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How the metaphysical need ("metaphysisches Bedurfnis") outlasted reductionism: on a methodical controversy between life philosophy ("Lebensphilosophie") and life sciences in 19th century Germany.

1. The Metaphysical Need: Kant's and Schopenhauer's Definitions

The history of the evolving life sciences in the 19th century Germany shows an intense theoretical controversy between Kant's and Schopenhauer's concept of "metaphysical need" on the one hand and the search for a valid theoretical framework for the empirical life sciences on the other hand.

In his Prolegomena, first published in 1783, (1) Kant claimed that the quest for metaphysical knowledge is just as human as any other natural body function like breathing: "That the human spirit might once give up metaphysical enquiries once and for all, is just as unlikely as that we would once give up breathing just because we are afraid to gain bad air." (2) Subsequently, Kant concluded that there will be always metaphysical reflection in the world, "which, in lack of a public standard yardstick, everybody will tailor for himself in his own way."

And Schopenhauer, being one of the most profound and yet one of the most critical of Kant's recipients, hereafter coined the often cited phrase "metaphysical need" ("metaphysisches Bedurfnis"). For Schopenhauer, the metaphysical need arises from man's amazement over his existence, particularly over his moribundity. Schopenhauer defines metaphysics generally as "every knowledge which transcends the possibility of experience, i.e. the nature, or the given appearance of things, to shed light on this, by what these [experience, nature, and appearance, D.S.] are determined; or, speaking in a popular way, what is behind the nature, making it possible." (3)

From a historical point of view, three points seem to be remarkable at these statements:

By analogizing the "metaphysical need" with a vital body function, Kant and Schopenhauer defined the metaphysical need as an inevitable but yet almost involuntary function of the human mind. This means that every time either an individual person or a philosophical movement attempts to eliminate metaphysical questions (like the quest for personal identity, the question of the immortality of the soul, and the boundaries of human knowledge) from the world view, metaphysical questions would almost automatically pop up in mind.

On the other hand, Kant and Schopenhauer have peremptorily criticized what Kant called the dogmatists' point of view. For Kant and Schopenhauer, therefore, the metaphysical need necessarily implies the criticism of both the practical and the pure reason. For Kant, the main function of metaphysics is to analyze the ambit of reason. Hence, metaphysics is "a philosophy on the first foundations of our knowledge." (4) Furthermore, Kant speaks of the speculative cognition of reason ("speculative Vernunfterkenntnis") which altogether soars above the empirical experience, "namely by means of pure concepts." (5)

Considering the evolution of the so called "life sciences" in 19th century Germany, this thesis has proven remarkably right, almost clairvoyant. Even though there have been very strong intentions to eliminate any metaphysical speculation from the more and more empirically oriented research programs and due to the methodical necessity of the early life sciences to build a empirical framework without speculative elements, the metaphysical need has outlasted every intention to eliminate speculative elements from the philosophical world view.

The struggling between the quest for a valid framework in the life sciences thus competed with the individual need of a meaningful world view. Yet, as fruitful as the 19th century reductionism (often referred to as materialism) has proven in the evolution of the life sciences, it has by no means ceased the metaphysical need. More than this--their scientific results have on the contrary arisen new metaphysical questions as it can be made clear in three historical stages of the evolution of the 19th century life sciences: the cell theory, the materialism debate and the reception of Darwinism.

2. Reductionism and the Evolution of the Life Sciences in the 19th Century: Three Stages of a Track Record

Cell Theory

At the beginning of the 19th century, the methodical framework the life sciences was still dominated by the so called "idealistic" philosophy (Hegel and Schelling). Their "philosophy of nature" ("Naturphilosophie") not only dealt with the results of the contemporary life sciences but also asked for a transcendental reason for each and every natural phenomenon. Hence, every empirical phenomenon was interpreted as the objective appearance of an idea. From this point of view, true knowledge could not be gained by empirical enquiry but only by metaphysical speculation which transcends the empirical realm.

As prodigious as this claim may sound from a today's point of view, Hegel's and Schelling's positions have influenced the evolution of the life sciences well into the early 1840s. The first historical movement that explicitly broke with this claim was the development of the cell theory by Schwann and Schleiden. By his botanical researches, (6) Schleiden succeeded in adding plausibility to the assumption that the cell was the material carrier of the Life--at least as long as the botanical definition of life was concerned.

