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The Panentheism of Karl Christian Friedrich Krause (1781-1832)

From Transcendental Philosophy to Metaphysics

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Benedikt Paul Göcke

The book provides the first analysis of Karl Christian Friedrich Krause’s system of philosophy and his panentheism in English. Karl Christian Friedrich Krause has bequeathed to us a system of philosophy which is little recognised in contemporary philosophy. This is both surprising and unfortunate, because Krause’s philosophical system has much to offer: Through transcendental reflection on the nature of the human, Krause understands God as the one infinite and unconditioned reality, and the ultimate necessary condition of knowledge. God makes humanity, nature, and reason ultimately comprehensible as the essential categories of the divine Essence. God is thus the single, primary, object of science that is already logically presupposed even before His discovery. Science presupposes theology, and theology is best read as panentheism.

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4. Science and the Constitution of the Ego as such

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4.  Science and the Constitution of the Ego as such

For science to be possible as a system, there must be a principle, in which all knowledge is grounded, and through which science becomes an organic system. Humanity must be able to directly intuit this fact principle, which Krause also calls Orwesen or ‘God’. Otherwise, science is impossible for humanity. The intuition of God is prepared in the analytical-ascending part of science, by transcendental phenomenology: it is shown through analysis of the categories, which the ego necessarily uses in describing itself, that all knowing is in and through God as the scientific principle of fact and knowledge. This chapter deals with the transcendental constitution of the ego as such, Chapter 5 with the constitution of the ego in itself, and Chapter 6 analyses the fundamental intuition of God.

4.1  The fundamental intuition of the ego

Science exists exactly when there is a fact principle of science. In the analytical-ascending part of science, the ego searches for this knowledge. If our search were to begin with mediated knowledge, we would never come to immediate knowledge of the principle of science, so the beginning of the search can itself only be given through immediately certain knowledge: ‘The right beginning of science can only [consist in] some absolutely immediate knowledge’ (Krause 1886a: 3). The demand that the beginning of science be in immediate, certain, knowledge implies that this presupposes no other truth or science, and understanding it necessarily brings with it insight into its truth: ‘Firstly: knowledge of it may not presuppose any other truth, any other science for your certainty. Secondly: therefore, one cannot call on any already existing science as a ground for evidence. […] Thirdly: this knowledge must in itself be determinate, clear, and explicit, so no explanation or clarification by anything outside it is permitted. Fourthly: therefore, this beginning needs no erudition, no knowledge at all of what others have taken as true’ (Krause 1869: 44). These conditions ensure, from the objective side, immediate certainty, and from the subjective side, enable every knowing subject, even the non-educated, to achieve this knowledge. As Wollgast ← 55 | 56 → (1990: 25) states: ‘According to Krause, the possibility of intuition is fundamentally given to all human beings. Not only the ‘chosen’, as in Schelling’s intellectual intuition, but all human beings can lift themselves to it.’

Krause proposes three items of knowledge, as candidates for the beginning of science: ‘I certainly find such immediate, certain, knowledge in myself, and, admittedly, even a set of three: firstly, of my self, of my ego; secondly, of my kind, of other human beings outside me; thirdly, of physical objects, of things outside me. It is a fact that whoever contemplates this, claims to know these three things with full certainty’ (Krause 1869: 45).

Let us begin with knowledge of external objects. Krause argues that, contrary to naive realism, knowledge of external objects is not direct, but mediated by the senses: ‘All knowledge of external sensuous objects is conditioned by the senses of our body’ (Krause 1869: 45). Krause’s argument for this is based on the observation that ‘all that we claim to be certain of, about external things, […] [is based on] perceptions by the eye, the ear, and the other senses’ (Krause 1869: 45). Objects in the external world, in so far as we perceive them, are therefore mediated by the senses: ‘We do not perceive external things themselves, but we trust our eye, our ear, and our nerves governing smell, and touch, in their distinct states’ (Krause 1869: 45). Knowledge of the external world, however certain it might be, is therefore not immediate, because we have to bring in further knowledge, namely, the relation between the information given through the senses, and the sources of this information: the objects the information pertains to.

