Hegel’s Lectures on the History of Philosophy
Part One: Greek Philosophy. Section Two

C. The New Academy.

As opposed to the Stoic and Epicurean Dogmatism, we first of all have the New Academy, which is a continuation of Plato’s Academy in as far as the followers of Plato are divided into the Old, Middle, and New Academies; some indeed allow of a fourth Academy and even a fifth. The most note-worthy figures here are those of Arcesilaus and Carneades. The establishment of the Middle Academy is ascribed to Arcesilaus, and the New Academy is said to contain the philosophy of Carneades; but this distinction has no signification. Both of these are closely connected with Scepticism, and the Sceptics themselves have often trouble in distinguishing their stand-point from the Academic principle. Both have been claimed by Scepticism as Sceptics, but between the Academies and pure Scepticism a distinction has been drawn, which is certainly very formal, and has but little signification, but to which the Sceptics in their subtlety undoubtedly attached some meaning. The distinction often consists in the meanings of words only, and in quite external differences.

The stand-point of the Academies is that they express the truth as a subjective conviction of self-consciousness; and this tallies with the subjective idealism of modern times. The truth, in so far as it is only a subjective conviction, has hence been called, by the New Academy, the probable. Although followers of Plato, and hence, Platonists, the Academicians did not remain at the standpoint of Plato, nor could they have done so. But we easily see the connection of this principle with the Platonic doctrines, if we recollect that with Plato the Idea has been the principle, and that, indeed, on the whole, in the form of universality. Plato remained, as we saw above (pp. 139, 140), in the abstract Idea; to him the one great matter in Philosophy is to combine the infinite and finite. Plato’s Ideas are derived from the necessities of reason, from enthusiasm for the truth, but they are in themselves devoid of movement, and only universal, while Aristotle demands actuality, self-determining activity. Plato’s dialectic has only attempted to assert the universal as such, and to demonstrate the determinate and particular to be null, thus leaving nothing at all but abstract universality. His dialectic has hence very often a negative result, in which determinations are merely done away with and annulled. With Plato the working out of the concrete has thus not gone f ar, and where he, as in the Timæus, proceeds into the determinate, e.g. of organic life, he becomes infinitely trivial and quite unspeculative, while with Aristotle matters are very different. The necessity for a scientific ground has necessarily caused us to be carried on beyond this Platonic point of view. The Stoics and Epicureans were imbued with the scientific necessity, not yet recognized by Plato, of giving a content to the universal of the Idea, i.e. of grasping particular determinateness, but the succeeding Academicians stand in a negative attitude to them in this regard. To the end they made a point of holding to the Platonic universality, uniting to this the Platonic dialectic also. The principle of the New Academy could thus, like the Platonic dialectic, possess a dialectic attitude and bearing which proceeded to nothing affirmative; as, indeed, in many of Plato’s dialogues, mere confusion is what is arrived at. But while with Plato the affirmative result is essentially the result of dialectic, so that with him we have really found the universal Idea as species, during all this time, on the other hand, the tendency to abstract apprehension is predominant; and as this showed itself in the Stoic and Epicurean philosophy, it has also extended to the Platonic Idea and degraded it into being a form of the understanding. Plato’s Ideas were thus torn from their rest through thought, because in such universality thought has not yet recognized itself as self-consciousness. Self-consciousness confronted them with great pretensions, actuality in general asserted itself against universality; and the rest of the Idea necessarily passed into the movement of thought.

This movement now, however. in the New Academy turned dialectically against the determination of the Stoics and Epicureans, which rested on the fact that the criterion of the truth ought to be a concrete. For example, in the conception as comprehended by the Stoics, there is a thought which likewise has a content, although, again, this union still remains very formal. But the two forms in which the dialectic of the New Academy turns against his concrete, are represented by Arcesilaus and Carneades.

1. Arcesilaus.

Arcesilaus kept to the abstraction of the Idea as against the criterion; for though in the Idea of Plato, i.e. in the Timæus and in his dialectic, the concrete was derived from quite another source, this was only admitted for the first time later on by the Neo-platonists, who really recognized the unity of the Platonic and the Aristotelian principles. The opposition to the Dogmatists thus does not in the case of Arcesilaus proceed from the dialectic of the Sceptics, but from keeping to abstraction; and here we perceive the gulf marking out this epoch from any other.

