§ 13. Forming of the Conception
The word, the idea, and the conception of Encyclopedia are genetically related. Hence in Encyclopedia also the old feud can be renewed, whether the conception lies at the beginning or at the end of the development of the encyclopedic thought. To prevent misunderstanding, let it be stated that this paragraph takes "conception" in the last-mentioned sense. It is not difficult to account for this choice in the use of the word. The process of thought that takes place in the human spirit consists by no means merely in the linking together of those series of thoughts which you have willed to think, and by thinking have produced. This is but the labor which as an arboriculturist you have performed in the garden of your thoughts. But as the work of the gardener is only possible because of the fertility of the garden, and because this growth in his garden impels him to work, which work he himself directs, so also in the human mind there lives a world of thought, in which is growth and luxuriance of life independently of the human will and disposition; and from this living world of thought one receives the impulse to think himself, and by this impulse mental effort is directed and defined. When this is lost from sight, we may have persons who think, but there is no development of thought in the human mind. The common element is then wanting from our thinking, by which alone the understanding of each other becomes possible. In this way all thought becomes aphoristical dilettantism and human language inconceivable. If we now apply this to the "conception," it follows that the conception also is no form of thought which we ourselves cast, but that it germinates, grows, and ripens independently of us, and is only plucked by us. As the flower was already present in the seed, and unfolded itself from it by a lawful development, so does the clear conception spring slowly from a process in our world of thought, which primarily at least went on altogether outside our consciousness. And yet this unconscious working produces its effect upon our act. The infant seeks the mother-breast and drinks without having the least impression of what the breast is, or the mother, or the milk. From that unconscious substrata of our life germinates first of all impression. This impression is first defined by the word by which it is expressed. The idea which impels us springs from it but gradually. And only when this idea inspires us, and has impelled us to act, does the bud set itself and by degrees unfold; till at length as fruit of empirical knowledge our insight becomes possible into the structure of the flower, and our conception forms itself.
Speaking, therefore, in the organic sense, this "conception" was already present in its germ in the first impulse that worked in us from the unconscious world of thought; this conception germinated in the impression; it matured into the idea; it directed us in our practical actions; and finally objectified itself in our forming of the conception. If, on the other hand, you take the "conception" as you grasped it in its completed form, then of course it became observable only at the end of this process of thought, and to you it had its birth at that moment only in which you plucked it.
Applying this to Encyclopedia, we find that the conception of Encyclopedia also was not cast by us arbitrarily, but that it germinated of necessity and defined itself. This conception is no product of our imagination, but it compelled our thought to take it up into itself. As such the germ was already prepared, when the first impulse began to work in the human mind, from which sprang all Encyclopedic study. But if you take this conception, as here it must be taken, in distinction from the idea, the word, and the impression, then it only began to exist for you at that moment when with a clear insight you grasped the thought that impelled you. Genetically, therefore, we stand before this process: that originally in the human mind there worked the need of bringing a certain order into the chaos of its knowledge, not arbitrarily, but agreeably to a distinguishing principle that forced itself upon it. Further, that this need quickened the impression that there is a certain order in what presented itself to it as chaos, and that for this impression also it sought a representation in the figure and activity of the cyclos, and that in this way it formed the word Encyclopedia. That under the impulse of this impression clarified by the word, it performed Encyclopedical labor. That first with less and then with greater clearness the Encyclopedic idea led it in this work. And that only after this the Encyclopedical thought in turn was thought out by it, till at length it was able to give itself an account of what it accomplished and aimed at in this Encyclopedical labor. In this way only it grasped the Encyclopedic thought with entire clearness of consciousness, and thus formed its conception.
