From Transcendental Philosophy to Metaphysics
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.
10. Krause’s Influence on Arthur Schopenhauer
This part of the book deals with the importance of Krause’s system of philosophy. First Krause’s historical importance is vindicated by showing that he had tremendous influence on Arthur Schopenhauer and the development of his system of philosophy. In fact, the historical and systematic evidence suggests that the influence was sufficiently great that we might refer to Arthur Schopenhauer as a pupil of Krause. Second, in the chapters to follow this one, the systematic relevance of Krause’s panentheism is analysed by relating his work to some of the recent debates in analytic philosophy, in particular to discussions in the philosophy of religion, the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of mind. As we will see, Krause’s panentheism is still a valuable source of insight.
Arthur Schopenhauer and Karl Christian Friedrich Krause shared the same address in Dresden from Michaelmas 1815 to September 1818. Although Krause is not mentioned in Schopenhauer’s oeuvre, Schopenhauer is mentioned a few times both in Krause’s diary and in some of the letters and notes written by his sons Karl Erasmus and Wilhelm. These notes indicate that Krause and Schopenhauer had intense discussions concerning their systems of philosophy, the importance of Indian philosophy, Plato, and Kant. Since the fundamental architecture of Krause’s system of philosophy did not change substantially during Krause’s life, these discussions must have been quite useful to Schopenhauer who, at the time, was working on The World as Will and Representation. Because Krause complained in 1821 that The World as Will and Representation contains ideas Schopenhauer had been informed about by Krause in 1817, and because Schopenhauer’s system of philosophy reveals an astonishing similarity to Krause’s panentheistic philosophy at the centre of which is not Will, but Essence, it is plausible to assume that Krause influenced Schopenhauer in a significant way.
Based on the fact that they knew each other quite well, it is surprising that Cartwright (2010: 284) assumes that ‘Krause’s philosophy itself ← 141 | 142 → probably was outside Schopenhauer’s philosophical concerns.’ This is surprising because quite the contrary seems to be the case. As Wicks (2008: 7) states, ‘it is difficult to avoid speculating that Krause significantly influenced Schopenhauer and that his presence in Dresden affected the philosophical outlook Schopenhauer expressed in The World as Will and Representation.’
Two considerations speak in favour of the assumption that Schopenhauer himself did not significantly influence Krause: we know that the architecture and insights of Krause’s panentheistic system of philosophy were already formulated and expressed in Krause’s lectures as early as 1803–1806. Although the final expression of his system of philosophy was published as late as 1828, as his Vorlesungen über das System der Philosophie, the system itself had changed only in terminology and detail. As Krause himself remarks in 1827: ‘I am convinced that my system of philosophy, which I presented as an academic teacher in Jena as early as 1803–1804, and on which I have since been working without a change of structure, will contribute to the solution of the [task of philosophy]’ (Krause 1889a: 3).32
Furthermore, before he met Schopenhauer in 1815 Krause was already aware of the importance of Indian philosophy and in 1816 stated clearly that in his view Indian philosophy contains the main insights of philosophy: ‘It was not until 1815 that I began to read mystical writings […] and in 1807 partly Oupnekhat. It is remarkable how many images and doctrines and true propositions, which I have previously found for myself, and, to a greater extent, clearer and better, I also found in the mystics, for example, in Oupnekhat’ (Krause 1890a: 184). Since Schopenhauer started reading the Oupnekhat probably not before 1814 (cf. Hübscher 1971: 38), and since there is no revision but instead ← 142 | 143 → a continuous development of Krause’s thinking during the years 1815–1818, it is implausible to assume that Schopenhauer himself did have significant impact on Krause’s thinking, either in respect to his philosophical system or in respect to his stance on the importance of Indian philosophy.