The prospects look no better for the knowledge of other people. Epistemologically, other people are also objects in the external world, and ‘all we know of other rational individuals rests on the perception of the bodies of these rational beings, rests on the fact that we see them, hear them, and so on’ (Krause 1869: 46).26 That is, the ego’s body is not only the access to purportedly external nature but also access to other rational individuals: ← 56 | 57 → ‘It is only the appearance of these rational beings by means of their bodies, within the sphere of nature that is common to us, by which, as a matter of fact, we know everything definite about other rational individuals. As minds, they do not appear to us. […] It is not granted to us to deal with one another purely as minds’ (Krause 1869: 95). For Krause, therefore, recognition of one’s own body and the recognition of the body of another are on the same level of epistemological certainty.

According to Krause, therefore, only the intuition of the transcendental constitution of the ego is left as an option for direct, certain, knowledge. To analyse whether in fact this alleged fundamental intuition of the ego is able to operate as the starting point of science, Krause turns to a more detailed analysis of the epistemological conditions laid upon a successful intuition of the ego.

First, the fundamental intuition of the ego, if possible, could not be sensory knowledge. It could not be sensory, because any sensory knowledge is brought about by the senses, and therefore not immediate. Second, it could not be ordinary conceptual knowledge because a concept of the ego is ‘the thought of the universal and the necessary for each ego and for every ego’ (Krause 1869: 52). If the fundamental intuition were conceptual knowledge in this sense, then it would have to contain the thought of the extension of the concept of the ego and thus would have to contain the thought of other egos that, again, it could only know about through knowledge mediated by the senses. Third, because whatever is appreciated in the fundamental intuition of the ego is not conceptual knowledge in the sense outlined above, it follows that the intuition of the transcendental constitution of the ego cannot be a conclusion of an argument. For it belongs to the nature of argument to express a relation between concepts, and any conclusion can only be thought in relation to its premises. Here, because of the alleged immediacy of the intuition, there are no premises, which is why the fundamental intuition of the ego cannot be the conclusion of an argument. As Krause (1869: 53) argues: ‘The fundamental intuition of the ego is not the conclusion of any argument. For the conclusion of any argument is proven, in its truth, according to the principle of sufficient reason [Satz des Grundes]. Each conclusion is known as given in the premises. But when I purely intuit myself, I do not think of any such premises.’ The fundamental intuition of the transcendental constitution of the ego, understood as an ← 57 | 58 → act of pure self-consciousness, in other words, if it is possible, must not be mediated by anything, not by the senses, not by concepts, and not by the principle of sufficient reason: ‘For, in order to become self-conscious, there is no need of mediation’ (Krause 1869: 48).

According to Krause, a fundamental intuition of the ego that is subject to the mentioned conditions is indeed possible. To recognize the ego directly in fundamental intuition, to plainly see its constitution, I must first retain everything derived from the senses or conceptual and argumentative analysis as outlined above, that is, I have to bracket all that can be bracketed epistemologically and phenomenologically, and then intuit which concepts I still need in order to describe my transcendental constitution; it is precisely these concepts that Krause refers to as the essential properties of the transcendental constitution of the ego, that is, as the essentialities (Wesenheiten) grasped in the fundamental intuition of the ego. As Müller (2010a: 34) says: ‘This approach describes the whole of reality starting out from self-experience, within the paradigm of self-reference, that is, of self-consciousness. That is, so to speak, the ground and full form of reality. Everything that lives in pre-reflective consciousness is, so to speak, half-way to finding self-reference. Finite, and thus contingent, self-consciousness is something like a worldly image of the ground from which it emerges, and which, according to this pictorial logic, must be an absolute, self-existing spirit.’ If I proceed in the way described, according to Krause, I immediately and certainly intuit the ego as a whole, as one and the same essence, without recourse to any possible manifold in the ego, or any difference between knowing subject and known object. For these are identical in the intuition of the ego. As Krause (1869: 49) says: ‘In becoming conscious of ourselves, as egos, we become conscious of ourselves, without thinking that we are a manifold in ourselves. We become precisely self-conscious, as a self-same and whole essence, not only in this or that relation, nor in any particular property, but only as the whole independent essence which we call the “ego”.’