Arcesilaus was born at Pitane in Eolia in the 116th Olympiad (318 B.C.), and was a contemporary of Epicurus and Zeno. Though he originally belonged to the Old Academy, yet the spirit of the time and the progressive development of Philosophy did not now admit of the simplicity of the Platonic manner. He possessed considerable means, and devoted himself entirely to the studies requisite for the education of a noble Greek, viz. to rhetoric, poetry, music, mathematics, &c. Mainly for the purpose of exercising himself in rhetoric, he Came to Athens, here was introduced to Philosophy, and lived henceforth for its sake alone; he held intercourse with Theophrastus, Zeno, &c., and it is a subject of dispute whether he did not hear Pyrrho also. Arcesilaus, familiar with all the Philosophy of those days, was by his contemporaries held to be as noble a man as he was a subtle and acute philosopher; being without pride in himself, he recognized the merits of others. He lived in Athens, occupied the post of scholarch in the Academy, and was thus a successor of Plato. After the death of Crates, the successor of Speusippus, the place of honour in the Academy devolved on Sosicrates, but he willingly gave it up in favour of Arcesilaus on account of the superiority of the latter in talent and philosophy. What really happened as regards the transference of the chair to others, is, for the rest, unknown to us. He filled this office, in which he made use of the method of disputation, with approbation and applause, until his death, which took place in Olympiad 134, 4 (244 B.C.), in the seventy-fourth year of his age.

The principal points in the philosophy of Arcesilaus are preserved by Cicero in his Academicæ Quæstiones, but Sextus Empiricus is more valuable as an authority, for he is more thorough, definite, philosophic and systematic.

a. This philosophy is specially known to us as being a dialectic directed against Stoicism, with which Arcesilaus had much to do, and its result, as far as its main principles are concerned, is expressed thus: “The wise man must restrain his approbation and assent.” This principle was called epoch, and it is the same as that of the Sceptics; on the other hand this expression is connected with the principle of the Stoics as follows. Because to Stoic philosophy truth consists in the fact that thought declares some content of existence to be its own, and the conception as comprehended gives its approbation to this content, the content of our conceptions, principles and thoughts undoubtedly appears to be different from thought, and the union of the two, which is the concrete, only arises by means of some determinate content being taken up into the form of thought and thus being expressed as the truth. But Arcesilaus saw this consequence, and his saying that approbation must be withheld is thus as much as saying that by thus taking up the content no truth comes to pass, but only phenomenon; and this is true, because, as Arcesilaus puts it, conception and thought likewise remain apart. Arcesilaus has certainly unthinkingly allowed that this content united to consciousness is a concrete such as was indicated, only he has asserted that this connection merely gives a perception with a good ground, and not what he calls truth. This is called probability, but not quite appropriately; it is a universal set forth through the form of thought, and is only formal, having no absolute truth. Sextus (Pyrrh. Hyp. 1. c. 33, § 233) puts this plainly in saying that “Arcesilaus has declared the withholding of approbation in relation to parts, to be a good, but the assenting to parts to be an evil,” because the assent only concerns parts. That is, if thought is to be retained as a universal, it cannot come to be a criterion; and that is the meaning of Arcesilaus when he asks that the wise man should remain at the universal, and not go on to the determinate as if this determinate were the truth.

Sextus Empiricus gives us (adv. Math. VII. 155, 151-153) a more particular explanation of this philosophy, which is preserved to us only as being in opposition to the Stoics. Arcesilaus asserted as against the Stoics, that everything is incomprehensible (akatalhpta). He thus combated the conception of thought (katalhptikhn fantasian), which to the Stoics is the point of most importance and the concrete truth. Arcesilaus further attacked the Stoics thus: “They themselves say that the conception of thought is the mean between scientific knowledge and opinion, the one of which pertains alone to fools and the other alone to wise men; the conception of thought is common to both, and the criterion of the truth. Arcesilaus here argued in such a way as to show that between scientific knowledge and opinion the conception of thought is no criterion, for it is either in the wise man or the fool, and in the former it is knowledge, and in the latter, opinion. If it is nothing excepting these, there remains to it nothing but an empty name.” For knowledge must be a developed consciousness derived from reasons, but these reasons, as conceptions of thought, Arcesilaus states to be just such thoughts as those of the fool. They are thus, no doubt, the concrete directing power which constitutes the principal content of our consciousness; but it is not proved that they are the truth. Thus this mean, as judging between reason and opinion, pertains equally to the wise man and the fool, and may be error or truth equally; and thus the wise man and the fool have the same criterion, and yet they must, in relation to the truth, be distinguished from one another.

