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A History of Philosophy in Epitome by Schwegler

The Ego as well as the non Ego


should be received in the identity

of the proper consciousness. How shall being and not-being, reality and negation, be conceived together without destroying each other? They will reciprocally _limit_ each other. Hence the unknown quantity _x_, whose terms we are seeking, stands for these limits: limitation is the sought-for act of the Ego, and as category in the thought, we have thus the category of determination or _limitation_. But in limitation, there is also given the category of _quantity_, for when we say that any thing is limited, we mean that its reality is through negation, not _wholly_, but only _partially_ suppressed. Thus the conception of limit contains also the conception of divisibility, besides the conceptions of reality and negation. Through the act of limitation, the Ego as well as the non-Ego, is posited as divisible. Still farther, we see how a logical law follows from the third fundamental principle as well as from the first two. If we abstract the definite content, the Ego and the non-Ego, and leave remaining the simple form of the union of opposites through the conception of divisibility, we have then the logical _principle of the ground_, or foundation, which may be expressed in the formula: A in part = non-A, non-A in part = A. Wherever two opposites are alike in one characteristic, we consider the ground as a ground of relation, and wherever two similar things are opposite in one characteristic, we consider the ground as a ground of distinction.--With these three principles we have now
exhausted the measure of that which is unconditioned and absolutely certain. We can embrace the three in the following formula:

_I posit in the Ego a divisible non Ego over against the divisible Ego._ No philosophy can go beyond this cognition, and every fundamental philosophy should go back to this. Just so far as it does this, it becomes science (_Wissenschaftslehre_). Every thing which can appear in a system of knowledge, as well as a farther division of the Theory of Science itself, must be derived from this. The proposition that the Ego and the non-Ego reciprocally limit each other, may be divided into the following two: (1) the Ego posits itself as limited through the non-Ego (_i. e._ the Ego is in a cognitive (or passive) relation); (2) the Ego posits the non-Ego as limited through the Ego (_i. e._ the Ego is in an active relation). The former proposition is the basis of the theoretical, and the latter of the practical part of the Theory of Science. The latter part cannot, at the outset, be brought upon the stage; for the non-Ego, which should be limited by the acting Ego, does not at the outset exist, and we must wait and see whether it will find, in the theoretical part, a reality.

_The groundwork of theoretical knowledge_ advances through an uninterrupted series of antitheses and syntheses. The fundamental synthesis of the theoretical Theory of Science is the proposition: _the Ego posits itself as determined_ (limited) _by the non-Ego_. If we analyze this sentence, we find in it two subordinate sentences which are reciprocally opposite. (1) The non-Ego as active determines the Ego, which thus far is passive; but since all activity must start from the Ego, so (2) the Ego determines itself through an absolute activity. Herein is a contradiction, that the Ego should be at the same time active and passive. Since this contradiction would destroy the above proposition, and also suppress the unity of consciousness, we are forced to seek some point, some new synthesis, in which these given antitheses may be united. This synthesis is attained when we find that the conceptions of action and passion,


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