§ 14. Critical Demand
In forming this definition of the conception we must work critically. Simply to construe the conception out of all that presents itself as Encyclopedic work is already impossible, because the great variety of matter exhibited under this label allows of no unity of conception. Just because Encyclopedic students were impelled for a long time by the impression only, led by the word, or inspired by the idea, but lacked the verification of the clear conception, it could not but happen that many things allied more or less distantly to Encyclopedia were ornamented with its name; that a good deal belonging to it was wrongly interpreted; and that a large share of inseparable essentials was neglected. The definition of the conception of Encyclopedia demands, therefore, a critical discrimination of matter, and while on the one hand the idea must be grasped from what presents itself under this name, on the other hand also the historical content must be marked out agreeably to the demand of this idea. The lack of a pure definition of the conception has created much confusion and error, and it is the duty of the conception-definition to restore us from these paths of error to the right track, and from this confusion to clear distinctions. For this reason our investigation began with the consideration of the word and its original significance, in order to grasp the root-idea of Encyclopedia as such; after this we traced the empirical use of this word under the guidance of the idea; but now from this root-idea the conception must be dialectically grasped and fixed. It is the root-Ldea that the human mind brings about a certain distinction and order in the chaos of our human knowledge, which is not done arbitrarily, but agreeably to a fixed order assumed to be present there. Under the lead of the general Encyclopedic idea this seeking after order in the chaos took place practically in all sorts of ways. First there was a classifying of this human knowledge by distinguishing between certain groups belonging to a fixed sphere or circle of life. Then order was sought by collecting the treasure of accessible knowledge into proper arrangement. After that the effort to establish order was made by placing the several departments of knowledge in a certain logical relation. And, finally, the attempt was made to penetrate to the organism itself, which science taken as a whole presents. It is not proper arbitrarily to mark one of these four meanings as the conception of Encyclopedia. Hence we must see along which of these lines the lawful development of the Encyclopedic thought comes to its conception.
§ 15. Encyclopedic Necessity
This investigation is governed by the antithesis of chaos and order. If we ourselves bring order into the chaos of our knowledge, after whatever manner we please, there is no Encyclopedic conception possible, because in that case every age and scholar is free to do this as he wills. But if we have no such liberty, then there is a something that binds us, and the question must be put as to what compels is logically to take this order in this way and not in the other, and with Avhat right a succeeding generation disapproves in part of the interpretation of a bygone generation and improves upon it. This compulsion springs in the first instance from the logical necessity which dominates in our thought. But this is not all. For then the question arises whether this logical necessity for our thinking has its ground in our thinking itself alone, or whether it proceeds from data outside of our thinking. Or, if you like to apply this to Encyclopedia, we face the question whether the necessity of bringing Encyclopedic order into this chaos of our knowledge in one way and not in another, is born solely from the fact that by our thinking itself we arrange this knowledge in this order and not in the other, or whether this Encyclopedic order is imposed upon that thinking by something that, outside of the thinker, lies in the object itself. Upon what ground the latter is assumed will be explained by the investigation of the conception of science. Here we merely state that in our bringing about of Encyclopedic order in the chaotic treasure of our knowledge, we are governed in two respects by a compulsory order which is separable from our thinking. First, because the treasure of knowledge which we obtain by our thinking does not originate first by our thinking, but exists before we think; and, on the other hand, because the knowledge to be arranged in order stands in relation to a world of phenomena which is independent of our thought. Since now that world of our knowledge and that world of phenomena are not chaotic but organic, our thinking cannot rest till in the treasure of our knowledge it has exhibited such an Encyclopedic order as will harmonize with the organic relation both of that world of our knowledge and of that world of phenomena. Thus our human spirit is not to invent a certain order for our knowledge, but to seek out and to indicate the order which is already there.