Arcesilaus further gives effect to the distinctions which are more particularly brought up in modern times, and relied upon. “If comprehension is the assent given to a conception of thought, it do es not exist. For, in the first place, the assent is not on account of a conception, but of a reason; that is to say, it is only as regards axioms that this assent holds good.” That is good; more fully the purport would be something like this: Thought, as subjective, is made to assent to an existence which is a determinate content of the conception. A sensuous image such as this, however, is foreign to thought, and with it thought cannot accord, because it is something different from it, something from which thought, on the contrary, holds itself aloof. It is, in general, only to a thought that thought finds itself conformable, and only in a thought that it finds itself; thus only a universal axiom is capable of such accord, for only such abstract principles are immediately pare thoughts. Arcesilaus thus holds it up against the Stoics that their principle contains a contradiction within itself, because the conception of thought is made to be the thought of another, but thought can only think itself. This is a thought which concerns the inmost essence of the thing. Arcesilaus thus here makes the same celebrated distinction as in recent times has again been brought forward with so much force as the opposition between thought and Being, ideality and reality, subjective and objective. Things are something different from me. How can I attain to things P Thought is the independent determination of a content as universal; but a given content is individual and hence we cannot assent to such. The one is here., the other there; subjective and objective cannot pass to one another — this is a form of thought upon which for long the whole culture of modern philosophy has turned, and which we still find to-day. It is important to have a consciousness of this difference, and to assert this consciousness against the principle of the Stoics. It was of this unity of thought and reality that the Stoics ought to have given an account; and this they did not do, and indeed it was never done in ancient times. For the ancients did not prove that the subjective element of thought and this objective content are really in their diversity the passing into one another, and that this identity is their truth; this was only found in Plato in an abstract form and as a first commencement. The unity of thought and conception is the difficult matter; thus if thought, as such, is the principle, it is abstract. The logic of the Stoics hence remained formal merely, and the attainment of a content could not be demonstrated. Thought and Being are themselves such abstractions, and we may move to and fro between them for long without arriving. at any determination. Thus this unity of universal and particular cannot be the criterion. With the Stoics the conception as comprehended appears to be immediately asserted; it is a concrete, but it is not shown that this is the truth of these distinct elements. Against this immediately accepted concrete, the assertion of the difference of the two is thus quite consistent.

“In the second place,” says Arcesilaus, “there is no apprehended conception that is not also false , as has been confirmed many times and oft,” just as the Stoics themselves say that the apprehended conception could be both true and false. Determinate content has its opposite in a determinate which must likewise as an object of thought be true; and this destroys itself. In this consists the blind wandering about in thoughts and reasons such as these, which are not grasped as Idea, as the unity of opposites, but in one of the opposites asserts one thing, and then. with as good reason, the opposite. The truth of the world is, on the contrary, quite different, the universal law of reason which is as such for thought. Reasons are relatively ultimate for a content, but not absolutely ultimate; they can only be regarded as good reasons, as probability, as the Academics express it. This is a great truth which Arcesilaus had attained. But because no unity eau thus come forth, he then draws the conclusion that the wise man must withhold his assent, that is, not that he should not think, but that he must not merely for that reason regard as true that which is thought. “For since nothing is comprehensible, he will, if he assents, assent to an incomprehensible; now because Such an assent is opinion, the wise man will only be wise in opinion.” We still likewise hear this said: Man thinks., but does not thereby arrive at the truth; it remains beyond. Cicero (Acad. Quæst. IV. 24) thus expresses this: — Neither the false nor the true can be known., if the true were simply to be such as is the false.”

b. In relation to what is practical, Arcesilaus says “But since the conduct of life without a criterion of the true or the false is impossible, and the end of life, or happiness, can only be determined through such grounds, the wise man, not withholding his approbation regarding everything, will, as regards what: has to be done and left undone, direct his actions in accordance with the probable (eulogon),” as the subjectively convincing conception. What is right in this is that the good ground does not extend as far as truth. “Happiness is brought about by discretion (fronhsiς), and rational conduct operates in fitting and right action (katorqwmasi); that is rightly done which is permitted by a well-grounded justification,” so that it appears to be true. “Thus, he who regards what is well-founded will do rightly and be happy,” but for this culture and intelligent thought are requisite. Arcesilaus thus remains at the indeterminate, at subjectivity of conviction, and a probability justified by good grounds. Thus we see that in regard to what is positive, Arcesilaus does not really get any further than the Stoics, nor say anything different from what they do; only the form is different, because, what the Stoics call true, Arcesilaus calls well-founded or probable. But, on the whole, he possessed a higher kind of knowledge than the Stoics, because what is thus founded cannot be held to have the significance of an implicit existence, but only a relative truth in consciousness.

