Review of On the Progress of Metaphysics

Review of On the Progress of Metaphysics, by Julius Ebbinghaus, Deutsche Literaturzeitung, Vol. 52 (December 27, 1931).  Reprinted in Gesammelte Schriften: Band 2.  Reprinted in Leo Strauss: The Early Writings.


We are used to people showing just scorn and mockery for the belief in progress.  However, we are also used to these very scorners and mockers having no qualms from the outset about raising modern reservations against the past.  Since the owl of Minerva begins her flight at dusk, those who regard the present as a time of decline usually still believe that there are more possibilities of knowledge today than ever before.  Those who attribute to the philosophy of antiquity or to Scholasticism a fundamental superiority over modern philosophy nevertheless routinely find them lacking in entire disciplines of modern origin, or even rediscover such disciplines in them.

Ebbinghaus renounces all modern objections by abandoning the modern prejudice, namely, the prejudice that the truth has not already been found in the past.  The condition that makes the abandonment of this fundamental modern prejudice both possible and necessary is the fact that we are “completely sold out of knowledge.”  The “philosophical chaos in which we live” reveals the presumed progress and construction as complete destruction.

Google Books