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Between Reinhold and Fichte

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Ezequiel L. Posesorski

1. Reinhold

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1.1 Reinhold’s Influence

  • 1 Hülsen matriculated at the Christian-Albrecht University on May 22, 1794 under a false name: Franc (...)
  • 2 See: Christian Hülsen 1934, 96

1Records of Hülsen’s early university years are scarce. In 1794, Hülsen left the University of Halle and matriculated at the University of Kiel. Hülsen probably moved to Kiel because of Reinhold.1 Apart from Hülsen’s statements about Reinhold’s influence in Preisschrift, an additional explanation for his seeking of Reinhold can be found in Johann Georg Rist’s Lebenserinnerungen. Rist, one of Hülsen’s friends, reported in his memoirs that long before his arrival to Kiel Hülsen concerned himself both with Kant’s Kritik der reinen Vernunft and with the history of philosophy.2 It is probable that Hülsen moved to Kiel to learn more about Reinhold’s approach, in which the critical forerunning model of his own connection of system and history of philosophy can be found. Other specific aspects of Reinhold’s thought such as the concepts of “philosophical disputes” and “self-determined consensus”, the importance of formulating correct critical questions, the key pedagogic activity of the self-thinker, and its popularizing task in the moral improvement of the human species remained strong commitments of Hülsen even after his conversion to Fichte’s standpoint.

1. 2 The Crisis of Critical Philosophy

  • 3 In the Briefe, Reinhold accomplished two major tasks: (1) the popularization and the assertion of (...)
  • 4 See: Franks 2005, 215. The charge of unintelligibility was of course a serious objection to the en (...)

2By the time Hülsen began to philosophize, Karl Leonhard Reinhold (Vienna, 1758-1823) was already one of the most prominent critical philosophers in Germany. The enormous successes of Reinhold’s Briefe über die kantische Philosophie from 1786-1787, made him one of Germany’s leading Kantians,3 which prompted the academic authorities at the University of Jena to offer him the chair of critical philosophy. In the fall of 1787, Reinhold delivered his first academic lectures on Kantian philosophy. The attendance was massive. However, after a short time, Reinhold noticed that only a few of his students had read Kant. Most of those misunderstood the Kritik. Some others, Aufklärung advocates, attacked Kant and accused him of unintelligibility.4 A conflict of schools broke out among Reinhold’s pupils.

  • 5 See: Reinhold 1978, xiii-iv
  • 6 See: Franks 2005, 215

3Reinhold, himself an Aufklärer, for whom universal principles and comprehensibility were essential, realized that the philosophical assumptions of die Aufklärung, German Enlightenment, were seriously discredited. Morality, religion, political and civil right, etc, were endangered. Reinhold insisted that a true universal philosophy, a grounding discipline of all disciplines was necessary to base these on a rigorous, secure and legitimate foundation.5 According to Reinhold, the obscurity and the idiosyncratic terminology of Kant’s Kritik prevented this. For a devote Aufklärer like Reinhold this implied that Kant’s philosophy unamended cannot provide a sound basis for social consensus.6

  • 7 See: Reinhold 1978, VI-VII

4Reinhold tried to reassert the enlightened “spirit” of Kant’s philosophy by complementing it with a universally accepted (allgemeingeltende) ground of deduction. Reinhold hoped to transform critical philosophy into an undisputed discipline capable of establishing a philosophical and social consensus (Einverständnis)7, subsequently a key feature of Hülsen’s thought.

  • 8 See: Horstmann 1991, 47-8
  • 9 The first phase of the Elmentarphilosophie (the one that concerns us here) comprehends three major (...)

5Reinhold was the first post-Kantian thinker to refer to the possibility of reformulating Kant’s philosophical standpoint while keeping its “spirit” intact. Critical philosophy requires, as later in Fichte’s, Schelling’s, and Hülsen’s thought, a stepping back from the “printed letter” of the Kritik by normatively while systematically establishing a ground of deduction.8 Reinhold tried to accomplish this enterprise in his Elementarphilosophie.9

  • 10 As Frederik Beiser (1987, 227) comments, “without consciousness of the prin­ciples and procedures (...)
  • 11 See: Reinhold 1963, 43

6According to Reinhold, objections against an “improved” critical philosophy come from four different philosophical positions: skepticism, dogmatism, empiricism, and rationalism. Reinhold claimed that all of these parties, or “sects”, share a common object of inquiry: philosophical truth, though unaware they make half-true/half-false systematic assertions regarding the universal character of this truth.10 Consequently, each party gains only a partial or unilateral insight into their common object of inquiry.11

  • 12 Reinhold 1963, 125

Den Grundsätzen aller andern Partheyen, der seinigen ausgenommen, Allgemeingültigkeit absprechen, und seine Parthey für das einzig ächtphilosophische Publikum ansehen, setz wahrlich eben keinen Scharfsinn voraus. Wer sich von der unumstösslichen Wahrheit seiner Behauptung überzeugt hält, der braucht nur zu wissen, dass die Behauptung eines andern das Gegentheil der Seinigen ist, um dieselbe für falsch, und durch die Gründe seiner eigenen Behauptung für wiederlegt zuhalten.12

  • 13 See: Reinhold 1963, 43-44, 142-43, and Reinhold 2003, i 46-47

7A philosophical dispute (Streit) or misunderstanding (Missverständnis) arises consequently among the opponent parties. None of the parties can fully justify its basic claims; their partial or relative assertions provoke inevitably counter-assertions. Unilateralism, as Hülsen will later hold, prevents any possible reconciliation. According to Reinhold, what is lacking is an exclusive and universally accepted transcendental ground of deduction. Only this will guarantee a full systematic determination or true derivative exhaustion of each partially true assertion. It also will secure a rigorous removal of all undetermined inconsistencies, and so shed light on the ground of disputes. The establishment of such a ground, Reinhold concludes, will end all partisan affiliation by producing a universal philosophical consensus.13 Hülsen, as we will see, will learn this strategy and adapt it to his Fichtean standpoint.

  • 14 See: Reinhold 2003, i 164-65
  • 15 See: Reinhold 2003, i 256. See also Reinhold 1978: 12-3, and Reinhold 1963, 129. In Ueber das Fund (...)
  • 16 See: Reinhold 2003, i 247, and Reinhold 1978, 13
  • 17 See: Reinhold 1963, 8-9
  • 18 Note the following passage from Ueber das Fundament:Leibniz, Locke, Hume und Kant, die vier grös (...)
  • 19 See: Reinhold 1963, 140
  • 20 Reinhold 2003, 247
  • 21 The fact that all disputing parties determine their concepts in an imprecise or arbitrary way is a (...)

8Reinhold claims that the assertion of this ground presupposes a study of the metaphysical nature of reason. For some of the litigant factions reason’s possession of such a capacity is an open question.14 For Reinhold however this is the main question (Hauptfrage, or grosse Frage) that philosophy has to answer.15 A rigorous critically oriented answer has to provide the required ground. Reinhold confers a cardinal importance to the correct formulation of philosophical questions, and especially to the one mentioned above. The crucial reassertion of critical philosophy depends on it.16 From Reinhold Hülsen learned the importance of determining reason’s ability to ask and reply by making a preliminary inquiry into the essence of questions and answers. Reinhold argues that one of the main reasons philosophers engage in disputes is because they do not agree on the philosophical questions that they have to ask. Lacking is a general awareness of the true sense of the point of questioning (Sinn der Fragpunkte),17 namely of the decisive role that questions play in the orientation of philosophical thought.18 All litigant factions formulate questions according to their own specific standards and arbitrary interests. Reinhold calls such non- critical questions, “disputing-questions” (Streitfrage).19 Through them, the philosophical disputes persist, as they move philosophers away from the main question (Hauptfrage). Reinhold consequently warns the opponents of critical philosophy: “Das Resultat aller eurer bisherigen Streitigkeiten war immer nur eine neue Streitfrage.”20 Hülsen’s later Fichtean characterization of all systems of philosophy as ascending self-posited answers that reason gives to the question about the possibility of metaphysics is an attempt to solve this problem systematically.21

1.3 The Elementarphilosophie: “Scientific” Systematicity

  • 22 See: Reinhold 1963, 62-8, 48-50

9Reinhold believed that the reformulation of critical philosophy required a complete conceptual deduction of the meaning and the scope of the elements of consciousness that Kant took for granted in his Kritik der reinen Vernunft. Reinhold’s main point is that Kant’s vague concept of representation (Vorstellung), the fundamental element in human knowledge, is the reason for most disputes regarding the Kritik. In addition, Kant employs the concept of Vorstellung in an entirely new fashion pertaining to objects of cognition. Reinhold consequently demanded a renewed discussion of the transcendental act of representation.22

10Reinhold’s own epistemology influenced Hülsen’s Preisschrift only indirectly; Hülsen was a strong supporter of Fichte’s “improved” Elementarphilosophie. Reinhold’s epistemology will however help us understand some aspects of his systematic approach to the history of philosophy (section i.5), Hülsen’s major topic of interest in the Elementarphilosophie. It also will help us understand Hülsen’s initial interest in Reinhold as well as his subsequent shift to Fichte’s standpoint (section i.6).

  • 23 Reinhold 2003, 1 233: “Ich erkläre daher doch einmal, daß ich unter Elementarphilosphie das einzig (...)
  • 24 See: Reinhold 1978, 62-3
  • 25 See: Fischer 2000, 24

11Reinhold believed that the Kritik provides an insufficient ground of deduction for the transcendental elements involved in the theory of knowledge (Erkenntnisslehre). Also according to Reinhold, reason’s practical part is ungrounded in the Kritik. Reinhold consequently called for a fundamental deductive grounding of both the theoretical and the practical faculties of reason (Vernunftvermögen).23 According to Reinhold, Kant’s basis of metaphysical knowledge is only propaedeutic. Only the establishment of a universal and integrative ground of deduction will transform Kant’s propaedeutic into an indisputable theory of the faculty of knowledge (Erkenntnissvermögen).24 The question that Reinhold tries to answer in his grounding inquiry, as Kuno Fischer indicates, can be formulated as follows: How is the Kritik as a metaphysical system possible?25

  • 26 See: Reinhold 1978, 5-6

12The Kritik’s lack of a universal grounding principle leads Reinhold to make a major methodological shift, the implications of which will be crucial for the subsequent achievements of German idealistic philosophy including Preisschrift. According to Reinhold, many philosophers, including Kant, derive their fundamental concepts in an inverted way.26 Kant’s concept of derivation, as Manfred Frank points out, means

  • 27 Frank 1998, 157

[...] etwas wie >Rechtfertigung< von Geltungsansprüchen, aber nicht auf dem Wege einer syllogistischen Deduktion aus Definitionen und Prinzipien. [...] Was es im klassischen kantischen Falle zu rechtfertigen gilt, ist [...] die universelle Geltung der Kategorien für alle Anschauungen.27

  • 28 According to Joh. Ch. Hoffbauer, “Die sätze, auf welche der analytische Beweis in seinem Fortgange (...)
  • 29 See: Frank 1998, 161
  • 30 One of Reinhold’s main objections to Kant was that his analytic deduction of the categories assure (...)

