By Descartes the principle was used as an instrument of scepticism, the beneficent scepticism of pulling down medieval philosophy to make room for modern science; by Berkeley it was used to combat the materialists; by Hume in the cause of scepticism once more against the intellectual dogmatists; by Kant to prepare a justification for a noumenal sphere to be apprehended by faith; by J.
It is upon this in the last resort that the distinction between the phenomenal world of our experience and a noumenal world beyond it is founded.
His First Principles, his book on metaphysics, is founded on this same point, that what we know is phenomena produced by an unknown noumenal power.
Thus it turns out that the objective agency, the noumenal power, the absolute force, declared unknown and unknowable, is known after all to exist, persist, resist and cause our subjective affections or phenomena, yet not to think or to will.
Lastly, when a theory of the world supposes a noumenal power, a resistent and persistent force, which results in an evolution, defined as an integration of matter and a dissipation of motion, which having resulted in inorganic nature and organic nature, further results without break in consciousness, reason, society and morals, then such a theory will be construed as materialistically as that of Haeckel by the reader, whatever the intention of the author.
- Noumenal Idealism In Germany Noumenal idealism is the metaphysics of those who suppose that all known things are indeed mental, but not all are phenomenal in the Kantian sense, because a noumenon is knowable so long as by a noumenon we mean some mental being or other which we somehow can discover beyond phenomena.
The noumenal idealists of Germany assumed, like all psychological idealists, the unproved hypothesis that there is no sense of body, but there is a sense of sensations; and they usually accepted Kant's point, that to get from such sensations to knowledge there is a synthesis contributing mental elements beyond the mental data of sense.
But they disagreed with Kant, and agreed with Fichte about things in themselves or noumena, and contended that the mental things we know are not mere phenomena of sense, but noumena, precisely because noumena are as mental as phenomena, and therefore can be known from similar data: this was the central point of their noumenal idealism.
Their real founder was Fichte, on account of his definite reduction of the noumenal to a mental world.
This was indeed the very point - the knowability of a noumenal mental world.
Of these noumenal idealisms the earliest in time and the nearest to Fichte's philosophy was the panlogism, begun by Schelling (1775-18J4), completed by his disciple Hegel (1770-1831), and then modified by the master himself.
By the same dialectic Hegel was able to justify the gradual transformation of transcendental into noumenal idealism by Fichte and Schelling.
This new noumenal idealism began, like the preceding, by combining psycho l0 ical idealism with the transcendentalism of Kant and Fichte.
In Die Welt als Wille and Vorstellung Schopenhauer accepted Kant's position that the world as phenomenal is idea (Vorstellung); but he added that the world as noumenal is will (Wille).
He got the hint of a noumenal will from Kant; but in regarding the noumenal as knowable, because mental, as well as in the emphasis he laid on the activity of will, he resembled Fichte.
His psychological starting-point was the unproved assumption that the only force of which we are immediately aware is will; his metaphysical goal was the consistent conclusion that in that case the only force we can know, as the noumenal essence of which all else is phenomenal appearance, is will.
But by this noumenal will he did not mean a divine will similar to our rational desire, a will in which an inference and desire of a desirable end and means produces our rational action.
Von Hartmann, who (Die Philosophie des Unbewussten, 1869, 1st ed.), advanced the view that the world as noumenal is both unconscious intelligence and unconscious will, thus founding a panpneumatism which forms a sort of reconciliation of the panlogism of Hegel and the panthelism of Schopenhauer.
The merit of this fresh noumenal idealism consists in its correction of the one-sidedness of Schopenhauer: intelligence is necessary to will.
Again, in his Grundproblem der Erkenntnisstheorie (1889) he uses without proof the hypothesis of psychological idealism, that we perceive psychical effects, to infer with merely hypothetical consistency the conclusion of noumenal metaphysical idealism that all we can thereby know is psychical causes, or something transcendent, beyond phenomena indeed, yet not beyond mind.
Lotze (1817-1881) elaborated a very different noumenal idealism, which perhaps we may express by the name " Pan.
Noumenal idealism is not dead in Germany.
On the other hand, as the speculative systems of noumenal idealism, starting from Fichte, succeeded one another, like ghosts who " come like shadows, so depart," without producing.
But his ardent love of consistency led him far away from Kant in the end; for he proceeded consistently from the assumption, that whatever we think beyond mental phenomena is ideal, to the logical conclusion that in practical matters our moral responsibility cannot prove the reality of a noumenal freedom, because, as on Kant's assumption we know ourselves from inner sense only as phenomena, we can prove only our phenomenal freedom.
- When the Neo-Kantians, led by Lange, had modified Kant's hypothesis of a priori forms, and retracted Kant's admission and postulation of things in themselves beyond phenomena and ideas, and that too without proceeding further in the direction of Fichte and the noumenal idealists, there was not enough left of Kant to distinguish him essentially from Hume.
In Great Britain Mach's scepticism was welcomed by Karl Pearson to support an idealistic phenomenalism derived from Hume, and by Ward to support a noumenal idealism derived from Lotze.
But while thus sharply distinguishing the physical and the psychical in appearance, he follows Fechner in identifying them in reality; except that Fechner's identification is noumenal, Wundt's phenomenal.
We can only explain it by supposing that Wundt wishes to believe that, beyond the " ideal," there really is proof of a transcendent, ideating, substance-generating will of God; and that he is approaching the noumenal voluntarism of his younger contemporary Paulsen.
To understand noumenal idealism in Germany and the rise of metaphysical idealism in modern times is to discover that psychological is the origin of all metaphysical idealism.
Coleridge (1772-1834) not only called attention to Kant's distinction between understanding and reason, but also introduced his countrymen to the noumenal idealism of Schelling.
The resemblance of this noumenal idealism to that of Fechner is unmistakable.
Thus Kant distinguished the two selves as rational and empirical, just as he distinguished the two egos as the noumenal or real and the phenomenal from the metaphysical standpoint.
Worlds, the sensuous and the intelligible, the pheno menal and the noumenal, Kant allows no freedom to the natural will determined by the succession of motives, desires and appetites which form the empirical and sensuous self.
But in contrast with the phenomenal world governed by empirical laws Kant sets the noumenal and intelligible world in which by a timeless act of will man is free to accept the moral command of an unconditional imperative for no reason other than its own rational necessity as the deliverance of his highest nature.
The difficulties of the Kantian system are mainly to be looked for in his account of the relation between the phenomenal and noumenal world.