Although Schleiden always avoided drawing a materialistic conclusion from his results, the materialistic-reductionistic implications of his research work were obvious: By highlighting the role of the cell for the inner organization of Life, the material organization of the body seemed to be the one and only reason for the manifold life processes.

The zoologist Theodor Schwann finally transferred Schleiden's results to the vital organization of animals. It was already 1839, only one year after the sensational work of Schleiden, that Schwanns "Microscopic researches" appeared in print. (7) Regardless of all differences between botanical and animal life, Schwann yet succeeded in emphasizing the role of the cell as the basic module of every life. Still standing in the teleomechanistic research tradition (8) prepared by Kant's concept of teleology, Schwann formulated his cell theory as a research program in which "Life" could be reduced to the specific and characteristic arrangement of material parts. Hence, the reason for the purposive Organization was given in the arrangement of independent parts and not in the existence of a vital force ("Lebenskraft") which was still supported by prominent researchers like von Baer.

The so-called "core corpus" ("Kernkorperchen") within the cell did firstly not principally differ from non-organic elements, and therefore they were, secondly, empirically analyzable. (9) The exploration of the cell Life by Schleiden und Schwann thus suggested that the reason for individual organic evolution was located within the core of the cell which brought up the question for the mechanistic explanation of those evolutionary processes. (10)

In continuation of this research program by Carl Vogt and Rudolph Virchow (who transferred this approach into a scientifically valid theory of diseases), the singular cells in their characteristic arrangement were more and more interpreted as the objective medium of the life process. "Life is essentially cell activity", as Virchow put it 1845. (11)

From a methodical point of view, this gave a competitive edge: the problematic concept "life" was now accessible to a direct empirical observation, it became observable, quantifiable. And: theories on the concept of life had to be empirically reviewed and had to be, at least principally, falsifiable.

Virchow's research work on cellular pathology thus prepares a prospect on the concept of life which puts the cell as autonomous life. This concept had enormous impact on the philosophical discussions after 1840, it especially inspired Nietzsche's concept of the body ("Leib") in the 1880s: (12) By defining the life process as the interaction of many autonomous elements, Nietzsche evolved his concept of the body as a "great reason" ("groBe Vernunft") and thus anticipated modern concepts like the understanding of the body as a "molecular democracy." (13)

Although Virchow himself was always careful not to draw metaphysical consequences from his concept of the cell, this very concept has proved to be extremely important for the evolution of the concept of life in Germany's 19th century philosophy and life sciences--at least in two regards: on the one hand, it inspired contemporary metaphysical concepts of life such as Nietzsche's. On the other hand, it has proven to be highly important for the evolution of the life sciences. In thus emphasizing the empirical method of the life sciences, the cell theory was the spearhead of a scientific revolution which proved to be decisive for the further evolution of these sciences. As different as their research work was--Schleiden, Schwann and Virchow agreed in this one crucial point that empirical knowledge (and not philosophical speculation) was the one and only source of knowledge.

This suggested the further conclusion that all factors of organic life could be reduced to chemical and / or physical causes. For the evolution of the empirical life sciences, this reductionism (often referred to as "materialism") proved to be a highly stimulating methodical framework.

On the other hand, the metaphysical question for the integrity of life was factored out of the researcher's considerations. It was also in the early 40s that the so called "world-view philosophies" ("Weltanschauungsphilosophien") arose. These philosophies, often written by well-known empirical researchers, tried to compensate this lack. Between 1840 and 1914, many periodicals (14) were founded devoted to the on and only purpose of popularizing current results from contemporary sciences. Numerous popular lectures of highly acknowledged scientists such as Hermann Helmholtz, Justus von Liebig, Emil du Bois-Reymond, Arnold Dodel-Port and many others served the very same purpose. (15)

Obviously, the empirical search for the reason of life did no longer satisfy the metaphysical need.

