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indication of the general direction of specu- develop once more its fatal results of indiflative thought, and the more prominent ference and self-abandonment, and a system stages in its line of progressive develop- of Pantheism--alien to the vigor of Greek ment.
thought-became predominant, in which The first inquiries were ontological. The all the tides and forces of individual being beginnings of existence were sought, and a were lost in the vaster circulations of the Inscience of cosmology attempted. The ulti- finite Energy. mate principle of things, but crudely con- But it was not in the courses of destiny ceived, and supposed to exist under a mate and the law of development that Philosophy rial form, was sought amid physical ele should thus relapse into the imbecility of its ments. Thales found the primum mobile youth. in water, Anaxamines in air, and Heraclitus A new direction was communicated to in fire. Crude as these speculations of the speculative thought, and a new spirit awakIonian school may appear to us, standing ened, by which its vigor and vitality were in the clearer light, they present a series of conserved. slowly advancing conceptions; the material Thus far the method of inquiry had been element gradually giving way, until we come ontological, and had resulted, as that method to the more spiritualistic philosophy of the must ever result when exclusively employed, mathematicians. This school found the first in the establishment, by the Eleaties, of a principle in an abstraction; but it was an system of pantheistic fatalism. But with abstraction involving the conception of the the close of that school a new direction and Infinite, which was an idea far above the impulse was given to speculation, by the inplans of Ionian speculation. Pythagoras troduction of the psychological method. thought he detected the Principia in num- Philosophy hitherto had concerned itself bers, and from their combinations he con- with but one term of the relation which it structed the universe. The absolute and un- sought to determine. It began to perceive, changeable existence was one. This numer- at last, that a knowledge of the nature and ical unity developed itself phenominally in origin of the universe was little likely to be multiplicity, and thus comes the world of gained without some better acquaintance relative and mavifold existence.
with those faculties by which such knowledge The speculations of Pythagoras and his was to be apprehended. For wbat contischool were lofty and profound, but there dence could it bave in the validity of its was no conception of mind; no recognition conclusions, without some criteria or verifiof the creative and self-existent vous in their cation? Supposing a science of ontology severely deductive processes. It is in the possible, it is clear that psychology must desucceeding school of the Eleatics that we termine its legitimacy. With the perception find the attribute of intelligence given to the of this fact commenced an inquiry into the Infinite, and a reference of creation to one nature and capacities of the human mindeternally-existent and self-conscious mind as an inquiry which Philosophy has so vigorits cause. This conception of the Eleatics ously prosecuted through all the lines of its was a great advance upon all previous think- subsequent history. Is there any ground of ing, and marks an era in the history of certitude and authority in human knowledge ? Philosophy. But it should be observed Has the understanding any faculty for the that this idea of mind as cause was not very apprehension of absolute truth? were quesclearly differenced from creation as effect. tions whose solution seemed to condition all The Infinite was One, but it was also All; further advance. and hence the phenomenal and the meta- Parmenides, one of the last of the Eleatics, phenomenal were but parts of the same was the first to perceive the difficulty which flowing life. There was, in truth, a reap- these preliminary inquiries raised, and he pearance here of the Indian doctrine of endeavored to meet it by his important disEmanation, and, in this absorption of the tinction between semi-knowledge, which is finite in the ivfinite, the integrity of self- but opinion, and knowledge, given in the consciousness and the individual will seemed reason, which is truth. By the former, we likely to be lost in the recurring cycles of have cognizance of a simply relational existOriental thought. An oppressive and sad- ence, more or less modified by the condidening sense of the Infinite began tol tions of our own subjectivity; while the latter acquaints us with an existence which a directive wisdom in the arrangement of is absolute. The distinction thus made in primordial elements, but maintaining an the sources of knowledge, mark; an impor- existence entirely distinct from his creations. tant transition-point in the progress of specu- Upon the immediate successors of Anaxagolation. It gave a determination to all suc- ras we must not dwell. Empedocles, with ceeding inquiry, and laid the foundation of his sweeping eclecticism, making earth, air, those four