Meeting Index

Eric Voegelin Society Meeting 2000

Voegelin and Heidegger as Critics of Modernity

Copyright 2000 Michael D. Henry

Unlike the word "modem," which in common usage usually connotes progress and improvement over the past, "modernity" is a more abstract, less commonly used word that has largely negative connotations, suggesting the negative cultural underside of "progress" and "improvement over the past." The so-called "culture war" in which the Western world is currently engaged is a contest between those who regard the modem age of secularism, scientism, and moral relativism as a great advance beyond the metaphysical darkness of the past and those who see modernity as a period of decline in which something essential has been lost. Socrates and Plato were the major critics of their own modernity, and of the past four centuries that we call modernity, there have been quite a few critics, two of the most prominent in the twentieth century being Eric Voegelin and Martin Heidegger. Although Voegelin and Heidegger were roughly contemporaries and shared some insights into the disorders of the modem world, their analyses are nonetheless substantially different because they had fundamentally different understandings of the nature of reality and the importance of understanding the order of the soul.
Both grasped quite clearly the problems posed by the modem positivistic, scientistic, anti-metaphysical worldview and both sought to reawaken human awareness of a reality beyond the limitations of our senses. But, although early in their careers both were strongly influenced by Husserl, they later moved away from Husserl and developed philosophies quite different from each other. Voegelin was a political or social scientist, with some training in law, whose constant questioning led him gradually to a theory of consciousness and the soul's participation in the divine. Heidegger, who eventually decided to call himself a thinker, rather than a philosopher or scientist, began his career as a Catholic theologian but ended up as an atheist (or at least agnostic) vates of "Being", with the purpose of overcoming not only modem positivism and scientism but also metaphysics itself because it questioned only the beings in the world. He wanted to replace it with a kind of poetic meditation on Being, the ultimate ground of all beings.
Although Voegelin and Heidegger were concerned with essentially the same questions and problems, the considerable differences between their philosophies became quite obvious in their different reactions to National Socialism in Germany. Consider two starkly different events: In 1933 Heidegger joined the Nazi Party and became the Rector of Freiburg University. In 1938, just after the Anschluss, Voegelin was fired from his position at the University of Vienna and fled the country almost literally one step ahead of the Gestapo because he had written books of which the Nazis did not approve. There is a common attitude, attested to by the extent of Heidegger's influence, that, although his Nazi affiliation was certainly deplorable, this really does not reflect on the significance of his thought, which many even consider quite compatible with Christianity. But is it possible for a thinker whose thinking is truly sound and possesses intellectual honesty to be seduced by such a primitive, violent, and anti-intellectual ideology? This is a question that will have to be addressed in order to evaluate Heidegger as acritic of modernity.
In comparing Voegelin's and Heidegger's analyses of the modem world there are three questions that I want to explore:
1) In what sense is each a critic of modernity and what are the anti- or counter-modem positions in their thinking?

2) What made Heidegger susceptible to Nazism and Voegelin totally immune?

3) The third question arises from a remark made by Karl L6with in his trenchant analysis of Heidegger, Martin Heidegger and European Nihilism, originally published in 1953. L6with states that "genuine opponents, those who are not simply against Heidegger but rather could treat him as an adversary, can scarcely be found in the philosophical efforts of the most recent decades."1

To begin with the first question: Both Voegelin and Heidegger believed that modernity was a loss in the understanding of reality and both believed that comprehending the problems of modernity required a return to philosophy's origins among the ancient Greeks. There, however, the resemblance ceases, because Voegelin considered Plato the most important ancient philosopher and returned to him again and again as the source of inspiration, but Heidegger came to regard Plato's philosophy as already a falling away from the primordial truth of Parmenides and Heraclitus into mere metaphysics. Also, unlike Voegelin, Heidegger shared the peculiar belief of many Germans, going back at least to Fichte, that the Germans had a particular affinity with the ancient Greeks and that the German and Greek languages were the only tongues truly suitable for philosophy.2 Fichte, Heidegger, and others believed "that the Germans had a language with metaphysical origins and that this language made them uniquely capable of original thinking."3 To these thinkers the Germans, like the early Greeks, were gifted with primordiality because of their rootedness-they still lived in their ancient home and still spoke their original language (although even Heidegger had to acknowledge changes in the language while expounding on his etymological interpretations of non-German texts). The German thinkers believed that their language and culture made them the world's foremost metaphysical thinkers and that anti-metaphysical ways of thinking, such as empiricism, positivism, and scientism. were entirely un-German. It was as though the Germans were bom to be the world's philosophers.' Voegelin, of course, rejected this linguistic chauvinism and found English quite capable of expressing his mature thought.
The loss of reality that both Voegelin and Heidegger found in modernity was interpreted by the latter as "homelessness." Near the beginning of his almost one- hundred-page analysis of boredom (Langeweile-long while) in his 1929-30 lectures The Fundamental

1 Karl Lowith, Martin Heidegger and European Nihilism, tr, by Gary Steiner, ed. by Richard Wolin.
Columbia University Press. 1995, p.
2 Hans Sluga, Heidegger's Crisis: Philosophy and Politics in Nazi Germany. Harvard University Press.
1993, p. 37
23 Sluga, p. 120
34 See Sluga, p. 198. As Marx once observed, what other nations have done, the Germans
have thought.
4


Concepts of Metaphysics-World, Finitude, Solitude he says

This profound boredom is the fundamental attunement. We pass the time, in order to master it, because time becomes long in boredom....Is it supposed to be short, then? Does not each of us truly wish for a truly long time for ourselves? And whenever it does become long for us, we pass the time and ward off its becoming long! We do not want to have a long time, but we have it nevertheless. Boredom, long time: especially in Alemannic usage, it is no accident that 'to have long time' means the same as 'to be homesick'. In this German usage, if someone has long-time for ... this means he is homesick for....Profound boredom-a homesickness. Homesickness-philosophizing, we heard somewhere, is supposed to be a homesickness.5

He goes on to analyze boredom, or homesickness, as a feeling of emptiness and he diagnoses the prevailing mood in Germany as one of deep metaphysical boredom, a sense of uprootedness and homelessness.6 In his excellent study, Heidegger's Confrontation with Modernity: Technology, Politics, Art, Michael Zimmerman comments that "Heidegger experienced this homelessness profoundly, so much so that his sanity seems to have been threatened by the loss of familiarity and meaning in a world devoid of God. In 1929-30, he commented approvingly on Novalis's statement that 'philosophy is authentic homesickness [Heimweh], a drive at all times to be at home....A remarkable definition, naturally romantic. Homesickness-is there still something like this in general today? Has it not become an incomprehensible word, even in everyday life? For us has not the contemporary urban man and ape of civilization long since abolished homesickness? And [to think of] homesickness as the absolute determination of philosophy!"'7

For Heidegger this homelessness is not a lost relationship with Transcendence (in fact, Heidegger applies the term transcendence to human existence), but an alienation from the essence of Being's history.' The search is for a return to "German Being" or "German culture", a return to the Fatherland. But there is more here than a desire for rootedness in one's native soil. Philosophically, as well as Germanically, Heidegger's thinking expresses a homesickness for a lost Eden, a primordial time when Being unconcealed itself to man, when man lived in a complete, pre-rational, pre-conscious wholeness, before man fell away from Being into reasoning and metaphysics with its concentration on entities, their nature and their production.

5 Martin Heidegger, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World Finitude, Solitude. Tr. By William McNeill and Nickolas Walker. Indiana University Press. 1995, p. 80.

 6 Voegelin, not mincing words, diagnosed this situation as one of "ethical and intellectual rottenness." Hitler and the Germans. Vol. 31 of The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin. Tr. And ed. By Detlev Clemens and Brendan Purcell. University of Missouri Press. 1999, p. 57 

7 Michael Zimmerman, Heidegger's  Confrontation with Modernity: Technology, Politics, Art. Indiana University Press. 1990, p. 23

8 Martin Heidegger, "Letter on Humanism" in Basic Writings, Revised & Expanded Edition, ed. By David Farrell Krell, Harper San Francisco. 1993, p. 241.


He came to believe that the only salvation from the alienation of modernity is in releasement, Gelassenheit, a somewhat mystical concept that for him meant a apatient waiting for the next epiphany of Being. The way to evoke this attitude of expectation is through poetry, not poetry in general but the sort mystical poetry written by Holderlin, Rilke, and Trakl. Heidegger's lifelong concern was to restore a home for man in an awareness of Being (das Sein), the mysterious something that manifested itself in the world of entities or beings (Seiendes). Human beings as Da-sein are the "clearing" where Being can emerge from concealment into presence, presence, apparently to itself, since Da-sein is part of Sein. This fundamental ontology, which Heidegger began to develop in his early works, is a stark challenge to the positivism of modernity, for Heidegger sought that ultimate Being behind and beyond the appearances, yet yielding itself as the beings that appear. In the Letter on Humanism of 1947 he says that " homelessness ... consists in the abandonment of Being by beings. Homelessness is the symptom of oblivion of Being. Because of it the truth of being remains unthought. The oblivion of Being makes itself known indirectly through the fact that man always observes and handles only beings."9 Although in Being and Time Heidegger focused on human existence as the "there" where Being is able to achieve presence, that is to be conscious of itself, in his later works he abandoned what some considered an anthropocentric view for a focus on Being and the overcoming of metaphysics with its more limited understanding of reality. By this time man has become "the shepherd of being" and language "the house of Being."
Although Heidegger frequently spoke of the gods or God as part of the whole and was fond of quoting Holderlin's line that "only a god can save us," he did not identify Being, or even divinity, with God10 and, unlike Voegelin, showed no interest in the soul and its relation with the divine. These matters he removed from philosophy and left to theology, which he considered a positive science.11 In general Heidegger regarded Christianity, along with metaphysics, as responsible for the decline in the West from Parmenides to modem positivism.12 In one of his clearest statements he bluntly says in his 1924 lecture The Concept Of Time, "Der Philosoph glaubt nicht," that is, "The philosopher does not believe," or, more freely translated, the philosopher is not concerned with God or eternity or the transcendent. The philosopher, he says, is resolved "to understand time in terms of time, " and not time in relation to eternity, and time itself is Da-sein, which must individually "maintain itself by its "running

9 Heidegger, Basic Writings, pp. 242-43. 

10 Zimmerman, p. 17 1. 

11 Martin Heidegger, "Phenomenology and Theology," in Martin Heidegger: Pathmarks, ed. By William McNeill. Cambridge University Press. 1998, pp. 40-54. 

12 In a work on Heraclitus in the 1940s Heidegger wrote that " Christendom, which as a result of the techne-like Creation doctrine believed and taught in it (seen metaphysically, it is also one of the most essential reasons for the coming of the dominion of modem technology), would have an essential part in the formation of the domination of the self-reflection of subjectivity, such that precisely Christendom can do nothing toward overcoming this reflection. Whence then the historical bankruptcy of Christendom and its Church in modem world history? Is yet a third world war needed to prove it?" Quoted in Zimmerman, p. 180.

ahead" [Vorlaufen] into the future.13
In order to demonstrate how far we have fallen from the primordial "truth" or unconcealment of Being, Heidegger attempted to recapture its spirit by subjecting traditional interpretations to a careful rethinking in the light of an exhaustive etymology of Greek and German. Perhaps the most egregious example of this is in his analysis of the Anaximander fragment. He begins by presenting the conventional translation (actually the one made by Nietzsche), which, as rendered into English, reads: "Whence things have their origin, there they must also pass away according to necessity; for they must pay penalty and be judged for their injustice, according to the ordinance of time."14He then states that before this fragment can be more adequately translated into German it must first be translated into what is really being said in Greek and compares a thoughtful translation of what is spoken in this fragment to "a leap over an abyss." After he decides that only the last part of the fragment is authentic and works his way through a great deal of complex etymologizing, he winds up with the translation (as it is rendered into English): "along the lines of usage; for they let order and thereby also reck belong to one another (in the surmounting) of disorder."15 This has the Heideggerian virtue of being less intelligible, and Karl Lowith, for one, considers it a "violent interpretation of Axaximander," an interpretation with which no classical philologist could agree.16
Similarly, he retranslates the Heraclitus B50 fragment from "When you have listened not to me but to the Meaning [Logos], it is wise within the same Meaning to say: One is All" to "Attuned not to me but to the Laying that gathers: letting the Same lie: the fateful occurs (the Laying that gathers): One unifying All."17 As Lowith comments on Heidegger's statement that thinking the truth of Being is "releasement toward that-which-regions" because the essence of thinking rests in the "regioning (Vergegnis) of releasement," if someone asked Heidegger if this sort of explanation makes the matter clearer he would answer, "No, nothing is clear; but everything is significant!"18
But what does it signify? Presumably it signifies Being, but what does Heidegger mean by Being? In an essay called "The Turning" Heidegger says that Being "is itself the placeless dwelling of all presencing,"19 In the Letter on Humanism he says that Being "is It itself The thinking that is to come must learn to experience that and to say it. 'Being'-that is not God and not a cosmic ground. Being is farther than all beings and is yet nearer to man than every

13 Martin Heidegger, The Concept of Time, " tr. By William McNeill (English-German Edition). Blackwell, 1992, pp. I (I E) and 14 (14E). 14 Martin Heidegger, Early Greek Thinking: The Dawn of Western Philosophy, tr. by David Farrell Krell and Frank A. Capuzzi. Harper
SanFrancisco. 1984, p. 13.
15 Ibid., p. 19.
16 Lowith, p. 43. Heidegger might have agreed. He said, "Because it poetizes as it thinks, the translation which wishes to let the oldest fragment of thinking itself speak necessarily appears violent." (p. 19).
17 Ibid., p. 4 1.
18Ibid., p. 57
19 In Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, tr. By William Lovitt. Harper Torchbooks. 1977, p. 43.

being, be it a rock, a beast, a work of art, a machine, be it an angel or God."20 Of course, this is still not very clear so we must attempt to grasp its significance by doing some apophatic thinking. First, Being is not an entity and like Plotinus's The One, it cannot be named but only referred to. It is not the object of metaphysics, which concerns itself only with beings, and it cannot be controlled or manipulated by human power or will. Second, Being is not God or even divine. In fact, God or the gods are simply different ways in which Being may or may not reveal itself. As Heidegger puts it, "Whether God lives or remains dead is not determined by the religiousness of man, and still less by the theological aspirations of philosophy and science. Whether God is God is determined from and within the constellation of Being."21 Although Heidegger regarded human existence in a godless world as empty, there is nothing-no repentance, no change of heart, no conversion-that humanity can do to restore God. God is merely one of the possible epiphanies of Being. God is a being, an entity, and therefore theology is merely one more positive science, absolutely different from philosophy. In his 1927 lecture "Phenomenology and Theology" Heidegger says that 'faith, as a specific possibility of existence, is in its innermost core the mortal enemy of the form of existence that is an essential part of philosophy and that is factically ever-changing. Faith is so absolutely the mortal enemy that philosophy does not even begin to want in any way to do battle with it....Accordingly, there is no such thing as a Christian philosophy; that is an absolute "square circle'."22Yet Heidegger has his own faith in Being.
Being reveals itself in language and for Heidegger it is a poetic, not a rational, language. Thinking is poetizing, not what is ordinarily meant by reasoning. He once put this quite bluntly: "Thinking begins only when we have come to know that reason, glorified for centuries, is the most stiff-necked adversary of thought."23 This is why he translates the early Greek philosophers into something that looks more like a mystifying sort of poetry than philosophy. It was poetry he thought of as the true language of Being, a language that is handed over to Da-sein from Being. "Language is the house of Being.-Those who think and those who create with words are the guardians of this home,"24 so that Being can manifest itself Thinking and poetic creation require liberating language from the rigid framework of grammar. But creating a more original language framework can merely render "thought" meaningless and incommunicable. Heidegger's translations create an aura of mystery, rather than clarity, which is precisely his purpose, for his central criticism of modernity is that the sense of mystery, of the unfathomable and ineffable and significant has been lost. (Also, of course, the more cryptic the utterances, the more profound a thinker he can appear to be.) While in his earlier writings he tended to ascribe the cause of this loss to man's forgetting of Being, in his later writings he