§ 16. Scientific Character
This necessity alone imparts to Encyclopedic study its scientific character. With every other interpretation it may lie a play of the imagination, it may be art, but no science. For a hiatus remains in our scientific consciousness as long as the mind of man has not investigated with its thinking not only the whole of the rest of the /coV/xo?, but also the processes of its own thought upon this Koafio<;. If from this the necessity arises for man to begin a scientific investigation of himself as a thinking being and of the laws which his thinking obeys, then there follows from this at the same time the demand that he shall make science itself an object of investigation and exhibit to his consciousness the organism of science. Man, indeed, with the first rise of the Encyclopedic impulse, dealt with the mass of general knowledge, which was at his disposal as a chaos, but now science itself as object takes its place. Science is distinguished from general knowledge by the fact that science puts the emphasis upon the order in that knowledge. Science is systematic, i.e. it is knowledge orderly arranged. The native physician among the negroes in Africa deals only with flesh and bone, while the scientific European or American physician deals with a body, and his medical science is founded upon the organic existence of the body. In the same way the dilettantEncyclopedist asks merely after the knowledge at hand, while the Encyclopedist who is a man of science interprets that knowledge as a system, and understands it consequently as science. And this decides the question as to which one of the four interpretations of Encyclopedic arrangement mentioned in § 15 is scientifically correct.
Let a fairly complete collection of medicines be brought together, all of which are well known to you, and let it be your duty to arrange this chaos of medicines scientifically. How will you do it? Will you sort the medicines according to the several patients, one of whom will require this, the other that? Will you sort them according to the manner in which they are put up, bottles with bottles, powders with powders? Or will you imitate the druggist, who gives them places most conveniently at hand for sale? By no means. The first assortment, according to the patients, is proper for the messenger who is to bring the medicines to the houses; the second assortment is convenient for transporting medicines in large quantities; and the third assortment is necessary in part for the convenient arrangement of bottles and pots on the drug-store shelves. But even though with these three modes of sorting, the nature, effect, and use of the medicines are measurably considered, these assortments are not scientific. For a scientific arrangement of them the physician must enter upon the organic relations of this world of medicines, and from this derive a principle for determining the arrangement. Applying this to the treasures of accessible knowledge, we find that the Greeks sorted originally according to the need of the patients, i.e. of those who were to be aided by the iraiBeia; that the compilers of the great Compendia sorted according to the principle of bottles with bottles and powders with powders, and only paid attention to the necessities of packing; Alstedt and his followers sorted just like the druggist, according to the logical arrangement with regard to use in the schools; while scientific Encyclopedists alone have taken into account the organism of science itself. Without doubt, a leading thought predominated in the first three assortments, but that leading thought was not inherent in the treasure of knowledge itself. It could be taken in one way as well as in another, and lacked the mark of necessity, while it did not take sufficient account of the fact that there is an inherent order in our knowledge itself. Just like the negro physician, they beheld flesh and bone, but failed to discern the body in them, and therefore could give no account of the skeleton, veins, and systems of muscles and nerves by which the whole was knit together. As soon, however, as it was seen that we need not bring order into our knowledge, but must merely trace out the order which is already in it, Encyclopedia became scientific. From being investigation into a mechanical arrangement, it now became the study of an organic life-relation. We now deal with a dominant principle, which of necessity, and according to a fixed law, has effected the organic relation, and in this way only the effort has been born not merely to indicate that relation, but also to trace out both that principle and its working.
§ 17. Limitation of the Conception
From this it follows that the compilation of the rich mass of our knowledge into an alphabetical or systematic manual, when arranged alphabetically, has nothing in common with Encyclopedia; and that even if this could be done systematically, it would be the application of Encyclopedia to the exhibition of our knowledge, but could by no means be Encyclopedia itself. It likewise follows that a resume' of the most important data of our .knowledge must no doubt deal with the results of Encyclopedia, but is not warranted in a single instance in bearing the name of Encyclopedia itself. And it also follows that the collection of the historia literaria for any department, and the indication of its auxiliaries, by itself has nothing in common with the science of Encyclopedia. Encyclopedic science is undoubtedly productive of fruits for such compendia and manuals, and is entitled to the distinction that the writers of such books deal with its results, but as a science it must be studied for its own sake. Its aim must ever be to grasp the inner organism of science as such. If indeed, as with other sciences, it was practical interests which impelled to this study, so that only afterwards the theory was discovered by which to reach the scientific method, this does by no means warrant the attempt to derive the conception of Encyclopedia from these first efforts. Here also the conception ripens only when Encyclopedia becomes conscious of the aim it has in view and has found the way by which to reach it. Whatever, therefore, in the several existing encyclopedias serves to provide material, or to indicate auxiliaries, or to simplify the review by means of summaries, does not belong to Encyclopedia proper. It is superfluous and troublesome ballast, or it is the application of a result of Encyclopedia, while Encyclopedia proper has the floor only when science itself, in its organic existence, is the object of investigation, the aim of which is not to create order in the chaos, but to show that that which at first made the impression upon us of existing chaotically, appears on closer investigation to exist cosmically or organically.
