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JOHN McDOWELL'S MIND AND WORLD, AND EARLY ROMANTIC EPISTEMOLOGY


Andrew BOWIE (Anglia Polytechnic University, Cambridge) It is a further sign of a welcome change in the international philosophical climate when another eminent analytical philosopher, John McDowell, publishes an important and provocative book in which names from the Continental tradition like Hegel and Gadamer figure almost as prominently as those of Gareth Evans or W.V. Quine. McDowell's move beyond the analytical canon follows other recent examples of this change in climate, such as Michael Dummett's concern with Husserl, Bernard Williams' interest in Nietzsche and the increasingly hermeneutic assumptions of some of the work of Hilary Putnam and Donald Davidson. The growing interest in ideas from the Continental tradition on the part of certain leading analytical philosophers has, however, so far largely been directed at already fairly familiar figures like Hegel, Nietzsche and Gadamer. As a way of suggesting a further perspective on this new dialogue between the traditions, I want in the following to offer a reading of some of McDowell's Mind and World (Cambridge, Mass., London: Harvard University Press 1994, cit. MW) which suggests both how its concerns echo aspects of early Romantic epistemology and how some Romantic ideas might be used to question certain of McDowell's contentions.1 One obvious reason for the echoes of Romantic concerns in McDowell's book is that his major points of orientation are Kant and Hegel, whose positions he sees, in line with Robert Pippin, as less incompatible than is often thought, Hegel being concerned to complete a 'Kantian project' (Pippin cited in MW p. 111). McDowell thereby tends to reinforce the idea that the move from Kant to Hegel via German Idealism and early Romanticism consists of the working through of a series of untenable attempts to deal
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2 with central Kantian problems, which are then largely resolved by Hegel. However, one of the main contentions of recent research into early Romanticism is that Hegel's Absolute Idealism was not in fact the culminating solution to key post-Kantian dilemmas, and that arguments already proposed by Novalis and Friedrich Schlegel, some of which reappear in a different guise in the later Schelling's critique of Hegel, can be used to question even the re-interpretations of Hegel that have appeared in the work of Klaus Hartmann, Alan White, Terence Pinkard and others.2 To these Hegelian positions one can now add McDowell's, although much depends here upon what one takes to be the essential aspect of a Hegelian, as opposed to a Romantic position. Aspects of the contrast between the Hegelian and Romantic approaches have been echoed in many contemporary philosophical debates, both analytical and continental. This fact alone ought, I hope, to be sufficient reason for suggesting that the Romantic positions are, some two hundred years after their emergence, still philosophically alive and worth bringing into contemporary debate, even apart from their intrinsic historical interest. The approach I shall adopt here is, though, open to paradigmatic objections from two ends of the philosophical spectrum. On the one hand, a 'problem-solving' analytical approach will maintain that there is no reason to take a detour through Romantic philosophy, and that arguments for and against McDowell should be stated without the complex interpretative manoeuvres required to translate between such disparate styles of thought. On the other, some hermeneuticists will insist, as Frederick Beiser has against my work on Schelling (Bowie op. cit. 1993, 1994) -- which took a very similar line to the approach I shall adopt here -- that in relation to philosophy from the past one should be concerned with 'the internal understanding and criticism of a text', taking the author in 'his own right', 'as a whole' and in his own context, in order to avoid distortion of what the author meant (Frederick C. Beiser, 'Bowie on Schelling' in Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain 30 (1994) p. 2--3). Neither an exclusively analytical nor such an exclusively 'hermeneutic' position seems to me to have much merit.3 Purely analytical approaches already look shaky in the
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3 light of the fact that McDowell's opposition in MW to the reductionism of the contemporary forms of scientistic 'bald naturalism' that dominate certain parts of analytical philosophy draws on a re-interpretation of Kant and on the introduction of Hegel into some of the more exclusive preserves of analytical debate. McDowell thereby assumes that resources from the past offer new approaches to contemporary problems which seem intractable when considered within contemporary frameworks. Beiser's kind of hermeneutic approach must answer two obvious questions. First, how is one to avoid what Herbert Schndelbach has termed 'morbus hermeneuticus', in which 'the philologisation of philosophy turns means into ends and the medium into the content of philosophy' (Herbert Schndelbach, Vernunft und Geschichte, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp 1987 p. 283)? Schndelbach rightly maintains that 'one should ask the historical hermeneuticists why one should also have the hermeneutic problems which they have with the philosopher X' (ibid. p. 284). Without such an ability to include oneself in the process of hermeneutic reflection one becomes subject to a historicism which tries to isolate the history of philosophy from philosophy now, as though one's contemporary interpretation of past philosophy were in fact like Ranke's untenable view of history 'as it really was' or like the bad literary critic's interpretation of 'what the author really meant'. Second, where does one locate the temporal divide between those philosophers to whom one gives Beiser's hermeneutic treatment and those to whom one does not? Is one, for example, to take McDowell merely 'on his own terms', reconstruct his historical context, and read him 'as a whole', or does he have to be dead for a certain number of years? In the case of the Romantics far more philological work needs to be done before we can begin an adequate assessment of much of their philosophy. At what point, though, do we become aware that we 'know enough' for Romantic philosophy to become part of contemporary debate, and must we wait until then before engaging with it in the philosophical manner that all but the most fanatical contextualist assumes is justified, for example, in relation to Kant? To cut a long story short, I think that a self-correcting interplay between hermeneutico-philological and argumentative approaches is probably
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4 the best we can ever really achieve. The really interesting question in approaching the present topic in this way is why such striking analogies emerge between the concerns of contemporary philosophy and the still largely forgotten philosophy of Romanticism. What exactly, then, makes me want to relate McDowell to Romantic epistemology?

