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FRIES

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Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 230 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FRIES,JAKOB FRIEDRICH (1773–1843), German philosopher, was born at Barby, Saxony, on the 23rd of August 1773. Having studied theology in the academy of the Moravian brethren at Niesky, and philosophy at Leipzig and Jena, he travelled for some time, and in 18o6 became professor of philosophy and elementary mathematics at Heidelberg. Though the progress of his psychological thought compelled him to abandon the positive theology of the Moravians, he always retained an appreciation of its spiritual or symbolic significance. His philosophical position with regard to his contemporaries he had already made clear in the critical work Reinhold, Fichte and Schelling (1803; reprinted in 1824 as Polemische Schriften), and in the more systematic treatises System der Philosophie ads evidence Wissenschaft (1804), Wissen, Glaube and Ahnung (1805, new ed. 1905). His most important treatise, the Neue oder anthropologische Kritik der Vernunft (2nd ed., 1828–1831), was an attempt to give a new foundation of psychological analysis to the critical theory of Kant. In 1811 appeared his System der Logik (ed. 1819 and 1837), a very instructive work, and in 1814 Julius and Evagoras, a philosophical romance. In 1816 he was invited to Jena to fill the chair of theoretical philosophy (including mathematics and physics, and philosophy proper), and entered upon a crusade against the prevailing Romanticism. In politics he was a strong Liberal and Unionist, and did much to inspire the organization of the Burschenschafl. In 1816 he had published his views in a brochure, Vom deutschen Bund and deutscher Staatsverfassung, dedicated to " the youth of Germany," and his influence gave a powerful impetus to the agitation which led in 1819 to the issue of the Carlsbad Decrees by the representatives of the German governments. Karl Sand, the murderer of Kotzebue, was one of his pupils; and a letter of his, found on another student, warning the lad against participation in secret societies, was twisted by the suspicious authorities into evidence of his guilt. He was condemned by the Mainz Commission; the grand-duke of Weimar was compelled to deprive him of his professorship; and he was forbidden to lecture on philosophy. The grand-duke, however, continued to pay him his stipend, and in 1824 he was recalled to Jena as professor of mathematics and physics, receiving permission also to lecture on philosophy in his own rooms to a select number of students. Finally, in 1838, the unrestricted right of lecturing was restored to him. He died on the loth of August 1843. The most important of the many works written during his Jena professorate are the Handbuch der praktischen Philosophie (1817-1832), the Handbuch der psychischen Antftropoiogie (182o–1821, 2nd ed. 1837–1839), Die mathematische Naturphilosophie (1822), Foreign missions. System der Metaphysik (1824), Die Geschichte der Philosophie (1837- Frisian horse is well known. On the clay lands agriculture is also extensively practised. In the high-fen district peat-digging is the chief occupation. The effect of this industry, however; is to lay bare a subsoil of diluvial sand which offers little induce ment for subsequent cultivation. Despite the general productive ness of the soil, however, the social condition of Friesland ha), remained in a backward state and poverty is rife in many districts The ownership of property being largely in the hands of absentee landlords, the peasantry have little interest in the land, the profits from which go to enrich other provinces. Moreover, the nature of the fertility of the meadow-lands is such as to require little manual labour, and other industrial means of subsistence have hardly yet come into existence. This state of affairs has given rise to a social-democratic outcry on account of which Friesland is sometimes regarded as the " Ireland of Holland." The water system of the province comprises a few small rivers (now largely canalized) in the high lands in the east, and the vast network of canals, waterways and lakes of the whole north and west. The principal lakes are Tjeuke Meer, Sloter Meer, De Fluessen and Sneeker Meer. The tides being lowest on the north coast of the province, the scheme of the Waterstaat, the government department (dating from 1879), provides for the largest removal of superfluous surface water into the Lauwerszee. But owing to the long distance which the water must travel from certain parts of the province, and the continual recession of the Lauwerszee, the drainage problem is a peculiarly difficult one, and floods are sometimes inevitable. The population of the province is evenly distributed in small villages. The principal market centres are Leeuwarden, the chief towns, Sneek, Bolsward, Franeker (qq.v.), Dokkum (4053) and Heerenveen (5o1 I). With the exception of Franeker and Heerenveen all these towns originally arose on the inlet of the 1840). Fries s point of view in philosophy may be described as a modified Kantianism, an attempt to reconcile the criticism of Kant and Jacobi's philosophy of belief. With Kant he regarded Kritik, or the critical investigation of the faculty of knowledge, as the essential preliminary to philosophy. But he differed from Kant both as regards the foundation for this criticism and as regards the metaphysical results yielded by it. Kant's analysis of knowledge had disclosed the a priori element as the necessary complement of the isolated a posteriori facts of experience. But it did not seem to Fries that Kant had with sufficient accuracy examined the mode in which we arrive at knowledge of this a priori element. According to him we only know these a priori principles through inner or psychical experience; they are not then to be regarded as transcendental factors of all experience, but as the necessary, constant elements discovered by us in our inner experience. Accordingly Fries, like the Scotch school, places psychology or analysis of consciousness at the foundation of philosophy, and called his criticism of knowledge an anthropological critique. A second point in which Fries differed from Kant is the view taken as to the relation between immediate and mediate cognitions. According to Fries, the under-standing is purely the faculty of proof; it is in itself void; immediate certitude is the only source of knowledge. Reason contains principles which we cannot demonstrate, but which can be deduced, and are the proper objects of belief. In this view of reason Fries approximates to Jacobi rather than to Kant. His most original idea is the graduation of knowledge into knowing, belief and presentiment. We know phenomena, how the existence of things appears to us in nature; we believe in the true nature, the eternal essence of things (the good, the true, the beautiful); by means of presentiment (Ahnung) the intermediary between knowledge and belief, we recognize the supra-sensible in the sensible, the being in the phenomenon. See E. L. Henke, J. F. Fries (1867); C. Grapengiesser, J. F. Fries, ein Gedenkblatt and Kant's " Kritik der Vernunft" and deren Fortbildung durch J. F. Fries (1882) ; H. Strasosky, J. F. Fries als Kritiker der Kantischen Erkenntnistheorie (1891); articles in Ersch and Gruber's Allgemeine Encyklopadie and Allgemeine deutsche Biographie; J. E. Erdmann, Hist. of Philos. (Eng. trans., London, 1890), vol. ii. § 305.
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