That Krause in turn most likely had significant influence on Schopenhauer can be reconstructed from some of Krause’s remarks on the importance of Indian philosophy. On 11 January 1819, Krause wrote the following: ‘That the reunion of the European people with the Indians and with Indian philosophy and art would cause a more important change […] than the so-called restoration of the sciences after the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks, I had already thought of in 1807 and even more clearly in 1814 and 1815, where I obtained even more exact knowledge of Indian books’ (Krause 1891: 270). Although Krause wrote this after 1818, that is, after his time with Schopenhauer, he may be relied upon since he already was aware of the importance of Indian philosophy in 1807: Krause was convinced that important philosophical insights could be found in Indian philosophy and, in fact, he considered his own system of philosophy to be the first to relate them to philosophical insights of Plato and Kant. As Krause (1889a: 478) says: ‘We are convinced that in our system, the principles of which have been repeatedly described by us, and the partial execution of which we have published in a series of works, the task of scientific research and scientific education [Wissenschaftsforschung und Wissenschaftsbildung], in its main points, is satisfactorily carried out. For inasmuch as the recognition and acknowledgment of the principle is gained by the analytic-subjective self-knowledge of spirit [Geistes], the whole structure of science can be pictured in law-like and organic progress. And so the task of Socrates and Plato, as well as Kant, Fichte, and Schelling, is generally solved.’ It is interesting that in 1816 Schopenhauer also claimed to have been the first to achieve this: ‘I confess, by the way, that I do not believe that my doctrine ever might arise before the Upanishads, Plato, and Kant could simultaneously throw their rays into a human spirit’ (Schopenhauer 1966a: 422).
Since we know that Krause and Schopenhauer met frequently to discuss philosophical matters, it is hard to avoid speculating that in their discussions Krause not only stated what he thought about Indian philosophy, Plato, and Kant, but also expressed quite explicitly the reasons why he considered it necessary to establish a system of philosophy that unites ← 143 | 144 → Indian philosophy with the insights provided by Plato and Kant, and why, in his eyes, the system of philosophy he worked on was the first that truly achieved this task. In other words, Krause will have acquainted Schopenhauer with the structure of his (Krause’s) panentheistic system of philosophy, its distinguishing features, and the arguments speaking in its favour. If this is true, then Schopenhauer, who back then was working on The World as Will and Representation, must have been quite aware of the structure of Krause’s panentheism and the arguments in its favour.
However, and this is exciting, on 4 February 1821, after reading the The World as Will and Representation, Krause complained that Schopenhauer had taken over his ideas and published them as his own. To his comment on the importance of Indian philosophy, he added the following remark: ‘I gave this thought to Dr Schopenhauer in 1817, who has now printed this in his book The World as Will and Representation’ (Krause 1891: 270). For someone like Krause, this comes as close to an accusation of plagiarism as it gets. As Ureña (1991: 530) states: ‘In his diary, Krause once raised the accusation that Schopenhauer had borrowed ideas from him and declared them as his own.’ And indeed, Krause must have been surprised to find himself not even mentioned when, for instance, he read what Schopenhauer wrote in his opus magnum in August 1818: ‘If [the reader] has shared in the benefits of the Vedas, access to which, opened to us by the Upanishads, is in my view the greatest advantage which this still young century has to show over previous centuries, since I surmise that the influence of Sanskrit literature will penetrate no less deeply than did the revival of Greek literature in the fifteenth century [that is, through the fall of Constantinople in 1453]; if, I say, the reader has also already received and assimilated the divine inspiration of ancient Indian wisdom, then he is best of all prepared to hear what I have to say to him’ (Schopenhauer 1969: XV).
Although, then, Krause recognized some of his ideas in Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation, he did not consider Schopenhauer’s system of philosophy to be an adequate unification of Plato and Kant with Indian philosophy. As Krause noted in December 1819, he considered Schopenhauer’s system as only containing the seed of truth: ‘Brahmanism has attracted half-scientific minds that are on their way to obtain a full intuition of fundamental reality, but to them it is still a pitfall leading to unjustified propositions, […] like it is for Schopenhauer’ (Krause 1890a: 292). ← 144 | 145 →
Krause’s assessment of Schopenhauer’s philosophy is plausibly assumed to be based on the fact that, already in the years 1812–1813, Krause lectured about what can be identified as some of the key features of Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation. In his Vernunftwissenschaft, published from Krause’s Nachlass in 1886, Krause argued that an adequate system of science must be based on insight into the nature and existence of the ultimate ground of the existence and essence of world that is recognized as being, in itself, everything that there is. As we have seen, this insight into the nature and existence of the ultimate ground, according to Krause, cannot be deduced logically within the system of science, but has to be obtained in and through an immediately certain fundamental intuition, in which the ego directly intuits the nature and existence of the highest principle of science. We find a very similar idea expressed in Volume One of Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation: ‘No science can be capable of demonstration throughout any more than a building can stand in the air. All its proofs must refer to something perceived, and hence no longer capable of proof, for the whole world of reflection rests on, and is rooted in, the world of perception. All ultimate, i.e., original, evidence is one of intuitive perception, as the word already discloses’ (Schopenhauer 1969: 65).