13Reinhold objected that even Kant inducted his grounds by moving from given consequences. Critical philosophy required a deductive movement from a first universal ground to its consequences; a move that Hülsen endorsed strongly even after Schulze-Aenesidemus’s objections to the Elementarphilosophie, and which explains his subsequent commitment to Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre. According to Wolffian terminology, Reinhold demanded a methodological shift from the analytic to the synthetic form of derivation.28 It can be argued that Reinhold’s intention was to return to the logical paradigm of the Cartesian-Wolffian school.29 The synthetic shift enables a linear syllogistic-deductive demonstration that the Kritik lacks.30 In the Cartesian-Wolffian tradition, a deduction designs

  • 31 Frank 1998, 161. Martin Bondeli’s studies show that apart from the linear syllogistic method, Rein (...)

[...] eine wohlgeformte Kette von Syllogismen, deren Prämisse eine universell geltende und a priori einsichtige Inferenzregel ist (,Wenn etwas ein x ist, dann ist es ein y‘) — und zwar möglichst so, daß sie die Conclusio unmittelbar aus sich hervorbringt, ohne Vermittlung eines (auf zusätzlicher Information beruhenden) Untersatzes, der womöglich empirisch wäre.31

  • 32 See: Reinhold 2003, i 82-4

14According to Reinhold, the synthetic reformulation of philosophy demanded (1) an original and universally accepted propositional principle (allgemeingeltenden erster Grundsatz); through it, philosophy can be (2) transformed into a complete and consistent discipline. (3) All its branches can be fully derived from this Grundsatz in a rigorous syllogistic way. (4) Thus, philosophy can first attain a formal and undisputed systematic unity. Those are, according to Reinhold, the basic conditions that philosophy has to supply to become critically grounded or “scientific”,32 the same basic criteria that Fichte will reformulate, and which Hülsen will embrace.

  • 33 See: Reinhold 2003, i 82-4

15According to Reinhold, a Grundsatz is an indispensable requisite to any discipline, which like philosophy is supposed to assure universal and necessary knowledge. The only possible way to attain this sort of knowledge is through thinking or judging. Hence, what philosophy demands at its ground is a propositional expression. A Grundsatz is for Reinhold an original, universal and certain proposition capable of formally determining or a priori deriving other subordinated propositions. The Grundsatz cannot be dependent, or determined by any other higher proposition. It has to supply the first unquestioned link in the chain of deductions. Hence, it cannot attain its certainty from any other principle but only from itself. It has to be self-certain. The original and exclusive character of The Grundsatz should prevent philosophy from being established on ungrounded propositions. The Grundsatz endows philosophy with a necessary formally monistic and autonomous character. Subordinated propositions ought not be originally contained in it. Its content also is not dependent on subordinated propositions. Only The Grundsatz determines all ensuing necessary logical (syllogistic) interconnections. Through The Grundsatz, all propositions obtain a certain, necessary and unifying form. In addition, this procedure avoids all arbitrary (and disputed) propositional inter-relations.33 Reinhold concludes:

  • 34 Reinhold 2003, i 84

Indem er [i.e., The Grundsatz] durch die ihm zunächst untergeordneten Grundsätze, deren Notwendigkeit einzig in ihm gegründet ist, der mittelbare Grund der Notwendigkeit aller übrigen ist; so verdankt ihm das ganze Gebäude der Wissenschaft, das nur durch ihn systematisch wird, seine ganze Festigkeit, die nur durch den durchgängigen Zusammenhang aller Sätze, und durch Zurückführung aller auf Einen möglich ist.34

  • 35 According to Reinhold (1963, 71) the following is the case: “Das allgemeingeltende Princip in der (...)

16Such A Grundsatz must propositionally express an undisputed and self-certain principle. Originality must exempt this principle from any prior logical derivation. The Grundsatz must not only supply the pro- positional expression of a universally valid (allgemeingültiges) or true principle; it should express a clearly transparent and therefore universally accepted (allgemeingeltendes) principle.35 A key condition to attain universal acceptance is that the principle in question is immediately self-grounded. Paul Franks summarizes Reinhold’s self-grounding criteria:

  • 36 Franks 2005, 229. Frederik Beiser (1987, 245) comments that “Reinhold draws an important conclusio (...)

First, the first principle must be “self-explanatory”: it (or rather its subject matter) must provide itself with its own ontic ground, the reason why it is the way it is. Second, the first principle must be self-evident: it must provide itself with its own epistemic ground or reason for being believed, without relying inferentially on the evidence of some other truth. Third, the first principle must be “self-determining”: it must provide its own semantic ground or introduce its own terms clearly and unequivocally, without relying on prior definitions.36

  • 37 As Franks (1997, 318) explains, the word “‘Tatsache’ was not an ordinary German world in the late (...)

17Reinhold insists that only an unquestionable “fact of consciousness” (Tatsache des Bewustseyns) can fulfil these criteria and provide universally accepted validity.37 Reinhold argues that even the most extremist sceptic opponent cannot deny the factual existence of consciousness:

  • 38 Reinhold 1963, 66

Der Grund, auf welchen die neue Theorie angeführt werden konnte und mußte, besteht allein aus dem bey allen Menschen nach einerley Grundgesetzen wirkenden Bewustseyn, und dem, was unmittelbar aus demselben erfolgt und von allen Denkenden wirklich eingeräumt wird.38

18Facticity is for Reinhold the feature that “immunizes” consciousness from being inferential, both inductively and deductively; it assures its immediateness, the condition required to determine the ontic, epistemic, and semantic self-evident character demanded by a first principle of philosophy. It however should be noted that the facticity that Reinhold has in mind is not an empirical, but a transcendental facticity.

19For Reinhold, consciousness or knowledge is the result of a complex process. It synthesizes the two foundational branches that the Kritik left ungrounded: intuition and thought. The fact of consciousness supplies these branches with a universal synthetic ground. Reinhold argues that The Grundsatz has to express that which furnishes consciousness with its spontaneous possibility; that which Kant integrally presupposed but did not explain. This requires an elemental analysis of the faculty of representation (Vorstellungsvermögen); for what can be really cognisable, presupposes the active possibility of being represented.

  • 39 See: Reinhold 1963, 190, 200
  • 40 Reinhold 2003, i 99. Reinhold’s focus on representation as the ground of philosophical consensus i (...)

20According to Reinhold, the original act of representation is comprised of a spontaneous-representing (Vorstellendes) and a receptive- represented (Vorgestelltes) component. These two are distinguished in consciousness from the form of representation (Vorstellung) that contains and relates them. Reinhold argues that reflection on the fact of consciousness immediately confirms the original and necessary character of representation. Analysis of this act opens the road to the propositional version of the reconciling allgemeingeltende Princip39. Reinhold puts the fact of consciousness in the following propositional form: “Die Vorstellung wird im Bewustseyn vom Vorgestellten und Vorstellenden unterscheiden und auf beyde bezogen.40

21Reinhold names it the “proposition of consciousness” (Satz des Bewusstseins). It constitutes The Grundsatz of all philosophy. The proposition of consciousness provides the Kritik with the synthetic foundation that it lacks. It is the resulting propositional expression of the original pre-cognitive act of representation, which enables the subsequent systematic syllogistic grounding of the theory of consciousness (Erkenntnisslehre), the remaining part of the system of knowledge. As philosophy’s original principle, the proposition of consciousness determines the entire spectrum of epistemic states. All concrete cognitive states relate to it as particular derivative modifications. According to Reinhold:

  • 41 Reinhold 2003, i 99

Dieser Satz gilt allgemein, sobald er verstanden wird, und er wird verstanden, sobald er mit Reflexion gedacht wird; indem durch denselben nichts behauptet wird, als die Handlung die im Bewustseyn vorgeht, und die jeder durch Reflexion über dasselbe unmittelbar als wirklich anerkennt. Jeder weiß, daß er das Objekt seiner Vorstellung von der Vorstellung selbst, und vom Subjekte unterscheidet, und dieselbe Vorstellung sich, d.h. dem Subjekte sowohl, in wie ferne er sich dasselbe als das Vorstellende denkt, beimesse, daß heißt, daß er die Vorstellung auf Subjekt und Objekt beziehe.41

  • 42 Reinhold was here inconsistent. Personal reflection transforms The Grundsatz into a derived produc (...)
  • 43 Nikolai Hartmann (1960, 10) clarifies: “Das vorstellende Bewußtsein aber weiß unmittelbar sowohl u (...)
  • 44 A distinctive feature of The Grundsatz, Mensen comments, is that it does not express a mere formal (...)

22Reinhold holds that the fact expressed in the proposition of consciousness is not an empiric fact. It is neither a product of inner or of outer experience. Its disclosure depends on personal reflection.42 This proposition emerges immediately as the ontic or material expression of a precognitive transcendental fact.43 In this context, Bernhard Mensen pointed out, Reinhold made an important contribution: he insisted on the material character of The Grundsatz.44

  • 45 See: Reinhold 1963, 195-220
  • 46 As Frederik Beiser (1987, 251) comments, “A theory of representation goes seriously astray, Reinho (...)

23The proposition of consciousness gives philosophy an unquestionable ground of assertion. It expresses the original pre-cognitive act that furnishes consciousness with its possibility. It consequently functions as consciousness’ most extensive transcendental genus (Gattung). All particular forms of representation relate to it as its specific subsumed species (Arten). The specific differences that define each one of these species are not originally contained in the genus. The genus is responsible for their logical systematic integration. Among these particular forms of representation, there are sensations, perceptions, thoughts, concepts, ideas, etc. As specific or narrower transcendental conditions of the empiric process of cognition, they express different derived kinds of possible interconnections between the subject and the object.45 Both subject and object are neither transcendent to the process of representation, nor originally contained in it. Their possibilities emerge through deduction as two necessary moments in the theory of representation.46

  • 47 Reinhold 2003, i 119: “Das Vorstellungsvermögen ist dasjenige, wodurch die bloße Vorstellung, das (...)