20Basic Writings, p. 234.
21 Quoted in John Macquarrie, Heidegger and Christianity, The Continuum Publishing
Company. 1994, p. 107.
22 In Pathmarks, p. 53.
23 "The Question Concerning Technology," in The Question Concerning Technology and
Other Essays,
p. 112.
24 Letter on Humanism, in
Basic Works,
p. 217.


decides that our anxiety-creating loss of a ground is simply the way in which Being reveals, or conceals, itself in our age.
Therefore, when it comes to the modem utilitarian, technological world Heidegger is less a critic than an observer. In The Question Concerning Technology he says that "modem technology as an ordering revealing is ... no merely human doing. Therefore we must take that challenging that sets upon man to order the real as standing-reserve in accordance with the way in which it shows itself. That challenging gathers man into ordering. This gathering concentrates man upon ordering the real as standing-reserve." 25 This means that the modem technological, scientistic, positivist, utilitarian view that regards all beings as useful in the present or the future is merely the way in which Being both reveals and conceals itself in our time. All that we can do is try to understand that whatever happens is the doing of Being. This is a necessary, difficult period of time which we must go through, but also dangerous because technology is the ultimate distance from ontology. Technology reduces the entire world to things that can be used according to the will to power. Nothing mysterious and poetic is left in the spiritual wasteland of the technological world. On the one hand our existence is important, for we are the clearing where Being can presence itself out of Nothingness into unconcealedness, but on the other hand our existence (or, as Heidegger puts it "ek-sistence") is unimportant for history and civilization are not matters of human action but of the selfrevelation of Being which it is our destiny to observe, but not necessarily to understand. Heidegger's analysis of ancient texts makes clear that (in his interpretation) the more deeply we penetrate into the linguistic utterances engendered by the revelation of Being the more incomprehensible it becomes.
The goal of Heidegger's thinking and teaching was to make a new beginning, to reawaken in human beings the awareness of the mystery of Being which is Nothing because it is No-thing. It is an ultimate, ungraspable, impersonal reality that reveals itself to human beings who are receptive to this revelation. Most human beings remain oblivious to this hidden reality and see only beings, but the awareness of Being remains accessible to a few philosophers and poets who are the "heralds" of being. By devoting his entire philosophical life to Being Heidegger hoped to overcome the emptiness and meaninglessness, the homelessness and anxiety of modernity. The hope is that a god will save us, but whether or not a god appears is something we can only wait for in an attitude of Gelassenheit, or releasement, and idea he derived from German mystics such as Meister Eckhart and also Eastern philosophers such as Taoism and Zen Buddhism.26

25"The Question Concerning Technology," p. 19. 

26There is a considerable amount of literature discussing Heidegger's debt to Eastern thought. To give just a few examples: Heidegger's Hidden Sources, by Reinhard May, tr. by Graham Parkes. Routledge, 1996; the chapter on Heidegger and Zen Buddhism" in The Other Heidegger, by Fred Dallmayr. Cornell University Press, 1993; and "Heidegger, Buddhism, and Deep Ecology" by Michael E. Zimmerman in The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger, Cambridge University Press, 1993, pp. 240-269. According to Richard May, "one cannot dismiss the possibility that Heidegger intentionally incorporated East Asian ideas, in an encoded manner, into his work." (p. 9) It would have to be encoded because Heidegger claimed that a tradition could attain salvation only from its own resources.

Voegelin is starkly different. Like Heidegger he also seeks to revitalize the experiences that gave rise to philosophy, but he has a radically different understanding of those experiences as noetic, that is, they involve the nous, the human faculty for entering into a relationship with the divine transcendence. Where Heidegger is grounded in himself and his own (and a few others') attempts to articulate the ineffable as poetry, Voegelin grounds philosophy in the participation in the divine In 1943 he wrote to Alfred Schutz that the philosopher of history had to explore his own consciousness for participating in the world of meaning. This requires penetrating "every historical spiritual position" to the point "where it is deeply rooted in the experiences of transcendence of the thinker in question."27 Throughout all his later work he followed his conviction, which, as he explained in his Autobiographical Reflections he arrived at while working on his two volumes on the race question, namely that "a political theory especially when it was to be applicable to the analysis of ideologies, had to be based on Classic and Christian philosophy,"28 which had explored the experiences of transcendence. Voegelin would never say that nothing is clear because for more than half a century he strove for increasing clarity, within a wider horizon of mystery, and, in contrast with Heidegger he would say "Der Philosophe glaubt." Having a solid standpoint put Voegelin in a position to give quite a different critique of modernity and to provide a very detailed explanation of what has gone
wrong.
In his unfinished History of Political Ideas Voegelin gives a thorough analysis of a number of thinkers as he traces the development of modernity's spiritual and political disorder and the degrees to which attempts to grapple with the problems aided in understanding or contributed to the deterioration. Voegelin's position gradually evolved into an understanding of the true nature of consciousness as the central issue, and, contra Husserl, it seemed to him that it was "ridiculous to pretend that there was nothing to consciousness but the consciousness of objects of the external world."29 From his understanding of Classic and Christian philosophy, and from his personal recollections of early childhood experiences that formed his own consciousness, he derived a theory of the center of consciousness as "the experience of participation, meaning thereby the reality of being in contact with reality outside myself,"30 reality here including all kinds of experiences, not only the spiritual, and these experiences are kept in balance in the soul. Following William James and Plato, Voegelin argued that the central experience is not in an isolated mind but in what Plato called the metaxy, the In-Between, and the most crucial In-Between experiences were those that involved response to the movements of divine presence. These experiences are expressed in linguistic symbols and therefore language participates in the metaxy character of consciousness. Voegelin believed that symbols participate equally in divine and human reality and signify the "divine reality in its

27Quoted in Eric Voegelin and the Foundations of Modern Political Science, by Barry
Cooper. University of Missouri Press. 1999, p. 197.
28 Eric Voegelin, Autobiographical Reflections, ed. By Ellis Sandoz. Louisiana State
University Press. 1993, p. 38.
29 Autobiographical Reflections, p. 70. Voegelin, nonetheless, had great respect for Husserl's
achievement.
30Ibid., p. 72


presence itself "31 This is, of course, reminiscent of Heidegger's theory of language as expressing the presencing of Being, but for Heidegger Being is not God and there is no divinehuman encounter in which the human soul has the freedom to choose whether or not to respond.
Through his History of Political Ideas Voegelin traces the spiritual struggle in the human soul in its essential existence in tension toward the divine ground of its being. In Volume V, in a section entitled "The Problems of Modernity" where he is dealing with the period around the end of the sixteenth century, he says that "the compound of sentiments that we call 'modem' contains a will to self-assertion against the ancient model that is not less strong than the will to overcome medieval limitations by means of the model. The very opposition to antiquity has shaped the consciousness of modernity."32 Later, however, he would decide that this opposition was not consciously directed against antiquity.
Voegelin's theory of consciousness is presented in considerable detail in Anamnesis, and in Vols. IV and V of Order and History. Consciousness is "the specifically human mode of participation in reality"33 and the reality of this world is grounded in the divine ground of Being. "There are no things that are merely immanent."34 In other words, everything, not just human beings, is drawn toward the divine as much as it has material existence, an idea already clearly expressed in Plato's Phaedo [74d-75b]. There is nothing Beyond God for Voegelin, and God is the source of all things that come to be.
Since man is not completely immanent but is In-Between, he experiences his earthly existence as unrest and those who are most sensitive to the attraction to the ground of existence engage in searching, questioning, wondering. Their experience of divine reality engenders symbols which exist in the In-Between. "The man who asks questions, and the divine ground about which the questions are asked, will merge in the experience of questioning as a divinehuman encounter and reemerge as the participants in the encounter that has the luminosity and structure of consciousness....The ground is not a spatially distant thing but a divine presence that becomes manifest in the experience of unrest and the desire to know."35 The divine is a subjectivity which merges with human subjectivity and the human commitment to the search for our origins calls forth the divine presence, as the divine can move within the human soul and call forth a response, although the soul is also free to refuse and can demonically close itself against the divine presence. It is this demonic rejection that Voegelin sees as the principle source of the pneumopathological. disorders of modernity. The public order has been despiritualized, Christian transcendental experience has atrophied, souls have closed themselves off from Christianity, and the state has become entirely secular, all of which has had an effect

31Ibid., p. 74
32Eric Voegelin, History of  Political Ideas, Vol. V.- Religion and the Rise of Modernity, ed.
By James L. Wiser, in The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, Vol. 23. University of Missouri
Press. 1998, p. 135.
33Eric Voegelin, Anamnesis, tr. and ed. by Gerhart Niemeyer, University of Notre Dame
Press. 1978, p. 4.
34 Anamnesis, p. 78.
35 Anamnesis, p. 95.


on human self-understanding, which has become somewhat dehumanized. The culmination of this process in the twentieth century has, of course, been the metapysically and physically violent totalitarian ideologies that replace the tension toward a divine transcendent perfection with a tension toward an earthly future human perfection.
The fundamental reality for Voegelin is the tension between the human and divine poles which "must not be hypostatized into objects independent of the tension in which they are experienced as its poles."36 Philosophy, then, is the consciousness of eternal being in time, which may sound reminiscent of Heidegger, but for Heidegger there is no eternal reality and Being is non-divine and temporal. The soul, which is a very important concept, or more correctly, symbol, for Voegelin, but not for Heidegger, is not a thing or an object, but "soul" is "strictly the name of a predicate of which 'place of the tension' is the subject."37 The soul is the sensorium of transcendence. For Voegelin both "soul" and "I" are symbols for aspects of experience, rather than discrete beings.
And what does Being mean to Voegelin? "It designates, not an object, but a context of order in which are placed all experienced complexes of reality after the dissociation of the cosmos, and which, before the dissociation, were placed in the context of the cosmic order. The new context of order called being replaces the older one called cosmos."38 For Voegelin Being is not a mysterious and hidden something that conceals itself in its self-presencing in the clearing called Da-sein but simply the overall complex of order in which the soul seeks to participate and find its true order of existence. A genuine spiritual or interior life does not fit into Heidegger's speculative world because he has eliminated transcendence. This means that he has also eliminated the depths of the soul and he cannot criticize modernity in terms of the extent to which it is caused by and has an effect on spiritual disorders, but only in terms of the mood of "sacred mourning" for the gods who have "died" and our own homelessness in a world dominated by technology, a world it is our role to care for but in which nothing cares for us, who are merely "thrown" into existence.
Just as Heidegger cannot explain why and how Being emerges from concealment, Voegelin cannot fully explain why, since the beginning of the fourteenth century, which is the time when he sees the beginning of the decline of the Church, there has been this steady deterioration in spiritual order. He does have a partial explanation. He puts some of the blame on Aquinas for reducing metaphysics from the living fluid symbolization of the experience of the divine in the metaxy (the In-Between), to a set of dogmatic propositions, devoid of the experiences that gave rise to the original terms. This produced a loss of spiritual experience and a misunderstanding of metaphysical speculation that has led to the modem rebellion against a false or misunderstood metaphysics. Also, beginning in the Renaissance life on earth began to change dramatically through new inventions and discoveries and the rise of modem science. This was an eruption of human energy that was so intoxicating and seemed so promising that Descartes, in a moment of exuberant optimism, predicted that humanity would eventually

36Ibid., p. 104
37Ibid., p. 125.
38Ibid., p. 13 5.


become "the masters and possessors of nature." The Platonic and Christian focus on the search for fulfillment in a union with the Ground of our being in the "beyond" began to shift to an interest in making this world better, and the parousia was contracted to a future earthly perfection. It became impossible to believe that everything important in human history (except its end) had already happened and there was nothing to do but endure the senescence of humanity. Modem science promised something quite the opposite. As Voegelin put it, people early in the modem age could not believe that they were merely a "senseless appendix" to the Classical world and the beginning of Christianity.39 Second, human beings have free will and there is the inscrutable mystery of divine grace, which is either granted or withheld. Not everyone is a Plato, nor can everyone comprehend Plato's thinking. And human beings have the freedom to reject God and contract in upon themselves. And then there is, of course, the existential tension, the profound unsettling uncertainty that arises from simply existing as a finite, contingent being facing death. Heidegger is very much aware of this anxiety, or Angst, which, in his later works, he tries to counteract with Gelassenheit. For the earlier Heidegger Da-sein, which is characterized as being-in-the-world, not as having any participation in the In-Between (he would later say that only the poets exist in an in-between of gods and men), could seek to live an authentic life only in the midst of das Man (the anonymous "they") in the tension of being-toward-death, but the later Heidegger has moved beyond this to resigned patient waiting upon the whims of Being. Voegelin is much more incisive in The New Science of Politics regarding the human craving for certainty.

Uncertainty is the very essence of Christianity. The feeling of security in a 'world full of gods' is lost with the gods themselves; when the world is de-divinized, communication with the world-transcendent God is reduced to the tenuous bond of faith ... as the substance of things hoped for and the proof of things unseen.... The bond is tenuous, indeed, and it may snap easily. The life of the soul in openness toward God, the waiting, the periods of aridity and dullness, guilt and despondency, contrition and repentance, forsakenness and hope against hope, the silent stirrings of love and grace, trembling on the verge of a certainty which if gained is loss-the very lightness of this fabric may prove too heavy a burden for men who lust for massively possessive experience.40

Voegelin's mature diagnosis of the spiritual disorder produced by the "lust for massively possessive experience" can be found in the old type of thinking called gnosticism and a much more recent term coined by Robert Musil, the "second reality." The core of gnosticism, going back at least two thousand years, is the sense of homelessness, "the experience of the world as an alien place into which man has strayed and from which he must find his way back home to the world of his origin."41Salvation from the prison of the world is

39 History of Political Ideas, Vol. VI., p. 56. 

40Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics. The  University of Chicago Press.1952, p. 122. 

