higher factors to which it is subordinated, but sensibility (the ultimate source of life) can be acted upon only through the middle-term of irritability. Irritability is the single middle-term by means of which the organism can be acted upon at all, thus all external forces must be directed upon it. But how the ultimate source of all movements could be acted upon through irritability is only conceivable by virtue of the inverse relation in which it stands with sensibility.

The conditions of the process of irritability are familiar and can be investigated experimentally (its conditions are identical with those of the chemical process, as well as with those of the electrical process, although it is itself not chemical). Thus it is to be expected, assuming the principle that the source of life can only be acted upon [244] through the middle-term of excitation, that when the theory of excitation is first reduced to the fundamental principles of physics, medicine too will be brought back to more secure principles, and its exercise to infallible rules.

General Remark.

The concept of disease, like that of life, drives us necessarily to the assumption of a physical cause which, outside of the organism, contains the ground of its excitability, and indirectly through it, of all the alterations taking place in it. For how could we believe that the organism itself has the sufficient reason for its life and its duration in itself, since, with respect to all alterations (in particular those of disease), we observe it to be dependent upon a uniformly acting external force only variable through its conditions, which must act uninterruptedly upon the first source of life of the organized body, [xxxiv] and which seems to sustain the life of universal Nature just as much as it sustains the individual life of every organic being (as the life of Nature is exhibited in universal alterations).

Now, when we look back on the preceding to see which forces have been proposed as corresponding to the organic in universal Nature, we find just those which, by universal agreement, must be seen as the causes of those natural alterations, and whose connection with the phenomena of life the natural historians of all times have in part intimated, and in part actually asserted.

All of these assertions concerning the physical causes of life and the theories built upon them (whose founders have seen farther, at bottom, than those who posit life in excitability, and who find it impossible or superfluous to explain it further) express a fundamental lack (aside from the fact that none actually constructs life from them), namely, that the basic character of all [245] theories, their inner necessity, escapes them all. This lack cannot be remedied otherwise than by the demonstration, from the possibility of Nature in general, of the necessary existence of those causes in Nature, and from the possibility of an organism generally, as well as from the necessary existence of conditions under which alone they are effective in the organism, all of which we believe has been achieved in the preceding. We have not only proven that the conditions under which those causes are active are necessary in the organism by virtue of its essence and its nature, by which it is an organism at all, but we have also presented the existence of those causes themselves and their uninterrupted effectiveness in universal Nature (as conditioned by the existence of a universe generally), and we have thus joined the organism and life, even the most innocuous plant, to the eternal order of Nature by means of their final causes.



i. the sphere of the organic
ii. There is therefore no absolute sickness. Every sickness is only a disease in relation to this determinate organism, which this proportion of organic functions cannot tolerate.
iii. This whole investigation is only presented here as the medium of the principal investigation—in order to prove through the theory of disease that the graduated series, which is found in the whole organic chain, is also expressed in every organic individual.
iv. It is thus totally nonsensical to call disease an unnatural state, for it is precisely just as natural as life. If disease is an unnatural state, then so is life—and admittedly it is unnatural to the extent that life is really a state extorted from Nature, not favored by Nature, but a state enduring against Nature’s will, for it is preserved only by means of struggling against Nature. In this sense one can say that life is a perduring sickness, and death only the recuperation from life.
v. It follows that in the foregoing construction of the phenomena of life, the factors of the construction of the phenomena of disease have also been provided.
vi. movement
vii. The external force would not produce the phenomena of life by itself unless a capacity to be determined to certain functions existed in the organism.
viii. destroyed
ix. (According to SW, the last passage in the manuscript reads differently.—Trans.) Now, it cannot be thought how the organism is not destroyed through external stimuli, but is instead determined to self-reproduction, if the final source of its activity can be immediately or directly affected by external influence. The cause of excitability must therefore be a totally different one from the causes of excitation (Brown’s stimulating potencies)—must belong to a higher dynamical order than the former, and generally must be such a cause that can never be directly acted upon, but only indirectly.
x. (According to SW, this parenthesis is struck out in the manuscript, and the sentence continues as follows.—Trans.)—must be accepted. Excitability is originally independent and lies outside of the sphere in which we can directly act. We can thus only act indirectly upon excitability through external influences. But external influences act only by stimulating, only by exciting.
xi. We cannot directly either increase or diminish excitability. If it is diminished or augmented, then this is possible only through the middle-term of excitation.
xii. this minimization occurs not directly through withdrawal of stimulus (privation), but through negative stimulus (in the genuine sense), through the likes of negative electricity, for example.
xiii. Excitability is a cause always remaining selfsame to the extent that it is self-subsistent, i.e., the cause of excitability itself, which, if it acts nonuniformly, is determinable only through the nonuniformity of the negative conditions.
xiv. The seat of disease is excitability, but its source the relation to the stimulating potencies. For excitability is only alterable through the relation to the stimulating potencies. Thus disease too can only arise through this relation.
xv. Example of opium—only indirectly soothing (cf. above, p. 18). It is just the same with the refreshing expedients, e.g., cold. How is it thinkable that the cold strengthens in itself ? Is it a particular essence? Is it not mere negation? Thus it can only refresh through negation, only indirectly strengthen.—Relative concept of cold—the heat of the freezing-point is still stimulating too (proof: because life is possible in it)—A reviewer of Brownian texts in the L.Z. has ascertained quite well where the previous systems are really sick when he says that Brown’s statement, “all external causes act upon us only as stimulants,” is slippery, because he has not proven that there are no causes which work directly on excitability—able to augment or diminish it directly. Whether Brown snuck in that statement may be left to one side—it must be concluded from such expressions that he at least did not prove it with complete self-evidence. But now the resolution of the major question depends obviously just upon that statement: how can the organism be acted upon at all— whether directly or not—whether to augment or to diminish directly—or whether excitability according to Brown is something in itself invariable and is only to be altered indirectly through the stimulating potencies. But whether, e.g., medicine could be traced back to its first principles, i.e., could be raised to the level of an actual art, depends again upon this question. It is already won when the disputed issue is correctly construed.
xvi. and in the proportion that the latter are altered
xvii. and which is active in the degree to which its conditions are given
xviii. When I produce light in a dark room through the rubbing of hard substances, I have not produced light that did not exist previously; I have only established the conditions under which it is active of its own accord.
xix. not according to laws, but
xx. |i.e., on the grounds of a blind empiricism
xxi. i.e., the higher the excitability, the lesser the intensity of the stimulus, and inversely
xxii. the stimulus
xxiii. Let’s take the absolute intensity of stimulus 30° for two individuals, where A has an excitability = 40, B = 50, then the stimulus will act on individual B the more strongly, for its excitability is higher.—It will be completely otherwise with the relative intensity of the stimulus.
xxiv. The distinction between absolute and relative intensity is very important. We do not know absolute intensity. Were it to be determined, it would be related inversely to excitability. The relative intensity, i.e., determined through the degree of excitability,must just for this reason be inversely related to the latter. The relative intensity of the stimulus will increase as the excitability increases, and decrease as it decreases.
xxv. [Eschenmayer in his “Theses on the Metaphysics of Nature”] has objected to Brown that no excitation that deviates from the mean degree of excitation [thus also no disease] is possible according to his construction of life from stimulus and excitability. This is because one factor cannot rise without the other falling, and conversely; this latter reason, expressed universally, is totally false. If one accepts excitability as a variable factor, then the thesis is false, because according to the above the augmentation of the relative intensity of the stimulus runs parallel with the augmentation of excitability. (So far original note, but bracketed comments above and what now follows were added.—Trans.) Now the issue is surely that excitability is not the factor in itself variable, but since it is only variable through the stimulating potencies the latter must always be assumed as variable factor.—Undoubtedly, something true lies in that objection but the reason is not correctly expressed. Namely, assume that 1) the relative intensity of the stimulus rises and sinks in equal proportion with excitability; assume that 2) excitability in itself is invariable—and is only variable through the stimulating potencies—that these are the single variable factors in the phenomena of life; then we conclude that: excitability is only variable through the stimulus; it can only be raised in that its stimulus is withdrawn.
xxvi. stimulus
xxvii. namely, because excitability rises in the same proportion as its stimulus is withdrawn—and the relative intensity of the stimulus rises in the same way that excitability rises
xxviii. as stimulus is added or raised
xxix. because in the same proportion as the stimulus is raised, excitability decreases, and the relative intensity of the stimulus falls in equal proportion with excitability
xxx. Example. Let excitability = 40, the stimulus = 40.Now the question arises, how can excitability be altered, e.g., increased.According to the theory, only by the minimization of the stimulus. The question arises whether this is possible. Let the stimulus be lowered from 40 to 20, then the excitability will be increased in the same amount, i.e., it will now be = 60. But a stimulus of 20° acts just as strongly on an excitability of 60° as a stimulus of 40° on a 40°-high excitability. The product, the excitation, is thus the same in both instances. This is because the stimulus recovers in relative intensity what it loses in absolute intensity, because the latter rises and falls parallel to excitability.—This is the real vulnerability of the proof, that from stimulus and excitability alone one cannot construct any variability of excitation, e.g., disease too.—Now conversely, let us posit that excitability is diminished to 20°, then this is not possible except by increasing the stimulus by just as much, namely by 20°.Now we have the excitability = 20, the stimulus = 60. But the stimulus = 60 acts on a 20°- high excitability just as strongly as on a 40: 40. The stimuli decrease in relative intensity in the same proportion that excitability is diminished, i.e., they lose in relative intensity what they gain in absolute intensity—the excitation, the product, will thus always remain the same, no actual deviation from the mean degree of excitation will be possible—so there cannot be any disease.
It is apparent that we are not able to answer this difficulty from the previously accepted assumptions, and that we are imprisoned with our principles. If the problem is solvable, then a concealed error must lie in the preceding—or something has been implicitly accepted. For if the principles are true, and they are proven, then nothing false can follow from them; there must have been a mistake made in the conclusion.
The whole argument rests on the thesis: excitability can only be decreased through augmentation of the stimulus, and inversely. How is excitability understood in this thesis? Excitability is understood as a simple factor, the whole of excitability will be diminished through augmentation of the stimulus. The mistake must therefore lie in this assumption of the simple factor.
xxxi. excitability
xxxii. stimulation
xxxiii. Even in every infection (a concept which makes sense only for the organic natural product) something  higher occurs than the average humoral pathologist imagines. The product is a uniform one,  the affection of the formative drive is the same as in higher operations. (Original note.—Trans.)
xxxiv. Schäffer on sensibility as life-principle in organic nature. (Note in original—Trans.)
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Re: First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature

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The highest function of the organism (sensibility) drives us to the question of the first origin of universal heterogeneity (see above, p. 158). And in the organic world formative drive is what chemical PROCESS is in the anorganic world.

The condition of the chemical process is also a universal heterogeneity, and to that extent it has the same conditions as the force of reproduction. The solution to that problem of heterogeneity is to be seen as a theory of the chemical process, and conversely, the theory of the chemical process is simultaneously to be viewed as the solution to that problem.


[246] General Theory of the Chemical Process.

A. Concept of the Chemical Process.


The cause that we recognized above as operative in irritability and force of reproduction was characterized as one that appears under the condition of duplicity. But a cause whose activity is conditioned by duplicity can only be such that it tends toward intussusception, because the latter is not thinkable without two individual bodies that pass into one indentical subject. The tendency of that cause must thus be intussusception, and if intussusception exists only in the chemical process, it must be the cause of every chemical process.


Between organic and anorganic nature a like gradation exists as exists between higher and lower forces in organic nature itself. That which is irritability in organic nature has already faded into electricity in anorganic nature, and what is force of reproduction in the organic has already dissipated in the chemical process.


The cause of the chemical process tends toward the cancellation of all duality. Thus, there must be absolute intussusception in the chemical process, i.e., transition of two heterogeneous bodies into one identical occupation of space. [i] An identical occupation of space does not arise where [247] one body is only augmented by the other, for such an expansion would still leave us with two bodies; it must arise only where the individuality of each individual is absolutely canceled and a new body is formed as common product.


Intussusception is simply mechanically impossible, as in the way the atomists represent dissolution, and according to whose concepts it is always only partial, i.e., it extends only down to the smallest parts of solid bodies which are spread out infinitely near to one another in the solute. Aside from the fact that this theory rests on the concept of matter as a mere aggregate of parts whose bond is unbreakable by physical force (for why otherwise should the force of the solute have its limits?)—further, aside from the fact of the unnatural representations to which the concept of a mechanical dissolution leads, such a thing absolutely should not be called intussusception since it deals only with surfaces, and if it does go further it is no longer thinkable mechanically.


Rather, since the impenetrability of matter can only be thought as the standstill of expansion and contraction, penetrability can not be thought otherwise than as the restoration of that oscillation (i.e., through the disturbed equilibrium of expansive and compressive forces of matter). Since two materials cannot interpenetrate without becoming one material, each individual must cease, as it were, to be matter, i.e., a homogeneous occupation of space; matter must be restored to the state of primal BECOMING.

[248] §.6.

Assuming that the chemical process exists only where heterogeneous bodies absolutely pass into one another, the question arises, how can such an absolute transition of one into another be mathematically constructed?—However, this question belongs in the formal part of natural philosophy or universal mechanics, where it will also be answered.


It evidently follows from this concept of the chemical process that its cause is not a cause again subordinated to the chemical process (at least to the chemical process of the Earth); since a complete penetration occurs in it, and since individual bodies of the same sphere necessarily form a mechanical juxtaposition, it must be a cause from a higher sphere for which substances of the lower sphere are penetrable, and not impenetrable, as they are for one another. [ii]

B. Material conditions of the Chemical Process.


The first consequence of the principles deduced is that the chemical process is possible only between heterogeneous bodies (for only where there is heterogeneity is there duplicity), and that if there is an intussusception between homogeneous bodies it cannot be of a chemical kind. The first problem of a theory of the chemical process is thus to deduce heterogeneity in Nature, which is its condition.

[249] §.9.

For the time being it is understood that since every heterogeneity is necessarily a determinate one, and this concept is merely a relational concept, there must be certain fixed points of reference of all quality; therefore, the chemical process is a necessarily limited one, i.e., it has an extreme point beyond which it cannot go. If the chemical process had no such extreme by means of which it is limited, then neither would it have a point from which it could begin. Only the fact that the chemical process begins somewhere makes determinate chemical products possible. If it began nowhere and ceased nowhere, then a general intermixture of all qualities in one another would take place, i.e., no determinate quality would come to light in Nature.


We have explained for the moment how the chemical process in the universe generally becomes limited through our theory of world-formation; that is, according to our theory the organization of the cosmos into systems of gravity is at once a dynamical (thus also chemical) organization of the universe, and a certain limit to the universal evolution is determined through universal gravity.


How the chemical process of the individual heavenly body (e.g., the Earth) is limited must be capable of demonstration through the indication of the points of inhibition at which all evolution of the Earth stands still.


Since being inhibited is something solely negative, a solely negative presentation of those points of inhibition must also be possible. They will be indicated by that whose composition can be overcome by no chemical potency of this determinate sphere, i.e., by the indecomposable. The indecomposable is at all possible in Nature, [250] following the above (p. 31), only because it is the most composable, for otherwise matter would be lost in pure extremes. The most composable is recognized just in that it is not presentable in isolation— but only in combination with others. The genuine concept for that negative factor is thus the concept of impresentability, and no more nor less is to be thought under the concept of matter.


The concept of a simple thing cannot be thought in the concept of matter. What matter is for chemistry is a material like every other, but it is composable to a higher degree, and just for that reason it is not matter presentable in isolation.— Therefore, it is evident at the same time that the concept of the “simple” in Nature is a false concept. Since a mechnically simple thing is unthinkable (like the atom of the mechanistic physicist), then only a dynamically simple factor can be thought, something that is no longer product but is solely productive. Such a thing has been designated above (pp. 20–22) by the concept of the “simple actant,” and since an infinite product is evolving in Nature, one can only think an infinite multiplicity of simple actants as elements of Nature if the evolution is thought to be actually completed. Nevertheless, an absolute evolution in Nature can never come to pass, and the assumption of the simple is thus false, as well as its conclusion; no simple thing exists in Nature, and, because everything is product to infinity, neither does the dynamically simple, or the purely productive. The most original points of inhibition in Nature are not exhibited by simple actants, but by real products that are not able to evolve further (at least at this stage of Nature), and the simple actants are only the ideal factors of matter.

[251] §.14.

The most composable is thought in the concept of matter (§.12). But every composition requires two factors. There has to exist a composable factor of the opposite kind in Nature. The question arises how this is possible.


The absolutely composable (which, just for that reason, is the indecomposable) must limit the process of the Earth. It has to be limited in opposite directions.


For the time being, we cannot think any limit other than that of the evolution of the Earth overall. There is an absolutely inhibiting factor in the determination of qualities of the Earth. This inhibiting factor generally is the single truly insoluble, chemically inconquerable factor. Thus, what makes individual substances that stand at this limit insoluble is not their simplicity, but that negative principle of the Earth which is communicated to all of them in common and which one can call phlogiston (according to the original concept of its inventor), “earth-principle”; i.e., since earth is only the sensuous image of the insoluble, it may preferably be called the “insoluble.”


Since this negative factor must be seen as determining quality, and also as cause of the chemical intertia of bodies, then the purely indecomposable will come forth where this negative principle attains preponderance—(e.g., in the metals).

Since the indecomposable can only exist as composable in Nature, a positive principle must act on Nature, acting against that principle which, because the shape is fixed by that negative principle, will present itself as a principle inimical to all shape (because [252] it is in conflict with the negative forces of the Earth, those favorable to formation), i.e., heat. This principle will be a principle awakened only by an alien (positive) influence (light).

Remark. It is self-evident from the foregoing why this positive principle acts most strongly on those parts of Nature where the negative principle of the Earth attains greatest preponderance. This is why the capacity for heat, e.g., of the metals, is the least; why they increase in equal proportion with oxidation; and finally why the force of cohesion of such bodies is destroyed by every chemical process, and, while their absolute weight increases, their specific weight is reduced; why, conversely, the chemical function of a body is also altered by increased cohesion (why, e.g., ice becomes positively charged, and breaks the light more weakly than water, and so on).


Another type of indecomposable (or composable) factor must be opposed to this indecomposable for the reasons set out above (§.14). It will become clear from the following observations what type of factor this is.


