Immagini della pagina

lack of a content, not from the material qualities of the content.

The saying the style is the man, can also not be completely criticized, save by starting from the distinction between the theoretic and the practical, and from the theoretic character of the aesthetic activity. Man is not simply knowledge and contemplation: he is also will, which contains in it the cognoscitive moment. Now the saying is either altogether void, as when it is understood that the man is the style, in so far as he is style, that is to say, the man, but only in so far as he is an expression of activity; or it is erroneous, when the attempt is made to deduce from what a man has seen and expressed, that which he has done and willed, inferring thereby that there is a necessary link between knowing and willing. Many legends in the biographies of artists have sprung from this erroneous identification, since it seemed impossible that a man who gives expression to generous sentiments should not be a noble and generous man in practical life; or that the dramatist who gives a great many stabs in his plays, should not himself have given a few at least in real life. Vainly do the artists protest: lasciva est nobis pagina, vita proba. They are merely taxed in

Critique of the

saying: the

style is the man.

Critique of the concept of sincerity in


addition with lying and hypocrisy. O you poor women of Verona, how far more subtle you were, when you founded your belief that Dante had really descended to hell, upon his dusky countenance ! Yours was at any rate a historical conjecture.

Finally, sincerity imposed upon the artist as a duty (this law of ethics which, they say, is also a law of æsthetic) arises from another equivoke. For by sincerity is meant either the moral duty not to deceive one's neighbour; and in that case is foreign to the artist. For he, in fact, deceives no one, since he gives form to what is already in his mind. He would deceive, only if he were to betray his duty as an artist by a lesser devotion to the intrinsic necessity of his task. If lies and deceit are in his mind, then the form which he gives to these things cannot be deceit or lies, precisely because it is æsthetic. The artist, if he be a charlatan, a liar, or a miscreant, purifies his other self by reflecting it in art. Or by sincerity is meant, fulness and truth of expression, and it is clear that this second sense has nothing to do with the ethical concept. The law, which is at once ethical and æsthetic, reveals itself in this case in a word employed alike by Ethic and Esthetic.




of practical

THE twofold grade of the theoretical activity, The two forms æsthetic and logical, has an important parallel in activity. the practical activity, which has not yet been placed in due relief. The practical activity is also divided into a first and second degree, the second implying the first. The first practical degree is the simply useful or economical activity; the second the moral activity.

Economy is, as it were, the Esthetic of practical life; Morality its Logic.

ally useful.

If this has not been clearly seen by philo- The economicsophers; if its suitable place in the system of the mind has not been given to the economic activity, and it has been left to wander in the prolegomena to treatises on political economy, often uncertain and but slightly elaborated, this is due, among other reasons, to the fact that the useful or economic has been confused, now

Distinction between the


with the concept of technique, now with that of the egoistic.

Technique is certainly not a special activity of useful and the the spirit. Technique is knowledge; or better, it is knowledge itself, in general, that takes this name, as we have seen, in so far as it serves as basis for practical action. Knowledge which is not followed, or is presumed to be not easily followed by practical action, is called pure: the same knowledge, if effectively followed by action, is called applied; if it is presumed that it can be easily followed by the same action, it is called technical or applied. This word, then, indicates a situation in which knowledge already is, or easily can be found, not a special form of knowledge. So true is this, that it would be altogether impossible to establish whether a given order of knowledge were, intrinsically, pure or applied. All knowledge, however abstract and philosophical one may imagine it to be, can be a guide to practical acts; a theoretical error in the ultimate principles of morals can be reflected and always is reflected in some way, in practical life. One can only speak roughly and unscientifically of truths that are pure and of others that are applied.

The same knowledge which is called technical, can also be called useful. But the word "useful,"

in conformity with the criticism of judgments of value made above, is to be understood as used here in a linguistic or metaphorical sense. When we say that water is useful for putting out fire, the word "useful" is used in a non-scientific sense. Water thrown on the fire is the cause of its going out this is the knowledge that serves for basis to the action, let us say, of firemen. There is a link, not of nature, but of simple succession, between the useful action of the person who extinguishes the conflagration, and this knowledge. The technique of the effects of the water is the theoretical activity which precedes; the action of him who extinguishes the fire is alone useful.

between the

useful and the


Some economists identify utility with egoism, Distinction that is to say, with merely economical action or desire, with that which is profitable to the individual, in so far as individual, without regard to and indeed in complete opposition to the moral law. The egoistic is the immoral. In this case Economy would be a very strange science, standing, not beside, but facing Ethic, like the devil facing God, or at least like the advocatus diaboli in the processes of canonization. Such a conception of it is altogether inadmissible: the science of immorality is implied in that of

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