In his Vernunftwissenschaft, Krause continues to argue that, through fundamental intuition, every subject can obtain the immediately certain insight that what it is, concerning its nature and existence, is will: ‘I, myself, am willing, or, objectively conceived, will’ (Krause 1886: 37). Schopenhauer will formulate this in Volume One of The World as Will and Representation, in one of its various formulations, as follows: ‘To the subject of knowing, who appears as an individual only through his identity with the body, this body is given in two entirely different ways. It is given in intellect perception as representation, as object among objects, liable to the laws of these objects. But it is also given in quite a different way, namely as that which is known immediately to everyone, and is denoted by the word will’ (Schopenhauer 1969: 100).
Krause then argues that ‘we can only become aware of other things in so as far as these things are ourselves, and we are in these things ourselves’ (Krause 1886: 66). Furthermore, ‘we can make an inference to the beings outside us, under the form: as true as I am myself, as I observe myself, there is also this or that being’ (Krause 1886: 75). Krause, in other words, argues that, through intuition, we can use what is discovered as the true nature ← 145 | 146 → of the ego to account for the ultimate ground of the existence and essence of the world. Schopenhauer, in turn, will express this idea in Volume Two of The World as Will and Representation, and in a similar way: ‘What is directly known to us must give us the explanation of what is only indirectly known, not conversely’ (Schopenhauer 1966: 196). That is, as formulated in On the Will in Nature, ‘if we stood in the same inward relation towards every natural phenomenon as towards our own organism, the explanation of every natural phenomenon, as well as of all the properties of every body, would likewise ultimately be reduced to [that which is discovered as the nature of the I in self-observation]’ (Schopenhauer 1889: 246). Furthermore: ‘The two primarily different sources of our knowledge, that is to say the inward and the outward source, have to be connected together […] by reflection. It is quite exclusively out of this connection that our comprehension of Nature, and of our own selves arises; but then the inner side of Nature is disclosed to our intellect, which by itself alone can never reach further than to the mere outside; and the mystery which philosophy has so long tried to solve, lies open before us’ (Schopenhauer 1889: 318).
Based on his onto-epistemological assumption about the relation between what is revealed in the fundamental intuition of the ego as the true nature of the ego and what is constitutive of the nature and existence of the world, Krause argues that if the ego were nothing over and above will, then the world would be nothing over and above a manifestation of will. Here, Krause deploys the terms “will” and “pure activity” as synonyms: ‘If we were pure activity [reine Tätigkeit], an unlimited idealism would be decided by the fact that all objects [according to their true nature] were only opposing manifestations of will [entgegengesetzte Tätigkeit], and, indeed, pure activities’ (Krause 1886: 52). Schopenhauer will refer to this insight as the key feature of his system of philosophy. In On the Will in Nature, he summarizes the idea as follows: ‘The kernel and chief point of my doctrine, its Metaphysic proper, [is] that this thing in itself, this substratum of all phenomena, and therefore of the whole of Nature, is nothing but what we know directly and intimately and find within ourselves as the will’ (Schopenhauer 1889: 216).
Krause, however, resumes by arguing that, although the ego recognizes itself, in an immediately certain fundamental intuition, as will, it does not follow that the ego is nothing over and above pure activity: ‘If I find myself ← 146 | 147 → as nothing else but activity, it does not follow from this that I am nothing but activity, not even that I will not find myself in the future as something else’ (Krause 1886: 52). On Krause’s own account, as we saw, the immediately certain fundamental intuition of the ego shows that the ego is more than will: the ego is discovered as a self-same and whole, willing, feeling, and knowing, manifestation of the one self-same and whole, willing, feeling, and knowing, infinite Essence or Orwesen.