If every chemical product is an association of heterogeneous parts, then the factors of the product must be opposed in relation to the product. Now, all material of the Earth is really only one factor of a single higher product, which follows necessarily from the theory of universal world-formation set out above. If the universe has been formed by an infinite differentiation of one primal product into an increasing number of novel factors, then every individual factor can only = one of these factors, and what belongs to it must be homogeneous within itself (all material of the Earth, for example). But the condition of the chemical process is heterogeneity.—If all materials of the Earth = one matter (their diversity merely a diversity of variety), then there is no real opposition [253] between them, and thus no chemical process is possible.


If a chemical process is to be possible, then one factor must be a material which is opposed to all materials of the Earth, and in relation to which all materials of the Earth count as only one factor. If it is this one factor opposed to all matter of the Earth that makes all chemical processes possible, then no chemical process must be possible between materials of the Earth, other than one mediated by that one constant factor, i.e., only insofar as any body from the sphere of affinity of the Earth is a representative of that principle.


That principle must be the middle-term of all chemical affinity and of all chemical processes, and also, just for that reason, the ideal point of reference for all determination of quality.


Since that one factor of all matter on the Earth is collectively opposed, it will intervene directly or indirectly into every dynamical process of the Earth, but it cannot again be a product from the sphere of affinity of the Earth; it must be a product of the higher sphere of affinity, i.e., a product of the Sun, and to that extent the Sun (or rather the relation of the Earth to it) is the final cause of all chemical processes of the Earth.


It obviously follows that this principle must not be reducible by any substance of the Earth, since it is not a product of the Earth; thus, it must be an absolutely insoluble factor, but for that reason an absolutely composable one.

[254] §.24.

We know from the theses on the chemical influence of the Sun (set out in the preceding) which material of the Earth that product is. The necessary existence of such a principle is deduced here a priori as a condition of all chemical processes, and in experience it presents itself as that which our chemistry calls oxygen. It will become clear from the following what function this principle has in the dynamical process.


Oxygen can only be the indirectly or the directly determining factor in the dynamical process of the Earth. In the first case, a body must come forth as its representative, by virtue of its relation to oxygen; it has been deduced above that this happens in the electrical process. In the other case, oxygen would engage in the process itself, either indirectly through a body with which it identifies, or directly. In the latter case, since it is only the middle-term that separates the two opposed spheres of affinity of the Earth and the Sun, as soon as it disappears the higher sphere of affinity has to step forth in its phenomenon, light (as Sun), which oxygen represents in opposition to the Earth, i.e., a process of combustion must take place.—It cannot be conceived how an earthly body can become its own source of light (like the Sun) except by virtue of the breaking up or opening which separates both spheres of affinity effected by the middle-term.


Thus, oxygen is the condition of the electrical process because electricity is possible only under the condition of the separation of opposite spheres of affinity, and oxygen is just the separating element. It is the condition of the process of combustion because the latter presupposes a transition of both into one another. But there is no transition without separation. Both processes therefore rest on the same opposition, but this opposition, which in the former is a mediated process, becomes an unmediated one in the latter.

[255] §.27.

Since oxygen only represents the higher sphere of affinity to the Earth, it has at bottom the same function in the process of combustion as the positive body has in the electrical process. Just as the latter is only a representative of oxygen, the former is only representative of a higher affinity (of the Earth to the Sun). Just as oxygen is the determining factor in the electrical process, in the process of combustion it is the higher affinity of the Sun.


Since this higher affinity in the process of combustion manifests itself as light, just as it must come forth as oxygen in the electrical process (before it can pass over into the process of combustion), one might say that oxygen is only itself again the representative of a higher principle, that is, of light.


It is only possible that oxygen is opposed to all substances of the Earth collectively (i.e., that all of them burn with it while it does not burn with any other), because in the circle of affinity of the Earth it has no higher factor with which it burns. It is necessary that the absolutely incombustible substance in relation to a higher system is either a combusted one, or the substance in the subordinate system flammable to the highest degree. Thus all substances of the Earth, while they combine themselves with oxygen, combust indirectly through it with a higher principle.


The process of combustion drives us to a heterogeneity receding to infinity. What will finally be the absolutely incombustible factor in the universe [256] with which everything ultimately burns and itself burns with nothing else?—It is readily seen that this chain recedes to infinity through constant mediation, and since all chemical processes are reducible to the process of combustion, every chemical process is conditioned by the final factors of the universe whose transition into one another would promote absolute homogeneity.

The chemical phenomena, like the organic, drive us to the question of the ultimate origin of all duplicity. [iii] One factor of the chemical process always falls outside of the individual product (e.g., the Earth), it lies in a higher product; but for the chemical process of this higher sphere, its one, invariable factor again lies in a higher order, and so on to infinity. [iv]

There is thus ONE universal dualism which runs throughout the whole of Nature, and the individual antitheses that we see in the universe are only shoots of that one primal opposition, between which the universe itself exists. [v]

What has that primal opposition itself called forth, beckoned from the universal identity of Nature? If Nature is to be thought as absolute totality, then nothing can be opposed to it, for everything falls within its sphere and nothing outside of it. It is impossible that this unlimited (from the outside) change itself into a finite being for intuition except insofar as it becomes object to itself, i.e., in its infinitude. [vi]

That antithesis must be assumed to have sprung from a universal identity. By this means we [vii] find ourselves driven to a cause which no longer presupposes heterogeneity, [viii] but itself produces it.

To produce heterogeneity means to create duplicity in identity. But duplicity is only cognizable in identity. Identity must again proceed from duplicity itself. [ix]

[257] Unity in diremption only exists where the heterogeneous attracts, and diremption in unity only where the homogeneous repels. Both necessarily coexist; the homogeneous flees itself only insofar as the heterogeneous seeks itself, and the heterogeneous seeks itself only insofar as the homogeneous flees itself. We observe this production of the heterogeneous from the homogeneous and the homogeneous from the heterogeneous most originally in the phenomena of MAGNETISM. Thus, the cause of UNIVERSAL MAGNETISM would also be the cause of universal heterogeneity in homogeneity and of homogeneity in heterogeneity. [x]

Since heterogeneity is source of activity and of movement, the cause of universal magnetism would be the final cause of all activity in Nature; original magnetism being for universal Nature what sensibility is for organic nature— dynamical source of activity: for in the domain of mechanism one sees movement spring from movement. What then is the first source of all movement? It cannot again be movement. It must be the opposite of movement. Movement must well forth from rest. It is the same as in the chemical process, where it is not the moved body that moves the resting or moved, but the resting body moves the resting body. It happens likewise in the organism where no movement directly produces movement, but where every movement is mediated by rest (by sensibility). [xi]

If one compares the features of that which ought to correspond to sensibility in universal Nature proposed above (p. 156f.) the following agreement is found.

a) Everyone will admit that magnetism stands at the boundary of the universal phenomena of Nature, just as sensibility stands at the bounds of the organic; i.e., that no phenomenon of Nature exists from which it could be deduced. The only phenomena from which anyone could attempt to deduce it, the electrical phenomena, have nothing in common with the magnetic phenomena aside from action through division, and this is precisely the higher factor in the electrical process—incidentally, one can indeed match up every magnetic [258] phenomenon with an electrical one, but not a magnetic phenomenon with every electrical one. That every magnetic body is electrical, but not every electrical body magnetic, proves that magnetism is a much more limited force as regards its breadth, and that just for this reason magnetism is also not subordinate to electricity, but electricity is subordinate to magnetism.

b) It is too clear to be proven at great length that in magnetism, in universal as well as in specific individual substances (which seem to step forth from the universal), the most original identity in duplicity, and the converse, exists (which is the character of the whole of Nature). [xii]

Granted this identity of sensibility and of magnetism with respect to their cause, magnetism must be the determining factor of all dynamical forces, just as sensibility is the determining factor of all organic forces.

In order to bring this thesis to full self-evidence it is required of the proof not only that the same gradation of forces in universal Nature exist as in organic nature (for this is already certain), but also that this gradation follows the same proportion and the same laws in universal and in organic nature.

For the gradation of forces in organic nature (above, Division III.) the following proportion was found.

That which Nature has distributed most widely in the organic world is force of reproduction. Certainly more sparingly, but still very richly, it has handed out irritability, but most sparsely the highest force, sensibility.

What could be distributed more meagerly in the inorganic world than magnetic force, which we only perceive in a few substances? [xiii] The number of bodies electrical to some degree already increases extraordinarily, and there is no body that is absolutely nonelectrical, just as no organism is absolutely nonirritable. Conversely, the chemical property belongs to all bodies (perhaps in a certain inverse proportion to its electrical property, not yet discovered).

[259] Further, every magnetic body is also electrical and chemical, just as no organism that has any part of sensibility lacks irritability or force of reproduction. But not every electrical body is magnetic, just as not every organism that shows traces of irritability also has sensibility.

But reproductive force is also irritability, irritability is also sensibility. [xiv] For example, that which is still irritability in the animal has already faded into reproductive force in the plant for appearance, and that which in the higher animal is distinguished as sensibility is distinguished in the lower animal only in irritability for appearance. Likewise, that which in the electrical body is still electricity has already faded in the chemical body into the chemical process for appearance, and in the electrical body, that which in the magnetic body is still magnetism is diffused in electricity. Magnetism is as universal in universal Nature as sensibility is in organic nature, which also belongs to plants. It is only canceled in individual substances in appearance; in the nonmagnetic substances that which in the magnetic substances is still distinctly magnetism dissipates (by contact) directly into electricity, just as in plants that which is still distinctly sensation in the animal dissipates directly into contractions. [xv]

Only the means are lacking in order to recognize the magnetism of the so-called nonmagnetic substances, and to prevent that which appears on a higher level as magnetism from being lost in electricity or the chemical process. [xvi]

If one looks further into the mechanism of that graduated series as it was determined for organic nature, the following results:

[260] There is one cause that fades gradually from one function to the other. Sensibility passes into irritability; this is not possible unless both have at least one factor in common. But do they not?—In appearance this is the system of the nerves, the organs are both sensible and irritable at once. Where the higher factor of sensibility (the brain) gradually disappears and the lower gradually attains preponderance, sensibility also begins to fade into irritability (therefore, Sömmering’s law that sees sensibility in the inverse relation of nerves to the brain).

In the same way, irritability and reproductive force must have at least one factor in common, otherwise, how could the former pass into the latter? And so they do. One factor of irritability, that oscillation of expansion and contraction, is also the condition of reproductive force, and just where irritability passes into reproductive force, one factor of irritability—the higher—is seen to disappear as well.—It is a universal law that the reproductive force of, e.g., individual parts, is viewed in inverse relation to its dependence upon the nerves. If irritability is to become reproductive force, then its higher factor must disappear; and conversely, where only the lower factor of irritability remains (e.g., contractility in cell membranes), it will become force of reproduction.

It can be established as a universal law for this graduated sequence that the higher function is lost in the lower because its higher factor disappears, and the lower function becomes the higher factor of the subordinate force.

Transferring this law to the dynamically graduated series in universal Nature, magnetism is the producer of heterogeneity acting by means of division (as perhaps the brain does). And that which is the oscillation of contraction and expansion in the phenomena of irritability is the oscillation of attraction and repulsion in the phenomena of electricity. Attraction occurs by virtue of the higher factor of electricity (action through dissociation), repulsion works by virtue of the lower factor, namely the communication of homogeneous electricity. (And who knows whether or not a similar sequence of dissociation occurs by means of the brain, and if the communication of homogeneous electricity by the nerves produces the appearances [261] of contraction and expansion of the organ?) Precisely this oscillation of expansion and contraction is also the condition of possibility of all chemical processes. Only by means of an oscillation of expansive and compressive forces can two different bodies pass into one identical occupation of space. If one supposes that that higher factor disappears (the oscillation of expansion and contraction), then the movement will either stand still in contraction (with the formation of solid bodies, crystallization, and so on), or in expansion (with the formation of fluid bodies)—and the caput mortuum is a homogeneous filling of space = dead matter.

We thus observe the final exertions of organic force in the chemical movements of bodies, and there is one force that binds together the most aggregated animal body just like the chemical body.

If general analogies have any demonstrative force there is no doubt that the same function must be ascribed to magnetism for universal Nature that we ascribe to the unknown cause of sensibility for organic nature. First of all, all duality comes into Nature by the power of magnetism. Since universal duality withdraws into the organism as into its narrowest sphere (the reason for its powerful and concentrated effects), the final cause of all duality is the same for the organism as for universal Nature.

Since the universal organism appears only in the state of its greatest expansion in the world system, magnetism will be that which inhabits the universe, [xvii] which makes it such that [xviii] every effect on the part propagates itself to the whole, just as in the individual organism. The impacts that the universe constantly sustains in this universal reciprocal action fade into movements that are recognizable only in reactive substances—(although the uninterrupted falling of the planets toward certain central points may be a movement mediated by universal sensibility).—But why is the magnetic needle sensitive to every considerable alteration in Nature, sensitive to the electrical light that illumines at the opposite pole, or sensitive to a vulcanic eruption [262] in the other hemisphere?— When one member in the great dynamical organization is disturbed, the whole reacts; Lichtenberg says that a solar storm that erupts in the Sun can descend upon us within eight minutes; but what is the so-called igniting of a fire other than such a descent of the Sun’s solar storm?—

It probably cannot be doubted as a result of our discussion that magnetism has the same function for universal Nature that sensibility has for organic nature. It is proven THAT it is cause of universal heterogeneity, and as such is the determining factor in all activity conditioned by heterogeneity, but not shown how it is such. This must be shown.

It is conceivable how an original opposition is brought into Nature through magnetism. But the question is: How have all individual antitheses in Nature developed from this one original opposition?

It really is our position that all antitheses have evolved from one original.— That which has been proven by induction elsewhere, [xix] that one and the same universal dualism diffuses itself from magnetic polarity on through the electrical phenomena, finally even into chemical heterogeneities, and ultimately crops up again in organic nature, is here to be deduced a priori.—The question is, how has that one opposition been broadened into such manifold antitheses?

If magnetism brought the first antithesis into Nature, then at the same time the seed of an infinite evolution was sown by this means, the seed of that infinite dissociation into ever new products in the universe. Assuming the evolution that has been postulated above to be completed—or also as progressively occurring—then that original opposition is also posited as enduring (by the postulate of this evolution); the factors that are separated in it are posited as separate to infinity and always [263] separating anew. Where should the progressive action of that cause, not presupposing heterogeneity but producing it, be recognized? We know of no production of heterogeneity other than through that which is called division. If the universe is evolved, then that cause of heterogeneity will preserve the self-propagating division from product to product through the universal heterogeneity. The division which is reciprocally exercised will not only be the condition of gravitation in every system, but also the universally determining factor of the dynamical process.

Opposed forces are awakened by every action through division. But these, since they maintain equilibrium, produce a state of indifference, and actually all materials of the Earth find themselves in this state of indifference before they are subjected to the effect of (special) magnetism, or are brought into electrical or chemical conflict. The state of indifference will appear as a state of homogeneity. With respect to its qualities, such a homogeneous state also exists in every dynamical sphere (for, like the material of the Earth, the material of every other sphere must be posited as homogeneous in itself ). This homogeneous state is not, however, a state of absolute homogeneity, it is only a state of indifference. The constant action of division from without, while it sustains this homogeneous state of quality, makes possible a removal of the condition of indifference, i.e., the dynamical process, and particularly the chemical process. Every body that is subjected to the chemical process must be divided IN ITSELF; without this diremption in the homogeneous itself no solution can be thought at all—that alternating play of expansion and contraction without which no chemical process is possible could not be thought. In order to be able to construct the chemical process the homogeneity of quality presupposed above must be resolved into duplicity. This homogeneity is only magnetic indifference. Therefore, magnetism must be posited as abolished universally and only in appearance. If that action from without could cease then the substances of the Earth would become completely inactive in the dynamical process, just as iron is (magnetically) inactive before the magnet has acted upon it—thus no difference of quality would be recognizable [264] either.—(The universal action of division can only be analogically compared with that which we see the magnet exercise. The latter always awakens the same poles—to infinity; for it, and every substance upon which it acts, is embraced in the universal sphere of earthly magnetism. The magnet can communicate no polarity, nor can the substance receive any, that would not be homogeneous with the universal polarity of the Earth. Conversely, the Earth is, e.g., outside of the Sun, therefore the magnetism of the Sun must awaken outside of itself a polarity distinct from its magnetism.)

The action of the Sun indeed produces polarity [xx] through division in the dynamical sphere of the Earth, but the product of this polarity [xxi] is a universal state of indifference (the universal point of indifference is presented as center of gravity). There is indeed a universal heterogeneity in the universe, but every individual product is homogeneous within itself. If there is to be a dynamical process (whose condition is difference), then matter must be posited outside of the state of indifference. The question arises, posited by what means?—Will the higher product act on the subordinate one only through division?— Another manner of acting is still possible—through communication. If a communication really takes place between Sun and Earth (of which Light is at least the phenomenon), then the Sun will communicate something homogeneous to the Earth, as an electrically charged body communicates electricity to the nonelectrically charged.—Heterogeneity comes into the subordinate product by this communication, and with it the condition of the electrical and chemical processes.

Every dynamical process begins with a conflict of the originally heterogeneous. Where the homogeneous contacts its heterogeneous factor it is displaced from the point of indifference (the dynamical intertia in it is disturbed). Throughout the whole of Nature homogeneity is only the expression of a STATE OF INDIFFERENCE, because homogeneity can only proceed from heterogeneity. By this means, the dynamical process is grounded, and it cannot rest before the absolute intussusception of the heterogeneous, i.e., with the absolute abolition of its condition. [xxii]

[265] Thus, there is ONE cause that brought the original antithesis into Nature and we can designate this cause the (unknown) cause of original magnetism.

An effect stretching itself throughout the universe to infinity by means of DIVISION is conditioned by this cause, through the latter a state of indifference for every individual product is conditioned, and through this state of indifference the possibility of a difference in the homogeneous; through this the cause conditions the POSSIBILITY of a dynamical process (to which the life process also belongs), and in particular the chemical process, as a dissolution of the heterogeneous into the heterogeneous.

The ACTUALITY of the dynamical process for every individual product is conditioned by COMMUNICATION, which takes place in the universe to infinity, and whose universal medium is LIGHT, for the part of the universe known to us.