great systems of philosophy whose fire and water the prima materia, with love struggles for the supremacy have entered so as the combinative and harmoniously dislargely into the biographic history of the posing agency, (a conception of Deity pointworld. Parmenides suspicioned the object- ing to a recognition of the moral element,) ive validity of the ideas given in sense, and teaching that knowledge and existence were indicated a source of knowledge independent correlatives, and announcing that principle, of sensation. His speculations were vague, so fruitful of fancies in modern speculations, and abounded with notions extremely fanci- that like can only be known by like; Demoful; but they contained the initial develop- critus and his celebrated atomic theory, so ments of a great truth, and served to intro- ingeniously reproduced in the philosophy of duce upon the arena of controversy the Liebnitz; and his theory of ideas, which may system of idealism, around which Plato be seen reflected in the sensational system of threw the splendors of his genius, and which Locke; these were but the more complete modern Germany has enriched with its best development of those elements of thought and proudest names. The discussion thus we have already indicated. commenced by the later Eleatics, regarding Philosophy now fell into the hands of the source and authority of ideas, was con- the Sophists—those boasting athletes of intinued by their successors. Ontological in- tellect, who gloried in making the worse quiries, however, were still prosecuted, but appear the better reason," and truth and under psychological scrutiny, and tests. justice but opinion and law. In identifying Heraclitus, whose ontology identifies him thought and sensation, and assuming man with the Ionian school, maintained the ex- as the measure of all existence, they struck clusiveness and validity of sense-knowledge, at the foundations of truth and virtue : denying to the reason any thing more than making the one a delusion and the other a a mere regulative function. He then laid name. Not long, however, was Philosophy the foundation of sensationalism, or at least doomed to so degrading a bondage. Her gave to the principles of that system their deliverer came in the person of one whose first philosophical statement. Anaxagoras name will live in grateful remembrance as succeeded, denying with Heraclitus any other long as truth may claim a disciple or virthan a sensational source of ideas, but at the tue a worshipper. Socrates appeared, stripsame time denying their authority, and thus ping from the Sophists their thin guise of extending his system to a negation of all rhetorical pretension, and teaching the eterground of certitude for the knowledge given nal sanctions of justice and right. He as
Here, then, skepticism, the third serted the possibility of truth and the great system of philosophy, makes its ap- supremacy of virtue, and clothed their beaupearance. It is to be noted, however, that tiful and blending forms in all the loveliuess the skepticism of Anaxagoras was of a purely of their own essential and resplendent naphilosophical nature. It questioned the au- ture. Socrates' teachings were altogether thority of reason, and the validity of its ethical in their nature. He laid the founjudgments, but did not extend to the denial dations of moral science, but established no of an intelligent first cause. On the con distinct philosophical system. He was a trary, his conceptions of Deity were far in moralist, but a moralist with a method which advance of all preceding philosophers. They worked a total revolution in the metaphysiwere free from the materialism of the lon- cal speculations of his time. Under the ians, the chilling obstructions of the Math- guidance of that method, Philosophy proseematicians, and the pantheism of the Elea-cuted its inquiries upon far higher grounds. tics. He did not identify the universe with Sensationalism gave way before the applicaGod, nor reduce his infinity to a barren tion of those searching dialectics which disnegation; but he conceived him as an inde- closed in the innermost depths of consciouspendent and designing intelligence, exerting Iness a sanctuary of truth, which the phe.
nomena of sense could never penetrate, nor forms of being, is awakened, through the the caprices of opinion ever disturb. Skep- suggestions of sensible phenomena, to a ticism expired in the blaze of those sublime recollection of that diviner existence of truths, which unveiled the mysteries of a which it formerly had immediate cognizance spiritual existence, and proclaimed the im- and formed a component part. In the mutable sanctions of divine law.
Good, the Beautiful, and the True, it recogThe revolution which Socrates began, his nizes its lost inheritance, which, in plaints illustrious disciple completed. Plato was and aspirations, it is ever seeking to regain. the most accomplished and imperial intellect The poverty and phantom-like nature of of his time. He was the blossoming of sensible phenomena is thus taught; but it Greek culture —"the bright, consummate finds an equivalent in the wonderful signififlower” of Hellenic thought.