Because Krause does not assume that the fundamental intuition of the ego shows that the ego is nothing over and above will, he does not assume that the world is only a manifestation of will, and consequently he does not conclude that the principle of science is nothing over and above will: Krause assumes that will is an essential, but not the only relevant, feature that reveals itself in the fundamental intuition of God as an attribute of Orwesen. In Volume Two of The World as Will and Representation Schopenhauer will agree with this: ‘Meanwhile it is to be carefully noted, and I have always kept it in mind, that even the inward observation we have of our own will still does not by any means furnish an exhaustive and adequate knowledge of the thing-in-itself’ (Schopenhauer 1966: 196).
Since it is very hard to believe that in their discussions about Indian Philosophy, Plato, and Kant, Krause would not have mentioned what he had lectured about a few years ago; the nature and existence of will, and since we find these ideas in Schopenhauer’s system of philosophy, it is understandable both that, in Krause’s mind, Schopenhauer’s early emphasis on the will as the ultimate ground of the existence and essence of the world is inadequate, and that Krause would complain that in his The World as Will and Representation Schopenhauer published thoughts he had been informed about by Krause.
Both Krause and Schopenhauer assumed that an adequate system of philosophy has to integrate the insights provided by Indian philosophy, Plato, and Kant. To integrate the insights of Kant, to them, meant acknowledging that in the everydayness of being we do not perceive ultimate reality directly – the Ding an sich – but, instead, perceive empirical reality as structured ← 147 | 148 → by our transcendental constitution, that is, our forms of intuition and the categories of the Understanding. To integrate the insights of Plato meant to adhere to the idea that, although we do not normally perceive the highest principle as such, there is an ultimate principle of the world that accounts for its true nature and existence in an intelligible way. To integrate the insights of Indian philosophy meant developing a system of philosophy in which the relation between the world and its ultimate ground is not one of opposition and separation, but one of ultimate non-duality, or unity, in which the ultimate ground of the world in one way or the other is, or shows itself as, the world. Based on the fact that Krause’s panentheistic philosophy of science did not change much during his life, and based on the fact that Schopenhauer’s most creative years were 1814–1818, which includes his time with Krause, we should expect a significant similarity between their attempts to develop a system of philosophy that integrates these insights, if Krause influenced Schopenhauer’s thinking. And in fact, there is an astonishing similarity between the overall architecture of Krause’s and Schopenhauer’s systems of philosophy. This can be seen if we now look at some of the key common features of their thinking.
First, Krause and Schopenhauer, apparently independently from one another (cf. Rieffert 1914: 218–220), concluded that the principle of sufficient reason (Satz vom Grunde) is the most fundamental transcendental principle constitutive of our conception of the world. They both maintained that it is open to different interpretations in different contexts of use, and that the system of science is structured by this principle. Based on these shared assumptions it comes as no surprise that Krause and Schopenhauer deploy essentially the same concept of science. According to Krause, as we have seen, science is a system of true findings, differentiated within itself, in which all parts ‘exist in relation to each other, not merely as a whole, in which parts are next to one other, collected in a mere aggregate, but as a whole in which the parts are all in, with and through one other [in, mit und durch einander], are all only in, with and through, the whole thing. Everything is essentially joined to form a whole which contains parts, each of which, although something specific, and exists for itself, nevertheless exists only for itself, by, and as long, as it is in a certain connectedness, and interaction, with all other members of that structure [Gliedern], which also account for the organism’ (Krause 1869: 4). ← 148 | 149 →
In his On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, Schopenhauer fully agrees on the adequacy of such a concept of science: ‘For by science we understand a system of notions [Erkenntnisse], i.e. a totality of connected, as opposed to a mere aggregate of disconnected, notions. But what is it that binds together the members of a system, if not the principle of sufficient reason? That which distinguishes every science from a mere aggregate is precisely, that its notions are derived one from another as their reasons’ (Schopenhauer 1889: 4).