41
Eric Voegelin, Science, Politics & Gnosticism, Henry Regnery Company, Gateway Edition. 1968, p. 9.


through an alien or hidden God who sends messengers or heralds and shows the way to escape. However much the numerous gnostic sects and theories differ, "the aim is always in destruction of the old world and passage to the new. The instrument of salvation is gnosis itself-knowledge."42 But reality stubbornly remains reality, even though the gnostic thinker constructs the most elaborate theory of salvation and escape to a new, imaginary world. The new world is the second reality which is forcefully imposed on and intended to conceal the first, true reality. But like all attempts to live a lie, the result is enormous psychological stress and dislocation. It is Voegelin's belief that gnostics and creators of second realities are swindlers and not entirely unaware that they are.
While Heidegger drifted off into poetry and Eastern philosophies that reject reason, Voegelin honed his reasoning powers to the sharpness of a scalpel. Poetic thinking, precisely because of its lack of precision, does not allow for a substantive critique of modernity. Heidegger has a state of mind that, while rejecting reason as thinking, nonetheless is aware that human beings exist in tension toward something beyond the world of sense experience and human technological control. He would, I think, agree with his French contemporary Gabriel Marcel's conviction that life becomes empty and hopeless without the faith that we participate in something beyond our everyday world. But his poetically enigmatic style of thinking is too dull an instrument for a serious and truly enlightening critique of modernity. He simply finds modem technology and positivism unfulfilling for us "whose hearing and seeing are perishing through radio and film under the rule of technology."43
So, although both Voegelin and Heidegger reject the positivism, scientism, and relativism of modernity and seek to return to a supersensuous world, their methods and goals are enormously different. Heidegger longed for a primordial, mythic Arcadia in which humanity would live happily in complete harmony with the world as Being gives it to him, while at the same time knowing that this never was and never will be: "The history of Being begins, and indeed necessarily, with the forgetting of Being."44 Metaphysics and technology, as the strange remaining-away of Being, give no sign that Being is ever going to presence itself in its plenitude. Voegelin, on the other hand, believes that human fulfillment in the true order of existence comes only through the loving response to the constant movements of the divine reality in the In-Between. God does not remain away but is constantly present in the depths of our being, but it is this that modernity has lost. Heidegger is unhappy with modernity because he cannot seem to find a place in it for the primordial and the simple peasant life (it is no coincidence that the one work of (pictorial) art that Heidegger discussed in considerable, loving, and eloquent detail is Van Gogh's painting of the peasant's shoes), but Voegelin criticizes modernity for its denial of the central importance of the search for and participation in the divine.

The second question is why Heidegger, along with quite a few other German

42Ibid., p. 11.
43"The Turning" in The Question Concerning Technology, p. 48
44"The Word of Nietzsche: "God is Dead" in The Question Concerning Technology, p. 109.


philosophers, joined the Nazi Party while Voegelin was declared persona non grata by the Nazis. To a great extent, of course, this comes down to a difference of personalities or, more precisely, a difference of souls, but Voegelin was certainly aided by his years of study outside of Germany, in America and France, which enabled him to escape the insulated Germanic approach to philosophy and discover other philosophic traditions of which he had previously been unaware. Commenting on his two years in America in the 1920s Voegelin says that America was a world "in which this other world in which I had grown up was intellectually, morally, and spiritually irrelevant. That there should be such a plurality had a devastating effect on me. The experience broke for good ... my Central European or generally European provincialism without letting me fall into an American provincialism....The immediate effect was that upon my return to Europe certain phenomena that were of the greatest importance in the intellectual and ideological context of Central Europe, for instance the work of Martin Heidegger, whose famous Sein und Zeit I read in 1928, no longer had any effect on me. It just ran off, because I had been immunized against this whole context of philosophizing through my time in America and especially in Wisconsin,"45 where he had acquired an interest in American government as the core for understanding American political culture.
Heidegger did not study outside of Germany, but instead spent six years as a high school seminarian, followed by two weeks in a Jesuit novitiate, from which he was dismissed for health reasons. In 1916 he began teaching Catholic philosophy at Freiburg University, and was considered an up-and-coming Catholic thinker, but early in 1919 he wrote a letter to his colleague Fr. Krebs in which he said that he wanted to be a philosopher unrestrained by outside influences and that the "system of Catholicism", but not Christianity and metaphysics, had become problematic and unacceptable to him.46This was the beginning of a lengthy process in which he became anti-Catholic and then anti-Christian, and ultimately anti-metaphysics. John D. Caputo reports that after 1928 Heidegger was "deeply antagonistic to Christianity in general and to the Catholicism of Freiburg in particular, and he gives indications of having become personally atheistic. He became in his personal conduct at Freiburg a hostile opponent of Christianity,"47of which conduct Caputo gives a few examples.48 Yet, oddly enough, near the end of his life he said that he had never left the Church and was given a Catholic burial. His philosophy, which has certain mystical qualities, is certainly a displaced form of religious thought, but a religion without God. It is a pseudo-religion, as was National Socialism, and like the Nazis, Heidegger sought to mesmerize his audience. The Party gatherings were designed to overwhelm. the critical faculties of anyone who still had them and put everyone under the spell of Hitler. There are a number of comments on the spellbinding effect that Heidegger had on his students. "All his students, even those who later drifted away from him, are unanimous in

45Autobiographical Reflections, pp. 32-33.
46 See "Reading a Life: Heidegger and Hard Times" by Thomas Sheehan in The Cambridge
Companion to Heidegger, pp. 71-72.
47See "Heidegger and Theology," by John D. Caputo, in The Cambridge Companion, p. 277.
48For instance, Heidegger would not accept Jesuits as his doctoral students and treated other
Catholic students very badly. When the occupant of the Chair of Catholic Philosophy died in
1941 Heidegger had the chair abolished.


reporting the spellbinding character of his lectures and the intense fascination of his oral presentations. In his Heideggers Wege, Hans-Georg Gadamer ascribes to his teacher a 'nearly dramatic appearance, a power of diction, a concentration of delivery which captivated all his listeners'." Also, in 1978 Hannah Arendt wrote that even before his major works were published his "name traveled all over Germany like the rumor of the hidden king....The rumor about Heidegger put it quite simply: Thinking has come to light again; the cultural treasures of the past, believed to be dead, are being made to speak, in the course of which it turns out that they propose things altogether different from the familiar, worn-out trivialities they had been presumed to say. There exists a teacher; one can perhaps learn to think."49 There is, however, a dissenting voice here, that of Karl L6with, who gives a somewhat different description of Heidegger in his autobiographical reflections. "We gave Heidegger the nickname 'the little magician from Messkirch.'...He was a small dark man who knew how to cast a spell insofar as he could make disappear what he had a moment before presented. His lecture technique consisted of building up an edifice of ideas which he then proceeded to tear down, presenting the spellbound listeners with a riddle and then leaving them empty-handed. This ability to cast a spell at times had very considerable consequences: it attracted more or less psychopathic personality types, and after three years of guessing at riddles, one woman student took her own life."50Was Heidegger really teaching his students to think or was he simply casting spells with oracular statements that sounded more profound than they really were? He was not asking them to follow a rational argument anymore than the Nazis did, but instead to follow him as he led them on a gradually disappearing path into the middle of a dark and misty wood. With Heidegger there was more enigma than clarification. Also, Heidegger apparently thought that as Rector of Freiburg University and the most prominent "thinker" in Germany he could be the "Fufirer" of Hitler, guiding him and the Nazi movement into the truth of Being. He saw in Nazism a kind of salvation from the Bolsheviks, who represented socialist industrialism, i.e. technology, and the Americans, who represented capitalistic industrialism. In June of 1933 Karl Jaspers described Heidegger as "like a man intoxicated, with something threatening emanating from him."51 Presumably Heidegger thought that the god that would save us had arrived and that he himself would have a significant role to play in the salvation of Germany. Jaspers also reports that in the same year Heidegger said "that he could not see why there had to be so many philosophy professors in Germany: two or three would be enough."52 Apparently he did not mention who the other one or two should be.
There is some disagreement among those who have investigated the matter regarding how long and how deeply Heidegger was committed to Nazism. After the war he remained essentially silent about his involvement and about the Holocaust. He had certainly not given up on Nazism by 1935, as evidenced by the passage in The Introduction to Metaphysics, lectures given at the University of Freiburg in the summer of that year. Near the end he says, "In 1928

49Quoted in Dallmayr, The Other Heidegger, p. 133.
50Quoted in Lowith, Martin Heidegger and European Nihilism, p. 4. On the whole L6with's portrait of Heidegger and his work is rather critical. 
51Quoted in Jeff Collins, Heidegger and the Nazis. Totem Books. 2000, p. 26. 
52Ibid., pp. 38-39


there appeared the first part of a general bibliography on the concept of value. In it 661 titles are listed. No doubt the number has meanwhile swollen to one thousand. All these works call themselves philosophy. The works that are being peddled about nowadays as the philosophy of Nationalism Socialism but have nothing to do with the inner truth and greatness of this movement (namely the encounter between global technology and modem man)-have all been written by men fishing in the troubled waters of 'values' and 'totalities'."53
In the early stages of Nazi power Heidegger seems to have found considerable congruence between his own thinking and that of National Socialism. For example, in a January, 1934 speech to unemployed Freiburg workers drafted into the "labor service" he exhorted them to find the will that connects mental and manual labor. "This will ... must be our innermost certainty and never-faltering faith. For in what this will wills, we are only following the towering will of our Fufirer. To be his loyal followers means: to will that the German people shall find again, as a people of labour, its organic unity, its simple dignity, and its true strength; and that, as a state of labour, it shall secure for itself permanence and greatness. To the man of this unprecedented will, to our Fiffirer Adolf Hitler-a three-fold 'Sieg Heil! 54 Although the emphasis on will, especially "towering will," is very uncharacteristic of Heidegger's thought I think he managed to use Nazi language here while giving it his own meaning, which is more like an attunement to Being, with the suggestion that the saving god and the return to the simple and primordial life were at hand. The kind of labor that Heidegger had in mind was not productive, industrial, technological labor in which man imposes his will on things, but the poetic work of letting Being emerge from concealment. Ultimately Heidegger became disillusioned, it seems, when the Nazis turned out to have their own interest in non-poetic industrialism and technology.
In short, while Voegelin had been inoculated against this sense of Germanic salvific mission (although I strongly suspect that he would have rejected Nazism even if he had not studied in America), Heidegger had precisely the sort of mentality and philosophy that could meld itself to the Nazis' semi-mythical pseudo-mysticism. Like the Nazis he rejected transcendence and thought of salvation in intramundane terms, and in the midst of the post World War I German crisis he could see in the Nazis the coming revelation of Being because, for Heidegger whatever happens is essentially the work of Being. According to Thomas Sheehan, "Heidegger put the blame (if we can call it that) for the tragedy of World War II and the Holocaust not on any individuals or political movement but on an impersonal planetary force, the Will to Power, which he thought lay beyond anyone's responsibility or control."55 The planetary force is simply the current presencing of Being.
Voegelin was eventually able to diagnose Nazism as one of the modem revolutionary gnostic movements, closed against transcendence and bent on achieving immanent perfection. Heidegger was seeking a return to a lost earthly perfection but apparently never understood the

53 Martin Heidegger, An Introduction to Metaphysics, tr. By Ralph Manheim. Yale University Press. 1959, p. 199. Heidegger attempted to have this passage deleted from the English translation, but the publisher refused. 
54Collins, p. 22. 
55Sheehan in The Cambridge Companion, p. 314.


spiritually destructive implications of this as clearly as Voegelin did. Also, before 1938 Voegelin had already written two books on the development of the sort of racial theories that Nazism was built on. While Voegelin was subjecting Nazi ideology to tough critical analysis Heidegger never subjected anything to this sort of analysis. His analyses generally took the form of plodding meditations that often raised significant questions but led to no solid or clear conclusions. The differences between Heidegger's and Voegelin's evaluation of Nazism are symptomatic of the significant differences in their evaluations of modernity and the validity of their basic assumptions about reality. Heidegger focused on the ontological but overlooked the soul and the transcendent divine reality.

The third question is whether or not Voegelin could be considered an adversary of Heidegger. This depends on exactly what is meant by adversary. I presume that since L6with distinguishes adversary from someone who merely opposes Heidegger he means someone who would contend with Heidegger rather than merely disagree with his thinking. The context of L6with's question is the observation that everyone who reacts to Heidegger seems to fall into one of two groups, the mesmerized acolytes and the positivists who are repelled by his "new mysticism." Certainly Voegelin belongs to neither group. Between them there is some agreement but a great deal of disagreement, and Voegelin subjects Heidegger to the same sort of critique to which he subjects other modem thinkers.
First of all, both Heidegger and Voegelin reject propositional, dogmatic, dead metaphysics and both seek to restore a true understanding of reality by a return to the original living experiences. Second, for Heidegger the modem technological age is dominated by the will to power over beings. Voegelin, while acknowledging that there is a core of rational and practical usefulness in the power of science, nonetheless believes that with the rapid developments of modem science the core has become "a cancerous growth. The rationalutilitarian segment is expanding in our civilization so strongly that the social realization of other values is noticeably weakened. This expansion is carried by the mass creed that the utilitarian dominion over nature through science should and will become the exclusive preoccupation of man as well as the exclusive determinant for the structure of society. 56 Voegelin goes on to point out that the tendencies toward an exclusive preoccupation with scientism and positivism as the way to human happiness "are part of a cultural process that is dominated by a flight of magic imagination, that is, by the idea of operating on the substance of man though the instrument of a pragmatically planning will. We have ventured the suggestion that in retrospect the age of science will appear as the greatest power orgy in the history of mankind." Voegelin believes that the source of this power orgy is "a gigantic outburst of magic imagination after the breakdown of the intellectual and spiritual form of medieval high civilization." He coins the term "spiritual eunuchism"57 to characterize the sort of person for whom positive science is truth.
Heidegger and Voegelin agree that the emphasis on man's power over nature has been

56History of Political Ideas, V1, p. 207. 17
57Ibid., pp. 209-211.


detrimental to other, more important considerations. Heidegger objected to what he called "production metaphysics" because it was concerned exclusively with beings and with the human will dominating nature seen only as a collection of objects that can be used for human purposes, the "standing-reserve." He believed that producing things should be a more holistic and poetic act, a letting-things-be, as the sculptor allows the figure to emerge from the stone. Voegelin's analysis of this problem is, however, clearer in its ability to point to the spiritual sources and effects of positivism and the expectation that manipulating nature will bring human fulfillment. Heidegger can say only that technology is the way in which Being is currently presencing itself to us.
So there is common ground, but Voegelin is definitely a critic of Heidegger. I have not found any references by Heidegger to Voegelin but Voegelin refers to Heidegger on a number of occasions. I have already quoted the passage in the Autobiographical Reflections in which Voegelin says that Sein und Zeit had no effect on him, while it apparently seemed sensational to many other people. In later years Voegelin developed a specific critical analysis of Heidegger, but since he never wrote a chapter or essay on Heidegger and his longest discussion of Heidegger is little more than two pages it is necessary to piece together his analysis from
scattered references. The thesis of Science, Politics & Gnosticism is that the worst modem political disorders
result from their gnostic character, and, as he argues elsewhere, there is a common trend in modernity to create a "second (imaginative) reality" that will overcome the perceived deficiencies of the first, true reality. He points out that a gnostic thinker is "the herald of being, which he interprets as approaching us from the future."58 Marx and Nietzsche thought along these lines but did not work out all the consequences of this position. "It remained," Voegelin says, "for that ingenious gnostic of our own time, Martin Heidegger, to think the problem
through, under the heading of fundamental ontology." He goes on to give some examples of Heidegger's speculation in The Introduction to Metaphysics, and then makes the following commentary:

