Main Philosophical Writings and the Novel Allwill

Main Philosophical Writings and the Novel Allwill

Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi
Translated from the German, with an Introductory Study, Notes, and Bibliography by George di Giovanni
Copyright Date: 1994
Pages: 704
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  • Book Info
    Main Philosophical Writings and the Novel Allwill
    Book Description:

    Jacobi's polemical tract Concerning the Doctrine of Spinoza in Letters to Herr Moses Mendelssohn propelled him to notoriety in 1785. This work, as well as David Hume on Faith, or Idealism and Realism, Jacobi to Fichte, and the novel Allwill, is included in George di Giovanni's translation. In a comprehensive introductory essay di Giovanni situates Jacobi in the historical and philosophical context of his time, and shows how Jacobi's life and work reflect the tensions inherent in the late Enlightenment.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6412-1
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    George di Giovanni
  4. Introduction:: The Unfinished Philosophy Of Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi
    • I Jacobi and His Spiritual Landscape: An Essay in Synthesis
      (pp. 3-66)

      I. When Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi died in 1819, four years had elapsed since the Congress of Vienna and the second Peace of Paris finally put an end to Napoleon and the Napoleonic regimes in Europe.¹ The Restoration was in full swing. “Old Fritz,” as Jacobi was known to friends and foes alike, died a septuagenarian. The years of his life saw many changes in German society. At his birth in 1743, almost a century had elapsed since the Peace of Westphalia (1648) ended the Thirty Years’ War. That war had been fought mostly on German lands and, apart from the...

    • II Philosophical Arguments: An Essay in Analysis
      (pp. 67-116)

      I. Jacobi used thePrometheuspoem as a means of luring Lessing into declaring his positionvis-à-visSpinoza.⁴ But how could that poem ever be taken as a manifesto of Spinozism? This issue was raised as early as 1786, in an anonymous review of theSpinoza Letterspublished in theAllgemeine Literatur Zeitung.To the author, that Lessing should have thought of those verses as “good, indeed very good,” was itself a mystery (unless perhaps Lessing had assumed thatjacobi was their author and was just being courteous). But it was an even greater mystery that Lessing had found Spinozism in...

    • III Literary Witnesses: An Essay in Interpretation
      (pp. 117-151)

      I. To the objection that his faith was that of a philosopher, Jacobi might have replied that it was bound so to appear in the context of philosophical polemic. But he had also given clues to the nature of his faith in another context, the literary, through the fictional characters that he had created for the very purpose of “display[ing] humanityas scrupulously as possiblethe way it is, whether explicable or not.”¹ It is to this evidence that one should turn before passing judgment on his faith. Of course, it is often difficult in Jacobi’s two novels to draw...

    • IV The Last Word: Jacobi on Jacobi
      (pp. 152-168)

      True friendship is as certain as that God is truthful. And it has and maintains its existence in the heart of man, just as religion also has and maintains its existence there. It is the same faith that generates both, and the samepowerof faith that gives them constancy. Jacobi¹

      The dawn of thebel esprit [das Gdstreich]has charm, because it glows with the light of the Idea. But when the light of Reason shines, it loses this merit and, before that light, takes on the property of darkness. Hegel² He [Hegel] may well be right, and I...

    • Note on the Texts
      (pp. 169-170)
  5. TEXTS
    • Concerning the Doctrine of Spinoza in Letters to Herr Moses Mendelssohn (1785)
      (pp. 173-252)

      Be noble, Man,

      Heart-good, lordly helper!

      For this alone

      Sets us apart

      From all the beings

      That weknow.

      Hail, then, unknown

      Higher powers

      That wedivine!

      Man is like to them:

      From his example we learn

      Beliefin those others.

      Natureis blind, unfeeling;

      The sun gives light

      To both evil and good,

      On the best of men

      And the breaker of laws

      The moon and stars cast their glance.

      Wind, streams,

      Thunder, hail;

      They storm on their ways,

      Seizing up

      In their headlong rush

      The one and the other.

      Luck, too,

      Groping through the crowd,

      Touches now the...

    • David Hume on Faith, or Idealism and Realism, A Dialogue (1787)
      (pp. 253-338)

      The following Dialogue falls into three parts, each of which was originally intended to be published separately, the first under the title ofDavid Hume on Faith; the second under the title ofIdealism and Realism; and the third under that ofLeibniz, or concerning Reason. Events however interfered with this plan, and the three Dialogues were contracted into one.

      The title of the second section could justifiably cover the content of the third as well. The “Or” under the heading of the first section cannot however be totally justified, and I [iv] apologize for it.

      The unusual use that...

    • Concerning the Doctrine of Spinoza in Letters to Moses Mendelssohn (1789), excerpts
      (pp. 339-378)

      I. The possibility of the existence of all things known to us is supported by, and refers to, the coexistence of other individual things. We are not in a position to form the representation of a being that subsists completely on its own.

      II. The results of the manifold relations of existence to coexistence are expressed in living creatures through sensations.

      III. We call “desire” or “repulsion” the inner mechanistic behaviour of a living nature as conditioned by its sensations; or, the sensed relation of the inner conditions of a living nature’s existence and persistence to the {xxvii} outer conditions...

    • Edward Allwill’s Collection of Letters (1972)
      (pp. 379-496)
      F. H. Jacobi

      The first two volumes of letters here published still throw no light on how Allwill managed to get possession of the complete collection and make them his property. The editor himself has so little information about this, and must make do with such uncertain conjectures, that he is justifiably horrified at the idea of inflicting them upon a honourable public whose curiosity is restricted simply to well established truths.

      He would much rather let these letters be regarded as a fabrication, and have the whole treated as a fanciful whim of his. Indeed he [viii] wishes that this hypothesis may...

    • Jacobi to Fichte
      (pp. 497-536)

      I make the following letter public just as I wrote it, without then even the remotest thought that it would ever be published; for the immediate and sole eyes of the man to whom it is addressed, to come to terms with him philosophically, and satisfied ifhewould only comprehend and not misunderstand me. I publish it now with his approval, among other reasons because I prefer that it should circulate in an authentic edition rather* than in unauthentic rumours or corrupt copies.

      Since nobody will be compelled to read this letter by virtue of its public appearance, I...

    • David Hume on Faith or Idealism and Realism A Dialogue: Preface and also Introduction to the Author’s Collected Philosophical Works (1815)
      (pp. 537-590)

      The following Dialogue is connected with the work on the Doctrine of Spinoza. It was published in the spring of 1787, a year and a half after the first announcement of theLetters to Mendelssohn,and two yearsbeforethe second edition appeared with its considerable appendices.

      The claim put forward in the book on the Doctrine of Spinoza, namely, thatall [4] human cognition derives from revelation and faith,caused trouble everywhere in the German philosophical world. It simply could not be true that there is a knowledge at first hand that would first condition all knowledge of second...

  6. Notes to Jacobi’s Texts
    (pp. 591-634)
  7. Notes to Jacobi’s Footnotes
    (pp. 635-648)
  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 649-674)
  9. Index of Names
    (pp. 675-678)
  10. Index of Subjects
    (pp. 679-683)