2. Carneades.

Carneades was equally famous; he was one of the followers of Arcesilaus in the Academy, and he also lived in Athens, though considerably later. He was born in Cyrene in Ol. 141, 3 (217 B.C.), and died in 01. 162, 4 (132 B.C.), thus being eighty-five years old; though, according to others he was as much as ninety. During the already mentioned (pp. 241, 242) embassy of the three philosophers to Rome, it was chiefly Carneades’ quickness, eloquence, and power of conviction, as also his great fame, which aroused remark, attracted men together, and gained great approbation in Rome. For he here held, after the manner of the Academics, two discourses on justice; the one for and the other against justice. That on which both generally speaking rested, can easily be discovered. In the justification of justice he took the universal as principle; but in showing its nullity, he laid weight on the principle of individuality, of self-interest. To the young Romans who knew little of the opposition in the Notion, this was something new; they had no idea of such methods of applying thought, were much attracted by them, and were soon won over to them. But the older Romans, and particularly the elder Cato, the Censor, who was then still living, saw this very unwillingly, and declaimed much against it, because the youths were thereby turned away from the strictness of ideas and virtues which prevailed in Rome. As the evil gained ground, Caius Acilius made a proposition in the Senate to banish all philosophers from the city, amongst whom, naturally, without their names being mentioned, those three ambassadors were included. The elder Cato, however, moved the Senate to conclude the business with the ambassadors as quickly as possible, so that they might again set forth, and return to their schools, and might henceforth instruct only the sons of the Greeks. The Roman youths might then as formerly give ear to. their laws and magistrates, and learn wisdom from intercourse with the senators. But this taint can no more be avoided than could in Paradise the desire for knowledge. The knowledge which is a necessary moment in the culture of a people, thus makes its appearance as the Fall from innocence, and as corruption. An epoch such as this, in which thought appears to veer about, is then regarded as an evil as far as the security of the ancient constitution is concerned. But this evil of thought cannot be prevented by laws,, &c.; it can and must be the healer of itself through itself alone, if thought through thought itself is truly brought to pass.

a. The philosophy of Carneades has been given to us in most detail by Sextus Empiricus; and all else of Carneades that we possess is likewise directed against the dogmatism of the Stoic and Epicurean philosophy. The fact that the nature of consciousness is what is most particularly considered makes his propositions interesting. While in Arcesilaus we still found a good reason or argument maintained, the principle which Carneades supported is expressed as that “in the first place there is absolutely no criterion of the truth, neither feeling, conception, nor thought, nor any other such thing; for all this put together deceives us..” This general empirical proposition is still in vogue. In developing the matter further, Carneades proves what he says from reasons, and we have the nature of consciousness more definitely expressed in the following: “In the second place he shows that even if such a criterion existed, it could not be without an affection (paqoς) of consciousness, which proceeds from perception.” For this, speaking generally, is his principal reflection, that every criterion must be constituted so that it has two elements. one being the objective, existent, immediately determined,, while the other element is an affection, an activity, an attribute of consciousness, and belongs to the sensitive, conceiving or thinking subject — but as such it could not be the criterion. For this activity of consciousness consists in the fact that it changes the objective, and thus does not allow the objective as it is to come to us immediately. Hence the same attitude of separation is pre-supposed as formerly, viz. that the understanding is to be regarded as an ultimate and clearly absolute relationship.

a. As against the Epicureans, Carneades maintains this: “Because the living is distinguished from the dead through the activity of sensation, by this means it will comprehend itself and what is external. But this sensation which,” as Epicurus puts it (supra, p. 281), “remains unmoved and is impassive and unchangeable, is neither sensation nor does it comprehend anything. For not until they have been changed and determined by the invasion of the actual does sensation show forth things.” The sensation of Epicurus is an existent, but there is in it no principle of judgment, because each sensation is independent. But sensation must be analyzed in accordance with the two points of view there present, for as the soul is therein determined, so likewise is that which determines determined by the energy of the conscious subject. Because I, as a living being, have sensation, a change in my consciousness takes place, which means that I am determined from without and from within. Consequently the criterion cannot be a simple determinateness, for it is really an implicit relationship in which two moments, sensation and thought, must be distinguished.

