History of Modern Philosophy From Nicolas of Cusa to the Present Time by Richard Falckenberg - HTML preview

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From Nicolas of Cusa to the Present Time by


_Professor of Philosophy in the University of Erlangen_




_Professor of Philosophy in Wesleyan University_



The aim of this translation is the same as that of the original work. Each

is the outcome of experience in university instruction in philosophy, and

is intended to furnish a manual which shall be at once scientific and

popular, one to stand midway between the exhaustive expositions of the

larger histories and the meager sketches of the compendiums. A pupil of

Kuno Fischer, Fortlage, J.E. Erdmann, Lotze, and Eucken among others,

Professor Falckenberg began his career as _Docent_ in the university of

Jena. In the year following the first edition of this work he became

_Extraordinarius_ in the same university, and in 1888

_Ordinarius_ at

Erlangen, choosing the latter call in preference to an invitation to Dorpat

as successor to Teichmüller. The chair at Erlangen he still holds. His work

as teacher and author has been chiefly in the history of modern philosophy.

Besides the present work and numerous minor articles, he has published the

following: _Ueber den intelligiblen Charakter, zur Kritik der Kantischen

Freiheitslehre_ 1879; _Grundzüge der Philosophie des Nicolaus Cusanus_,

1880-81; and _Ueber die gegenwärtige Lage der deutschen Philosophie_, 1890

(inaugural address at Erlangen). Since 1884-5 Professor Falckenberg has

also been an editor of the _Zeitschrift für Philosophie und philosophische

Kritik_, until 1888 in association with Krohn, and after the latter's

death, alone. At present he has in hand a treatise on Lotze for a German

series analogous to Blackwood's Philosophical Classics, which is to be

issued under his direction. Professor Falckenberg's general philosophical

position may be described as that of moderate idealism.

His historical

method is strictly objective, the aim being a free reproduction of the

systems discussed, as far as possible in their original terminology and

historical connection, and without the intrusion of personal criticism.

The translation has been made from the second German edition (1892),

with still later additions and corrections communicated by the author in

manuscript. The translator has followed the original faithfully but

not slavishly. He has not felt free to modify Professor Falckenberg's

expositions, even in the rare cases where his own opinions would have led

him to dissent, but minor changes have been made wherever needed to fit the

book for the use of English-speaking students. Thus a few alterations have

been made in dates and titles, chiefly under the English systems and from

the latest authorities; and a few notes added in elucidation of portions

of the text. Thus again the balance of the bibliography has been somewhat

changed, including transfers from text to notes and _vice versa_ and a few

omissions, besides the introduction of a number of titles from our English

philosophical literature chosen on the plan referred to in the preface

to the first German edition. The glossary of terms foreign to the German

reader has been replaced by a revision and expansion of the index, with the

analyses of the glossary as a basis. Wherever possible, and this has been

true in all important cases, the changes have been indicated by the usual


The translator has further rewritten Chapter XV., Section 3, on recent

British and American Philosophy. In this so much of the author's

(historical) standpoint and treatment as proved compatible with the aim of

a manual in English has been retained, but the section as a whole has been

rearranged and much enlarged.

The labor of translation has been lightened by the example of previous

writers, especially of the translators of the standard treatises of

Ueberweg and Erdmann. The thanks of the translator are also due to several

friends who have kindly aided him by advice or assistance: in particular to

his friend and former pupil, Mr. C.M. Child, M.S., who participated in the

preparation of a portion of the translation; and above all to Professor

Falckenberg himself, who, by his willing sanction of the work and his

co-operation throughout its progress, has given a striking example of

scholarly courtesy.

A.C.A., Jr.

Wesleyan University, June, 1893.


Since the appearance of Eduard Zeller's _Grundriss der Geschichte der

griechischen Philosophie_ (1883; 3d ed. 1889) the need has become even more

apparent than before for a presentation of the history of modern philosophy

which should be correspondingly compact and correspondingly available for

purposes of instruction. It would have been an ambitious undertaking to

attempt to supply a counterpart to the compendium of this honored scholar,

with its clear and simple summation of the results of his much admired five

volumes on Greek philosophy; and it has been only in regard to practical

utility and careful consideration of the needs of students--concerning

which we have enjoyed opportunity for gaining accurate information in the

review exercises regularly held in this university--that we have ventured

to hope that we might not fall too far short of his example.