Not only are the conditions of the construction of every dynamical process contained in the theses proposed up to this point, but we have also deduced how all other oppositions, even those presented in the chemical heterogeneities, are determined by one original antithesis.



i. Chemical division is always the correlate of chemical combination.
ii. Baader on the pythagorean square, or the four world-regions in nature, 1798 [sic].—A text that  will be discussed later on. (Original note.—Trans.)
iii. The three stages that can be distinguished in the construction of the organic product must also be distinguishable in universal nature, just as in anorganic nature—there will be a universal dynamically graduated sequence of stages. This graduated series should now be established.
We begin with that which corresponds to sensibility in universal and in anorganic nature.
Sensibility is for us nothing other than organic duplicity and the first condition of the construction of a product in general. Now, just as sensibility is source of all organic activity, so duplicity in general is source of all activity in nature.—The chemical phenomena, e.g., rest on an opposition which recedes into infinity, as was proven in the theory of the chemical process.
iv. The electrical phenomena are also conditioned by the same opposition by which the chemical phenomena of Nature are conditioned. Further, the phenomena of gravity presuppose at least a mechanical juxtaposition, and this a higher juxtaposition.
v. If the most extreme ends of this opposition could pass into one another, then all dynamical phenomena would disappear and Nature would sink back into universal inactivity.
vi. turned toward itself—is divided.
vii. thus
viii. duplicity
ix. If there were not once more identity in the opposition, again reciprocal relation, then it could not at all endure as opposition. Thus, there is no duplicity where there is no identity.
x. If we know that the cause of magnetism is cause of universal duplicity in identity, then we surely do not come to know the cause itself more closely (which is also impossible since it is the condition of everything objective and thus recedes into the most intimate reaches of Nature—is absolutely nonobjective)—but we can yet demonstrate its effectiveness in Nature, we can establish the stage of Nature at which it is itself still distinguishable.
I want to repeat the proof for this thesis once again. The thesis is “that we distinguish in the phenomenon of magnetism alone the universal duplicity in its first origin.” The proof can be reduced to the following major premisses.
1) Nature is absolute identity within itself—absolutely equal to itself—and yet in this identity it is opposed to itself once more, object to itself.—The general expression of Nature is therefore “identity in duplicity and duplicity in identity.”
2) All opposition in Nature reduces itself to one original opposition. If there were not again unity in this oppostion, then Nature would not be a whole subsisting in itself. Conversely, if there were not again duplicity in this unity, then Nature would be absolute rest—absolute inactivity.— Therefore, neither unity without diremption nor diremption without unity can be thought in Nature. One must constantly proceed from the other.
3) How can it be thought that unity proceeds from diremption and diremption from unity unless the heterogeneous seeks itself and the homogeneous flees itself? Thus, this is the law reigning throughout Nature, in this inner contradiction lies the ground of all of its activity.
4) But this inner contradiction cannot be known originally, it is known only in the phenomenon of magnetism; in the latter alone do we distinguish universal duplicity in its first origin.
xi. Just as sensibility is the organic source of activity, so magnetism is universal source of activity. So that which corresponds to sensibility in universal and in anorganic nature is magnetism.—Now, one can reach the same result in another way.
xii. In magnetism, we see in the whole of nonorganic nature that which is really the character of Nature as a whole—namely, identity in duplicity and duplicity in identity (which, said otherwise, is the expression of polarity). It should be said that every magnet is a symbol of the whole of Nature.
xiii. Indeed, in many more than has been believed until now. Quite a few crystals, e.g., of the iron-rich and magnet-rich island Elba, also show phenomena of polarity.
xiv. as has been expressly ascertained
xv. What is remarkable is that that which is favorable to the chemical process or electricity, e.g., heat, weakens the magnetic force. Indeed, it is not true that oxidized iron ceases to be drawn by the magnet. [Yet the passive attraction in iron decreases in the same proportion as the iron is oxidized; Gehler, p. 94, and here: “quite complete iron-oxide is no longer drawn.”] But only the superficially oxidized (rusted) magnet loses force.—Electrical sparks can rob it of this force (for whether they reverse the magnetic poles is uncertain). (Original note, excepting the bracketed sentence.—Trans.)
xvi. Reminders are not often needed, but in this case it is necessary to say that the discussion was not about this special magnetism (recognizable in the individual), but of original magnetism, with which the former is connected only by infinitely many intermediate steps. (Original note.—Trans.)
xvii. as it were
xviii. e.g.,
xix. On the World-Soul (Original note. See AA I,6 179.—Trans.)
xx. i.e., duplicity in identity
xxi. universal duplicity
xxii. or with the restoration of indifference.
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Re: First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature

Postby admin » Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:22 am

V. The Theater of the Dynamic Organization of the Universe

The dynamical organization of the universe has been deduced, but not its theater. This organization presupposes an evolution of the universe from one original product, a dissociation of this product into ever new products. The ground of this infinite dispersion in Nature must have been laid by one original duality, and this diremption must be seen as having emerged in an originally identical being; but this is not thinkable unless that identical being is posited as an absolute involution, as a dynamical infinity, [i] for then an infinite tendency to development was cast into the product with [266] one duplicity. [ii]—For intuition, this infinite tendency will be a tendency toward an evolution with infinite velocity. Thus nothing would be distinguishable in this evolution, i.e., no moment of time would be filled in a determinate way unless there were a retarding element in this series which kept the balance with that tendency. Therefore, the evolution of Nature [iii], [iv] with finite velocity presupposes, as ultimate factors, an accelerating and a retarding force which are both infinite in themselves, and which are only mutually limited by one another. By virtue of the reciprocal restriction of these forces no absolute evolution will occur in any given moment (of time).

If an absolute evolution did occur, then Nature would offer itself as nothing other than an absolute juxtaposition. Since that absolute juxtaposition is only absolute space, the accelerating force thought in its unrestrictedness leads to the idea of infinite space. [v]

Conversely, if the retarding force was unrestricted, then there would only be an absolute interpenetration for intuition, i.e., the point would arise, which as mere limit of space is symbol of time in its independence from space.

Nature cannot be either of these alone; it is a juxtaposition in interpenetration, and an interpenetration in juxtaposition—for the moment, a being only conceived in evolution—a being oscillating between evolution and involution.

Since the tendency to evolution [vi] is an originally infinite one ex hypothesi, it must be thought as a force that would fill an infinitely large space in an infinitely small time. If one allows space to increase to infinity, or time to decrease to infinity, then one has [infinity]/1 in the one case, in the other 1/0, i.e., [vii] the infinitely large. [viii]

The retarding force, as the antithesis, must be thought as the one that preserves the expansive force through a finite time in a finite space.

Neither of the two for itself would generate a real occupation of space. If the force of expansion could permeate an infinitely large space in an infinitely short time, then it would not linger even for a moment [267] in any part of space, thus it would nowhere fill space. The more the counterweight of the retarding force increases, the more the expansive tendency will linger in each point of space for a longer period of time, thus filling space to a higher degree.—In this way diverse degrees of density are possible.

Matter is not so much an occupation of space as a filling up of space, and indeed a filling of space with determinate velocity. Since the measure of one of those forces is space filled, the other time filled, then their proportion is = S/T = C, and the various degrees of density are only various velocities of the filling of space.

The absolutely elastic is what fills space with infinite velocity; the absolutely dense is what fills space with infinite slowness; neither of the two exists in Nature.

The finite velocity of evolution overall is also deduced along with the two deduced forces, i.e., it is explained how Nature is a determinate product for every single moment of time, but not how it is so for every moment of space. However, evolution should not occur only with a finite velocity, it must be absolutely inhibited—i.e., be inhibited at determinate points, for otherwise evolution (at finite velocity) would only be completed in an infinite time; evolution would be progressive indeed, and Nature an infinitely polymorphic being for every moment of time, but not a fixed and determinate product for all time.

Thus the force by which an absolute boundary of evolution enters, a determination of the product in Nature for every moment of space, must be a force different from and independent of the force which only determines the velocity of evolution and the determination of the product for every moment of time.

There is no force through which an original limit in space is posited other than universal gravity. The latter must thus be conjoined to those two forces as the third force through which Nature first becomes a permanent product and fixed for all time.

[268] Nature can be seen as a product only from this standpoint, the standpoint that Kant adopted in his Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science. What we have called “accelerating” force corresponds to Kant’s repulsive or expansive force; what we call retarding force corresponds to his attractive force, with the difference that Kant conceives gravity under the latter too, and so believes the construction of matter to be complete with two forces. [ix]—He thinks it is completed

1) insofar as he seems to see all difference of quality as reducible to a variable proportion of those forces, [x] which indeed mechanism recognizes, and which knows matter at all only as occupation of space, but not the higher dynamics—( according to the former, every material must be changeable into every other at least through dynamical, e.g., chemical, alteration of the original proportions of those forces. However, all quality is determined through something far higher than the mere degree of density. See above.);

2) insofar as Kant assumes that that which he calls force of attraction is identical with gravity, and which is the determinant of density in his construction of matter; but the identity of these is clearly impossible because the force of attraction for every body is already expended in its mere construction (see above p. 77f.). [xi]

—(This reason also holds against the construction of chemical effects out of those two forces. In the chemical conflict too the substance can only act with a force directed toward the outside, but those two forces are only immanent forces contributing to the construction of their product.)—

[269] The transcendental proof of those two forces, gravity and retarding force, as forces independent of one another is, in brief, the following:

There must be for every finite being a limited intuition of the world; this original restrictedness is, for the intellectual world, just that which gravity is for the physical world, that which binds the individual to a determinate system of things and assigns to it its position in the universe. The intuition of the world is determined, with respect to every individual object, within a determinate system. By this means limitation comes into limitation. But the individual object, since its position in the universe is already determined for it by gravity, can only be further determined with respect to the degree to which it occupies space. The degree of its occupation of space is only determinable through the form of time, by the inverse ratio of time in which the space is filled to the occupied space. The existence of the object for time is thus limited through a force that is as little identical with gravity as time is identical with space. Conversely too, through this force (the retarding force) the velocity of the filling of space is lessened, but the evolution itself is not inhibited; the latter must occur through a force different from it.

It is to be expected in advance that since both forces are of a negative nature, i.e., are limiting forces, both stand in some relation to one another, one will determine the other. The following is self-evident:

The greater the preponderance of retarding force, the slower the evolution. The further evolution progresses, the more must the retarding force gradually decline. Every product of Nature must be inhibited at a determinate point of evolution in order to be a determinate product. If one supposes that the product will be inhibited at a point where the retarding force still has a great preponderance, then the expansive tendency must act more strongly on this point (because it is inversely related to the space in which it [270] expands). In order to keep it in equilibrium gravity must act on those parts of Nature the most strongly where the retarding force still has the greatest preponderance.

The body of greatest mass lies closer to the dynamic center in itself than the body of lesser mass. The mass is thus determined by gravity, but not, as one generally says, as if the weight were proportional to the mass.—Is mass then a magnitude known in itself ? Is it recognized, perhaps, through the multitude of its parts? But this multitude is infinite. So no determination of mass through the multitude of its parts is possible; there is no ground of determination of mass aside from the effect of gravity. The product is determinate for every moment of time, but it does not act outside itself, it fills only its sphere; gravity first gives to it the tendency proportional to the degree of its occupation of space, which by this means first becomes a fixed and as such cognizable degree.

Matter only manifests itself through gravity; there may be an imponderable matter, but it does not manifest itself. Therefore, the unity of a material is known only through the unity of its gravity, a multitude of material is organized into a unity because it gives itself a common center of gravity.—Kant understands the essence of solidity as the parts not being able to be pushed into one another without immediately being separated, which means, in other words, that the part has no movement independent of the whole. In the fluid the part is shed from the whole by its sheer weight; the reason for this difference lies in the fact that the fluid body has no common center of gravity and every particle forms its preferred center of gravity. (Therefore, the preferential adoption of the spherical form in the formation of droplets.)—The unity of the center of gravity is that which organizes matter into one, it is the forming, binding, determining element of all formation. [xii]

[271] The two forces, the expansive and the retarding, are the forces of evolution itself; gravity already presupposes evolution, thus gravity can have conditions. It can only be found, for example, at a certain degree of universal evolution; if it is conditioned, then it will be conditioned by the most original reciprocal relation in the universe, i.e., that universal, mutually exercised effect through (magnetic) division. Although it is originally one, it will, in the proportion that the universe evolves itself, split itself into multiple gravities as individual rays. So this force constitutes, as it were, the binding mediator of forces which subtend Nature as a theater, and those which sustain it as a dynamical organization.

Only after the stage is set, as it were, by the higher dynamical forces, can the merely mechanical forces take possession; the consideration of these forces and their laws no longer falls within the limits of the philosophy of nature, which is nothing other than a higher dynamics, and whose spirit is expressed in the principle that views the dynamic as the single positive and original aspect of Nature, the mechanical only as the negative and derived aspect of the dynamical.

It was assumed that Nature is a development from one original involution. This involution cannot be anything real, however, according to the above: thus it can only be thought as act, as ABSOLUTE SYNTHESIS, which is only ideal, and signifies the turning point, as it were, of transcendental philosophy and philosophy of nature.



i. The dynamically infinite is here opposed to the mechanically infinite, i.e., the infinite juxtaposition.— In another sense, dynamical infinity is predicated of the organic product, and probably also of the art product, to the extent that if such a thing should emerge through aggregation (mechanically) no inception of aggregation could be found, because every individual presupposes an infinitely other, and everything other presupposes that individual. (Original note.—Trans.)
ii. The question still to be answered is this: what will the original opposition in the product be found to be from the standpoint of analysis? We now place ourselves wholly on the empirical standpoint, where Nature is merely product to us, in order to see what is to be found in it through analysis. Nature as mere product will appear as development from one original synthesis. But the universal opposition will appear as condition of evolution. That is, if Nature is an absolute synthesis, then the tendency to an infinite development was sown in it with one duality.
iii. insofar as it occurs
iv. happens
v. of infinite expansion; it will have to appear as expansive force
vi. the force of expansion
vii. in both
viii. The force of expansion tends toward the infinitely large according to its nature, and therefore everywhere represents the positive factor.
ix. Expansive and retarding force show themselves here as necessary factors of every occupation of space to a determinate degree.—Since matter, from the merely empirical standpoint, is nothing other than occupation of space, the opposition from the standpoint of analysis too can appear only as an opposition between repulsive and attractive force. This is the point from which Kant begins the dynamical philosophy—the same point at which our theory stops.
If Kant’s expansive and attractive forces (he names “attractive” what we have called “retarding” up to this point) represent nothing other than the original opposition, then he cannot complete the construction of matter from two forces alone. He still requires the third force which fixes the opposition, and which, according to us, is to be sought in the universal striving toward indifference, or in gravity.
x. For what constitutes the quality of a body is not the proportion of the two factors, but the relative preponderance of the one over the other. The body cannot act in the dynamical process with a force immanent and directed to its construction, but only with one reaching out beyond the product.
xi. Other, quite profound reasons against the identity of the two forces can be found in Mr. Baader’s  text mentioned above, exceedingly important for the whole dynamical philosophy, which came too  late into my hands in order to make use of it earlier. (Original note.—Trans.)
xii. Baader in the aforementioned text. (Original note.—Trans.)
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Re: First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature

Postby admin » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:15 am

Part 1 of 3



§.1. What we call Philosophy of Nature is a Necessary Science in the System of Knowledge.

The intelligence is productive in two modes: either blindly and unconsciously, or freely and consciously; it is unconsciously productive in external intuition, consciously in the creation of an ideal world.

Philosophy removes this distinction by assuming the unconscious activity to be originally identical with, and, as it were, sprung from the same root as the conscious. This identity is directly proved in the case of an activity at once clearly conscious and unconscious, which manifests itself in the productions of genius; indirectly, outside of consciousness, in the products of Nature, so far as in all of them the most complete fusion of the ideal and the real is perceived.

Since philosophy assumes the unconscious, or as it may likewise be termed, the real activity to be identical with the conscious or ideal, its tendency will be to bring back everywhere the real to the ideal—a process which gives rise to what is called transcendental philosophy. The regularity displayed in all the movements of Nature—for example, the sublime geometry which is exercised in the motions of the heavenly bodies—is not explained by saying that Nature is the most perfect geometry. Rather conversely, [272] it is explained by saying that the most perfect geometry is the productive power in Nature; a mode of explanation whereby the real itself is transported into the ideal world, and those motions are changed into intuitions which take place only in ourselves, and to which nothing outside of us corresponds. Again, the fact that Nature, wherever it is left to itself, in every transition from a fluid to a solid state, produces of its own accord, as it were, regular forms (a regularity which, in the higher species of crystallization, namely the organic, seems even to become purposefulness); or the fact that in the animal kingdom (that product of the blind forces of Nature) we see actions arise which are equal in regularity to those that take place with consciousness, and even external works of art, perfect in their kind—all of this is explained in our view by saying that it is an unconscious productivity in its origin akin to the conscious, whose mere reflection we see in Nature, and which from the standpoint of the natural view must appear as one and the same blind drive that exerts its influence from crystallization upward to the highest point of organic formation (in which, on one side, through the technical drive, it returns again to mere crystallization) only acting on different planes.

According to this view, since Nature is only the visible organism of our understanding, Nature can produce nothing but what shows regularity and purpose, and Nature is compelled to produce it. But if Nature can produce only the regular, and produces it from necessity, it follows that the origin of such regular and purposeful products must again be capable of being proved to be necessary in the relation of its forces, in Nature thought as independent and real—it follows that therefore, conversely, the ideal must arise out of the real and admit of explanation from it.

Now if it is the task of transcendental philosophy to subordinate the real to the ideal, it is, on the other hand, the task of the philosophy of nature to explain the ideal by the real. The two sciences are therefore but one science, differentiated only in the opposite orientation of their tasks. Moreover, as the [273] two directions are not only equally possible, but equally necessary, the same necessity attaches to both in the system of knowledge.

§.2. Scientific Character of the Philosophy of Nature.

Philosophy of nature, as the opposite of transcendental philosophy, is distinguished from the latter chiefly by the fact that it posits Nature (not, indeed, insofar as it is a product, but insofar as it is at once productive and product) as the self-existent; therefore it can most concisely be designated the Spinozism of physics. It follows naturally from this that there is no place in this science for idealistic methods of explanation, such as transcendental philosophy is fitted to supply, since for it Nature is nothing more than the organ of self-consciousness, and everything in Nature is necessary merely because it is only through the medium of such a Nature that self-consciousness can take place. This mode of explanation, however, is as meaningless for physics (and for our science which occupies the same standpoint) as were the old teleological modes of explanation, and the introduction of a universal reference to final causes into the science of nature, which was adulterated as a result. For every idealistic mode of explanation, dragged out of its own proper sphere and applied to the explanation of Nature, degenerates into the most adventurous nonsense, examples of which are well-known. The first maxim of all true natural science, to explain everything by the forces of Nature, is therefore accepted in its widest extent in our science, and even extended to that region at the limit of which all interpretation of Nature has until now been accustomed to stop short: for example, to those organic phenomena which seem to presuppose an analogy with reason. For, granted that there really is something which presupposes such analogy in the actions of animals, nothing further would follow on the principle of realism than that what we call “reason” is a mere [274] play of higher and necessarily unknown natural forces. For, inasmuch as all thinking is at last reducible to a producing and reproducing, there is nothing impossible in the thought that the same activity by which Nature reproduces itself anew in each successive phase, is reproductive in thought through the medium of the organism (very much in the same manner in which, through the action and play of light, Nature, which exists independently of it, is really created immaterially, and as it were for a second time), in which case it is natural that what forms the limit of our intuitive faculty no longer falls within the sphere of our intuition itself.

