[113] {125}


[114] {125}


[115] {127}


The growing awareness of metaphysical problems today alone suffices to justify inclusion of Suarez in a library of philosophical texts. And not only that. The richness and infinitesimal precision of Scholastic vocabulary constitutes a treasure which it is most urgent to place in wide circulation. A large part of it has passed into our national language, and only the abandonment which philosophical studies have suffered in this country could have caused so many essential semantic dimensions of our words to be forgotten. It is most important to revive them, and along with them the intellectual vigor of philosophy, which on account of its very nature is always in danger of dissolving into vague and nebulous "profundities."

Suarez' Disputations comprise the encyclopedia of Scholasticism. Suarez has let no essential idea or opinion of the philosophical tradition escape him, from its earliest Arabic and Christian directions, through the openly nominalistic turn adopted in the 14th century, up to the inflexible character of the 15th and 16th centuries. But more is involved than a simple catalogue. The systematization to which he subjected these problems and his originality in rethinking them had as a consequence that ancient thought would continue in the breast of the nascent European philosophy of the 17th century; and many of the concepts upon which it based itself were given to it by him. Only ignorance of Suarez and Scholasticism could have led to the conviction on the part of historians that these concepts were totally original creations of modern idealism.

The influence of Suarez, in this sense, has been enormous. The better he is known, the clearer this becomes. For the rest, it is already quite well known that {128} his Disputations served as the official text of philosophy in almost all German universities during the 17th and a large part of the 18th century. So by any measure Suarez is an imprescindable factor in the understanding of modern philosophy.

But perhaps still more interesting is the fact that Suarez' work represents the first attempt since Aristotle to construct a body of independent philosophical doctrine out of metaphysics. Up until Suarez, first philosophy either existed in the form of commentaries on Aristotle, or constituted the intellectual framework of Scholastic theology. With Suarez it is elevated to the rank of an autonomous [116] and systematic discipline. The exclusiveness that attempted to center Scholasticism entirely in St. Thomas has been responsible in large measure for the relative obscurity of the philosopher from Granada, whose work is still far from being intellectually exhausted, and whose vigor and originality situate him, in many(l) essential ways, very much above the "classic" Scholastic thinkers of the 13th and 14th centuries.

Prologue to the translation of Suarez' Sobre el concepto del ente, Revista de Occidente, Madrid, 1935.

[117] {129}


We are accustomed to see in the Method of Doubt and the Cogito not only a principle of Cartesian philosophy, but an expression of the very problem of philosophizing. Yet reading Descartes' correspondence, which is rather of a moral character, one is left with a singular impression, namely that it compels us to assign ethics a rank which seemed to pertain exclusively to logic. Indeed, for Descartes the theory of truth is essentially linked to a theory of human perfection. The matter is of supreme importance. Perhaps the turning in of the understanding upon itself, which characterizes the method and which has given the name "rationalism" to the philosophical attitude of Descartes, is in fact nothing more than an aspect of something deeper: the turning in of the whole man upon himself. In the end, the presumed Cartesian rationalism may turn out to be an enormous and paradoxical voluntarism, the voluntarism of reason: in metaphysics, because being and its situation are, for Descartes, arbitrary creations of God; in logic, because for him judgement becomes an assent of the will; and in ethics, because he believes that goodness is a free decision of the will.

This is not surprising. Since the 15th century man has felt that he is the work of a creator and is installed in the center of a world surrounding him; but the divine nature and infinitude he finds quite far removed from his interior life. To support his life, he cannot immediately call upon the world or God; he must first have recourse to something which will carry him to the world and to God, and the only thing immediately available to fill that role is man himself. Sagesse, wisdom, again becomes a problem. This is the epoch of Charron and Montaigne. But throughout the course of history man has been able to-and in fact has-turned {130}in upon himself through routes which are quite varied: Socrates, seeking true virtue in contrast to public opinion; St. Augustine, seeking peace in divine eternity in contrast to the fleeting things of the world and the vicissitudes of the heart; Charron and Montaigne, almost without seeking anything, contenting themselves with the changing panorama of life. In the fact of all these possibilities, Descartes opts for something different: he turns in upon himself seeking security, security in the ordering of life, and moreover security in himself. And for Descartes this desire for security is the motive engendering philosophy. Its content, the way man appears [118] before his own eyes, is indeed predetermined by this way he has of turning in upon himself. The unfolding of philosophy will thus be the reverse of its initial folding up.