24Reinhold’s next derives the theory of knowledge (Erkenntnisslehre) from the original act of representation. He shows how the transcendental elements that the Kritik left undetermined relate to the precognitive act expressed in the proposition of consciousness. For Reinhold the grounding of this part impels a derivation of the transcendental mechanism of representation embodied in the faculty of representation.47 Subsequently, Reinhold derives the faculty of knowledge (Erkenntnißvermögen), the instance that exhausts the system of philosophy. In this way, Kant’s propaedeutic gains its final synthetic ground. I however will not discuss Reinhold’s epistemology in detail, as it is not necessary precondition for the understanding of Hülsen’s system.

1.4 The Elementarphilosophie: a “Popular” and Pedagogic Discipline

25The Preisschrift should be interpreted as a philosophy of education. Hülsen’s major purpose is to promote and enable a moral improvement of the human species. What is presupposed in Hülsen’s pedagogic position is that both a universally recognized philosophy and the ensuing consensual withdrawal from the sphere of partisan disputes are results of a personal, independent, and directly accessible self-conscious portraying insight into the autonomous nature of the human spirit. Reinhold’s Elementarphilosophie, as we shall see in this section, is where Hülsen seems to have learned some of his practical stances.

  • 48 See: Reinhold 2003 I, 99, 102-3
  • 49 See: Ameriks 2000, 96
  • 50 See: Ameriks 2000, 86. Reinhold’s project should not be mistaken for the anti- systematic projects (...)

26According to Reinhold, the Satz des Bewusstseyns emerges immediately as a necessary propositional expression through a personal act of self-reflection on the fact of consciousness. This intimate act confers the proposition of consciousness direct accessibility and real evidence, and hence universal acceptance.48 Karl Ameriks suggests that originally Reinhold developed his concept of certainty independently of any rigorous epistemological inquiry. What Reinhold demanded, this commentator holds, is an express universally accepted certainty available not only to philosophers, but to the great mass.49 Ameriks claims that this personalised strategy enables Reinhold to make philosophical knowledge concrete, and bring it into direct independent relation (at least in principle) with what people already implicitly believe (common sense). In this specific sense, Ameriks concludes, Reinhold’s system attempts to achieve “popularity”.50 Hülsen will follow a similar independent “popularizing” strategy. Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre will help him rearticulate and stress Reinhold’s combination of personal insight and universally recognized systematicity by deducing first the particularized or self-reflecting nature of reason, and by identifying next the spiritual vocations of “man” and the “philosopher”.

  • 51 See: Ameriks 2005, xiv
  • 52 In that respect, Ameriks (2005, xiv) comments that from “the time of his earliest writings, the mo (...)

27Reinhold’s position endorses his strong commitment to the Aufklärung. The essential goal of its reforms was to give common people the possibility of determining themselves independently through rationality, and thus achieve universal autonomy by freeing themselves from the heteronomic power of natural forces and traditional authorities.51 Reinhold promotes this practical “spirit” of the Enlightenment through the immediately certain, universally recognized, and “popular” character that his fundamental “scientific” claim attains through direct personal self-reflection;52 a strategy that Hülsen will attempt to follow. The purpose of Reinhold’s grounding project was, as Ameriks holds, to replace

  • 53 Ameriks 2000, 87

[...] methodological, ethical, religious, and political authoritarianism by a philosophy that can bring about and secure enlightened and universal self-determination.53

  • 54 See: Reinhold 1978, v-vi. See also: Bondeli 1995, 105
  • 55 As to the accounts of those non-entirely determined self-thinkers, Reinhold (2003, 1 46-7) explain (...)
  • 56 As Ameriks (2003, 87) adds, “the general reproach of the era, that Kant was insufficiently “scient (...)
  • 57 See: Reinhold 1963, 126, 128-9
  • 58 See: Reinhold 1978, xv-xvii. See also: Reinhold 2003, i xiii

28Here, the source of another major conviction of Hülsen is revealed. Reinhold ascribes to the self-thinker (Selbstdenker), an Enlightenment ideal who exclusively appealed to reason to determine his own independent stances, a key guiding role in the enabling and promotion of moral improvement. Self-thinkers were according to Reinhold only a minor sector of the community of scholars. However, only these truly determined self-thinkers, a position gained through progressive philosophical analysis, can be promoters of a personally enlightened “scientific” culture.54 For they alone can gain full systematic insight into the a priori, spontaneous, and universally autonomous nature of the human spirit.55 This direct causal coincidence between the personal theoretical account of the self-thinker and the true a priori system of knowledge enables that the former self-determine his practical stances universally and independently, or in Reinhold’s language, that he be in self-agreement with his true spiritual nature.56 Self-agreement alone is the key to leave behind all non-universal affiliations.57 Only it assures a definitive withdrawal from the sphere of partisan disputes.58 Self-determination emerges for Reinhold as the condition sine qua non for universal enlightened consensus; undoubtedly, a conviction that Hülsen will rework through Fichte’s idealism.

  • 59 See: Reinhold 2003, I 96-7

29Reinhold’s Elementarphilosophie provides a faithful account of the a priori system of knowledge. Reinhold hence holds that a sound self-determined consensus will only take place after all self-thinkers independently agree on the universality of The Grundsatz.59 As self-determined advocates of true Enlightenment, Reinhold infers, they are implicitly committed to his critically grounded approach. Hülsen will replace this with his historically augmented Wissenschaftslehre. — In Reinhold’s words:

  • 60 Reinhold 2003, i 81. As Ameriks (2000, 123) comments, “Reinhold does not think that the mere exist (...)

Das Problem der reinen Philosophie oder Wissenschaft des Absolutnotwendigen und Unveränderlichen würde seiner vornehmsten Bedingung nach aufgelöset sein, wenn es ein letztes Merkmal des Absolutnotwendigen und Unveränderlichen gäbe, worüber sich alle Selbstdenker vereinigen könnten und müßten.60

30Reinhold ascribes a key instructive role to the self-determined selfthinker. His Elementarphilosophie is a sort of philosophical education, the enlightened purpose of which is to end up all possible partisan disputes and promote personal-universal self-determined consensus; a key pedagogic stance that Hülsen will improve and emulate. Reinhold summarizes this position later in 1794 in his K. L. Reinhold an seine in Jena zurückgelassenen Zuhörer. According to Reinhold, it should be kept in mind that

  • 61 Reinhold 1794, 320

[...] sich nur von dieser Philosophie ohne Beynamen [i.e., the Elementarphilosophie] unter den redlich gesinnten Selbstdenkern diejenige Eintracht erwarten lasse, ohne welche dieselben, einander immer entgegenarbeitende, die Ihnen zukommende Lenkung der öffentlichen Überzeugung (opinion publique) sich selber vereiteln müssen — und durch welche ein Volk allein zu derjenigen bestimmten festen Überzeugung gelangen kann, die den Charakter der mit sich selbst einstimmigen gemeinschaftlichen Vernunft und des allgemeinen Willens hat.61

  • 62 In a letter from April 22, 1799, Fichte praised Reinhold for his practical enlightened intentions. (...)

31Reinhold’s promotion of universal consensus through direct and independent enlightened self-determination, as Fichte will argue, served a major end: the moral improvement of man through philosophy.62 Hülsen will keep this commitment of the self-thinker throughout his short philosophical career.

1.5 The Elementarphilosophie and its Systematic Connection with the History of Philosophy

32A distinctive feature of Preisschrift is the systematization of the history of philosophy. The systematic reconstruction of reason’s history and its “concluding chapter” in particular, is Hülsen’s way to justify the necessary emergence and the consensual overcoming of the morally adverse epoch of partisan disputes. As we shall see in this section, Reinhold’s almost entirely forgotten approach to the history of philosophy is one of Hülsen’s major sources.

  • 63 The essay appeared in print on May 1791 in the first issue of Georg Gustav Fülleborn’s journal Bey (...)
  • 64 This reconstructive task is only partially accomplished in Karl Ameriks’ Reinhold on Systematicity (...)

33Both German and Anglo-Saxon studies of Reinhold have not paid sufficient attention to the systematic connection of the Elementarphilosophie with the history of philosophy. Reinhold understands his own system as the last historical step of a purposive philosophizing activity of reason that ends the history of philosophy and enables the accomplishment of the true Copernican revolution. Reinhold discusses different aspects of this self-understanding in the writings of 1789-1791. The Versuch and Beiträge vol. 1 contain passing statements. The opening pages of Ueber das Fundament discuss a key aspect of it by introducing the theory of representation as the resulting product of a systematic history of philosophizing reason (philosophierende Vernunft). Reinhold explicitly develops this approach in a neglected and not republished essay from 1791: Ueber den Begrif der Geschichte der Philosophie. Eine akademische Vorlesung.63 The complete picture of Reinhold’s approach to the history of philosophy emerges only after the respective arguments of the Versuch, Beiträge vol.1, Ueber das Fundament, and Ueber den Begrif are methodically integrated.64 The Elementarphilosophie so understood is the conclusive step of a rational process that ends the evolutionary course of philosophizing reason and enables the final historical articulation of the system of all knowledge. In addition, Ueber den Begrif fulfils another function; it reveals the role that the theory of representation plays in the construction of the rational history of philosophy.

  • 65 See: Franks 2005, 215. For Reinhold’s own account of the impact that the history of philosophy had (...)