§.3. Philosophy of Nature is Speculative Physics.

Our science, as far as we have gone, is thoroughly and completely realistic; it is therefore nothing other than physics, it is only speculative physics. In its tendency it is exactly what the systems of the ancient physicists were, and what, in more recent times, the system of the restorer of Epicurean philosophy is, i.e., Lesage’s mechanical physics, by which the speculative spirit in physics, after a long scientific sleep, has again for the first time been awakened. It cannot be shown in detail here (for the proof itself falls within the sphere of our science) that on the mechanical or atomistic basis that has been adopted by Lesage and his most successful predecessors, the idea of a speculative physics cannot be realized. For, inasmuch as the first problem of this science, that of inquiring into the absolute cause of motion (without which Nature is not in itself a finished whole), is absolutely incapable of a mechanical solution. Because mechanically motion results only from motion to infinity, there remains for the real construction of speculative physics only one way open, the dynamic, with the presupposition that motion arises not only from motion, but even from rest; we suppose, therefore, that there is motion in the rest of Nature, [275] and that all mechanical motion is the merely secondary and derivative motion of that which is solely primitive and original, and which wells forth from the very first factors in the construction of a Nature overall (the fundamental forces).

In making clear the points of difference between our undertaking and all those of a similar nature that have hitherto been attempted, we have at the same time shown the difference between speculative physics and so-called empirical physics; a difference which may principally be reduced to the fact that the former occupies itself solely and entirely with the original causes of motion in Nature, that is, solely with the dynamical phenomena; the latter on the contrary, inasmuch as it never reaches a final source of motion in Nature, deals only with the secondary motions, and even with the original ones only as mechanical (and therefore likewise capable of mathematical construction). The former, in fact, aims generally at the inner clockwork and what is nonobjective in Nature; the latter, on the contrary, only at the surface of Nature, and what is objective and, so to speak, outside in it.

§.4. On the Possibility of Speculative Physics.

Insofar as our inquiry is directed not so much upon the phenomena of Nature as upon their final grounds, and our business is not so much to deduce the latter from the former as the former from the latter, our task is simply this: to erect a science of Nature in the strictest sense of the term; and in order to find out whether speculative physics is possible, we must know what belongs to the possibility of a doctrine of Nature viewed as science.

(a) The idea of knowledge is here taken in its strictest sense, and so it is easy to see that, in this use of the term, we can be said to know objects only when they are such that we see the principles of their possibility, for without this insight my whole knowledge of an object, e.g., of a machine [276] with whose construction I am unacquainted, is a mere seeing, that is, a mere conviction of its existence, whereas the inventor of the machine has the most perfect knowledge of it, because he is, as it were, the soul of the work, and because it preexisted in his head before he exhibited it as a reality.

Now, it would certainly be impossible to get a glimpse of the internal construction of Nature if an invasion of Nature were not possible through freedom. It is true that Nature acts openly and freely; its acts however are never isolated, but performed under the concurrence of a host of causes which must first be excluded if we are to obtain a pure result. Nature must therefore be compelled to act under certain definite conditions, which either do not exist in it at all, or else exist only as modified by others.—Such an invasion of Nature we call an experiment. Every experiment is a question put to Nature, to which it is compelled to give a reply. But every question contains an implicit a priori judgment; every experiment that is an experiment, is a prophecy; experimenting itself is a production of phenomena. The first step toward science, therefore, at least in the domain of physics, is taken when we ourselves begin to produce the objects of that science.

(b) We know only the self-produced; knowing, therefore, in the strictest sense of the term, is a pure knowing a priori. Construction by means of experiment is, after all, not an absolute self-production of the phenomena. There is no question that much in the science of Nature may be known comparatively a priori; as, for example, in the theory of the phenomena of electricity, magnetism, and even light. There is such a simple law recurring in every phenomenon that the results of every experiment may be told beforehand; here my knowing follows immediately from a known law without the intervention of any particular experience. But whence then does the law itself come to me? We suggest that all phenomena are correlated in one absolute and necessary law, from which they can all be deduced; in short, that [277] in natural science all that we know, we know absolutely a priori. Now, that experimentation never leads to such a knowing is plainly manifest from the fact that it can never get beyond the forces of Nature, of which it makes use as means.

Since the final causes of natural phenomena are themselves not phenomenal, we must either give up all attempt ever to arrive at a knowledge of them, or else we must altogether put them into Nature, endow Nature with them. However, that which we put into Nature has no other value than that of a presupposition (hypothesis), and the science founded upon it must be equally as hypothetical as the principle itself. It would be possible to avoid this only in one case, i.e., if that presupposition itself were involuntary, and as necessary as Nature itself. Assuming, for example, what must be assumed, that the sum of phenomena is not a mere world, but of necessity a Nature (that is, that this whole is not merely a product, but at the same time productive), it follows that in this whole we can never arrive at absolute identity, because this would bring about an absolute transition of Nature as productive into Nature as product, that is, it would produce absolute rest. Such a wavering of Nature, therefore, between productivity and product, will necessarily appear as a universal duplicity of principles, whereby Nature is maintained in continual activity, and prevented from exhausting itself in its product; and universal duality as the principle of explanation of Nature will be as necessary as the idea of Nature itself.

This absolute hypothesis must bear its necessity within itself, but it must, besides this, be brought to an empirical test; for, inasmuch as all the phenomena of Nature cannot be deduced from this hypothesis as long as there is in the whole system of Nature a single phenomenon which is not necessary according to that principle, or which contradicts it, the hypothesis is thereby at once shown to be false, and from that moment ceases to have validity as a hypothesis.

[278] By this deduction of all natural phenomena from an absolute hypothesis, our knowing is changed into a construction of Nature itself, that is, into a science of Nature a priori. If, therefore, such deduction itself is possible, a thing which can be proved only by the deed, then too a doctrine of Nature is possible as a science of Nature; a system of purely speculative physics is possible, which was the point to be proved.

Note. There would be no necessity for this remark if the confusion that still prevails in regard to ideas perspicuous enough in themselves did not render some explanation with regard to them requisite.

The assertion that natural science must be able to deduce all its principles a priori is in a sense understood to mean that natural science must dispense with all experience, and, without any intervention of experience, be able to spin all its principles out of itself; an affirmation so absurd that the very objections to it deserve pity.—Not only do we know this or that through experience, but we originally know nothing at all except through experience, and by means of experience, and in this sense the whole of our knowledge consists of the judgments of experience. These judgments become a priori principles when we become conscious of them as necessary, and thus every judgment, whatever its content may be, may be raised to that dignity, insofar as the distinction between a priori and a posteriori judgments is not at all, as many people may have imagined, one originally cleaving to the judgments themselves, but is a distinction made solely with respect to our knowing, and the kind of our knowledge of these judgments, so that every judgment which is merely historical for me—i.e., a judgment of experience—becomes, notwithstanding, an a priori principle as soon as I arrive, whether directly or indirectly, at insight into its internal necessity. Now, however, it must in all cases be possible to recognize every natural phenomenon as absolutely necessary; for, if there is no chance in Nature at all, then likewise no original phenomenon of Nature can be fortuitous; on the contrary, for the very reason that Nature is a system, there must be [279] a necessary connection, in some principle embracing the whole of Nature, for everything that happens or comes to pass in it.—Insight into this internal necessity of all natural phenomena becomes, of course, still more complete, as soon as we reflect that there is no real system which is not, at the same time, an organic whole. For if, in an organic whole, all things mutually bear and support each other, then this organization must have existed as a whole previous to its parts; the whole could not have arisen from the parts, but the parts must have arisen out of the whole. It is not, therefore, that WE KNOW Nature as a priori, but Nature is a priori; that is, everything individual in it is predetermined by the whole or by the idea of a Nature generally. But if Nature is a priori, then it must be possible to recognize it as something that is a priori, and this is really the meaning of our affirmation.

Such a science, like every other, does not deal with the hypothetical or the merely probable, but depends upon the evident and the certain. Now, we may indeed be quite certain that every natural phenomenon, through whatever number of intermediate links, stands in connection with the last conditions of Nature; the intermediate links themselves, however, may be unknown to us, and still lying hidden in the depths of Nature. To find out these links is the work of experimental research. Speculative physics has nothing to do but to show the need of these intermediate links; [i] but since every new discovery throws us back upon a new ignorance, and while one knot is being loosed a new one is being tied, it is conceivable that the complete discovery of all the intermediate links in the chain of Nature, and therefore also our science itself, is an infinite task.—Nothing, however, has more impeded the infinite progress of this science than the arbitrariness of the fictions by which [280] the lack of profound insight was so long doomed to be concealed. The fragmentary nature of our knowledge becomes apparent only when we separate what is merely hypothetical from the pure outcome of science, and then set out to collect the fragments of the great whole of Nature again into a system. It is, therefore, conceivable that speculative physics (the soul of true experimentation) has, throughout all time, been the mother of all great discoveries in Nature.

§.5. On a System of Speculative Physics in General.

Up to this point the idea of speculative physics has been deduced and developed; it is another business to show how this idea must be realized and actually carried out. The author, for this purpose, would at once refer to his Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature, if he had no reason to suspect that many even of those who might consider that Outline worthy of their attention, would come to it with certain preconceived ideas, which he has not presupposed, and which he does not desire to have presupposed by them. The causes which may render an insight into the tendency of that Outline difficult, are (exclusive of defects in presentation) mainly the following:

1) That many persons, perhaps misled by the phrase “philosophy of nature,” expect to find transcendental deductions from natural phenomena, of the sort that exist elsewhere in various fragments, and will regard natural philosophy generally as a part of transcendental philosophy; whereas it forms a science altogether peculiar, altogether different from, and independent of, every other.

2) That the notions of dynamical physics popularized until now are very different from, and partially at variance with, those which the author lays down. I do not speak of the modes of representation which several persons, whose business is really merely experiment, have made up in this connection; for example, where they suppose it to be a dynamical explanation [281] when they reject a galvanic fluid, and accept instead certain vibrations in the metals; for these persons, as soon as they observe that they have understood nothing of the matter, will revert of their own accord to their previous representations, which were made for them. I speak of the modes of representation which have been put into philosophic heads by Kant, and which may be mainly reduced to this: that we see in matter nothing but the occupation of space in definite degrees, and in all variety of matter, therefore, only mere difference of occupation of space (i.e., density), in all dynamic (qualitative) changes only mere changes in the relation of the repulsive and attractive forces. Now, according to this mode of representation, all the phenomena of Nature are seen only on their lowest level, and the dynamical physics of these philosophers begin precisely at the point where they ought properly to leave off. It is indeed certain that the last result of every dynamical process is a changed degree of occupation of space, that is, a changed density; now, since the dynamical process of Nature is one, and the individual dynamical processes are only fragments of the one fundamental process, even magnetic and electrical phenomena, viewed from this standpoint, will not be actions of particular materials, but changes in the constitution of matter itself ; and as this depends upon the mutual action of the fundamental forces, finally, will be changes in the relation of the fundamental forces themselves. We do not indeed deny that these phenomena at the extreme limit of their manifestation are changes in the relation of the principles themselves; we only deny that these changes are nothing more. On the contrary, we are convinced that this so-called dynamical principle is too superficial and defective a basis of explanation for all of Nature’s phenomena in order to reach the real depth and manifoldness of natural phenomena, since by means of it, in fact, no qualitative change of matter as such is constructible (for change of density is only the external phenomenon of a higher change). To adduce proof of this assertion is not incumbent upon us, until, from [282] the opposite side, that principle of explanation is shown by actual fact to exhaust Nature, and the great chasm is filled up between that kind of dynamical philosophy and the empirical attainments of physics (for example, in regard to the very different kinds of effects exhibited by simple substances, a thing which, let us say at once, we consider to be impossible).

We may therefore be permitted, in place of the dynamic mode of representation prevailing until now, to put our own without further ado, a gesture which will no doubt clearly show how the latter differs from the former, and by which of the two the doctrine of Nature may most certainly be raised to a science of Nature.

§.6. Internal Organization of the System of Speculative Physics.


An inquiry into the principle of speculative physics must be preceded by inquiries into the distinction between the speculative and the empirical generally. This distinction depends mainly upon our conviction that between empiricism and theory there is such a complete opposition that there can be no third thing in which the two may be united; that, therefore, the idea of “experimental science” is a mongrel idea that implies no consistent thought, or rather, is an idea which cannot be thought at all. What is pure empiricism is not science, and conversely, what is science is not empiricism. This is not said for the purpose of at all deprecating empiricism, but is meant to exhibit it in its true and proper light. Pure empiricism, be its object what it may, is history (the absolute opposite of theory), and conversely, history alone is empiricism. [ii]

[283] Physics, as empiricism, is nothing but a collection of facts, of accounts of what has been observed, what has happened under natural or artificial circumstances. In what we at present call physics, empiricism and science run riot together, and for that very reason they are neither one thing nor another. Our aim, in view of this object, is to separate science and empiricism as soul and body, and by admitting nothing into science which is not susceptible of an a priori construction, to strip empiricism of all theory, and restore it to its original nakedness.

The opposition between empiricism and science rests therefore upon this: that the former regards its object in being, as something already prepared and accomplished; science, on the other hand, views its object in becoming, and as something that has yet to be accomplished. As science cannot set out from anything that is a product, that is, a thing, it must set out from the unconditioned; the first inquiry of speculative physics is that which relates to the unconditioned in natural science.


As this inquiry is, in the Outline, deduced from the highest principles, the following may be regarded as merely an illustration of those inquiries. Inasmuch as everything of which we can say that it is, is of a conditioned nature, it is only being itself that can be the unconditioned. But seeing the individual being, as a conditioned thing, can only be thought as a particular limitation of the productive activity (the sole and ultimate substrate of all reality), being itself is thought as the same productive activity in its unlimitedness. For the science of nature, therefore, Nature is originally only productivity, and from this as its principle science must set out.

[284] As long as we only know the totality of objects as the sum total of all being, this totality is a mere world, that is, a mere product for us. It would certainly be impossible in the science of nature to rise to a higher idea than that of being if all permanence (which is thought in the idea of being) were not deceptive, and really a continuous and uniform reproduction.

Insofar as we regard the totality of objects not merely as a product, but at the same time necessarily as productive, it becomes Nature for us, and this identity of the product and the productivity, and this alone, is implied by the idea of Nature, even in the ordinary use of language. Nature as a mere product (natura naturata) we call Nature as object (with this alone all empiricism deals). Nature as productivity (natura naturans) we call Nature as subject (with this alone all theory deals).

As the object is never unconditioned, something absolutely nonobjective must be put into Nature; this absolutely nonobjective factor is nothing else but the original productivity of Nature. In the conventional view productivity vanishes in the product; conversely, in the philosophic view the product vanishes into the productivity.

Such an identity of the product and the productivity in the original conception of Nature is expressed by the ordinary view of Nature as a whole, which is at once the cause and the effect of itself, and is in its duplicity (which runs through all phenomena) again identical. Furthermore, with this idea the identity of the real and the ideal agrees, an identity which is thought in the idea of every product of Nature, and with respect to which only the nature of art can be placed in contrast. For whereas in art the idea precedes the act or the execution, in Nature idea and act are rather contemporary and one; the idea passes immediately over into the product, and cannot be separated from it.

[285] This identity is canceled by the empirical perspective, which sees in Nature only the effect (although on account of the continual wandering of empiricism into the field of science, we have, even in purely empirical physics, maxims which presuppose an idea of Nature as subject; such as, for example, “Nature chooses the shortest way”; “Nature is sparing in causes and lavish in effects”); the identity is also canceled by speculation, which looks only at cause in Nature.


We can say of Nature as object that it is, not of Nature as subject; for this is being or productivity itself. This absolute productivity must pass over into an empirical nature. In the idea of absolute productivity is the thought of an ideal infinity. The ideal infinity must become an empirical one. But empirical infinity is an infinite becoming.—Every infinite series is but the exhibition of an intellectual or ideal infinity. The original infinite series (the ideal of all infinite series) is that wherein our intellectual infinity evolves itself, i.e., time. The activity which sustains this series is the same as that which sustains our consciousness; consciousness, however, is continuous. Time, therefore, as the evolution of that activity, cannot be produced by composition. Now, as all other infinite series are only imitations of the originally infinite series, time, no infinite series can be otherwise than continuous. In the original evolution the inhibiting agent (without which the evolution would take place with infinite rapidity) is nothing but original reflection; the necessity of reflection upon our acting in every organic moment (continued duplicity in identity) is the secret stroke of art whereby our being receives permanence.—Absolute continuity, therefore, exists only for intuition, but not for [286] reflection. Intuition and reflection are opposed to each other. The infinite series is continuous for productive intuition, interrupted and composite for reflection. It is upon this contradiction between intuition and reflection that those sophisms are based, in which the possibility of all motion is contested, and which are solved at every successive step by the productive activity. For intuition, for example, the action of gravity takes place with perfect continuity; for reflection, by fits and starts. Hence all the laws of mechanics, whereby that which is properly only the object of the productive intuition becomes an object of reflection, are really only laws for reflection.—Hence those fictitious notions of mechanics, the atoms of time in which gravitation acts, the law that the moment of solicitation is infinitely small because otherwise an infinite rapidity would be produced in finite time, etc., etc. Hence, finally, the assertion that in mathematics no infinite series can really be represented as continuous, but only as advancing by fits and starts.

The whole of this inquiry into the opposition between reflection and the productivity of intuition serves only to enable us to deduce the general statement that in all productivity, and in productivity alone, is there absolute continuity; a statement of importance in the consideration of the whole of Nature. For example, when the law that in Nature there is no leap, that there is a continuity of forms in it, etc., is confined to the original productivity of Nature, in which certainly there must be continuity, and where from the standpoint of reflection all things must appear disconnected and without continuity, placed beside each other, as it were, we must therefore admit that both parties are right. Those who assert continuity in Nature (for example, in organic Nature) are correct, no less than those who deny it, when we take into consideration the difference of their respective standpoints; and we thus at the same time come upon the distinction between dynamical and atomistic physics; for, as will soon become apparent, the two are distinguished only by the fact that the former occupies the standpoint of intuition, the latter that of reflection.
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Re: First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature

Postby admin » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:15 am

Part 2 of 3



Assuming these general principles, we shall be able, with more certainty, to reach our aim and provide an exposition of the internal organization of our system.