b. Since to Carneades sensation is merely what comes first, he then says: “The criterion is thus to be sought for in the affection of the soul by actuality.” For it is only in the mean between the energy of the soul and that of outward things that the criterion can fall. A determinate content of sensation such as this, which is at the same time again determined through consciousness, this passivity and activity of consciousness, this third something, Carneades called the conception which constituted to the Stoics the content of thought. Respecting this criterion. he says: “This being determined must, however, be an indication both of itself and of the apparent, or of the thing through which it is affected; this affection is none other than the conception. Hence in life the conception is something which presents both itself and the other. If we see something, the sight has an affection, and it no longer is just as it was before seeing. Through an alteration such as this there arise in us two things: first change itself, i.e. the ordinary conception” (the subjective side) “and then that which change produced, what is seen” (the objective). “Now just as the light shows itself and everything in it, the conception reigns over knowledge in the animal, and it must, like the light, make itself evident, and reveal the actual through which consciousness is affected.” This is quite the correct standpoint for consciousness, and it is in itself comprehensible, but it is only for the phenomenal mind that the other in the determinateness of consciousness is present. We now expect a development of this opposition; but Carneades passes into the region of empiricism without giving this further development. “I Since the conception,” he continues, “does not always point to the truth, but often lies, and resembles bad messengers in that it misrepresents what it proceeds from, it follows that not every conception can give a criterion of the truth, but only that which is true, if any are so. But because none is so constituted that it might not also be false, conceptions are likewise a common criterion of the true as of the false, or they form no criterion.” Carneades also appealed to the fact of a conception proceeding even from something not existing, or — if the Stoics asserted that what in the objective is thinkingly apprehended is an existent — to the fact that the false may also be apprehended. In a popular way that is stated thus: There are also conceptions of untruth. Although I am convinced, it is still my conception merely, even if men think they have said something by saying that they have this conviction. They likewise say that insight or objective knowledge is still only the conviction of difference. but really the content is in its nature universal.

g. Finally, “because no conception is a criterion, neither can thought be taken as such, for this depends on conception” — and must hence be just as uncertain as it is. “For to thought, that respecting which it judges must be conception; but conception cannot exist without unthinking sensation” — this may, however, be either true or false, “so that there is no criterion.” This constitutes the principle in the Academic philosophy — that on the one hand the conception is in itself this distinction of thought and existence., and that there is likewise a unity of both, which, however, is no absolutely existing unity. Philosophic culture of those times remained at this standpoint, and in modern times Reinhold also arrived at the same result.

b. Now what Carneades gave expression to of an affirmative nature respecting the criterion, is found in the statement that undoubtedly criteria are to be maintained for the conduct of life and for the acquisition of happiness, but not for the speculative consideration of what is in and for itself. Thus Carneades passes more into what is psychological, and into finite forms of the understanding consciousness; this is consequently no criterion respecting truth, but respecting the subjective habits and customs of the individual, and hence it also is of subjective truth alone, although it still remains a concrete end. “The conception is a conception of something; of that from which it comes as of the externally perceived object, and of the subject in which it is, e.g. of man. In this way it has two relationships — on the one hand to the object, and, on the other, to that which forms the conception. According to the former relationship it is either true or false; true if it harmonizes with what is conceived of, false if this is not so.” But this point of view cannot here in any way come under consideration, for the judgment respecting this harmony is most certainly not in a position to separate the matter itself from the matter as conceived. “According to the relationship to that which conceives, the one is conceived (fainomenh) to be true, but the other is not conceived to be true.” Merely this relationship to the conceiver, however, comes under the consideration of the Academicians. “That conceived of as true is called by the Academician appearance (emfasiς) and conviction, and convincing conception; but what is not conceived as true is called incongruity (apemfasis) and non-conviction and non-convincing conception. For neither that which is presented to us through itself as untrue, nor what is true but is not presented to us, convinces us.”