SPONTANEITY, RECEPTIVITY AND THE GROUND OF KNOWLEDGE


Both McDowell and the philosophers of the early Romantic period are concerned in closely analogous ways with the question of how to ground what we hold true of the world. The return of this concern as a central topic within contemporary American philosophy is to a large extent a reaction against the proliferation of naturalistic attempts to reduce epistemological questions to questions of cognitive science. In the later 18th century in Germany the analogous reaction was against a particular understanding of the implications of Spinoza's system: in both cases the theories being reacted against have powerful support in aspects of natural science, but they are questionable because of their failure to answer important metaphysical questions about the relationship between subjectivity and the rest of nature. The fact is that the structures involved in statements of the issues in question are sometimes virtually identical between the contemporary thinkers cited by McDowell and the philosophers of the Romantic period. Discussing the problem of grounding, McDowell cites as one of his key targets Davidson's assertion that 'nothing can count as the reason for holding a belief except another belief' (Donald Davidson, 'A Coherence Theory of Truth and Knowledge', in ed. Ernest Lepore, Truth and Interpretation, Oxford: Blackwell 1986 p. 310). One of McDowell's goals is to show that this leads to a 'coherentism that threatens to disconnect thought from reality' (MW p. 24). What lies behind this remark is, as we shall see, a problem already revealed by F.H. Jacobi, which German Idealism attempted to answer, and which Romantic philosophy will approach in a manner that rejects essential elements of German Idealism. The initial proximity of Jacobi to McDowell becomes evident when the latter talks of the worry that 'What we wanted to conceive of as exercises of concepts threaten to degenerate into moves in a self-contained game' (ibid. p. 5); in his Jacobi an Fichte of 1799 Jacobi maintains against Fichte's idealism that 'Our sciences, merely considered as such, are games which the human spirit thinks up to pass the time' (Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Jacobi an Fichte, Hamburg: Friedrich Perthes 1799 p. 24).4 In both cases the question is
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5 what sort of a ground one can give to conceptual knowledge if it is not to seem to be cast adrift from an emphatic sense of the real. Hegel's answer to this problem will, as we shall see, be to try to escape the necessity of a ground at the beginning of philosophy; the way he tries to do this has certain things in common with Romantic thought, but ultimately relies upon a conception which Romantic arguments can used to question. In a formulation which will in a moment take us to the heart of the late 18th century debate Davidson elsewhere asserts that 'our only evidence for a belief is other beliefs; this is not merely the logical situation, but also the pragmatic situation. And since no belief is self-certifying, none can supply a certain basis for the rest' (Davidson 'Empirical Content' in ed. Lepore op. cit. p. 331). In relation to an occurrence in the world 'it is the belief that is properly called the evidence, not the event' (ibid.), because only the belief, qua interpretation of a state of affairs, has claims to be able to become truthdeterminate. Davidson is led to his assertions by his rejection of what Wilfrid Sellars has termed the 'Myth of the Given', the myth in which the problem of grounding knowledge is seen as being solved by 'bare presences that are supposed to constitute the ultimate grounds of empirical judgements' (MW p. 24): these 'presences' are what is assumed by bald naturalism to be 'self-certifying'. In the 'Myth of the Given' 'presences' are 'outside the conceptual realm altogether' (ibid. p. 25). They are therefore meant to escape the merely sui generis status of the spontaneously generated contents of the 'space of reasons', in which the formulation of theories and truth claims takes place via our ability to come up with new ways of accounting for aspects of the world by synthesising our empirical concepts. In the Myth of the Given presences are supposed to extend the space of reasons by making it subject to 'impacts' which constrain it in ways that are beyond the control of concepts and that can therefore alter concepts. How they do so will, in the naturalist view, become finally intelligible once we have figured out the causal laws which govern consciousness and language. The mythical status of this conception should thereby already be apparent: how will we know when we have done this, unless we presuppose the answer at the beginning, the answer, namely, that everything is explicable in causal terms? There could, of course, hardly be a more dogmatic metaphysical
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6 conception, a fact that already suggests why this position often comes close to 18th century interpretations of Spinoza (cf. Andrew Bowie, 'Romanticism and Technology' in Radical Philosophy 72 1995 pp. 5--16). How, then, is it possible to give an intelligible account of thought's being constrained by a reality which is not merely subject to the freedom inherent in thought, without giving up the requirement that the truth about reality must be located in a space of reasons, and thus in some sense within thought? Davidson's coherentism, McDowell argues, rejects the idea that we can articulate a grounding relationship between the space of reasons, and the 'realm of law' in nature, even as it assumes that the realm of law and the space of reasons are ultimately inseparable. The latter assumption is the basis of Davidson's 'anomalous monism': that brain events and mental events are inseparable is, for Davidson, beyond question, but 'no purely physical predicate, no matter how complex, has, as a matter of law, the same extension as a mental predicate' (Donald Davidson, Essays on Actions and Events, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1980 p. 215).5 Autonomy of the mental is thereby sustained at the same time as the assumption of natural determinism. McDowell's question is whether this relationship between the two aspects of our being is able to explain how it is that the world is intelligible to us: if the realm of causality and the space of reasons cannot be shown to relate in any determinate way, how can we be sure our knowledge is of independent reality? This question has frequent echoes in the Romantic period. In the Introduction to: Ideas for a Philosophy of Nature of 1797 Schelling maintains, for example: The question is not whether and how that connection of appearances and the sequence of causes and effects which we call the course of nature has become real outside ourselves, but how it has become real for us, how that system and
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7 that connection of appearances found the way to our mind, and how they gained that certainty in our thinking with which we are absolutely compelled to think of them? (Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling's Smmtliche Werke, ed. K.F.A. Schelling, I Abtheilung Vols. 1-10, II Abtheilung Bde. 1-4, Stuttgart, 1856-61, I/2 p. 30). McDowell thinks that his own position can overcome the deficits of Davidsonian coherentism and the problem posed by Schelling without 'a vain appeal to the Given' (MW p. 24) which is beyond the realm of conceptuality, because: 'Experience enables the layout of reality itself to exert a rational influence on what a subject thinks' (ibid. p. 26).6 The viability of his project depends upon the legitimation of the claim that there is a rational influence of experience upon what we hold true. McDowell explains this in Kantian terms, by the claim that what passive receptivity gives to us must already be structured by spontaneity, or as Putnam puts it, by the claim that we should 'think of perception as an exercise of our conceptual powers, and not merely of our sense organs' (Hilary Putnam, Pragmatism, Oxford: Blackwell 1995 p. 66). McDowell's project amounts to nothing less than reconciling 'reason and nature' (MW p. 86), a project which is, of course, the aim of German Idealism, and which is seen by some, including McDowell himself, as being achieved, at least in principle, in Hegel's Absolute Idealism. A great deal will depend upon exactly how this claim is to be interpreted: the refusal to separate reason and nature is also part of early Romantic philosophy, but there is avant la lettre a crucial difference in that philosophy from Hegel's idealism. McDowell's reference to Hegel is, one should add, only to the Hegel of the
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8 Phenomenology, and he never engages with the problem of the relationship between the Phenomenology, the Logic and the rest of Hegel's system.8 However, for my purposes, it is enough that he seems to accept Hegel's notion that the Absolute is accessible to what German Idealism and Romanticism term 'reflection'. In 'reflection' thinking's recognition of its ability to transcend its apparent limitations, which comes about via insight into the relative, 'finite' status of particular determinate thoughts about things in the world and into how these limitations mutually condition each other, leads it to the position where nothing need be left outside the conceptual realm, because what is apparently the other of thought can eventually be seen to be inseparable from thought. Dieter Henrich characterises the relationship of Hegel's Absolute to determinate knowledge as follows: 'The Absolute is the finite to the extent to which the finite is nothing at all but negative relation to itself' (Dieter Henrich, Selbstverhltnisse, Stuttgart: Reclam 1982 p. 160). The finite is 'negative relation to itself' in that, if it is to know itself, it must be able to reflect itself in that which is not, in the way I need the other of the mirror to appear to myself. The contradiction between concepts in the spontaneous space of reasons and the material provided by passive 'receptivity' is therefore revealed as merely apparent and as resolvable via thought's ability to show how it is 'of the object' in both the subjective and the objective genitive. The very fact of awareness of the limitations of empirical thought therefore becomes what gives rise to the 'infinite' in Hegel's particular sense, which is thought that is bounded by itself and by nothing else. Gadamer instructively makes the Hegelian point in a remark on what he sees as the basic contention of twentieth century phenomenology, which is thoroughly consistent with the direction of McDowell's argument:9 'The image that we have of things is ...
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9 generally the manner in which the things themselves are conscious to us' (Hans-Georg Gadamer, Neuere Philosophie 1. Hegel Husserl Heidegger, Tbingen: J.C.B. Mohr 1987 p. 106). The conceptual is, therefore, in McDowell's terms, 'unbounded' -- 'infinite' in the sense just suggested -- because what might appear to be outside it is, properly understood, actually still within it. This is possible because 'the deliverances of receptivity already draw on capacities that belong to spontaneity' (MW p. 41), which means that spontaneity and receptivity cannot be wholly separate and thus that the world and the subject mediate each other in a way in which there can be no final separation between the two. While agreeing that such a separation between spontaneity and receptivity is untenable, Novalis (and later Schelling) will reveal a structure which can be used to question McDowell's use of this claim to legitimate Absolute Idealism. The Romantics' recognition of the problem McDowell wishes to overcome is evident in the following fairly typical examples, from among many others. Novalis says in the so-called 'Fichte Studies' of 1795--6: 'True -- derivation from whren [keep, preserve] -- perceive (Wahrnehmen) -- grasp persistently. / Taking -- is active receptivity' (Novalis, Band 2 Das philosophisch-theoretische Werk, ed. Hans-Joachim Mhl, Munich Vienna: Hanser 1978 p. 123, cit. Novalis PTW), and 'Active passivity, or determining determinability must therefore be the appearance of freedom in the realm of the object' (ibid. p. 112). In a 1796 text 'On Beauty in Literature' Friedrich Schlegel, in line with McDowell's contention that 'We must not suppose that receptivity makes an even notionally separable contribution to its co-operation with spontaneity' (MW p. 41), maintains that: Appearance has degrees, but no absolute maximum. The grasping of what is given demands spontaneity, one's own exertion, own activity. The smaller is the quantity of spontaneity which the grasping of the appearance demands, the more the appearance appears. There are no absolute maxima on either side; without any spontaneity there is no receptivity: and if all receptivity stopped, then the appearance would cease to be appearance and become a concept, for pure spontaneity. The sign would disappear and the thing would step into its place (Friedrich Schlegel, Kritische Schriften und Fragmente, Paderborn: Ferdinand Schningh 1988 Band 5 p. 170). The 'sign' is the thing as phenomenon, which would be replaced by the thing in itself, in
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10 the manner of the notion of 'intellectual intuition' qua 'intuitus originarius' rejected by Kant, for which God's intuition could be regarded as generating the real thing out of itself. Schlegel arrives at these formulations via his study of Fichte, whose different and important notion of intellectual intuition will concern us in a moment. In the light of Novalis' and Schlegel's remarks, and of McDowell's claim to reconcile 'reason and nature', the legitimacy of considering MW in relation to the wider Romantic context of Hegel's philosophy should hopefully now be beyond question.