(a) In the idea of becoming, we think the idea of gradualness. But an absolute productivity will exhibit itself empirically as a becoming with infinite rapidity, whereby nothing real results for the intuition. (Since Nature must in reality be thought as engaged in infinite evolution, the permanence, the resting of the products of Nature (the organic ones, for instance), is not to be viewed as an absolute resting, but only as an evolution proceeding with infinitely small rapidity or with infinite tardiness. However, at this point evolution, with even finite rapidity, not to speak of infinitely small rapidity, has not been constructed.)

(b) It is not thinkable that the evolution of Nature should take place with finite rapidity, and thus become an object of intuition, without an original limitation (a being limited) of the productivity.

(c) But if Nature is absolute productivity, then the ground of this limitation cannot lie outside of it. Nature is originally only productivity; there can, therefore, be nothing determined in this productivity (all determination is negation) and so products can never be reached by it.—If products are to be reached, the productivity must pass from being undetermined to being determined, that is, it must, as pure productivity, be canceled. If the ground of determination of productivity lay outside of Nature, Nature would not originally be absolute productivity. Determination, that is, negation, must certainly come into Nature; but this negation viewed from a higher standpoint must again be positivity.

(d) But if the ground of this limitation lies within Nature itself, then Nature ceases to be pure identity. (Nature, in so far as it is only productivity, is pure identity, and there [288] is absolutely nothing in it capable of being distinguished. In order for anything to be distinguished in it, its identity must be canceled; Nature must not be identity, but duplicity.)

Nature must originally be an object to itself; this change of the pure subject into an object to itself is unthinkable without an original diremption in Nature itself.

This duplicity cannot therefore be further deduced physically; for, as the condition of all Nature generally, it is the principle of all physical explanation, and all physical explanation can only have for its aim the reduction of all the antitheses which appear in Nature to that original antithesis in the heart of Nature, which does not, however, itself appear.—Why is there no original phenomenon of Nature without this duplicity, if in Nature all things are not mutually subject and object to each other to infinity, and Nature even, in its origin, is not at once product and productive?—

(e) If Nature is originally duplicity, there must even be opposite tendencies in the original productivity of Nature. (The positive tendency must be opposed by another, which is, as it were, antiproductive, retarding production; not as the contradictory, but as the negative, the real opposite of the former.) It is only then that, in spite of its being limited, there is no passivity in Nature, even when that which limits it is again positive, and its original duplicity is a contest of real antithetical tendencies.

(f ) In order to arrive at a product, these opposite tendencies must encounter one another. But since they are supposed equal (for there is no ground for supposing them unequal), wherever they meet they will annihilate each other; the product is therefore to 0, and once more no product is reached.

This inevitable, though hitherto not very closely remarked contradiction (namely, that a product can arise only through the concurrence of opposite tendencies, while at the same time these opposite tendencies mutually annihilate each other) can be solved only in the following manner.

Absolutely no subsistence of a product is thinkable without [289] a continual process of being reproduced. The product must be thought as annihilated at every step, and at every step reproduced anew. We do not really see the subsisting of a product, but only the continual process of being reproduced. (It is of course quite conceivable how the series 1 - 1 + 1 - 1 . . . on to infinity is thought as equal neither to 1 nor to 0. The reason why this series is thought as = 1/2 lies deeper. There is one absolute magnitude ( 1) which, though continually annihilated in this series, continually recurs, and by this recurrence produces, not itself, but the mean between itself and nothing.—Nature, as object, is that which comes to pass in such an infinite series, and is = a fraction of the original unit, to which the never canceled duplicity supplies the numerator.)

(g) If the subsistence of the product is a continual process of being reproduced, then all persistence also only exists in Nature as object; in Nature as subject there is only infinite activity. The product is originally nothing but a mere point, a mere limit, and it is only through Nature’s battling against this point that it is, so to speak, raised to a full sphere, to a product. (Suppose, for illustration, a stream; it is pure identity; where it meets resistance, a whirlpool is formed; this whirlpool is not an abiding thing, but something that vanishes at every moment, and every moment springs up anew.—Originally, in Nature there is nothing distinguishable; all products are, so to speak, still in solution, and invisible in the universal productivity. It is only when retarding points are given that they are thrown off and advance out of the universal identity.—At every such point the stream breaks (the productivity is annihilated), but at every step there comes a new wave which fills up the sphere).

The philosophy of nature does not have to explain the productive power of Nature; for if it does not posit this as originally in Nature it will never bring it into Nature. It has to explain the permanent. But the fact that anything should become permanent in Nature, can itself [290] only be explained by that contest of Nature against all permanence. The products would appear as mere points if Nature did not give them extension and depth by its own pressure, and the products themselves would last only an instant if Nature did not at every moment shove into them.

(h) This seeming product, which is reproduced at every step, cannot be a really infinite product; for otherwise productivity would actually be exhausted in it. In like manner it cannot be a finite product; for the force of the whole of Nature itself surges into it. It must therefore be at once infinite and finite; it must be only seemingly finite, but in infinite development.

The point at which this product originally enters is the universal point of inhibition in Nature, the point from which all evolution in Nature begins. But in Nature, as it is evolved, this point lies not here or there, but everywhere where there is a product.

This product is a finite one, but as the infinite productivity of Nature concentrates itself in it, it must have a drive toward infinite development.— And thus gradually, and through all the foregoing intermediate links, we have arrived at the construction of that infinite becoming, the empirical exhibition of an ideal infinity.

We behold in what is called Nature (i.e., in this collection of individual objects), not the primal product itself, but its evolution (hence the point of inhibition cannot remain one).—It has not yet been explained by what means this evolution is again absolutely inhibited (which must happen if we are to arrive at a fixed product).—

Through this product an original infinity evolves itself; this infinity can never decrease. The magnitude that evolves itself in an infinite series is still [291] infinite at every point of the line, and thus Nature will be still infinite at every point of the evolution.

There is only one original point of inhibition to productivity; but any number of points of inhibition to evolution may be thought. Every such point is marked for us by a product. Nature is still infinite at every point of the evolution, however; therefore Nature is still infinite in every product, and the germ of a universe lies in every one. [iii]

(The question, by what means the infinite striving is retarded in the product, is still unanswered. The original inhibition in the productivity of Nature explains only why the evolution takes place with finite rapidity, but not why it takes place with infinitely small rapidity.)

(i) The product evolves itself to infinity. In this evolution, therefore, nothing can happen which is not already a product (synthesis) and which might not divide up into new factors, each of these again having its factors. Thus even by an analysis pursued to infinity, we could never arrive at anything in Nature which would be absolutely simple.

(k) If, however, we suppose the evolution to be completed (although it never can be completed), the evolution could not stop at anything which was a product, but only at the purely productive.

The question arises whether a final term—one that is no longer a substrate, but the cause of all substrate, no longer a product, but absolutely productive— we will not say “occurs,” for that is unthinkable, but can at least be proved in experience.

(l) Since it bears the character of the unconditioned, it would have to exhibit itself as something which, although itself not in space, is still the principle of all occupation of space. (See the Outline, p. 19.)

[292] What occupies space is not matter, for matter is the occupied space itself. That, therefore, which occupies space cannot be matter. Only that which is, is in space, but being itself is not.

It is self-evident that no positive external intuition of that which is not in space is possible. It would therefore have to be capable of being exhibited at least negatively. This happens in the following manner. That which is in space, is, as such, mechanically and chemically destructible. That which is not destructible either mechanically or chemically must therefore lie beyond space. It is only the final ground of all quality that has anything of this nature; for although one quality may be extinguished by another, this can nevertheless only happen in a third product, C, for the formation and maintenance of which A and B (the opposite factors of C), must continue to act.

But this indestructible factor, which is thinkable only as pure intensity, is, as the cause of all substrate, at the same time the principle of divisibility to infinity. (A body divided to infinity still occupies space to the same degree as its smallest part.)

That, therefore, which is purely productive without being a product is but the ultimate ground of quality. But every quality is a determinate one, whereas productivity is originally indeterminate. In the qualities, therefore, productivity appears as already inhibited, and since it appears most originally in them overall, it appears in them most originally inhibited.

This is the point at which our mode of conception diverges from that of conventional so-called dynamical physics. Our assertion, briefly stated, is this:

If the infinite evolution of Nature were completed (which is impossible) it would separate out into original and simple actants, or, if we may so express ourselves, into simple productivities. Our assertion therefore is not that there are such simple actants in Nature, [293] but only that they are the ideal grounds of the explanation of quality. These entelechies cannot actually be shown, they do not exist. We therefore do not have to explain anything more than is asserted here, namely, that such original productivities must be thought as the grounds of the explanation of all quality. This proof is as follows:

The affirmation that nothing which is in space is mechanically simple, that is, that nothing at all is mechanically simple, requires no demonstration. That, therefore, which is in reality simple, cannot be thought as in space, but must be thought as outside of space. But beyond space only pure intensity is thought. This idea of pure intensity is expressed by the idea of the actant. It is not the product of this action that is simple, but the actant itself abstracted from the product, and it must be simple in order that the product may be infinitely divisible. For although the parts are near vanishing, the intensity must still remain. And this pure intensity is what, even in infinite divisibility, sustains the substrate.

If, therefore, the assertion that affirms something simple as the basis of the explanation of quality is atomistic, then our philosophy is atomistic. But, inasmuch as it places the simple in something that is only productive without being a product, it is dynamical atomism.

It is clear that if we admit an absolute division of Nature into its factors, the last factor that remains over must be something that absolutely defies all division, that is, the simple. But the simple can only be thought as dynamical, and as such it is not in space at all (it designates only what is thought as altogether beyond occupation of space); therefore, no intuition of it is possible, except through its product. In like manner, no measure for it is given other than its product. To pure thought it is the mere inception of the product (as the point is only the origin of the line), in a word, pure entelechy. But that which is known, not in itself, but only in its product, is known altogether empirically. If, therefore, every original quality, as quality [294] (not as substrate, in which quality merely inheres), must be thought as pure intensity, pure action, then qualities generally are just the absolutely empirical factors in our knowledge of Nature, of which no construction is possible, and in respect to which there remains nothing for the philosophy of nature except the proof that they are the absolute limit of its construction.

The question in reference to the ground of quality posits the evolution of Nature as completed, that is, it posits something merely thought, and therefore can be answered only by an ideal ground of explanation. This question adopts the standpoint of reflection (on the product), whereas genuine dynamics always remains on the standpoint of intuition.—

(However, it must be at once remarked here that if the ground of the explanation of quality is conceived as an ideal one, the question only regards the explanations of quality, insofar as it is thought as absolute. There is no question of quality, for instance, insofar as it shows itself in the dynamical process. There is certainly a [iv] ground of explanation and determination for quality, so far as it is relative; quality in that case is determined by its opposite, with which it is placed in conflict, and this antithesis is itself again determined by a higher antithesis, and so on back into infinity; so that, if this universal organization could dissolve itself, all matter would likewise sink back into dynamical inactivity, that is, into absolute absence of quality. Quality is a higher power of matter, to which the latter elevates itself by reciprocity.) It is demonstrated below that the dynamical process is a limited one for each individual sphere, because it is only through limitation that definite points of relation for the determination of quality arise. This limitation of the dynamical process, that is, the proper determination of quality, takes place by means of no other force than that by which the evolution is universally and absolutely limited, and this negative element in things is the only one that is indivisible, and mastered by nothing. —The [295] absolute relativity of all quality may be shown from the electric relation of bodies, inasmuch as the same body that is positive with one is negative with another, and conversely. But we might from now on abide by the statement (which is also laid down in the Outline) that all quality is electricity, and conversely, the electricity of a body is also its quality (for all difference of quality is equal to difference of electricity, and all [v] quality is reducible to electricity).—Everything that is sensible for us (sensible in the narrower sense of the term, as colors, taste, etc.), is doubtless sensible to us only through electricity, and the only immediately sensible factor would then be electricity, [vi] a conclusion to which the universal duality of every sense leads us independently, since in Nature there is properly only one duality. In galvanism, sensibility, as a reagent, reduces all quality of bodies for which it is a reagent to an original difference. All bodies which, in a chain, at all affect the sense of taste or that of sight, be their differences ever so great, are either alkaline or acid, excite a negative or positive shock, and here they always appear as active in a higher than the merely chemical potency.

Quality considered as absolute is inconstructible, because quality generally is not anything absolute, and there is no other quality at all except that which bodies show mutually in relation to each other, and all quality is something by virtue of which the body is, so to speak, raised above itself.

All previous attempts at the construction of quality are reducible to two: to express qualities by figures, and so to assume a particular figure in Nature for each original quality; or else, [296] to express quality by analytical formulae (in which the forces of attraction and repulsion supply the negative and positive magnitudes). To convince oneself of the futility of the latter attempt, the shortest method is to appeal to the emptiness of the explanations to which it gives rise. Hence we limit ourselves here to the single remark that through the construction of all matter out of the two fundamental forces, different degrees of density may indeed be constructed, but certainly never different qualities as qualities; for although all dynamical (qualitative) changes appear, at their lowest stage, as changes of the fundamental forces, yet we see at that stage only the product of the process, not the process itself, and those changes are what require explanation, and the ground of explanation must therefore certainly be sought in something higher.—

The only possible ground of explanation for quality is an ideal one; because this ground itself presupposes something purely ideal. Whoever inquires into the final ground of quality is transported back to the starting point of Nature. But where is this starting point? And does not all quality consist in this, that matter is prevented by the general concatenation from reverting into its originality?

From the point at which reflection and intuition separate (a separation which is possible only on the hypothesis of the completed evolution), physics divides into two opposite directions, into which the two systems, the atomistic and the dynamical, have been divided.

The dynamical system denies the absolute evolution of Nature, and passes from Nature as synthesis (= Nature as subject) to Nature as evolution (= Nature as object); the atomistic system passes from the evolution, as the original, to Nature as synthesis; dynamics passes from the standpoint of intuition to that of reflection; atomistics from the standpoint of reflection to that of intuition.

Both directions are equally possible. If only the analysis is correct, then the synthesis must be capable of being found again through analysis, just as [297] the analysis in its turn can be found through the synthesis. But whether the analysis is correct can be tested only by the fact that we can pass from it again to the synthesis. The synthesis therefore is, and continues to be, the absolutely presupposed.

The problems of the one system turn exactly around into those of the other; that which, in atomical physics, is the cause of the composition of Nature is, in dynamical physics, that which inhibits evolution. The former explains the composition of Nature by the force of cohesion, by means of which, however, no continuity is ever introduced into it; the latter, on the contrary, explains cohesion by the continuity of evolution. (All cohesion is originally only in the productivity.)

Both systems set out from something purely ideal. Absolute synthesis is as much purely ideal as absolute analysis. The real occurs only in Nature as product; but Nature is not product, neither when thought as absolute involution or as absolute evolution; product is what is contained between the two extremes.

The first problem for both systems is to construct the product, i.e., that in which the opposites become real. Both reckon with purely ideal magnitudes so long as the product is not constructed; it is only in the directions in which they accomplish this that they are opposed. Both systems, as far as they have to deal with merely ideal factors, have the same value, and the one forms the test of the other.—That which is concealed in the depths of productive Nature must be reflected as product in Nature as Nature, and thus the atomistic system must be the continual reflection of the dynamical. In the Outline, of the two directions, that of atomistic physics has been chosen intentionally. It will contribute not a little to the understanding of our science if we here demonstrate in the productivity what was there shown in the product.

(m) In the pure productivity of Nature absolutely nothing is distinguishable without diremption; [298] it is only productivity dualized in itself that gives the product.

Since the absolute productivity arrives only at producing per se, not at the producing of a determinate something, the tendency of Nature, by virtue of which a product is arrived at, must be the negative of productivity.

In Nature, insofar as it is real, there can no more be productivity without a product than a product without productivity. Nature can only approximate to the two extremes, and it must be demonstrated that it approximates to both.

(α) Pure productivity originally passes into formlessness.

Wherever Nature loses itself in formlessness, productivity is exhausted in it. (This is what we express when we talk of a “becoming latent.”)—Conversely, wherever the form predominates, i.e., wherever the productivity is limited, the productivity manifests itself; it appears, not as a (representable) product, but as productivity, although passing over into one product, as in the phenomena of heat. (The idea of imponderables is only a symbolic one.)

(β) If productivity passes into formlessness, then, objectively considered, it is the absolutely formless.

(The boldness of the atomical system has been very imperfectly comprehended.— The idea which prevails in it, that of an absolutely formless element everywhere incapable of manifestation as determinate matter, is nothing other than the symbol of Nature approximating to productivity.—The nearer to productivity the nearer to formlessness.)

(γ) Productivity appears as productivity only when limits are set to it.

That which is everywhere and in everything, is, for that very reason, nowhere.—Productivity is fixed only by limitation.—Electricity exists only at that point at which limits are given, and it is only a poverty of conception that would look for anything else in its phenomena [299] beyond the phenomena of (limited) productivity.—The condition of light is an antithesis in the electric and galvanic processes, as well as in the chemical process, and even light which comes to us without our cooperation (the phenomenon of productivity exerted all around by the Sun) presupposes that antithesis. [vii]

( δ) It is only limited productivity that gives rise to the product.

(The explanation of the product must begin at the origination of the fixed point at which the start is made.)—The condition of all formation is duality. (This is the more profound signification that lies in Kant’s construction of matter from opposite forces.) Electrical phenomena are the general scheme for the construction of matter universally.

(ε) In Nature, neither pure productivity nor pure product can ever exist.

The former is the negation of all product, the latter the negation of all productivity. (Approximation to the former is the absolutely decomposable, to the latter the absolutely indecomposable substance of the atomists. The former cannot be thought without, at the same time, being the absolutely incomposable, the latter without, at the same time, being the absolutely composable.)

Nature will therefore originally be the mean factor arising out of the two, and thus we arrive at the idea of a productivity engaged in a transition into product, or of a product that is productive to infinity.—We hold to the latter definition. The idea of the product (the fixed) and that of the productive (the free) are mutually opposed.—Since what we have postulated is already [300] product, it can be productive, if it is productive at all, only in a determinate way. But determined productivity is (active) formation. That third factor must therefore be in the state of formation.