§ 18. Subdivision of Philosophy
So much is gained by this for the conception of Encyclopedia, that now we understand by it that science which takes the organism of science itself for the object of its investigation. This decides equally the question as to what place this science itself occupies in the unit of sciences. From this it appears that Medical Encyclopedia does not belong to the medical sciences, that Theological Encyclopedia does not belong to the theological sciences, etc., but that all Encyclopedic study is philosophical, and forms a subdivision of philosophy. As long as Encyclopedia was understood to be a real-lexicon or a manual for early beginners, this idea remained nebulous. In this sort of works the special content of every department was the main interest, and the Encyclopedic thought was seen only occasionally peering from behind the scenes. Thus Theological Encyclopedia was looked upon as a theological, and Juridical Encyclopedia as a juridical, department, and the real nature of Encyclopedia was not grasped. But when it is once affirmed that the special material but serves to discover the hidden relations in it, and is cast aside as soon as this is found, in order to keep these relations themselves as the object with which to deal, the philosophical character of Encyclopedia is hereby defined. Encyclopedia belongs then to those sciences by which man as a thinking being seeks to give himself an account of the world of his thoughts, and is, as such, a subdivision of philosophy. This would have been at once and clearly perceived if the Encyclopedic science could immediately have busied itself with the whole field of its investigation. No one would then have given general Encyclopedia a place elsewhere. And only the accidental circumstance that the study of this science had to begin with the special departments obscured the outlook. It cannot be denied that the subdivisions of every science belong to that science itself, and that thus the undeniably philosophical character of general Encyclopedia eo ipso asserts that all special Encyclopedic study belongs to philosophy.
§ 19. Methodology and Hodegetics
The conception of Encyclopedia is allied to those of Methodology and Hodegetics, which, though often taken for each other, are sharply distinguishable. Hodegetics points out the way to him to whom the way is unknown. The letter-carrier, who knows every inch of his way, takes no notice in his daily rounds of the sign-post at the cross-road. And the task of Hodegetics extends no further than showing the way in any department to whose study a man begins to devote himself. It acquaints him with the general features of the domain, tells him of the helps he is in need of in order to make advances, and points out to him the direction in which to go. Thus there belongs to it a short resume of the primitive data of every department; a reference to what composes its chief literature; a brief review of its history; a statement of its requirements; and an indication of the course of study to be pursued. Hodegetics teaches the theory of study to him who is not yet capable of study himself.
Methodology, on the other hand, is something very different. If Hodegetics serves the practical purpose of showing the inexperienced traveller the way that has already been discovered and cleared, Methodology, on the other hand, is the theoretical science which gives an account of the reason why this way was made thus and not otherwise, and decides the question whether there is any reason to change the way or its direction. This distinction is not always kept in sight, but it is real. Hodegetics assumes that the way is there, that it has been used, and points it out. Methodology, on the other hand, is the science which decides how the way is to be laid, and approves or disapproves of the way that has been laid. By "way " two things can here be understood. Either the way along which runs our thinking in this formal sense, or the way along which our thoughts must run in order to arrive at truth. In the first-mentioned sense Methodology forms a subdivision of Logic. In the last-mentioned sense it is an independent science which places the results of Logic into relation with the ramifications of the several departments of science. He who desires to use a steamboat in the exploration of an unknown drainage system in Africa faces two questions of method: (1) how to convey his steamer thither and put it together again; and (2) how he will sail in the channels themselves of this drainage system in order to reach the mountains from which the stream descends. In scientific work our thinking is that steamer which must carry us forward, and the course of the drainage system indicates the method by which to advance with our thoughts. Every science, indeed, is such a dependent drainage system, which by the course of the principal stream and its ramifications determines the way along which knowledge of it is attained.