In his won
cance which it takes, as the dim reflection of derful brain were the fires of genius and the that purer archetypal creation to which it is elaborated treasures of toil. " When Plato related by so infinite a suggestiveness. The came, a man who could see two sides of a individual soul thus shares in the life of the thing was born.” Imbued with the ethical Universal. Around every point and partidoctrines of his loved and venerated master, cle cluster the universal laws. In the and pursuing his method, he built up a smallest fractional part reappears entire the philosophical system which has occupied a beauty and splendor of the infinite whole. wider space in the world's thought than the Plato's Ideal Theory has long since percreations of any other single intellect of ished. It was the brilliant but fanciful creaancient or modern times. His sentences tion of a great mind, seeking earnestly for contain the culture of nations. They have the truth. But around it were gathered so been the corner-stone of schools and the many noble and truthful thoughts, and so fountain-head of literatures." With a clear many just and uplifting conceptions, that it perception of the weakness of the Sensa- will ever be rewarded, by the lover of virtue tional and Skeptical systems, he adopted the and thought, as a system grand and beautiprinciples of Idealism, and brought to their ful, even though abandoned and in ruins. support all the wealth of his accomplished In the theology of bis system, Plato ranks and cultured mind. In his celebrated above all the thinkers of antiquity. His contheory of Ideas we have his opinion of the ceptions of Deity were so just and true, that sources and authority of knowledge, and the he has been called the Christian Philosopher; relations of the individual to the universal. and there is much reason to conclude that He distinguishes between “ opinion, of which modern faith is more indebted to Plato for all men have a share, and reason, which be- some portions of its creed than it would be longs only to the Gods and some small por- ready to admit. Beyond and above the tion of mankind." The incertitude of sense. world of fleeting appearance lies, in serene knowledge is maintained, but a source of and undimmed light, the world of Ideas. Beknowledge independent of sense is affirmed. yond and above the world of Ideas, in the There is a sensible world—a world of phe- brightness and perfection of his own nature, nomena and appearance. And there is also dwells the absolute and uncreated God. “In a world of Ideas-real, intelligible, and ab- the midst of the sun is the light; in the solute. In this lower and weary kingdom midst of the light is truth; and in the midst of sense and time, we mourn our exile from of truth dwells the imperishable Being.” a higher estate. Limited to a knowledge of the influence of Plato upon his own and particulars and relative existence, we grope succeeding times can never be fully estimaour way amid the shadows and reflected ted. His genius yet lives, not in recollection light, but with occasional exaltations of alone, but in the finer phrases of our intelvision which lift us into the higher world of lectual life. In his union of the ro ayagov and Ideas, where we are admitted to a percep- the to takov, his ideas of the nature and tion of universal and absolute being. The office of evil, and his identification, in virtue medium by which we come to a knowledge and science and art, of the good, the beautiof this clearer realm of realities and abiding ful, and the true, we may recognize the existence is the Reason, or rather, Remi-source of many of the finest conceptions in miscence; for the soul, having been once modern culture and thought. identified with the original sources and higher Philosophy passed her sceptre from Plato to Aristotle. The renowned Stagyrite ) abandon her quest. The doubts and dehas been called the “Secretary of Nature," nials of the Academicians might depress, but and his vast and comprehensive knowledge they could not destroy her hope. Driven would seem to entitle him to the appellation. from Greece, she fled to Alexandria, and He was as much distinguished for breadth then summoned to her aid a new and powof understanding, as Plato for height. The erful ally. Thus far she had relied upon disciple succeeded to his master's fame, but Reason alone for the solution of her enighe did not inherit his system. Idealism mas. But Reason had failed in every atfound in Plato its ablest advocate, it met tempt. She now invokes the assistance of in Aristotle its most powerful foe. That Faith. splendid structure which the former had With this alliance a new and fourth carried to so towering a height, the latter great system comes into being. That sys left in ruins. The Ideas to which Plato had tem is Mysticism. In the school of the Neogiven so commanding a position, proved not Platonists the new philosophy is announced, beyond the range of Aristotle's severe and and Philo, Porphyry, Proclus and Plotinus, well-directed logic. He made sad havoc in become the teachers of its doctrines and its *he realm of the Universals, and showed the claims. The reports of the senses are deobjective existence of abstract archetypal ceptive; the conclusions of reason are unIdeas to be exceedingly problematical. As certain ; but there is a faculty higher than the ideal world of Plato was thus reduced sense and clearer than reason, which gives to a purely subjective existence in his own absolute truth. That faculty is Faith. conceptions, it was concluded—though illo- Like can be known only by like. Knowgically enough—that there could be no ledge and existence are correlative. Reasource of ideas independent of sensation. son, then, can never give a knowledge of the Hence Sensationalism awoke again into life, | Absolute, for that is unconditional and infiand became, under Aristotle, the predomi- nite, while Reason is limited and finite. nant system. His famous dictum, “Nihil But Faith lifts the finite above limitation, in intellectu, quod non prius in sensu," be- identifies the individual and the universal, came the great canon of the Sensational and blends subject and object in the unity of school, which has passed to the authority of pure and immediate apperception. Not a pronunciamento, and served both as pre- through toilsome processes of induction, not mises and proof with some of his modern from close and cautious demonstration comes followers.