Based on this understanding of science, Krause and Schopenhauer struggled with the question of how such a system relates logically to the ultimate ground of the existence and essence of the world. We know that Krause argued that the ultimate ground of the world cannot be deduced within the system of science itself, but has to be intuited by the ego in an immediately and certain fundamental intuition of God Himself. Schopenhauer fully agrees with this demand. In 1814, he wrote the following concerning the need for immediate insight: ‘A principal error of all the philosophy so far, which is related to the fact that it was sought as a science, is that the mediate knowledge, that is, knowledge for reasons, was looked for even where immediate insight is given’ (Schopenhauer 1966a: 209). In Volume One of The World as Will and Representation, Schopenhauer argues for this: ‘That all science in the real sense, by which I understand systematic knowledge under the guidance of the principle of sufficient reason, can never reach a final goal or give an entirely satisfactory explanation. It never aims at the inmost nature of the world; it can never get beyond the representation; on the contrary, it really tells us nothing more than the relation of one representation to another’ (Schopenhauer 1969: 28).
Both Krause and Schopenhauer assumed that the ultimate principle of the world can only reveal itself in an immediately certain act of intuition or self-observation. The question, then, is how to account for this immediately certain intuition of the highest principle of reality. Both assumed that it must be possible for every subject to obtain this intuition. But, since the ability to obtain this intuition is not proven as the conclusion of any argument, it becomes a didactic and hermeneutic task to lead oneself and other people to the execution of this intuition. In characterizing this task, Krause assumed that there is a helpful distinction between an analytical-ascending and a synthetical-descending part of science: the analytical-ascending part ← 149 | 150 → of science is the way up to this insight into the nature and existence of the ultimate ground. The synthetical-descending part putatively shows how a system of science relates logically to what is perceived in this insight. Schopenhauer again fully agrees with this specification of the two methods of science and suggests specifying them in a way in which Krause had specified them already: ‘The analytical method goes from the facts, the particular, to the propositions, the universal, or from consequents to grounds; the other method proceeds in the reverse direction. Therefore it would be much more correct to name them the inductive and deductive methods [which Krause did], for the traditional names are unsuitable and express the matter badly’ (Schopenhauer 1966: 122).
So far Krause and Schopenhauer agree on the architecture of an adequate system of philosophy: a system of philosophy is an organic system of science, which in turn is a harmonic whole in which the parts and the whole are all interrelated. To establish a system of science, to account for that in virtue of which the system is adequate to the highest principle or ultimate ground of the existence and essence of the world, a fundamental intuition or self-observation is needed that is not subject to the principle of sufficient reason and therefore cannot be deduced in the system of science itself. Instead, this intuition has to be immediately certain and can only be obtained by each and every individual for themselves, although it is possible, in the analytical-ascending part of science, to lead other subjects, through instructing phenomenological reflection, to a level where they can obtain this intuition.
Based on this common outlook on the system of philosophy, Krause and Schopenhauer argued that the ultimate principle that is discovered in fundamental intuition cannot be opposed to, or separated from the world in the manner that a cause is related to its effect in empirical reality. That is, both agreed that the highest principle of science cannot be addressed as the cause of the existence of the world if by ‘cause’ we refer to any kind of cause we are familiar with empirically, because this interpretation of ‘cause’ is only applicable within the system of science, and is subject to the principle of sufficient reason.
Instead, the existence and essence of the world, in Krause’s words, has to be understood panentheistically as being in the ultimate ground, while, in Schopenhauer’s words, it has to be understood as a manifestation of ← 150 | 151 → the ultimate ground. Although different in name, both doctrines arguably express the same concept: that B is in A means that, according to its true nature and existence, B is completely and inseparably determined by the true nature and existence of A. That B is a manifestation of A means the same. What Schopenhauer says about the relation between the ultimate ground of empirical reality, and empirical reality itself, therefore fits well with Krause’s panentheistic definition of the world’s being in its ultimate ground: ‘Now this is all very well, yet to me, when I consider the vastness of the world, the most important thing is that the essence in itself […] is present whole and undivided in everything in nature, in every living being. […T]rue wisdom […] is acquired by thoroughly investigating any individual thing, in that we try thus to know and understand perfectly its true and peculiar nature’ (Schopenhauer 1969: 129).