Heidegger's speculation occupies a significant place in the history of Western gnosticism. The construct of the closed process of being; the shutting off of immanent from world-transcendent being; the refusal to acknowledge the experience of philia, eros, pistis (faith), and elpis (hope)-which were described and named by the Hellenic philosophers-as the ontic events wherein the soul participates in transcendent being and allows itself to be ordered by it; the refusal, thus, to acknowledge them as the events in which philosophy, especially Platonic philosophy, has its origin; and finally, the refusal to permit the very idea of a construct of a closed process of being to be called into question in the light of these events-all of this was, in varying degrees of clarity, doubtless to be found in the speculative gnostics of the nineteenth century. But Heidegger has reduced this complex to its essential structure and purged it of period-bound visions of the

58Science, Politics and Gnosticism, pp. 45-46.


future. Gone are the ludicrous images of positivist, socialist, and super man. In their place Heidegger puts being itself, emptied of all content, to whose approaching power we must submit. As a result of this refining process, the nature of gnostic speculation can now be understood as the symbolic expression of an anticipation of salvation in which the power of being replaces the power of God and the parousia of being, the Parousia of Christ.59

In a backhand sort of way Voegelin is acknowledging Heidegger as a master gnostic who has eminently succeeded in clarifying the nature of modem gnosticism. Pistis, eros, and elpis, are indeed missing from Heidegger andphilia plays only a minor role. Plato Heidegger regards as the initiator of the fall from mindfulness of Being into metaphysics with its concentration on beings or entities. God and Christianity are also not to be considered in Heideggerian philosophy because that would necessitate a turn toward transcendence, and Heidegger cannot be a self-appointed herald of a real transcendence. In Voegelin's 1964 lecture series on Hitler and the Germans he considers the semantic problems found in modem logic that arise in the conflicts between a first (true) and a second (false) reality. He says that "if one amuses oneself with a second reality, then language too becomes part of second reality, and then these problems arise, which indeed are only semantic and are resolved as soon as one starts thinking.60 He gives the example of saying that someone is a liar, which clearly does not mean that every statement this person makes is a lie, but that he lies in certain socially relevant situations. This is certainly the common-sense understanding of the judgment that someone is a liar. However, if someone wants to misunderstand this judgment then we arrive at the logically paradoxical self-reference problem, such as the Cretan paradox, which takes the judgment to mean that the person always lies, even when he says that he lies. This is a denial of reality that creates the semantic problems, which disappear as soon as reality is recognized. He then applies this to Heidegger. The semantic problems "only arise if one does not think in relation to reality, but within language itself-briefly, if the situation that Heidegger formulates arises, that is, the situation in which 'language speaks.' Now it is certainly not Heidegger's intention thus to characterize language as a second reality, but he has in fact done that. That is to say, if language speaks, then the contrast between thinking and language and between object and reality is interrupted, and these problems arise because one is no longer thinking in relation to reality."61For the most part Heidegger thinks in a world that consists of an almost private language. A few pages later he brings up Heimito von Doderer's novel The Merovingians. At the end there is a conversation between Dr. D6blinger, the chronicler of the story, and a reader, Mr. Aldershot. D6blinger cites Heidegger as justification of disempowering Childerich III by castration. Aldershot's comment is "murderous imbecility," to which Doblinger agrees: "What

59Ibid., pp. 47-48.
60Eric Voegelin, Hitler and the Germans, tr. and ed. by Detlev Clemens and Brendan Purcell, in The Collected Works of Eric 61Voegelin, Vol. 31. University of Missouri Press. 1999, pp. 249.  
Ibid., p. 250.

else is it but imbecility?! All nonsense." Voegelin's commentary is "that should mean that the language of second reality must be castrated, its virility struck down, pulled out by the roots."62
In Anamnesis Voegelin places Heidegger in the modem tradition of agnoia ptoiodes, "the hostile alienation from a reality that rather hides than reveals itself." This is unlike the temper of the classic interpretation of spiritual unrest, which is joyful because it is experienced as a search for participation in the divine. But in Heidegger the unrest is Angst and Heidegger "waits for a 'Parousia of being' which does not come, reminiscent of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. 63
But near the end of the book, in a chapter entitled "The Tensions in the Reality of Knowledge," Voegelin says that he has some, limited, sympathy with the anti-philosophical resentment of the ideologist because it was not directed against the classical, Platonic noesis, of which the ideologists were ignorant, "but against Thomas's design of a propositional 'metaphysics' treating of universals, principles, and substances. The ideological rebellion ... was indeed strongly provoked."64 He goes on to point out that modem philosophers who tried to restore what was lost in propositional, dogmatic metaphysics all failed because they did not return to the classic philosophers but took as their opponent the propositional metaphysics of the eighteenth century. "Even Heidegger's remarkable attempt, in his 'fundamental philosophy,' to regain for his feet the firm ground of the reality of knowledge, was heavily inhibited by his orientation to eighteenth century 'metaphysics' as his philosophical antagonist, as well as by the analytical inadequacy of his return to classical philosophy.65
In the essay "The German University and the German Society" Voegelin uses Heidegger as an example in seeking to explain the German catastrophe. He somewhat sarcastically characterizes Heidegger as "the famous philosopher who had great linguistic and linguistic-philosophical ambitions, but in the matter of language had such little sensitivity that he was taken in by the author of Mein Kampf. 66Voegelin quotes a passage from Sein und Zeit, the one in which Heidegger discusses automobile turn signals (of the 1920s), a paragraph filled with Zeichen, Weg, Wegkreuzung, Wagen, Zeug, Zeugmsammenhang, Zeigzeug, and Zeigen des Zeichens, and then points out that this language has slipped its moorings in reality and if we really give ourselves over to an alliterative plunge into Heidegger, ending with the zeichenden Zeichen des Zeigzeugs, "we could whip ourselves up into a reality-withdrawing state of linguistic delirium."67
Finally, in the essay "The Eclipse of Reality," Voegelin groups Heidegger with

62 Ibid., pp. 255-56.
63Anamnesis, pp. 101-102.
64 Ibid., p. 194.
65 Ibid., p. 194.
66Eric Voegelin, "The German University and German Society," in Published Essays 1966
1985,
ed. by Ellis Sandoz, Vol. 12 of The Collected Works ofEric Voegelin. Louisiana State
University Press. 1990,
p. 8.
67Ibid., pp. 8-9.

Kierkegaard, Stimer, Nietzsche, Freud, and Sartre as the inheritors of a deformed existence which they have taken as the subject of inquiry. He comments that "the early constructs, purposely designed to eclipse historical reality, have performed their task so well that, to the latecomer in the movement of deformation, history is, if not altogether, at least sufficiently dead not to disturb by memories of a fuller humanity the concern with the contracted self."68
What conclusions can we derive from all this? It certainly seems to be Voegelin's judgment that Heidegger is more a part of the problems of modernity than a valid critic of them. Voegelin is not without a certain sympathy for Heidegger as someone who inherited a deformed tradition that he made a valiant but failed attempt to correct, but he is very clear that Heidegger ended up as another modem gnostic and creator of a second reality. As Voegelin put it, "the structure of the spirit cannot be abolished through a revolt against the spirit. The revolt itself must assume the structure of the spirit."69So, as a modem gnostic living in a second reality Heidegger's thinking still has the same basic structure of homelessness, longing, and searching for what we lack, of a fall and the need for salvation, and participation in something greater than the merely human. But what is lacking, or rather displaced in Heidegger is love, the transcendent divine, and the structure of the soul as it exists in the In-Between.
Does this make Voegelin an adversary of Heidegger? The very philosopher, Plato, whom Heidegger regards as the beginning of the fall into metaphysics, is precisely the thinker to whom Voegelin returns again and again as the source, along with Christianity, of his inspiration. As a result, clearly Voegelin has understood Heidegger far better than the disciples and the positivists (and probably better than Heidegger himself), and he finds in Heidegger the worst deformations of reality, of which he was certainly an adversary. On the other hand, compared to the number of pages he devotes to other thinkers Voegelin has relatively little to say about Heidegger. Essentially, he does not do much more than categorize or diagnose him. This may be partly because Voegelin was a political scientist and Heidegger was not, although he did have some political views and scholars have written about the political implications of his thought. But apparently Voegelin thought Heidegger important only because his writings help to clarify the nature of modem gnosticism. Voegelin is not the anti-Heidegger, but he was definitely as much an adversary of Heidegger's type of thinking as he was of the positivist and atheist kind.
Heidegger's reaction to the problems of modernity is the creation of an imaginary, slightly bucolic world of Being dwelling in language and shepherded by men. Heidegger set out to be an original thinker, which meant that in the entire history of human existence only he has clearly understood what is really going on. Some of the early Greek philosophers


68Eric Voegelin, "The Eclipse of Reality" in What Is History? And Other Late Unpublished Writings. Ed. by Momas A. Hollweck and Paul Caringella, Vol 28 of The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin. Louisiana State University Press. 1990, p. 117. This is an uncharacteristically awkward sentence by Voegelin. He means that to people such as those mentioned the understanding of history is so close to death through the contracted self that there is no point in bringing up memories of participation in transcendence.  

69 History of Political Ideas, VI, p. 113.

supposedly had primordial glimmerings of the truth, but it was then forgotten and concealed by metaphysics. Heidegger is infatuated with the primordial because it is an escape from the modern, but he wrenches the words of the supposedly primordial thinkers into something intelligible only to himself, who has fallen under the spell of language and cannot resist dredging up every possible etymological association, however far-fetched. And if Parmenides is primordial what are Homer and Hesiod? Pre-primordial? They thought in terms of myth, which Voegelin would categorize as a compact expression of experiences that would later be noetically differentiated, but they thought clearly about men and gods, society and nature. So, how can the predecessors (by several centuries) of the primordial be so clear and articulate, while the supposedly first true thinkers produced, according to Heidegger, enigmatic utterances that are, in his versions, intended to sound awesomely profound but actually say nothing? Despite all his talk of average everyday life, the core of Heidegger's thought is a private, second world into which he escaped from the real world.
In contrast, Voegelin, who never sought or desired to be known as an "original" thinker, dissects modernity thinker by thinker, problem by problem, error by error, while also pointing out the correct insights and significant achievements, on the assumption that the truth of existence was understood and articulated in varying degrees of accuracy by a number of thinkers long before him. Voegelin was not the herald of being, but, whether or not one agrees with all of his arguments and judgments, he was certainly a very tough-minded thinker who, in contrast to Heidegger, is definitely not part of "modernity."
Therefore, with respect to their relative merits as critics of modernity, Voegelin incisively analyzed it and clearly explained Heidegger as someone who grappled with a difficult problem and came up with a structurally deformed answer, but Heidegger could only have relegated Voegelin to the vast throng of people who have lost the understanding of Being.


Phenomenology and natural law: the vindication of the moral order in the works of Scheler, Hartmann, and Hildebrand, with a note on Voegelin

Copyright 2000 Andreas A. M. Kinneging

In 1900/01 Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) published the two volumes of his Logische Untersuchungen, in which he attacks a view of logic which he names 'Psychologismus'. Obviously, the concept of logic here stands for the science of correct reasoning in general, not merely for symbolic logic. But what is the meaning of 'Psychologismus? This concept stands for two traditions of philosophical inquiry. First of all, for the empiricist tradition deriving from Locke and Hume, and secondly for Kantian transcendentalism.' For the first tradition logic consists of inductive generalisations from sense-experience, for the second logic is a pattern human consciousness imposes upon the empirical world. Husserl argues that, notwithstanding the fundamental differences between these two traditions, they are in one important respect very similar: both consider logic as structured by human consciousness Le the human psyche. Hence, 'Psychologismus'.

Husserl rejects both views. He asserts, contra the Kantians, that the laws of logic are 'out there', a pattern in or of the world, not merely one we impose upon it, and contra the empiricists, that the laws of logic constitute an ideal and aprioristic order of being, not

1 E.Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen, vol.I, Hamburg: Pelix Meiner Verlag 1992, 28

merely a shorthand-way of summarizing in abstracto concrete experiences. Psychologism is'in allen seinen Abarten und individuellen Ausgestaltungen nichts anders als Relativismus (..). Es ist dabei ganz gleich, ob er sich auf "Transzendentalpsychologie" stiitzt und als formaler Idealismus die Objektivitat der Erkenntnis zu retten glaubt, oder ob er sich auf empirische Psychologie stiitzt und den Relativismus als unvermeidliches Fatum auf sich nimmt. jede Lehre, welche die rein logischen Gesetze entweder nach der Art der Empiristen als empirisch-psychologische Gesetze faPt oder sie nach Art der Aprioristen mehr oder minder mythisch zurackfahrt auf gewisse arsprangliche Formen" oder "Funktionsweisenif des (menschlichen) Verstandes, auf das "Bewuptsein aberhaupt" als (menschliche) "Gattungsvernunft", auf die "pschychophysische Konstitution" des Menschen, auf den "intellectus ipse", der als angeborene (allgemein menschliche) Anlage dem factischen Denken und aller Erfahrung vorhergeht u.dgl. - ist eo ipso +relativist isch, und zwar von der Art des spezifischen Relativismus, .2

What is this 'specific, relativism? 'Der spezifische Relativismus stellt die Behauptung auf: Wahr ist far jede Spezies urteilender Wesen, was nach ihrer Konstitution, nach ihren Denkgesetzen als wahr zu gelten habe. '3

Husserl's opinion on this view is unequivocal: 'Diese

2 Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen, vol. I, 38
3Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen, vol. I, 36

Lehre ist widersinnig. Denn es liegt in ihrem Sinne, dap derselbe Urteilseinhalt (Satz) far den Einen, n&mlich far ein Subjekt der Spezies homo, wahr, far einen Anderen, n&mlich far ein Subjekt einer anders konstituierten Spezies, falsch sein kann. Aber derselbe Urteilsinhalt kann nicht beides, wahr und falsch, sein. Dies liegt in dem blopen Sinne der Worte wahr und falsch. (..) Was wahr ist, ist absolut, ist "an sich" wahr; die Wahrheit ist identisch Eine, ob sie Menschen oder Unmenschen, Engel oder G6tter urteilend erfassen. Von der Wahrheit in dieser idealen Einheit gegenaber der realen Mannigfaltigkeit von Rassen, Individuen und Erlebnissen sprechen die logischen Gesetze und spechen wir alle, wenn wir nicht etwa relativistisch verwirrt sind'.
4

How do we acquire knowledge of these objective truths? By phenomenological analysis.5 But what does that mean? J.S. Mill, one of the 'psychologists' Husserl's criticisms were aimed at, had argued, in his System of Logic, that 1(t)ruths are known to us in two ways: some are known directly, and of themselves; some through the medium of other truths. The former are the subject of Intuition, or Consciousness; the latter, of Inference. The truths known by intuition are the


4 Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen, vol. I, 36
5 Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen, vol. II, Einleitung, 2

original premises from which all others are inferred.
(. .) Whatever is known to us by consciousness is known beyond possibility of question. What one sees or feels, whether bodily or mentally, one can not but be sure that one sees or feels 6 This dichotomy is of course of ancient pedigree, going back to Aristotle, and Husserl has no quarrel with it. It is only on the question what one can see or feel, i.e. what truths are known by intuition, that Husserl differs with the views expressed by empiricists like Mill, as well as with those expressed by the Kantians.