THE SPACE OF REASONS AND THE REALM OF LAW


Let us, then, begin to make a rough translation of more of the issues here into the terms of late 18th and early 19th century German philosophy, in order to see if, by widening the debate, one arrives at new insight. The contemporary 'bald naturalist' adherents of the 'Myth of the Given', who think 'we can reconstruct the structure of the space of reasons out of conceptual materials that already belong in a natural-scientific depiction of nature' (MW p. 73) are a non-theological strain of what Kant termed 'dogmatists', who are, as we shall see, generally associated with Spinoza. 'Bald naturalists' assume the realm of law will in the last analysis even be determining for the functioning of thought. The coherentists like Davidson (and the more hermeneutic Rorty) are in some ways, but not others, analogous to the Romantics, because they do not see any final way of articulating the relationship between the space of reasons and the realm of law,10 and McDowell occupies a position somewhere between Kant, Fichte, and Hegel.11 McDowell's worries about coherentism are prefigured in Jacobi's contention in his critique of Kant of 1787 -- which echoes Davidson's contentions about beliefs -- that in Kantian terms: 'all our knowledge is nothing but a consciousness of linked determinations of our own self, on the basis of which one cannot infer to anything else' (Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, David Hume ber den Glauben oder Idealismus und Realismus ein
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11 Gesprch, Breslau: Gottl. Lwe 1787 p. 225). If Kant is not to be an idealist he must explain how the space of reasons is not constituted just by mind somehow affecting itself. However, his manner of doing so is, Jacobi maintains, very dubious: For even if according to [Kantian philosophy] it can be admitted that a transcendental something may correspond as cause to these merely subjective beings [Wesen, by which he means appearances], which are only determinations of our own being, it yet remains hidden in the deepest obscurity where this cause and what the nature of the relation it has to its effect is (ibid. p. 224). McDowell wishes to get away from exactly this aspect of Kant, in which 'receptivity figures as a susceptibility to the impact of a supersensible reality' (MW p. 41). He maintains, in line with other aspects of Kantian thought, that the items that institute the sui generis spontaneity related concepts have a location in the realm of law. But the concepts are sui generis precisely in that it is not by virtue of their location in the realm of law that things instantiate those concepts (ibid. p. 75--6). In a very similar vein, which confirms the aptness of this historical link, Hilary Putnam raises what is in fact Jacobi's contention against the Kant of noumenal causality against Rorty's claim that we are connected to the world 'causally not semantically'. Putnam claims that 'Rorty's picture is ... a materialist version of Kant's transcendental metaphysics' (Hilary Putnam, Words and Life Cambridge, Mass., London: Harvard University Press 1994 p. 287), precisely because the nature of the causality which gives rise to the intelligibility of representations, as opposed to the fact of sensory stimulation, is left wholly in the dark in Rorty's eliminative materialist concern to get rid of any trace of idealist metaphysics. The avoidance of the notion of an inarticulable causality of the noumenal is, of course, also what Hegel's Absolute Idealism is intended to achieve, and Fichte, Schelling and the early Romantics all reject an absolute separation between the phenomenal and the noumenal. Schelling will, for example, criticise Kant in 1833--4 for the fact that he 'does not allow [the] noumenal realm, as he calls it, any direct relationship to intelligence, to nous, to the real knowing faculty, but instead to our merely material senses' (F.W.J. Schelling, On the History of Modern Philosophy, translation and introduction by Andrew

12 Bowie, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1994 p. 102; German in Schelling, op. cit. I/10 p. 84). Jacobi's concern, which helps initiate both German Idealism and Romanticism, is with how we can get beyond the potentially solipsistic implications of coherentism to a philosophical account of the fact of being's intelligibility which cannot, for reasons to be explained in a moment, be made comprehensible in cognitive terms.12 Even though their aims are different in quite decisive ways, some of McDowell's principal concerns do clearly echo those of Jacobi. Jacobi arrives at his position as a way of avoiding the problem in idealism that what is held to be true of the world can only be corrected from within thought, without there being any sense in which the truth might be determined by a reality which transcends the contingency of subjective representations. McDowell sees the answer to this as follows: How things are is independent of one's thinking (except, of course, in the special case in which how things are is that one thinks such-and-such). By being taken in in experience, how things anyway are becomes available to exert the required rational control originating outside one's thinking, on one's exercises of spontaneity (MW p. 27). The vital question is the position from which one can legitimately claim that one's spontaneity is subject to 'rational control' from 'experience', thus that the relationship of mind and world ultimately bears no mysteries for philosophy. Importantly, in the present context, the special case 'in which how things are is that one thinks such-and-such' is part of what Fichte means by 'intellectual intuition',13 'that through which I know something because I do it' (J.G. Fichte, Werke I, Berlin: de Gruyter 1971 p. 463). For Fichte this moment of immediate certainty, the necessity of which derives in part from his attempt to answer questions posed by Jacobi, is the 'sole firm standpoint for all philosophy' (ibid. p. 466), and this leads him to vital questions about the nature of our experience of the real. The term intellectual intuition itself implies
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13 that spontaneity, the activity of the intellect, and receptivity, 'intuition' in roughly Kant's sense, cannot be finally separate. All our acts, Fichte maintains, rely upon intellectual intuition: 'only via this intuition do I know that I am performing the act, only via this intuition do I distinguish my acting and myself in the action from the object of the action' (ibid. p. 463). As such there must be an irreflexive aspect of self-consciousness if I am to be aware of my actions and thoughts as being mine, or, for that matter, be conscious of the object which is not myself as not being myself.14 What McDowell thinks is merely an isolated special case is, for Fichte, part of the very possibility of taking things in in experience. One of the vital differences between the Romantics, and Hegel and McDowell, will be that the latter have no place for a pre- or irreflexive aspect of the subject of cognition. McDowell's assumption of the reflexive constitution of the subject is apparent in his claim that: 'We must take subjectivity and the concept of objectivity to emerge together, out of initiation into the space of reasons' (MW p. 186). Subjectivity therefore emerges via interaction with the other. It is worth already pointing out here that the status of that which 'emerges' by its being 'initiated' is thereby left completely opaque. In McDowell's sense subjectivity is supposed to be always already 'mediated', rather than, as in Fichte, entailing an 'immediate' aspect; the same thing, importantly, applies to the object-world. This contention is the basis of the unboundedness of the conceptual, because there is nothing in 'objectivity' which is not a result of the interaction of mind and world in which both are always already involved. For McDowell, as Hegel also argues, subjectivity and objectivity can therefore be thought of as grounding each other, without there being any need for a further ground. The Romantic question will be whether the position from which this can be asserted could actually be philosophically legitimated, rather than postulated as the goal of philosophy, which may not be attainable. The reasons why the Romantics arrive at their questioning of the position common to Hegel and McDowell have to do with other arguments that emerge most clearly in responses to paradigmatic questions posed by Jacobi. Jacobi's influential reading of Spinoza in the 'Pantheism Controversy',15 articulates
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14 the structure of the main issues. In 'Beylage VII' of the Spinoza Letters, which he added in the second 1789 edition of the text, Jacobi maintains that 'all the things which reason can bring out by dissection, linking, judging, concluding, and grasping again are simply things of nature, and reason itself belongs as a limited being with these things' (in ed. Heinrich Scholz, Die Hauptschriften zum Pantheismusstreit zwischen Jacobi und Mendelssohn, Berlin: Reuther and Reichard 1916 p. 274; originally in Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, ber die Lehre des Spinoza in Briefen an den Herrn Moses Mendelssohn von F.H. Jacobi, Breslau: Lwe 1789). This conception of the knowledge generated by the understanding can give no guarantee that our thought does not just involve McDowell's rejected vision of a 'coherentism that threatens to disconnect thought from reality' (MW p. 24): the space of reasons appears either merely narcissistically concerned with itself or unable to ground itself, which leads to a scepticism concerning whether knowledge can really be said to be about a true world at all. The 'bald naturalist' response to this perceived dilemma is to suggest that the laws at which thought arrives by 'dissection, linking, judging, concluding, and grasping again', or in McDowell's terms 'the relations that constitute the structure of the space of reasons, relations of justification and the like' (MW p. 73), will eventually be able to explain thought as precisely just a 'thing of nature' -- what Jacobi terms a 'conditioned condition' -- because thought is itself ultimately bound by the scientific laws of 'disenchanted nature'. The circularity of the naturalist claim is exactly what is at issue here: how does one ground claims to knowledge without either reverting to a coherentist idealism or a reductive physicalism? This is, of course, another version of the problem of the relationship between the 'ideal' and the 'real' that is the focus of German Idealism and Romanticism. Jacobi rejects the late 18th century analogue of the naturalist position, which is represented by part of his interpretation of Spinoza, because it fails to take account of a crucial distinction. This distinction is also involved in what makes McDowell reject the notion of 'bare presences': if everything which is supposed to arise and be present in a manner which we
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15 can comprehend has to arise and be present in a conditioned manner; then we remain, as long as we comprehend, in a chain of conditioned conditions. Where this chain ceases we cease to comprehend and the context which we call nature itself also ceases (in ed. Scholz op. cit. p. 276). If we rely on naturalistically conceived 'bare presences' we rely, in these terms, on something which is never in fact really present at all, because the presence of an aspect of nature as itself, as opposed to as a merely indeterminate sensory input, depends upon its relations to other things, upon its location in a 'chain of conditioned conditions'. In order to deal with this problem philosophy must deal with the question of what is 'unconditioned', which is where the space of reasons must be located, and which is what makes possible the linking of a chain of conditions as something intelligible. Despite other evident differences between Jacobi and himself, and despite the apparently obsolete vocabulary, Jacobi's basic insight leads, then, to what McDowell intends by his highlighting the difference of the space of reasons from 'disenchanted nature' and his attempt to redefine their relationship. McDowell's claim is that 'we can equate nature with the realm of law, but deny that nature so conceived is utterly disenchanted' (MW p. 73), because our 'animal nature' -- our sensibility, unlike that of other animals -- involves spontaneous 'conceptual powers' (ibid. p. 74). The question he thereby tries to answer is how to avoid both a sceptical regress of the kind pointed to by Jacobi, and the need to presuppose something which cannot, if the cognitive realm is thought of as always constituted solely by 'chains of conditions', be legitimated in epistemological terms, for lack of a final ground of certainty. What is required both in McDowell's argument and in the structure revealed by Jacobi is a ground which would prevent the regress of 'beliefs about beliefs', thus a ground for how we are to legitimate truth claims. The Kantian, German Idealist and Romantic responses to this problem all rely in some form upon the assumption of the spontaneity of the subject, the very meaning of the term 'spontaneity' suggesting that it is somehow 'unconditioned', because it is 'cause/condition of itself'. The question towards which I am moving is, then, whether McDowell's Hegelian account of the subject does all the work it needs to for his claims to be substantiated.

