Interpretation of the First Discussions in Schelling's Treatise

perpetrate it. But what is fatal is not the fact that such things go on, that is as necessary as the husks in wine pressing. What is fatal is only the fact that people think that such an arbitrarily patched-together network of title compartments represents the sole true form of a "system" and that it is therefore suitable not to bother with the question of system at all. To be sure" the false form of system and the business of constructing systems must be rejected again and again, but only because system in the true sense is one, indeed the task of philosophy.

But, again, this does not mean that system is always the pressing and sole task. Still less does it mean that system always has the same form and the same meaning in the manner of external uniformity. There is great philosophy without a syste m. The whole of Greek philosophy is proof of this . The beginning of Wes tern philosophy was without a system, but yet, or rather especially fo r that reason, this philosophizing was thoroughly "systematic," that is, directed and supported by a quite definite inner jointure and order of questioning, that questioning which in general created the essential presupposition for all systematics and a possible system. Neither Plato nor Aristotle "have" a "system" of philosophy, neither in the sense of building a finished system nor in the sense of even projecting one. But they did create the presuppositions for the requirement and actualization of building a system, and at first against their wills precisely for an external and false system. Thus, whoever speaks of Plato's system or Aristotle's system is falsifying history and blocking the way to the inner movement of this philosophizing and the understanding of its claim to truth.

The so-called summas of medieval theology, too, are not systems, but a form of doctrinaire communication of the content of knowledge. It is true that in contrast to other academic methods of presentation, commentaries, disputations, and questions, the summas carry out an order of the material which is independent of the coincidentally treated subject matter and of the necessity at hand of a single teaching lesson and matter of dispute. Still, the summas are primarily directed toward teaching. They are handbooks.

The famous Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas is a handbook, too, a handbook for beginners whose function is to present what is essential in a simple ordered way. One should compare the Prologue of the work: "Quia catholicae veritatis doctor non solum provectos debet instruere, sed ad eum pertinet etiam incipientes erudire (secundum illud Apostoli 1 ad Corinth. 3, 1 - 2 : Tamquam parvulis in Christo, lac vobis potum dedi, non escam), propositum nostrae intentionis in hoc opere est, ea, quae ad christianam religionem pertinent, eo modo tractare secundum quod congruit ad eruditionem incipientium." "Since the teacher of Catholic truth not only has to teach those who are advanced (provecti), but his duty is also to prepare beginners (incipientes) [according to those words of the Apostles I. Cor. 3, I: In accordance with the small children who you are, I have given myself as drink and not as solid food], because it is th us a matter of preparing beginners, our proposed intention in this work is to treat what