In the view of Mill and the other empiricists, the laws of logic are inferred from concrete sense -experience. The principle of contradiction, for instance, he considers 'to be, like other axioms, one of our first and most familiar generalizations from experience I . They are the product of inductive inference, and are not known directly by intuition. For the Kantians too the laws of logic are inferences, although deductive rather than inductive in nature. Since they are implicit in our conceptions, they can be inferred from these conceptions by arguing I backwards I towards the necessary presuppositions. Hence, notwithstanding the fundamental

6 J.S. Mill, System of Logic, 8 th ed. 1874, New York: Harper & Brothers, Introduction, 4
7 Mill, Logic, II, vii, 5

differences between them, both the empiricists and the Kantians regard logic as something not known directly, by intuition.

In the Logische Untersuchungen Husserl argues that both views are mistaken. The laws of logic do indeed belong to the things that are directly apperceived. They are hence, in Mill's words, 'known beyond possibility of question', or, as Husserls likes to put it, I apodictically true They belong to the sphere of the synthetic apriori. But they are experientially given, and not, pace Kant, transcendental.

What kind of apperception, of experience, is this? In the Logische Untersuchungen Husserl called it 'Kategoriale Anschauung', as opposed to 'Sinnliche Anschauung'.8 In later works he usually spoke of 'Wesensschau, or eidetic intuition. This refers to an apperception of the essential structure Pdas Wesen') of objects. It is not from our sense -experience that we know of -infer- the laws of logic, but from the eidetically perceived eidos of these laws.

The ideas expounded in the Logische Untersuchungen quickly attracted the attention of some talented students and fellow-

8Husberl, Logische Untersuchungen, vol. II, vi, 40 ff.

academics, and in the course of the following decade something like a phenomenological 'movement, developed, chiefly in G6ttingen, where Husserl taught at the university, and in Munich. At the core of this movement were Max Scheler (18741928),9 Adolf Reinach (1883-1917), Alexander Pfander (18701941), Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889-1977), Edith Stein (18911942), Hedwig Conrad-Martius (1888-1966), and Roman Ingarden (1893-1970) . In addition to these, Nicolai Hartmann (18821950) should be mentioned. Though he remained at some distance, both spatially and intellectually, his thought was deeply influenced by these phenomenologists.10

Later, of course, after Husserl had moved to Freiburg im Breisgau, others came to the fore, most prominently Martin  

9 Scheler always maintained that he had discovered phenomenology independently from Husserl. Cf. M. Scheler, Die deutsche Philosophie der Gegenwart, in: Ph. Witkop (ed.) , Deutsches Leben der Gegenwart, Berlin 1922, p.197 ff: 'Als der Verfasser im Jahre 1901 in einer Gesellschaft, die H. Vaihinger in Halle den Mitarbeitern der 'Kantstudien, gegeben hatte, Husserl zum. erstenmal pers6nlich kennenlernte, entspann sich ein philosophisches Gespr&ch, das den Begriff der Anschauung und Wahrnehmung betraf. DerVerfasser, unbef riedigt von der kantischen Phi losophie, derer bis dahin nahestand (. .) war zur tYberzeugung gekommen, dap der Gehalt des unserer Anschauung Gegebenen ursprUnglich weit reicher sei als das, was durch sinnliche Best&nde, ihre genetischen Derivate und logischen Einheitsformen an diesem Gehalt deckbar sei. Als er these Meinung Husserl gegenQber auperte und bemerkte, er sehe in dieser Einsicht ein neues fruchtbares Prinzip fQr den Aufbau der theoretischen Philosophie, bemerkte Husserl sofort, dap auch er in seinem neuen, demn&chst erscheinenden Werke Qber die Logik eine analoge Erweiterung des Anschauungsbegriffes auf die sogennante 'kategoriale Anschauung' vorgenommen habe. Von diesem Augenblick an rahrte die geistige Verbindung her, die in Zukunft zwichen Husserl und dem Verfasser bestand und ffir den Verfasser so ungemein fruchtbar geworden ist'.

10 H. Spiegelberg, The Phenomenological Movement, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff 1960, vol. I, p.367 ff

Heidegger. And later still, phenomenology was exported to France, where it shaped the thought of Sartre, Merleau-Ponty and most of the other philosophical luminaries. But these chapters in the history of phenomenology are of no concern to
us here. Suffice it to say that in the hands of these authors phenomenology turned into something else entirely.11


What appealed to the early phenomenologists in the
Logische Untersuchungen was not so much the subject of Husserl's book -the ontological foundation of logic-, but rather the more general implications of Husserl's approach of this issue. They saw the Logische Untersuchungen as a rejection of the subjectivism and relativism characteristic of much of modern philosophy, and leine RQckkehr zu den gropen ontologischen Gedanken der Antike und des Mittelalters'.12 To them it resuscitated, first, the significance of the object as opposed to the subject, of the known as opposed to the knower,

11 Cf. Spiegelberg, vol. II; Dermot Morgan, introduction to Phenomenology, London and New York: Routledge 2000, who discusses Brentano, Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer, Arendt, Levinas, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and Derrida. 
12 I.M. Bochenski, Europiische Philosophie der Gegenwart, Bern: Francke Verlag 1947, p.139. Cf. Dietrich von Hildebrand, Was ist Philosophie?, Stuttgart etc.: W. Kohlhammer 1976, p.204: 'Tats&chlich ist die durchschlagende historische wirkung der Logischen Untersuchungen, die Schaler aus allen L&ndern nach G6ttingen zog, der eindeutigen Widerlegung des Psychologismus, Subjectivismus und aller Arten von Relativismus zu. verdanken, . And: Edith Stein, quoted in Helmut Kuhn.et al., Die manchener Ph&nomenologie, Den Haag: Martinus Nijhoff 1975, p.26: 'Die Logischen Untersuchungen hatten vor allem dadurch Eindruck gemacht, dap sie als eine radikale Abkehr vom kritischen Idealismus kantischer und neukantischer PrAgung erschienen. Man sah darin eine Ineue ScholastikI, weil der Blick sich vom Subjekt ab- und den Sachen zuwendetel.

of ontology as opposed to epistemology, and second, of universals as opposed to particulars, of the eidetic mundus intelligibilis as opposed to the factual world of senseperception, of understanding ('Verstehen') as opposed to explanation ('Erklaren'). All of this had been the concern of the ancient and medieval philosophers as well, but their approach had gradually become discredited in the centuries thereafter. 13

Scheler and Reinach were the towering figures within this group of early phenomenologists. 14 Their influence on the other phenomenologists even eclipsed that of Husserl himself, due to the fact that Husserl's views had partially changed since writing the Logische Untersuchungen. As his students had suspected for some time, and was confirmed by the publication, in 1913, of the first part of the Ideen zu einer reinen Phanomenologie und phanomenologischen Philosophie, Husserl had

13 It is not that the ancient and medieval concerns disappeared completely. There were mostly banished by those who called themselves philosophers, but remained central to the interests of theologians. Hence, at the universities the old philosophical tradition was kept alive mainly in the faculties of theology.

14 In 1917 the then 34 years old Reinach died in action as a German officer in WW I. Hildebrand, Stein and other refer to Reinach as their real teacher in phenomenology. In 1921 a number of manuscripts were published as Gesammelte Werke, containing among other works, the programmatic Was ist Phanomenologie?, and a work on the phenomenology of civil law, Die Apriorische Grundlagen des Burgerlichen Rechts, first published in 1914 in the Jahrbuch fur Philosophie und phanomenologische Forschung. In 1989 a critical edition of his works was published by Philosophia Verlag in Salzburg, as Samtliche Werke.


gradually returned to a form of transcendental idealism, which his followers thought he had overcome in the
Logische Untersuchungen.

For Husserl, phenomenology now was and henceforth remained the analysis of the essence of consciousness, and it is significant that from then on Husserl invoked Descartes and Kant as the two greatest forerunners of phenomenology.15 Before, he had argued that the phenomenologist is not interested in the consciousness to which things appears, but only in the appearances -'Anschauungen'- themselves, and had spoken of the need 'das Ich auszuschalten, in order to perceive accurately. Now he maintained that this exclusion distorts the analysis of the appearances, because the appearances are constituted by the (transcendental) ego.

Most of Husserl's early followers in G6ttingen, Munich and elsewhere, rejected this trancendental turn. To them, phenomenology was and remained a realist philosophy. Dietrich von Hildebrand presumably spoke for all of them when he wrote the following in his book Was is Philosophie? 'Der transzendentale Idealismus deutet das Erkennen in ein Hervorbringen des Gegenstandes um und leugnet dabei, daB wir

15 Spiegelberg, vol.I, p.120

fahig sind, einen wirklichen Gegenstand, so wie er ist, zu erfassen. Gleichzeitig beansprucht er jedoch, daB die Philosophie das wirkliche Wesen der Erkenntnis beschreibt. Es ist vollig klar, daB er seine eigene Interpretation des Erkennens nicht als bloBe Konstruktion betrachtet und dap er behauptet, er erschlieBe das authentische Wesen des Erkennens. Mit diesem Anspruch setzt er das wirkliche Wesen und den wahren Begriff der Kenntnisnahme: das Erfassen eines Gegenstandes, wie er ist, nicht jedoch das Hervorbringen eines Gegenstandes - stillschweigend voraus und fuhrt beides insgeheim wieder ein. Dieser innere Wiederspruch im transzendentalen Idealismus ist jedoch unvermeidlich. Die echte Gegebenheit der Erkenntnis und der Kenntnisnahme von etwas ist namlich so elementar, daB jeder Versuch, sie zu leugnen oder als etwas anderes zu interpretieren, notwendig in einen circulus vitiosus fuhrt.'16

In reality, Hildebrand argues, an act of cognizance is 'jene einzigartige geistige Berahrung mit dem Seienden
in der sich das Seiende in seiner Eigenart entschlieBt,eine transzendierende Beruhrung des Seienden, die weder eine reale Teilnahme an dem Erkenntnisgegenstand noch ein irgenwie

16 Dietrich von Hildebrand, Was ist Philosophie?, Stuttgart etc. : W.
Kohlhammer 1976, p.21

geartetes Produzieren, Schaff en desselben darstellt'
.17 ' D iese transzendierende geistige Berfihrung stellt eine intentionale Teilhabe am Seienden dar (..)'.18


For Husserl, after he changed his mind, the apriori world of the eide`, was a necessity of thinking', for his followers it remained a necessity of being'. As Reinach formulated it in his programmatic Was ist Phanomenologie?: the apriori is Ikeine Notwendigkeit des Denkens, sondern eine Notwendigkeit des Seins. (. .) Das apriori hat an und fur sich mit dem Denken und Erkennen auch nicht das mindesteste zu tun'.19


It is obvious that this view implied a return to a fundamental notion of ancient an medieval philosophy. Thus it is not surprising that the phenomenologists returned to a study of ancient and medieval philosophy with great eagerness, stemming from their sense of its utmost pertinence. As Scheler expressed it once, from a historical point of view phenomenology can be seen as a 'Erneuerung eines intuitiven Platonismus (..), freilich mit vollstandiger Beseitigung der platonischen Ideenverdinglichung und aller mythischen Beisatze. Und es ist wohl verstandlich, daB von dieser ihrer


17 Hildebrand, Was ist
Philosophie?, p.27 

18 Hildebrand, Was ist Philosophie?, p.29 

19 Adolf Reinach, Was ist Phanomenologie?, Mfinchen: Kbsel-Verlag 1951, pp.56-57

Eigenart her die Ph&nomenologie (. .) auch mit der gesamten
platonisch- august inischen Philosophie der patristischen und
frahmittelalterlichen Philosophie, zum Teil aber auch mit dem
Aristotelismus st&rkere Fahlung genommen hat,
.20

If Husserl and his followers went separate ways with regard to the question of the ontological status of the apriori, they never disagreed as to the method of discovering the apriori. For all the phenomenologists mentioned, 'Wesensschaul , eidetic intuition, is the doorway to the apriori. What exactly is this eidetic intuition?

To begin with, the concept of intuition, as used by the phenomenologists (and J.S. Mill) is not an irrational or mystical form of cognizance, but simply a rendering of the Latin intuitus, the participium perfectum of the verb intueri,

20 Max Scheler, Die deutsche Philosophie der Gegenwart, pp. 201 ff. Of course, it is rather unclear what Scheler means with Imit vollstAndiger Beseitigung der platonischen Ideenverdinglichung und aller mythischen BeisAtze I . If this was meant as a critique of Plato along Aristotelean lines -that Plato had posited the eid6 para ta polla, i.e. ante rem, i.e. outside of things, whereas they were merely h6n kata polloon, i.e. in re, i.e. the unity within the multiplicity- it is obviously based on a flawed reading of Plato, who throughout his oeuvre insisted that the eidd do not exist in space and time, but in the participation -parousia, methexis, koinoonia- of the things in the eide`, or, what amounts to the same, the eid6 in the things. The ontological priority of the eide` claimed by Plato, which in his view were ontoos on, really existant, whereas the things were merely in between being and not-being, also returns in the works of the early phenomenologists.


which means to consider, to look at, to gaze upon, to behold. Hence, intuition is more or less synonymous to perception or observation.21

Observation, however, is insufficiently understood, at least in modern philosophy. It is more than just the observation of empirical facts, more than just 'Sinnliche Anschauung', to which it is generally limited. Man is also capable of perceiving the world of essences, of eid6, behind or within the the world of empirical fact. Perception i.e. observation is here identical to grasping, to comprehending the nature of something, seeing it with the mind's eye, as it were.

In the Ideen, Husserl explains the matter as follows. 'Ein individueller Gegenstand ist nicht blop aberhaupt ein individueller, ein Dies da!, ein einmaliger, er hat als "in sich selbst" so und so beschaffener Eigenart, seinen Bestand an wesentlichen Pradikabilien, die ihm zukommen massen (als "Seiendem, wie er in sich selbst ist"), damit ihm andere, sekundare, relative Bestimmungen zukommen konnen. So hat z.B. jeder Ton an und fur sich ein Wesen und zuoberst das allgemeine Wesen Ton Qberhaupt oder vielmehr Akustisches

21 Hildebrand, Was ist Philosophie?, p.197

aberhaupt - rein verstanden als das aus dem individuellen Ton (einzeln, oder durch Vergleichung mit anderen als "Gemeinsames") herauszuschauende Moment. ' 22 'So wie das Gegebene der individuellen oder erfahrenden Anschauung ein individueller Gegenstand ist, so das Gegebene der  Wesensanschauung ein reines Wesen'23.

The first kind of perception focuses on ' Dasein' on what something is hic et nunc, the second on 'Sosein', on what something is in essence. A focus on 'Dasein' invokes questions related to existence and non-existence, to coming into being and passing away, in short, on understanding (and manipulating) change. A focus on 'Sosein, on the other hand invokes abstracts from existence -Husserl's eidetic reduction 24 - and concentrates on identity and difference. It is not relevant how something came about or what it brings about, but merely what it essentially is, what its eidos is, and in what way it is related to -posited vis a` vis- other eide` in the order of being, i.e. which 'Wesenszusammenhangel exist.