The idea of method, coinciding with that of fierepxofiai. i.e. to trace, assumes that what we seek to discover by our thinking was thought before it originated, and that our effort is to think over again this original thought. When a Prussian general studies the fortification system of France's capital, he starts out from the assumption that the French soldiers who have built this system of fortifications have first thought out this system, and have afterwards built it agreeably to this studied plan. His aim, therefore, is to discover this plan, and this is only reached when he clearly grasps the original thought of the French engineer before he began to build. Only when he understands this original plan in its relations, does he know the Paris fortifications. Hence two methods are here involved. First, the method by which the French engineer built the fortifications, and secondly, the method of the Prussian general in discovering the fortifications' plan. The two are different. The method of him who built the fortifications developed itself from the principal thought he conceived in the drawing of his plan. The method of the discoverer, on the other hand, begins by viewing the forts and bulwarks of the outer lines, from thence proceeds to the second and third lines, and only from the relations of these several means of defence does he penetrate to the plan of the fortifications. But when the discoverer has once grasped this plan, he changes his method of thought to that of the engineer, and now takes up the proof of the sum, whether the location, the form, and the armament of the several bulwarks in each of the lines can be explained from the principal thought discovered.
Mutatis mutandis, this distinction between the method that lies in the object of investigation and the method by which we seek to obtain knowledge of this object, is applicable to every scientific investigation. In every object we are to grasp scientifically there must be a realized plan. Entirely independently of our thought a thinking motive is active in every object, and this motive impels the thought that lies in this object to proceed in a fixed track. This is the method that lies in the object itself, and with the knowledge of which we are concerned. But inasmuch as we have yet to penetrate from the circumference to the centre of this object, we must seek a method first by which from what we see to reach the hidden thought; and only when this is found does our thinking move from the centre to the circumference and think indeed the thought over again which has embodied itself in the object to be investigated (jierepxerai). In the main, therefore, we go first from without to within, and then from within back again to without, and both times we are bound to travel the way given in the object itself. Thus Methodology lays out for us the way along which to enter in upon the inner existence of the object, as well as the way along which we can understand the origin of this object.
If, now, there were no obstacles in the way along which from phenomena we reach the inner existence of the object, this twofold task of Methodology would amount to doing the same thing twice, with the only difference of moving one time in an opposite direction from the other. Since, however, in the approach to the object all sorts of difficulties present themselves in the way, which rise partly from the observer and partly from the object to be observed, it is the task of Methodology to indicate how we can overcome these difficulties; or, where they are insuperable, to show us a side-road by which to reach our end. These difficulties, which differ with the several objects, compel Methodology to indicate a proper method for each of the several departments of study, by which in each department the end can be reached. A general Methodology of sciences, therefore, is not enough. Methodology also must specialize itself, and since the special method for each department and each subdivision of a department is wholly governed by the Encyclopedic relation of the parts with the whole, Encyclopedia takes up into itself this special Methodology. It can easily be separated from this connection for the entire group of departments, to serve as a department of general Methodology; but since the question of method returns with each subdivision of every department, a special Methodology would have to include the entire Encyclopedia of the department, in order to be intelligible and to justify itself. In one instance it would be an encyclopedic woof with a methodological warp, and in the other instance Methodology embroidered upon encyclopedic canvas. And, however real the difference is between the two, this difference is too insignificant to justify the trouble of a separate treatment.