Man errs in life, and for Descartes his error stems from a primary error, that of allowing himself to be carried along by things, instead of being lord of himself and his actions. There would be no problem if man's actions were encompassed within the limits of the things which his understanding and senses reveal to him. But what is certain for Descartes is that freedom has a scope much broader than truth. Whence the necessity of anchoring free decisions is something firm and solid. Where can man find this radical security? What is it that constantly places this perfect human equilibrium in jeopardy? The reply to these two questions will be the doctrine of wisdom. Life in wisdom will be at one and the same time a perfect and happy life.

The only thing primarily incontrovertible in man is his reason. Everything which man does only deserves to be called human insofar as it is known; and of all knowledge there is none which by itself offers a guarantee of veracity save for that in which I know I am thinking. Thinking as such possesses in itself its own true firmness. The first seed of ontological truth is thinking. And for Descartes, in this firmness of the being of thought resides the font of all human truth. Truth is an exclusive attribute of clear and distinct ideas. The method thus appears as one aspect of the long and complex process through which {131}Wisdom is constituted. It is this method which discovers to us the incontrovertible foundation of humanity, that which is properly human in man.

But not everything in man comes from himself, from his own rational structure. Man finds in himself things which are there, but are not human; they do not arise from himself, from his own rational being, but from what is exterior to him. His reason finds itself surrounded by all types of irrational elements, i.e. elements external to his being. And this is what places man in constant anxiety.

Above all, the physical world produces multiple impressions in the soul, some of which claim to tell what happens in the universe (perceptions), and other which leave the subject in a determinate state (passions). Descartes does not disqualify perceptions or passions. What he disqualifies is the immediateness with which they seek to pull along free will. Sensible perception will only be true when it is in accord with clear and distinct ideas; passion will [119] only be good when it answers to a rational decision of will. The problem of wisdom then consists of free acceptance of the firmness which reason offers, in the face of the immediateness with which the sensible world solicits. Man has to remake from himself, i.e. rationally, the world of sensible perceptions and the world of his rational inclinations. Error and tragedy in life arise only from the will placing perception before clear and distinct ideas (precipitation), and passion before rational inclination. Ultimately truth and perfection are only possible as rational fidelity to oneself. The man who decides to be faithful to himself, to his rational being, is the only one who possesses Wisdom. Hence for Descartes Wisdom has a precise definition: "rational life," where "rational" means that reason does nothing but offer security of various sorts. The will is free to accept them or not. The fidelity of man to himself is always the subject of freedom. Through this decision the fate of the human being is decided. When the will assents to rational evidence, we have true judgements; when it consents to a rational inclination, we have good deeds. From this first decision, then, science and morals are born together; not {132}only good and bad, but truth and error of the understanding are, for Descartes, formally encountered in the assent of the will. When he freely accepts the commands of reason, of truth, man is a finite copy of divinity. According to Descartes, God created the entire world, including logical truth, by an act of will which was not only free but arbitrary as well. The man who resembles God through his will rather than his understanding must freely opt for following the commands of reason. Wisdom is this: peace which is free in truth. The true duality in Cartesian metaphysics is not that of thought and extension; rather, it is born from another duality much deeper: rational life-natural life. Therefore the ethics and humanism of Descartes, in spite of appearances, are anything but stoicism.