22 Husserl, 1deen zu einer reinen Phanomenologie und phanomenologischen Philosophie, Hamburg: Felix Meinerverlag 1992, 2

23 Husserl, Ideen, 3

24 The term 'Phanomenologische Reduktion' was introduced by Husserl in the Ideen, and covers two different reductions, a reduction from particulars to essences, i.e. the eidetic reduction, but also a 'transcendental' reduction, which is concerned with the suspension of our belief in an independent reality. It was this second reduction, which was rejected by Husserl's erstwhile students and associates. Cf. Spiegelberg, vol. I, pp.133 ff.

Logic is a paradigmatic example of a 'Wesensstrukturl. Other cases often referred to by the phenomenologists are the tonal gamut and the chromatic spectrum. The world is permeated by eide` and eidetic structures like these.

Among these 'Wesenheiten' and 'Wesenszusammenhangel, the early phenomeologists found one which seemd of a particular splendor: the continuum of values, of 'Wertel. Contrary to Husserl, who was not particularly interested in these matters, many of his followers were strongly drawn towards questions of value, particularly questions of ethical value. Applying Husserl's 'Wesensschaul to this subject, they began to study ethics with a phenomenological eye. This quickly proved to be a tremendously fruitful approach, yielding insights of great depth and significance.

It was Scheler who pointed out the way, above all with his Der Formalismus in der Ethik und die materiale Wertethik, first published in the Jahrbuch fur Philosophie und Phanomenologische Forschung in 1913/16. Scheler's insights were further developed and systematized by a few brilliant disciples, above all by Nicolai Hartmann in his Ethik, published in 1926, and by Dietrich von Hildebrand, in his Christian Ethics, dating from 1952, as well as in many other works.25


Although there are important differences between these writers, their intentions and basic approach are very similar. In the first place, all three of them maintain that the ontological status of ethics is comparable to the ontological status of logic, as set out by Husserl in the Logische Untersuchungen. Hence, they follow Kant in his rejection of an empiricist (utilitarian, a posteriori) foundation of ethics, but are equally critical of Kant own transcendental approach, when he, in line with his general philosophical stance, posits the principles of ethics as intrinsic to our thinking as rational and free agents. Scheler, Hartmann, and Hildebrand all argue that the principles of ethics cannot be reduced to the subject- whether empirical or transcendental-, and constitute an objective eidetical sphere, an a priori moral order, within the order of being.

25 other significant contributors to the phenomenological study of ethics are (1) Hans Reiner (1896-19), whose main work is Grundlagen der Sittlichkeit, Meisenheim am Glan: Verlag Anton Hain 1974; (2) Otto Friedrich Bollnow (1903-1991), author of several incisive studies, such as Das Wesen der Stimmungen, Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann 1995; Wesen und Wandel der Tugenden, Frankfurt am Main: Ullstein 1958; Einfache Sittlichkeit, Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 1962; Die Ehrfurcht, Frankfurt am main: Vittorio Klostermann 1947; (3) Johannes Hessen () , Wertlehre, Munich and Basel: Ernst Reinhardt Verlag 1959; Ethik, Leiden: E.J. Brill 1954

They accept Kant's argument that demands (,Imperativen') which could be reduced to a utilitarian calculus, are at best 'Ratschlage der Klugheit', but not ethical demands. 26 only if demands are ultimate ends, 'Selbstzweckl, they deserve to be called ethical. An ethical demand is ethical, independent of its consequences. It is good in itself, or it is not an ethical demand at all. Hence, ethical demands are not subordinate to our aims, but superior to them. They sit in judgment on our aims ('Zweckel').

However, this important insight was, according to the phenomenologists, marred by Kant's belief that, since ethical demands are superior to our aims, and our aims are part of the empirical world, ethical demands must be normative concepts, which our -practical- reason imposes upon the world. 'Kant ist auperstande, ein A priori sich vorzustellen, das nicht in einer Funktion des Subjekts bestundel, writes Hartmann.

That is a fundamental mistake, in the phenomenologists' view. 'Kann das Subjekt den Inhalt des Apriorischen nicht ebenso gegenstandlich erschauen, wie den des Aposteriorischen?


26 I. Kant, Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft 1998, pp.44 ff They are 'Ratschlage der Klugheit, when their aim is 'Gluckseligkeit, which is leine(..),Absicht, die man sicher und a priori bei jedem Menschen voraussetzen kann, weil sie zu seinem Wesen gehOrt'. Otherwise, lim Gebrauch der Mittel zu allerlei beliebigen Zwecken', one would have to speak of 'Regeln der Geschicklichkeit'.


DaB apriorische Inhalte nicht an realen (Ilempirischen") Gegenstanden als solchen abzulesen sind, das tut doch ihrer Gegenstandlichkeit aberhaupt keinen Eintrag. Geometrische Verhaltnisse sind zwar nicht von Dingen, auch nicht von gezeichneten Figuren abstrahierbar, sondern hOchstens an ihnen demonstrierbar; aber sie sind deswegen doch etwas rein Objektives, als Objekt anschaubares und haben mit Bewuptseinsfunktionen nichts zu tun. Das Verh&ltnis von Ursache und Wirkung ist zwar niemals wahrnehmbar, auch wenn beide Glieder der Wahrnehmung gegeben sind; aber es ist deswegen doch ein Gegenstandsverhaltnis und wird einzig als solches dem Wahrgenommenen eingefagt. Nichts laBt darauf schlieBen, dap es ein Verhaltnis von Bewustseinsfunktionen ist'. 27

In fact, Scheler, Hartmann, and Hildebrand argue, ethical demands, or rather the values which lie behind these demands,are the object of of a specific type of perception: eidetic perception.


27 N. Hartmann, Ethik, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter 1962, pp.104-105 Cf. M. Scheler, Der Formalismus in der Ethik und die materiale Wertethik, Bern and Munich: Francke Verlag 1980, pp.74: 'Es ist -wie mir scheint- das prooton pseudos bei dieser Geleichstellung (of perception and senseexperience, A.K.) , daB man, anstatt die schlichte Frage zu stellen: Was ist gegeben?, die Frage stellt: "Was kann gegeben sein?" Dann meint man: das, wofur es keine Sinnesfunktionen -wo nicht gar auch noch Sinnesorgane und Reize- gibt, "kann" uns ja gar nicht gegeben sein. Ist man in these grundfalsche Art der Fragestellung einmal hineingekommen, so muB man namlich schlieBen, daB all derjenige gegebene Gehalt der Erfahrung, der die als 11sinnlichen Gehalt" feststellbaren Elemente seiner Qberragt, durch sie nicht deckbar ist, ein irgendwie von uns 'Hinzugebrachtes", ein Ergebnis unserer 'BetAtigung", eines "Formens", einer "Bearbeitung" und dergleichen seil.

Values are at the center of our consciousness. With cognition and volition, valuation is at the core of conscious life. In fact, valuation precedes volition, volition presupposes valuation. Moreover, valuation also precedes cognition. 'Alles primAre Verhalten zur Welt aberhaupt, nicht nur zur Aupenwelt, sondern auch zur Innenwelt, nicht nur zu anderen, sondern auch zu unserem eigenen Ich, ist (. .) nicht ein I'vorstelliges", ein Verhalten des Wahrnehmens, sondern immer gleichzeitig (. .) primAr ein (. .) wertnehmendes Verhalten', writes Scheler. 28Indeed, value-free (1vorstellige') perception paradoxically presupposes that the observer has incorporated certain values, such as love of thruth -the Platonic eroos-, humility, and self-control. 29

'Wertnehmen' is the term used by Scheler. Translated literally it would have to be rendered as 'valuetaking'. The term suggests that, in valuing, values are not posited by us,

28 Scheler, Formalismus, p.206
29 Scheler, Vom Wesen der Philosophie und der moralischen Bedingung des
philosophischen Erkennens,
in: Vom Ewigen im Menschen, Bern: Francke
Verlag 1954, p.89



but given. 30 Values are objective, not subjective and relative. However, there are some exceptions. Some values are posited, in some cases man is indeed chre`matoon metron, the measure of things. To understand in which cases, we need to have a typology of values.


Values are not all of the same type. Scheler identifies several different value-modalities'. 3 1 First of all, the kosmos noe`tos of values comprises the value of the pleasant. Also belonging to this modality is the value of the useful, which is never an ultimate value but is derived from the pleasant. A second modality comprises the values of life, such as vitality, vigour, energy, health, strength, ability, etc. In short, lalle jene Qualitaten, die von dem Gegensatz des "Edlen" und "Gemeinen" (oder auch des "Guten" in der besonderen Pragnanz des Ausdrucks, in der es dem "Tuchtigen" gleichsteht, und nicht dem "Bosen", sondern dem "Schlechten" entgegengesetzt ist) umspannt ist'.32 A third modality comprises all the spiritual values ('geistigen Werte'), subdivided by Scheler into four different categories:


30 Scheler, Formalismus, p.91: 'Einen I'Verstand, der der Natur seine Gesetze vorschriebell (gesetze die nicht in ihr selbst gelegen waren) , oder eine "praktische Vernunft", die dem Triebbundel erst ihre "Form" aufzupressen hatte, gibt es nicht!l

31 Scheler, Formalismus, pp.122 ff
32 Scheler, Formalismus, p.123

aesthetic values, intellectual values -those pertaining to the finding of truth-, ethical values, and religious values.33

The values of the first of these modalities, those regarding the pleasant and the useful, are wholly subjective and relative. Valuable is here what appears valuable to the individual. Therefore, according to Hildebrand, they should not be called values at all. The other modalities, however, contain absolute and objective values, that are truly given and demand to be recognized. These values do not follow us; we are obliged to follow them.

Of course, this evokes the question how one is to do that. How are we to serve several masters at the same time? Which of the masters ranks highest? or have we reached a point here, from whereon no clear guidance can be given and we are fated, like Buridan's mule, to stand at a loss between various competing demands? Scheler, Hartmann, and Hildebrand all insist that this is not the case, because there is an objective ranking between and within the various value-modalities, determined by the elevation ('Hohe') and the force ('Starkel') of a value.


33 The typologies of values given by Hartmann and Hildebrand are somewhat different. D. von Hildebrand, Ethik, Stuttgart etc.: W. Kohlhammer 1973, pp.39 ff, distinguishes between Idas subjektiv Befriedigendel, Idas objektive Gute fur die Person', and 'Wertel, approximately covering respectively Scheler Is first, second, and third modality. Hartmann, Ethik, pp.335, includes Scheler's second modality, the 'Nietzschean, life-values in the ethical values, and excludes values of religion, although he incorporates the values such as 'Fulle, and 'Reinheit', which are often regarded as religious, in the ethical sphere.

In terms of elevation, the values of life rank lower than the spiritual values, in the nature of things. within the modality of spiritual values the ethical values presumably rank lowest, the intellectual values higher, the aesthetic higher still, and the religious rank highest, at least in Scheler's view.34 Within each of these categories a further ranking is possible.

In terms of force, on the other hand, the ranking between the various value-modalities and values is exactly the opposite. The values of life are more forceful than the spiritual values. Within the modality of the spiritual values the ethical values are the most forceful, etc.

The implication of this 'Wesensstruktur' is as important as it is evident: the higher the level of a value, the more valuable it is, but the less force it has. The more forceful, i.e. the lower values are in a sense primary, but the higher values reach out further into the transcendent en grant a fuller participation in being. What precisely does this mean?


34 'Presumably', because this is an inference. Scheler never explicitly states that the hierarchy of spiritual values is structured in that way. I believe Hildebrand has a similar view. Hartmann would obviously deny the place of honor to the religious values, and would probably include them in the ethical values. Cf. the previous note.

Within the modality of ethical value, for instance, this means that '(d)ie Versundigung am nieder Wert ist im allgemeinen schwerer als die am hoheren; die Erfullung des hoheren aber ist moralisch wertvoller als die des niederen. Der Mord gilt als schwerstes Vergehen, aber die Respektierung fremden Lebens ist deswegen nicht der hochste moralische Habitus -nicht zu vergleichen mit Freundschaft. Liebe, Vert rauensw-ardigke it. (..) Vers-andigung gegen niedere Werte ist schimpflich, ehrenruhrig, empbrend, aber ihre Erfullung erreicht nur eben das Niveau des Anstandigen, ohne sich darfiber zu erheben. Die Verletzung hoherer Werte dagegen hat wohl den Charakter moralischer Verfehlung, aber nichts direkt Entwurdigendes, wahrend die Realisation dieser Werte etwas Erhebendes, Befreiendes, ja Begeisterndes haben kann'.35

We will leave aside now the life-values, the aesthetic values, the intellectual values, and the religious values, and focus on 'das Reich der ethischen Wertel',as Hartmann calls it .36 In doing so, we are merely going along with the phenomenologists, whose efforts are principally directed at the investigation of ethical values. 37 Hartmann justifies this

35 Hartmann, Ethik, p.277. As this analysis makes clear, the concept of 'duty' is pertinent only to the less elevated and more forceful values. It makes no sense to speak of duty with regard to the highest values.

36 Hartmann, Ethik, p.251
37 However, both Hartmann and Hildebrand wrote a treatise on aesthetics.

limitation with the argument that I (u)nser Wissen um. Struktur und Ordnung des Wertreiches ist (..) ein noch ganz im Stadium des Suchens und Tastens steckendes. Wir konnen nur vom Besondern aus, von einzelnen uns gerade zuganglich gewordenen Wertgruppen aus, in das Wertreich hineinblicken, aber nicht von der Uberschau des Ganzen aus das Einzelne deduktiv bestimmen. (. .) (D) as Gebiet der sittlichen Werte, als das unter den hoheren Wertregionen noch am ehesten zugangliche, mup (..) die Anhaltspunkte zur allgemeinen Werttheorie hergeben'.38

The differentia specifica of ethical values is their pertaining to what the phenomenologists call 'persons'. Only persons can be I carriers I of ethical values Werttrager . At the core of this notion of the person are ideas like responsibility, free will, and intentionality. Only a subject which possesses personhood can be meaningfully judged on the basis of an ethical standard. Hence, not all human beings are persons: children for instance are not persons in the full sense of the word, until they have come of age. They cannot be

38 Hartmann, Ethik, pp.250-251


held (fully) responsible for their conduct, and are thus not, or only in part, 'carriers, of ethical values.39

Persons 'carry' or fail to 'carry' ethical values in three different ways: in their actions, in their affections, and in their dispositions. 40 These are the three realms, in which ethical value can manifest itself.

There is no need to elaborate on action as a realm of ethical value. Acts are the most visible area of value-manifestation. Not surprisingly therefore, -modern- moral philosophy, the Kantian no less than in the empiricist tradition, to say nothing of moral reflection in general, is predominantly concerned with actions. There is nothing against that, in the view of the phenomenologists, as long as it is recognized that ethical value is pertinent to other spheres as well, more particularly to affections and to dispositions. But that is often not the case. Hence, a moral short-sightedness results, which fails to notice a substantial and significant segment of the moral order.