34Let us precede the discussion of the relevance for Hülsen of this almost forgotten aspect of Reinhold’s system with a number of preiminary remarks. One can prima facie argue that Reinhold only attaches a minor importance to his approach to the history of philosophy. In his writings concerning the Elementarphilosophie, Reinhold devotes most of his efforts to the articulation of his critical system. Reinhold’s claim that both the settlement of the philosophical disputes concerning Kant’s Kritik and the grounding of morality, religion, political and civil right, etc., demand a synthetically grounded system of philosophy, may explain his concern on the task of articulation. His less developed preceding philosophical account of the rational historical process that preceded and contributed to the emergence of the Elementarphilosophie ought however not to be considered marginal. Reinhold justifies and complements the discussion of his system by commenting on the historical need of reforming critical philosophy. Reinhold in fact introduces his Versuchschrift by discussing the efforts made by pre- Kantian philosophers to determine the uncritical foundational premises (Grundsätze) of their respective systems. In Beiträge vol. 1 and in the Fundamentschrift in particular, the systems of Leibniz and Locke appear as constant points of reference. Paul Franks already pointed out the impact that the systematic efforts of these two thinkers had on Reinhold’s mediating-reconciling position.65

  • 66 See Kant, KrV a ix-xxii: ww ii, 12- 19

35There are additional reasons to think that Reinhold’s presentation of his own philosophical theory as a product of a systematic history of philosophizing reason is not marginal. In the preface to the first edition of the Kritik, Kant already had introduced his own inquiry by implying the impact that the history of philosophy had on his philosophical position. Kant sketches a sort of rudimentary historical model in which his critical system emerges as an intermediate stance between dogmatism and skepticism.66 Equally suggestive are the opening words of the last section of the Kritik, “Die Geschichte der reinen Vernunft”, in which Kant implies in passing the rational connection of his system with the preceding efforts made throughout the history of philosophy. Kant writes:

  • 67 Kant, KrV a 852 = b 880: ww ii, 709

Dieser Titel steht nur hier, um eine Stelle zu bezeichnen, die im System übrig bleibt, und künftig ausgefüllet werden muß. Ich begnüge mich, aus einem bloß transzendentalen Gesichtspunkte, nämlich der Natur der reinen Vernunft, einen flüchtigen Blick auf das ganze der bisherigen Bearbeitung derselben zu werfen, welches freilich meinem Auge zwar Gebäude, aber nur in Ruinen vorstellt.67

  • 68 Manfred Frank also noted this rational-historical introductory character. For his short discussion (...)

36Kant’s statement that this part of his system is incomplete may have persuaded Reinhold to justify the history of philosophy as a project necessary to complete the normative grounding of the Kritik. Reinhold’s approach to the history of philosophy provides, I hold, a supplementary perspective on the rational historical background process that enabled, conditioned, and justified the innovative articulation of the Elementarphilosophie. One therefore can think of it as a pertinent systematic introduction to his approach.68

  • 69 See: Reinhold 1791, 12

37Hülsen learns from Reinhold that philosophy’s historicity is the product of a rational activity. Reinhold contends that the given data of this history (philosophical systems) are derived outcomes of a productive activity of the understanding. Rational correlation is according to him an exclusive feature of the history of philosophy, an idea that Hülsen expands to all historical phenomena. History, in turn, is restricted to sensual determination. The correlation of events is established in it through the contingent unity of time.69

  • 70 See: Reinhold 1791, 12-6. Consider in addition the following passage from Beiträge vol. 1: “Nur du (...)

38At first glance, Reinhold’s concept of rational historicity seems to be problematic. In Ueber den Begrif, Reinhold claims that his philosophical theory of representation provides a universal explanation of the necessary a priori set of acts whereby the eternal nature of the human spirit apprehends its cognitive objects. Reinhold consequently argues that the object of all philosophical cognition is the rational being’s unchangeable and historically independent spiritual nature70, a position that Hülsen modifies by deducing a constitutive evolving nature of reason. Reinhold’s argument suggests that an “historical turn”, to use Karl Ameriks’ words, is a systematic inconsistency. As Ameriks points out

  • 71 Ameriks 2004, 116

The whole idea of the Elementarphilosophie and the project of a philosophy resting on a single transparent “Grundsatz” would seem to presume that philosophy can and should seek a ground with an ever accessible certainty that would make all historical considerations irrelevant and distracting.71

  • 72 See: Heinz 2002, 337

39Reinhold’s contribution to the history of philosophy has been overlooked because from the perspective of the subsequent achievements of critical philosophy, his concept of philosophical historicity, embodied in what he calls philosophizing reason (philosophierende Vernunft), is a presupposed and unexplained notion. Reinhold discusses neither its transcendental possibility nor its mechanism of development. All one can possibly argue in Reinhold’s favour is that he does not conceive his theory of representation in static terms. Knowledge in Reinhold’s Elementarphilosophie is the product of a spontaneous activity of the human spirit. As Marion Heinz points out, historical development occurs in Reinhold’s approach only at the level of philosophizing reason’s necessary progressive analytic understanding of its own eternal transcendental laws.72

  • 73 See: Heinz 2002, 339
  • 74 See: Reinhold 1978, 8

40In the opening pages of Ueber das Fundament Reinhold introduces the history of philosophy as an ascendant or accumulative logical-historical process. Each developing stage of this process enables both the logical and the historical possibility of a subsequent step.73 Reinhold argues that ongoing philosophizing activity results in a rectification of the very concept of philosophy.74 Reinhold conceives his critical theory of representation as a result of this rational-historical activity. Hülsen will adapt this stance to his historically extended Wissenschaftslehre. — In Reinhold’s own words:

  • 75 Reinhold 1978, 9-10

Jeder weitere Fortschritt der philosophierenden Vernunft sezt die vorhergegangenen voraus, und ist nur durch sie möglich. Die in ihren Principien vollendete Philosophie geht nicht dem Geschäffte der philosophierenden Vernunft vorher, sondern ist das Produkt derselben.75

  • 76 See: Reinhold 1978, 62

41Philosophizing reason is the universal agent behind this collective introductory process. It historically manifests itself exclusively through the particular self-determining positions of different self-thinkers by formulating demands (Forderungen).76 As Hülsen in Preisschrift, selfthinkers push philosophizing reason forward by progressively attempting to satisfy these historical demands. Reinhold writes:

  • 77 Reinhold 2003, i 22. Or as Reinhold (2003, 1, 78) alternatively puts it: “Alles Philosophieren war (...)

Man ist darüber einig, daß die Philosophie ein Produkt des menschlichen Geistes ist, das nicht plötzlich, sondern nur nach und nach, und durch große Anstrengungen, durch vereinigte Arbeit vieler Selbstdenker, durch vielfältige mißlungene Versuche zu Stande kommen kann.77

  • 78 See: Reinhold 1791, 27. Note for example Reinhold’s statement that philosophizing reason can only (...)

42Although Reinhold argues that the only concern of the history of philosophy is philosophy’s “inherent fate”, it is not clear in Reinhold’s account how the course of history can potentially affect philosophizing reason’s logical-historical development.78 Still, Reinhold’s formulation of the idea of philosophizing reason has a crucial importance for both the history of critical philosophy and for the understanding of Preisschrift. Reinhold is the precursor of the logical-historical approach to reason.

  • 79 See: Reinhold 1791, 33
  • 80 See: Ameriks 2004, 126

43Throughout his writings, Reinhold employs the term philosophizing reason as referring to the historical development of philosophy. Reinhold paid full attention to the self-enlightening historical process only when he wrote the closing pages of Ueber den Begrif referring to his logical-historical agent as a self-knowing philosophizing reason (sich selbst erkennende philosophierende Vernunft).79 For Reinhold, philosophy’s development ends with the emergence of the Elementarphilosophie. Reinhold’s system enables a final recognition and articulation of the eternal pure laws of reason, of its ultimate truth. It is free from all particular partisan limitations and historic eras.80

  • 81 Reinhold 2003, 1 80

Wird nun das völlig bestimmte gemeinschaftliche Merkmal des Absolutnotwendigen entdeckt; und läßt es sich auf einen allgemeingeltenden gegen alles Mißverständnis gesicherten Grundsatz zurückführen, so hört von dieser Zeit an die Veränderlichkeit der reinen Philosophie auf, oder es geht vielmehr damit die Epoche an, wo reine Philosophie aufhört eine bloße Idee zu sein.81

44Reinhold believed that through his formulation of the theory of representation, his introductory systematic approach to the history of philosophy was based on sound philosophical criteria. Reinhold explains philosophy’s historical course by purging it of all non-philosophical contents :

  • 82 Reinhold 1791, 30-1

Mein Kriterium ist der philosophische Sinn einer Vorstellungsart. Lässt irgend ein Lehrsatz, der einem auch noch so berühmten Philosophen zugeschreiben wird, durchaus keinen solchen Sinn zu, so gehört er gar nicht in das, was ich für Geschichte der Philosophie halte. Lässt er aber einen solchen Sinn zu, so gehört die Entwickelung desselben zu demjenigen, was ich die Form der Geschichte der Philosophie nenne, weil ein solcher Lehrsatz nur durch einen solchen Sinn zu einem tauglichen Stoffe dieser Wissenschaft wird.82

  • 83 See: Reinhold 1791, 21-30

45Reinhold’s explanation excludes from the sphere of the history of philosophy the histories of humanity, of sciences, of the personal lives and opinions of the philosophers, etc.83 His approach provides a rigorous concept for

  • 84 Reinhold 1791, 20

[...] der dargestellte Inbegrif der Veränderungen, welche die Wissenschaft des nothwendigen Zusammenhanges der Dinge von ihrer Enstehung bis auf unsre Zeiten erfahren hat.84

46In this way, Reinhold’s position explains all previous philosophical systems as derived products of a necessary logical-historical self-explicative activity of reason. Hülsen will preserve the strict rational character of this argument by rearticulating and transforming it as the key to all historical phenomena.

  • 85 In the closing section of the Versuch, Reinhold argued that representation is set into motion by w (...)

47In Ueber den Begrif, Reinhold claims that all philosophizing activity is the product of an innate desire of the human spirit: the knowledge of “scientific” philosophy. This desire motivates philosophizing reason’s historical development.85 Philosophizing reason appears in the history of philosophy as striving necessarily after (1) the final recognition of critical truth and (2) the definitive establishment of universal consensus (suppression of all possible philosophical disputes); unfulfilled according to Hülsen if not supplemented by Fichte’s practically self-grounded idealism.