SCHEMATISM
Doubts about the status of philosophy's account of the spontaneity of the subject will lead the Romantics to some of their most significant positions. In order to see why, we need

16 now to consider a rather surprising omission on McDowell's part, which will bring us to a consideration of how the Hegelian and Romantic positions diverge. McDowell's attempt to show that 'the deliverances of receptivity already draw on capacities that belong to spontaneity' can also be seen as a way of trying to answer a notorious Kantian dilemma. This is suggested by the fact that McDowell derived his initial questions about mind and world from Davidson's rejection of the 'scheme/content' division in philosophy.16 The dilemma Kant became aware of has to do with the most vital aspect of the space of reasons. Attempts to give an account of the functioning of judgement lead, Kant maintains, to the following situation with respect to the rules of cognition: If judgement wanted to show universally how one is to subsume under these rules, i.e. distinguish whether something belongs under the rule or not, this could only happen via a further rule. But because this is a rule it requires once more an instruction by judgement, and thus it is shown to be the case that the understanding is admittedly capable of being instructed and equipped by rules, but that judgement is a particular talent which cannot be given by instruction but can only be practised (KrV B p. 172, A, p. 133). In Kant's terms, then, having learned a cognitive rule in the space of reasons we can judge that an x given in intuition is a case of it, but there is no rule to tell us that the rule we apply is the one appropriate to x. Kant therefore invokes an capacity of the subject which itself does not allow of a further grounding in terms of rules, because such grounding would lead to a regress of rules for the application of rules, and so on. The 'talent' required to prevent a regress of rules for rules depends on a 'hidden art in the depths of the human soul' which will, Kant asserts, probably remain inaccessible to us. There is then, for Kant, an essential opacity inherent in an ineluctable aspect of the subject's spontaneous 'talent' for judgement, which is the condition of 'experience' in both Kant's and McDowell's sense. The talent in question is, of course, 'schematism': This idea of a universal procedure of imagination to provide a concept with its image I call the schema to this concept. Indeed it is not images of the objects which underlie our purely sensuous concepts, but schemata (KrV B p. 179--180, A p. 140--1).
16 .

17 The schema gives an initial coherence to particular intuitions, so that they can be identified by general concepts, even though there will always be differences between the occurrences of those intuitions: the contingent patterns of stimuli we receive are, one presumes, never wholly identical at any two points in one's life.17 In the System of Transcendental Idealism of 1800, written while he was in close contact with Schlegel and Novalis in Jena, Schelling says of Kant's schema: 'The schema ... is not an idea (Vorstellung) that is determined on all sides, but an intuition of the rule according to which a particular object can be produced' (Schelling op. cit., I/3 p. 508). As 'intuition' -in the sense of immediate givenness -- rather than as knowledge of a rule the schema cannot itself be cognitively determined: for that, as Kant made clear, intuitions need concepts.18 The functioning of judgement consequently relies upon an aspect of spontaneity which cannot be conceptually articulated, because if it were to be brought under a concept it would lose its mediating status between intuitions and concepts, receptivity and spontaneity. This point will be vital for Novalis and its development by Schleiermacher will be the basis of my conclusion. The introduction of the notion of schematism is echoed in McDowell's claim that sensuousness already involves spontaneity: 'When we trace justifications back, the last thing we come to is still a thinkable content; not something more ultimate than that, a bare pointing to the Given' (MW p. 28--9), thus neither an indeterminate sensory input nor a 'pure presence', but rather a schema which is already proto-conceptual. McDowell, then, like Kant, tries to mediate between supposedly separate realms. How, though, are we able to establish that one realm, spontaneity, is able to enter into intuition -- a form of access which entails some kind of 'intellectual intuition' -- short of just presupposing that this must be the case if knowledge is to be finally grounded? This question will be part of what Kant tries unsuccessfully to deal with in the transcendental deduction. Schlegel sees this problem as follows: 'Kant does not begin with the fact; there IS experience ... but with the unproven proposition that must be proved, that there MUST BE experience ...
17 , , . 18 ( , , : 1989 . 28). , , : ( . ., /3 . 509).

18 But this proposition must really be proved' (Friedrich Schlegel, Philosophische Lehrjahre (1796-1828) (Kritische Friedrich Schlegel Ausgabe Volume 18), Munich, Paderborn, Vienna: Ferdinand Schningh 1963 p. 20--1). In order for McDowell to establish that 'Experience enables the layout of reality itself to exert a rational influence on what a subject thinks' there must be a fully articulated answer to the question of how experience, in Kant's strong sense of that which has been ordered by the rules of the space of reasons, is constituted. Kant himself had great difficulty with this issue, as his account of the 'imagination' in the First Critique and his writing of the Critique of Judgement makes clear. It becomes apparent that what Kant refers to as schematism plays a role in McDowell's conception when he maintains in phenomenological vein against Quine that 'What one goes on in arriving at one's picture of the world is not the stimulation of one's sensory receptors, experience as Quine officially conceives it, but how things appear to one, which belongs in a quite different conception of experience' (MW p. 135). 'How things appear to one' is constituted in what Heidegger terms the 'as-structure of understanding', which can, crucially, involve both what is rule-bound and, e.g. in the case of new metaphors, what is spontaneous. In an important essay on this issue David Bell has termed schematism a 'rule-determined spontaneity' (David Bell, 'The Art of Judgement', Mind XCVI 1987 p. 222) because its origin is in the imagination, which Kant -- sometimes, at least -- sees as part of sensuousness, but its functioning is the basis of the understanding, which involves both the rule-governed apprehension and the spontaneity inherent in judgement. Bell insists, initially in line with the contentions of McDowell, that one 'cannot assume that objects are given as such in experience [which would be the Myth of the Given]; for the possibility of the concept of an object in general is precisely what requires explanation' (Bell op. cit. p. 228). The explanation takes place, then, via the notion of schematism, which gives an initial cognitive form to that which would otherwise have to be regarded as merely indeterminate sensory input. Unlike McDowell, however, who makes little of this connection, Bell goes on to insist that what lies behind the idea of schematism is inseparable from Kant's development of the notion of judgement in relation to art in the Critique of Judgement (cit. KdU). This forms a further important connection of the issue of judgement to Romantic philosophy. Novalis calls the imagination 'the wonderful sense that can replace all other senses .... If the outer senses seem to be completely subject to mechanical laws -then the imagination is obviously not bound to the presence of and the contact with external stimuli' (Novalis PTW p. 423). One of the vital issues here is that, for the Romantics, the 'space of reasons' is also the 'space of metaphors', which raises the

19 problem of how to draw a firm line between the two aspects of this space. If the key aspect of the space of reasons is the capacity for synthesis, the distinction between merely metaphorical, and 'literal' syntheses becomes central, as the recent history of science from Kuhn to Foucault has often suggested. I shall return to this issue at the end. Now McDowell is not a 'metaphysical realist' because he seems, like Putnam, to accept that there can be a multiplicity of true descriptions of aspects of the world, thus that the world is not 'ready-made'. However, in such locutions as 'when the facts make themselves manifest in experience' (MW p. 144) or 'an impression ... can be an appearing, a circumstance constituted by the world's making an appearance to the subject' (MW p. 146) the metaphors he himself employs attribute a kind of agency to the world. Our very comprehension of these metaphors can, though, which will be crucial to Novalis' conception, only be a result of our inherent familiarity with our own spontaneity, which, in a way we have yet to examine, must be part of the ground of the cognitive self. Being familiar with our own spontaneity must, as Fichte insisted, be prior to any sense in which we can talk of the world in such terms, otherwise it is impossible to explain how one would experience the resistance of the object world in intuition as resistance in the first place. At the same time, though, as Novalis will suggest, the spontaneity must also -precisely because we are part of the world -- be an aspect of the world: a world of nature which does not involve more than causal relations could never give rise to the spontaneity of the space of reasons.19 The alternative to this insistence on the irreducibility of spontaneity is to make the Hegelian claim that subjectivity and objectivity ground each other, so that I gain my awareness of my spontaneity solely from cognitive engagement with the world. I shall return to this issue below in relation to Novalis, for the moment I just want to suggest that this latter view of mind and world cannot be as transparent as McDowell wishes to make it. Bell maintains, in line with the Romantics, that it is when the imagination is free to allow the capacity for schematism to remain at a level prior to conceptual determination, in aesthetic experience, that it reveals most about its nature, namely via its ability to see immediate non-conceptual significance, for example in an abstract painting or a piece of music. Kant terms this capacity for criteria-free judgement 'reflective judgement', which does not function 'schematically, but technically' (KdU, Original Introduction p. 26), where the former is regarded as part of the functioning of a
19 : , .