Materialism Debate

The struggling between materialism and metaphysical need peaked in the materialism debate which started 1854. In this year, the zoologist Karl Vogt fiercely attacked the famous physiologist Rudolf Wagner on a public meeting of the "natural scientists" ("Naturforscher"). In his earlier lecture, (16) Wagner had claimed that the newest scientific results were without any doubt reconcilable with the biblical history of creation. It was probably his basing on the authority of his (as he put it) "simple charburner's belief" (sic!) that especially provocated Vogt's protest. The debate led to a public commotion in which not only Vogt himself but also his fellow materialists Ludwig (Louis) BUchner (17) and Jakob Moleschott (18) persisted in their radical materialistic point of view which culminated in Vogt's famous statement that "the thoughts stand in the same relation to the brain like the bile to the liver or the urine to the kidneys." (19) In other words, Vogt defined the brain as the expulsion organ of the thoughts. Invoking the results of the contemporary brain research, Buchner quoted many "evidences" for the "identity of brain and soul" by putting down different mental defects to brain deformations, and defended Moleschotts notorious (yet often quoted) sentence "No thought without phosphor!" (20)

This reduction of thoughts on the material constitution of the brain finally caused a framework in which "reality" is completely reducible to empirical enquiry. On the other hand, every metaphysical concept was banned from this framework: "Everything that transcends the sensuous world is a hypothesis and nothing else", as Buchner wrote. (21)

In their continuing publications, BUchner and Moleschott tried to relativize this very polemic statement, yet they held on to Vogt's main thought that the brain is only the "carrier (sic!) of the mind / of the spirit" ("Trager des Geistes"). BUchner criticized in Vogts statement the analogy of the brain with an expulsion organ but otherwise held on to his radical-materialistic point of view. (22) Moleschott defended Vogt's statement by defining thoughts "as a motion, a conversion of the brain material." (23) In his later publications, Vogt did not get back to his earlier text passage, yet he repeated his main thesis "that the activities of the soul are only functions of the brain; that there is no independent soul." (24) The reductionist point of view had reached its peak and had become a world-view relevant element which served as a basic for criticism of both the academic and the political establishment.


The third station in the struggling between the life sciences and metaphysical positions was the primarily critical reception of Darwinism starting in the late 60's in Germany. Of course, the greatest criticism was brought forward by the theology. Eduard von Hartmann, being one of the most profound connoisseurs of the philosophical aspects of Darwinism, stated in 1875 that ironically, nothing has been more helpful for the rise of Darwinism than the opposition of the theology of all confessions. (25)

Indeed, the Darwinism has ever since maintained being one of the most central challenges for philosophical thinking and contemporary world view philosophies in Germany, and not only churches or religiously oriented authors have well into the 1880s seen Darwinism as an attack on central paradigms such as creation and order.

Darwinism was broadly viewed as a variant of materialism and has therefore often been criticized for his reductionist world view. Although Darwin himself has always been very careful not to draw any theological or anti-clergy conclusions from his theory, the Darwinism of the late 19th century has shortly after the first appearance of Darwin's Origin of Species in Germany taken a plainly materialist turn. The reception of Darwinism continued the materialism debate in its essential points, and therefore it does not astonish that the proximity to mechanist or materialist positions remained one of the most disputed points in the discussion of Darwinism in Germany. Contemporary philosophers evolved at least three strategies to handle the Darwinist challenge.

(1) The first one was to put Darwin into one line with philosophers like Hegel by highlighting the contribution to a philosophy of becoming (rather than being) made by Darwinism.

(2) At the same time, Darwin's theory turned out to be a highly, maybe the most provocative one for contemporary philosophers. The fact that in Darwin's theory, the impulse for evolution did not come from the individual creature itself but resulted from the struggle for life seemed to be highly unacceptable for the most contemporary philosophers. Most of them saw individual spontaneity at risk and therefore adduced the (long forgotten) theory of Lamarck against Darwin. Lamarck had claimed in his Philosophie zoologique (1809) that each and every evolution in nature resulted from the "principle of use and misuse of the organs." Roughly spoken, this principle indicated that every individual acquires certain characteristic attributes ("characters") during his life (one of the most frequently quoted examples in the contemporary was the long neck of the giraffe evolved from stretching for leaves) and the heredity transmission of these attributes to his offspring. The claimed "inheritance of acquired characters" has remained being one of the most disputed principles of evolutionary biology far into the 20th century. Yet, for the philosophical discussion of Darwinism, another point turned out to be important: By playing off Lamarck against Darwin, many philosophers (like Nietzsche, Eduard von Hartmann, and Ludwig Klages) were trying to argue against a mechanistic analysis of evolution inspired by Darwin. Evolution, in this view, should be the fruit of spontaneously generated changes of the individual characters rather than the mechanistic result of the contention in the Darwinist struggle for life.