But the product is supposed to be productive to infinity (that transition is never to take place absolutely); it will therefore be productive at every stage in a determinate way; the productivity will remain, but not the product.

(The question might arise how a transition from form to form is possible at all here, when no form is fixed. Still, that momentary forms should be reached has already been rendered possible by the fact that the evolution cannot take place with infinite rapidity, in which case, therefore, for every moment at least, the form is certainly a determinate one.) The product will appear to be gripped in infinite metamorphosis.

(From the standpoint of reflection, it will appear to be continually in the leap from fluid to solid, without ever reaching, however, the form sought.— Organisms that do not live in the cruder element at least live on the deep ground of the aerial sea—many pass over, by metamorphoses, from one element into another; and what does the animal, whose vital functions almost all consist in contractions, appear to be, other than such a leap?)

The metamorphosis will not possibly take place without rule. For it must remain within the original antithesis, and is thereby confined within limits. [viii] (This accordance with rule will express itself solely by an internal relationship of forms, a relationship which again is not thinkable without an archetype which lies at the basis of all—and which, with however manifold divergences, they nevertheless all express.)

But even with such a product we do not have that which we [301] were searching for, a product which, while productive to infinity, remains the same. That this product should remain the same seems unthinkable, because it is not thinkable without an absolute inhibition or cancellation of the productivity.— The product would have to be inhibited as the productivity was inhibited, for it is still productive, inhibited by diremption and the limitation resulting from it. But it must at the same time be explained how the productive product can be inhibited at each individual stage of its formation, without its ceasing to be productive, or how, by diremption itself, the permanence of the productivity is secured.

In this way we have brought the reader as far as the problem of the fourth section of the Outline, and we leave him to find in it for himself the solution, along with the corollaries which it brings up.—Meanwhile, we shall endeavor to indicate how the deduced product would necessarily appear from the standpoint of reflection.

The product is the synthesis wherein the opposite extremes meet, which on the one side are designated by the absolutely decomposable, on the other the indecomposable.—How continuity comes into the absolute discontinuity with which the atomic philosopher sets out, he endeavors to explain by means of cohesive, plastic power, etc. But he does so in vain, for continuity is only productivity itself.

The manifoldness of the forms which such a product assumes in its metamorphosis was explained by the difference in the stages of development, such that parallel with every step of development goes a particular form.—The atomic philosopher posits in Nature certain fundamental forms, and since in it everything strives toward form, and everything which does form itself also has its particular form, so the fundamental forms must be conceded, but certainly only as indicated in Nature, not as actu existent.

From the standpoint of reflection, the becoming of this product must appear as a continual striving of the original actants toward the production of a determinate form, and a continual annihilation of those forms again. [302] Thus, the product would not be the product of a simple tendency—it would only be the visible expression of an internal proportion, of an internal equipoise of the original actants, which neither reduce themselves mutually to absolute formlessness, nor yet do they allow the production of a determinate and fixed form, on account of the universal conflict.

Until now (so long as we have had to deal merely with ideal factors), opposite directions of investigation have been possible; from this point, since we have to pursue a real product in its developments, there is only one direction.

(m) By the unavoidable separation of productivity into opposite directions at every single stage of development the product itself is separated into individual products by which, however, for that very reason, only different stages of development are marked.

That this is so may be shown either in the products themselves, as is done when we compare them with each other with regard to their form and seek a continuity of formation. This is an idea which, from the fact that continuity is never in the products (for the reflection), but always only in the productivity, can never be perfectly realized.

In order to find continuity in productivity, the successive steps of the transition of productivity into product must be more clearly exhibited than they have been until now.—By the fact that the productivity gets limited (see above), we have in the first instance only the inception of a product, only the fixed point for the productivity overall.—It must be shown how the productivity gradually materializes itself and changes itself into products ever more and more fixed, so as to produce a dynamically graduated scale in Nature, and this is the real subject of the fundamental problem of the whole system.

(In advance, the following may serve to throw light on the subject.—In the first place, a diremption of the productivity is demanded; the cause through which this diremption is effected remains in the first instance altogether outside of the investigation. [303]—An alternation of contraction and expansion is perhaps conditioned by diremption. This alternation is not something in matter, but is matter itself, and the first stage of productivity passing over into product.—Product cannot be reached except through a stoppage of this change, that is, through a third factor which fixes that change itself, and thus matter in its lowest stage—in the first power—would be an object of intuition; that change would be seen in rest, or in equilibrium, just as, conversely again, by the cancellation of the third factor, matter might be raised to a higher power.—Now it might be possible that those products just deduced stood upon quite different levels of materiality, or of that transition, or that those different levels were more or less distinguishable in the one than in the other— that is, a dynamically graduated scale of those products would thereby have to be demonstrated.)

(n) In the solution of the problem itself we shall continue in the direction hitherto taken, for the time being, without knowing where it may lead us.

Individual products are brought into Nature; but in these products productivity, as productivity, is still held to be always distinguishable. Productivity has not yet absolutely passed over into product. The subsistence of the product is supposed to be a continual self-reproduction. The problem arises, by what is this absolute transition—exhaustion of the productivity in the product— prevented? Or by what means does its subsistence become a continual self-reproduction?

It is absolutely unthinkable how the activity that everywhere tends toward a product is prevented from going over into it entirely, unless that transition is prevented by external influences, and the product, if it is to subsist, is compelled at every moment to reproduce itself anew.

Up to this point, however, no trace has been discovered of a cause opposed to the product (to organic nature).—Such a cause can, therefore, at present, only be postulated. (We thought [304] we saw the whole of Nature exhaust itself in that product, and it is only here that we note that in order to comprehend such a product something else must be presupposed, and a new antithesis must come into Nature. Nature has been for us absolute identity in duplicity— here we come upon an antithesis that must again take place within the other.— This antithesis must be capable of being shown in the deduced product itself, if it is capable of being deduced at all.)

The deduced product is an activity directed outward—this cannot be distinguished as such without an activity directed inward from without (i.e., directed upon itself ), and this activity, on the other hand, cannot be thought unless it is counteracted (reflected) from without.

In the opposite directions, which arise through this antithesis, lies the principle for the construction of all the phenomena of life—upon the cancellation of those opposite directions, life remains over either as absolute activity or absolute receptivity, since it is only possible as the perfect reciprocal determination of receptivity and activity.

We therefore refer the reader to the Outline itself, and merely call his attention to the higher stage of construction which we have here reached.

We have above (g) explained the origin of a product generally by a struggle of Nature against the original point of inhibition, through which this point is raised to a full sphere, and thus receives permanence.—Here, since we are deducing a struggle of external Nature, not against a mere point, but against a product, the first construction rises for us to a second power, as it were; we have a doubled product (and thus it might well be shown subsequently that organic nature generally is only the higher power of the inorganic, and that it rises above the latter for the very reason that in it precisely that which was already product again becomes product).

[305] Since the product, which we have deduced as the most primary, drives us to a side of Nature that is opposed to it, it is clear that our construction of the origin of a product generally is incomplete, and that we have not yet, by far, satisfied our problem—(the problem of all science is to construct the origin of a fixed product). A productive product, as such, can subsist only under the influence of external forces, because it is only thereby that productivity is interrupted, prevented from being extinguished in the product.—There must now be again a particular sphere for these external forces; these forces must lie in a world which is not productive. But that world, for this very reason, would be a world fixed and undetermined in every respect. The problem of how a product comes to exist in Nature has therefore received a onesided solution through all that has preceded. “The product is inhibited by diremption of the productivity at every single stage of development.” But this is true only for the productive product, whereas we are here dealing with a nonproductive product.

The contradiction that we encounter here can be resolved only by finding a general expression for the construction of a product generally (regardless of whether it is productive or has ceased to be so).

Since the existence of a world that is not productive (inorganic) is for the time being merely postulated in order to explain the productive one, its conditions can be laid down only hypothetically; and as we do not in the first instance know it at all except through its opposition to the productive, those conditions likewise must be deduced only from this opposition.—(From this it is of course clear (also referred to in the Outline) that this second section, as well as the first, contains throughout merely hypothetical truth, since neither organic nor inorganic nature is explained without our having reduced the construction of the two to a common expression, which, however, is possible only [306] through the synthetic part.—This must lead to the highest and most universal principles for the construction of a Nature generally; hence we must refer the reader who is concerned about a knowledge of our system altogether to that part.)—The hypothetical deduction of an inorganic world and its conditions we may pass over here all the more readily, since they are sufficiently detailed in the Outline, and hasten to the most universal and highest problem of our science.

The most universal problem of speculative physics may now be expressed thus: to reduce the construction of organic and inorganic products to a common expression. We can only provide the main principles of such a solution, and of these, for the most part, only such as have not been completely educed in the Outline itself (third principal division).


Here at the very beginning we lay down the principle that since the organic product is the product in the second power, the ORGANIC construction of the product must be, at least, the sensuous image of the ORIGINAL construction of EVERY product.

(a) In order that the productivity may be at all fixed at a point, limits must be given. Since limits are the condition of the first phenomenon, the cause through which limits are produced cannot be a phenomenon, it withdraws into the interior of Nature, or the interior of each respective product. In organic nature, this limitation of productivity is shown by what we call sensibility, which must be thought as the first condition of the construction of the organic product.

(b) The immediate effect of confined productivity is an alternation of contraction and expansion in the matter already given, and as we now know, constructed, as it were, for the second time.

[307] (c) Where this alternation ceases, productivity passes over into product, and where it is again restored, product passes over into productivity.— For since the product must remain productive to infinity, those three stages of productivity must be capable of being DISTINGUISHED in the product; the absolute transition of the latter into product is the canceling of product itself.

(d) Just as these three stages are distinguishable in the individual, they must be distinguishable in organic nature as a whole, and the graduated series of organizations is nothing more than a graduated scale of productivity itself. (Productivity exhausts itself to degree c in the product A, and can begin with the product B only at the point where it left off with A, that is, with degree d, and so on downward to the vanishing of all productivity. If we knew the absolute degree of productivity of the Earth for example (which is determined by the Earth’s relation to the Sun) the limit of organization upon it might be more accurately determined by this means than by incomplete experience—which must be incomplete for this reason, if for no other, that the catastrophes of Nature have, beyond doubt, swallowed the last links of the chain.—A true system of natural history, which has for its object not the products of Nature but Nature itself, follows the one productivity that battles, so to speak, against freedom, through all its windings and sinuosities, to the point at which it is at last compelled to perish in the product.)

It is upon this dynamical graduated scale in the individual, as well as in the whole of organic nature, that the construction of all organic phenomena
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Re: First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature

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Part 3 of 3

B. [ix]

These principles, stated universally, lead to the following fundamental principles of a universal theory of Nature.

[308] (a) Productivity must be primarily limited. Since outside of limited productivity there is [x] pure identity, the limitation cannot be established by a difference already existing, and therefore must be furnished by an opposition arising in productivity itself, to the existence of which we here revert as a first postulate. [xi]

(b) This difference thought purely is the first condition of all [xii] activity, the productivity is attracted and repelled [xiii] between opposites (the primary limits); in this alternation of expansion and contraction there necessarily arises a common element, but one which exists only in change.—If it is to exist outside of change, then the change itself must become fixed.—The active factor in change is the productivity sundered within itself.

(c) It is asked:

(α) By what means such alternation can be fixed at all.—It cannot be fixed by anything that is contained as a member in the alternation itself, and must therefore be fixed by a tertium quid.

( β) But this tertium quid must be able to prehend that original antithesis; however, outside of that antithesis nothing exists [xiv]—it [xv] must therefore be originally contained in it, as something that is mediated by the antithesis, and by which in turn the antithesis is mediated; for otherwise there is no reason why it should be originally contained in that antithesis.

[309] The antithesis is dissolution of identity. But Nature is primarily identity.—In that antithesis, therefore, there must again be a striving toward identity. This striving is immediately conditioned through the antithesis; for if there was no antithesis, there would be identity, absolute rest, and therefore no striving toward identity. [xvi]—If, on the other hand, there were not identity in the antithesis, the antithesis itself could not endure.

Identity produced from difference is indifference; that tertium quid is therefore a striving toward indifference, a striving which is conditioned by the difference itself, and by which it, on the other hand, is conditioned.—(The difference must not be looked upon as a difference at all, and is nothing for intuition, except through a third that sustains it—to which change itself adheres.)

This tertium quid, therefore, is the exclusive substrate in that primal alternation.— But substrate posits change as much as change posits substrate— and there is here no first and no second, but difference and striving toward indifference, are, as far time is concerned, one and contemporary.

Axiom. No identity in Nature is absolute, but all is only indifference. [xvii]

Since that tertium quid itself presupposes the primary antithesis, the antithesis itself cannot be absolutely canceled by it; the condition of the continuance of that tertium quid [xviii] is the perpetual continuance of the antithesis, just as, conversely, the continuance of the antithesis is conditioned by the continuance of the tertium quid.

But how, then, shall the antithesis be thought as enduring?

We have one primary antithesis, between the limits of which all Nature must lie; if we assume that the factors of this antithesis [310] can really pass over into each other, or come together absolutely in some tertium quid (some individual product), then the antithesis is removed, and along with it the striving, and so all the activity of Nature.—But that the antithesis should endure is thinkable only by its being infinite—by the extreme limits being held asunder to infinity, so that always only the mediating links of the synthesis, never the last and absolute synthesis itself, can be produced, in which case it is only relative points of indifference that are always attained, never absolute ones, and every successively originated difference leaves behind a new and still unremoved antithesis, and this again passes into indifference, which, in its turn, partially removes the primary antithesis. By virtue of the original antithesis and the striving toward indifference there arises a product, but the product partially does away with the antithesis; through the doing away with that part, that is, through the origination of the product itself, there arises a new antithesis, different from the one that has been done away with, and through it, a product different from the first; but even this leaves the absolute antithesis in place, therefore duality, and through it a product will arise anew, and so on to infinity.

Let us say, for example, that by the product A, the antitheses c and d are united; the antitheses b and e still lie outside of that union. This latter antithesis is done away with in B, but this product also leaves the antithesis a and f unremoved— if we say that a and f mark the extreme limits, then the union of these will be that product which can never be reached.

Between the extremes a and f lie the antitheses c and d, b and e; but the series of these intermediate antitheses is infinite; all these intermediate antitheses are included in the one absolute antithesis.—In the product A, of a only e, and of f only d is canceled; let what remains of a be called b, and of f, e; these will indeed, by virtue of the absolute striving toward indifference, become again united, but they leave a new antithesis uncanceled—and so there remains between a and f an infinite series of intermediate antitheses, and the product in which those absolutely cancel themselves never is, but only becomes.

This infinitely progressive formation must be thus represented.—The original antithesis would necessarily be canceled in the primal product A. The product would necessarily fall at the point of indifference of a [311] and f, but inasmuch as the antithesis is an absolute one, which can be canceled only in an infinitely continued, never actual, synthesis, A must be thought as the center of an infinite periphery (whose diameter is the infinite line af). Since in the product of a and f, only e and d are united, there arises in it the new division b and e, and the product will therefore divide up into opposite directions; at the point where the striving toward indifference attains preponderance, b and e will combine and form a new product different from the first, but between a and f there still lie an infinite number of antitheses; B, the point of indifference, is therefore the center of a periphery which is comprehended in the first, but is itself again infinite, and so on.

The antithesis of b and e in B IS MAINTAINED through A, because it [xix] leaves the antithesis disunified; so [xx] the antithesis in C is maintained through B, because B, in its turn, cancels only a part of a and f. But the antithesis in C is maintained through B, only insofar as A maintains the antithesis in B. [xxi] What therefore in C and B results from this antithesis [xxii] is occasioned by the common influence of A, so that B and C, and the infinite number of other products that come as intermediate links between a and f —are, in relation to A, only one product.—The difference, which remains over in A after the union of c and d, is only one, into which then B, C, etc., again divide.

[312] But the endurance of the antithesis is, in the case of every product, the condition of the striving toward indifference, and thus a striving toward indifference is maintained through A in B, and through B in C.—But the antithesis which A leaves uncanceled, is only one antithesis, and therefore also this tendency in B, in C, and so on to infinity, is only conditioned and maintained through A.

The organization thus determined is none other than the organization of the universe in the system of gravitation.—Gravity is simple, but its condition is duplicity.—Indifference arises only out of difference.—The canceled duality is matter, inasmuch as it is only mass.

The absolute point of indifference exists nowhere, but is, as it were, divided among several single points.—The universe which forms itself from the center toward the periphery seeks the point at which even the extreme antitheses of Nature cancel themselves; the impossibility of this canceling guarantees the infinity of the universe.

From every product A, the uncanceled antithesis is carried over to a new one, B, the former by this means becoming the cause of duality and gravitation for B.—(This carrying over is what is called “action by distribution,” the theory of which becomes clear only at this point.) [xxiii]—Thus, for example, the Sun, being only relative indifference, maintains, as far as its sphere of action reaches, the antithesis that is the condition of weight upon the subordinate planetary bodies. [xxiv]

[313] The indifference is canceled at every step, and at every step it is restored. Hence, weight acts upon a body at rest as well as upon one in motion.— The universal restoration of duality, and its recanceling at every step, can [xxv] appear only as a nisus toward a third factor. This third factor [xxvi] abstracted from tendency is nothing, [xxvii] therefore purely ideal (marking only direction)—a point. [xxviii] Gravity [xxix] is in the case of every total product only one, [xxx] and so also the relative point of indifference is only one. The point of indifference of the individual body marks only the line of direction of its tendency toward the universal point of indifference; hence this point may be regarded as the only one at which gravity acts; just as that by whose means alone bodies attain consistency for us is simply this tendency outward. [xxxi]

Vertical falling toward this point is not a simple, but a compound motion, and it is to be wondered at that this has not been perceived before. [xxxii]

Gravity is not proportional to mass (for what is this mass but an abstraction of the specific gravity which you have hypostatized?); but, conversely, the mass of a body is only the expression of the momentum with which the antithesis in it cancels itself.

[314] (d) With the preceding, the construction of matter in general is completed, but not the construction of specific difference in matter.

That which all the matter of B, C, etc., in relation to A has in common, is the difference which is not canceled by A, and which again cancels itself in part in B and C—hence, therefore, the gravity mediated by that difference.

What distinguishes B and C from A, therefore, is the difference which is not canceled by A, and which becomes the condition of gravity in the case of B and C.—Similarly, what distinguishes C from B (if C is a product subordinate to B), is the difference which is not canceled by B, and which is again carried over to C. Gravity, therefore, is not the same thing for the higher and for the subaltern planetary bodies, and there is as much variety in the central forces of attraction as in their conditions.