  • 86 Reinhold 1791, 14, 22

Die wissenschaftliche Philosophie blos die Resultate eines Nachdenkens begreift, das die Erkenntnis der Wahrheit um ihrer Selbstwillen, das geistige Bedürfnis der Vernunft selbst, den beabsichtigten Zusammenhang der Dinge zum Zweck hat. [...] Die Geschichte der Philosophie [...] zeigt uns den menschlichen Geist, beschäftiget mit einem einzigen und bestimmten Zwecke, im bestreben sich über den Zusammenhang der Dinge Rechenschaft zu geben, und seine Begriffe von demselben zu erweitern und zu berichtigen.86

  • 87 See: Reinhold 1978, 10-1

48Reinhold fails to analyze the status of this goal of reason. It is clear however that it is not simply a regulative idea of reason. In fact, reason’s goal in Reinhold’s Elementarphilosophie is an achievable logical-historical objective. The fact that philosophizing reason sets itself the goal of historically pursuing true philosophy and consensus implies that its logical development is necessarily teleological. While Ueber den Begrif lacks a discussion of philosophizing reason’s modus operandi, Reinhold briefly states in the opening pages of Ueber das Fundament that in pre-critical philosophy philosophizing reason seems to act by chance. Ignorance prevents it from uncovering the productive-teleological character of its own systematic activity. Notwithstanding, philosophizing reason advances by analyzing its own original nature. Still, all pre-critical philosophy is controversial for philosophizing reason’s attempts to reach true philosophy are imperfect.87 According to Reinhold,

  • 88 Reinhold 1978, ii. See also: Reinhold 1963, 143, and Reinhold 2003, i 13

Während dieser Periode und bis zu jener Entdeckung [i.e., of the foundation] muss die Vernunft durch jeden ihrer späteren Fortschritte für unzureichend erklären, was sie durch den unmittelbar Vorhergegangen als zureichend befunden hat; bis dahin muss sie durch einzelne Selbstdenker verschiedene Lehrgebäude, die für ihre Urheber Wissenschaften, für die eigentliche Philosophie selbst aber blosse Hypothesen sind, aufstellen, in welchen [...] Materialen für die künftige Wissenschaft gesammelt, und aus dem Rohen herausgearbeitet sind; [...].88

  • 89 See: Reinhold 1978, 13

49For Reinhold the correct formulation of philosophical questions is crucial. Questions not only orient philosophical thought; they also determine philosophy’s resulting answer-conclusions. In the opening pages of Ueber das Fundament, Reinhold argues that Leibniz, Locke, Hume and Kant (i.e., philosophizing reason) attempted to answer unsuccessfully the same single question, namely how representation is possible.89 Reinhold concludes that philosophizing reason’s final attainment of its goal (critical philosophy) and the consequential ending of its necessary historical development are dependent on a prior “mysterious” agreement on the critical formulation of the above-mentioned question.

  • 90 Reinhold 1978, 13. Reinhold’s argument is problematic. It is not clear how this preliminary agreem (...)

Die philosophierende Vernunft musste über diese Frage mit sich selbst einig werden, bevor sie an eine eigentlich wissenschatliche Philosophie durch Entdeckung des letzten Grundes derselben denken konnte.90

  • 91 See: Reinhold 2003, i 9

50Reinhold argued that pre-critical philosophers were not able to recognize fully the eternal pure laws of the human spirit. The inability to identify the transcendental mechanism of representation caused the philosophical disputes that motivated his reformulation of critical philosophy. From the definitive perspective of philosophizing reason, this inability means that prior to the necessary emergence of The Grundsatz philosophy evolved inevitably by attempting to articulate “unscientific” and controversial systems.91 Reinhold associates philosophy’s historical development with an incomplete concept of philosophy, an insight that Hülsen will develop through his deduction of a temporally evolving reason. Reinhold writes:

  • 92 Reinhold 2003, i 232

Zwar sehr oft, aber nichts weniger als jederzeit, sind Kurzsichtigkeit des Geistes, Unwissenheit, Übereilung, verblendende Leidenschaft usw. die Veranlassung solcher versteckter Mißverständnisse, welche das Gebiet der Philosophie bisher zu einem Kampfplatz gemacht haben, auf dem so viel gestritten, und so wenig ausgemacht worden ist. Es gibt Mißverständnisse unter den Philosophen, die schlechterdings auf die Rechnung der Philosophie selbst, oder wenn man lieber will, der Stufe der Entwicklung gehören, auf welcher sich die philosophierende Vernunft bei ihrem allmählichen Fortschritte befindet. Hierher zähle ich vor allen diejenigen, die ihren Grund im dem bisherigen leidigen Zustande, oder vielmehr gänzlichen Mangel der Elementarphilosophie, haben. 92

51According to Reinhold, the discovery of the Elementarphilosophie closes the epoch of partisan controversies. What characterizes this epoch is philosophizing reason’s ascending from particular and arbitrarily established convictions to general grounding proofs. Due to the discovery of the theory of representation, philosophizing reason reaches a reconciling epoch of synthetic thought. Hülsen will develop this thought by relating it to Fichte’s self-grounded standpoint.

  • 93 Reinhold 1978, 72

[...] so muss die philosophierende Vernunft auf dem analytischen Wege noch einen Schritt weiter fortrücken, als sie in der Kritik der Vernunft gekommen ist; und dieser Schritt ist dann der letzte, den sie auf dem analytischen Wege zu höhern Principien thun kann. Durch ihn und nur durch ihn allein, ist das letzte und eigentliche Fundament der Philosophie entdeckt.93

  • 94 See: Reinhold 2003, i 91-2
  • 95 See: Reinhold 1978, v-x

52According to Reinhold, Kant’s Kritik paved the way for a new synthetic epoch in which an exhaustive revision of philosophy’s grounding procedure was possible. Recognition of the ever-existing laws of the human spirit replaces the purely logical analysis of pre-critical philosophy.94 Analytic thought, and its resulting historical state of disputes, emerged in the systematic history of philosophy as a necessary introductory phase, which enables the definitive establishment of philosophy with the Elementarphilosophie. All historic partisan assertions lose their raison-d’être. What follows is universal philosophical consensus. Reinhold concludes that no mutual “enlightened” understanding should be possible prior to the historical securing of philosophy.95 This resulting consensus has for Reinhold a crucial importance for the definitive grounding of morality, religion, political and civil right, etc. Hülsen will develop, reformulate, and incorporate these arguments in his own historically augmented Wissenschaftslehre.

  • 96 See: Heinz 2002, 343 [Hülsen not mentioned]

53The validation of the universally accepted (allgemeingeltend) character of philosophy enables that man become fully aware of his practical nature. This historical moment is determined as later on in Preisschrift by the evolutionary logic of philosophizing reason. Only after philosophy has been achieved, can the principles of practical reason appear under a universally accepted theoretical form. In this way, reason determines the possibility for the achievement of full moral potentiality.96

  • 97 See: Reinhold 1978, xiv, 10, 12. Reinhold’s focus on the securing of philosophy as an historical m (...)

54The discovery of this synthetic foundation makes the historical assertion of the universal (enlightened) spirit of critical philosophy possible. Reinhold consequently holds that the final accomplishment of Kant’s Copernican revolution will take place only after philosophizing reason has reached the culminating evolutionary stage of the Elementarphilosophie.97

55Philosophizing reason manifests itself exclusively through particular historical positions. Its ability to display its full practical potentiality, its enabling of enlightened self-determined consensus, is dependent on personal insight into the synthetically grounded system of knowledge. Only such an insight can assure an autonomous derivative correction and exhaustion of the partial grounds and concepts apprehended and coined by the disputing parties.

  • 98 Reinhold 1963, 22-3

Sollten die neuen Principien wahrhaft allgemeingültig, und ihrer Natur nach dazu gemacht seyn allgemeingeltend zu werden, so müssten sie jeder bisherigen philosophischen Sekte volle Gerechtigkeit wiederfahren lassen, mit der grössten Bestimmtheit das Wahre, das in den respektiven Grundsätzen jeglichen Systems enthalten ist, in sich fassen, das Falsche ausschliessen, und dadurch ein System aufstellen, welches jedem Selbstdenker das, was er aus seinem Gesichtspunkte richtig gesehen hat, wieder finden liesse.98

56Reinhold’s position evinces that reason’s entire pre-critical course of development was necessary to reach the logical-historical stage from which the principle of consciousness, the touchstone of the early Elementarphilosophie, can first emerge as transparent principle. Philosophy’s pre-critical crises were necessary to pose the problem which Reinhold’s system solves. As Karl Ameriks explains:

  • 99 Ameriks 2009, 119

[...] Reinhold held that the principle [i.e., the principle of consciousness] has not only a critical historical purpose in providing the sole means for the possibility of a truly enlightened society, but it also itself requires a historical foundation in its mode of exposition. That is, the principle, must be presented in a way that makes clear how it alone can resolve the crises of modern philosophy that have led in the past to the endless seemingly unprogressive disputes about philosophy as a true science and about reason as a guide to life in general. This means that it must reconstruct a picture of what these crises hae been, so that it can be universally convincing in its argument for why a solution can finally appear imminent.99

57Reinhold adresses this topic in the closing pages of Ueber den Begrif. Reinhold argues that the systematic reconstruction of the history of philosophy, i.e., the rational subsuming and overcoming of reason’s pre-critical crises, demands a “philosophy without nicknames” (eine Philosophie ohne Beynamen), a rigorously determined concept. For the history of philosophy, Reinhold’s Elementarphilosophie is a universal reconstructive (or interpretative) vehicle.

  • 100 Reinhold 1791, 35

Hat er [i.e., the self-thinker] es mit seiner Untersuchung des Vorstellungs-, Erkenntnis- und Begehrungs-Vermögens noch nicht so weit gebracht, sich über alle partheyen zu erheben; [...] so wird er die Philosopheme älterer und neuerer Zeiten, nicht nach den bisher verkannten allgemeingültigen Principien der allen Menschen gemeinschaftlichen Vernunft, sondern nach den aus unentwickelten Begriffen gezogenen schwankenden Grundsätzen einer einzelnen Secte beurtheilen; [...].100

  • 101 See: Reinhold 1791, 32-3

58Reconstruction demands that this universal criterion be employed retrospectively in the analysis of all relevant logical-historical data. Prior to the historical securing of philosophy, no rigorous recognition of reason’s inherent goal or of the inherent correlative character of its history is possible. Throughout this, all emerging systems appear to the observer as atomically given products. For this reason, Reinhold argues that only a truly determined self-thinker can perform the personal task of reconstruction. Only a self-determined self-thinker is familiar with the universal concept of philosophy.101 Reinhold claims:

  • 102 Reinhold 1791, 34

Ich halte daher die Bekanntschaft mit der Natur des menschlichen Vorstellungs-, Erkenntnis- und Begehrungs-Vermögens für eine [...] wesentliche Bedingung für das Studium der Geschichte der Philosophie [...].102

59The task of reconstruction demands that each single truly determined self-thinker determine the proportional amount of truth contained in each relevant historical product of philosophizing reason by contrasting it with the pure concept of philosophy. Only in this way can the systematic explanation of philosophizing reason’s necessary introductory course achieve a rigorous rational meaning. The personal means employed for the definitive logical location of each relevant analytic point of view within this reconstructive model, is comparative critical insight into the historical expression of the question-answer procedure of philosophical thought. According to Reinhold,

  • 103 Reinhold 1791, 33

[...] wenn er selbst [i.e., the self-thinker] nicht weiss, was er über diese oder jene Frage, die sich dieser oder jener Weltweise zu beantworten versuchte, zu denken habe; wenn er nicht diejenige Antwort gefunden hat, welche die sich selbst erkennende philosophierende Vernunft nicht aus dem einseitigen Gesichtspuncte dieser oder jener Secte, sondern nach den Gesetzen der ursprünglichen Einrichtung des menschlichen Geistes ertheilen muss; so wird er die Lehre, die er beurtheilt, nie verstehen, so wird er das Wahre, was sie neben dem Falschen enthält, nie angeben, so wird er ihren vernünftigen Sinn nie entdecken können.103

  • 104 Reinhold does not explain how this division in epochs should be established. All he argues is that (...)
  • 105 Reinhold 1791, 21, 33
  • 106 “[...] den einzigen Gesichtspunkt [...] der alle verschiedenen vereinigt und das Problem auflöset; (...)