Encyclopedia has incorrectly been confused with allgemeine Wissenschaftslehre. Fichte's title accounts for this. He himself describes the "Wissenschaftslehre" as a "Wissen vom Wissen" and consequently not "von der Wissenschaft." "Allgemeine lehre vom Wissen" would have been the more accurate name, and would have prevented misunderstanding. "Knowledge " and "science " are different things. Knowledge itself is a phenomenon in the human mind. Suppose an entire population in a college town were massacred; there would be no more knowledge in that city; for all knowledge assumes a living, thinking person who knows. But if the library had been spared, there would still be science to be found in that massacred town, because those books contain a whole mass of science. It is a very different thing, therefore, whether I investigate the formal phenomenon of knowledge as such, or scan science itself, as it exists organically in all its ramifications, in its inner essence and articulation. Up to this point general Encyclopedia and "allgemeine Wissenschaftslehre" have nothing in common. What Fichte aimed at was the study of a phenomenon in our consciousness; what Encyclopedia aims at is an analysis and synthesis of all sciences together, taken as one organic whole. This, however, is no warrant for overlooking the relation Avhich unites the two and lies in the general conception of science that is fundamental to all special sciences. The body is both something different and something more than its members, and general Encyclopedia cannot be content with the investigation of the separate members of the body of science; it must also deal with the science which finds its ramifications in the several special sciences. And when ready to undertake this, it of necessity touches "allgemeine Wissenschaftslehre," since this teaches "knowledge" in its most universal form, and thus offers it the means by which to define the character of science in its universal sense.
§ 21. Organic Character
If it is the task of Encyclopedia to furnish us knowledge of science as an organic whole, a clear insight into the vocation of Encyclopedia demands a distinction between the threefold organic nature of science. Botany, for instance, is an organic science: (1) because it introduces into the mirror of our thoughts a group of phenomena, which as "the vegetable kingdom" exists organically; (2) because it reflects this "vegetable kingdom" in a world of thoughts, which in its turn also classifies organically; and (3) because it does not introduce this "organic vegetable kingdom" absolutely into this organic "world of thought," but in organic connection with the life of man and animal. Thus every science has to do with a phenomenon which exists in itself organically and is organically related with other phenomena, while at the same time it must present the knowledge of this phenomenon in organic relation. If in our thought we place a series of departments of science side by side, there is again a threefold relation among them: (1) since the objects with whose study these departments are concerned (Botany, Zoology, etc.) are organically related in life itself; (2) since the reflections of these objects do not lie loosely side by side in our mind, but also in the world of our thinking maintain an organic relation with each other; and (3) since the activities which go out from these objects upon life, are organically involved with one another. If now there were no unity in this threefold organic relation, we should have a threefold organic interpretation of science: the first according to the relation of phenomena, the second according to the relation of our thoughts, and the third according to the relation of the several ends at which our studies aim: or, more briefly still, we should have a phenomenal, a logical, and a practical interpretation. But this is not so. The organic inter-relations of phenomena cannot be grasped by us except as an outcome of an organic thought; the organic relation of what is known in our thoughts cannot assert its rights until it agrees with the organic interrelation of the phenomena; and the workings of this knowledge upon our life stand in turn in relation both to the inter-relations of the phenomena and to our knowledge of those phenomena. History truly shows that the empirical division of study (the phenomenal), with which all science began, and the theoretical (the logical), which only came later on, even as that of the university (in faculties), which, a few particulars excepted, kept equal step with the last-named, have amounted mainly in the end to a similar division of the sciences.
