Freedom of will and isolation of facts. – Our usual imprecise mode of observation takes a group of phenomena as one and calls it a fact: between this fact and another fact it imagines in addition an empty space, it isolates every fact. In reality, however, all our doing and knowing is not a succession of facts and empty spaces but a continuous flux. Now, belief in freedom of will is incompatible precisely with the idea of a continuous, homogeneous, undivided, indivisible flowing: it presupposes that every individual action is isolate and indivisible; it is an atomism in the domain of willing and knowing. – Just as we understand characters only imprecisely, so do we also facts: we speak of identical characters, identical facts: neither exists. Now, we praise and censure, however, only under this false presupposition that there are identical facts, that there exists a graduated order of classes of facts which corresponds to a graduated world-order: thus we isolate, not only the individual fact, but also again groups of supposedly identical facts (good, evil, sympathetic, envious actions, etc.) – in both cases erroneously. – The word and the concept are the most manifest ground for our belief in this isolation of groups of actions: we do not only designate things with them, we think originally that through them we grasp the true in things. Through words and concepts we are still continually misled into imagining things as being simpler than they are, separate from one another, indivisible, each existing in and for itself. A philosophical mythology lies concealed in language which breaks out again every moment, however careful one may be otherwise. Belief in freedom of will – that is to say in identical facts and in isolated facts – has in language its constant evangelist and advocate.
Human, All Too Human, book 3, paragraph 11