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must aim at nothing less than the harmonious articulation of its whole activity in the unity of selfconsciousness.
It has been argued above that both knowledge but as transand morality are expressions of self-conscious ism; activity: in it these different manifestations find an element of fundamental identity. But it may be maintained, further, that this “unity of selfconsciousness” is not merely the unity of the different states of an individual, but that it is an element which transcends the difference by which concrete individuals are distinguished from one another. If this view can be carried out, it seems to lead us to attribute to other men something more than a “similar consciousness” i to our own, and to make us look on all self-conscious beings as sharing in, or manifesting, in various imperfect ways, one identical self-consciousness. From this point of view, self-realisation would be established as no mere individual end. The first law of morality would be not the “natural” impulse for each to take care of himself in the struggle for life, but, on the contrary, the sublation of that distinction between the particular ego and other individuals which would admit of the one using the others as mere means to his own advancement. His true end is the same as theirs: the realisation of the self-consciousness in which both partake—its realis
1 Sidgwick, “Green's Ethics,” Mind, ix. 180.
ation, that is to say, not in one individual only, but wherever it is manifested. This is the rationale of what the empirical theory of evolution tries to establish by pointing to the growing harmony in feeling and interest between the individual and society. What evolution really shows is the gradual manifestation in actual volition of the identity of nature in all men. I do not say that this fundamental identity of nature does away with all conflict between self-realisation in one's self and in others; but it does much, if it establishes the principle that the realisation of one's own nature involves the realisation of that of others. As Schäffle says, “the moral law is the direction of the will to the genuinely human as humanity ;” and “this is a transcendental element embedded in the hearts of all men—though in its basis only, for it is developed and ripened in the course of history.” 3 And the more fully self-consciousness is realised, the clearer does it become that its complete realisation implies that “kingdom of ends” spoken of by Kant, in which all self-conscious beings are at once subjects and sovereign. :
1 This is implied in Hegel's well-known imperative, “Be a person and respect others as persons.”—Phil. d. Rechts, p. 73.
2 Thus Höffding maintains that “the highest ethical idea” is “the idea of the human race as a realm of personalities.”—Grundlage der humanen Ethik (aus dem dänischen), p. 74. 3 Bau und Leben des socialen Körpers, i. 173.
ing that the
of the end must be
Further, self-realisation in both its aspects—as (c) as showindividual and as social—is necessarily progressive. realisation It is only at the highest stage of its development that nature becomes the organ of intelligence and progressive. morality. And, just as knowledge expresses itself through the forms of space and time, and, therefore, by gradual colligations of facts, so the conscious determination of activity is manifested in the world in an order of consecutive acts, and is therefore subject, in its manifestation, to the laws of temporal succession. It is the part of a system of metaphysics—at any rate, it does not belong to the present inquiry—to show how reason manifests itself in space and time, and how, through the rationality of this manifestation, everything in space is and acts only in relation to its environment, and through it, to the rest of the world, and how each event in time is the result of preceding events, and determines those which follow it. What it thus shows the necessity of is the process of evolution ; and it is because this process is determined by reason that the world is the object of knowledge and the sphere of moral action. Evolution is thus not the foundation of morality, but the manifestation of the principle on which it depends. Morality cannot be explained by means of its own development, without reference to the self-consci
1 Cf. H. Siebeck, Philosophische Monatshefte, xx. 340.
ousness which makes that development possible. However valuable may be the information we get from experience as to the gradual evolution of conduct, its nature and end can only be explained by a principle that transcends experience.
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