The fundamental intuition of the ego is an immediate and certain intuition of the transcendental constitution of its object, the ego. Because, however, there is no difference between intuited and intuiting here, it follows that knowledge by the fundamental intuition of the ego is also incommunicable (unmitteilbar): ‘This intuition cannot be communicated to those who do not have it’ (Krause 1886a: 14). For Krause, therefore, to recognize the ← 58 | 59 → starting point of science is the responsibility of each individual alone: ‘Each must find this fundamental intuition in himself. One could not be brought to it from the outside’ (Krause 1869: 49). To establish science as a system of knowledge, a purely subjective act, which each individual must carry out for himself, is necessary.

Two qualifications are called for: first, because it is the task of analytical-ascending science to discover the categories constitutive of the transcendental constitution of the ego, we cannot, at this stage, know whether the categories also de facto apply to things outside of the ego: ‘And if we have found, in the further determination of the fundamental intuition of the ego [the transcendental categories] […], we leave it, as a whole, open to question whether all these ideas […] are assigned any other validity outside the ego’ (Krause 1869: 73).

Second, the ego is not the principle of science. To be the principle of science, the ego would have to be intuited as infinite. In the fundamental intuition of the transcendental constitution of the ego it would have to be immediately certain that the ego incorporates the whole organic system of science, ready for unfolding. This, pace the young Fichte, is not the case, according to Krause, because the object of the fundamental intuition of the ego lacks the necessary infinity: ‘Can the fundamental intuition of the ego consider all things thinkable in itself? For we say that only that which is, essentially as such and in itself, and has nothing at all outside itself, can be the unconditioned principle of science. But is this found in the fundamental intuition of the ego? I find it by no means asserted in it’ (Krause 1869: 56). As Krause (1889a: 56) specifies: ‘If the fundamental intuition of the ego, were the principle, then this idea, the ego, should be quite sufficient by itself. For no other thought should be possible; because, even in the thought of something other than the ego, the ego is the indication that the thought of the ego does not concern all thoughts. Accordingly, the fundamental intuition of the ego cannot be considered to be the principle of science.’

However, the ego is recognized as the principle of the ego. As Krause (1869: 254) says: ‘The ego is the principle of its further self-knowledge. And in the fundamental intuition of the ego, as the principle for all that the I contains, and is in itself, is then contained, given, co-founded, and eternally, all internal (immanent) knowledge of the ego. We already pointed out, as soon as we had brought the fundamental intuition of the ego to consciousness, ← 59 | 60 → that we now had the possibility of forming the self-knowledge of the ego in its inner depth.’ Furthermore, although the ego is not the principle of science, that is, although the ego is not God, the fundamental intuition of the ego, systematically considered, is of equal importance, because qua its being the discovery of the ego as the principle of the ego, it is the necessary condition of the ego’s way to obtain the fundamental intuition of God considered as the scientific principle of fact and knowledge.

4.2  The material constitution of the ego as such

According to Krause, the essentialities of the ego constitute the essence (Wesen) of the ego: they are, in other words, what can be addressed as the transcendental constitution of the ego. Like any denotation of the categories, the concept of essence is beyond definition: ‘If we are now asked how ‘essence’ can be explained, how it is to be defined, it is found that this is quite impossible. For each explanation or definition is to determine what something is, but essence contains what every thinkable explanation already presupposes, so the person doing the explaining already has the idea of essence’ (Krause 1869: 210). Only this much can be said: ‘If I say here: the ego is an essence, I do not mean it is an essentiality of something or other, but it is, itself, what it is’ (Krause 1869: 66). Based on this assumption, the science of the ego as transcendental phenomenology has two tasks: to show what can be read off or deduced from the fundamental intuition of the ego regarding, on the one hand, what the ego is as such, as a whole, and, on the other, regarding what the ego is in itself, as a whole that is related to its parts: ‘The next scientific demand is to bring about the self-knowledge of the ego by continuous pure observation. And this task contains […] the following two specific tasks: the first: to find what the ego as such is, to intuit the qualities of the ego which belong to it as the whole ego; the second: to investigate what the ego finds within itself, that which it is in itself’ (Krause 1869: 64).

