- "...If we had followed materialism this far with clear ideas, when we reached its highest point we would suddenly be seized with a fit of the inextinguishable laughter of the Olympians. As if waking from a dream, we would all at once become aware that its fatal result --knowledge-- which it had reached so laboriously, was presupposed as the indispensible condition of its very starting point. ..."
Schopenhauer quoted in Will Durant's "The Story of Philosophy", Washington Square Press, 1926 , p.311
Full quote p.888
If we had followed materialism thus far with clear ideas, when we reached its highest point we would suddenly be seized with a fit of the inextinguishable laughter of the Olympians. As if waking from a dream, we would all at once become aware that its final result—knowledge—which it had reached so laboriously, was presupposed as the indispensable condition of its very starting-point. Mere matter; and when we imagined that we thought matter, we really thought only the subject that perceives matter: the eye that sees it, the hand that feels it, the understanding that knows it* Thus the tremendous petitio principii reveals itself 'unexpectedly ; for suddenly the last link is seen to be the startingpoint, the chain a circle; and the materialist is like Baron Münchhausen(Agrippa's trilemma), who, when swimming on horseback, drew the horse into the air with his legs, and himself by his queue. 1 . • • The crude materialism which even now, in the middle of the nineteenth century, 2 has been served up again under the ignorant delusion that it is original, . . . stupidly denies vital force, and first of all tries to explain the phenomena of life from physical and chemical forces, and those again from the mechanical effects of matter. 3 . . . But I will never believe that even the simplest chemical combination will ever admit of mechanical explanation; much less the properties of light, heat, and electricity. These will always require a dynamical explanation. 4