60Reinhold argues that only those works that mark historic epochs should be contained in the history of philosophy,104 those that provide an explicative model for all those significant evolutionary changes that the theory of representation underwent from pre-critical times until the present.105 The systematic reconstruction of the history of philosophy integrates all relevant analytic-relative standpoints as evolutionary stages of a single historically formulated synthetic philosophy.106 The full teleological character of philosophizing reason can appear to the self-thinker only after the completion of the task of reconstruction. The Elementarphilosophie is that historical step in which philosophizing reason suppresses all possible contradictions and accomplishes a definitive and reconciling self-unity. The history of philosophy is completed at this point. Philosophizing reason’s allegedly atomically given products (systems), reach an ultimate limit and achieve a definitive rational or universal “measurement”.

61Neither Ueber den Begrif, nor Ueber das Fundament, Beiträge vol. i, and the Versuch offer a reconstruction of a chapter of the history of philosophy. Ueber den Begrif provides only a sketch for the critical method of historical reconstruction. Nonetheless, Reinhold’s concept of enlightened self-determined consensus is wider than what is ascribed to it by most scholars. Its attainment demands personal understanding of the historical relation of philosophy to all its introductory analytic stages. A personal articulation of the history of philosophy enables withdrawing fully from the sphere of partisan disputes. Ueber den Begrif has another unnoticed function in Reinhold’s Elementarphilosophie. Its closing arguments reveal the key role, which the scientific theory of representation, will play in the systematic construction of the history of philosophy. Hülsen will reformulate and incorporate Reinhold’s reconstructive criteria in his own historically augmented system.

1.6 The Crisis of the Elementarphilosophie and Hülsen’s Shift to the Wissenschaftslehre

  • 107 Records of these causes are significantly small. My explanation is mainly based on speculation.

62The multiple coincidences between Preisschrift and the Elementarphilosophie reveal Reinhold’s crucial influence on Hülsen. Hülsen reformulated Reinhold’s ideas and completed Fichte’s rearticulating of the Elementarphilosophie. This section discusses the alleged causes behind Hülsen’s shift to Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre.107

63Not long after his arrival to Kiel Hülsen found that Reinhold’s system had undergone a radical change. Already in 1792, the Elementarphilosophie was in deep crisis due to the rigorous objections that Carl Immanuel Diez, one of Reinhold’s students, raised in class during the lecturing of the Elementarphilosophie. According to Diez, there were serious methodical inconsistencies in Reinhold’s synthetic mode of deduction. Reinhold himself reported to Johann Benjamin Erhard on June 18, 1792, that Diez’s objections called for a basic reconstruction of his theory.

  • 108 Cited in: Frank 1998, 398

Ich sehe nun deutlich ein[,] das[s] in dem Ersten Theil der Fundamentallehre der Elementarphilosophie, Theoreme vorkommen[,] bey denen ich selbst hatte ausdrücklich zeigen sollen[,] daß sie nicht unmittelbar aus dem Satze des Bewußtseins[,] sondern nur vermittelst anderer Sätze[,] die ich in dieser Elementarlehre ohne Beweis als Aussprüche des sens[us] commun[is] aufstelle[,] erfolgen, und welche Sätze mir dann erst erweisliche Aussprüche der philosophierenden Vernunft werden können, wenn die übrigen Sätze als Beweisgrund aufgestellt und entwickelt sind. Z.E. das Theorem, daß der Stoff gegeben[,] die Form hervorgebracht[,] die Vorstellung erzeugt sey, wobey Selbstbewußt- seyn und bewußtseyn der Selbstthätigkeit, das nicht im Bewußtseyn überhaupt liegt[,] vorausgesetzt wird. Allein jene Aussprüche des gemeinen Verstandes müssen schechterdings lemmatisch in der Elementarphilosophie angenommen werden; da nur vom gemeinen Verstand zur philosophierenden Vernunft übergegangen werden kann; aber sie müssen durch die letztere in der Folge gerechtfertigt werden.
Das Fundament der Elementarphilosophie sind lauter Fakta des Bewußtseyns, unter denen das eine <?> [,] das den Satz des B.[ewustßseins] überhaupt ausdrückt[,] der allgemeinste und in sofern im System der erste ist. Die Elementarphilosophie stellt erst <die [?]> Principien der Philosophie auf, kann also von keinen solchen Principien ausgehen[,] sondern von blossen That- sachen[,] die sich durch ihren Unterschied und Zusammenhang erläutern, und aus denen jene Principien alsdann von selbst hervorgehen.108

  • 109 See Reinhold’s opening essay in Beiträge vol. 2: Über den Unterscheid zwischen dem gesunden Versta (...)

64As Reinhold’s letter confirms, in a revised version of the Elementarphilosophie, The Grundsatz must be kept to guarantee the systematic character of the transcendental mechanism of cognition. However, it no longer can fundamentally justify the entire system of philosophy; The Grundsatz losses its self-justificatory status. Diez has objected that to validate The Grundsatz a complete different mode of grounding (justification) is needed. Reinhold understood, as the letter to Erhard shows, that the system of philosophy could be grounded only through a preliminary analytic regress to The Grundsatz from pre-cognitive facts of consciousness or given statements of common sense (Lemmata).109 It can be concluded with Richard Fincham that

  • 110 Fincham 2005, 309

prior to the Systemkrise, Reinhold is a proponent of the synthetic method insofar as he endeavours to justify the objective validity of our a priori possessions by means of their connection with a first principle, but, after the Systemkreise, he is a proponent of the analytic method, insofar as he argues that the objective validity of these a priori possessions must be justified by an analytic regress from common sense convictions.110

  • 111mit Reinhold namentlich knüpfte sich ein herzliches Freundschaftsverhältnis-, doch keinem seine L (...)

65A close familiarity with Diez objections, and Reinhold’s analytic shift, seem to have persuaded Hülsen to leave Kiel after one academic semester. As Rist’s Lebenserrinnerungen confirm, Hülsen questioned Reinhold’s new philosophical position.111 Hülsen’s rejection of the new Elementarphilosophie and his subsequent shift to the Wissenschaftslehre becomes even clearer from Fichte’s letter to Christian Gottlob Voigt from November 8, 1795. As Fichte reported some time after Hülsen’s departure from Kiel to Jena,

  • 112 Fichte, ga, iii-2, 428

Hegekern, [i.e., Hülsen] ein Mann von gesetzen Jahren, der schön längst seine Studien vollendet hatte, und Hofmeister war, wurde [durch] das unüberwindliche Streben, Einheit in sein Denken zu bringen, getrieben, alles zu verlaßen, und zuerst Reinhold, dann abermals mit wichtigen Aufopferungen, mich aufzusuchen. Er glaubt endlich diese Einheit gefunden zu haben; [...] Ich kenne ihn, seit ich in Jena bin, durch Briefe.112

  • 113 See: Stamm 1995, 20-1
  • 114 Regretfully, the entire Hülsen-Fichte correspondence is lost.

66The new basic systematic status that Reinhold conferred to the plurality of Lemmata, and the elimination of his previous synthetic monistic mode of deduction,113 was unacceptable for Hülsen, whose main demand was original systematic unity. The “improved” systematic position of Fichte, with whom Hülsen, as the passage reveals, corresponded since 1794 also determined his decision.114

  • 115 See: Schwab/Reinhold/Abicht 1971, 171-254. Reinhold finished this essay on May 1795, and published (...)
  • 116 See: Reinhold 1791, 21, 33

67The same analytic shift can be found in Reinhold’s own Preisschrift: Was hat die Metaphysik seit Wolff und Leibniz gewonnen?115 In Preisschrift, Reinhold abandons his previous focus on the history of philosophy as the rational systematic explanation of all those evolutionary changes that philosophy underwent from its pre-critical institution until its exhaustive formulation.116 Reinhold alternatively offers an unsystematic or atomized explanation of the historical progress of metaphysics. Reinhold explains this progress in many alternative ways by adopting the particular criteria of different philosophical schools. The following statements would have seriously increased Hülsen’s disillusion with Reinhold:

  • 117 Schwab/Reinhold/Abicht 1971, 174, 177

Jede dieser streitenden Partheien hat ihren eigenthümlichen Gesichtspunkt, aus welchem sie den Sinn der Frage: Was die Metephysik seit Leibniz und Wolff für Fortschritte gethan habe? ins Auge fassen muss. Es sind daher auch genau so viele und so verschiedene Antworten auf dieselbe möglich, als Partheien wirklich und denkbar sind. [...] Die verschiedensten Lehrbegriffe älterer und neuer Metaphysiker wurden ohne Streit, aber auch ohne Eintracht, neben einander hingestellt.117

68Still Rist’s report, Fichte’s letter to Voigt, and Hülsen’s Preisschrift show that Hülsen remained a strong supporter of the synthetic character of Reinhold’s early Elementarphilosophie. Rejecting Reinhold’s new approach, Hülsen shifted his allegiance to Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre, the only contemporary system that preserved, dramatically modified, Reinhold’s synthetic method. Nonetheless, in many important ways Hülsen remained throughout his short career as much a student of Reinhold as a disciple of Fichte.