To achieve this, Krause operates with two kinds of essential properties – essentialities – that can be read of or deduced from the fundamental intuition of the ego: the material categories determine what the ego is, and the formal categories determine the manner in which the ego is given to itself. Let us begin with the analysis of the material categories of the ego as such: ← 60 | 61 → in the fundamental intuition of the ego, the ego immediately recognizes that it is a self-same and whole being, which, according to Krause, is to say that it is subordinated to the categories of selfhood and wholeness. Due to the epistemological constraints put on the insights found in the fundamental intuition of the ego – every insight based on this intuition has to be immediately certain – Krause cannot provide an argument for the adequacy of this assumption, but is free to admit the following: ‘That this is so, everyone must find for themselves. I, however, have only guidance to give, that this intuition should be grasped purely and wholly by means of the words which I have pronounced’ (Krause 1869: 66).27 Although as essentialities of the ego, the categories of selfhood and wholeness do not admit of definition, they can be heuristically illuminated. First, ‘the selfhood of the ego is the property of being the very thing it is, not through any external relation or through being in any external relation, but as such’ (Krause 1869: 68). The ego is, in other words, a self-same something that is what it is, without recourse to any other essence. As Krause (1869: 70) specifies: ‘For this, one commonly needs the word “substance”.’ If the ego were not what it is independently of any relation to other things, then the ego could not be grasped as a self-same being in the fundamental intuition of the ego. In intuition, we would be forced to transcend the ego in order to understand the ego. However, this is not found in intuition. Second, the category of wholeness means being a whole, independent of its parts, and without recourse to its parts, a feature that is ‘ordinarily denoted by the word “totality”’(Krause 1869: 68).

That regarding its material constitution the ego recognizes itself as a self-same and whole essence therefore means that in and through the fundamental intuition of the ego, the ego knows that it is subordinated to the categories of selfhood and wholeness. However, the ego is also aware that it cannot separate the fact of its being a self-same essence from the fact that it is a whole essence: ‘We cannot think of ourselves […] as one, without thinking of ourselves as self-same and as whole’ (Krause 1869: 211). The ego cannot ← 61 | 62 → think that it is the very thing it is without, at the same time, thinking that it is a single subject of predication, and in this sense, is a whole. Therefore, in the same way in which the ego knows that it possesses selfhood and wholeness, it also knows that it possesses the unity of selfhood and wholeness, for otherwise it could think of itself, as a whole, only as possessing either selfhood, or wholeness, which it cannot. Krause refers to this further essentiality of the ego as selfhood-wholeness-unity (Selbvereinganzheit).

Since, furthermore, the ego is aware that, as a whole, its essence is not completely exhausted by the essentialities selfhood, wholeness, and selfhood-wholeness-unity, these categories are only part of the determination of the ego as a whole, it immediately recognizes that as a whole it is the higher unity of its parts. That is, because the ego, as a whole, cannot be opposed to what belongs to its material constitution by any kind of external opposition, it follows, according to Krause, that the ego intuits that it is, as a whole, the higher unity of what can be distinguished as being constitutive of its essence, because ‘that is precisely the essentiality of my essence: that I am one’ (Krause 1869: 67). The ego is not only selfhood, wholeness, and selfhood-wholeness-unity, but also the higher unity that is constitutive of the unity of the being of the ego as a whole. Krause also refers to this feature of the ego as original-unity-of-essentialities (Wesenheit-Ureinheit). The original-unity-of-essentialities of the transcendental material constitution of the ego is ‘the unity of essentialities, in so far as it is above selfhood and wholeness’ (Krause 1869: 212).