But Descartes, a man of his time, does not restrict to passions and perceptions the collection of ideas and sentiments which the soul possesses and which do not arise from itself. Along with perception and passion is tradition; tradition is everything which other men have thought about the world, about life, and about God. Again, Descartes does not disqualify the world of tradition, only its immediateness. It is only valid when found in accordance with and expressing the content of reason. This attitude, however serious its consequences may be for social life, takes on even more serious connotations for religion. The Church, in fact, regards [120] itself as the repository of a tradition representing the faith of believers. Descartes, who was prudent and respectful, accepts the Church's tradition sincerely and does not dissemble. Nevertheless, we cannot forget that since the 14th century theologians have carefully distinguished two different meanings of the "rational character" of faith. The expression can mean, on one hand, the objective validity of its proofs; but on the other, it can mean the subjective force of conviction in each person and in each situation where he may find himself. And although both aspects should coincide and normally do, they may in some cases diverge. According to these theologians, the objective validity of the proofs of faith requires a persuasive force of personal conviction to be complete. To be sure, in theology faith as a theological virtue emerges from the supernatural order, to which no creature {133}by himself may accede. Creatures possess, at most, a "potential for obedience." But in Descartes' very epoch Jesuit theologians were teaching that the potential for obedience is something more than a purely negative aptitude; for them it involves a positive aspect as well. Finally, the emphasis on this positive cooperation of man in the increase of his supernatural virtue had received its supreme crowing in the ascetic method founded upon personal labor characterizing St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises. It has been frequently pointed out, and with reason, that the greatest analogues of Ignatius-style asceticism are found in the Fathers of the desert. The 15th century had made an immense desert of the entire world, for the purposes of a rational life. It had translated the desert to the court. And man himself, a hermit of the spirit, no longer had any other possible subjective salvation than the fidelity to his own being. And when he put his personal will into action, he made it converge with the will of God. This convergence is the ultimate meaning of Cartesianism. The world and man need God in order to become, to be. But once they are, "modern" theology (post 14th century) taught that each thing's being alone decides its operations, and decides them by itself only. For Descartes, geometry does this in the cosmos, clear and distinct Reason in man. Between them it is freedom which makes man more like God and unites man to or separates him from God. When man opts for reason, he has in himself the truth about the world and his union with God. The truth about the world is geometry; intellectual union with God is the ontological argument. One more step and we shall be in the metaphysics of the Oratory, with its [121] vision of things in God (Malebranche).

Did Descartes arrive at a radical understanding of man's intimate being? The genial thinker carried the answer to that question with him to the grave. In his writings, Descartes passed over man's being so as to direct his attention only to man's operations: thinking and willing. Once again heir to the metaphysics of his time, Descartes reveals on one hand the radical error which metaphysically separates the three areas of reality (God, world, and soul), and on the other the univocal conceptual indifferentiation with which he understands the word "being" or res, as he {134}says. And in this play between univocal concepts and real equivocations we see expressed the dislocation between understanding and will on one hand, and the dislocation between the soul and cosmic reality, on the other. In this state of double metaphysical dislocation Descartes finds himself, without a world, abandoned to himself; and within himself, abandoned to a free choice of his will. Nevertheless, beyond that "received" metaphysics, evidence points to the fact that Descartes left unsaid most of his thought, which may perhaps have touched upon the being of man. Descartes had an intense inner life, but it was, like his philosophy, sorrowful and reticent. Since he left it without complete expression, Descartes, faithful to himself, was the first Cartesian. His inner life did not repose there where all appearances and external circumstances made it seem to be. Indubitably, the complete legacy of his genial reason was only for someone who received it as a subtle gift of his inner life. Who might that be? God alone knows.

From the prologue to Descartes, Editorial Adan, Madrid, 1944.

[122] {135}


... Pascal worked during the triumph of Cartesian rationalism, and in the midst of the theological controversies stemming from the Reformation, Jansenism, and the Counter-Reformation. Whence the essentially polemic character of nearly all his writings and the imprescindable necessity of inscribing them in the polygon traced by these points.