But with reference to this point also Encyclopedia should reach self-consciousness, and give itself a clear account of the question what it understands by the organism of science. In which case it is self-evident that it cannot allow itself to be governed by the practical university division of the faculties, but that it must rather examine critically and correct them. And it lies equally near at hand that the phenomenon by itself should not be permitted to influence this division, since this is the very science that exhibits for the first time the organic relation of the phenomena. Hence Encyclopedia is not at liberty to deal with anything else save the organic relation in which the parts of the whole of our knowledge stand to each other. Science, in its absolute sense, is the pure and complete reflection of the cosmos in the human consciousness. As the parts of all actually existing things lie in their relations, so must the parts of our knowledge be related in our consciousness. As a country is sketched on a chart, and we succeed ever better, as Cartography advances, in sketching the country upon the chart just as it is, so also must science convert the actually existing cosmos into the logical form. The further science advances, the easier it will be to reproduce the cosmos logically, and to make all its parts to be clearly seen, together with their several relations. And thus science divides itself, because in proportion as the logical reproduction becomes more accurate, it will image in a more organic way whatever exists organically. And so does science begin to show itself to us as an immeasurable field, in which all sorts of divisions and subdivisions must be distinguished, and upon which the mutual relations among these divisions and life is ever more clearly exhibited. It is this organic relation with which Encyclopedia has to deal. The field of our knowledge itself in its organic inter-relations appears as the object to be investigated by it.
§ 22. Still Incomplete From the fact that the object is still incomplete flows of necessity the incompleteness of Encyclopedia. In the field of knowledge some ground is not yet broken, and other parts are but imperfectly known. And yet Encyclopedia must not wait until its object is completely ready, since science is in need of her assistance to get itself ready. Hence it must overcome its false modesty and present itself as it is, provided it but acknowledges its own imperfection and makes no pretension of being already the Encyclopedia. This involves the fact that every effort to furnish an Encyclopedia must provisionally bear an individual character. If Encyclopedia could wait till every controversy concerning psychology, the way of knowledge, knowledge as such, were ended, and all contrasts of view in every special department had fallen away, an Encyclopedia might be spoken of which would compel every thinker to agree. Since, however, the field of knowledge is only known in part, and the psychological sciences are still at variance with each other, and since in every department the tendencies and schools are still in the heat of combat, no writer of Encyclopedia can carry an argument save from the view-point which he himself occupies and except he start out from the hypotheses upon which his general presentation is founded. There is no harm in this, since every other science actually goes to work in the same way, provided the view-point be properly defined and the end be held in sight of obtaining the Encyclopedia in its absolute form. Otherwise we may get an Encyclopedic fantasy, but no contribution to the science of Encyclopedia.
As long, however, as the logical sketch of the cosmos is only a partial success, the organic relation traced by our science will differ from the organic relation actually existing in the cosmos; wherefore Encyclopedia cannot deal with the latter, but is bound to turn its attention to the first. For the same reason it cannot justify its demand that the university division of faculties shall reform itself at once in obedience to its directions. This should certainly have to be done if it were already Encyclopedia in the absolute sense, but can not be demanded as long as it presents itself in a form that is so imperfect and individually colored. In life also lies a logic; and a logic lies equally in history; and from these two has sprung the university division. If Encyclopedia succeeds in effecting an influence upon life itself, by which it will gradually be persuaded to regulate its needs in a different way, the university division also will thereby be indirectly influenced and corrected. But then it will have stood the fire proof, and this will justify its demands. If, on the other hand, an attempt were made to influence directly by Encyclopedia the architect of the university and persuade him to cut the tie that binds the university to life, it would result either in a pseudo-victory, or the university would be turned into an abstract schematism. This was the mistake committed by the Netherlands government, when, in 1878, at the suggestion of a one-sided Encyclopedia, it robbed the theological faculty in the State Universities of its historical character, and actually changed it into a school of the science of religion. Since from its very nature such a faculty is of no practical use to life, and as such has no susceptibility to life, the "officiousness of practical life " compelled a reaction against the aim of the lawgiver, and the demands of this one-sided Encyclopedia could be only apparently satisfied. It triumphed in the letter of the scheme, but actually and practically the right of history maintained the supremacy.