In sum, regarding its material constitution, the ego knows itself as such as an essence, whose essentiality is unity; what it is, and that which is what it is, is a self-same and whole essence. The ego as such shows itself not only as self-same and whole essence, that, as such, is the unity of its self-sameness and wholeness, but, as original-unity-of-essentialities, is also distinguished, as a whole, from that of which it is the unity, that is, selfhood, wholeness, and selfhood-wholeness-unity.

4.3  The formal constitution of the ego as such

Let us turn to the formal categories of the ego. The essentialities the ego recognizes when it asks what it is, as a whole, do not fully describe the ego, as a whole, in analytical-ascending science. For in addition to the knowledge ← 62 | 63 → of what the ego is, there is also the recognition of the categories that determine the manner in which the ego is given to itself in the fundamental intuition of the ego: ‘The essentiality that we have just recognised gives the answer to the question: what is the ego? Now, however, the question arises, secondly: how is the ego, or what is the form through which the ego is thought?’ (Krause 1869: 212). Krause’s term for the fact that there is a manner in which the ego is transcendentally given is ‘positivity’ because the ego ‘places itself, it finds itself placed and to this end with a pure word from the linguistic construction to denote it, it can be said that: the ego is a positivity’ (Krause 1869: 212).

According to Krause, whenever the ego considers the positivity of the ego, it discovers that there are two categories it is subordinated to: ‘I must think of myself as positive, that is, as posited and placed. At the same time I think of myself as directed to myself (directedness) and grasping myself (comprehension)’ (Krause 1869: 213). That is, the two immediately obvious formal categories of the transcendental constitution of the ego are directedness and comprehension. Like the material categories, these formal categories cannot be defined but have to be accepted as primitive basic terms of Krause’s transcendental phenomenology. However, they can be described. By directedness is meant that the ego refers to itself and is directed towards itself: ‘The ego is directed towards itself, refers to itself, at least as a positive essence, and especially as a self-positing essence; so the ego arrives at directedness, and reference to itself’ (Krause 1869: 213). Comprehension, in contrast, refers to the essentiality recognised by the ego, that it ‘grasps itself, contains itself, or that it captures itself, or that it comprehends itself’ (Krause 1869: 213).

Although directedness and comprehension are the two formal categories that are most easily read off of the fundamental intuition of the ego – because, according to Krause, it is not possible that the ego describes its transcendental constitution without assuming that it is directed towards itself and comprehends itself as a positive entity – directedness and comprehension are not fully distinct essentialities of the manner in which the ego is given to itself: the ego is aware that it cannot separate the fact of its being directed towards itself from the fact that it comprehends itself as a positive entity because the one category is a necessary and sufficient condition for the presence of the other, and vice versa. To make this insight ← 63 | 64 → explicit, Krause introduces a new categorical term that denotes the union of directedness and comprehension: directedness-comprehension-unity (Richtfassvereinheit).

Next, and analogously to the reflection on the material constitution of the ego, it is argued that the positivity of the ego, as a whole, is not reducible to either directedness, comprehension, or directedness-comprehension-unity, since neither of these exhausts the positivity of the ego, as a whole. Because the ego cannot be opposed to what belongs to its formal constitution by any kind of external opposition, it follows, according to Krause, that the ego recognizes that it is the higher unity of what can be distinguished as being constitutive of its positivity - that is, the ego intuits that it can be distinguished, as a whole, as the higher unity of directedness, comprehension, and directedness-comprehension-unity, and therefore can be addressed as the original-unity-of-positivity (Satzheit-Ureinheit).

In sum, the formal transcendental constitution of the ego as such is as follows: the ego is an essence that is recognised as being directed towards itself and thereby wholly comprehends itself in such a way that its positivity is recognized as the higher unity of what can be distinguished as the ego’s different modes of givenness.