(3) The world-view inspired by Darwinism gained, at least in the version of many contemporary philosophers, yet another, namely a socio-political meaning which was strongly rejected. If Darwin's struggle for life resulted in higher-evolved creatures and thus in the evolution of the genus, then two aspects followed from this conclusion: firstly, the present-day's creatures and entities (not only biological but only political ones) are more perfect than the former ones. And secondly: every "fitter" organization has or gains automatically the power to prevail over the other ones. Natural evolution thus gained in the philosophical discourse the meaning of an evolution to higher perfectibility including the moral in blank-justification for elimination of every governmental or political organization in the struggle for life.

In post-revolutionary Germany, this latter conclusion (often referred to as "pan-utilitarism" (26)) was a very sensible one because it seemed to implicate that every existing political organization (like the Prussian State) was automatically more reasonable and prudential than the former one and therefore per se justified. The historical optimism once inspired by Hegel's famous (or better: notorious) sentence "What is reasonable, that is real; and what is real, that is reasonable" (27) seemed to be reissued by this conclusion.

It was, again, not Darwin who drew this conclusion but Ernst Haeckel. Haeckel, one of the most influential popular authors of the late 19th century, managed to form Darwinism into a world-view. Haeckel's name for this specific world-view was Monism. Monism was to serve as a "Link between religion and science", as Haeckel himself put it in his book title from 1893. (28) Monism, in Haeckels version, meant the "all-embracing outlook of the ensemble of the world which we gained from the highest clambered standpoint of the monistic knowledge of nature." (29)

Darwinism thus not only monopolized the evolution of the life sciences in the late 19th century but also, in the name of the extremely popular Monism represented by Ernst Haeckel, the world-view of contemporary scientists and, partly, also of numerous popular philosophers. Or, as Eduard von Hartmann put it in his Philosophy of the unconscious: ("Philosophie des Unbewussten"): "The pure monistic world-view is on its own capable to build the metaphysical fundament of an ethic which is not subject to individual arbitrariness (see Schopenhauer)." (30)

Even though Hartmann's concept of Monism was by no means identical with Haeckel's, it is obvious that the longing for an integrative world-view was especially in the late 19th century a constitutive element of contemporary philosophy. Monism in the one sense or the other served as a science-based substitute for religion.

3. The Third Way: The German Life-philosophy ("Lebensphilosophie")

In all of the before mentioned disputes, the tensions between the search for a reductionistic (materialistic) framework in the life sciences on the one hand and for a metaphysical world outlook on the other were under intense consideration.

It was not before the late 70s that a new discipline in philosophy was trying to compensate this lack: the so called "Lebensphilosophie" ("Life-philosophy") attempted to arrange these obviously divergent tendencies. Often inspired by and based on results of the empirical life sciences, the main representatives of the Life-philosophy attempted to establish an integral and often highly metaphysical view of man and culture. Philosophers like Friedrich Nietzsche, Wilhelm Dilthey, Georg Simmel, Ludwig Klages, Karl Joel, Theodor Lessing, and Oswald Spengler have pointed out the necessity to complete the often reductionist theory of man evolved in the 19th century life sciences by a philosophical theory of culture, and Albert Schweitzer's ethical concept of the "awe for life" has just as much availed of the impulses given by Life-philosophy as the early Martin Heidegger's lectures. Life-philosophy is therefore mainly a philosophical theory of culture. And the "Philosophical Anthropology" (of Scheler, Plessner, and Gehlen) has in continuation of the Life-philosophy asked for the relation of man to nature, for the position of man in nature, and for the relation of man and other living creatures such as animals and plants.

It is not possible at this point to give a comprehensive picture of the Life-philosophy that has been the most popular philosophical movement between 1870 and 1914. (31) Yet, considering the fact that the Life-philosophy, due to its popularity in the 19th and beginning 20th century, has been almost forgotten in the philosophy of the later 20th century and is gaining new popularity in the 'new life-philosophy' since the 1990s, (32) it might be helpful to sketch out some of the crucial points of this movement.

Although the above-mentioned positions of the life sciences were reflected by the authors of Life-philosophy, the materialistic and positivistic implications of Darwinism were strongly rejected. Nietzsche called the Darwinism a philosophy for "butcher's fellows" (33) and at the same time emphatically affirmed the concept of evolution and progression inspired by Darwin. Nietzsche, as numerous contemporary philosophers, also tried to relativize the importance of Darwin's discovery by putting him in line with previous philosophers of becoming such as Heraklit and Hegel. At the same time, Nietzsche valued Lamarck's approach higher than Darwin's because Lamarck's "philosophie zoologique" seemed to be based on the assumption that evolution results from spontaneous, endogenous impulses rather than from an exogenous "struggle for life".