But with respect to the Pensees themselves we must say more, and to begin, we are not dealing with a book written by Pascal. Rather its content is the random notes that he had been accumulating to write an apology of Christianity and perhaps an anti-Cartesian philosophical work. This accounts for the fragmentary and unfinished character of nearly all the Penseés. Strictly speaking, then, they are the opposite of aphorisms. The Penseés are not, nor in Pascal's mind were they ever intended to be, aphorisms. The indiscreet aphoristic use made of them is something quite far removed from and independent of Pascal himself. Moreover, Divine Providence scarcely permitted Pascal to reach maturity. He died quite young, without completing the projected task. We must not forget this age factor when analyzing the scope of his notes.

In reality, no formal philosophy exists in the Penseés, at least if by "philosophy" we understand (as we should) a unified and deliberately organized system of thoughts. But it would be quite frivolous to conclude {136}from this that the work of Pascal is not philosophy in any sense. In contrast to what happened in the case of Descartes, the exercise of a philosophical critique did not lead Pascal to any doubt. And in fact, with respect to the Cartesian doubt, however universal it may have been, it never left the realm of the purely intellectual, nor had any repercussions whatever in the deepest roots of the philosopher's personal existence. For Pascal, however, the critique led to a thoroughgoing anguish which, overcoming itself, paradoxically encountered in the abyss of the soul and the world the very cornerstone of support that compelled him to seize hold of the truth of the understanding and a transcendent divinity. If for anyone, then certainly for Pascal, there is that transport of his being toward the ultimate problems. And this is no small thing, in respect to philosophy. One can, in fact, amass enormous quantities of philosophical knowledge and still not even graze the outskirts of an authentic philosophical life. [123]

That of Pascal is in this regard exemplary. But it is also necessary to point out equally clearly that his thought, while securely placed in the orbit of philosophy, has perhaps only taken the first-though decisive-steps therein. Consequently in Pascal there is just what the title indicates, philosophical thoughts which have not yet become philosophy, rather than a philosophy already complete. Even so, insofar as thoughts go, those of Pascal while few in number are colossal efforts to accept the reality of the world and human life before the mind in an original and uncolored way. In Pascal we are witness in part to one of the few fully realized attempts to apprehend philosophical concepts which are capable of encompassing some of the most important dimensions of man. For example, his concept of "heart," so vague, is true but on account of its vagueness badly understood and poorly used. It does not mean blind sentiment as opposed to pure Cartesian reason, but the knowledge constitutive of the day-to-day and radical being of man.

The vigor of Pascal is without doubt most salient in his theological thought. Of deep Augustinian inspiration, as befits the epoch and the way his life developed, Pascal's theology starts from man's life and his historical concretion, and carries it to the point where it is entwined in the problematicism of divinity. Yet at the same time this divinity is not for Pascal that triple extract of a God likewise {137}abstract which, under the name of "Deism," shortly thereafter becomes one of the central themes of the French Enlightenment.

And here it is fitting to make a few observations that I deem essential to avoid being sidetracked in any study of Pascal.

In the first place there is the way in which Pascal feels himself based on and situated in Christianity. To be sure, at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century the concept of "heart," to which I earlier alluded, caused Pascal to become-in a hasty and irritatingly frivolous way-the champion of what was termed the religion and apologetic of sentiment. Precisely because the disjunction between reason and sentiment, which has a strictly Cartesian origin, is false, it would be an error-likewise of a paradoxical Cartesian origin-to ascribe to Pascal a philosophy of impression or sentiment, when in fact his central idea is to make of the heart the name of that type of strict knowledge, both rigorous and intellectual, which is constitutively integrated into the very root of human existence. In reality, the anti-intellectualism of that false sentimental apology lives on one of the most obscure and [124] twisted ideas of the very Cartesianism it seeks to attack, without even knowing it.