§ 23. A Threefold Task
With this reservation it is the task of Encyclopedia to investigate the organism of science physiologically, anatomically and pathologically. Physiologically, in order to enter into the nature of the life of every science and to trace out and define the function of each member in the body of sciences. Anatomically, in order to exhibit the exact boundaries, divisions and relations of the several departments and subdivisions of departments. And pathologically, in order to bring to light the imperfection in the functioning of every science, to show its lack of accuracy in the fixing of the several relations, and to watch lest by hypertrophy or by atrophy the proper proportions should be lost between the development of the parts. Physiologically it clarifies the sense that must inspire every man in his own department, and rectifies the universally scientific sense. Anatomically it brings order into every study and defines the boundaries between the several studies. And pathologic-medically it arrests every error, inaccurate connection and unnatural development which combats the demand of the organic life of a science and of each of its parts.
§ 24. Method of Encyclopedia
The only practicable method of general Encyclopedia is, that it should begin with the study of the historical development of the special sciences as they now are, and from this should endeavor to form for itself an image of the development of science in general. Then it should examine this historical phenomenon in order to understand the motive of science as such and the special motive of its several parts, and when it has thus fixed the idea of science and of its separate parts, it should investigate historically the ways by which it has progressed and the causes that have retarded or corrupted it. Having in this way succeeded historically in discovering the essential nature of its object, and the law of this object's life, Encyclopedia should then proceed to investigate in the same way each of the parts and to determine the organic relation between them. And having in this way obtained a clear representation of what the organism of science is, how its functions operate and its parts cohere, with this result in hand it should criticise the actual study of science. Its point of departure must be historical. From what has been historically discovered it must develop its idea. And with this standard in hand it must prosecute its task both as critic and physician.
§ 25. Purely Formal
This answers of itself the question to what extent Encyclopedia is to concern itself with the material of each science. It is not its task to furnish the body of science itself, but to point out the organic relations in this body, to demonstrate them, and, in case of error, to reestablish their proper location. Encyclopedia does not build the body of science, neither does it reproduce it, but it begins by viewing this body of science as given; and its task is merely to show that it is a body, and how, as a body, it exists. The Physiologist does not bring the blood into the body, neither does he reproduce it, neither is it his calling to investigate the whole quantity of blood. His calling limits itself to the examination of blood as such, in its composition, origin, function and pathological deformation. So iar as there occur variations in this mass of blood, he is bound to give himself an account of each one of these variations; but so far as the similar is concerned, he is interested only in the disposition of one of these similar phenomena. And this is the case with the Encyclopedist. He assumes that the material of science is known. He does not create nor reproduce it, neither does he add to it. But in this multitudinous material he looks for the network that binds the groups of similar parts to each other. His study extends all the way of this network in its length and in its breadth, but where this network disappears in common material his investigation ends. Hence no division or subdivision in all the material of science can be so small but that, as long as it forms a separate group or member in the organism, he must study it out. The active working only of the organism upon the material is to be investigated by him, and not the result obtained by this organic function. Thus in scientific Encyclopedia that shall be worthy of the name, there will be no room for the content itself of the separate sciences, and not even for a brief summary of their results. The material must remain entirely excluded, and only the formal part of each science must be exhibited.
§ 26. Result
The result of our investigation is, that by Encyclopedia we understand that philosophical science which in the entire thesaurus of our scientific knowledge thus far acquired exhibits and interprets the organic existence of science and of its several parts. This conception of Encyclopedia, which has been arrived at historically, dialectically and by means of distinction from the correlated conceptions, excludes therefore all realistic treatment of the material, and concentrates Encyclopedia upon the formal side of science. Realistic Encyclopedia is no Encyclopedia. Formal Encyclopedia alone is entitled to bear this name in the scientific sense. In this sense this acquired conception applies as well to general Encyclopedia as to Encyclopedia of special departments, even though it lies in the nature of the case that general Encyclopedia, because it is general, limits itself to the principal ramifications of the organism of science, and leaves the detailed ramifications of each group and its subdivisions to the study of special Encyclopedia. General Botany has nothing to do with the variations of the species rosa into tree roses, monthly roses, provincial roses, or tea roses.