20 framework of rules and the latter as involving 'art', in a sense somewhere between 'craft' or 'technique', and creative or productive ability.20 McDowell only makes the link to aesthetics via Marx, claiming that 'Our very experience, in the aspect of its nature that constitutes it as experience of the world, partakes of a salient condition of art, its freedom from the need to be useful' (MW p. 119). The route from the Third Critique, via Romanticism, to Marx and later to Heidegger and Critical Theory has, largely because of its predominant orientation to the natural sciences, yet to penetrate the analytical canon in any serious way. McDowell's version of these issues in MW pays no attention at all of the Third Critique's account of judgement, and it is in this respect that some of the Romantic objections become most obviously significant, as a further link between the traditions can suggest. In the light of the role of schematism in their arguments, it is not surprising that both McDowell's and Bell's positions, apparently without their knowing it, are in important ways very close to that of the early Heidegger, a fact which also brings them close to the Romantics.21 This is immediately evident in McDowell's case via such protoHeideggerian locutions as 'the world's making itself manifest to us' (MW p. 143), 'our
20 ( , , . , : 1977 . 81): . , , : , , ., : 1994 . 21 ( , . ., 5). , , ( , , : 1973). 21 , : 1920 1930. : , , . .

21 unproblematic openness to the world' (ibid. p. 155), and in his citing with approval what he sees as Gareth Evans' (!) 'idea of the subject as being in the world' (ibid. p. 54). McDowell's and Heidegger's views of Kant converge in what is intended in Heidegger's claim that the 'Schematism Chapter' leads to the 'core of the whole problematic of the Critique of Pure Reason' (Martin Heidegger, Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik, op. cit., p. 109), and thus of Kant's whole project. The problem is the status of Kant's imagination: 'But if receptivity means the same as sensuousness and spontaneity the same as understanding, then the imagination falls in a peculiar way between the two' (ibid. p. 124), because it must play the role of structuring receptivity by spontaneity demanded by McDowell. In Being and Time, of course, the question of the temporal disclosure of being is directly connected to the attempt in the 'Schematism Chapter' to link the two realms of receptivity and spontaneity in the imagination (cf. Martin Heidegger, Sein und Zeit, Tbingen: Niemeyer 1979 p. 23). It is Bell, though, who comes even closer to Heidegger, in a way that points to the Romantic position which is most significant here. Bell's conclusion concerning the 'art of judgement' is the following: 'That our thought conform to the rules, principles, concepts and criteria constitutive of objectivity, but that it also be grounded in a spontaneous, blind subjective awareness of intrinsic but inarticulable meaning -- these are not conflicting requirements' (Bell op. cit. p. 241). As we saw, Bell thinks this awareness is best understood via aesthetic responses to works of art. He thereby echoes Heidegger's notion of the pre-theoretical world-disclosure which is the prior condition of the 'ontic' sciences and which Heidegger comes in the 1930's, especially in the Origin of the Work of Art,22 to regard as most accessible precisely in art's rendering aspects of the world intelligible in ways which cannot be reduced to 'ontic' forms of explanation. Heidegger's point is not, it should be remembered, that ontic explanations have no claims to truth, but that they cannot ground other forms of truth: in this sense metaphor can, depending upon the nature of the area of concern, be as much a source of truth as putatively literal scientific assertions. The Romantic questions that affect this whole discussion, to which I can now turn, concern the relationship of world-disclosure to self-consciousness, which is where we can gain a different perspective on McDowell's concerns.

22 , , . . , , : 1989 .

22

'CAN I LOOK FOR A SCHEMA FOR MYSELF, IF I AM THAT WHICH SCHEMATISES?'


The core of the relationship of world-disclosure to self-consciousness is contained in Novalis' characteristically acute question in the 'Fichte Studies': 'Can I look for a schema for myself, if I am that which schematises?' (Novalis PTW p. 162). What sort of account of self-consciousness is implied by the issue of schematism? As we saw, McDowell treats the question of self-consciousness in a Hegelian manner, regarding it as emerging along with objectivity via initiation into the space of reasons, which -- hence his references to Gadamer and Wittgenstein -- includes learning the language of a community: 'Initiation into a language is initiation into a going conception of the space of reasons (MW p. 184). This notion of self-consciousness also has echoes in Heidegger, who claims, in a passage which later cites Hegel's account of 'reflection' -- and which exemplifies exactly the problem Novalis will reveal -- that: The manner in which the self is revealed to itself in the facticity of Dasein can ... accurately be called reflection, but one must not understand thereby what one commonly understands by this expression: a self-observing which is bent back onto the I, but rather a structure of the kind which is announced by the optical significance of the expression 'reflection'. Reflecting here means: refracting itself on something, shining back from there, i.e. showing itself in the reflection back from something (Martin Heidegger, Die Grundprobleme der Phnomenologie, Frankfurt: Klostermann 1989 p. 226). As such, the self is that which 'shines back from things' (ibid. p. 229).23 This involves much the same argument as in McDowell, as their concern with what Heidegger terms 'being in the world' and the common link to Hegelian reflection suggests. Novalis' question, though, points to an important problem. The initial basis of his question is the status of the 'intellectual intuition' we encountered in Fichte, which is explored in Novalis' 'Fichte Studies'.24
23 , . , : , : 1992 . 2246. 24 , , , , , : 1991, , . .

23 The recognition of oneself in the model quoted from Heidegger is a form of 'selfreflection in the other', that is also encountered in McDowell and Hegel. In this model recognition of a world-object occurs when the subject's receptivity encounters the resistance of something in the world which can, via schematism, be seen as something and thus can become part of the space of reasons by being linked to concepts of other things in judgements. This encounter also reveals the subject to itself as subject via its reflexive difference from the world, thus via the 'world's making an appearance' to it. Novalis' concern is with the status of the subject which is engaged in this process. How does the space of reasons account for itself? How is it that my experiences can be known as my experiences, given that there can, for reasons now to be investigated, be nothing in the object world that can tell me this? In the reflection model employed by Heidegger and Hegel, as Dieter Henrich, Manfred Frank, and others have shown, one is left with an insoluble problem, which Fichte initially revealed and which Novalis, Schelling and Schleiermacher develop in a variety of directions.25 The source of the problem is present in Kant's transcendental deduction, which is intended to show, in Schlegel's words cited above, that 'there MUST BE experience'. The transcendental deduction can, somewhat crudely, be regarded as the attempt of that which schematises to find a schema for itself: what is to be established in the deduction cannot be described by a rule which would identify it, because it would itself have to be the source of such rules for itself -- hence Schelling's idea of the schema as the 'intuition of a rule'. Fichte's insight with regard to Kant's 'I think that must be able to accompany all my experiences' (KrV B p. 132), which is the 'highest point to which one must attach all use of the understanding' (ibid. p. 134), was that we can only understand the nature of self-consciousness by realising that -- as opposed to knowledge of states of affairs, in which we can synthesise concept and intuition by seeing the schematised object determinately as 'x' -- the self's relationship to itself cannot depend on such a synthesis. This is because it must already be immediately familiar with itself for reflexive self-identification to be possible at all: otherwise a regress results, in which my subjective consciousness of myself as object of reflection requires a further consciousness to establish that it is my consciousness, and so on. As Manfred Frank has repeatedly argued (e.g. in Frank, Selbstbewutsein und
: , , . 25 , : , : 1990, 19932.