In the second place, Pascal never claimed to find in the heart, even when understood correctly, any type whatsoever of preinclusion of the supernatural order in human nature. At most he seeks what it is that causes the heart to leave itself in order to survey the horizons of the world and see if there is anything there which might resolve the anguish and tragedy of human existence. And among those things, which it does not create within itself, but rather "finds"-the word must be kept in mind-in the world, there is Christianity. It is astonishing that people could have thought differently, when in some of his Pensees, which the reader will find in this very selection, Pascal says all this explicitly.

And this must also be borne in mind so as to correctly understand the {138}presumptions and ultimate meaning of Pascal's celebrated "wager," which is anything but a Cartesian calculus of probability. As in the case of so many others, one sees in Pascal the disparity between what he wishes to say and that with which he must express himself; the unsuitability of personal thought with respect to the world in which it is inscribed. And this with which a thinker must express himself, and even tell himself what he wishes to think, is not just the words, but the repertory of concepts which his world offers, and upon which he must base his thought so as to carry his own understanding and that of his readers toward "what he wants to say." In truth, every rigorous theory of thought ought to carefully distinguish "idea" and "concept." Concepts permit intellectual articulation of that which one wishes to think and which, for want of a better expression, we might call "idea." The "idea of Pascal," even if conceived and expressed in terms which would incline us at times to sentimentalism, and at times to a kind of incipient Cartesianism (such as the case of the "wager"), is in fact above both of these positions.

For the same reason and with the same criterion we must adjudicate the delicate problem of the historical relation between Pascal and Jansenism. There is no doubt about Pascal's intimate relations with Port-Royal; but we should not forget that, after all, Pascal was not as professional a theologian as he always liked to think. Consequently his theological discussions often suffer from an ambiguity and imprecision that it would have been desirable to avoid. When Pascal speaks insistently about the corruption in which human nature has been left since original sin, one can [125] scarcely avoid thinking of Jansenism. But nowhere does Pascal say that the corruption and the nature about which he speaks refer to the same Nature about which those theologians spoke who (with reason) contributed to the condemnation of Jansenism. Perhaps what Pascal calls human nature approximates more to what he himself calls, at times, the "second nature," which is a product not only of individual custom, but above all of the entire sediment of society and history. In {139}this case, however debatable it may be-that is another question-Pascal would have no connection with Jansenism. Clearly Pascal's presumed Jansenism turns out to be, at the very least, highly problematic.

Finally, Pascal speaks at length about the historical foundation of the Catholic Church. And it cannot be denied that in his interpretation of the Old Testament, Pascal received from his epoch not only concepts but at times the very idea of the chosen people. On account of some notions which are not personally imputable to him, but which have tenaciously survived for many centuries, a lamentable ambiguity has often arisen even among Catholic writers, the fruit of which has been use of the concepts of inspiration and revelation as if they were synonymous. One might come to believe that since God is the author of Holy Scripture, the sacred writer did nothing but transmit what God communicated to him. But it would not be enough to interpret the Bible and the sacred writer himself "only" from the point of view of God. In such case the sacred writer would have done nothing but copy down a sort of "dictation" from God. Thus the inspiration would practically be revelation. This to be sure is not the "formal" point of view of the Church, with respect to its requirements for understanding inspiration. Inspiration is not, "by itself," a revelation (although at times it could be so through addition), but rather a particular action of God on the will of the sacred writer so as to make him write and to guarantee (1) true comprehension to his mind and (2) the exact expression of what he wished to think and say under divine influence. The true doctrine enuntiated by the First Vatican Council teaches that the Bible is an inspired book, and that "therefore" it has God as its author. The Council did not base inspiration on the fact that God is the author of the book, but on the contrary, starting from the fact that it is inspired, "concluded" God's authorship. Under these conditions the sacred writer can arrive at the knowledge of what he seeks to express through means which are purely human and circumstantial, such [126] as use of oral traditions, written documents, etc. If one wishes to look at the problem from {140}the side of God, it would be necessary to say that the sacred writer is not a secretary of the divinity, but the author in a strict sense of his own book, and therefore the notion of author, as applied to God, must be understood in the same way as other theological notions, in a purely analogical sense.