Most neglected perhaps ' is the realm of affections, emotions, or feelings.41 And yet, '(g)erade hier enthullt sich


39 Scheler, Formalismus, pp.469 ff; Hildebrand, Ethik, pp.201 ff; Hartmann, Ethik, p.145

40 Cf. esp. Hildebrand, Ethik, pp.355 ff

41 Obviously, the fact that there is a school of thought, sometimes called emotivism, which derives ethical values from affections, does not contradict this statement. What we are concerned with here is the manifestation of ethical values in affections, not the manifestation of affections in ethical values. It is clear that emotivism is eo ipso incapable of considering the former question in any other way than considering it absurd.

der unerhbrte Reichtum und die Vielfalt sittlicher Wertel'.42
The complexity and depth of the cosmos of affections is immeasurable. For example, joy, love, trust, compassion, pride, satisfaction, disgust, hate, envy, contempt, anger, irritation, dislike, lust, admiration, respect, doubt, shame, guilt, vindictiveness, fear, and repentence are specimens of affections, each in itself multifarious, and intricately related to many other affections. And there are numerous others.

All of these are essentially 'responses'. (Affection is derived from the Latin affectuus: influenced by, caused by, attached to) Consider the following examples of such responses. Being delighted, because one Is parents have died in an accident. Feeling satisfied that one has passed an examination by cheating. Feeling compassion with the hungry and the sick, feeling contempt for those who are less well-educated. Incontestably, in all of these cases the affection in question has an ethical quality.

Apparently, an affective respons in cases such as the

42 Hildebrand, Ethik, p.362

above can be ethically appropriate or inappropriate, fitting or unfitting. Appropriate responses respond to an objective ethical value and are themselves ethically valuable, inappropriate responses respond to a subjective desire and are merely subjectively valuable.43 Appropriate responses are demanded from us by, inappropriate responses constitute a transgression of the moral law, that is whispered in our ears from the beyond.

The third possible carrier, of ethical value is the person himself. This is the realm, not of acts or of affections, but of the permanent qualities of 'character', of disposition. 44 'Sie ist das eigentliche Mark der Sittlichkeit' , writes Hildebrand, 45 since acts and affections are rooted in the moral quality of a person.

Hildebrand distinguises between three moral centers' within the person. 'Diese Zentren sind in jedem Menschen der

43 This is not to say that subjective desires can have no place in our life. Hildebrand, Ethik, p.442, argues, that they are legitimate as long as 'die Wertantwortende Haltung (..) die Vorherrschaft in unseren Seelen innehat (..) Hier gilt es zu verstehen, daB ie Schicht, an die das sittlich neutrale, subjektiv Befriendigende appelliert, nur so lange legitim bleibt, als die Person (..) primar auf das Reich der Werte gerichtet ist. Es gehort zum Wesen dieses Bereiches, auf eine untergeordnete Sphare heschrankt zu sein und mit der wertantwortenden Haltung zu koexistieren, die die Herrin bleiben solltel.

44 The term 'character' is put between quotation marks, to indicate that what is meant here is not character as something innate, which seems to be the meaning it is commonly given today, but character as something aquired, a heksis, a habitus, as it was defined by Aristotle and Thomas. The phenomenologists use the term character in this sense.

45 Hildebrand, Ethik, p.356

Moglichkeit nach wesenhaft vorhanden, in den meisten haben alle drei eine relative Herrschaft, bei einigen eines von ihnen die prominente Vorherrschaft.'46 Two of these centers are directed toward subjective desires, all of which can be reduced to either concupiscence or insolence (superbia, Hochmut). The third center within us is directed toward Idas Reich der Wertel.

When this third center is predominant in a person, he is virtuous, he has a virtuous disposition. Thus, a virtue is a disposition to respond adequately, i.e. appropriately to an ethical value that is demanded from us by the order of being, whether through an action or through an affection.

The notion of virtue is central to the moral philosophy of Scheler, Hartmann, and Hildebrand. Again, it was Scheler who led the way. Zur Rehabilitierung der Tugend, is the title of one of his early essays.

'Das Wort Tugend', he writes in this essay, 'ist durch


46 Hildebrand, Sittlichkeit und ethische Werterkenntnis, VallendarSch6nstatt: Patris Verlag 1982, p.151; cf. Hildebrand, Ethik, p.425ff, where a typology of characters is developed on the basis of this conception. See esp. pp. 427-249, on five mixed' types, pp.451-454, on three concupiscent types, and pp.456-466 on four insolent types of character.


die pathetischen und ruhrseligen Apostrophen, welche die Barger des 18. Jahrhunderts als Dichter, Philosophen, und Prediger an sie richteten, so miBbeliebig geworden, daB wir uns eines Lachelns kaum erwehren konnen, wenn wir es horen oder lesen. (. .) Und doch war these alte, keifernde, zahnlose Jungfer zu anderen Zeiten, z.B. in der Blute des Mittelalters und bei den Hellenen und Romern vor der Kaiserzeit, ein hochst anmutiges, anlockendes und charmevolles Wesen. (. .) Er wird Zeit, daB wir aufhbren, nur die Opponenten dener faden Barger des 18. Jahrhunderts zu sein und darum. die Tugend lacherlich zu machen. Wer verfolgt,der folgt. (..) Suchen wir auch far die Tugend wieder den welthistorischen Horizont!'.47

And that is what Scheler, Hartmann, and Hildebrand have done, with acumen and accomplishment. In the essay just mentioned for instance, Scheler gives a penetrating phenomenological analysis of two key virtues: humility ('Demut') , and reverence ('Ehrfurcht') . And, although he never wrote a treatise on virtues per se, many of his works contain substantial disquisitions on specific virtues and closely related phenomena. Suffice it to mention his study on Wesen und Formen der Sympathie, in which Scheler discusses

47 Scheler, Zur Rehabilitierung der Tugend, in: Vom Umsturz der Werte,
Bern: Francke Verlag 1955, pp.15-17

compassion, love and hate at length.48

Hartmann did discuss the virtues per se. In the second part of the Ethik he presents a elaborate catalogue of virtues, encompassing the cardinal virtues of justice, wisdom, courage, and temperance, but also virtues like charity, sincerity and honesty, reliability, and fidelity, trust, modesty, humility, etc . 49 The meaning of these virtues and the relation between them is analyzed and elucidated with great care and insight.

However, he most prolific on the subject of the virtues is Hildebrand. In addition to several smaller works on virtues, like Reinheit und Jungfraulichkeit, Heiligkeit und Tuchtigkeit, and The Art of Living, which contains fine presentations of reverence, faithfulness, reponsibility, veracity, goodness, communion, hope, and gratitude, Hildebrand authored a magnificent catalogue of christian virtues, entitled Die Umgestaltung in Christus, and a massive treatise on the virtue of love, Das Wesen der Liebe.


48 Scheler, Wesen und Formen der Sympathie, Bern and Munich: Francke Verlag
1974
49 Hartmann, Bthik, part II, entitled 'Das Reich der ethischen Werte;
Axiologie der Sitten', esp.pp.416-543

It is not necessary to go any further into this issue and set out in detail how Scheler, Hartmann, and Hildebrand discuss each virtue. The aim of this paper is merely to set out the general ideas behind the phenomenological approach to the subject of ethics. In the opinion of the present writer is the most profound approach to this subject we have. That is has received so little attention is due, not to a lack of quality, but partly to historical accident -e.g. the untimely death of Scheler at age 54-, and partly to the relativist and atheist 'Zeitgeist', which has little patience with a view, affirming unabashedly that a logos permeates the universe, and that we participate in it, if only our minds and hearts are open to this logos.50

Let us now turn to Eric Voegelin, whose work is honored in the conference. Both the general drift of his oeuvre and his biography are such that one is tempted to conclude that the early phenomenologists, Scheler in particular, must have exerted a considerable influence on Voegelin.

Of course, the differences are obvious enough. Voegelin did not speak much of virtues or values. This I find quite inexplicable. In view of the fact that the language of virtues

50 Scheler, Formalismus, p.86; Hildebrand, Ethik, p.229

was the medium par excellence through which the order of being was symbolized both by the ancient Greeks and Romans, and by medieval Christianity, a symbolization which, in Voegelin's words, had achieved the maximum of differentiation, i.e. clarity concerning the conditio humana, one would have expected something else . 51 And even when Voegelin discusses the virtues, as for instance in his comment on Plato's Politeia, in volume III of Order and History, his treatment of the matter is rather schematic and somewhat impatient. Voegelin is captured by the idea tou agathou, clearly not by the aretai . 52

And yet, at a different level, the similarity, the affinity between the phenomenologists and Voegelin are just as obvious as these differences. Both are critical the empiricist and idealist reductionism, both vehemently reject the immanentization of the transcendent. To both the order of being is the central notion. Both conceive of man as participating in this order, and hence as transcendent, without knowing exactly how or why. The divine ground of the order of being is unknown and unknowable. God is a deus absconditus, a hidden God, who is beyond the world. At the same time, however, this hidden God is visible, to some extent, in the order of being, at least for those who 'have eyes to see'.

51 E. Voegelin, The New Science of Politics, Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press 1987, p.79

52 Voegelin, Order and History, vol.III, Columbia & London: University of Missouri Press 2000, pp.162-167

'We experience our own lasting in existence, passing as it is, as well as the hierarchy in lasting; and in these experiences existence become transparent, revealing something of the mystery of being, of the mystery in which it participates though it does not know what it is. Attunement, therefore, will be the state of existence when it hearkens to what is lasting in being, when it maintains a tension of awareness for its partial revelations in the order of society and the world, when it listens attentively to the silent voices of conscience and grace in human existence itself', writes Voegelin in the introduction to volume I of Order and History.53

These lines could also have been written by Scheler, Hartmann, or Hidebrand. The lattunement', of which Voegelin writes, the result of the platonic periagoog6 or the biblical metanoia, is identical to what the phenomenologists call 'Wesensschaul, and, more specifically, 'Wertschaul. In their view, the attunement is possible only through 'Wesenschaul, which enables us to 'see' and 'value, the eternal order appropriately.

Hence, the phenomenologists would argue, attunement is possible only for the virtuous man. Voegelin never seems to has drawn this conclusion. What does that mean?


53Voegelin,
order and History, vol. I, pp.4-5

                                      Epistemology, Myth and Politics in Hegel and Voegelin

Copyright 2000 Clarence Sills




Several years ago in this venue I presented a paper which considered the justice of Eric Voegelin's notorious designation of Hegel as "the greatest of speculative gnostics."1 Today I would like to re-visit the confrontation of these two thinkers, with particular reference to the issues of epistemology raised by each. My procedure on this occasion will be to briefly indicate how certain issues broadly concerned with epistemology, myth and politics might be illuminated by a comparative study of the two thinkers. The issue of epistemology is essentially the issue of one's conception of "science", and we will have touch on the relative conceptions of "science" advanced by our thinkers. The role of myth in or its relation to science will then be considered, and finally the relation of the foregoing to the analysis of problems in political reality will be indicated. Such a field requires a large treatment; in this venue I must confine myself to brief and sketchy outlines.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel must be seen first of all, I believe, as the author of Die Phaenomenolgie des Geistes. In this great, and indeed unique work, Hegel set out to accomplish a number of tasks:

1) To begin the transformation of philosophy into "science"--Wissenschaft-- or "actual knowledge"--wirkliches Wissen
2) To do this via the invention and display of a new and unique science- "phenomenology"--the mastery of which Hegel seeks to demonstrate in the work itself.
3) To provide via this phenomenology the "ladder" by which ordinary consciousness can ascend to the level of "pure thought" beyond the subject-object opposition of consciousness. Only such "pure thought, " according to Hegel, is able to properly contemplate the absolute determinations of the speculative idea--the subject of the Science of Logic yet to come. It is in this sense that the phenomenology is the "Introduction or "First Part" of the "System of Science."
4) To accomplish all this with the help of rhetorical strategies adapted to a philosophical audience prepared by two decades of idealistic philosophy and the historical upheavals associated with the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, still very much in progress as Hegel wrote his masterpiece.
5) To present to this public via this performance both a "mythology of reason" suitable to the age and a new mode of scientific discourse which definitively transcends "myth" altogether.

Hegel's claim to have transformed philosophy into science is itself notorious, and was followed by positivistic, Marxian, pragmatic and phenomenological claims to do the same. It is also of course the basis of Voegelin's criticism that Hegel was in fact a gnostic.

What I wish to focus on here is Hegel's specific and ingenious response to the "epistemological turn" of the age of Reason. In various ways, modem philosophers from Descartes to Kant had argued that, before one goes off half-cocked with various metaphysical claims, it would be advisable to first examine the instrument or medium of cognition itself, in order to see that it was capable of the work. The idea was to expose and get rid of unwarranted prior assumptions before beginning the work of philosophy proper. Epistemology had become a sort of "philosophical conscience," and any thinker who did not lay his epistemological cards on the table was regarded as not playing by the rules.

Hegel changed all that by replacing epistemological reflection with phenomenological reflection. In a brilliant passage in his Introduction to the Phenomenology, he points out that the epistemological anxiety itself rests upon various conceptions and presuppositions, and that the examination of the "instrument of cognition" is itself a cognitive activity which would itself have to be justified (leading to an infinite regress). Why not begin in medias res, as had Aristotle, for instance, instead of pretending to have made a clean sweep prior to beginning? The Phenomenology, the "Science of the Experience of Consciousness", is thus not indentured to a prior epistemological "clearing of accounts." Many commentators have found this procedure dubious, but Hegel does have a point. The next obvious question, however, is how is the science to proceed--what is its object, and what its method? Hegel's ingenuity here is simply to point out that consciousness contains its own object and method within itself--none needs to be presupposed or imported from without. Consciousness is always consciousness of something, so the science of phenomenology is simply the conscious examination of consciousness itself So the "object" is consciousness itself and the "method" is simply the comparison of the object as it is initially taken to be by consciousness with the object as it comes to be understood when this initial acceptation is "taken seriously" and actually "experienced" or lived through.

"Progress" in this science is derived from the systematic examination of all the "forms of consciousness" according to the "criterion" which each posits in its initial claim. Since, in the process of the examination, each claim is found to be inadequate, the "negative" finding is positively incorporated into the next claim via "determinate negation." Thus, according to Hegel, a complete traversal of all possible "forms of consciousness" is made until the "goal" is reached--when the "object" corresponds with its "concept" (in this case, simply the "original acceptation" I cited above. Such a form of consciousness would be an "absolute knowing"--absolved of reference to anything outside itself, since any possible "outside" would be a repetition of one of the "forms of consciousness" advanced and dialectically negated earlier. The process of achieving such an "absolute knowledge" would be a "thorough going skepticism" in that it involves the taking up and rejecting (or rather, finding inadequate on its own terms) of each "form of consciousness." In this way, various historical positions--such as ancient skepticism, stoicism and Kant's transcendental philosophy, will reveal themselves as both dialectically necessary and as definitively inadequate.

The above paragraphs briefly indicate how I think Hegel saw himself as transforming philosophy into "actual knowledge" via the creation of a "new science." What about my claims that in doing so he availed himself of peculiar rhetorical devices, that thereby he "provided a ladder for ordinary consciousness", and that he simultaneously transcended and instantiated "myth"?