Notes

1 Hülsen matriculated at the Christian-Albrecht University on May 22, 1794 under a false name: Franciscus Jacobus Hegekern. For a historical account of Hülsen’s stay in Kiel, see: Krämer 2001, 48-67

2 See: Christian Hülsen 1934, 96

3 In the Briefe, Reinhold accomplished two major tasks: (1) the popularization and the assertion of the systematic character of the Kantian philosophy, and (2) the formulation of a reconciling solution to the knowledge-faith conflict rose by Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi’s objections to Kant in the famous pantheism controversy. For a concise analysis of the letters, and of Reinhold’s position regarding Jacobi’s claims, see: Pinkard 2002, 90-9

4 See: Franks 2005, 215. The charge of unintelligibility was of course a serious objection to the enlightened character of Kant’s philosophy.

5 See: Reinhold 1978, xiii-iv

6 See: Franks 2005, 215

7 See: Reinhold 1978, VI-VII

8 See: Horstmann 1991, 47-8

9 The first phase of the Elmentarphilosophie (the one that concerns us here) comprehends three major works: Versuch einer neuen Theorie des menschlichen Vorstellungsvermögens (1789), Beiträge zur Berichtigung bisheriger Mißverständnisse der Philosophen (vol. 1) (1790), and Ueber das Fundament des philosophischen Wissens. Nebst einigen Erläuterungen über die Theorie des Vorstellungsvermögens (1791). It furthermore includes an almost neglected part: Ueber den Begrif der Geschihte der Philosophie. Eine akademische Vorlesung (1791). I will discuss this essay in section 1.5.

10 As Frederik Beiser (1987, 227) comments, “without consciousness of the prin­ciples and procedures of transcendental reflection, we have no guarantee of the truth of the theory based upon them. We proceed in no less blind and dogmatic a fashion than the old metaphysicians.”

11 See: Reinhold 1963, 43

12 Reinhold 1963, 125

13 See: Reinhold 1963, 43-44, 142-43, and Reinhold 2003, i 46-47

14 See: Reinhold 2003, i 164-65

15 See: Reinhold 2003, i 256. See also Reinhold 1978: 12-3, and Reinhold 1963, 129. In Ueber das Fundament, Reinhold also refers to this question as reason’s big problem (grosen Problems). See: Reinhold 1978, 135

16 See: Reinhold 2003, i 247, and Reinhold 1978, 13

17 See: Reinhold 1963, 8-9

18 Note the following passage from Ueber das Fundament:Leibniz, Locke, Hume und Kant, die vier grösten neuern Schriftsteller, welche die Gründe des menschlichen und inbesondere des philosophischen Wissens, zum Gegenstand besonderer Untersuchungen gemacht haben, sind daher auch von der Frage über der Ursprung der Vorstellungen ausgegangen, und ihre Antworten auf diese Frage sind die eigentlichen Bestimmungsgründe ihrer Uberzeugung von der Natur, den Gränzen und letzten Gründen des philosophischen Wissens gewesen.Reinhold 1978, 13.

19 See: Reinhold 1963, 140

20 Reinhold 2003, 247

21 The fact that all disputing parties determine their concepts in an imprecise or arbitrary way is an additional cause behind quarrelling. The lack of a universally accepted ground of deduction, Reinhold claims, prevents a rigorous conceptual determination. What follows is mutual misunderstanding among partisan standpoints. According to Reinhold, Kant is also to blame for a similar conceptual imprecision. The disputes that spread around the truth and the meaning of the Kritik also rise in Reinhold’s opinion due to the arbitrary interpretations that a significant number of Kant’s contemporaries make of his ambiguous concepts. Reinhold concludes that quarrelling on the Kritik will not cease before it can be reformulated on a universally accepted ground of deduction, that is, converted into a rigorously determined philosophical theory [See: Reinhold 2003, 1 231-2]. I however will not discuss this point, as it is no necessary precondition for understanding Preisschrift. Hülsen only tackles it in his 1797 Philosophische Briefe an Hrn. v. Briest in Nennhausen. Erster Brief. Ueber Popularität in der Philosophie.

22 See: Reinhold 1963, 62-8, 48-50

23 Reinhold 2003, 1 233: “Ich erkläre daher doch einmal, daß ich unter Elementarphilosphie das einzig mögliche System der Prinzipien, auf welche sowohl theoretische als praktische, sowohl formale als materiale Philosophie gebaut werden muß, verstehe. Daß es bisher keine solche Wissenschaft gegeben habe, ist Tatsache.” For a sketch of Reinhold’s complete program see the closing section of Über den Begriff der Philosophie in: Reinhold 2003, i 62-5

24 See: Reinhold 1978, 62-3

25 See: Fischer 2000, 24

26 See: Reinhold 1978, 5-6

27 Frank 1998, 157

28 According to Joh. Ch. Hoffbauer, “Die sätze, auf welche der analytische Beweis in seinem Fortgange kommt, sind immer Prämissen, schon vorher aufgestellter Conclusionen, also Gründe derselben. Bey dem synthetischen Beweise verhält es sich umgekehrt. Dieser geht von den Prämissen zu den Conclusionen, von Gründen zu den Folgen fort.” Cited in: Frank 1998, 448

29 See: Frank 1998, 161

30 One of Reinhold’s main objections to Kant was that his analytic deduction of the categories assures neither their rigorous completeness, nor their necessary triadic organization under the forms of quantity, quality, relation, and modality [See: Reinhold 2003, 1 215]. Regarding the terms “analytic” and “synthetic”, Richard Fincham (2005, 301) reminds us that in his 1764 Untersuchung über die Deutlichkeit der Grundsätze der natürlichen Theologie und der Moral, “[...] Kant himself employs these terms to describe the same distinction. However, he clearly believes that the analytic method is the correct procedure of all philosophy, whereas the synthetic method describes the correct procedure of mathematics.”

31 Frank 1998, 161. Martin Bondeli’s studies show that apart from the linear syllogistic method, Reinhold resorted in Beiträge vol. 1 to a parallel, though not entirely acknowledged method of circular inference. This method only attained importance in the opening essay of Beiträge vol. 2, a work that Hülsen will reject. For Reinhold’s parallel methods of inference see: Bondeli 1995, 108-53

32 See: Reinhold 2003, i 82-4

33 See: Reinhold 2003, i 82-4

34 Reinhold 2003, i 84

35 According to Reinhold (1963, 71) the following is the case: “Das allgemeingeltende Princip in der Philosophie unterscheidet sich von dem Allgemeingültigen dadurch, daß es nicht nur, wie dieses, von jedem der es versteht als wahr befunden, sondern auch von jedem gesunden und philosophirenden Kopfe wirklich verstan­den wird.” [my bold]

36 Franks 2005, 229. Frederik Beiser (1987, 245) comments that “Reinhold draws an important conclusion about the nature of the first principle. Namely, it cannot be a logical formula, concept, or definition. All conceptualization or definition destroys immediate truth, for it introduces the possibility of mistakes and conflicting interpretations about phenomenon to be explained or defined.”

37 As Franks (1997, 318) explains, the word “‘Tatsache’ was not an ordinary German world in the late eighteen century, although it has become one since. Instead, ‘Tatsache’ was a philosophical term introduced in 1756 by J. J. Spalding to translate one of the central terms of Bishop Butler’s Analogy: ‘matter of fact’. This term carried with it a legal background and entered German in the context of Enlightenment theology. A Tatsache was a deed or occurrence whose actuality was not inductively or deductively demonstrable but was nevertheless well- established on the basis of reliable testimony.”

38 Reinhold 1963, 66

39 See: Reinhold 1963, 190, 200

40 Reinhold 2003, i 99. Reinhold’s focus on representation as the ground of philosophical consensus is not accidental. As Paul Franks pointed out, for Reinhold the conflict of pre-Kantian philosophy is a quarrel between rationalist supporters of inborn ideas (Leibnizians) and empiricist supporters of sense-impressions (Lockians). Representation is a universal mediating concept; it fuses Leibnizian a priority and Lockian a posteriority, namely the partial true insights gained by each one of these parties. Representation is aimed at grounding the Kantian thesis that empirical objects of cognition are representations grounded on things-in-themselves, and settle the quarrel between skeptics and dogmatists, and between empiricists and rationalists. See: Franks 2005, 215-6

41 Reinhold 2003, i 99

42 Reinhold was here inconsistent. Personal reflection transforms The Grundsatz into a derived product of self-consciousness. Reinhold undermined the original status of his first principle. This also shows, as Richard Fincham (2005, 306) indicates, “[...] that the dichotomy of analytic and synthetic methods may be a false one. For one could argue that [...] the Elementarphilosophie involves some kind of ‘analytic’ component, insofar as the ‘proposition of consciousness’ qua proposition is not something of which we are immediately aware, but rather a ‘truth’ which we ascertain through a process of reflection upon our qualitatively diverse conscious states.”

43 Nikolai Hartmann (1960, 10) clarifies: “Das vorstellende Bewußtsein aber weiß unmittelbar sowohl um diesen Unterschied als um diese Zusammengehörigkeit. Das heißt aber, der Satz des Bewußtseins ist ein selbstverständlicher, in sich selbst evidenter Satz. Er ist in der einfachen Tatsache des Bewußtseins gegeben.

44 A distinctive feature of The Grundsatz, Mensen comments, is that it does not express a mere formal proposition as Leibniz’s logical law of contradiction (Satz des Widerspruch) does. [See: Mensen 1974, 124] Reinhold (2003, 1, 102-3) maintains that “ihn [i.e., The Grundsatz] wirklich jedermann verstehen muß, der sich durch ihn nicht den bloßen Satz des Bewustseins und folglich kein Philosophisches Theorem über Objekte, die Vorstellung, und das Vorstellende denkt, welches freilich der Satz an sich nicht verhindern kann. Ich nenne ihn allgemeingeltend nur in wieferne er das Bewustsein ausdrückt”. [my bold].

45 See: Reinhold 1963, 195-220

46 As Frederik Beiser (1987, 251) comments, “A theory of representation goes seriously astray, Reinhold insists, if it attempts to determine the nature of representation from subject and object. We know the subject and object only from the representations that we have of them, so that to infer the nature of representation from the nature of subject and object is to put the less certain and mediately known before the more certain and immediately known. Further, knowledge of the subject and the object consists in distinct class of representations, and these cannot be sufficient for explaining the concept of representation in general, which is not reducible to this or that species of representation.”

47 Reinhold 2003, i 119: “Das Vorstellungsvermögen ist dasjenige, wodurch die bloße Vorstellung, das heißt, was sich im Bewußtsein auf Objekt und Subjekt beziehen läßt, aber von beiden unterscheiden wird, möglich ist, und was in der Ursache der Vorstellung d.h. in demjenigen, welches den Grund der Wirklichkeit einer Vorstellung enthält, vor aller Vorstellung vorhanden sein muß.