24 Selbsterkenntnis op. cit.), if I look in a mirror in order to see myself I will only recognise myself, as opposed to a random object or person, if I am already aware that it is myself that I am to look at before the reflection. The external image in the object world cannot itself provide the criterion which allows me to identify the reflected object as myself, as the subject that is looking at the image. Sidney Shoemaker sums this up in the dictum that: 'Perceptual self-knowledge presupposes non-perceptual self-knowledge, so not all self-knowledge can be perceptual' (Sidney Shoemaker, in Shoemaker and Swinburne, Personal Identity, Oxford: Blackwell 1984 p. 105). The self-ascription of experience thus depends upon an immediate aspect of 'mind' which cannot be said to emerge along with the awareness of objectivity via insertion into the space of reasons, because it must always already be in place for the insertion to be possible at all. Fichte problematically termed this immediacy, as we saw, 'intellectual intuition', and made it the ground of philosophy, as the unconditioned self-certainty which renders the sequence of conditioned conditions intelligible. Now Hegel's primary objection in the Phenomenology to the notion of 'intellectual intuition' is that it requires the beginning of philosophy to lay claim to something which Hegel thinks can only be a result. This, though, is a classic example of the reflection model: only this identity (Gleichheit) which reestablishes itself or the reflection in the being-other in itself -- not an original unity as such or an immediate unity as such -- is the true .... The true is the whole. But the whole is only the essence which completes itself by its development. One can say of the Absolute that it is essentially a result, that it is only at the end what it is in truth (G.W.F. Hegel, Phnomenologie des Geistes, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp 1970 p. 23--4). It is, for Hegel, only at the end that the content of the overcoming of the difference of intellect -- spontaneity -- and intuition -- receptivity -- can be made intelligible in 'absolute knowledge'. In McDowell's terms knowledge can only 'bear on the world' (MW p. 184) if the division of intellect and intuition is revealed in the process of their interaction as only relative. In the way that I become there 'for myself' when I move beyond 'immediacy' and see myself in a mirror, it is, for Hegel, only when the Absolute has become 'for itself' in the process of reflection that it is truly realised as itself: 'If the embryo is in fact in itself a person, that does not mean that it is it for itself' (Hegel, Phnomenologie des Geistes, op. cit. p. 25). It is not clear how much of this McDowell wants to take on board, but some aspect of Hegel's model is required for any defense of Absolute Idealism.

25 However much Hegel's structure may be apt as an account of reflexive aspects of the developmental psychological constitution of self-knowledge and knowledge of the world, the central epistemological contention of Hegel's argument cannot be defended. The fact is -- as the Romantic position insists well before Hegel even formulates his position in its mature form -- that without a prior pre-reflexive criterion which allows that which is in itself to re-cognise itself later as that which is now for itself, there would be nothing at the end of the process that could reveal to it that it is the same as what began the process. The core issue between the Romantic and Hegelian positions is, then, whether the Absolute really can, as Hegel thinks, be grasped by the process of reflection, and whether it therefore requires no presupposition external to reflection. In McDowell's terms: can the conceptual really be 'unbounded' if, as the Romantic model suggests, at least one of its undeniable conditions of possibility cannot itself be articulated in a concept? Bell's talk of 'a spontaneous, blind subjective awareness of intrinsic but inarticulable meaning' can begin to suggest what is meant here: this awareness cannot be dissolved into the ways in which one may subsequently conceptualise it, because that would change its necessarily immediate character into something mediated. The character of this awareness is best understood, as Bell suggests, via aesthetic experience. Frank refers to the fact that 'the light in which consciousness is situated does not flow from itself, but from a (non-causally conceived) ground which consciousness can never fully illuminate' (Manfred Frank, ed. Selbstbewutseinstheorien von Fichte bis Sartre, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp 1991 p. 466). The fact that this ground is not thought of causally, because it must also be what gives rise to our spontaneity, is what distinguishes the Romantic idea from Davidson's and Rorty's assumption that receptivity is merely causal, and thus from their separation of the space of reasons from receptivity. Like McDowell the Romantics do not accept the separation in this form, but neither would they accept his reflexive alternative. Novalis uses the implications of the issue of reflection to question Fichte's attempt -- via the understanding of the space of reasons as part of the absolute I's self-reflection in the form of a relative I and not-I -- to ground an Idealist conception of mind and world.26
26 ( , , ). , , , , .

26 Fichte is best understood in this respect as arguing that the ground of philosophy is an absolute spontaneity which has to contradict itself if it is to be manifest: hence its division into relative I and not-I and the need for spontaneity to be, as it must be for McDowell, part of receptivity if there is to be an intelligible world at all. Novalis only accepts certain aspects of this account. If philosophy begins with knowledge of the object world, he maintains, it will just disappear into the natural sciences, which deal with things that can be 'learned' by experience: this is, as we have seen, one way in which Spinozism was understood at the time.27 Much the same idea is precisely what is proposed these days by the 'bald naturalism' of much contemporary cognitive science, which, as we saw, is one of McDowell's main targets. If philosophy is concerned instead with the ground of knowledge this cannot, as Jacobi's arguments already suggested, itself be knowledge that can be learned, because that would give no account of how knowledge is intelligible in the first place: What is learned must be different from the learner. What is learned is an object -- so the learner is not an object .... Philosophy is itself in the learner. Now there it will be self-contemplation [i.e. reflection]. Oh dear! how does the learner begin to listen to itself in this operation [?]. He would, then, have to learn himself -- for by learning we understand nothing but intuition of the object and imprinting it into ourselves with its characteristics. This would be an object again. No, it cannot be self-contemplation, for that would not be what is required. Perhaps it is a feeling of self. What is a feeling? (Novalis PTW p. 17--18). However much we may learn about ourselves and the world by insertion into the space of reasons, this does not account for the aspect of self-consciousness which cannot come about via reflexive self-knowledge and which is the prior condition of 'objective' synthesised knowledge and self-knowledge. My memory of childhood experiences as my experiences depends upon an existential continuity of immediate, pre-reflexive selfconsciousness, which both Novalis and Schleiermacher term 'feeling', that can never be fully present to reflective consciousness. The real problem, then, Novalis maintains, is
27 . , .

27 that 'feeling cannot feel itself', it 'can only be looked at in reflection. The spirit of feeling is thereby lost. One infers the producer from the product via the schema of reflection' (ibid. p. 18). Much of this is already implicit in aspects of Fichte, but the question now is how Novalis' 'feeling' and 'reflection' relate to each other. The 'product' is determinate knowledge of the world, the 'producer' is the subject, but we cannot adequately account for subjectivity by inferring from determinate knowledge back to its producer, because this inverts the real relationship by trying to make the subject into the object of knowledge at the same time as having to presuppose it as a ground of knowledge. The categories of the space of reasons that emerge in the transcendental deduction -- in reflection -- depend upon something which reflection itself cannot ground.28 In McDowell's conception, spontaneity must be the source of the organising concepts of knowledge; he thinks, like Kant, that spontaneity becomes accessible via the subject's interaction with the world, thus also via the constraints imposed by receptivity. Novalis' point is that spontaneity itself cannot be adequately articulated in such terms: it can only be 'felt', because it is, unlike what is given in empirical intuition, not something knowable. This may sound merely mystical, but the move is completely logical, given the way the key terms here must be understood. The knowable is, in the Kantian terms which both McDowell and Novalis employ, something determinate available in receptivity which could be identified via a concept. What really makes knowledge possible cannot be known in the same way:29 What reflection finds, seems already to be there -- Attribute of a free act -It finds the categories, which seem already to be there -- i.e. whose possibility (form) and to that extent necessity (form) is in the I and through the I (ibid. p.
28 , . 29 , . : . [ , (...)] ? (, . . 1991. . 407).

28 17). In consequence Novalis maintains that 'I is basically nothing -- Everything has to be given to it -- But it is to it alone that something can be given and the given only becomes something via the I' (ibid. p. 185). If Absolute Idealism is to be justified, though, it can only be via a reflexive conception of mind and world, in which the subject can in principle make itself fully transparent to itself via its relations to the world -- hence the unboundedness of the conceptual. It is precisely this transparency which Novalis questions. The realisation with which Novalis is concerned, as Frank points out, is a docta ignorantia, the 'knowledge' of not-knowing, which comes about in the attempt of reflection to complete itself, in the attempt of mind to mirror itself in what it comes to know of the world. Novalis' admittedly complex conception becomes perhaps rather more accessible if one ponders the implications of the fact that the subject must involve both spontaneity and receptivity, as well as the link of spontaneity and receptivity in schematism. Subjectivity must therefore always contain the possibility of moving from one to the other. Such transitions must take place within the structure of self-consciousness, which means that the apparently opposed aspects must in one way be identical as aspects of the same I: 'action [= spontaneity] and affection [= receptivity], reaction and passion are One action ... action can become affection, affection action, reaction passion, passion reaction' (ibid. p. 125). If spontaneity and receptivity are relative negations of each other, they are, then, in one sense 'identical', because the one cannot be without the other and they must be part of the same I for them to be related in any way at all. 30 In his attempt to deal with such 'negative' relations Hegel will come to regard all finite determinations, which include anything that can only be determinate via what it is opposed to, as having an internal contradiction. This means that each determination will eventually be revealed as merely 'negative', via its need to relate to what it is not. If they are merely negations of each other, though, as Hegel's model suggests is the case for all determinations of subject and object before their Aufhebung in absolute knowledge, the being of that within which the two relate must actually remain outside reflection. Novalis, unlike Hegel, refuses, then, to think this ground, being, can be dissolved into reflection, even though he accepts that there must be a ground of reflection. As he says of feeling and reflection: 'They are
30 , . , ( , . . . 374).