The only prima facie major difference between the architecture of Krause’s and Schopenhauer’s systems is their apparently different interpretations of what is revealed as the true nature and existence of the ego, in an immediately certain intuition of the transcendental constitution of the ego. We have seen that once he rejected will as the single feature of the principle of science, Krause argued that the fundamental intuition of God leads to the recognition that the ultimate principle of reality is the one infinite and unconditioned principle of fact and knowledge that holds the world within itself, and determines everything, both in its being and its being-recognized. For Krause, whoever intuits Essence as the one infinite fact and knowledge principle of science, or as the ‘absolutely independent, and absolutely whole, and one essence’ (Krause 1869: 204), has successfully fulfilled the task of self-observation.
Schopenhauer apparently argued that will is the single ultimate ground of the world that manifests itself as empirical reality: ‘The reader will recognize that same will not only in those phenomena that are quite similar to his own, in men and animals, as their innermost nature, but continued reflection will lead him to recognize the force that shoots and vegetates in the plant, indeed the force by which the crystal is formed, the force that turns the magnet to the North Pole, the force whose shock he encounters from the contact of metals of different kinds, the force that appears in the elective affinities of matter as repulsion and attraction, separation and union, and finally even gravitation, which acts so powerfully in all matter, ← 151 | 152 → pulling the stone to the earth and the earth to the sun; all these he will recognize as different only in the phenomenon, but the same according to their inner nature. He will recognize them all as that which is immediately known to him so intimately and better than everything else, and where it appears most distinctly is called will’ (Schopenhauer 1966: 109–110).
However, Schopenhauer seems to be at least ambivalent concerning the determination of will as the single ultimate ground of empirical reality. Sometimes, in Volume One of The World as Will and Representation, Schopenhauer seems to argue that the act of self-observation shows that the nature of the ultimate ground of empirical reality is nothing over and above will, and consequently he argues, pessimistically, that the ‘absence of all aim, of all limits, belongs to the essential nature of the will in itself, which is an endless striving’ (Schopenhauer 1969: 164). But then, in Volume Two of The World as Will and Representation, Schopenhauer argues that he is open to the possibility that what he identifies as will has further qualities: ‘Accordingly, even after this last and extreme step, the question may still be raised what that will, which manifests itself in the world and as the world, is ultimately and absolutely in itself; in other words, what it is, quite apart from the fact that it manifests itself as will, or in general appears, that is to say, is known in general. This question can never be answered, because, as I have said, being-known of itself contradicts being-in-itself, and everything that is known is as such only phenomenon. But the possibility of this question shows that the thing-in-itself, which we know most immediately in the will, may have, entirely outside all possible phenomenon, determinations, qualities, and modes of existence which for us are absolutely unknowable and incomprehensible, and which then remain as the inner nature of the thing-in-itself’ (Schopenhauer 1966: 198).
This, however, is precisely what Krause argued for already in his 1812/1813 lectures, with the only difference being that Krause, in contrast to Schopenhauer, assumed that these further qualities, modes and determinations are accessible in the immediately certain fundamental intuition of God, and therefore have to be taken into account by an adequate system of philosophy. The major difference between Krause and Schopenhauer, after might therefore be smaller than it appears. ← 152 | 153 →
Krause and Schopenhauer had frequent contact during 1815 and 1818. The historical evidence suggests that Schopenhauer was aware of Krause’s system of philosophy and of Krause’s analysis of the will as a fundamental philosophical principle that, if taken as a single principle of philosophy, entails an idealism of opposing manifestations of will. Seen in this light, the fact that the architecture of Schopenhauer’s philosophy is almost indistinguishable from Krause’s system of philosophy and the fact that Schopenhauer apparently was open to the possibility that the ultimate ground of empirical reality might be more than blind will (which would have impact on his ethics) provides considerable grounds for concluding that Krause indeed significantly influenced Schopenhauer’s thinking. ← 153 | 154 →
32 The lectures Krause gave in Dresden in 1805–1806 already contain the basic architecture of the system that Krause continuously worked upon until he died in 1832. The Dresden Lectures are found in Krause (1889: 106–61) Cf. also Krause (1900: 143–144): ‘I can actually regard myself as the first continuator of Kant, but I was this originally, without intending it. For what appears to be a continuation of Kant was already finished in 1803, before I could fully understand the relationship between my own and the Kantian research, because I had only very little read and thought of Kant’s writings. On the other hand, my system, which had already been completed in 1805 and 1806, was the key to the Kantian aspirations, and made it possible for me to understand Kant’s intention and to appreciate his system from the highest position.’