the hidden truth and the secret law; but in With Sensationalism again_enthroned, the flashes of Intuition, the exaltations of Skepticism naturally followed. For if we can Vision, and the rapt and gleaming moments have no ideas but such as are ultimately of Ecstacy, when the soul loses its persongiven in sensations, and sensation being but ality and mingles with the Universal Soul, an affection of the precipient mind, with no and knowledge and being are one. ascertainable correspondence to its phenom- In the light of these sublime visions, Phienal eause, it follows that there can be no losophy sees the unfolding of her mysteries. ground of certitude for our knowledge, nor The wide and wondrous universe of being any possibility of absolute science. Truth, becomes a transparency, and its hidden laws therefore, is resolved into opinion, and right and relations surrender their well-kept seand wrong become mere conventional distinc-crets. In “ the flight of the alone to the tions, adopted for convenience, but founded Alone,” the Infinite Unity is dissolved, and upon no immutable principles. Skepticism, the process of its triple manifestation traced thus equipped from the armory of the Sensa- as with a pencil of light. tionalists, and under the guidance of Pyrrho, Philosophy had thus completed its apentered upon its crusade of doubt. It suc- pointed cycle, and evolved its four great ceeded in destroying all confidence in the systems of thought. Their further developreports of Reason or Sense, until, in the school ment on the field of modern history, preof the New Academy, whence it drew its sents a subject too vast for discussion here. most polished and effective armor, it com- The limits of this paper will permit but an pleted its conquest over Morals, and Science, outline of the course of speculation. and Faith.
From the fall of the Alexandrian school But Philosophy was not thus destined to and the rise of Christianity to the sixteenth
century, Philosophy was occupied with the germs of a more gross and noxious developbitter contentions of the Nominalists and ment of Sensationalism than the world had Realists, and the word-juggleries of Scho- yet seen. His successors were not long in lastics and Schoolmen.
pushing his philosophy to its legitimate as The arrival of Descartes marks a new era. well as illegitimate results. Hartley and He was to speculative philosophy what his “Vibratory Hypothesis,” by which all Bacon was to physical science. He estab- mental phenomena were resolved into nervlished a new method, or rather, like Bacon, ous vibrations and the relics of sensation; he recast and perfected the old. Commenc-Priestley, identifying thought with sensation, ing with his famous Enthymeme, “cogito and referring them, with Hobbes, to the ergo sum,” as the only unsuspicioned fact motion of material particles in the nerves of existence, he proceeded by an à priori or brain; Darwin, reducing all mind, inprocess of rigid deduction to the construc- cluding the Infinite, to nature and organic tion of a complete system of being. He processes, and banishing spirit from the found in consciousness and the primitive universe—these were but the natural selaws of the understanding the elements of quents of that system, in whose milder statethought and the criteria of truth, by ment by Locke were the elements of that which he determined the existence of a Materialistic and Necessarian school, of which Deity and the nature of the universe. Ideal. Horne Tooke became the grammarian, Goodism thus again reappeared, maintained upon win the moralist, and Jeremy Bentham the more substantial grounds, and prepared to politician. It was on the Continent, however, engage in a vigorous contest for the su- and among the French Ideologists, that this premacy. Spinosa and Malebranche suc- philosophy reached its last and perfected ceeded, pushing the system of Descartes to development. It was reserved for Helvetius, its extreme and pantheistical development. Condillac, Cabanis, De Tracy, and d'HolThe Sensationalists sunk God in Nature. bach, to show the precise process by which These extreme Idealists merged nature in sensations become transformed into all the God. In the line of Cartesian speculation, complex mental phenomena of thought, Leibnitz ranks next, if not above the philo- emotion, and will; to demonstrate under sopher of Tourraine. In his doctrine of the scalpel that the brain secretes thought microcosmal monads and their “ preëstab- precisely as the liver secretes bile, and to lished harmony," and in the development of proclaim a system of morals so gross and his theory of Optimisnı, we recognize the selfish, that Voltaire himself pronounced it creations of a vigorous and profound thinker. abominable for its immorality. We cannot now dwell upon his ingenious and When all ideas were thus reduced to phyelaborate system; but we may note that, in siological processes and the action of bodily resolving nature into a collection of dynam- functions, a challenge to their validity natuical self-developing forces, and making it rally followed. Without some other criteria homogeneous with spirit, the two differing of verification than sensible organic impresonly as conscious and unconscious monads, sions, there could be no basis of authorhe gave a determination to some of the ity for knowledge. Experience alone never most interesting speculations in modern could give necessary truth, for those fundascience.
mental momenta of thought, upon which Idealism was not long permitted an un- the perception of such truth was conditional, challenged supremacy. Extreme develop were obviously beyond the range of sensible ment in one direction begat a correspond- impressions. The Skepticism of Hume, ent movement in another. Sensationalism therefore, was a legitimate product of the again appeared, and in the powerful advo- Sensual Philosophy. And in striking so cacy of Gassendi and Hobbes, it promised boldly at the legitimacy of all knowledge, a universal dominion. In England, Locke by his denial of causation and a Creative became its distinguished champion, and Intelligence, he was but completing the work under his statement and direction it assumed which Condillac and his school had begun. its mildest and most acceptable phase. But The appearance of Germany upon the in the principles which he established, but field of controversy was the commencement which he did not fully unfold, were the l of a new movement. Characterized by a pro