4.4  The material-formal categories of the ego as such

Krause has clarified the formal and material categories that with immediate certainty can be read off the fundamental intuition of the ego as belonging to the transcendental constitution of the ego as such. The next step consists in asking for the relation between the formal and the material categories. Although the material categories, as what the ego recognises itself as, may be distinguished from the formal categories, how the ego recognises itself, it is not possible to really separate them. For the ego cannot recognise what the ego is without recognising how the ego recognises itself. Because of the unity of the being of the ego, Krause therefore argues that the formal and material categories do not simply stand next to each other, unrelated as different and independently existing essentialities of the essence of the ego. Instead, the material categories of the ego are essentially linked to its formal categories. For instance, it is true that ‘selfhood corresponds to directedness: as a self-same being I intuit myself as directed to myself. And ← 64 | 65 → wholeness stands in relation to comprehension: for, if I intuit myself as a whole, I thereby comprehend myself’ (Krause 1869: 214).28

According to Krause, the union of the material and the formal categories constitutes the categories of being, because only that which is subordinated to both formal and material categories can be said to exist: if something only was subordinated to material categories, then it would not possess positivity, which means that it would not be a given. If something had only formal properties, then without a qualification of its material constitution, it would be utterly empty and therefore could not exist; its existence would be tantamount to the existence of no-thing.

There are two main categories of being that the ego can read off or deduce by combination from what it already knows through its reflection on the formal and material categories: on the one hand, the category of unity-of-difference (Verhaltseinheit) and, on the other, the category of unity-of-determination (Gehaltseinheit). Both categories are qualifications of the being of the ego: the first category, unity-of-difference, expresses the fact that the ego, as a whole, cannot intuit itself as being partly subordinated to the material and partly subordinated to the formal categories, but intuits itself, as a whole, as the existing unity of the differences between and amongst the various material and formal categories that belong to its transcendental constitution. Being a unity of differences is essential to the constitution and existence of the ego. At the same time, the ego recognizes that it is a unity-of-determination, that is, that its very existence is not exhausted by the unifications of the differences between the material and formal categories, but that is also determined by what each of these categories and their combinations per se entails for the determination of the being of the ego. Since, as in the case of original-unity-of-positivity and original-unity-of-essentiality, the ego, as a whole, is not reducible to either unity-of-difference or unity-of-determination, but also is the higher unity ← 65 | 66 → of the difference between these two categories, Krause argues that the ego also possesses original-unity-of-being (Seinheit-Ureinheit) as a being that is the unity of unity and difference.

4.5  The immediate certainty of Krause’s intuition of the categories

The fundamental intuition of the ego enables the ego to be immediately certain that its transcendental constitution, as such, consists of three kinds of categories: the material, the formal, and the material-formal categories of being. Each category entails two aspects that first come to mind: selfhood and wholeness in case of material categories, directedness and comprehension in case of formal categories, and unity-of-determination and unity-of-difference in case of the categories of being. None of these categories can be considered purely on its own, because the presence of each is necessary and sufficient for the presence of the others. All of them, as well as their combinations and differences, belong to the unity of the ego, the transcendental constitution of which is the unity of the unities and differences that are intuited to constitute the ego as a whole.

A central objection to the doctrine of categories presented by Krause, as to any doctrine of categories suggested in the history of philosophy, is that the categories are arbitrary. There are three possibilities: (1) I fulfil the fundamental intuition of the ego, but derive other categories; (2) I fulfil the fundamental intuition of the ego, and agree with Krause overall; (3) I cannot fulfil the fundamental intuition of the ego.

Because there is, in principle, no argument against the possibility of intuition, Krause would not be impressed by the third option and would try to convince the objector that the objector himself is in possession of a priori concepts that he cannot deduce from other concepts but instead accepts as primitive concepts of his system of philosophy. The second possibility is the only option according to which there is no problem, because, there, everything is in agreement with Krause. However, the first option is prima facie a problem. If someone agrees with Krause that they are able to fulfil the fundamental intuition of the ego, but arrives at other categories by transcendental phenomenology, then we seem to have reached a point at which any agreement about the doctrine of categories derived from the intuition of the ego is impossible. ← 66 | 67 →

Let us therefore imagine, next to Krause, another philosopher, who agrees with Krause’s method but deduces different categories from the fundamental intuition of the ego. In such a situation, each can reproach the other for inadequately explicating the categories. However, this would not lead to any solution because intuition is incommunicable and cannot be brought into one from the outside. In such a situation, it seems to be sensible to subject the concurrent categorial systems to a pragmatic meta-test, with reference to the question of which system of categories can better make intelligible the world and our knowledge of it.