The rhetorical devices which Hegel employed that I am concerned with here involve his subtle use of a dramatistic and agonistic form of "dialectic." As Professor Joseph Flay has pointed out2, Hegel self-consciously used a form of dialectic which had been criticized by Aristotle as invalid. He did this, I think, for two reasons: he believed that he had discovered a way to elude the Aristotelian criticism, and he recognized the rhetorical power of this form of dialectic. Very briefly, according to Flay, there are two basic forms of dialectical argument: in the first, one simply examines a position "internally" so to speak, by seeing if it leads to self contradiction or absurdity, while the second opposes to a given position another position. In the second form, an "external" opposition is compared with the first claim, and both are examined in order to find if either, neither, or some combination of both is adequate. Following Flay, let us call the first foem. of dialectic "Socratic-Hegelian" and the second "Aristotelian-Kantian." Both forms appear in Plato. The great rhetorical strength of the first is that it lends itself to a more intense form of identification and hence a more pathetic experience of transition or loss. One can "identify" with the position under examination, and one must painfully admit failure when it is found wanting. And indeed this is how Hegel structures the movement within each form of consciousness. The agonistic dimension is of course explicit in such famous passages as the socalled "master-slave" or "lordship and bondage" confrontation, but the procedure is the same in principle throughout. The explicit self-conscious confrontation of master and slave is prepared by Hegel's prior sly invitation for the philosophical "we" who conducts the whole examination to actually "Become" or "impersonate" the concept (in the Chapter "Force and Understanding" immediately preceding the chapter on "Self-Consciousness" within which the master-slave confrontation occurs.3) For a work addressed to a philosophical public obsessed with the "facts of consciousness" and living through the tumultuous European events of the Napoleonic era, this
rhetorical strategy made sense.4

The Phenomenology constitutes a "ladder" for the "ordinary consciousness" in that it purports to demonstrate to ordinary consciousness that the movement toward the "absolute standpoint" is in fact inherent in it already, and that a rigorous demonstration of the necessity of this absolute standpoint will be developed via a dialectical examination of all "partial" standpoints on the way.5 The standpoint of "ordinary consciousness" will be seen to be a thoughtless melange of several different standpoints among which ordinary consciousness moves and shifts at need.

The "ladder" image leads directly to the question of "Myth." I spoke above of a
simultaneous transcendence and instantiation of myth. What was I getting at? Well, anyone who has tried to climb Hegel's ladder knows very well that getting to the "top" of "absolute knowing" is very problematic. Either one falls off the ladder, or finds that several necessary rungs are missing, or that the ladder seems to be established on no stable ground, or that the top is in some distant cloud--or that when one gets to the top, it doesn't seem to be "absolute knowing" after all. Or one can refuse to climb it at all. In any case, I think Hegel is most interesting when taken seriously, and I think he seriously considered that he had succeeded in providing such a ladder. Yet Hegel knew very well that, in the best of cases, only a very few climbers were likely to join him. What about those--and Hegel must have known there would be many--who were generally sympathetic to Hegel's attempt to "think the concrete" for his own era, but frankly unable to muster the necessary noetic endurance to survive the climb? Well, for such people the Phenomenology itself could constitute a new "mythology of reason." For such people, the memorable images (Bildern) which appear in the Phenomenology could form a mnemonic catalog of various phases in the epic story of spirit's odyssey.6 So in a sort of modem "averroistic" twist, Hegel, I suggest, simultaneously sought to provide, for those capable of the journey, a definitive critique of all previous myth--it was based on vorstellendes Denken or "pictorial thinking"--while at the same time providing a "mythical" version of the "scientific" exposition.

To argue for this in detail would take me too far a field in this venue. But I do wish to point our that there is warrant in Hegel's own writing for ascribing to him this ambition to be a Volkserzieher--a "popular teacher" by providing a "mythology of reason." The phrase "mythology of reason" appears in Hegel's handwriting in that strange document of 1796 or '97 titled by his editors as "Das Aelteste Systemprogramm des deutschen Idealismus" ("The Oldest System-Program of German Idealism").7 Here Hegel, evidently inspired by Schiller's Letters on the Esthetic Education of Mankind, speculates that only a "mythology of reason" can truly affect the mass of men. Since Hegel also notes that, so far as he knows, no one has ever thought of this before, one must consider whether the "lust for originality" hinted at might have played a perduring motivating role in Hegel's own project.

As far as the "scientific" side of his achievement is concerned, Hegel thought he had eluded the Aristotelian criticism of his mode of dialectice by contending that he wrote, in effect, as the amanuensis of the absolute--the circuit of determinately-negated positions could be "circular" without this involving him in a vicious circularity, because the circuit itself was simply the abstract form of God's own self-revelation. The circuit was rationally conceivable and selfcompleting. So "science" now was in principle complete, and included the sorts of issues which had been pursued by philosophers and religious people since ancient times.

Hegel's system in fact had enormous immediate and long-term impact. Even though as a "scientific" project it was rapidly superceded by positivist, pragamatist and neo-Kantian projects more subservient to the paradigm of physical science and less respectful of the problems of spirit which Hegel had endeavored to integrate into his "concrete universal," still I think the example of Hegel was instructive. Even so talented a student as Marx accepted Hegel's completion of philosophy as definitive, and saw the task remaining as the "realization of philosophy." Whether or not Hegel intended, as I have suggested, to provide a "mythology of reason" in his "system of science," he must, I think, be credited with a sure insight into the longing for such a simplified or "compact" presentation of reason. Positivism may have triumphed for its time because it was, compared with the difficulties of Hegel's system, a more-readily-accessible "mythology of reason."8

I will hold off any consideration of the political implications of Hegel's work until after a brief survey of Voegelin's approach to epistemology and myth.

If Hegel completed his own intellectual development amid the turmoils of the period of the French Revolution and the ensuing Napoleonic era, Eric Voegelin began his in a century of total war and ideological intensification. Hegel was always a defender of the Revolution, even in his later, supposedly "conservative" Berlin years, and was able to construct his system only after overcoming a depression and making the decision to "make a bold gamble" on the validity of his own times.9 Indeed, Hegel was to famously claim that "Philosophy is its own time apprehended in thought."10 Eric Voegelin, in contrast, saw his own task as far more in opposition, in resistance to, the dominant trends of his age.

In his intellectual training, Voegelin assimilated positivist, neo-Kantian, pragmatist, idealist, Thomist, and phenomenological approaches to the problem of human knowing.11 But he is most valuable for his informed critique of these and most modem philosophical trends-including the legacy of Hegel himself. How did Voegelin see the problem of human knowing? As a process of "clearing away the rubble" by a project of anamnesis--a recovery of the classical conception of reason as a luminous tension towards the ground of being, an activity of "resistance to..personal and social disorder of the.. Age."12 This recovery was not simply a matter of "re-learning" in the sense of absorbing information which was once known but had become obscure through forgetfulness, , but of himself practicing the open-souled meditative engagement which was the hallmark, Voegelin insisted, of the great mystic-philosophers. So Voegelin felt himself emancipated from the methodological obsession of neo-Kantian and positivist epistemology, and he became disillusioned with phenomenology "after wasting more years than I care to remember" in pursuing it.13 He had the strength of character to maintain the highest standards of intellectual and scholarly integrity even while jettisoning the most prevalent academic ideologies in whose terms scholars were expected to form and justify their own standards of excellence. Voegelin uses the symbol "science" just as respectfully as Hegel did, but he self-consciously owes as much to Plato and Aristotle as he does to contemporary physics in his understanding of the term.

The process which I referred to above as "clearing away the rubble" was not, for Voegelin, an arbitrary or self-willed rejection of much of modem intellectual history, but ratheran arduous process of analytical penetration of this history with the conceptual analysis and meditative engagement which his own theory of consciousness made available.

Voegelin's insights into myth and politics are supported by his theory of consciousness. Voegelin's anamnetic science does not base itself upon the subject-object distinction, but rather provides an account of consciousness as primordial awareness of tension whose poles may 11precipitate out" into the structured opposition of subject and object (or act and object, for Husserlians) which are then the basis for philosophical inquiry and speculation. In Anamnesis and In Search of Order Voegelin makes his most sustained discussion of what we might call " epistemological" issues. In these works, Voegelin resurrects metaphysics as a "science of substance" while accepting that the doctrinalization and deformation of symbols had given metaphysics a bad name. One might argue that the whole point of Voegelin's theory of consciousness is to avoid the antinomies of propositional metaphysics. Systematic metaphysics, according to Voegelin, operates after hypostatizing one or both of the poles of consciousness into "concepts denoting objects." This is always a danger because of consciousness' capacity for "reflective distance." Reflecting upon one's experience is facilitated by symbols which function exegetically and mnemonically at once. The mnemonic function tends, by a sort of psychoserniotic entropy, to predominate, in which case the symbol elides into the concept which denotes an object.

Illumination repeated gives way to recognition of the familiar; luminosity is absorbed into intentionality. In this way a "deformative" or "derailed" practice reduces meditative symbols deriving from the whole complex experience of consciousness into the formal terms appropriate to only one of its structures. By this analysis, Voegelin repeats and expands Aristotle's warning from Nichomachean Ethics that one should not expect a greater degree of certainty from a given inquiry than it is inherently capable of providing. He also makes his own Whitehead's warning about the "fallacy of misplaced concreteness."

In contrast with Hegel, then, Voegelin remains a classical skeptic. Where Hegel had attempted ingeniously to marshal the Skeptical tropes into a "self-completing skepticism" which ended up in absolute knowing,14 Voegelin admits to an "ultimate, essential ignorance" which is simply a part of the human condition--despite various claims (by Hegel, for instance) to have "leaped beyond" this condition.15 Voegelin more than Hegel exhibits that "negative capability" spoken of by Keats which is able to endure the presence of mystery without restless seeking after explanations. Hegel would no doubt retort that if an explanation is available, it is contemptible to remain stuck in mystification.

As far as myth is concerned, it is a central concern for Voegelin. In his view genuine myth expresses in "compact" symbolism the insights of order relative to a "cosmological" , consciousness. Since we all live in the cosmos, "myth" is potentially valid in any era. But when noetic or pneumatic revelation creates "differentiated" symbolism, then the symbolism of myth will typically seem inadequate or simply false. Or the experiences which engendered and sustained the mythic symbolism may themselves become rare or non-existent, and the mythical symbolism may die of "experiential atrophy."16

For Hegel, on the other hand, myth is a charming but obsolete expression of mystery which is no longer justified since we now are in a position to adequately penetrate the mystery symbolized. Or myth is seen to express philosophical truth in an allegorical form. But mythic thought is "pictorial thinking"--vorstellendes Denken--and as such is inherently inadequate to express rational, speculative truth-2'absolute knowing." -

If an essential dimension of politics is "struggle for control of the myth," then the contrasting approaches to myth embodied in the projects of Hegel and Voegelin offer food for thought for those interested in political reality. Only the briefest indications will be hazarded here. For Voegelin, his conception of myth provides an initial approach to the interpretation of the symbols, ideals of order, and motivations of political actors. When referred to his distinction of "compact" and "differentiated" symbolism, and to the related distinction between 66cosmological civilizations" and "ecumenic empires", the analysis of symbols permitted by Voegelin's conception offers a rich field for researchers wishing to study phenomena of political representation, political legitimacy, political alienation, and movements of political transformation.

Hegel's approach to myth--overtly consigning it to the dustbin of history while effectively inventing a new myth--the "myth of reason"--has become a significant feature of the contemporary climate of opinion. As the exchange between Paul Feyerabend and Karl Popper indicates, one can be a positivist and yet still be living "in a myth."17 And the fact that the dominant scientistic "myth" has functioned as a "myth of enlightenment," as a pretence to have dispensed with myth, has perhaps dulled our perception of its mythic dimensions. A whole region of study distinguishing genuine cosmological myth from ersatz "invented" myth is suggested here. And this may become easier, as the positivist myth loses its power and a recrudescent cosmological myth vies for supremacy. I refer here to the quasi-mystical ideology of "deep ecology," to the devotees of the "gaia hypothesis," and the various strands of so-called "new age" thought, and so on. Students of political reality would do well, I think, to consider Eric Voegelin's fundamental analysis of philosophy and myth, with its narrative of spiritual and rational derailment, in their efforts to continue the process of "clearing away the rubble."



NOTES

1. Chip Sills, "Is Hegel a 'Gnostic' in Voegelin's Sense?", unpublished.

2. Joseph Flay, "Hegel's Science of Logic: Ironies of the Understanding, in Essays on Hegel's Logic, ed. George di Giovanni (Albany: SUNY Press, 1990), pp. 153-169, and "Dialectic of Irony," Owl of Minerva 25/2 (Spring 1994): 209-214

3.Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A.V. Miller, p. 80, par. 133; Werke 3 (Frankfurt a/M: Suhrkamp, 1970), eds Eva Moldenhauer and Karl Markus Michel, p. 108.

4. For the phrase "Facts of Consciousness", see George di Giovanni and H. S. Harris, eds, Between Kant and Hegel. Texts in the Development of Post-Kantian Idealism (Albany: SUNY Press, 1985), passim and especially the introductory essay "The Facts of Consciousness" by di Giovanni, pp. 1-3-50. For the condition of the "philosophical public," see Frederick Beiser's brilliant study, The Fate of Reason: German Philosophy from Kant to Fichte (Cambridge, etc: Harvard University Press, 1987).

5. The "ladder" image is from the "Preface" to the Phenomenology. Miller, p. 14, par. 26, Werke 3, 29.

6. Donald Phillip Verene, Hegel's Recollection: a Study of1mages in the Phenomenology of Spirit (Albany: SUNY Press, 1985), offers an interpretation of Hegel compatible with this understanding.

7. Werke 1, pp. 234-36.

8. For the notion of positivism--in the broadest sense meaning the attitude that positive (quantifiable and operationally-validated) knowledge patterned after mathematical physics constitutes the paradigm of knowing, and that the life of spirit involves "values" whose cognitive status is vague or non-existent or "subjective" in a pejorative sense--as itself 'mythological," see the exchange between Paul Feyerabend and Karl Popper. Popper, Conjectures and Refutations. Also relevant are Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, esp. Pp. 3-26; Leszek Kolakowski, The Alienation of Reason: A History of Positivism

9. Joachim Ritter, Hegel and the French Revolution : Essays on the Philosophy of Right (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1984), trans. Richard Dien Winfield.

3,6,7.
10. Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, ed. Allen Wood, trans. H. B. Nisbet (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 21; Werke 7, p. 26.

11. Voegelin, Autobiographical Reflections, ed. Ellis Sandoz (Baton Rouge, LSU Press, 1989), esp. Ch.

12. Eric Voegelin, "Reason: the Classic Experience" in Collected Works, vol. 12, p. 265.

13. Quoted in Barry Cooper, Eric Voegelin and the Foundations of Modern Political Science (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1999), p. 153.

14. See Chip Sills, "Is Hegel's Logic A Speculative Tropology?" Owl of Minerva 21/1 (Fall, 1989), 2140; Chip Sills, Hegel's Pyrrhonian Poetics: Tropology and Systematic Inquiry in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit," Philosophy Today (December, 1995).

15. Israel and Revelation (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1956), p. 2.

16. For a study of this phenomenon from a different perspective, see Owen Barfield, Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry, 2d edition (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1988); Voegelin uses the phrase "experiential atrophy" in The New Science of Politics: an Introduction (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), p. 107

17. See note 7 above. Feyerabend argues that the modem scientific outlook is a "mythic" structure in Against Method (London: Verso).