However, Nietzsche's reception of Darwin is in still another aspect characteristic for the reception of the subsequent Life-philosophy:
   Let us assume this fight [Darwin's struggle for life, D. S.] really
   exists--and indeed, it can be found--, then it turns out
   differently from what Darwin's movement wishes [...] namely to the
   disadvantage of the strong ones, of the privileged ones, of the
   fortunate exceptions. The genuses do not grow in perfection, the
   weaker ones repeatedly prevail over the stronger ones--because they
   are the greater number, they are also smarter. Darwin has forgotten
   about the spirit ["Geist", D. S.] (--that is English!), the weak
   ones have more spirit...." (34)

"Spirit" ("Geist"), in Nietzsche's interpretation, is defined as a compensating function for existential, practical weakness (albeit an extremely helpful one!), even more: it is interpreted as a disease of the body. By determining the body ("Leib") as the "great reason" compared to the "little reason" of the mind, Nietzsche redefines the correlations between body and mind. Body (understood as "Leib", e.g. not as biological system--"Korper" in German--but as integral organizational entity) constitutes the mind in his various aspects. It is a highly provocative philosophy of knowledge that Nietzsche educes from his theory of the body. One could even call Nietzsche's theory of mind a "philosophy of superficiality" because the mind remains the secondary instance compared to the underlying body (understood as "Leib"). (35) Moreover, if Nietzsche defines the body as the "will to power" ("Wille zur Macht," he refers to central results of Schwann's and Schleiden's cell theory: just as they defined life as the interaction of autonomous living agents (the cells), Nietzsche defines life as will to power. The often misinterpreted concept of "will to power" means, at least in Nietzsche's concept of the body, merely an organizational order of competing vital entities expressing itself in language, culture, and aesthetics ("physiology of art").

The underlying intention of Nietzsche's concept of the body as will to power is, of course, a highly critical, one could without exaggeration say: a subversive one. Nietzsche's re-formulation of the connection between body and mind is in line with both earlier and subsequent concepts of rationality and its criticism formulated by Schopenhauer, Simmel, Klages, Th. Lessing, and even Hegel. Although inspired by earlier scientific results, it is by no means a materialistic, naturalistic or a reductionistic one. Yet, it does serve the very similar purpose as the former materialist's conceptions: a fundamental subversion of the contemporary concept of rationality, the "free will," and metaphysics.

It is especially the last point that brings together Nietzsche and the subsequent representatives of the Life-philosophy. Even though the Life-philosopher's relation to metaphysics was by no means an easy and non-ambiguous one, they share some points on affirmation and criticism of metaphysics.

For Nietzsche, metaphysics is primarily meant in a very critical way because it refers to any view of man, culture and rationality in which a transcendent concept is the essential one instead of their immanent being. Dilthey followed this anti-metaphysical concept by developing a heuristic concept of culture in which every thing of objective culture is reduced to the question for understanding. Dilthey's theory of culture goes back to the question, how and on which (historical, psychological) conditions it is possible to understand this objective culture as the expression of a foreign individuality under certain historical and methodical conditions. Dilthey undoubtedly saw that the monistic Systems of the philosophy of nature ("Naturphilosophie") are also highly metaphysical. "But the focal point of the great multitude of the philosophy of nature lies closer to those daunting speculations which do not only transcend the experience but also adopt a realm of intellectual and essences distinguished from every sensual experience. These speculations glance at something hidden behind the realm of sensuality [...]: a second world." (36)

The anti-metaphysical impetus in Dilthey's philosophy of culture is thus primarily meant as an argument for an immanent, a fact-based and methodically valid philosophy of culture as it already underlied the concept of an "inductive metaphysics" (Lotze, Fechner, E. v. Hartmann). The later approaches towards a historical philosophy of culture evolved by Oswald Spengler ("Der Untergang des Abendlandes") and Theodor Lessing ("Geschichte als Sinngebung des Sinnlosen") followed this anti-reductionistic concept.

It was Georg Simmel who saw that an immanent philosophy of culture is incomplete without an inner relation to transcendence. For Simmel, the radically immanent concept of culture (as originally initiated by the enlightenment) is, although extremely important, merely a transitional one. In his last book, Simmel pointed out that the "transcendence of life" (37) as he called it is just as important as empirical studies.