The predominantly practical aim of this _History_--it is intended to serve

as an aid in introductory work, in reviewing, and as a substitute for

dictations in academical lectures, as well as to be a guide for the

wider circle of cultivated readers--has enjoined self-restraint in the

development of personal views and the limitation of critical reflections

in favor of objective presentation. It is only now and then that critical

hints have been given. In the discussion of phenomena of minor importance

it has been impossible to avoid the _oratio obliqua_ of exposition; but,

wherever practicable, we have let the philosophers themselves develop their

doctrines and reasons, not so much by literal quotations from their

works, as by free, condensed reproductions of their leading ideas. If the

principiant view of the forces which control the history of philosophy, and

of the progress of modern philosophy, expressed in the Introduction and in

the Retrospect at the end of the book, have not been everywhere verified

in detail from the historical facts, this is due in part to the limits, in

part to the pedagogical aim, of the work. Thus, in particular, more space

has for pedagogical reasons been devoted to the

"psychological" explanation of systems, as being more popular, than in our opinion its intrinsic

importance would entitle it to demand. To satisfy every one in the choice

of subjects and in the extent of the discussion is impossible; but our hope

is that those who would have preferred a guide of this sort to be entirely

different will not prove too numerous. In the classification of movements

and schools, and in the arrangement of the contents of the various systems,

it has not been our aim to deviate at all hazards from previous accounts;

and as little to leave unutilized the benefits accruing to later comers

from the distinguished achievements of earlier workers in the field. In

particular we acknowledge with gratitude the assistance derived from the

renewed study of the works on the subject by Kuno Fischer, J.E. Erdmann,

Zeller, Windelband, Ueberweg-Heinze, Harms, Lange, Vorlãnder, and Pünjer.

The motive which induced us to take up the present work was the perception

that there was lacking a text-book in the history of modern philosophy,

which, more comprehensive, thorough, and precise than the sketches of

Schwegler and his successors, should stand between the fine but detailed

exposition of Windelband, and the substantial but--

because of the division

of the text into paragraphs and notes and the interpolation of pages of

bibliographical references--rather dry outline of Ueberweg. While the

former refrains from all references to the literature of the subject and

the latter includes far too many, at least for purposes of instruction, and

J.B. Meyer's _Leitfaden_ (1882) is in general confined to biographical and

bibliographical notices; we have mentioned, in the text or the notes and

with the greatest possible regard for the progress of the exposition, both

the chief works of the philosophers themselves and some of the

treatises concerning them. The principles which have guided us in these

selections--to include only the more valuable works and those best adapted

for students' reading, and further to refer as far as possible to the most

recent works--will hardly be in danger of criticism. But we shall not

dispute the probability that many a book worthy of mention may have been


The explanation of a number of philosophical terms, which has been added as

an appendix at the suggestion of the publishers, deals almost entirely

with foreign expressions and gives the preference to the designations of

fundamental movements. It is arranged, as far as possible, so that it may

be used as a subject-index.

JENA, December 23, 1885.


The majority of the alterations and additions in this new edition are in

the first chapter and the last two; no departure from the general character

of the exposition has seemed to me necessary. I desire to return my

sincere thanks for the suggestions which have come to me alike from public

critiques and private communications. In some cases contradictory requests

have conflicted--thus, on the one hand, I have been urged to expand, on the

other, to cut down the sections on German idealism, especially those on

Hegel--and here I confess my inability to meet both demands. Among the

reviews, that by B. Erdmann in the first volume of the _Archiv für

Geschichte der Philosophie_, and, among the suggestions made by letter,

those of H. Heussler, have been of especial value. Since others commonly

see defects more clearly than one's self, it will be very welcome if I can

have my desire continually to make this _History_ more useful supported by

farther suggestions from the circle of its readers. In case it continues to

enjoy the favor of teachers and students, these will receive conscientious


For the sake of those who may complain of too much matter, I may remark

that the difficulty can easily be avoided by passing over Chapters I., V.

(§§ 1-3), VI., VIII., XII., XV., and XVI.

Professor A.C. Armstrong, Jr., is preparing an English translation. My

earnest thanks are due to Mr. Karl Niemann of Charlottenburg for his kind

participation in the labor of proof-reading.


ERLANGEN, June 11, 1892.

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