29 nothing, both nothing without the drive to be I, which unites both in itself, which is both and yet neither of the two. Now they are both something for each other. They have an absolute ground of relation' (ibid. p. 30).31 The question is how the I gains access to this ground, which Hegel thinks can be reached at the notional end of reflection. Novalis maintains of feeling and reflection: 'If it feels, it is object, pure I -- if it thinks, it is subject, divided I. The unity which accompanies it everywhere, so that it is completely there where it is -- this is the highest most essential character of its subjectivity' (ibid. p. 41). The 'highest most essential character' is, though, not immediately available to it: the unity in question would be that of which spontaneity and receptivity are the predicates: as such, Fichte's intellectual intuition is actually secondary to this unity, even though intellectual intuition appears to be its condition of possibility. This realisation gives rise to the structure of what Novalis terms 'ordo inversus': 'As soon as the Absolute, as I shall term the originally Ideal-real or real-ideal, appears as accident or half appears, it must appear inverted' (ibid. p.19) in the way in which anything which appears in a mirror is inverted. In consequence, if one wishes to overcome the difference of feeling and reflection: 'one wants to represent nonreflection by reflection and therefore one never arrives at non-reflection' (ibid. p. 27). One can, though, as Novalis shows, point to non-reflection by correcting the inversion of the reflected image. However, this is still only a correction in thought, not direct access to the unity that is being sought: although I can use a further mirror to correct the image I see of myself in the first mirror, this still only gives me an image of myself. Novalis asks in this context: What sort of a relationship is knowledge? It is a being outside being which is yet in being .... Consciousness is a being outside being in being. But what is that? What is outside being cannot be real being. An unreal being outside being is an image -- So that which is outside being must be an image of being
31 :

Everything which is opposed to something is the same as what it is opposed to in one characteristic = X; and: everything the same is opposed to what it is the same as in one respect = X. Such a characteristic = X is the ground, in the first case the ground of relation in the second the ground of difference; for identifying (gleichsetzen) or comparing (vergleichen) what is opposed is called relating; opposing what has been identified is differentiating them (Fichte Werke I, op. cit. p. 111).

30 in being .... Theory of representation or of not-being in being, in order to let being be there for itself in a certain manner (ibid. p. 10). Because being is only 'there for itself in a certain manner' in knowledge it is clearly not there in an absolute manner. Novalis therefore rejects the idea that the reflexive -cognitive -- ground, as opposed to the immediate -- real -- ground, of knowledge can offer an exhaustive account of the relationship of mind and world. The structure of reflection does not give the necessary grounding unity required for the relationships in question to be intelligible, for me to know how it is that my thoughts are my thoughts, to feel that I understand the 'discourse of the other' which I also employ in rendering my world intelligible. Novalis' subject 'is at one moment object, then subject .... Reflection and object are accidents -- I is the One which constitutes them -- and as reflection only consists in opposing, it continually opposes' (ibid. p. 208). As such, in one of his most illuminating formulations Reflection is not the whole of thought, but rather thought which has been acted upon. I means the absolute which is known negatively -- what remains after all abstraction -- What can only be known by action and which realises itself by eternal lack (ibid. p. 181). We may seem by now to have moved rather a long way from the concerns of McDowell, but I want now to conclude by trying to indicate in a fairly general way why this is not necessarily the case.

CONCLUSION
The question which connects McDowell to the Romantic position I have illustrated by Novalis' 'Fichte Studies' is whether the notion of the 'unboundedness of the conceptual' is tenable in view of the structures we have just considered. Novalis maintains against the reflexive conception that, even though consciousness necessarily seems to move from limitation to the unlimited via the progressive revelation of the interrelations between aspects of determinate knowledge given in intuition, what is actually happening is that the prior Absolute, the non-causal ground -- 'being' (ibid. p. 11) -- makes itself limited in consciousness. This means that consciousness itself is preceded by something to which it only has indirect access, via its inability to ground itself, an inability which is apparent in its being suspended between a merely remembered past and an as yet unknowable future,

31 in what Novalis termed its 'eternal lack'. The simple fact from a Romantic perspective is that without a final answer to the question of what the space of reasons actually is philosophy cannot claim that the conceptual is unbounded, or, in other words, that being is merely part of a structure of reflection.32 For Novalis mind and world emerge as predicates of a ground which is both different from and identical with those predicates: this ground is not, as we saw, dogmatically presupposed but rather revealed to us in the breakdown of reflection. Schelling develops an almost identical position to this in the 1820's, which he will later use against Hegel: The transition out of the subject [= the Absolute, which Schelling terms 'the absolute subject'] into the object reflects itself via the transition out of the object into the subject. As the object reflects itself in the water, in the same way the absolute subject stands in an inverted relationship to consciousness. The absolute subject only leaves behind absolute non-knowledge. But if A [the absolute subject] becomes B [the object world, including ourselves], in the same relationship B becomes A, i.e. knowledge (F.W.J. Schelling, Initia Philosophiae Universae (1820-1), ed. Horst Fuhrmans, Bonn: Bouvier 1969 p. 44). The goal of knowledge here becomes an endless attempt to complete the inherent lack that is the result of the limitations of reflection: 'Now in man ... wisdom [which would really be 'absolute knowledge'] is not present anymore, in man there is no objective bringing forth, but rather just ideal imitation (ideales Nachbilden) .... in him there is only knowledge' (Schelling, Initia Philosophiae Universae, op. cit. p. 27). What the subject can know is that which can be predicated of being in judgements -- not being itself, which always transcends its appearances and can 'appear' to consciousness only as the inherent 'lack of being' revealed in the limitations of reflection. Is this, though, a version of what McDowell termed a 'coherentism that threatens to disconnect thought from reality'? The answer to this depends upon whether 'reality' and being, in the sense just suggested, are simply equivalent. In Romantic terms seeing them as equivalent is in fact a mistake,
32 , , () .

32 precisely because being is the ground of the relationship between thought and reality that is revealed by the failure of reflection, rather than one of its two related aspects. There is little doubt that Novalis, like both Schelling and Schlegel, does assume a coherence theory of truth, in which particular truths are constituted via the relationships within a totality: given that the totality could not in Romantic terms ever be said to be complete, truth is open to constant revision and will consist in fallibilistic consensus. The alternative to this would either be the regress of grounding shown by Jacobi or a false claim to immediacy of the kind present in bald naturalism. The debate between McDowell and the Romantics essentially concerns the nature of the constitution of what is known via schematism. The Romantics, as we saw, also suspect the separation of spontaneity and receptivity, and the idea that access to the object world is merely causal, but they do not think what this implies allows the claim that the conceptual is unbounded, because that which schematises can neither schematise itself nor ground itself via its reflection in the other. Hegel is also at first sight a coherence theorist, but the completion of his system of reflection turns coherence into correspondence: if the end really is the truth of what seemed immediate at the beginning the two must in fact correspond. If Hegel's form of correspondence is, as the Romantic arguments suggest, unrealisable, truth becomes instead a regulative idea which we understand via our feeling of the lack of being inherent in all reflection, thus by the impossibility of correspondence and the need for the ever renewed praxis of interpretation in new contexts. Novalis maintains: All the superstition and error of all times and peoples and individuals rests upon the confusion of the symbol with what is symbolised -- upon making them identical -- upon the belief in true complete representation -- and relation of the picture and the original -- of appearance and substance -- on the inference from external similarity to complete inner correspondence and connection -- in short on the confusions of subject and object (Novalis PTW p. 637). This is what leads to the Romantic idea that art's 'intrinsic but inarticulable meaning' may, as Bell claims, give us crucial insights into the ground of world-disclosure, of a kind which determinate objective knowledge located in chains of conditions never can. Hegel, on the other hand, thinks, of course, that the truth of art can be cashed out into what philosophy can say about it. It is a similar lack of attention to the implications of aesthetics for questions of epistemology which weakens certain aspects of McDowell's arguments.