In Simmel's interpretation, this transcendence is surely not a theological or deistic one. However, Simmel marks the purely immanent, one could be tempted to say: reductionist explanation of the world as incomplete because it ignores the cognizing subject. Simmel holds that every science originally emerges from a vital impetus. Yet, this vital impetus does not become a science unless it excludes certain questions from its field. It is only by the exclusion of the cause (38) that an autonomous science is constituted. If the same science acts as a moral authority or as an authority in world-view relevant questions, it simply exceeds its ambit.

The importance of transcendence in Simmel's work derives from his determination of human existence and scientific progress. For Simmel, every success in knowledge results in the permanent transgression of given limits. Just as the invention of microscopes and telescopes has made new worlds accessible for scientists, every progress in science and knowledge results in a transgression of limits given to the popular world-view. The transgression of limits is thus a permanent dialectical process in which the determination that there is a limit for my positive freedom is itself an act of this very freedom. The consciousness knows itself as limited, it knows this limitation as the positive precondition of its own practical existence, and in this knowledge it proves to have outgrown this concrete limit: "Only he, who stands, in some meaning, with some function, beyond the limit, knows that he stands inside the limit, knows it as a limit." (39) This process of permanent transgression of limits is principally not to be finalized because it is only the concrete limit, not the fact of being limited itself that is overcome. This fact of limitation is the form-giving element of life, by which life outgrows its empty formality and becomes a concrete, individual life. Limitation is thus not only a barrier of practical actions. Rather, it potentiates the horizon in which human actions are only possible. But this permanent transgression of limits is only made possible by the realm of transcendence provided by metaphysical speculations. Simmel's philosophical theory of life and culture is thus a strong argument for the indispensability of metaphysics, and the renaissance of the life-philosophy, at least in Germany, seems to certify Simmel's point.

4. General Conclusion

Although the empirical life sciences have taken a tremendous evolution since their beginning in the early 1840's, the quest for a metaphysical view of man and culture has not ceased yet. As the inquiry of the historical evolution of the life sciences shows, their results have on the contrary been used as a basis for a more metaphysical point of view. Therefore, one the greatest challenge of philosophy is to define the conditions on which such a transfer of concepts is admissible.


Johannes Gutenberg University-Mainz


(1.) Complete title: "Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysic that can Present itself as a Science" (Prolegomena zu einer jeden kUnftigen Metaphysik, die als Wissenschaft wird auftreten konnen).

(2.) Kant, Prolegomena zu einer jeden kunftigen Metaphysik, 207 (Immanuel Kant: Werke in zwolf Banden. ed. Wilhelm Weischedel. Frankfurt am Main, 1977, Vol. 5, 245): "Dass der Geist des Menschen metaphysische Untersuchungen einmal ganzlich aufgeben werde, ist eben so wenig zu erwarten, als dass wir, um nicht immer unreine Luft zu schopfen, das Atemholen einmal lieber ganz und gar einstellen wurden. Es wird also in der Welt jederzeit, und, was noch mehr, bei jedem, vornehmlich dem nachdenkenden Menschen Metaphysik sein, die, in Ermangelung eines offentlichen Richtmasses, jeder sich nach seiner Art zuschneiden wird" (all quotations are given in own translation).

(3.) Schopenhauer, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung. Schopenhauer-ZA, Vol. 3, 191: "Unter Metaphysik verstehe ich jede angebliche Erkenntniss, welche uber die Moglichkeit der Erfahrung, also uber die Natur, oder die gegebene Erscheinung der Dinge, hinausgeht, um Aufschluss zu ertheilen Uber Das, wodurch jene, in einem oder dem andern Sinne, bedingt ware; oder, popular zu reden, Uber Das, was hinter der Natur steckt und sie moglich macht."

(4.) "In so ferne ist die Metaphysik eine Wissenschaft von den Grenzen der menschlichen Vernunft." Kant: Traume eines Geistersehers, erlautert durch Traume der Metaphysik. Kant Werke, Vol. 2, 983.

(5.) Kant speaks of the "ganz isolierten speculativen Vernunfterkenntnis, die sich ganzlich uber Erfahrungsbelehrung erhebt, und zwar durch blosse Begriffe" (Krit. d. r. Vern., Vorr. II, 16).

(6.) Matthias Schleiden: "Beitrage zur Phytogenesis" (1838).