The means by virtue of which another difference of individual products is possible (in the products A, B, and C, which, insofar as they are opposed to each other, represent products absolutely homogeneous [xxxiii]), is the possibility of a difference of relation between the factors in the canceling, so that, for example, in X, the positive factor, and in Y, the negative factor has preponderance (thus rendering the one body positively, and the other negatively electrified).—All difference is difference of electricity. [xxxiv]

(e) That the identity of matter is not absolute identity, but only indifference, can be proved from the possibility of again canceling the identity, and from the accompanying phenomena. [xxxv]—We may be allowed, for brevity’s sake, to include this recanceling and its resultant phenomena under the expression [315] dynamical process, without, of course, affirming decisively whether anything of the sort is everywhere actual.

Now there will be exactly as many stages in the dynamical process as there are stages of transition from difference to indifference.

(α) The first stage will be marked by objects in which the reproduction and recanceling of the antithesis at every moment is still itself an object of perception.

The whole product is reproduced anew at every moment. [xxxvi] That is, the antithesis which is canceled in it springs up afresh every moment; but this reproduction of difference loses itself immediately in universal gravity. [xxxvii] This reproduction, therefore, can be perceived only in individual objects, which seem to gravitate toward each other; since, if to the one factor of an antithesis its opposite is offered (in another) both factors become heavy with reference to each other, in which case, therefore, the universal gravity is not canceled, but a special one occurs within the universal.—An instance of such a mutual relation between two products is that of the Earth and the magnetic needle, in which the continual recanceling of indifference in gravitation toward the poles is ascertained.  [xxxviii] It is the continual sinking back into identity [xxxix] in gravitation toward the universal point of indifference.—Here, therefore, it is not the object, but the reproduction of the object itself that becomes object. [xl]

[316] (β) At the first stage, the duplicity of the product again appears in the identity; at the second, the antithesis will divide up and distribute itself among different objects (A and B). From the fact that the one factor of the antithesis attained a relative preponderance in A, the other in B, there will arise, according to the same law as in (α), a gravitation of the factors toward each other, and so a new difference, which, when the relative equilibrium is restored in each, results in repulsion. [xli]—(Alternation of attraction and repulsion, second stage in which matter is seen)—Electricity.

(γ) At the second stage the one factor of the product had only a relative preponderance. [xlii] At the third it will attain an absolute one—in the two bodies A and B, the original antithesis is again completely represented—matter will revert to the first stage of becoming.

At the first stage there is still PURE difference, without substrate; [xliii] at the second stage it is the simple factors of two PRODUCTS that are opposed to each other; at the third it is the PRODUCTS THEMSELVES that are opposed; here is difference in the third power.

If two products are absolutely opposed to each other, [xliv] then in each of them singly indifference of gravity (by which alone each is) must be canceled, and they must gravitate toward each other. [xlv] (In the second stage there was only a mutual [317] gravitating of the factors to each other—here there is a gravitating of the products.) [xlvi]—This process, therefore, first assails the indifferent element of the PRODUCT, that is, the products themselves dissolve.

Where there is equal difference there is equal indifference; difference of products, therefore, can end only with indifference of products.—(All indifference deduced until now has been only indifference of substrateless, or at least simple, factors.—Now we come to speak of an indifference of products.) This striving will not cease until a joint product exists. The product, in forming itself, passes, from both sides, through all the intermediate links that lie between the two products, [xlvii] until it finds the point at which it succumbs to indifference, and the product is fixed.

General Remark.

By virtue of the first construction, the product is posited as identity; this identity, it is true, again resolves itself into an antithesis, which is no longer an antithesis cleaving to products however, but an antithesis in the productivity itself.— The product, therefore, as product, is [xlviii] identity.—But even in the sphere of products, there again arises a duplicity in the second stage, and it is only in the third that even the duplicity of the products again becomes identity of the products. [xlix]—There is therefore here too a progress from thesis to antithesis, and thence to synthesis.—The final synthesis of [318] matter concludes in the chemical process; if composition is to proceed yet further in it, then this circle must open again.

We must leave it to our readers themselves to make out the conclusions to which the principles here stated lead, and to consider the universal interdependence which is introduced by them into the phenomena of Nature.—Nevertheless, to give one instance: when in the chemical process the bond of gravity is loosed, the phenomenon of light which accompanies the chemical process in its greatest perfection (in the process of combustion) is a remarkable phenomenon which, when followed out further, confirms what is stated in the Outline, page 100: “The action of light must stand in secret interdependence with the action of gravity which the central bodies exercise.”—For, is not the indifference dissolved at every step, since gravity, as ever active, presupposes a continual canceling of indifference?— It is thus, therefore, that the Sun, by the distribution exercised on the Earth, causes a universal separation of matter into the primary antithesis (and hence gravity). This universal canceling of indifference is what appears to us (who are endowed with life) as light; wherever, therefore, that indifference is dissolved (in the chemical process), there light must appear to us.—According to the foregoing, there is one antithesis which, beginning at magnetism and proceeding through electricity, finally dissipates in the chemical phenomena. [l] In the chemical process, that is, [319] the whole product becomes + E or - E (the positively electric body, in the case of absolutely uncombusted bodies, is always the more combustible. [li] Whereas the absolutely incombustible is the cause of every negatively electric condition). And if we may be allowed to invert the case, what else are bodies themselves but condensed (confined) electricity?—In the chemical process the whole body dissolves into + E or - E. Light is everywhere the appearing of the positive factor in the primary antithesis; hence, wherever the antithesis is restored, light is there for us, because generally only the positive factor is beheld, and the negative one is only felt.—Is the connection of the diurnal and annual deviations of the magnetic needle with light now conceivable—and, if in every chemical process the antithesis is dissolved—is it conceivable that light is the cause and beginning of all chemical processes? [lii]


(f) The dynamical process is nothing but the second construction of matter, and as many stages as there are in the dynamical process, there are the same number in the original construction of matter.

[321] This axiom is the converse of axiom (e). [liii] That which, in the dynamical process, is perceived in the product, takes place beyond the product with the simple factors of all duality. The first inception of original production is the limitation of productivity through the primitive antithesis, which, as antithesis (and as the condition of all construction), is distinguished only in magnetism; the second stage of production is the alternation of contraction and expansion, and as such becomes visible only in electricity; finally, the third stage is the transition of this change into indifference, a change which is recognized as such only in chemical phenomena.

MAGNETISM, ELECTRICITY, AND CHEMICAL PROCESS are the categories of the original construction of Nature [liv]—the latter escapes us and lies outside of intuition, the former are what of it remains behind, what stands firm, what is fixed—the general schemata for the construction of matter.

And (in order to close the circle at the point where it began), just as in organic nature, where in the graduated series of sensibility, irritability, and formative drive the secret of the production of the whole of organic nature lies in each individual, so in the graduated series of magnetism, electricity, and chemical process, so far as the series of powers can be distinguished in the individual body, is to be found the secret of the production of Nature from itself [lv], [lvi]



We have now approached nearer the solution of our problem, which was to reduce the construction of organic and inorganic nature to a common expression.

Inorganic nature is the product of the first power, organic nature of the second [lvii] (this was demonstrated above; it will soon appear that the latter is the product of a still higher power).—Hence the latter, in view of the former, appears contingent; the former, in view of the latter, necessary. Inorganic nature can take its origin from simple factors, organic nature only from products, which again become factors. Hence an inorganic nature generally will appear as having been from all eternity, organic nature as having originated.

In organic nature, indifference can never come to be in the same way in which it comes to exist in inorganic nature, because life consists in nothing more than a continual prevention of the attainment of indifference, [lviii] through which there manifestly comes about a condition which is only, so to speak, extorted from Nature.

By organization, matter, which has already been composed for the second time by the chemical process, is once more thrown back to the initial point of formation (the circle above described is again opened); it is no wonder that matter always thrown back again into formation at last returns as a perfect product.

[323] The same stages through which the production of Nature originally passes, are also passed through by the production of the organic product; only that the latter, even in the first stage, at least begins with products of the simple power.—Organic production also begins with limitation, not of the primary productivity, but of the productivity of a product; organic formation also takes place through the alternation of expansion and contraction, just as primary formation does; but in this case it is a change taking place, not in the simple productivity, but in the compound.

But there is all of this, too, in the chemical process, [lix] and yet in the chemical process indifference is attained. The vital process, therefore, must again be a higher power of the chemical; and if the schema that lies at the base of the latter is duplicity, the schema of the former will of necessity be triplicity. [lx] But the schema of triplicity is [lxi] that [lxii] of the galvanic process (Ritter’s demonstration, etc., p. 172); therefore, the galvanic process (or the process of excitation) stands a power higher than the chemical, and the third element, which the latter lacks and the former has, prevents indifference from being arrived at in the organic product. [lxiii]

As excitation does not allow indifference to be arrived at in the individual product, and since the antithesis is still there (for the primary antithesis still pursues us), [lxiv] there remains for Nature no alternative [324] but separation of the factors into different products. [lxv]—The formation of the individual product, for that very reason, cannot be a completed formation, and the product can never cease to be productive. [lxvi]—The contradiction in Nature is that the product must be productive, [lxvii] and that, notwithstanding, the product, as a product of the third power, must pass over into indifference. [lxviii] This contradiction Nature tries to resolve by mediating indifference itself through productivity, but even this does not succeed, for the act of productivity is only the kindling spark of a new process of excitation; the product of productivity is a new productivity. The productivity of the individual now indeed passes over into this as its product; the individual, therefore, ceases to be productive more rapidly or slowly, and Nature reaches the point of indifference with it only after the latter has descended to a product of the second power. [lxix]

[325] And now the result of all this?—The condition of the inorganic (as well as of the organic) product, is duality. In any case, however, the organic productive product is so only from the fact that the difference NEVER becomes indifference.

It is [lxx] therefore impossible to reduce the construction of organic and of inorganic product to a common expression, and the problem is incorrect, and therefore the solution impossible. The problem presupposes that organic product and inorganic product are mutually opposed, whereas the latter is only the higher power of the former, and is produced only by the higher power of the forces through which the latter also is produced.—Sensibility is only the higher power of magnetism; irritability only the higher power of electricity; formative drive only the higher power of the chemical process.—But sensibility, irritability, and formative drive are all only included in that one process of excitation. (Galvanism affects them all). [lxxi] But if they are only the higher functions of magnetism, electricity, etc., there must again [326] be a higher synthesis for these in Nature. [lxxii] And this, however, it is certain, can be sought for only in Nature, insofar as, viewed as a whole, it is absolutely organic.

And this, moreover, is also the result to which the genuine science of nature must lead, i.e., that the difference between organic and inorganic nature is only in Nature as object, and that Nature as originally productive soars above both. [lxxiii]

There remains only one remark which we may make, not so much on account of its intrinsic interest, as in order to justify what we said above in regard to the relation of our system to the current so-called dynamical system.—If it were asked, for instance, in what form our original antithesis, canceled, or rather fixed, in the product, would appear from the standpoint of reflection, we cannot better designate what is found in the product by analysis than as expansive and attractive (retarding) force, to which then, however, gravitation must always be added as the tertium quid, by virtue of which those opposites become what they are.

Nevertheless, the designation is valid only for the standpoint of reflection or of analysis, and cannot be applied for synthesis at all; and thus our system leaves off exactly at the point where the dynamical physics of Kant and his successors begins, namely, at the antithesis as it presents itself in the product.

And with this the author delivers over these Elements of a System of Speculative Physics to the thinking heads of the age, begging them to make common cause with him in this science—which opens up views of no mean order—and to make up by their own powers, knowledge and external relations, for what, in these respects, he lacks.