So there is even within the Church an ample margin for historical investigation of the vocation, life, religion, and destiny of Israel. It is just the lack of historical sense characterizing rationalism (however paradoxical this may seem) which has led to that ingenuous conception of Biblical history in many passages of Pascal's writing. This conception, in fact, acquired its most splendid expression in Bossuet, according to whom, for example, God revealed secrets to Adam, the Patriarchs learned from Adam, Moses from them, etc., except for what God revealed directly to each member of the chain. Such a conception is not necessarily identifiable with the thought of the Church.

The consequences of this Pascalian interpretation of the Old Testament is not only literalism in Biblical exegesis, but something more, a special kind of literalism, which we might call verbalism. When inspiration is understood in the sense we have described, it extends to everything, even to the words themselves. But at the same time we must not forget what St. Thomas pointed out, viz. that there may be many literal meanings. The fact that no more than one was recognized by Pascal (what we call the verbalistic) inevitably led to an allegorical interpretation of almost all the important passages from the Old Testament, including those from the days of Alexandria. But allegory is one thing and spiritual meaning another. Only a strict notion of inspiration can enable us to avoid a forced allegorism and at the same time situate divine authorship and the deeply true and historical meaning of the Old Testament in the proper perspective.

On the other hand, Pascal was one of those rare men who had {141}a clear and precise vision of the essence of messianic prophetism, as exegetes of such exceptional stature as Father Lagrange have pointed out. In spite of occasional vagueness and imprecision of detail, there is in Pascal a deep sense of what the prophetic argument is and what it ought to be.

[127] {143}


Hegel published his Phenomenology of the Spirit in 1807. The appearance of this book signified a profound crisis for Hegel personally as well as for his epoch.

Since his youth Hegel had been an intimate friend of Schelling and Holderlin in the theological seminary. Hegel was always Schelling's disciple. This meant that regardless of whether he was a private tutor in Frankfurt or an official instructor, Hegel taught the philosophy of identity, an irrational appeal to the Absolute, wherein all difference dissolves and fades away. Nevertheless, it was scarcely likely that a mind impregnated with theological concepts could persist indefinitely in this way of thinking. A profound crisis occurred in his understanding; profound, but quiet, just as it did for many others who suddenly found themselves in their conscience, not with some critical observations in regard to the philosophy of identity, but with a mature personal philosophy. The intellectual confession of this "change" in philosophic posture was the Phenomenology of the Spirit. Throughout this work an intellectual emotion and vehemency pulses which will not recur in any of Hegel's later writings. Beneath its abstract and recondite dress, the Phenomenology of the Spirit is in reality the intellectual confession of the crisis in Hegel's understanding; "experience" he calls it, "experience of conscience." Indeed Hegel has the impression that he is not dealing simply with a personal quirk of fate, but with the radical transformation which "the" Spirit suffers whenever it conquers a new and decisive state of its conscious development. In Hegel the crisis of an epoch culminates. Hence the grandiosity-even of style-which arises from the vicissitudes that the "Absolute Spirit" {144}has triggered in the life of G. F. Hegel. But if we say that the Phenomenology is a confession of Hegel's intellectual life, the reader must eschew any notion that it is an autobiography a la Confessions of Rousseau. The similarity is rather to what his Confessions were to St. Augustine, i.e. not an introspective search in the depths of his soul, but an "a Te audire de seipso." When God pours Himself into St. Augustine's soul, He converts it so as to make it re-vert to Him. In Hegel, this reversion has a dialectical structure. But, despite this and other more radical and extreme differences, the two geniuses are alike in that they do not understand themselves except in and from God, and therefore they are alike in understanding their particular [128] existence as the history which God makes in it and with it, rather than the history it makes with God. Consequently, Hegel's crisis had to be, for him, a personal question, because riding on it was nothing less than the meaning of him as a person. Holderlin perceived that his friendship with Hegel had evaporated. Schelling likewise abandoned it, feeling himself hurt and defrauded. There are no questions more personal than those which question the absolute of existence, thereby converting us into a question.