(7.) Theodor Schwann: "Mikroskopische Untersuchungen uber die Ubereinstimmung in der Struktur und dem Wachstum der Thiere und Pflanzen."

(8.) Lenoir, Timothy (1982), The Strategy of Life. Teleology and Mechanics in Nineteenth-century German Biology (2. Aufl.), Chicago-London, 1989, 114.

(9.) Schwann, T. (1839), Mikroskopische Untersuchungen uber die Ubereinstimmung in der Struktur und dem Wachstume der Thiere und Pflanzen, Berlin, S. 229.

(10.) Lenoir (1982), 114.

(11.) Virchow, Rudolf (1845), "Uber das Bedurfnis und die Richtigkeit einer Medizin vom mechanischen Standpunkt," in Virchows Archiv fur pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und fur klinische Medizin 188 (1907), Heft 1, 8: "Leben ist seinem Wesen nach Zellentatigkeit."

(12.) See the work on the "philosophical discovery of the body" by Gratzel, Stephan (1989), Die philosophische Entdeckung des Leibes, Stuttgart.

(13.) Kacser, H.R. and Burns, J.A. (1979), "Molecular Democracy. Who Shares the Control?" Biochemical Society Transactions 7: 1149-1160.

(14.) Like "Kosmos," "Gaeae," "Himmel und Erde," "Der Naturfreund," "Neue Weltanschauung," etc.--cp. the synopsis in Daum, A.W. (1998), Wissenschafts-popularisierung im 19. Jahrhundert. Burgerliche Kultur, naturwissenschaftliche Bildung und die deutsche Offentlichkeit, 1848-1914. Munchen, 343.

(15.) Daum (1998), 385-390.

(16.) Wagner, R. (1854), "Menschenschopfung und Seelensubstanz. Ein offentlicher Vortrag, gehalten in der ersten offentl. Vers. deutscher Naturforscher und Arzte zu Gottingen am 18," September 1854, Gottingen.

(17.) Buchner, Ludwig (= Louis) (1855), Kraft und Stoff. Empirisch-naturphilosophische Studien in allgemein-verstandlicher Darstellung, Frankfurt a. M. [cit. aft. the reprint in: Wittich, D. (1971) (ed.), Vogt, Moleschott, Buchner. Schriften zum kleinburgerlichen Materialismus in Deutschland (2 Vols.), Berlin, Vol. 2, 343-516.

(18.) Moleschott, J. (1852), Der Kreislauf des Lebens. Physiologische Antworten auf Liebigs Chemische Briefe, Mainz [cit. aft. the reprint in: Wittich (1971), Vol. 1, 25-322].

(19.) Cp. the complete quotation: "Ein jeder Naturwissenschaftler wird wohl, denke ich, bei einigermassen folgerechtem denken auf die Ansicht kommen, dass alle jene Fahigkeiten, die wir unter dem Namen der Seelentatigkeit begreifen, nur Funktionen der Gehirnsubstanz sind; oder, um mich einigermassen grob hier auszudrucken, dass die Gedanken in demselben Verhaltnis etwa zu dem Gehirne stehen wie die Galle zu der Leber oder der Urin zu den Nieren. Eine Seele anzunehmen, die sich des Gehirnes wie eines Instrumentes bedient, mit dem sie arbeiten kann, ist reiner Unsinn." Vogt, K. (1847), "Physiologische Briefe fur Gebildete aller Stande," Stuttgart-Tubingen [cit. aft. the reprint Wittich (1971), 338, Anm. 305. repr. ibid., 17f.].

(20.) Buchner (1855), 437.

(21.) Buchner (1855), 511: "Alles, was uber die sinnliche Welt [... ] hinausliegt, ist Hypothese und auch nichts weiter als Hypothese."

(22.) Buchner (1855): 444.

(23.) Moleschott (1852): 285.

(24.) Vogt, Karl (=Carl) (1855), "Kohlerglaube und Wissenschaft. Eine Streitschrift gegen Hofrat Rudolph Wagner in Gottingen, Giessen" [cit. after the reprint in: Wittich (1971), Vol. 2, 551].

(25.) Hartmann, E. v. (1875), Wahrheit und Irrthum des Darwinismus. Eine kritische Darstellung der organischen Entwickelungslehre, Berlin, 1: "vielleicht hat nichts so sehr zum raschen Aufschwung des Darwinismus beigetragen, als der Eifer, mit welchem die Theologie aller Confessionen im Bunde mit der Professorenphilosophie denselben zu bekampfen sich beeilte."