At this point, the situation may also be formulated as follows: if there are multiple categorial systems, then we should treat each one as though it were the appropriate category system. If it is shown that one of the two cannot integrate the reality of the characteristics of things, this can serve as an argument against the complete adequacy of one of these systems. Since the categories are, ultimately, essentialities of God, the requirement for a meta-pragmatic test may also be formulated as follows: ‘The question [posed to] each model of the divine [and its relation to the world] is this: does this model offer a more comprehensive accounting or more fruitful illumination of the basic human experience brought to articulation in the fundamental religious symbols? I require four component criteria: (1) applicability: does this model apply to contemporary human experience? (2) comprehensiveness: can this model, in principle, cover the widest scope of reality and orient it towards the divine? (3) logic: does this model satisfy the basic principles of reason? Does it avoid self-contradiction and avoid fallacious reasoning? (4) coherence: do the various parts of this model fit together so that they imply each other?’ (Peters 2007: 275). For the sake of argument, in what follows, I assume the adequacy of Krause’s categories as a coherent and adequate description of the transcendental constitution of the ego.

4.6  Summary

The analytical-ascending part of science begins with immediate and certain knowledge. While neither knowledge of other rational individuals nor the knowledge of any external objects is immediate knowledge, Krause finds in the self-knowledge of the ego an immediate knowledge of the ego that is not mediated by the senses. In this intuition, in which there can be no question of an opposition between a knowing subject and a known object, the ego is intuited as a whole. It is recognized that the ego is an essence, and that the essentiality ← 67 | 68 → of the ego is determined by its formal categories, its material categories, and the formal-material categories. The essentialities of the ego as such are:

Material CategoriesFormal CategoriesMaterial-Formal Categories
SelfhoodDirectednessUnity-of-Determination
WholenessComprehensionUnity-of-Difference
Original-Unity-of-EssentialityOriginal-Unity-of-PositivityOriginal-Unity-of-Being

The diagram constructed by Krause may be of help in understanding the procedure with which Krause operates in the analytical-ascending part of science:

When the ego as such is o, i and e could denote any two categories you like. For the sake of explanation, however, let us assume that i denotes selfhood and that e denotes wholeness. What Krause has in mind, then, is that transcendental phenomenology enables you to see that selfhood and wholeness are not entirely distinct categories of the ego, but overlap as selfhood-wholeness-unity, ä, because whenever there is selfhood, there is wholeness, and vice versa. Now, selfhood, wholeness, and selfhood-wholeness-unity are not next to each other unrelatedly as constituents of the ego as such, and the ego as such is not reducible to either of those essentialities. Instead, transcendental reflection shows that the ego, as a whole, is the higher unity of the difference between i, ä, and e that is represented in the diagram by u. As the higher unity of selfhood, wholeness, and selfhood-wholeness-unity, however, the ego has to be also united with selfhood on its own, as a determination of its being, ü, with selfhood-wholeness-unity, a, and with wholeness, ö.


26 Krause qualifies this statement. Although it is not possible to communicate directly with other minds qua human being, it does not follow from this that it is in principle impossible to do this: ‘Now, it would however be unwarranted to claim that it is impossible as such. Because, just from the fact that something does not take place, it does not follow at all that it cannot take place some other time’ (Krause 1869: 95).

27 Because, however, the knowledge gained in and through the fundamental intuition of the ego is supposed to be knowledge of the transcendental constitution of the ego, the plausibility of the categories suggested by Krause can relatively easily be tested: if they are adequate, then it must be impossible to assume that the ego is not subordinated to the category in question.

28 Since none of the categories, whether it be material or formal, can be thought of independently from the other categories, since the presence of any one category is necessary and sufficient for the presence of the other categories, the fundamental intuition of the ego enables us to combine all the categories with one another to spell out different features of the ego as such. We will come back to this in the synthetical-descending part of science when we analyse the fundamental intuition of God as the supreme principle of science.