i. Thus, for example, it becomes very clear through the whole course of our inquiry, that, in order to  render the dynamic organization of the Universe evident in all its parts, we still lack that central  phenomenon of which Bacon already speaks, which certainly lies in Nature but has not yet been  extracted from it by experiment. (Original note.—Trans.)
ii. If only those warm panegyrists of empiricism, who exalt it at the expense of science, did not, true  to the idea of empiricism, try to palm off upon us their own judgments as empiricism, and what  they have put into Nature and imposed upon objects. Though many people think they can talk  about it, there is a great deal more belonging to empiricism than many imagine—to eliminate  purely the product from Nature, and to render it with the same fidelity with which it has been eliminated.  (Original note.—Trans.)
iii. A traveler in Italy makes the remark that the whole history of the world may be demonstrated on  the great obelisk at Rome—so, likewise, in every product of Nature. Every mineral body is a fragment  of the annals of the Earth. But what is the Earth?—Its history is interwoven with the history  of the whole of Nature, and so passes from the fossil through the whole of inorganic and organic  Nature, until it culminates in the history of the universe—one chain. (Original note—Trans.)
iv. not merely ideal, but actually real
v. chemical
vi. Volta already asks, with reference to the affection of the senses by galvanism: “Might not the electric  fluid be the immediate cause of all flavors? Might it not be the cause of sensation in all the  other senses?” (Original note.—Trans.)
vii. According to recent experiments, it is at least not impossible to regard the phenomena of light and  those of electricity as one, since in the prismatic spectrum the colors may at least be considered to  be opposites, and the white light, which regularly falls in the middle, can be regarded as the point  of indifference; and for reasons of analogy one is tempted to consider this construction of the phenomena  of light as the real one. (Original note.—Trans.)
viii. Hence wherever the antithesis is canceled or deranged, the metamorphosis becomes irregular.—  For what is even disease but metamorphosis? (Original note.—Trans.)
ix. (From this point onward, there are, as in the Outline, additions in notes, included in the SW  text.—Trans.)
x. only
xi. The first postulate of natural science is an antithesis in the pure identity of Nature. This antithesis  must be thought quite purely, and not with any other substrate besides that of activity; for it is  the condition of all substrate. The person who cannot think activity or opposition without a substrate  cannot philosophize at all. For all philosophizing only concerns the deduction of a substrate.
xii. natural
xiii. The phenomena of electricity show the scheme of nature oscillating between productivity and  product. This condition of oscillation or change, attractive and repulsive force, is the real condition  of formation.
xiv. For it is the only thing that is given us to derive all other things from.
xv. that tertium quid
xvi. That tertium quid 1) must be directly determined through the antithesis; 2) the antithesis must  likewise be conditioned through that third factor. Now by what is the antithesis conditioned? It is  antithesis only by virtue of that striving toward identity. For where there is no striving toward unity,  there is no antithesis.
xvii. Nature is an activity that constantly strives toward identity, an activity, therefore, which in order to endure as such, constantly presupposes the antithesis.
xviii. of that third activity, or of Nature
xix. A
xx. in like manner
xxi. The whole of the uncanceled antithesis of A is carried over to B. But again, it cannot entirely cancel  itself in B, and is therefore carried over to C. The antithesis in C is therefore maintained by B,  but only insofar as A maintains the antithesis which is the condition of B.
xxii. suppose, for example, the result of it were universal gravitation
xxiii. That is, distribution exists only when the antithesis in a product is not absolutely but only relatively canceled.
xxiv. The striving toward indifference attains the preponderance over the antithesis, at a greater or lesser distance from the body which exercises the distribution (as, e.g., at a certain distance the action by distribution  which an electric or magnetic body exercises upon another body, appears as canceled). The difference in this distance is the ground of the difference of planetary bodies in one and the same system, inasmuch, namely, as one part of the matter is subjected to indifference more than the rest. Since,  therefore, the condition of all product is difference, difference must again arise at every moment as the  source of all existence, but must also be thought as again canceled. By this continual reproduction and  resuscitation creation takes place anew at every step.
xxv. that is
xxvi. is therefore the pure zero
xxvii.  = 0
xxviii. It is precisely zero to which Nature continually strives to revert, and to which it would revert if the antithesis were ever canceled. Let us suppose the original condition of Nature = 0 (lack of reality).  Now zero can certainly be thought as dividing itself into 1 - 1 (for this = 0); but if we posit that this  division is not infinite (as it is in the infinite series 1 - 1 + 1 - 1…), then Nature will, as it were,  oscillate continually between zero and unity—and this is precisely its condition.
xxix. the center of gravity
xxx. for the antithesis is one
xxxi. Baader on the Pythagorean Square, 1798. (Original note.—Trans.)
xxxii. Except by the thoughtful author of a review of my work on the World-Soul in the Würzburg  Gelehrte Anzeiger, the only review of that work that has since come to my attention. (Original  note.—Trans.)
xxxiii. because the antithesis is the same for the whole product,
xxxiv. It is here taken for granted that what we call the quality of bodies, and what we are wont to regard  as something homogeneous and the ground of all homogeneity, is really only an expression for a  canceled difference.
xxxv. (According to SW, the last part of this sentence reads as follows.—Trans.) The construction of  quality ought necessarily to be capable of experimental proof, by recanceling of the identity, and of  the phenomena which accompany it.
xxxvi. Every body must be thought as reproduced at every step, and therefore also every total product.
xxxvii. The universal, however, is never perceived, for the simple reason that it is universal.
xxxviii. By which what was said above is confirmed, that falling toward the center is a compound motion.
xxxix. The reciprocal canceling of opposite motions.
xl. Or the object is seen in the first stage of becoming, or of transition from difference to indifference.  The phenomena of magnetism even serve, so to speak, as an incentive to transport us to the standpoint  beyond the product, which is necessary in order for the construction of the product.
xli. There will result the opposite effect—a negative attraction, that is, repulsion.—Repulsion and attraction stand to each other as positive and negative magnitudes. Repulsion is only negative attraction,  attraction only negative repulsion; as soon, therefore, as the maximum of attraction is reached,  it passes over into its opposite, into repulsion.
xlii. If we designate the factors as  and  electricity, then, in the second stage,  electricity had a relative preponderance over electricity.
xliii. for it was only out of it that a substrate arose
xliv. If the individual factors of the two products are no longer opposed, but the whole products themselves are absolutely opposed to each other
xlv. For a product is something in which antithesis cancels itself, but it cancels itself only through indifference of gravity. When, therefore, two products are opposed to each other, the indifference in each  individually must be absolutely canceled, and the whole products must gravitate toward each other.
xlvi. In the electric process, the whole product is not active, but only the one factor of the product, which  has relative preponderance over the other. In the chemical process in which the whole product is  active, it follows that the indifference of the whole product must be canceled.
xlvii. for example, through all the intermediate stages of specific gravity
xlviii. was
xlix. We have therefore the following scheme of the dynamical process. First stage: Unity of the product— magnetism. Second stage: Duplicity of the products—electricity. Third stage: Unity of the  products—chemical process.
l. The conclusions which may be deduced from this construction of dynamical phenomena are partly anticipated in the preceding. The following may serve for further explanation. The chemical process,  for example, in its highest perfection, is a process of combustion. Now I have already shown on another  occasion that the condition of light in the body undergoing combustion is nothing else but the  maximum of its positive electrical condition. For it is always the positively electrical condition that  is also the combustible. Might not, then, this coexistence of the phenomenon of light with the  chemical process in its highest perfection give us information about the ground of every phenomenon  of light in Nature? What happens, then, in the chemical process? Two whole products gravitate  toward each other. The indifference of the individual is therefore absolutely canceled. This absolute  canceling of indifference puts the whole body into the condition of light, just as the partial canceling in the electric process puts it into a partial condition of light. Therefore, the light too that seems to stream to us from the sun is nothing else but the phenomenon of indifference canceled at every step. For as gravity never ceases to act, its condition—the antithesis—must be regarded as springing up again at every step.We should thus have in light a continual, visible phenomenon of gravitation, and it would be explained why, in the planetary system, it is exactly those bodies which are the principal seat of gravity that are also the principal source of light.We should then, also, have an explanation of the connection in which the action of light stands to that of gravitation.
The manifold effects of light on the deviations of the magnetic needle, on atmospheric electricity, and on organic nature, would be explained by the very fact that light is the phenomenon of indifference continually canceled—therefore, the phenomenon of the dynamical process continually rekindled. There is, therefore, one antithesis that prevails in all dynamical phenomena—in those of magnetism, electricity and light; for example, the antithesis that is the condition of the electrical phenomena must already enter into the first construction of matter; for all bodies are certainly electrical.
li. Or rather, conversely, the more combustible is always also the positively electric; whence it is manifest that the body which burns has merely reached the maximum of + electricity.
lii. And indeed it is so. What then is the absolutely incombustible? Doubtless, simply that by means of which everything else burns—oxygen. But it is precisely this absolutely incombustible oxygen that is the principle of negative electricity, and thus we have a confirmation of what I have already stated in the Ideas for a Philosophy of Nature, i.e., that oxygen is a principle of a negative kind, and therefore the representative, as it were, of the power of attraction; whereas phlogiston, or, what is the same thing, positive electricity, is the representative of the positive, or of the force of repulsion. There has long been a theory that the magnetic, electric, chemical, and, finally, even the organic phenomena, are interwoven into one great interdependent whole. This must be established.—It is certain that the connection of electricity with the process of combustion may be shown by numerous experiments. One of the most recent of these that has come to my knowledge I will cite. It occurs in Scherer’s Journal of Chemistry. If a Leyden jar is filled with iron filings, and repeatedly charged and discharged, and if after the lapse of some time this iron is taken out and placed upon an isolator-paper, for example, it begins to get hot, becomes incandescent, and changes into an oxide of iron.—This experiment deserves to be frequently repeated and more closely examined—it might readily lead to something new.
This great interdependence, which a scientific system of physics must establish, extends over the whole of Nature. It must, therefore, once established, shed a new light on the history of the  whole of Nature. Thus, for example, it is certain that all geology must start from terrestrial magnetism.  But terrestrial electricity must again be determined by magnetism. The connection of  North and South with magnetism is shown even by the irregular movements of the magnetic  needle.—But again, with universal electricity, which, no less than gravity and magnetism, has its  indifference point—the universal process of combustion and all volcanic phenomena stand in  connection.
Therefore, it is certain that there is one chain going from universal magnetism down to the  volcanic phenomena. Still these are all only scattered experiments. In order to make this interdependence  fully evident, we need the central phenomenon, or central experiment, of which Bacon  speaks oracularly—I mean the experiment wherein all those functions of matter, magnetism, electricity,  etc., so run together in one phenomenon that the individual function is distinguishable—  proving that the one does not lose itself immediately in the other, but that each can be exhibited  separately, an experiment which, when it is discovered, will stand in the same relation to the whole  of Nature, as galvanism does to organic nature.
liii. Proof: All dynamical phenomena are phenomena of transition from difference to indifference, but  it is in this very transition that matter is primarily constructed.
liv. of matter
lv. of the whole of Nature
lvi. Every individual is an expression of the whole of Nature. As the existence of the single organic  individual rests on that graduated series, so does the whole of Nature. Organic nature maintains  the whole wealth and variety of its products only by continually changing the relation of those three functions.—In like manner inorganic Nature brings forth the whole wealth of its products only by changing the relation of those three functions of matter to infinity; for magnetism, electricity, and chemical process are the functions of matter generally, and on that ground alone are they categories for the construction of all matter. The fact that those three factors are not phenomena of special kinds of matter, but functions of all matter universally, gives its real, and its innermost sense to dynamical physics, which, by this circumstance alone, rises far above all other kinds of physics.
lvii. That is, the organic product can be thought only as subsisting under the hostile onslaught of an external nature.
lviii. in prevention of the absolute transition of productivity into product
lix.  The chemical process, too, does not have substrateless or simple factors; it has products for factors.
lx. the former will be a process of the third power
lxi. in reality
lxii. the fundamental schema
lxiii. The same deduction is already furnished in the Outline, p. 118.—What the dynamical action is, which according to the Outline is also the cause of excitability, is now surely clear enough. It is the universal action which is everywhere conditioned by the cancellation of indifference, and which at last tends toward intussusception (indifference of products) when it is not continually prevented, as it is in the process of excitation. (Original note.—Trans.)
lxiv. The abyss of forces down into which we gaze here opens up with the single question: in the first construction of our Earth, what can have been the ground of the fact that no genesis of new individuals is possible upon it, otherwise than under the condition of opposite powers? Compare an utterance of Kant on this subject, in his Anthropology. (Original note.—Trans.)
lxv. The two factors can never be one, but must be separated into different products—in order that thus the difference may be permanent.
lxvi. In the product, indifference of the first and second powers is arrived at (for example, by excitation itself comes an origin of mass [i.e., indifference of the first order], and even chemical products [i.e., indifference of the second order] are reached), but indifference of the third power can never be reached, because it is a contradictory idea. (Original note, excluding bracketed additions.—Trans.)
lxvii. i.e., a product of the third power
lxviii. The product is productive only from the fact of its being a product of the third power. But the idea of a productive product is itself a contradiction.What is productivity is not product, and what is product is not productivity. Therefore a product of the third power is itself a contradictory idea. From this it is even manifest what an extremely artificial condition life is—wrenched, as it were, from Nature—subsisting against the will of Nature.
lxix. Nothing shows more clearly the contradictions out of which life arises, and the fact that it is altogether only a heightened condition of ordinary natural forces, than the contradiction of Nature in  what it tries, but tries in vain, to reach through the sexes.—Nature hates sex, and where it does arise,  it arises against the will of Nature. The separation into sexes is an inevitable fate, with which, after  Nature is once organic, it must put up, and which it can never overcome.—By this very hatred of  separation it finds itself involved in a contradiction, inasmuch as what is odious to Nature it is compelled  to develop in the most careful manner, and to lead to the summit of existence, as if it did so  on purpose; whereas it is always striving only for a return into the identity of the genus, which,  however, is enchained to the (never to be canceled) duplicity of the sexes, as to an inevitable condition.—  That Nature develops the individual only from compulsion, and for the sake of the genus,  is manifest from this, that wherever in a genus it seems desirous of maintaining the individual longer  (though this is never really the case), it finds the genus becoming more uncertain, because it must  hold the sexes farther asunder and, as it were, make them flee from each other. In this region of Nature, the decay of the individual is not so visibly rapid as it is where the sexes are nearer to each other, as in the case of the rapidly withering flower, in which, from its very birth, they are enclosed in a calix as in a bridal bed, but in which for that very reason the genus is better secured.
Nature is the laziest of animals and curses separation because it imposes upon it the necessity  of activity; Nature is active only in order to rid itself of this compulsion. The opposites must forever shun, in order forever to seek each other; and forever seek, in order never to find each other; it is only in this contradiction that the ground of all the activity of Nature lies. (Original note.—Trans.)
lxx. insofar
lxxi. Its effect upon the power of reproduction (as well as the reaction of particular conditions of the latter power upon galvanic phenomena) is less studied still than might be needful and useful. See the Outline, p. 120. (Original note.—Trans.)
lxxii. Compare above note, p. 199. (Original note.—Trans.)
lxxiii. That it is therefore the same Nature, which, by the same forces, produces organic phenomena, and the universal phenomena of Nature, and that these forces are in a heightened condition in organic nature.
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Re: First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature

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Appendix: Scientific Authors

Franz Xaver von Baader (1765–1841). Philosopher, theologian, and mystic, Baader first studied medicine and sciences in Ingolstadt and Vienna (1781–85). In 1788 he joined the mining college in Freiburg and became a mining official. While traveling and studying mining in England he discovered the work of Jacob Böhme. In 1808 he became a member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, and from 1826 until his death was professor of philosophy and theology in Munich. His aim was the unification of catholic theology with philosophy.

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752–1840). He received his MD in 1775 at the University of Göttingen. In Göttingen he was one of the first scientists to view human beings as an object of natural history. His dissertation on the topic, De generis humani varietate nativa liber, became world-famous and was translated into several different languages. He shared the belief with other early scientists such as George-Louis Leclerc Comte de Buffon that an organism’s morphology was capable of being modified by the environment and that the resultant changes were inherited. In another work, Handbuch der Naturgeschichte (1779), he presented a compelling argument that zoological classifications could and should be based on structures associated with an animal’s specific functions.

Joachim Brandis (1762–1846). Physician and pharmacist, health official at Hildesheim and spa physician at Driburg, he later became professor of medicine at Kiel (1803) and royal physician in Copenhagen (1810). His conception of vital force was popularized in his Versuch über die Lebenskraft (1795).

John Brown (1735–88). Brown received his MD from St. Andrews (1779) and developed the theory that all living tissues are “excitable” and postulated that the state of life is dependent on certain internal and external “exciting powers,” or stimuli, that operate on it. The normal excitement produced by all the agents which affect the body constitutes the healthy condition, while all diseases arise either from deficiency or from excess of excitement, and must be treated with stimulants or sedatives. In 1780 he published the reknowned exposition of his doctrine, Elementa Medicinae.

Erasmus Darwin (1731–1802). Charles Darwin’s grandfather was one of the leading intellectuals of eighteenth-century England, a respected physician, a well-known poet, philosopher, botanist, and naturalist. As a naturalist, he formulated one of the first formal theories on evolution in Zoonomia, or, The Laws of Organic Life (1794–96). He also presented his evolutionary ideas in verse, in particular in the posthumously published poem The Temple of Nature. He discussed ideas that his grandson elaborated on sixty years later, such as how life evolved from a single common ancestor.

Karl August Eschenmayer (1768–1852). Trained as a doctor, he became professor of philosophy and medicine at Tübingen (1811). An important commentary and response to Schelling’s philosophy of nature entitled “Spontaneität = Weltseele” (Spontaneity = World-Soul) appeared in the Journal for Speculative Physics, edited by Schelling.

Leonhard Euler (1707–83). A Swiss professor of mathematics and physics in St. Petersburg, his interests and contributions in mathematics and the sciences ranged from number theory and calculus to hydrodynamics, optics, and astronomy. He is considered by many to be one of the most important mathematicians of all time.

Felice Fontana (1730–1805). An Italian naturalist, physiologist, and court physician, he was a follower of Albrecht von Haller and wrote a series of letters in confirmation of the latter’s views on irritability. He made a special study of the eye and in 1765 carried on a series of experiments on the contractile power of the iris. He investigated the physiological action of poisons, particularly of serpents and of the laurel berry. He also devoted some attention to the study of the physical and chemical properties of gases.

Benjamin Franklin (1706–90). The first internationally known American scientist, printer, publisher, and diplomat, he conducted various electrical experiments that led him to the law of charge conservation and what we now view to be a basically accurate theory of electricity. The invention of the lightning rod resulted from the famous kite experiment that established the identity of atmospheric and laboratory electricity.

Franz Joseph Gall (1759–1828). Beginning in 1796 he lectured on phrenology and practiced medicine in Vienna from 1785 to 1807 and in Paris from 1807 to 1828. Gall believed that the mind could be divided into separate faculties that were discretely localized in the brain, and that the exercise of or innate prominence of a faculty would enlarge the appropriate brain area that, in turn, would show up as a cranial prominence.

Johann Gehler (1751–95). German mathematician, physicist, translator, and editor of a dictionary of natural science, “Physikalisches Wörterbuch oder Versuch einer Erklärung der vornehmsten Begriffe und Kunstwörter der Naturlehre” (1787–96).

Christof Girtanner (1760–1800). A Swiss-born, Brunonian physician, he wrote on John Brown and Erasmus Darwin, was an adherent of Antoine Lavoisier’s chemistry, and published Anfangsgründe der antiphlogistische Chemie in 1792.

Albrecht von Haller (1708–77). Physician, poet, and natural scientist, he was trained and graduated in medicine at Tübingen (1723) and worked as professor of anatomy, botany, and surgery at the University of Göttingen (1736–53).

William Harvey (1578–1657). Schooled in medicine and anatomy and appointed personal physician to James I and subsequently to King Charles I, he was the first to present a reasonably accurate theory of the circulation of the blood and the operation of the heart (“On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals” [1628]), as well as a theory of reproduction via egg and sperm.

Frederick William Herschel (1738–1822). A German-born musician, he emigrated to England in 1757 and took up astronomy and telescope making. He discovered Uranus (from which his fame derives), two moons of Saturn, and infrared radiation. Schelling refers to his discussions of star clusters or nebulae where Herschel suggests the approximate shape of the Milky Way.

John Hunter (1728–93). A Scottish physician, he is considered one of the greatest anatomists of all time and the founder of experimental pathology in England. Hunter put the practice of surgery on a scientific foundation and laid the framework for twentieth-century developments. “Hunter’s Lightning” is the term for the light effects that result when one presses on the closed eye.

Jan Ingenhousz (1730–99). A Dutch physician, he emigrated to England where he met Joseph Priestley and Benjamin Franklin. His Experiments upon Vegetables (1779) developed a theory of the chemical nature of photosynthesis, and his interest in electricity led him to an explanation of Alessandro Volta’s electrophore.

Karl Friedrich Kielmeyer (1765–1844). A professor of chemistry, pharmacy, and medicine in Tübingen, he directed the construction of the old botanic garden there in 1804. Schelling likely knew his “Über die Verhältnisse der organischen Kräfte unter einander” (1793).

Johann Heinrich Lambert (1728–77). He published on logic, mathematics, physical measurement, philosophical method, and cosmology. Remembered as an important correspondent of Immanuel Kant, he was also a pioneer in non- Euclidean geometry.

George-Louis Lesage (1724–1803). Lesage studied medicine and physics and developed the mechanical theory of gravitation that Schelling both admires and attacks here. Schelling often refers to his atomistic Lucrèce Newtonien (1784) and Attempt at a Mechanical Chemistry (1758).

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–99). A German physicist, satirical writer, and philosophical aphorist, he became professor at Göttingen in 1769. He wrote on various topics including vulcanology, electricity, and the shape of the Earth, and was one of the first to propose a particle-and-wave theory of light.

Peter Simon Pallas (1741–1811). A German naturalist and physician, aside from traveling extensively in Russia and recording his observations, he did experiments on planaria, hydra, and other flatworms. Species of hydra or polyp now bear his surname, for example, Hydra oligactis Pallas.

Christoph Heinrich Pfaff (1773–1852). With interests in chemistry, medicine and pharmacy, he worked with Alessandro Volta on electricity in animals, and published Ueber thierische Electricität und Reizbarkeit (1795).

Johann Christian Reil (1759–1813). After medical studies at Göttingen and Halle, where he later became professor and physician, in 1795 he founded the first journal dealing with physiology in Germany, Archiv für die Physiologie, which presented works in physics, chemistry, histology, biology, and comparative anatomy. In it he published his essay “Von der Lebenskraft” (1795).

Hermann Samuel Reimarus (1694–1768). German philosopher and Enlightenment deist, he was appointed professor of Hebrew and Oriental languages at the Hamburg Gymnasium in 1727 and made his house a cultural center and meeting place for learned and artistic societies. His first important philosophical work was “Treatise on the Principal Truths of Natural Religion” (1754), a deistic discussion of cosmological, biological, psychological, and theological problems. In “Doctrine of Reason” (1756) he combated traditional Christian belief in revelation.

Henry Ridley (1653–1708). An English physician and anatomist, he published “Anatomia cerebri complectens” (1725).

Johann Wilhelm Ritter (1776–1810). Contemporary and friend of Schelling, he taught at Jena and Munich and was primarily interested in electricity, in particular electrochemistry and electrophysiology. He observed thermoelectrical currents, investigated the artificial electrical excitation of muscles, and built the first dry-cell battery and accumulator. His allegiance to Schelling and speculative forays eventually affected his status in the eyes of his scientific peers.

Andreas Röschlaub (1768–1835). German physician, in “Untersuchungen über Pathogenie” (1798) he developed a theory of excitability drawing on John Brown that was much opposed by Alexander von Humboldt and others.

Johann Ulrich Gottlieb Schäffer (1753–1829). Physician in Regensburg.

Jan Swammerdam (or Schwammerdam) (1637–80). A Dutch naturalist who developed the work of William Harvey by using microscopy and innovative laboratory techniques to study the circulatory system. He was the first to observe red-blood corpuscles, composed the first important work of entomology, studied embryology, and was committed to the doctrine of preformation.

Samuel Thomas Sömmering (1755–1830). German anatomist and physician, published Vom Baue des menschlischen Körpers (1791), in various divisions, each dedicated to one aspect of human anatomy and physiology, and “Über das Organ der Seele” (1796).

Robert Symmer (1707–63). A Scottish tutor and civil servant, he held that electrical phenomena resulted from an imbalance of two electrical fluids. Although opposed to Benjamin Franklin’s views, Symmer’s views were supported by Charles-Augustine de Coulomb and others in France.

Felix Vicq’ d’Azyr (1748–94). He was a French physician who helped establish the foundation of neuroanatomy. He created one of the principal anatomic folios of the brain.

Alessandro Volta (1745–1827). From 1778 he was professor of experimental physics at Pavia, and some of his best-known contributions to science include the refutation of galvanism as a special form of electricity and the invention of the voltaic pile and the first apparatus to generate an electric current.

William Charles Wells (1757–1817). A Scottish physician, philosopher, and printer, he wrote on meteorology (featuring an important essay on dew) and biology, and in a late text suggested a form of the theory of natural selection.
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