33 Now it is not clear just how much of what is in question between the Romantic and Hegelian positions can be straightforwardly applied to McDowell's conception. In MW McDowell never gives an explicit account of his relationship to the moves which Hegel makes in order to argue for the unboundedness of the conceptual, in which 'mind' and 'world' are just relative negations of each other that can be 'aufgehoben' in a positive conclusion, though he does claim to embrace Absolute Idealism. What is clear is that McDowell sees his arguments as offering ways of 'immunizing' ourselves 'against the familiar philosophical anxieties' (MW p. 180) about whether thought really bears upon the world. It seems evident that by this he means the kind of anxiety which is generated either by a Cartesian substance dualism, or the Kant of noumenal causality, or coherentist views like those of Davidson and Rorty which separate receptivity from the realm of justification. In Romantic terms, though, thought does inherently bear upon the world, even if this is not finally describable within a structure of reflection or a theory of correspondence: 'One has always regarded it as the greatest difficulty to get from consciousness to reality (Daseyn). But in our view this difficulty does not exist. Consciousness and reality appear here as the connected parts (Glieder) of a whole' (Friedrich Schlegel, Transcendentalphilosophie, ed. Michael Elssser, Hamburg: Meiner 1991 p. 74). The real difficulty is that the whole is not something which philosophy can describe, precisely because consciousness and the object world can only be articulated in structures of reflection, as predicates of the absolute ground which links them. Does this, then, still entail the kind of philosophical 'anxiety' which McDowell wishes to obviate by taking a Hegelian route? What do the Romantic and Hegelian positions have to do with our everyday pragmatic sense that our thought bears on the world, which McDowell rightly wishes to defend against the kind of scepticism which would deny this? Any rejection of scepticism is, of course, complicated by the undeniable fact that what is held true of the world is continually changing. Hegel's appeal for McDowell lies precisely in his response to this fact. In the Phenomenology Hegel sought a way of obviating scepticism by revealing that the changes in which the history of knowledge consists can be regarded as the happening of truth itself, rather than as the dissolution of truth into scepticism. This becomes possible via the -- reflexive -- structure of 'determinate negation', in which what turns out to be wrong is not consigned to nothingness, but becomes instead the determinately negative condition of the next position, and so on. Even though the empirical content of this knowledge may be infinitely diverse and thus never fully 'present', Hegel thinks he can remove the problem of the ground of knowledge by claiming the ground is actually the result which

34 philosophy knows to be its goal. In this way the process of knowledge is itself part of the world's self-articulation and can be known to be such from within the process, via the articulation in the Science of Logic of the final positive self-cancellation of the moments of reflection in the absolute Idea, in which there are no more internal contradictions. The Romantic Absolute, on the other hand, is not what philosophy can articulate by revealing the ultimate relativity of finite contradictions, because there can be no end knowable in advance to the contradictions generated in the structures we have described. The Absolute is, rather, what renders our knowledge relative and continually open to revision, at the same time as sustaining the goal of truth by assuring that a revised judgement must be able to be predicated of the same world as the preceding now false judgement. Both the Romantic position and McDowell want to keep open the revisability of determinate truth claims, but they differ over what this implies about philosophy's relationship to truth. Whereas McDowell wants to uphold an emphatic sense that we are in principle always already transparently confronted with the truth via our relations to the world, the Romantic position leaves more space for a 'non-corrosive' kind of scepticism, which ensues from the rejection of a correspondence theory. Schlegel talks in this respect of 'the higher scepticism of Socrates, which, unlike common scepticism, does not consist in the denial of truth and certainty, but rather in the serious search for them' (Friedrich Schlegel, Philosophische Vorlesungen (1800-1807) (Kritische Friedrich Schlegel Ausgabe Volume 12), Munich, Paderborn, Vienna: Ferdinand Schningh 1964 p. 202). 'Common scepticism' is self-refuting, but an anti-sceptical position which maintains it is possible to know in an absolute manner is threatened by the precisely the problems we have seen in Hegel's reflexive account of mind and world. Schlegel's position depends upon the idea that, as he puts it in a classic passage from the Transcendentalphilosophie: Truth arises when opposed errors neutralise each other. Absolute truth cannot be admitted; and this is the testimony for the freedom of thought and of spirit. If absolute truth were found then the business of spirit would be completed and it would have to cease to be, since it only exists in activity (Schlegel, Transcendentalphilosophie op. cit. p. 93). Schlegel is well aware that his subsequent claim that all truth is relative is itself open to the objection that the claim is self-refuting: 'If all truth is relative, then the proposition is also relative that all truth is relative' (ibid. p. 95). As such, one cannot assert in a general proposition that all truth is relative, without making a claim that cannot be meant, given

35 the content of what one has asserted. Although this sounds like a Hegelian dialectic, in which the absolute assertion must be regarded as a speculative proposition, Schlegel's rejection of absolute truth makes it clear that there is no final dialectical move, because there is no accessible final reflexive criterion for truth, no way in which the structure of the final self-cancellation of error can be articulated. The implications of this retention of a more emphatic sceptical moment in the account of truth can be suggested by the following, which turns the usual normative worry about any kind of scepticism on its head. Earlier in this essay I suggested that the 'space of reasons' is also the 'space of metaphors' and that this posed a serious question as to how or if the two could be finally separated. The space of reasons and the space of metaphors become linked because the 'as-structure' of schematism upon which McDowell relies itself gives no criterion for guaranteeing that experience really enables 'the layout of reality itself to exert a rational influence on what a subject thinks' (my emphasis). Putnam suggests in relation to McDowell that 'if perception is already informed with conceptual content, that content cannot be thought of as always benign. Our concepts may contaminate our perceptions as well as "inform" them' (Putnam, Pragmatism, op. cit. p. 67), using the example of 'seeing someone as a witch' (ibid.). In this way the supposedly 'rational' influence turns into its opposite. If one takes schematism as a ground for knowledge, on the assumption that it can be shared by all rational beings, this danger must be ever-present, and there is nothing in the fact that spontaneity contributes to receptivity that can make us wholly immune to the danger. The advantage of the ironic scepticism of Schlegel, as opposed to the Hegelian Aufhebung of scepticism, is that it both undermines such perverse results of the 'asstructure' of understanding and yet preserves an inbuilt normative obligation towards the truth, which is never adequately present in any particular assertion because the subject has no absolute ground of cognitive certainty. The reminder of the limitations of cognitive accounts of the ground of philosophy is, as we saw, aesthetic experience, which disrupts existing forms of intelligibility by revealing that what is conceptually inarticulable can still be intelligible, and may later become part of conceptual intelligibility. McDowell, like Hegel and Gadamer, shores up the ground he wishes to establish by insisting upon the initiation of the individual into 'tradition as it stands' (MW p. 126), which includes language, as part of the guarantee that thought bears on the world. Tradition is, as such, the repository of a whole range of background schematisations which are present in established language-games. All traditions, though, inherently entail the danger of the equivalent of 'seeing as a witch' for some aspect of

36 themselves. However much we must rely upon the 'topography of intelligibility' (MW p. 187) established in being socialised into a tradition, philosophy also needs an account of the nature of that which can put that topography into question, be it in cognitive, ethical or aesthetic terms, including in ways that established traditions do not countenance. It is Schlegel's friend Schleiermacher who offers a version of the Romantic model that fulfils some of the demands made by McDowell without relying on the questionable aspects of Hegelianism we have examined. In a section of his Ethics on 'Identity of Schematism' Schleiermacher states: Every person is a completed/closed-off (abgeschlossen) unity of consciousness. As far as reason produces cognition in a person it is, qua consciousness, only produced for this person. What is produced with the character of schematism is, though, posited as valid for everyone, and therefore being in one ['Sein in Einem' -- by which he means individualised self-consciousness] does not correspond to its character [as schematism] (Friedrich Schleiermacher, Ethik (1812/13), Hamburg: Meiner 1990 p. 64). Language is a 'system of movements of the organism which are simultaneously expression [on the side of 'feeling', in the sense we used earlier] and sign [on the side of 'thought'] of the acts of consciousness as the cognising faculty, under the character of the identity of schematism' (ibid. p. 65). The 'identity of schematism' is the locus of truth. When I talk or write about x in order to articulate what is true of x, I have to presuppose that x is as I say it is for both myself and the other person, but at the same time my relationship to x cannot be shown to be that of the recipient of my utterances concerning x: 'all communication about external objects is a constant continuation of the test as to whether all people construct [schematise] identically' (Friedrich Schleiermacher, Friedrich Schleiermachers Dialektik, ed. Rudolf Odebrecht, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft 1976 p. 373. On this see also Manfred Frank, Das Sagbare und das Unsagbare, op. cit. pp. 38--105.). There is nothing here which would remove contact of thinking and the world, but Schleiermacher, like the other Romantics, sustains the moment of dissonance that the Hegelian tradition too readily wishes to resolve into harmony. McDowell's thought-provoking move beyond dominant analytical assumptions concerning the relationship between mind and world perhaps takes in rather too much of the tradition of modern European philosophy which threatens to repeat in another form many of the dead-ends of analytical epistemology. The Romantic tradition allows other approaches to these issues, which can shift the boundaries of philosophical

37 investigation in ways which have only just begun to be re-explored.