48 See: Reinhold 2003 I, 99, 102-3

49 See: Ameriks 2000, 96

50 See: Ameriks 2000, 86. Reinhold’s project should not be mistaken for the anti- systematic projects of some of his contemporary Popularphilosophen such as Feder or Nicolai. This party, whose arguments Reinhold emphatically rejected, denies the existence of universally accepted principles. For Reinhold’s attitude to this propagated movement see: Reinhold 1963, 133-4

51 See: Ameriks 2005, xiv

52 In that respect, Ameriks (2005, xiv) comments that from “the time of his earliest writings, the most distinctive feature of Reinhold’s commitment to the Enlightenment was his insistence on finding a way to support social reform with a philosophy that met the double demand of being popular and systematic in the best sense.”

53 Ameriks 2000, 87

54 See: Reinhold 1978, v-vi. See also: Bondeli 1995, 105

55 As to the accounts of those non-entirely determined self-thinkers, Reinhold (2003, 1 46-7) explains: “Jede bisherige Erklärung, die ein Selbstdenker über Philosophie aufgestellt hat, enthält etwas unstreitig Wahres, und ist nun in so ferne unrichtig, als sie unbestimmt ist, und zwar, als ihr ein wesentliches Merkmal fehlt, wodurch sich die Philosophie von allem, was nicht Philosophie ist, unterscheidet.”

56 As Ameriks (2003, 87) adds, “the general reproach of the era, that Kant was insufficiently “scientific” tended to focus on two central systematic demands: that philosophy provide for a) a refutation of skepticism and b) for a unity of theoretical and practical philosophy based on a clear general account of freedom. These are precisely the issues that Reinhold thought his Elementarphilosophie could solve at once by basing everything on a supposedly self-evident, ever-present, and absolutely spontaneous power of representation.”

57 See: Reinhold 1963, 126, 128-9

58 See: Reinhold 1978, xv-xvii. See also: Reinhold 2003, i xiii

59 See: Reinhold 2003, I 96-7

60 Reinhold 2003, i 81. As Ameriks (2000, 123) comments, “Reinhold does not think that the mere existence of a philosophical community is sufficient for change. What is specifically required is a reorganized community of philosophers qua Selbstdenker, i.e., strong advocates of Critical philosophy.”

61 Reinhold 1794, 320

62 In a letter from April 22, 1799, Fichte praised Reinhold for his practical enlightened intentions. Fichte (ga iii-3, 327) wrote: “Sie haben vom Anfange Ihrer philosophischen Schriftstellerei an eine praktische Wärme im Philosophieren gezeigt, [...] die Ihnen nicht aus der Kantischen, sondern aus Ihrer vorherigen philosophie kam, welche vielmehr Sie zur Kantischen, von der Sie sich einen besseren praktischen Effect versprechen, geleitet hat. Sie haben immer die Hoffnung gehegt, und hegen sie noch, die Menschen durch Philosophie zu bessern, und zu bekehren, sie über ihre Pflichten in diesem Leben, und über ihre Hoffnungen in jenen zu belehren.”

63 The essay appeared in print on May 1791 in the first issue of Georg Gustav Fülleborn’s journal Beyträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie. By the time of the publication, Fülleborn, a distinguished student of Reinhold, was seriously committed to the Elementarphilosophie. The purpose of his journal was to introduce Reinhold’s theory as the culminating event of the history of philosophy.

64 This reconstructive task is only partially accomplished in Karl Ameriks’ Reinhold on Systematicity, popularity, and the Historical Turn; Reinhold, History, and the Foundation of Philosophy; and in Marion Heinz’s Untersuchungen zum Verhältnis von Geschichte und System der Philosophie in Reinholds Fundamentschrift.

65 See: Franks 2005, 215. For Reinhold’s own account of the impact that the history of philosophy had on his own philosophical development, see: Reinhold 1963, 51-68

66 See Kant, KrV a ix-xxii: ww ii, 12- 19

67 Kant, KrV a 852 = b 880: ww ii, 709

68 Manfred Frank also noted this rational-historical introductory character. For his short discussion, see: Frank 1998, 449-50. Additional evidences of Reinhold’s persisting interest in such an introductory history, though from a different systematic perspective can be found in Über den Unterschied zwischen dem gesunden Verstande und der philosophierenden Vernunft in Rücksicht auf die Fundamente des durch beide möglichen Wissens; the opening essay of Beiträge vol. 2. See: Reinhold 2003, 11 13, 17, 28. The 1795 Was hat die Methaphysik seit Wolff und Leibniz gewonnen? is additional evidence of Reinhold’s persisting interest in the history of philosophy. Neither, Beiträge vol. 2, nor Was hat die Metaphysik influenced Hülsen.

69 See: Reinhold 1791, 12

70 See: Reinhold 1791, 12-6. Consider in addition the following passage from Beiträge vol. 1: “Nur durch den Charakter der Wissenschaft des Unveränderlichen wurde die Philosophie von der Geschichte, die auf das Verändliche eingeschränkt ist, unterschieden.Reinhold 2003, i 78

71 Ameriks 2004, 116

72 See: Heinz 2002, 337

73 See: Heinz 2002, 339

74 See: Reinhold 1978, 8

75 Reinhold 1978, 9-10

76 See: Reinhold 1978, 62

77 Reinhold 2003, i 22. Or as Reinhold (2003, 1, 78) alternatively puts it: “Alles Philosophieren war von jeher ein allgemeines, fortwährendes, unaufhaltsames Bestreben der Selbstdenker, das Unveränderliche im Gebiete des Vorstellbaren von dem Veränderlichen zu unterscheiden, und durch bleibende unveränderliche Merkmale festzuhalten. Das letztere muß freilich so lange mißlingen als nicht der letzte vorstellbare Unterscheidungsgrund des Notwendigen vom Zufälligen entdeckt und auf ein allgemein Evidentes gegen alle Mißverständnisse gesichertes letztes Prinzip zurückgeführt ist.”

78 See: Reinhold 1791, 27. Note for example Reinhold’s statement that philosophizing reason can only emerge in the era of civil society, that is, in the transition from a natural state to a rational enlightened society. See: Reinhold 1791, 35, and Ameriks 2004, 13 5. The same statement can be found in: Reinhold 2003, i 71

79 See: Reinhold 1791, 33

80 See: Ameriks 2004, 126

81 Reinhold 2003, 1 80

82 Reinhold 1791, 30-1

83 See: Reinhold 1791, 21-30

84 Reinhold 1791, 20

85 In the closing section of the Versuch, Reinhold argued that representation is set into motion by willing. Reinhold did not connect this possibility to philosophizing reason.

86 Reinhold 1791, 14, 22

87 See: Reinhold 1978, 10-1

88 Reinhold 1978, ii. See also: Reinhold 1963, 143, and Reinhold 2003, i 13

89 See: Reinhold 1978, 13

90 Reinhold 1978, 13. Reinhold’s argument is problematic. It is not clear how this preliminary agreement on critical questions can follow. If the correct formulation or determination by the parties is dependent on a shared universal ground, then Reinhold’s argument is of course circular.

91 See: Reinhold 2003, i 9

92 Reinhold 2003, i 232

93 Reinhold 1978, 72

94 See: Reinhold 2003, i 91-2

95 See: Reinhold 1978, v-x

96 See: Heinz 2002, 343 [Hülsen not mentioned]

97 See: Reinhold 1978, xiv, 10, 12. Reinhold’s focus on the securing of philosophy as an historical millstone confirms once again the enlightened spirit of his thought. As Werner Sauer comments, “Enlightenment is the realization of reason in history. Since the initially always dogmatic-naive stance of reason leads unavoidably to antinomies, an antinomic situation must arise in the process of Enlightenment. And just as, in the narrower domain of theoretical thought, these antinomies provide the occasion of surmounting the dogmatic-naive view in favour of the critical one, so too the Enlightenment will, with increasing insight into the peculiarity of its crisis, base itself on the critical concept of reason, thereby resolving its crisis and removing legitimation from the tendencies running counter to Enlightenment.” Cited in: von Schönborn 1999, 53

98 Reinhold 1963, 22-3

99 Ameriks 2009, 119

100 Reinhold 1791, 35

101 See: Reinhold 1791, 32-3

102 Reinhold 1791, 34

103 Reinhold 1791, 33

104 Reinhold does not explain how this division in epochs should be established. All he argues is that the history of philosophy should only include those works that caused substantial changes in the form of philosophy. See: Reinhold 1791, 29

105 Reinhold 1791, 21, 33

106 “[...] den einzigen Gesichtspunkt [...] der alle verschiedenen vereinigt und das Problem auflöset; bis dahin muss es Philosophieen, aber keine Philosophie, geben.Reinhold: 1978, 12. See also: Reinhold 1963, 135-6

107 Records of these causes are significantly small. My explanation is mainly based on speculation.

108 Cited in: Frank 1998, 398

109 See Reinhold’s opening essay in Beiträge vol. 2: Über den Unterscheid zwischen dem gesunden Verstande und der philosophierenden Vernunft in Rücksicht auf die Fundamente des durch beide möglichen Wissens in: Reinhold 2003, 11 7-48. See also: Henrich 1991, 242-4

110 Fincham 2005, 309

111mit Reinhold namentlich knüpfte sich ein herzliches Freundschaftsverhältnis-, doch keinem seine Lage und Bedürfnisse vertrauend, fand er [i.e., Hülsen] die größte Schwierigkeit, durch Unterricht und kleine litterarische Arbeiten nur den notdürftigsten Unterhalt zu gewinnen.” Cited in: Krämer 2001, 49

112 Fichte, ga, iii-2, 428

113 See: Stamm 1995, 20-1

114 Regretfully, the entire Hülsen-Fichte correspondence is lost.

115 See: Schwab/Reinhold/Abicht 1971, 171-254. Reinhold finished this essay on May 1795, and published it after Hülsen left Kiel. However, during Hülsen’s stay at the local university (1794/5 winter semester), Reinhold delivered some lessons on the history of philosophy [see: Krämer 2001, 65]. It could be assumed that Reinhold presented his Preisschrift approach in class. Although there are no records of Hülsen’s attendance to these lessons, it could be speculated (because of the topic) that he took part of them.

116 See: Reinhold 1791, 21, 33

117 Schwab/Reinhold/Abicht 1971, 174, 177

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