This crisis, as I said, was the crisis of an epoch, of an epoch which was at the point of no longer amalgamating individuals except to leave them incomunicado; such was the work of the "sentiment." It was the crisis of an epoch which trusted almost exclusively in personal inspiration of genius. It was, finally, the crisis of an epoch which lived the French Revolution and which was present at the birth of the Historical Spirit. Hegel did not falter in singling out that "animal" sentimentalism, as he likewise did not waver in maintaining that personal individuality was nothing but a souvenir of something long gone. For Hegel, history is not inspiration, but supraindividual necessity. And the community of spirits yanks Spirit as such, viz. the concept, from that in which it has become rooted. For Hegel the essence of the spirit is in conceiving, and in the clear intellection of what is conceived we are all one. According to Hegel, when the conceiving spirit sets itself in motion, there is no longer any hope left for individuals; only that which is general guides history.

The Napoleonic wars emptied the halls of the University of Jena. Like many other instructors, Hegel found himself obligated {145}to give up his chair so as to earn the means of satisfying his barest necessities. From Jena he passed to Nuremburg, where he was a teacher in secondary instruction at the Gymnasium. Later he became professor at the Universities of Heidelberg and Berlin. Hegel was not oblivious to these vicissitudes in his personal life. But one has the impression that while he did not come to absorb them into his philosophy, he nevertheless passed through them as if they were reversals suffered by someone else. "He" was what his philosophy was. And his life was the history of his philosophy. Everything else was his contra-life. Nothing had a personal meaning for him which was not acquired through being relived philosophically. The Phenomenology was and is Hegel's awakening to philosophy. And philosophy itself is the intellectual revivification of his existence as a manifestation of what he called [129] Absolute Spirit. The human aspect of Hegel, on the one hand SO quiet and far from philosophy, acquires on the other a philosophical rank when elevated to a place of prominence in his philosophical system. And conversely, in Hegel as an individual, the conceiving thought apprehends with the force conferred upon it by the absolute essence of the Spirit and the intellectual precipitate of all history. Therefore Hegel is, in a certain sense, the maturity of Europe.

Regardless of our ultimate position with respect to him, present-day initiation into philosophy has to consist, in large measure, of an "experience" of and an inquiry into the situation in which Hegel has left us.

From the prologue to Hegel, Fenomenologia del Espiritu, Revista de Occidente, Madrid, 1935.

[130] {147}


... Keen opposition to all forms of transcendental idealism and the restoration of the spirit of Descartes and Bacon led him, as is well known, to a reform of philosophizing. From it a considerable part of present-day philosophical thought was born. Brentano finds himself firmly persuaded that "the true method of philosophy is none other than that of natural science." His contemporary Dilthey (born within three years of Brentano) centered philosophy in the sciences of the spirit. Brentano and Dilthey are the two thinkers of greatest influence on the thought of our time. Behind Dilthey hovers Schleiermacher's pietist theology; behind Brentano is the intellectualist theology of St. Thomas, impregnated with Leibniz's rationalism. But if one turns to what Brentano understands by "knowing," in the sense of natural science, and what Dilthey attempts with his "understanding" human history and life, perhaps that apparent antinomy may bring about the fundamental unity of the problem of first philosophy. Meditation on the writings of Brentano is one of our most important intellectual obligations.

From the prologue to a Spanish translation of various works of Brentano, grouped under the title El Porvenir de la Filosofia, Revista de Occidente, Mardrid, 1936.