Carneades thus determines the leading principle very much as does Arcesilaus, for he recognizes it merely in the form of a “convincing conception;” but as convincing it is “likewise a firm and a developed conception,” if it is to be a criterion of life. These distinctions, on the whole, pertain to a correct analysis, and likewise approximately appear in formal logic; they are very much the same stages as are found, according to Wolff, in the clear, distinct, and adequate conception. “We have now shortly to show what is the distinction between these three steps.”

a.A convincing conception (piqanh) is that which appears to be true and which is sufficiently obvious; it has a certain breadth as well., and may be applied in many ways and in a great variety of cases; ever verifying itself more through repetitions,” as in the case of Epicurus, “it makes itself ever more convincing and trustworthy.” No further account of its content is given, but what is so frequently produced is, as empirical universality, made the first criterion. But this is only an individual and, speaking generally, an immediate and quite simple conception.

b. “Because, however, a conception is never for itself alone, but one depends on another as in a chain, the second criterion is added, viz. that it should be both convincing and secure (aperispastoς),” i.e. connected and determined. on all sides, so that it cannot be changed, nor drawn this way and that and made variable by circumstances; and other conceptions do not contradict it, because it is known in this connection with others. This is quite a correct determination, which everywhere appears in the universal. Nothing is seen or said alone, for a number of circumstances stand in connection with it. “For example, in the conception of a man much is contained, both as to what concerns himself and what surrounds him: as to the former, there is colour, size, form, movement, dress, &c.; and in reference to the latter, air, light, friends, and the like. If none of such circumstances make us uncertain or cause us to think the others false, but when all uniformly agree, the conception is the more convincing.” Thus when a conception is in harmony with the manifold circumstances in which it stands, it is secure. A cord may be thought to be a snake, but all the circumstances of the same have not been considered. “Thus, as in judging of an illness all the symptoms must be brought under our consideration, so the fixed conception has conviction because all circumstances agree.

g. “Even wore trustworthy than the fixed conception is the conception as developed (diexwdeumenh), which brings about perfect conviction,” the third moment. “While in the case of the fixed conception we only investigate whether the circumstances agree with one another, in the developed conception each one of the circumstances existing in harmony is strictly inquired into on its own account. Thus he who judges as well as what is judged and that according to which judgment is given, are subject to investigations. Just as in common life in some unimportant matter one witness satisfies us, in one more important several are required, and in a case which is more material still the individual witnesses are themselves examined through a comparison of their testimonies, so in less important matters general convincing conception satisfies us, in things of certain importance one which is established, but in those which pertain to a good and happy life one which is investigated in its parts is required.” We thus see — in contradistinction to those who place truth in what is immediate, and, especially in recent times, in sensuous perception, in an immediate knowledge, whether as inward revelation or outward perception — that this kind of certainty with Carneades rightly takes the lowest place; the conception worked out and developed really is to him the essential one, and yet it appears in a formal manner only. In fact, the truth is only in thinking knowledge, and if Carneades does not exhaust all that can be said of the nature of this knowledge, he still has rightly emphasized an essential moment in it, the opening out and the judging movements of the moments.

In the New Academy we see the subjective side of conviction expressed, or the belief that not the truth as truth, but its manifestation, or really what it is to the conception, is present in consciousness. Thus only subjective certainty is demanded; of the truth nothing more is said, for only what is relative in respect of consciousness is considered. Just as the Academic principle limited itself to the subjective act of the convincing conception, so likewise did the Stoics really place implicit existence in thought, and Epicurus in perception; but they called this the truth. The Academicians, on the contrary, set it up against the truth, and asserted that it is not the existent as such. They had thus a consciousness that the implicit really has the moment of consciousness in it, and that without this it cannot exist this was also a fundamental principle to the former, but they were not conscious of it. Though, according to this, the implicit has now an essential relation to consciousness, this last is still in contrast with the truth; to conscious knowledge, as to the moment of explicitude, the implicit thus still stands in the background, it still confronts it, but at the same time it includes the explicit as an essential moment, even in antagonism to itself; in other words, consciousness is not yet set forth in and for itself. Now, if this Academic standpoint is driven to its ultimate limit, it amounts to this, that everything is clearly for consciousness alone, and that the form of an existent, and of the knowledge of existence, also quite disappears as form; this, however, is Scepticism. Thus if the Academicians still preferred one conviction, one estimate of truth to another, as that in which the aim of a self-existent truth might be said to dwell, or float before their eyes, there still remains this simple belief in the validity of opinion without distinction, or the fact that everything is in like manner only related to consciousness, and is, in fact, phenomenal alone. Thus the Academy had no longer any fixed subsistence, but hereby really passed into Scepticism, which merely asserted a subjective belief in truth, so that all objective truth has really been denied.


Translated by E.S. Haldane and Frances H. Simson, published by K. Paul Trench, Trübner in 1894.

Hegel-by-HyperText Home Page @ marxists.org