(26.) Moore, J.R. (1979), The Post-Darwinian Controversies. A Study of the Protestant Struggle to Come to Terms with Darwin in Great Britain and America 1870-1900, Cambridge-New York: Cambridge University Press, 181. Moore points out that this conclusion is not made by Darwin but by his successor Wallace. Also, Dennett, D. (1995), Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life. New York: Simon and Schuster.

(27.) Hegel, G.W.F., Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts, Theorie Werkausgabe, Vol. 7, 24: "Was vernunftig ist, das ist wirklich; und was wirklich ist, das ist vernunftig."

(28.) Original german title: "Der Monismus als Band zwischen Religion und Wissenschaft."

(29.) Haeckel speaks of the "umfassende Anschauung des Weltganzen, welche wir vom hochsten erklommenen Standpunkt der monistischen Naturerkenntnis gewonnen haben" (Haeckel: "Die Weltratsel," in Gemeinverstandliche Werke, Schmidt-Jena, H. (ed.), Leipzig-Berlin, Vol. 3, 18).

(30.) "Die rein monistische Weltanschauung ist auch allein im Stande, das metaphysische Fundament zu einer dem Einspruch jeder souveranen individuellen Willkur enthobenen Ethik zu legen (vgl. Schopenhauer)." Hartmann, E., Philosophie des Unbewussten. Zehnte erweiterte Auflage in drei Theilen, Leipzig, o. J., Vol. 2, 196.

(31.) A comprehensive historical picture of German Life-philosophy in the 19th and beginning 20th century is the subject of my habilitation project at the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz: "How Philosophy Came to Life. The Concept of Life in the Philosophical Discourse of the 19th century" (forthcoming).

(32.) In his historical review of the Life-philosophy, Robert Kozljanic instances the work of Stephan Graetzel, Ferdinand Fellmann, Gernot Boehme, and others: Kozljanic, R. (2004), Lebensphilosophie. Eine Einfuhrung, Stuttgart, 246-247.

(33.) Nietzsche, Fr., "Nachgelassene Fragmente," in Kritische Studienausgabe (= KSA), Colli, G. and Montinari, M. (eds.), Berlin-New York, 1908, Vol. 8, 259: Philosophie fur Fleischerburschen.

(34.) Nietzsche, KSA, Vol. 6, 120: "Gesetzt aber, es gibt diesen Kampf--und in der Tat, er kommt vor--, so lauft er leider umgekehrt aus, als die Schule Darwins wunscht, als man vielleicht mit ihr wunschen durfte: namlich zu Ungunsten der Starken, der Bevorrechtigten, der glucklichen Ausnahmen. Die Gattungen wachsen nicht in der Vollkommenheit: die Schwachen werden immer wieder uber die Starken Herr--das macht, sie sind die grosse Zahl, sie sind auch kluger ... Darwin hat den Geist vergessen (--das ist englisch!), die Schwachen haben mehr Geist...."

(35.) In this point, Nietzsche's theory of body and mind strongly relates to Schopenhauer's doctrine of the body as developed in his book The World as Will and Imagination ("Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung").

(36.) Dilthey, "Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften," in Dilthey, Gesammelte Werke, Vol. 1, 132: "Wohl sind auch die monistischen Systeme der Naturphilosophie Metaphysik. Aber der Schwerpunkt der grossen geschichtlichen Masse von Metaphysik liegt den gewaltigen Spekulationen naher, welche nicht nur die Erfahrung uberschreiten, sondern ein von allem Sinnfalligen unterschiedenes Reich von geistigen Wesenheiten annehmen. Diese Spekulationen blicken also in ein hinter der Sinnenwelt Verborgenes, Wesenhaftes: eine zweite Welt."

(37.) First chapter of G. Simmel (1918), Lebensanschauung. Vier metaphysische Kapitel, 2nd ed., Munchen and Leipzig, 1922.

(38.) Solies, D. (1998), Natur in der Distanz. zur Bedeutung von Georg Simmels Kulturphilosophie fur die Landschaftsasthetik, St. Augustin, 84-90.

(39.) Simmel (1918: 3): "Denn nur, wer in irgendeinem Sinn, mit irgendeiner Funktion ausserhalb der Grenze steht, weiss, dass er innerhalb ihrer steht, weiss sie Uberhaupt als Grenze."
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Publication:Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations
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Date:Jan 1, 2011
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